2 Minutes With … Firstman, Founding Member of Life Is A Ceremony Retreats

On connecting people to nature, and the positive results of the global destigmatization of cannabis

Firstman is a founding member of Life Is a Ceremony retreats, where peaceful warriors, healers, shamans, artists and change-makers commune with nature and work to solve systemic issues, all within Rastafari Indigenous Village. Also, Firstman co-founded of RIV. He has had a long career as a community organizer and cannabis freedom activist, serving as a charter member of the Jamaican Ganja Task Force; as the chair of the first Ganja Advisory Committee to the Government of Jamaica; and as a co-founder of the Rastafari and Grass Roots Growers Association (RAGGA).

We spent two minutes with Firstman to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Firstman, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in the parish of St. Ann, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, but I now live in Montego Bay, St. James. 

How you first got interested in cannabis.

When I was 17, a friend of mine gave me a Bob Marley cassette. From that point I became interested in cannabis. The vibration of Rastafari emanating from his songs was what led me to research more about the religion, and that's when I discovered that ganja was a part of that vibration. 

One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.

One of my favorite projects was the establishment of Rastafari Indigenous Village. It proved to me that culture could take care of its spiritual, economical and social rights as a people without totally interfacing with the Western system. It gave me an opportunity to view culture as an industry. 

A recent project you're proud of. 

Evolving the Rastafari Indigenous Village mandate to becoming a retreat center so that we can build more interpersonal relationships among us as people and connect with nature. This evolution has allowed us to create a five-day experience called Life Is A Ceremony, where we offer the opportunity for people to interact with nature in all its forms.

The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today, and how to approach it.

The biggest challenge I find is that the narrative does not include legacy or the people who have had a spiritual relationship with the plant. Using a plant as a commodity and not focusing on personal use has been daunting.

One thing about how the cannabis industry is evolving that you're excited about.

I am excited about the awareness that is happening and the destigmatization of cannabis on a global scale. I am thrilled to see communities that are bonding based on their relationship with the plant.

Someone else's work, in cannabis or beyond, that you admired lately.

I admire the work of Steve DeAngelo and Harborside Health Center because their social programs assist people who are unable to afford medicine. Harborside made cannabis available for their healing.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

I find inspiration in the Fantastic Fungi movie, mainly because it shows the interconnectedness of the planet.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

I admire Peter Tosh because his words and actions were authentic both on and off the stage.

Your favorite character.

My favorite character is Oshun. She is an African deity who protects the community and fights her battles with beauty.

Someone worth following on social media.

I view social media as an information space where occasionally I find affirmations and quotations that inspire my path.

Your main strength as a marketer/creative.

My main strength is to facilitate creatives coming together for events, and for other platforms and mediums as well. 

Your biggest weakness.

Working too hard without taking enough time for myself. 

Something people would find surprising about you.

That I love vegan pizza.

One thing that always makes you happy.

When we meet our objectives and they are sustainable.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Whenever there is misunderstanding surrounding my intentions–that always makes me sad. 

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the cannabis industry.

If I wasn't in the cannabis industry, it would mean that cannabis did not exist on the planet. So I am not sure what I would be doing. 

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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