Culture

Q&A with a marijuana style writer

Katie Shapiro is known as the nation’s first cannabis style writer.

She reports on “the post-legalization new normal of cannabis culture” for The Cannifornian’s sister site in Colorado, The Cannabist. Since she started there nearly four years ago, she’s covered everything from pot leaf sightings on the runway, smoking etiquette and pop culture moments to product reviews, artist Q&As and dispensary design.

“With such a fast-changing culture as more states legalize, my beat has morphed along with it and I cover anything that contributes to enhancing the smoking experience and incorporating it as a lifestyle,” she said.

The Cannifornian chatted with Shapiro about trends in cannabis style, the stereotypes she’s over and how to land her gig.

Q: What have been some of the most interesting trends you’ve observed in this area since you got the post?

A: I started when cannabis became recreationally legal in Colorado (and when The Denver Post launched The Cannabist) in 2014. Since then, the entire industry has just exploded. It’s kind of mind-bending to reflect on the changes we’ve seen over the past four years, and it’s still really only the beginning. And when the doors open in California, there will be an entirely new revolution.

Cannabis style writer Katie Shapiro in her dispensary of choice, L’Eagle in Denver. (Photo by Randall Malone of L’Eagle)

Q: What are some common stereotypes you still see when it comes to cannabis and style?

A: Unfortunately, the objectification of women is prevalent among some media outlets and brands. “Stoner gurlz” suggestively smoking bongs in bikinis is sad. But, there are so many women entrepreneurs and creatives emerging in the space — I’m inspired by how they’re leading the charge to a change in perception every day. Brands like Van der Pop that are entirely focused on women with thoughtful and chic products — they are changing the stigma while also growing into a true resource (i.e. advice columns, “Women & Weed” workshops, etc.)

Q: What are some trends to watch for going forward?

A: Aside from a boom in high design-minded accessories and lifestyle brands, the recent news of the Standard Hotel opening a dispensary on property next year is huge. For a hotel brand to embrace legalization head on like they have is the most major shift in cultural acceptance I’ve seen yet. The question that remains in all legal states though still is, where can we smoke?

Q: What are a couple of your top picks for holiday gifts for people who love cannabis and style?

A: I just compiled my fourth annual Cannabist Gift Guide, which has picks across a few different categories. I also write a “Haute Box” column for Leafly of my favorite finds. In California, Canndescent created a gorgeous limited edition gift box that’s available at select dispensaries. The beautiful packaging from celeb-cult favorite brand Lord Jones makes for a perfect hostess gift or stocking stuffers. Kush Kards are the must-have holiday greeting card. LEVO’s oil infuser is great for a budding home cannabis chef (and took our Thanksgiving meal to the next level!). The holidays are a perfect time for a special pipe — I love Miwak Junior’s new Golden Girls pieces.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to become a cannabis style writer?

A: Cannabis journalism is an official beat now and on campuses like the University of Denver, you can officially study it. Dedicated cannabis culture and cannabis news media outlets are continuing to launch — and mainstream outlets are increasingly embracing it — so there’s more opportunity now more than ever.


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