The Botanical Joint offers a variety of hand-crafted artisanal hemp and wellness products, with a line of CBD flower that pays homage to Sue’s roots, including:
- WAP: Named after Cardi B’s song, featuring Megan Thee Stallion.
- Frida: Named after a Mexican painter who helped bring light to Mexican culture through her paintings.
- Not Your B*tch: Named due to a wicked sense of humor, in an effort to stick it to the man.
- Ranchera Tingz: Named as a remix to Nicki Minaj’s song Barbi Tingz.
The journey’s beginning
It started in the 1900s with Sue’s great grandfather and grandfather being cattle farmers. At that time, they were one of the largest in Washington state: “They were known for having the biggest cattle farm in their state,” said Sue. Her grandfather helped raise her, which is where her gardening experience started to flourish.
Founder Sue Carlton elaborated on her generational knowledge, “My Chingona mother also grew up on a ranch; I remember her telling me stories of the cattle getting out. She would have to jump in the truck at the age of 9 when the cattle got out and would get caught by neighbors when trying to tangle the livestock back on to the property. Everyone would have a big laugh at this because she was so young and tiny, but she would always just say: ‘somebody has to do it.’”
Hemp was introduced on the farm back in the 1900s as Sue’s great grandfather and grandfather grew it to feed their cows and livestock. “Hemp runs through my blood,” she said.
At the age of 20, Sue started working in medical cannabis grows in Oregon; she consumed cannabis for pain and stress relief from reproductive disorders. Working with cannabis allowed her to get affordable flower and therapeutic relief from the plant. She transitioned to working with cannabis edibles, creating chocolate and other confections for a few years. She built the award-winning edible, Couch Potatoes.
Discrimination led to launching The Botanical Joint
I asked Sue why she decided to launch her own company in the hemp space. She said, “Honestly, it was the 8 years of being exposed to oppression and discrimination on the agriculture side of cannabis and hemp that fueled me to say: ‘fuck working for the man’ and step up on my own to build my own business and farm.”
But in other ways, Sue knew that she’d be here. “Agriculture, farm life, has always been my passion. Like I said before, my grandparents were the largest cattle farmers in Washington and my mother grew up in farm life, and also pursued farming in Ohio. It’s in me, which is why I sought out to bring my passion for farming into the curation of The Botanical Joint”.
Because of her experience, Sue believes it’s important for her to represent and advocate for the inclusivity and equity of what America calls “minority groups.”
“It’s important for me to help represent and advocate for the inclusivity and equity of LatinX growers and other minority groups like African Americans and Asians; those that are highly underrepresented in the agriculture and overall cannabis industry. It’s important to take advantage of any opportunity I have to continue to use my platform to show that anyone — no matter size, strength, gender, sexual identity — can be anything they want to be,” she said.
Becoming the first Latina hemp breeder in the U.S.
La primera en hacerlo (the first to do it), Sue went after the world of genetics and is la primera criador de cáñamo en los Estados Unidos (the first Latina hemp breeder in the United States). She is the creator of the strain names above that represent the culture that is underrepresented in the cannabis and hemp space.
So why is she doing what no one else in hemp is doing?
“While we all are aware that the genetics side of cannabis is primarily made of white cis males, I find it important as a female and who is also Latina to utilize names that I personally connect with as a 27-year-old. One example is WAP, named after Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s song, which caused controversy over the idea of what and how women should act/say. This song for me was hella empowering on a feminist level, I wanted to continue to help break those stigmas through utilizing the name for one of our genetics.”
Intentional partnerships with Latin-owned brands
There is a new term being associated with The Botanical Joint: Live The Ranchera Life.
“Ranchera for us means female rancher,” Sue said. “We coined this term over the summer with my work wife who comes out to lend a hand to the farm. We honestly kept getting hurt and then our response would be, ‘la vida ranchera.’”
The support and collaboration don’t end there — Sue has partnered with Adrianna Nole, founder of CBD infused skincare company The B*tchy Hippie.
“The B*tchy Hippie and I met on Instagram in late 2020, she was super stoked to find a Latina farmer to source her flower from as a Latina business owner herself. She found it important to not just advocate for Latinas in the hemp industry, but act on it by making her purchases through us, taking this message to the bone.
“In the spring of 2020, I moved to the county of Fresno and Adrianna lives here so we became friends as well. We both have degrees in science; mine’s in community health and she is a Registered Nurse. Automatically we share a similar ethos when it comes to bringing affordable and accessible high-end hemp products to the market, bringing consumer education through our unique backgrounds. There’s no one I could imagine that fits better to partner with in my mind than Adrianna. And honestly, I feel like this is how I can show support for another Latina hemp business owner.”
Sue is a huge supporter, and she walks it like she talks it. She sponsored my stay at The Botanical Joint’s farm in April 2020. I wanted to pay tribute to the plant we all love and so I reached out to Sue to discuss me coming out to camp with her plants, and she said yes! Our friendship and working relationship has blossomed since.
I wanted to hear from Sue about what she would like to see changed and enhanced in the cannabis and hemp spaces.
“There are a lot of changes I wish to see within cannabis agriculture,” she concluded. “To name a few; minorities within cannabis agriculture, inclusive cannabis groups, show more diversity by way of all minority groups — not just the one that resonates with the owner.
“I’d love to see more news coverage on companies that have been, and that are actively and positively impacting communities, rather than covering white-owned companies that give back once. I’d like to see the highlighting of black and brown/ POC companies who would benefit more from the coverage when we talk about supporting minority groups.
“The media can forget what the actual mission is, which is to give back. White-owned companies, when given credit for what they should be doing, distorts the whole idea of pushing black and browns to the front.”