SHAW. x Nice Paper

 

September 21st, 2019

by Maya Shaw

 
 
 

a bit back the wonderful charlotte of nice paper sat me down at ludlow house over a cocktail and a peach cobler mousse to ask me questions about weed. read below to get the scoop.

The first time I heard about Maya Shaw was when I got tagged in an Instagram post. There in my feed was a shirt that read;

AROUND 17,500 PEOPLE ARE ARRESTED PER YEAR  FOR CANNABIS POSSESSION CHARGES IN NEW YORK CITY. BLACK PEOPLE ARE EIGHT TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE ARRESTED FOR LOW-LEVEL CANNABIS CHARGES THAN WHITE PEOPLE AND HISPANIC PEOPLE ARE FIVE TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE ARRESTED FOR THE SAME CHARGES.  DUE TO DECADES OF BACKWARDS LEGISLATION THE DRUG WAR IS CONTINUING TO HARM MINORITY COMMUNITIES WHILE BIG BUSINESSES PROFIT IN STATES WHERE ADULT CONSUMPTION IS LEGAL. 

WE DEMAND A STOP TO THE WAR ON DRUGS. WE DEMAND LEGALIZATION WITH JUSTNESS AND EQUITY. 

It was signed SHAW. The caption noted that 100% of proceeds would be donated to Drug Policy Alliance, an organization that fights the War on Drugs and addresses inequity in cannabis. In an industry that likes to ignore the thousands of people, majority Black and brown, that are incarcerated while praising the mostly white, privileged people making money off weed it was incredible to see something so blunt but also, well-designed (I.e. it was an easy regram). Side note; the decriminalization bill in New York doesn’t go nearly far enough, so this shirt is still incredibly relevant.

I sat down with Maya Shaw, the creator of *the shirt* and Shop Shaw; a cannabis lifestyle e-shop. Keep reading to learn more about how Maya uses weed, how wellness equals time and why smoking out of "dick-shaped" bodega pipes inspired her to reach out to ceramic artists to make a better pipe.

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Sign/Pronoun/Location:

Leo / she-her / Bedstuy

Put it this way. I’m a weather maker, if I’m in a bad mood I can change how everyone is else is feeling.

Tell us about yourself:

I’m from Richmond Virginia, the good old south and recently made the decision to move back. I have a fashion background and moved to New York after school to work in the industry. As soon as I got here I found it was too cliquey and wild and it just wasn’t the move or the mood for me. So, when I  moved to NYC I ended up helping LuluLemon with opening their first lab and have been here ever since. 

How did you get into cannabis?

After living in New York, I sensed a wild anxiety building that couldn’t be fully addressed with yoga or meditation. The first thing that came to mind was ‘I need to start smoking again’. I smoked through high school and in college and was like; “lets revisit that.” Those were goods times! I  stopped smoking when I moved home to Richmond so when I came to New York I knew it was time to pick it up back up.

In Richmond—it’s hard to find good weed and that’s the main problem; where do you get good supply? Every time I smoke when I’m home I’m like this shit is wack I’m going back to New York. If I smoke sour diesel ever again I’m going to run away.

When I got to New York and found decent weed I didn’t have a pipe so I started smoking out of a homemade apple pipe until I broke down and got a bodega one. But then I was like ‘this looks like a penis’. I was high and thought to myself “why am I smoking out of a dick?” It was phallic and weird and I had a revelation. What if there’s a smoke shop that’s beautiful and crafted and dedicated to women? So, I made it. 

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A lot of the artists I’ve worked with had never made pipes before. I’d get stoned and go on on Instagram looking for any ceramic artists that had a beautiful aesthetic and just emailed them asking “would you make a pipe?” Most of them said yes and now I’m seeing their work in so many other stores, that makes me so happy. It was rad to give them a platform that jump-started their career in cannabis. And also, they felt really open to talk about cannabis which was cool.

It was a little scary because I didn’t know how people would react to a stranger asking them to make a pipe. I made sure my brand deck was so on-point that there couldn’t be any doubts or questions to what I was creating. I didn’t want these artists thinking the project was sketchy and because of that deck, people were on board the second they saw what I was creating. I was scared! But after a year I found a bunch of artists that love weed and make beautiful shit.


How did the War on Drugs t-shirt come about?

I was at a spot with Shaw where I was uninspired. It’s supposed to be an inclusive space for everyone and I didn’t know how to navigate it so I sat down with one of our head designers at LuluLemon for advice. He said;

“Design something that is accessible, maybe wearable, and donate that money. Have it say what you want it to say.”

I  thought only a few people would buy it, then it went ‘vira'l’ and we were able to donate money. It’s such a great feeling that there’s work to be done and people want to be in the work and help, you just have to give them the opportunity and show them where the money goes. This industry is racist and problematic… put it on a shirt! Donate the money!

What are you proud about right now?

I’m in a space of transition in life, career and a lot of things. I feel really good about it. I was crying most nights thinking “I’m 26, I’m scared, I don’t know what I’m doing” and I felt lost. I went home for vacation to our beach house recently and when I got back I thought “I’m moving South, I’m buying a house, I’m elevating the cannabis scene there. I’m going to smoke my weed and wear flowing skirts.” 

I’m proud of being self aware of burning out before I actually do and acknowledging a transition not as a failure, but a shift for the better. There’s a cannabis scene in Savannah with SCAD (savannah college for art & design) but it needs to developed and I’m excited to build it out there.

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What do you like using? Any favorite brands?

Pure Beauty, hands down. I had that cigarette joint at the one year anniversary of Shaw and people still talk about it. It burns fast and you’re done and you just say “thank you.” I want a preroll to hit me, last and feel really good. Hate it when a preroll makes me sick and too high. It’s gorgeous and good weed. The brand is LA and New York so of course it’s going to be perfect.

For CBD, Tonic, duh, no brainer. Will stan Brittany forever. For topicals I love the Chronic Tonic roll on, my mom has arthritis and it’ has helped her not use Tylenol. I trust a brand that’s community driven with a good product. Kiskanu body ointment is so nice and it smells amazing. I also love Barbari because I can cut my weed with it and people think I’ve made this amazing joint but it’s just masking how terrible I am at rolling.

 
 
 
Maya Shaw