Conversation with Cannamom of Color, Ashley Asatu

Conversations with Cannamoms of Color is a collective effort to nurture cultural healing, shatter stigmas and ultimately create solidarity among mothers who consume cannabis. We are extremely fortunate to spark this conversation with Ashley Asatu. She is a bold and dynamic cannamom who’s transforming feminine wellness into nothing short of sexual enlightenment. Ms. Asatu is the founder of the Yoni Day Spa, the Yogasm Experience originator and co-founder of Healing Inside Out, an annual cannabis retreat for cannabis connoisseurs of color. 

I recently spoke with the busy mother of two tweens about her personal experiences. For the record, I love chopping it up with Ashley. Many Black cannamoms hesitate to speak freely about their cannabis consumption, and with good reason. This is precisely why Ashley’s brand of honesty and courageousness is so inspirational. We dove directly into topics that speak to the heart of many cannamoms’ worst fears and concerns. It’s a conversation worth having for those of us who seek to shake the double-edged stigmas that relate to both cannabis and moms of color, and ultimately, step out from under their oppressive shadows.

How does cannabis fit into your overall wellness regimen?

I use it to treat social anxiety. As a public figure I’m constantly having anxiety when I have to perform in public. Cannabis is a big tool for me. It’s part of my wellness plan, just like the medicine some of my friends take to treat ADHD.

Did you use while during your either of pregnancies? 

Yes.

Medically or recreationally?

With my daughter I used cannabis teas and some gummies because I had hyperemesis [severe morning sickness] and I couldn’t keep anything down. Candy was the only thing that would help curb the nausea and the added THC would actually give me an appetite so I was able to gain a little bit of weight.

Were you able to find a doctor to prescribe it for you or did you go to a dispensary?

I shopped at a dispensary.

When I was pregnant 9 years ago I couldn’t find one doctor that would prescribe it for my severe bouts of morning sickness.

Yeah there wasn’t one doctor that was telling me it was ok. I had a good relationship with my OBGYN and she knew that I used cannabis, but I didn’t use it throughout the entire pregnancy. By the time was my youngest child was born, she did not have cannabis in her system. I knew that would’ve been a problem if I had delivered in a hospital and the baby would’ve tested positive for cannabis. I knew this because I had a friend (who was White) — our daughters were born on the same day, actually. She was getting hassled by her doctor for using cannabis. I thought, “If they’re fucking with her, then they’re definitely gonna fuck with me.

Exactly. There’s no two ways about it: We are judged by a different set of standards. Did you ever worry about people finding out you used cannabis during pregnancy? 

Yes, because I didn’t want it to affect the job I had at the time, or my health insurance. And just being Black, and the fact that I had already had a child, I didn’t want to get wrapped up in CPS.

Although cannabis liberation is moving forward, many Black and Brown women aren’t terribly comfortable advertising their love of ganja.

Yes. I realize a lot of judgment comes from other Black people, especially conservative Black people.

Do you ever feel personally judged because of your cannabis use and/or line of work?

Most of the judgment has been from certain family members and the people I used to go to church with. At the end of the day, I don’t really give a fuck because they don’t pay my bills.

Do your kids know that you are a cannabis enthusiast?

I am very open with my kids about the fact that I use cannabis. When they were younger I used to grow cannabis in our back yard. I wanted my kids to be aware that it’s a plant and that it’s mommy’s medicine. If someone were to come up to them and say, “Your mom smokes weed,” they can say, “Yes, she uses cannabis for medicinal purposes.”

Ashley Asatu via Yoni Day Spa

Do you feel particularly vulnerable as a Black mom who’s open about her cannabis consumption?

At first I used to feel insecure about being the kind of parent that I am. I smoke weed, the type of job I now have — it’s not like the regular office job most moms have. I used to feel kind of ashamed about that. There were moms who told me that they found me on Instagram and I would think, “Bitch why are you looking for me?” I used to feel some kinda way but now I’m like, fuck it: I smoke weed and talk about pussy all day. It’s who I am, it’s what I do for a living. The more my brand grows, the more people are going to know so I may as well completely own it because if someone meets me in real life and happen to come across my name on the internet or vice versa, they’ll realize that I am the same. I am who I am.

Do you think your cannabis use can have a negative social impact on our children? Are you concerned about any blowback from your kids school community? 

My husband and I are young parents and many of the parents at my kids’ school are older, rich and White. We are not the same demographic but many of us smoke weed. Cannabis has been a great common denominator.

That’s dope. I still hesitate to raise the topic of cannabis with parents at my kids’ school. Have you ever ran into legal woes behind cannabis?

Thankfully no, but honestly if it ever came to between my kids and cannabis, I’m choosing my kids.

No doubt.

I’m not becoming a martyr for cannabis or a movement. That is the struggle. At the end of the day, my kids didn’t ask for this. My cannabis usage does land on my family and I feel like a part of me being a responsible cannabis user is knowing how that affects the people that I love. They should not have to negatively deal with the impact of me choosing cannabis. If something came about that would negatively impact my kids, I would stop smoking weed. 

That brings me to my next question: As a cannamom, what’s your worst fear or biggest concern?

That my cannabis usage would prevent me from having custody of my children. The way I mitigated that fear was being open with their father and asking him about boundaries. We figured out something that worked for both of us. He sees that I need it and that it’s a wellness tool.

Lastly, do you have any cannamom-specific advice to share ?

If you’re a new mom who wants to use cannabis, I recommend you find a mommy group in your area that you can connect with. It’s helpful to have someone to hold space for you while you figure out your tolerance. The support of a cannamom community can help women turn obstacles into opportunities while inspiring other moms in the same position.

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