From an educator and a creative to an advocate and an entrepreneur, Mskindness B. Ramirez is bringing her generosity and savvy to the cannabis industry in spades.
Mskindness B. Ramirez is a master cultivator, meaning she knows how to grow, harvest, and process a cannabis plant. But the mother of two from Chino Hills, California, also has a gift for cultivating knowledge, communication, and community around cannabis.
Ten years ago, Ramirez stepped into the world of cannabis with some homemade tinctures and a cannabis-centered home-party venture. Since then, her business has evolved into a growing line of hemp-derived products and an impressive collection of cannabis-inclusive content on multiple media platforms.
Of all her ventures, Ramirez says her children’s book, The Root Family’s Very Special Garden, which first published in 2020, is the project that excites her most. Ramirez, who has 20 years of experience working in public education, created the book to inspire conversations about cannabis between parents and children. The story centers on a family with a garden that includes cannabis plants and is directly inspired by her own family.
“My kids are those kids in the book,” she says. “That’s my life. We have a large garden, and at the time, we were growing everything from melons and tomatoes to all kinds of herbs, and there in the middle of everything were a bunch of weed plants.”
By using the setting of a suburban family garden to illustrate the process of sowing, harvesting, and creating medicine from the cannabis plant, Ramirez says her intention was to create a book that spoke to the entire family in an educational, entertaining, and relatable way. Her hope is that readers take away the message that plants, including cannabis, are medicine.
“I am super passionate about reaching the youth with this message about plant medicine, and how if we just teach children to look at the healing properties of the entire garden, they can take more autonomy and be empowered in their own healing,” Mskindness B. Ramirez says.
Ramirez’s own cannabis journey began with a debilitating, but ultimately empowering, experience. In 2012, at 26 weeks pregnant, she slipped and fell in a puddle at a grocery store. The fall caused a pelvic injury that left her with severe chronic pain and put her at risk for preterm labor.
“When doctors tried to offer me opioids at 26 weeks pregnant, I declined and started doing some research of my own on natural remedies for chronic pain,” Ramirez says. “Long story short, I went down the rabbit hole, found academic research, and started creating my own cannabis tinctures at home.”
Ramirez says that when she first took a few drops of her homemade cannabis tincture at 29 weeks pregnant, it was the first time in weeks she felt no pain. After successfully carrying her baby to term, she stepped away from her traditional teaching career and dedicated herself to educating other women about the many ways medicinal cannabis could help them. In 2014, she started Club Kindness, which took the form of in-home “kind parties.” The gatherings included a “Basics of Cannabis” presentation by Ramirez, followed by sampling of cannabis products.
“I know pedagogy and I know how to teach, so I just started teaching the ABCs of cannabis to people,” she says. “There is a credibility that comes from being an educator, so people knew that I was talking about something intelligent and that I could cite sources for what I was saying. There was some inherent trust there.”
As Mskindness B. Ramirez made more connections with other women in cannabis through Club Kindness, she decided to pull back from doing parties and scale up by creating a line of products. In 2015, Elixirs by Kindness was born with its signature EBK sublingual THC spray. Three years later, Ramirez pivoted her concentration to CBD products, selling a diverse line of hemp-derived tinctures, creams, and edibles.
While she was proud of the products and connections she made through EBK, Ramirez felt that the market for tinctures was saturated, and the business wasn’t feeding her soul in the way she wanted. The world was in the midst of a pandemic, and she found her perspectives shifting.
“2020 changed me, like it changed everyone in the world,” Mskindness B. Ramirez says. “I thought, I need to do something way more meaningful.” Ramirez decided to start winding down on EBK. “I asked the spirit, God, to bring me some team members. I wanted to build something big with some great women.”
At that time during the pandemic, she started to lose her hair. Someone suggested putting CBD on it, so she tried mixing it in her other hair products. Her hair began growing back, and she was inspired.
“I woke up one morning and had the idea,” she says. “We can teach people to heal themselves using natural hair care products.”
She called Vanessa Valdez, a woman she’d met a year before at a canna-preneur event whom she was mentoring and told her the idea. Shortly after, Our Kind—a hair and body product line infused with cannabinoids—was born and officially launched in 2022. Ramirez asked Valdez, who is new to the cannabis industry, to be a partner in the business.
“She’s empowered me to be more than what I ever thought I could be,” says Valdez about Ramirez. “She meets me where I’m at while also helping me to grow. It must be the educator in her, but she’s so good at sharing what she’s learned, teaching everybody, and making sure the door is open for everybody.”
Ramirez continues to educate about cannabis and often comes across parents who ask how they should talk with their kids about the plant. Ramirez always encourages parents to first examine their own relationship with cannabis.
“If you are hiding it from your children, then there is some personal shame around cannabis there that we need to break down first,” Mskindness B. Ramirez says. “The next step is thinking about cannabis as part of your lifestyle. How are you using it? What is your intention? Are you using it medicinally? If that is the case, then you are talking about it in the same way as other medications in your cabinet.”
If a parent views their cannabis use as recreational rather than medicinal, Ramirez says she will expand the conversation through education, pointing out that the body has receptors that allow cannabis to feed your system in a way that is healthy.
“I don’t really use the term ‘recreationally,’” Ramirez says. “I will call it ‘adult use,’ or just say that somebody uses cannabis to relax or for a head change, and that is fine. But we can also feel honored that when we are consuming cannabis, that it is also healing our bodies.”
When talking with kids, Ramirez says, cannabis conversations should be guided by the developmental stage of the child. Younger kids need simple answers and clear boundaries.
“A 5-year-old understands that he can’t go into your refrigerator and drink the whole gallon of orange juice,” Ramirez says. “It’s a matter of setting the same boundaries as you are with anything else, with the obvious additional safety precautions with storing your THC and gummies.”
Once kids are older and start studying health and body systems in school, conversations about things like the endocannabinoid system, frontal lobe development, and the health risks of pot smoke become more appropriate, she says.
Although Ramirez says she has personally been open about working in the cannabis industry, she also recognizes that attitudes and laws around cannabis vary, which is why she thinks another important part of cannabis conversations is talking about public versus personal topics. Parents talk with their children as they are developing about what is public and what is private all the time, and explaining that cannabis use is a personal subject that isn’t appropriate for public conversation can be part of those talks.
As for the future, Ramirez shows no signs of slowing down. She recently released a coloring book companion for The Root Family’s Very Special Garden. She’s collaborating on a new line of infused hair care products, and she has helped create a race, equity, and inclusion conversation series that will ultimately appear on Ramirez’s newly created Club Kindness TV.
While Ramirez recognizes she has benefitted from both shifting attitudes toward cannabis and the growth of the industry over the last 10 years, she also points out these changes are largely the result of white investors who are reaping the lion’s share of the benefits of this growth. Ramirez said she would like to see more inclusivity in cannabis in the future, as well as business models that give back to local communities.
“I want us to do better,” Mskindness B. Ramirez says. “I’d really like to see us move toward more mindful enterprise structures in cannabis. We have an opportunity in this post-prohibition industry to set a standard for cooperative business models, workforce development from within, and reinvestment in communities via the services we provide. Our work should be teaching communities how to fish so they can serve themselves.”
Liz Weslander is a writer from Lawrence, Kansas. When not writing for SWEET JANE, she works as a communication coordinator for a land conservation non-profit. Traveling and spending time in nature are her favorite pastimes.