In this Cannabis Creative Interview, I sit down with Precious Brown, CEO and co-founder of Entertaining and Elevating with Cannabis. We talk about creating an intentionally inclusive environment, putting action and opportunity at the forefront of conversations, and why all cannabis use is inherently medicinal.
For Precious Brown, entertaining with cannabis isn’t just a hobby – it’s her life.
Brown is the CEO and co-founder of Entertaining and Elevating with Cannabis, a Rochester-based cannabis events business. Brown has been entertaining and elevating with cannabis for the better part of 20 years, but it wasn’t until New York State got its act together and legalized that plant that she and her co-founder (and fiancé) Brandi were able to turn their passion into a career.
To Brown, entertaining with cannabis isn’t just about infusing a few dishes and hosting a dinner- it’s about creating an inclusive, welcoming environment where people can come together over the plant, get to know one another, and have a good time. And she is good at it – I was fortunate enough to attend an event hosted by Entertaining and Elevating with Cannabis earlier this summer, where I was treated to a wonderful night of delicious food, great company, and thoughtful infusions. Brown also featured several Rochester-based companies at the event, showcasing the power of partnership.
Brown got to know the cannabis plant as many people do, in her late teens. But her relationship with the plant deepened with age, and she came to understand and appreciate the complexity and beauty that cannabis offers. She’s made it her goal to create not only a business, but a community that’s based on inclusion and the love of the plant. Whether Brown is talking to a room full of hungry diners, people eager to enter the cannabis industry, or her church community, she lets her passion for the plant and her love for community lead the way.
Precious and I had the opportunity to talk back in April 2022. Since we spoke, she and her business have been busy hosting events, partnering with ROC NORML, and leading the way in Rochester to show what the legal cannabis industry is capable of.
What’s something you see in the cannabis industry that’s exciting to you?
PB: There’s two things. The first thing is, I have to shout out the CCRA, the cannabis community reinvestment act. And essentially what it’s gonna do is ensure that corporations, whether they’re large or small, that at least 2% of their shares or 2% of their profits are reinvested back into the communities that they’re dealing with. And that it makes it so that it’s an equitable environment, it makes it so that everyone in the community specifically can benefit from the legalization of cannabis. I am really excited about that.
The other one is that on June 23rd, 24th and 25th, myself, my business partner, Brandy Hester as well as ROC NORML are hosting a cannabis community and equity celebration for the city. We’re so excited. We’re really trying to synergize the cannabis community. We’re gonna talk about acknowledging the past, celebrating the present and planning for our future. Acknowledging the past, having to deal with the fact that the prohibition of cannabis has really ruined so many people’s lives. Now that it is legalized in a recreational way, how can the community benefit from that? What workforce development is going to be available for that? So we’re gonna have a conversation about that on June 23rd, we are going to include the church. And so I’m extremely excited about that. It’s gonna be cannabis community and the church. And then on the 24th, we’re going to have a private dinner curated by my company, entertaining and elevating with cannabis.
[Author’s note: it was an incredible event!]
What’s something you see in the industry that you’re not a fan of?
PB: From the viewpoint of an African American woman, a Black woman – we live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as well as within Rochester. How I came about with the cannabis community and celebration is that I would come up and I would see in certain events, Black and brown people, weren’t at certain events and, and in white spaces. And then in black spaces, I also did not see white people. I want to be the person and the brand that bridges that gap. Cannabis is the flower that brings us all together. It is the flower that brings us all together and we cannot let it divide us.
I was thinking about, how can we really give back to the community and how can my brand Entertaining and Elevating with Cannabis be a bridge? Because I noticed that Rochester as a whole is divided, Monroe county is divided AKA segregated, right? I’m an all-inclusive person and my brand is an all-inclusive brand. I wanna make sure that the division is not there, so that the synergy of everyone working together is, is better for everyone. That’s why we’re creating this cannabis community celebration with the city.
It’s about acknowledging the past, the fact that the prohibition of cannabis has ruined so many lives. And the fact that now it’s legalized recreationally, how can we be a tool? How can we be a resource to each other, to bridge the gap, to help people who have been directly affected by this? I wanna talk about the workforce, the development that’s gonna be coming into town.
How do you create a thoughtfully inclusive space at your events?
PB: Such things as what we’re doing right now, just having the conversation.
I really want to work with the cannabis community and with women-led brands, women within cannabis, and then also the Black community. So once our location for our Bud and Breakfast is up and running within upstate New York, we are going to be very strategic and I wanna be radically transparent about that. We are going to be very strategic in making sure that we work with the disenfranchised community that has been disproportionately policed and affected by the prohibition of cannabis.
