Profiles by Cannabiz Social Podcast - Amanda Siebert
In this week’s episode of “Profiles by Cannabiz Social”, we hear from Amanda Siebert, freelance cannabis writer, journalist, and photographer living in Vancouver. Amanda is an award-winning journalist and was most recently the cannabis editor at the Georgia Straight newspaper in Vancouver. Her first book,’ The Little Book of Cannabis: How Marijuana Can Improve Your Life’, is to be released by Greystone Books on Oct.17.
Amanda was born and raised in Richmond and went to journalism in school at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary. She needed a change of scenery and really wanted to be a journalist. Amanda felt it’d be best to get those skills and be in a place she couldn’t be distracted by her social life. Calgary wasn’t too far from home but far enough to feel removed. She was able to focus on her studies and was also the news editor of the school paper, The Weal, and did her practicum with the Georgia Straight in Vancouver.
The Georgia Straight is a weekly newspaper that started in 1967. Dan McLeod started it at the height of the ‘Summer of Love.’ The Straight was highly vocal about supporting legalization and decriminalizing cannabis use. Siebert mentioned how unique it was to work for a paper interested in being vocal about cannabis the same way she was.
People are opening their minds and it’s something more than what we all perceive it to be, and it’s being driven home that cannabis legalization is not to be feared.
Her first year-and-a-half she covered a bit of everything. As a young journalist, she was given access to so many different topics. Amanda had two mentors she’s fond of from her time with the Straight. The music editor always came up with awesome video ideas, from talking to different musicians and Vancouverites, and also, when she first started, she shared an office with the arts editor, Janet Smith, a “lovely and encouraging and excellent editor.”
The great thing about the Straight is the people and they have such a developed voice and great environment. Amanda also mentioned Piper Courtenay, who came on just a few months before her she stopped working at the Straight. They worked on cannabis together.
Siebert was the first cannabis editor at the Straight. These are exciting times for the industry. Vancouver is unlimited when it comes to cannabis and dispensaries and what type of content can be covered and shared. With cannabis news now daily, there’s so many opportunities for journalists to produce engaging and relevant content, whether through writing, photo or video.
As mentioned earlier, Amanda is an award-winning journalist. Her coverage of the fentanyl crisis and its horrific impact was powerfully covered. Reporter Travis Lupick asked if she could do some video and photography for a story he was working on about the downtown east side. “It was critical and inspiring, looking back, to be able to work with someone so experienced. The east side is a place some people might view it as scary but it’s a really wonderful community and they deserve to have their story told,” she said.
There are still lots of misconceptions about cannabis now that legalization is set. Siebert has noticed a slight change, though. People are opening their minds and it’s something more than what we all perceive it to be, and it’s being driven home that cannabis legalization is not to be feared.
Her book launch was initially set for the Oct.30, but her publisher bumped it up to the legalization date. Jennifer Croll, who works for Greystone Books, saw her work as cannabis editor and pitched a book about cannabis and using cannabis in a way that can improve your life. The book is 10 chapters about how cannabis can help your life, whether through sleep, stress and anxiety, superfoods, and sex.
In the book, Amanda openly talks about cannabis for PTSD, anxiety, mood disorders. She interviewed Dr. Zach Walsh, professor at UBC Okanagan for the book. During their interview, when speaking about PTSD, Amanda was going through personal issues and couldn’t put a finger on it and what was happening with her mental health. “Hearing Dr. Walsh talk about the symptoms of PTSD and how cannabis can mitigate those symptoms, made me realize in a way, I was suffering from PTSD. It was a sequence of events that confirmed my belief during an intense time with the book while I was writing, and I had to take a break. I was on a tight deadline and under stress. It made me realize it’s important to take time and put your physical and mental health first.”
Siebert is optimistic the cannabis market will be a more diverse market complete with craft producers, lots of selection, and hopeful the price will be not as inflated and make process friendly for more people.
Pre-Order her book here.