Kate Miller is the CEO and co-founder of Miss Grass, an online shop for all things cannabis and CBD. After a decade-long career in entertainment, Miller left the industry to return to her early days as a dispensary budtender and pursue a different passion: weed. What started as just a side project with a GoDaddy URL purchased in college has since become a full online shop and wellness brand focused on accessibility, education, and ending the stigma surrounding marijuana. Earlier this year, Miller and Miss Grass ran a 4/20 campaign in support of the Women’s Prison Association, opening up a text line to answer a range of cannabis questions related to social justice. Though the number was blocked after about ten hours, they were able to answer over 2,000 messages and continue to raise funds for incarcerated women. Miller, who lives in Los Angeles, spoke with the Cut about legalization, conscious consumption, and what the success of Miss Grass looks like for her. Below, how she gets it done.
On her morning routine:
I’ll go through several weeks of doing the same morning routine, going to the same café and getting a dirty chai or a matcha, and then starting my day. But then, a couple of weeks pass and I shift it up, and then, I have a totally different routine. So, currently, what that looks like is, I wake up. I use a CBD topical in the morning. I have psoriasis, so I use that on my scalp in the morning, a brand called Frigg. I wash my face, brush my teeth, do the damn thing. And then, I always start the day with some type of caffeine. Right now, I’m on the matcha kick. Then, I love to take a walk in the morning if I can fit it in, just getting fresh air before I sit in front of the computer and grind for a couple of hours.
On cannabis as medicine:
I used to work as a budtender at a downtown L.A. dispensary. I saw true medical patients coming in and using cannabis for a whole host of serious medical ailments. I have psoriasis, which is a skin issue, and CBD has completely transformed my skin. I was doing everything from cortisone shots to light therapy multiple times a week. Then, a girlfriend of mine actually gave me a cannabis topical. It worked immediately upon putting it on my skin. That was another moment that really reinforced my belief in the power of this plant.
On starting Miss Grass:
In 2008, I bought the URL missgrass.com, not fully conceptualizing what it would manifest and turn into a decade-plus later. It planted the seed back then of really feeling that there needs to be a brand that represents the modern consumer and is responsible about this plant — understanding and teaching and amplifying the history, the science, and the products that work best. Later, I was working at a dispensary and selling products that I really didn’t feel authentically represented myself or the many people in my life who were consuming this plant more consciously. I had a career in entertainment when I graduated college. So, I turned Miss Grass into a silly side hustle where I structured affiliate deals with cannabis accessory companies at the time. And it was nothing. I didn’t put much energy into it, but it existed.
As legalization and reforms started sweeping our country and cannabis became more and more normalized and more and more people were having conversations around it, I could point and say, “Oh, yeah, I have this thing, Miss Grass.” And then, it started growing and turned into something that could no longer be a side hustle. I either needed to lean in and make it a full-time hustle or kind of sunset it. And it’s obvious, I guess, now that we’re talking, what I decided there.
On balancing work:
I try to balance my days between working in the business and working on the business. I know that’s just a slight nuance, but I think it’s important — balancing being in the weeds, executing the minutiae details of what needs to get done, and also taking a step back and thinking bigger picture. I would say that right now it looks more like 80 percent working in the business and 20 percent working on the business.
I love the hybrid of both because I am definitely not a founder that doesn’t want to get their hands dirty. Like, I am in it. I’m taking out the trash at the office. I love to be in the business and working and collaborating with the team and being in brainstorm meetings and executing. But sometimes when you’re so in the weeds, you can’t see the forest through the trees. And when you pull back a second, it does help to kind of allow me to see the bigger picture and help me reset what’s important, what we should focus on, who are the right partners, who are the leaders in this space that are in it for the right reasons and share values that we do as a company. I’m a big believer that in order to grow, you need to hold hands with a lot of people.
On conscious consumption:
It starts with education. It starts with equipping yourself with the resources that you need to understand, who are the people behind this brand? Do they share your values? What are the ingredients in this product that you’re about to consume? Is it healthy for you? Is it going to fulfill your needs? A through line from day one of Miss Grass has been leading with education.
It goes beyond just your personal consumption, too. Especially in this space, we all have a responsibility to be conscious leaders, amplifying the right people to support an equitable industry. This plant has a very complex history to it. But the short of it is that it has been used to disenfranchise and harm Black and brown communities.
Legalization is starting to sweep our nation, but when you look at the leaders in the space, unfortunately, you still see a lot of white men. It’s our responsibility to honor this plant and to support the people whose backs this industry was built on, to make sure that they have their place in actually benefiting from this plant’s legalization.
On unwinding after work:
I don’t know if I could do this entrepreneurial hustle without weed. After a long, crazy, hectic day, I will smoke a joint and reflect on the day, absorb the learnings that I need to. It allows me to put the day behind me, reset and get mentally clear, and start the next day with a fresh perspective.
On what success looks like for her:
I do want Miss Grass to be a financial success for everyone on the team. But more than that, I want us to be a part of creating a model of an industry that’s equitable, that really shifts the fabric of our society, that is led with compassion and empathy and collaboration.
I think that cannabis has such a immense opportunity to be that industry, and it damn well should be given its very complex and, frankly, racist history of making sure that the people who have been harmed the most by its prohibition are the ones that have an opportunity to benefit and create generational wealth from legalization. I hope that we’re a part of creating that change and creating an industry that can be a model for others.
This interview has been edited and condensed.