Calivolve's Lilly Cabral on How Women Are Shaping the Cannabis Industry

Photo: Image via Calivolve

Calivolve’s Lilly Cabral and My Thai have been friends for 15 years. Both are mothers to young children. One lives on the Eastside of LA, the other the West. Together, they are building a modern cannabis business that uplifts their communities, other women, and is re-shaping the industry day by day. We spoke to Lilly about the changing regulations, inclusivity in the marketplace, and the most surprising things about owning a cannabis company.

Standard Dose: How does Calivolve approach the issue of market compliance when the rules and regulations around cannabis are so in flux?

Lilly Cabral: Because we first entered the market with a THC product, which is highly regulated, we have been early adopters of the stringent regulations on that side of cannabis, so it has made our transition into CBD less challenging. We would like more regulation, but because we are not yet there, our best practices have really served us. Out of an abundance of caution, we already use child-safe packaging, for example.

Easily the hardest question I get asked is “What is my dosage?” Right now, It’s impossible to answer, because there are so many variables, but that’s a frustrating answer for people.

The largest obstacle is that we are waiting for the research to catch up. With pharmaceuticals you know your dose. But we went through trial by fire and a lot of R and D to land on the 20mg dose of each square of chocolate. We wanted to start with a non-intimidating dosage, so they are scored so you can take 10mg — an easy way to introduce the concept of microdosing to newcomers.

How do you introduce CBD to people who may only know about THC?

From a wellness standpoint the cannabis plant actually has a lot of uses, but it’s been stigmatized for so long. I speak about the entire cannabis plant as being part of a wellness regimen — putting healthy things on your body and in your body is one aspect of our idea of wellness, and so is recreating with cannabis. 

What do you want people to understand most about the changing industry?

Plant medicine is for everyone, and the use of cannabis is intersectional. Previously it was deemed shameful, so especially if you were a mom or a WOC or professional, you wouldn’t want to identify yourself as a user. We come from an empowerment standpoint and are part of a

movement to be able to consume it openly and talk about the plant’s benefits. CBD isn’t elitist or aspirational as some people may think it is; there are benefits for everyone. Are you traveling, are you working out, are you stressed? There are so many uses.

There is a lot of talk of inclusivity in the industry. Do you think it’s working, and how does Calivolve factor in?

We want to make cannabis mainstream and socially acceptable, and we consider ourselves pioneers in the space because there is so much that is happening for the first time that we really get to set the standard of how we interact. Women especially can move up faster by being business owners. My background is in finance and tech, and during the dot-com era, it was a very competitive and cut-throat. I never saw collaboration. This wave is competitive, but collaborative.

For our part we are concerned about creating jobs, creating flexible work environment for moms, and hiring people who have children or other career ambitions. We want to give back to the community, and participate in LGBTQA+ focused events, because we are not interested in being in the shadows. There is a real need to keep the discussion of social equity and social justice going, because drug laws have been disproportionately racist against people of color- it is not something that can be ignored. The barrier to entry for people of color is much higher, the odds are stacked against you, so we want to share our privileges.

What have you been surprised by as you’ve incorporated CBD into your offerings?

Hearing about our peers sharing their CBD with their parents has been wonderful. I love to hear from people who say “my parents are eating all of my CBD chocolates — I need more!”

What’s really fascinating is that we are learning that the age group is not just millennials. There is a whole set of the aging population looking for natural ways to deal with their issues. It’s a product for everybody.