Broccoli Magazine: My Interview With Its Founder and Creative Director

Anja Charbonneau, Broccoli Founder and Creative Director; medium shot; color photo portrait;
Anja Charbonneau, Broccoli Founder and Creative Director

Since its official launch on December 8th in 2017, Broccoli, an international magazine by and for women who love cannabis has become hugely successful. It is the first and only magazine that is dedicated to stoner culture through the lens of contemporary art, fashion and culture.

Recently, the gracious Anja Charbonneau, Founder of Broccoli agreed to be interviewed by Another Blog. Here is what we talked about.

*CH: I first read about Broccoli from an article in Economist’s 1843. Before this, your magazine has also been featured in Dazed and Vogue. Please tell me how you got started? 

AC: Living in a state** where cannabis is legal, I was seeing a lot of sophistication coming from new brands and dispensaries, but I didn’t see a magazine that mirrored this progress when it comes to design and editorial direction. Most of the existing magazines are very industry-focused and speak to a male audience, largely ignoring the huge community of women who are more casual consumers. We’re putting a new spin on cannabis by focusing on art, culture and fashion, and by giving the magazine an art-forward and design-driven treatment.

SeekingArrangement; Photo by Anja Charbonneau; Floral Design By AmyMerrick; Image courtesy the magazine; cannabis plants;
Seeking Arrangement; Photo by Anja Charbonneau; Floral Design By Amy Merrick; Courtesy of Broccoli
Corita Kent; Photo courtesy of Corita Art Center and the magazine; women with balloons; women in garden; color photo;
Corita Kent; Courtesy of Corita Art Center and Broccoli

CH: You have a fabulous team of women on staff, how did you all agree to do this and how long did it take to produce the first issue?

AC: There are six of us working on Broccoli now, and I was lucky enough to start with two of my former colleagues from Kinfolk. We already knew each other really well, which provided a strong and familiar foundation for the project. The production of the first issue took around six months, and was a fun period of experimentation and creative energy. Working with such talented women is extremely motivating and rewarding.

CH: I find this idea of dedicating a magazine to cannabis pleasantly surprising and enlightening. In the sense, it is a subject we all love to hear about but afraid to talk about openly. What is your opinion on this?

AC: This is a big part of why we’re making the magazine, because it helps normalize cannabis. Broccoli is acting as a catalyst for starting conversations about weed, and open discussion is such an important part of making people feel comfortable with a taboo subject. The visual side is equally important, which is also why ceramicists are making stylish, modern pipes. If the visual language and presentation of cannabis fits more seamlessly into people’s lives, they’ll be more likely to be comfortable with it as a part of who they are.

Lizzy Jeff; Photo by Codi Jane; Photo courtesy the magazine; women in pink; rock; sky; tree; sun; color photo;
Lizzy Jeff; Photo by Codi Jane; Courtesy of Broccoli
Work by Corita Kent; Photo Courtesy of Corita Art Center and the magazine; color print; Yes;
Work by Corita Kent; Courtesy of Corita Art Center and Broccoli

CH: Broccoli has very attractive editorials. You’ve chosen images that integrate contemporary art, design, music and science, printed with articles featuring interesting people doing very creative projects with marijuana. What is the editorial process like?

AC: We have so much fun with our editorial direction. Cannabis touches so many creative parts of life and it gives us a very wide scope of topics to discuss. We also talk a lot about our editorial policies, like being extremely cautious about making scientific claims unless they can be backed up. Cannabis research is still very underdeveloped due to the fact that it’s still federally illegal in the US, so we’re careful to only present facts, and to draw a clear line between what’s anecdotally true or a personal experience, versus what has been undeniably proven. The research is constantly developing, which is exciting and keeps us engaged on the scientific side of things.

Page spread from Broccoli issue 01; Photo courtesy of the magazine; white paper ribbon against blue background; Paper Trails; curving font; magazine spread;
Page spread from issue no. 01; Courtesy of Broccoli
Broccoli01_Spread1
Page spread from issue no. 01; Courtesy of Broccoli
Broccoli01_Spread9
Page spread from issue no. 01; Courtesy of Broccoli

CH: Why is this magazine free? From my experience, other art and fashion magazines of elaborately produced content normally cost as much as a book.

AC: Broccoli is free because we believe that cannabis media should be accessible. If we want to change minds, we can’t put a barrier to entry on the project. Most of our readers order the magazine from our website, so they do have to pay a shipping fee (unfortunately there’s no way around that!) but we also work with retailers around the world who carry the magazine. They tend to move really quickly from the shops, it’s a bit of a mad dash for Broccoli when they land.

CH: Please give me some of the highlights in issue no.02?

AC: Our second issue features women doing compelling work in the industry, from the activist Donisha Prendergast (who is also Bob Marley’s granddaughter) to the lawyer Lauren Rudick, who is currently suing the US government on behalf of several clients for cannabis rights. We’ve got a fantasy trip to a Japanese love hotel, psychedelic bugs, and a roundup of music to play for your plants.

Cover of issue no. 02; Photo courtesy of Broccoli; women smoking; pink sweater shirt; dark hair; beige pillow case; grey background; cannabis plant;
Cover of issue no. 02; Courtesy of Broccoli

CH: Are there any Broccoli events and parties coming up?

AC: We’ll be participating in The Future of Cannabis is Now in Portland (The Future of Cannabis Is Now: Toke Talks 2.0) on March 16th, and we’re planning a party for LA at the end of March, details to be announced!

CH: Finally, I’ve noticed that you included photo-collages of cats with cannabis plants in the current issue. Are you a cat person? Any chance of featuring dogs and cannabis?

AC: I am a major cat person, but we definitely want to talk more about pets in future issues. A lot of pet owners are experimenting with giving CBD to their animals as treatment for various ailments, and that could be an interesting topic to explore. You can definitely expect more animals in Broccoli, even if it’s just showcasing beautiful animals that are fun to look at if you’re stoned.

CH: For sure, I totally agree. Thank you.

Broccoli subscription is free and ships internationally.

You can also read my review of this magazine in an article published here last month.

*CH is my own name initial.

**The magazine is based out of West Coast.

Cat Fancy by Stephen Eichhorn; Courtesy of Broccoli; weed cat; white Persian cat; cannabis plant; collage; marijuana;
Cat Fancy by Stephen Eichhorn; Courtesy of Broccoli

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