I’m gonna be seeking out those candidates to give them employment specifically because it is ruined people’s lives. People have not been able to get jobs because of this. And I want to let them know that entertaining and elevating with cannabis, our lodging business is a safe space and it’s an all-inclusive space.
How can the cannabis industry champion equity and inclusion?
PB: For an equitable environment to happen, we have to make sure that we are creating moments where there’s opportunity.
With the legalization of cannabis, other states have had the opportunity to create an equitable, inclusive environment for their community. But I don’t think that they have done it right. I feel like New York really has the opportunity. You and I, we have the opportunity to make sure that the people that have been disproportionately affected by the prohibition of cannabis, they’re at the forefront of the conversation. And not just by talking about equity and inclusion, but talking about the opportunity, because I feel like opportunity is what is really needed to make it an equitable environment. And how do you create opportunity? You look at what resources you have out there and how you can be utilized as a tool. One of my favorite sayings is “get used to being used, or you will be useless.”
One of the things that I’m all about is action. I really don’t want to be included in equity and inclusion conversations whatsoever. More so, what actionable items are we walking away from this meeting and this conversation that we can bring to the table or to our community? So actionable items on equity and inclusion? Cause I feel like if not, we’re just spinning our wheels.
What do see the future of the NYS cannabis industry as?
PB: One of the things that I teach within my brand is that all cannabis is medicinal and it’s used in a recreational way. So we need to change the stigmas and we need to change our thought about it as a whole, because right now we still have that division. My fiancé who is also the other founder of our brand Entertaining and Elevating Cannabis, Brandi, she has lupus. And so she does consume cannabis to deal with her lupus. But at the same time, we also consume cannabis a recreational way sometimes to help to relax us.
So what do I mean by that? There’s a time and a place for everything. If I have a nine to five job and I’m clocking into work, I’m not going to consume a heavy indica going to work. I’m not able to consume in that way and then do my job. And so my point being is that again, all cannabis is medicinal and used recreationally.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
PB: In New York, everyone is professional, especially in the cannabis industry. And so it’s more so about educating yourself and having a great understanding about the industry, about the politics of the industry really, and also having a great understanding about the plan.
I don’t think there’s anything that I’ve had to overcome because I’m dealing with everyone in a professional way. And I appreciate everyone dealing with me in that way as well.
What are you proud of accomplishing?
PB: Stepping out on faith and creating this business in this branch. My background is in business and in business management specifically and I’m a very hard worker. If you ask any of my previous bosses that I reported to, they’ll tell you, Precious has a can-do attitude. She tries to go above and beyond to make things happen. And I found that I was working really hard for other people and developing their business and their brand.
I’m so proud of myself that I’ve had the opportunity to step out on faith, believe in myself, my fiancé also believing in me and believing in us, the synergy of the two, we really are amazing. Her being more of the cannabis advocate component of the brand, and me being more of the creative of the brand. I’m really proud that we were able to step out and showcase our cannabis community, our family, and our friends. They were already aware of what it is that we do, but really stepping out and showing our cannabis community and really able to create those safe spaces that I talked about.
What kind of experience do you want someone to have at one of your events?
PB: I want someone to always walk away from any experience with me, whether that be at something that I’m hosting or the bud and breakfast with a joyous feeling. I’m a person where I love to be a resource. I wanna be a resource in a great way for someone. I want them to walk away with feeling joyous. I want them to walk away with having feelings of, “wow, when is this gonna happen again? You really exceeded my expectations!” And so that’s always what I’m trying to do. I’m always just trying to bring someone in, meet what they need and really exceed the expectations of what they thought that they were gonna get.
What’s next for you?
PB: We have quite a few experiences that we are curating. Almost every month we have something where we’re curating a space for our cannabis community to really have the conversation, the synergy of cannabis and culture, and creating that safe space. That’s what we have going on for the next 12 months.
I would say within 13 to 15 months, our larger location for our bud and breakfast in upstate New York will be opening up. And so that’s really what the focus will be more towards the end of the summer, the beginning of the fall. And we’re so excited about that.
What’s your favorite way to consume cannabis?
PB: I was introduced to cannabis by smoking and I have consumed cannabis via edibles because I do infusions myself. So I do infusions for like lobster tails, shrimp scampi, spaghetti, and Cornish Hens. While I do those things and I love the taste of my food and I love the infusions, I will honestly say, my favorite way to consume responsibly would be by smoking.
I love touching the flower. I love rolling the bud. And I love smelling the terpenes. I have a grand respect for the flowers, so I really love to consume by smoking.
What’s your favorite fun fact about cannabis?
PB: My favorite fact about cannabis and this is something that I think that the public is going to take a little while to get on, which is that all cannabis is medicinal and sometimes used in a recreational way.