Meet Canadian Cannabis Advocate Gill Polard

Once I was working in cannabis I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, ever again.

Meet Gill Polard, an expert in marketing and communications for international cannabis brands.

Gill is a legalization and safe access advocate in British Columbia, Canada, and the creator of the leading cannabis lifestyle website and print publication, The Her(B) Life, which celebrates the feminine cannabis experience through industry interviews, education and media.

She is a regular contributor to The Growth Op and teaches the Marketing under the Cannabis Act course at Mount Royal University. In 2018 she was nominated for a Canadian Cannabis Award in the “influencer” category and was awarded the first ever “Cannabis Leader of the Year” trophy from Notable Life. More recently, Her(B) Life was nominated for an O’Cannabiz award in the Best News Source category.

We caught up with Gill to learn more about her work.

Why did you get involved in the cannabis industry? What motivates you?

It was a matter of right time, right place and once I was working in cannabis I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, ever again. I have been a cannabis user for most of my life, and getting the opportunity to participate in a new industry that would allow safe, legal access for more Canadians was just too incredible to pass up. I couldn’t say no. I couldn’t do anything else. 

What was the impetus to create The Her(b) Life? and what is your mission?

Like many writers, I’ve always maintained a blog and Her(B) Life was just that in the beginning, a personal blog. I really just wanted a place where I could write about my own experiences with cannabis and...tell the stories of the incredible women ...who were inventing, innovating and leading companies. From day one the goal has been to build a platform that supports women who work in cannabis and that entertains consumers with fun and interesting stories. It was really important to me that we move past the concept of "bong babes" and focus on women’s stories told by women that reflect how we actually use cannabis for our own benefit.   

What is it like being a woman in the cannabis space? 

It’s exciting. There is a lot of opportunity simply because this is a new emerging legal industry. It’s not perfect. We still need to ensure women are hired and financed at an equal rate as men, something that we don't have in any industries. We need to make sure that People of Colour and unregulated market participants are also included and represented at all levels, but I am an optimist and an idealist. I think that talking about these needs is crucial, and I see opportunities for positive change on the horizon.

Can you tell us about some of your other ventures in the cannabis space?

Her(B) Life is a multimedia content platform. We started with online editorial, moved into print with our magazine, then audio with our podcasts (we produce two currently: The Mental Health Booster and Sessions)...I love creating all of this content. Outside of HL, I co-created and co-host another podcast with Rachel Colic called High Friends, which examines how women integrate cannabis into their lives. I also write for The Growth Op, working with brands on digital strategies and content, and I teach Branding Under the Cannabis Act through Mount Royal University’s online program. These projects keep me busy, but they also keep me engaged with the community and the rest of the industry. In particular, I love teaching and participating in discussions with people who are new to the space -- their ideas around the Cannabis Act and how they interpret the regulations can be really fresh and exciting.  

Gill can be found on Twitter and Instagram @gill_polard.

Photo, courtesy Gill Pollard.

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