Storytelling by Roda Griffin

Most of us have an opinion about marijuana. To many, it’s a harmless drug we associate with snacking, napping and chilling out... To others, it’s a dangerous gateway drug that will surely lead to stronger, harder drugs. Marijuana hasn’t always gotten the benefit of the doubt in this country and it is no secret that it has been demonized for political gain. 

But in 2017,  marijuana is being re-characterized; in places like California and Colorado, (mostly white) people can make a lot of cash growing and selling pot. At the same time, we still have too many black and brown people behind bars for marijuana-related crimes.

It is not a diverse industry--not a lot of women, and certainly not a lot of people of color. Jena Min, who was born in Korea and moved to the U.S. at age three, happens to be both, and she has big plans for the industry. 

In 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act that authorized marijuana outlets in the state of New York. Over 20 million people were aiming to get one of the five available THC licenses that would allow for legal operation. Min was amongst the 20 million,and was confident she would get a fair shot. 

Min organized a group of investors as the CEO of her medical marijuana company. She was prepared to put in her bid when one of her investors backed out last minute. He was confident that the five licenses were already pre-chosen and decided to pull out his share--$110,000. Min quickly re-grouped and informed her other investors of the situation. Half of the investors opted to pull out; the rest were prepared to move forward. Unfortunately, with only half of the investors, Min’s company lost its shot at a medical marijuana license..  

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She was not discouraged. Min re-grouped once again and decided that her initial reason for pursuing medicinal marijuana was to heal. With that in mind, Min decided she would move forward with the legal ingredient, CBD, in marijuana that also contains many health benefits. It was then that Min gave birth to her cannabis-laced beauty and skin line, Lila.

The name Lila was inspired by the Sanskrit word for “the divine play,” alluding to the belief  that God has created the earth for his entertainment and that we are all actors fulfilling our roles. This belief offers a feeling of calm and relief for many-- much like marijuana. 

Marijuana is made up of several cannabinoids. The most popular is THC, which activates the psychoactive effect. The second most popular cannabinoid is CBD, which lacks any noticeable psychoactive effects. In fact, CBD is known for reducing anxiety and promoting wakefulness. Recently, CBD has been used to treat the side effects of illness like epilepsy, cancer, and other chronic diseases. 

Lila aims to serve two purposes: beauty and health. Min is focused on educating each client personally about what CBD, while fulfilling their beauty needs as well. Her products use essential oils, natural aromas, and CBD to create anti-aging, acne reducing, healing products. The combined benefits make you look and feel better. “You actually feel good,” said Min. 

She gave a few of her friends her products to try and in two weeks the results were incredible. One of her friends was instructed to take one drop of CBD tincture twice a day in liquid form for her persistent acne. Min’s husband and mutual friends were surprised by how quickly the product had worked to heal their friend’s acne. Min said has always had a love of making people feel and look good, and can’t wait to bring these effects to the masses. 

Min’s background is in fashion. She started out as a merchandiser, and after learning the ins and outs of the industry, she decided to design her own custom line of handbags. She later moved on to retail and opened her first location in downtown Brooklyn called Condemned to be Free. Min still works in ecommerce and hosts pop-up shops around the city. 

You can look forward to Lila’s soft launch during New York Fashion Week in a SoHo boutique, where she plans to have a thousand pieces for sale. The official launch will occur in the summer, and her products will be distributed online, and key boutiques and shops across the city. 

And Min doesn’t plan on stopping there. She is still going to pursue her license to distribute THC--this time, in California. So start making room, boys. 


You can learn more about Lila Beauty here.

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