International Women's Day | Gisel Arcos
Gisel Arcos has joined us here at Hemp Botanics to celebrate International Women's Day 2022. Gisel and Lisa-Marie met in 2018 and shared similar views on cannabis advocacy. Gisel tells us how she was influenced to join the cannabis industry and what we can expect from the future of cannabis. Take a look below or listen here to see what Gisel and Lisa had to speak about and why Gisel Arcos is one of our inspirations.
Lisa: Gisel, welcome to our series of international women's day 2022 thank you so much for joining us from New York City. We are delighted to have you I’ve known you before you’ve moved back up to New York but please introduce yourself to our listeners today.
Gisel: My name is Gisel and I’m here in New York. I’m a big cannabis advocate. I really believe in the plant. I'm over here just trying to keep everybody educated. That's also a big thing, education in cannabis. So that people understand that it's just not a drug its medicine.
Lisa: How did you actually get into the cannabis space? Where did your journey begin?
Gisel: Well, I started smoking back in high school. It helped me with a lot of health issues that I had back then, that's where it started for me. And from there I never stopped smoking. I always saw this negative thing about cannabis for a very long time. I never liked that so I always try to educate people around me, especially my family. It's taken me a very long time to educate my family actually. Especially my mom. I’ve always lived in New York but I went to live in London when I met you in 2018. I lived there for 6 months and that's when I started working at, Club 33. That's when my cannabis journey really started because before that I just smoked with my friends here and there. I never knew where to take that, then once I started working at, Club 33. I met more people in the cannabis industry that influenced me. This helped me want to come back to New York and do more than just sit around and smoke. Now I work at a dispensary. We trying to make a lounge, a glass shop and educate more people about how cannabis can help. That it's not just for smoking. You can also take oils like RSO. Oil's are also a very big thing for me. I didn’t learn about that until I moved to London. I never knew about that here, especially in NY, for the longest time it was very closed off about cannabis. You’d just get whatever was in a bag and that's it. You didn’t know strains, where it came from or anything it was just haze or sour diesel. That was all you could get. After I came back from London, I started seeing things differently. I started realising there were different strains and I got more into growing. That's where I met my mentor and now I'm more connected to the plant than ever. I'm really happy about that because I always wanted to do that I just didn’t know how to get into it.
Lisa: That's amazing you finally connected the dots. I think that even when I was in South Africa growing up, it was almost like you got indoctrinated into smoking cannabis, but not realising why you’re doing it. Then you continue doing it knowing that it feels good, that it helps you but not really connecting the dots to the medicinal side of it. England also educated me on the medicinal side. And understanding that I was probably using it myself for medicinal purposes but not understanding how and or why. I guess that deeper level of understanding is what gives you the real drive to carry on and continue. Understanding what you’re doing is a good thing and it helps you to want to help others. So, from that journey right, what would you say is the most important part of your work?
Gisel: I think one of the most important things, was getting my grandma to understand. She was born and raised in Ecuador in a little town. Cannabis for her was a drug. It was like heroin, crack you know. It's the worst thing you could possibly do. For her now, to actually be using CBD was a very big thing for me. To have her understand. Now she’ll tell me things like 'oh look, look I saw this lady and she uses this cream made from cannabis' It's amazing that she’s telling me about this now. That's definitely interesting.
Lisa: Yes, I think that it's a massive thing to break down the barriers of generations. Sometimes people have a closed mind to the idea of cannabis. To be able to break those barriers is somewhat of a revelation. Lifting the veil essentially and giving that person the confidence to empower and take care of their health and wellbeing.
So, would you say something like that would be the most challenging aspect of your career in the cannabis industry? or would you describe that as something else?
Gisel:I think something that I also I would say I overcame... I always wanted to grow. I thought 'how am I going to find anybody to teach me this?' I never in a million years thought that one day I would meet someone that grew cannabis in New York. I thought what are the odds? You know, it's not a thing that people talk about. I never met anyone like that. I feel like I manifested that. Even for the first year, I kept doubting myself. I'd say 'I can’t do this, it's a lot of work' but recently, I’ve been saying 'No, even if it's a lot of work it's worth it. This is what we need. Somebody has to do the work. No matter how hard it is.'
Lisa: I guess it's kind of 24/7 right? Once you get into a relationship with the plant and or the industry. Nobody really sleeps. There’s always somebody that's awake needing something.
Gisel: It's a lot of work.
Lisa: Exactly, or there’s an operation in what you’re doing. People don’t realise the back end of it and the hurdles that we have to hop over to make sure we can deliver. I mean, do you have anything that defines success at this stage or do you feel like you’re still reaching for it?
Gisel: I think that I would say I’m still reaching for it I'm still getting there. I’ve been in the hair industry for a very long time I’ve done hair for almost 13 years now so I’ve been pulling away from that to get more into the cannabis industry but I’d like to connect the two of eventually so when I get to that point I’ll be more where I really want to be . Eventually I'll make them meet and create something out of that.
Lisa: That's cool, I mean I like that you want to join the dots as opposed to moving away in a different direction. Without thinking that you need to completely disregard what you’ve been doing previously. Hair is power and strength.
Gisel: It's good and I just recently went to an aesthetician school. So, I'm doing more stuff with the skin. Cannabis is very good on the skin so it's something I'm trying to work with.
Lisa: Yes, the CB2 are sitting right there in the skin.
Gisel: Yes, they need it. They need the cannabinoids.
Lisa: What advice would you give yourself 5 years ago?
Gisel: I would tell myself to stop doubting myself and keep myself open to opportunity. Not let anybody talk me out of it. Definitely, throughout the years I’ve had many people, especially my family tell me ‘what are you doing?’
Lisa: Do you have anything that you’re working on right now? Any achievements or goals that you’re trying to reach?
Gisel: Right now, I’m working with my mentor on opening a cannabis lounge. Opening so we can start getting people in, get more education going and have more people smoking good cannabis. That's really our main goal. I’m in Queens it's not the nicest, it's a very tough area and I know a lot of people here who smoke what they can. I hate that because I see a lot of the stuff that people are trying to sell you know, you’re hurting your lungs. My main thing is getting people to smoke good cannabis to understand what good cannabis is. To be willing to take care of themselves. I have, in the beginning, said that I didn’t really care what I was smoking either. Now I know what my body should be ingesting.
Lisa: That's so awesome. The journey that you’ve been on. You progress and evolve and what you do is aline with individuals that want to find that same clean path. True information that you can receive from the plants as opposed to just unconsciously. The fact that you’re almost like the gatekeeper into cannabis, generally speaking, is one of the tougher jobs for people out there. Once you’re established, your grooving with people in the industry that have achieved the same accomplishments etc, you’re somewhat removed from that gatekeeper if you like. But it's also more challenging. I feel people like you are 100% invested as it's your lifestyle. You’re of service to people to show them the lifestyle is good. You’re putting yourself on the line for others. People should respect what you’re doing because not everyone is willing to give the truth that comes from using the plant. When I met you at, Club 33 it was all about that connection and true understanding. The education was ultimate. I feel like you’ve carried that back with you. People are fortunate to have you who is willing to open the door and spend time to educate.
Lisa: Thank you so much for spending the time and celebrating international woman’s day 2022 with us. It's been fun reconnecting with you. It's been a while.
Gisel: I know. It's been great talking with you. We will see each other again one day. Thank you for having me on.