Today we’d like to introduce you to Ayanna Lawson.
Hi Ayanna, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I am a cannabis travel specialist and the founder of Front Row Travels., a full-service cannabis travel agency. I’ve been cultivating travel experiences since 2016 and in 2018, I decided to focus solely on cannabis tourism as a way to help break the stigma of cannabis use.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not at all. Although it may be legal on a state and/or local level, cannabis is still listed as a Schedule One drug according to the Federal government. Being federally prohibited has made it difficult to obtain things like payment processors and business banking accounts. Social media accounts are often deactivated or shadowbanned no matter how many followers. The internet and the ability to advertise are how small businesses connect with their audience. Not having this access really hurt small businesses within the cannabis industry.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Front Row Travels® was created with Black women in mind. We suffer from high rates of stress, anxiety, and depression, yet we are the least likely to seek help. Although cannabis use has been shown to help reduce these factors there is still a stigma surrounding its use in our community. I’m here to break the stigma through travel and education. Travel planning can be intimidating and overwhelming with COVID mandates and testing requirements, add to that rapidly changing cannabis laws and you may have a recipe for disaster. Leave the planning to the pro from hosted group tours to private getaways. I cultivate a travel experience where cannabis users can learn about and consume cannabis safely and without judgment. When it comes to travel, who doesn’t like to talk about their fun experiences. It’s my hope that these conversations lead to more meaningful and open conversations about cannabis use.
Cannabis tourism is projected to be a $25B industry by the year 2025 and I am considered a pioneer in the industry. My full-service options in addition to being one of the only minority-owned cannabis travel agencies in the U.S. is what sets me apart from the rest. Airfare, transportation, or accommodations, I take care of it all.
Do you any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
Traveling with my grandmother…My grandmother would do annual summertime trips up and down the Eastern seaboard. Baltimore is in perfect proximity to everything on the East Coast, six hours north and you’re near Boston (with a quick stop in NYC no doubt) or head six hours south and you’ll snacking on juicy bbq in North Carolina. My paternal grandmother would take me from Boston to North Carolina and anywhere in between every summer.
- Email: Ayanna@frontrowtravels.com
- Website: www.frontrowtravels.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/frontrowtravelsllc/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frontrowtravels
Photo Credit: Young Photography