This week, WW highlighted Phresh Cannabis’ Strain Gallery—a catalog pioneered by Phresh’s operations manager Keenan McDonald. We also briefly interviewed McDonald about women in cannabis, sunrise weed inspo, and Phresh’s newly launched database. The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and brevity.
WW: Where did the idea for the Strain Gallery originate?
Keenan McDonald: I take particular pleasure in being able to talk to friends to recommend the perfect strain. I often joke that I kind of see myself as sort of the Martha Stewart of weed, even though Martha got her own thing. This approach was literally just to reach the consumer, because I feel like nobody’s really doing that.
How does the team categorize effects to give these recommendations?
A lot of it is an aggregation of our terpene tests—terpene profiles taken from our tests over the last two years. Everybody [on the team] can identify strains by sight and nose and smoke. We give everyone generous samples, so I expect everybody to be really familiar with everything. It works out well.
How did you come up with the effect descriptions?
Honestly, a lot of the characterizations I wrote as we were launching the website—literally incredibly high. I’m a big fan of smoking a really hardcore sativa early in the morning and then tying myself into a pretzel for an hour. So I got completely blazed and just turned out all of the descriptions. And, you know, I think it really worked. I mean, I think it’s a little casual, but it makes the gallery more accessible.
Your team is led largely by women you promoted from within. How does that shape the company culture?
Most of our in-house management team right now is women-led, which is really great. Millennials and Gen Z women are the largest consumers currently, and women tend to make better farmers anyway. We have a greater attention to detail. In this rush to consolidate—what I refer to as the Walmart-ization of weed—everybody’s rushing to produce the highest volume of the most marginal mids that they can sell for $3 a gram. Too often, people forget that there are real people tending to real plants; we’re sort of modeling through experience.