Broccoli—yes, like the D.R.A.M. song—is the new print weed magazine for women. Launching this month, the mag's Editor-in-Chief Anja Charbonneau says Broccoli will "look at cannabis from an art and culture and fashion perspective… owned by women, run by women, [and] created by women."
Charbonneau met Broccoli's advertising director Jessica Gray and designer Jennifer Wright while working together at Kinfolk and says she only conceptualized the magazine a year ago. Their vision was a cannabis print publication that would be accessible to everyone (Broccoli will be free and available to order) without compromising the quality of content or the physical magazine itself.
Charbonneau spoke to Broadly about why her magazine—which focuses on everything from the war on drugs to minimalist, trendy weed paraphernalia—will be the first of its kind and why women in the cannabis industry are more important than ever.
The images below are an exclusive look at one of Broccoli's first photo essays titled Seeking Arrangements.
BROADLY: What motivated you to start Broccoli and how did the idea come about?
ANJA CHARBONNEAU: I'd been the creative director at Kinfolk for about three and a half years and was really ready for something new. Prior to that, I was a freelance photographer. So I've been in a visual and publishing world for a while. I love publishing, love print, and wanted to keep doing that.
In Portland, we had the full transition into recreational cannabis a while back and it was super cool seeing all of the different brands, consumer friendly products, and the interior design of dispensaries. Everything was really artistic and moving really quickly here. I noticed that we don't have a really design-forward and conceptual magazine for the cannabis space so we wanted to bring something fun into the print world. The idea had been ticking around for maybe a year but we really didn't start working on it until this summer. Being familiar with a quarter magazine schedule, luckily I came into it already knowing how to make a magazine so we just went full steam, all weed, all the time.
What do you want Broccoli to be?
We all knew each other from working at Kinfolk and wanted to bring the polished design of that magazine but find ways to kind of twist the norm or the expectation and bring in some weirder stuff.
The cool thing about the way that design is really attracting a lot of people to cannabis is that it's providing this jumping off point for getting people's attention and then talking about bigger issues that are in cannabis but also in the world. The company is owned by women, run by women, created by women, so we're definitely bringing that perspective and talking about issues that really matter to us. In cannabis, diversity is super important because of course people of color have been affected by the war on drugs and cannabis prohibition the most, so there's a lot to talk about there as well. We really want to be a really accessible platform that a lot of people can take part in. It's in nice wrapping but we really want to be talking about the things that are important too. We're bringing quality in terms of the print, but without the cover price: Broccoli is for free.
Why did you decide to gear it towards women?
It was important that we take up as much space as possible while [the cannabis industry] is new and while there's still room. Leadership for women in cannabis—people have been talking about it being a lot better than other industries but that probably isn't going to stay true as the money starts coming in and people with power from other industries start jumping in. The more space we can claim now, the more we can talk about it now while it's small will help the industry grow in a positive way and not go in the way of every other industry that's run by really rich white men.
I think one of the most interesting aspects of Broccoli is how committed you are to print. Can you talk about why you made that decision, especially now, a time when lots of magazines are demolishing their print presence?
Having worked in publishing, I really fell in love with print. I think there's definitely the energy of exhaustion around the digital space, especially when you're talking about something that's really sensory and creative. The way that cannabis can fit into that picture seems more natural to take some time to yourself, grab this magazine, and take a look through, read a little and put it down, interact with it in that way. It's a ritual that you can't recreate [online].
We're not going to do the kind of mirrored platform where the print content is also online. We're really gonna focus on print being the space for our true content. Though we do have a few ideas for how to use the digital space in a way that is intended only for digital stuff.
This all sounds great, but I can't help but wonder how you're funding it?
The magazine is free. That was really really important to us, to make it accessible. A $15+ cover price is really prohibitive for a lot of people and it's so important that cannabis media is accessible, especially if you're bringing a new perspective to it. So we're going behind the scenes with it and just doing partnered content and advertising. We're finding cannabis brands but also people outside of the cannabis space who are interested in being part of this new conversation and letting them help us get it out there. It's going to be nice for people who are just maybe curious about cannabis too to pick it up easily and learn something and dip their toes in. You kind of need to be a die hard weed person to be like, "Yes, I'm ready to go spend $20 on a magazine." So hopefully we'll get some new eyes on it too. It's also cool because we're going to be distributing the magazine in some shops. Some are dispensaries but others are fashion stores and book stores. So people are going to come across it in different ways where they're not expecting to see something weed related.
Anything you'd like to add that we haven't touched on?
We're really, really open to hearing from people right now, like potential contributors and writers. Broccoli should definitely be considered a community platform so people should feel really free to reach out to us and let us know what they want to do.