In this Cannabis Creative Interview, I sit down with LaCarrie Byer, founder of The V Experience and fellow Rochestarian. We discuss creating connections through cannabis, the challenges of managing the “business” side of business, and growing a community of like-minded plant lovers.
Passion and healing — that’s what drives the V Experience
The V Experience is a Rochester-NY based lifestyle and wellness company that utilizes plant medicine, especially cannabis, as a facilitator of healing. Led by LaCarrie Byer, the V Experience aims to create a safe space for everyone, but especially women, to connect, nurture and heal.
And healing is something Byer knows a thing or two about. Though she had used cannabis in the past, Byer came to the plant in 2018 with a load she was tired of carrying. Through four years of research, trial and error, and a deep dive into self, Byer is now happier, healthier, and a champion for plant healing.
Today, Byer is combining her love for the plant with her love for cultivating unique and welcoming experiences. She’s building a community of people who love cannabis and want to seek out experiences that make them happy. Whether that means smoking a pack of pre-rolls together, attending an infused dining experience, or just uncorking a bottle of wine and talking, Byer intimately understands the power of cannabis to draw people together.
And when you add decades of organizational experience and a love for event planning on top of that, you’ve got a force to be reckoned with in the cannabis and business world. Byer is carving out a name for herself in Rochester and in the New York cannabis industry as a whole.
What’s something you’re excited about?
LB: I’m really excited about the people that I’m meeting. I am excited about being able to take my journey and to help other women just be, whether it’s whatever it is that you’re doing. We carry so much weight. I want to create a space where, and, and, and, and, and I try to explain to people, it’s not even all about just cannabis. It’s about our overall wellbeing. And I wanna create a space where women can feel safe. They can come and dump if they need to. They’re supported. And there’s a way to deal. And if it happens to be with a medicinal herb, then dammit, girl, I got you.
I wanna have couch time, couch time on a scale where it’s 400 women with pillows and they’re smoking and we’re all medicinally elevated and we’re crying and we’re laughing and we’re cheering and we’re dancing like that. It’s so much bigger than even where I am right now. It’s almost hard to put into words.
What’s something you see that you don’t like?
LB: I wish there was more honesty and unity. The backstabbing, I wish that would end. I wish the idea of the “gimme-gimme get rich quick scheme” behind it would end. And the whole stigma behind the plant.
There’s so much I would love to see end. The stigma behind it, the greed behind it. I wish there was more unity with it from the fact that you have a seed, and we have a plant that grows from earth. You water it, you nurture it, you feed it and watch it flourish. And I think when you have something such as that and you’re able to incorporate it in so many ways, I just wish people will open up and learn from just that seed.
What do you think of the New York cannabis market?
LB: I am in a little small circle of my own. As much as I would love to see the unity and inclusion across the board, I’m a realist. I grew up in New York City. I’ve seen things differently. I have all well wishes for it, but when you have something that has such a monetary impact as this industry has, it’s kinda scary. So I am very closed in, I very much am staying in my circle and learning how to build what I have without being tainted by so much of the other noise that’s going on.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
LB: Doing business. I have to go and open up a bank account. I have to do bookkeeping.
Before this, I had a clothing line. I’m a designer. I like to sew. I didn’t move forward with that because the business part of doing business made me nervous. But I can’t run anymore. This is truly bigger than me.
I’m in a place where, you can’t just put this off to the side and, and not do it. I have to do all the things that make me uncomfortable. And that’s the business part of doing business and dealing with my anxiety, dealing with my depression, dealing with my body pain that I have every day.
I have to force myself to grow. And ultimately, I’m pushing boundaries that I set for myself that never should have been there. I’m excited.
What kind of experience do you want someone to have with the V Experience?
LB: The best, the best! Whatever they’re coming to my area for, whether it is to get a smokeable or to see me because they follow me, whatever experience it is that you’re looking for, I wanna be able to help you with that.
And that’s what’s most important to me because we need to learn to identify what it is that makes us happy and makes us feel good and move just in that space. So if there’s anything that I have that I can help aid that, tell me what it is that you’re looking for. And if it’s just sitting here chilling with me, grab a chair, sit. And if that’s what you’re looking for, then, then let’s go on my website. If you need to book me just for chair couch, I like to call a couch time. If you need to book me for couch time and I need to bring some Kleenex and a little bit of tincture for the wine that we going to sip on, then damn it, so be it. Because we have to stay on the happier side. Plants what they need – sun, water, nutrients. We have to learn to give it to ourselves first. And so that’s what I’m doing.
What are you excited about next?
LB: Oh man. I am excited about growing.
I’m excited about growing in whatever aspect the universe see best for me. I found a new manufacturer for my clothing, so I’m looking forward to producing some of my pieces. So that’s growing. I found a lab that are excited about testing my product. So that’s growing. The carnival’s coming, that’s growing. Learning who I can age cannot work with. That’s growing. Oh my gosh. Learning how to do business. I gotta go to the bank and, and, and do business and find a bank a bookkeeper.
What’s your favorite way to consume?
LB: Of course, naturally my pre-rolls. It’s smokeable, it’s a ritual.
And then my next favorite is my shooters because I get to be creative with the flavors that the plant has. It’s carried me for like the past month through ups and downs. And the shooters are kind of like the spin on a cookie or a brownie. It’s measured for you to dose yourself. But it’s a little treat, and they’re high concentration.
What is the boujie stoner lifestyle?
LB: I want this to be an exclusive party. I want this to be a space where you can open up the app and have a community within itself. So it’s all BS-ers, and it’s a safe place.
I have a form for you to fill out and then I approve you to be a BSer. And what I wanna do is start to create an exclusive club. So I’ll do my pop-up events, but it might be in Colorado or it might be in the penthouse downtown. But I want to create an environment where you can treat yourself. That’s what the bougie stoner lifestyle pretty much is.
What’s your favorite fun fact about cannabis?
LB: My favorite fun fact is if you want the best plant and you want to get the strain that you’re going for, what’s best is to pair two female seats together. We lesbian, two female fans. You get two female together and they’ll pollinate each other honey. And you get exactly what you looking. Don’t need no man!
(Author’s note: cannabis plants are dioceses, meaning there’s separate male and female plants. However, some studies are suggesting that cannabis plants can also be hermaphroditic. Exclusion of male plants may increase the instances of hermaphroditic plants.)