· By Tarleton Walmsley
Next week we'll be hosting Cannabunny Cooking at the Garden Party Loft for a CBD-infused cooking class. In this cooking class, we will be using CBD hemp flower to prepare a honeyed strawberry and blackberry frozen yogurt with chopped pistachio, rose petals, CBD whipped cream, and luxardo cherries. Cannabunny will demystify how to infuse CBD into the recipe, and you'll go home with a pint of your own frozen yogurt. To learn more about the class and to purchase tickets (virtual option now available!), click here.
But wait. Some of you might be wondering, who even is Cannabunny?!?! We figured it'd be a great time to introduce you to our esteemed cannabis colleague. Read our Q&A below, and be sure to sign up for class on 10/28!!
Who is Cannabunny?
She’s a sweetie pie, an icon, a giver of gifts and knowledge! She’s Marissa Schneider!
What do you do outside of Cannabunny?
I work as the Customer Care manager for a small pottery manufacturing company in Asheville.
Where are you from? How long have you lived in Asheville?
I’m originally from Charlotte and have lived in Asheville for three years. I spent four years in Boone before this, studying Sustainable Development and Anthropology at Appalachian State University, so I’ve been in Western North Carolina for 7 years. I never felt at home in Charlotte; there are some great things about it, but it can also be pretty uppity and conservative. I feel more free to express myself here: as The Chicks put it, “she needs wide open spaces, room to make her big mistakes.” I only say that half jokingly! I’ve done a lot of growing in these mountains.
What is your relationship with cannabis?
Multifaceted but full of love. I used to be so scared of it as a kid— the idea that it was dangerous, and criminal, was something ingrained into me and something I internalized. I have done, and continue to do, a lot of work to overcome that carceral state of mind and building a personal relationship with cannabis— a relationship born out of a need for comfort and grounding in the aftermath of sexual trauma— has helped me grow so much as a person in all ways. As there is with a lot of plant relationships, there is a magical sense of devotion and fate there: the medicine for irritating, even poisonous, plants often grows right next to it (example: jewelweed and poison ivy). This can tempt me to overindulge sometimes but I try to use it mindfully, while remaining playful. Cannabis helps me find inner equilibrium that I can then use to show up in a more balanced, full way with others.
I think that the emphasis on calling cannabis “medicine” is crucial in garnering support for legalization, but it can also stigmatize recreational users and make this beautiful plant sterile. Trying to downplay its wellness benefits just doesn’t celebrate the plant as fully as it should be, so it’s really about the balance.
With all of that being said, though, I also developed epilepsy nearly three years ago so cannabis is a very real, physical medicine for me! It was unexpected and really difficult to cope with; though I haven’t had a seizure in over two years, it’s still difficult to cope with. CBD and cannabis in general helps soothe out my wiry, overloaded nervous system and high voltage brain. It helps me feel safe and present, and it reminds me to lighten up.
What do you enjoy most about cooking with cannabis?
The creativity, gentleness, and flexibility. I’m able to help more people feel open to integrating cannabis into their day to day life with edibles: we’ve all got to eat. This makes it so approachable. “Hey man, do you want to breathe in a bunch of fragrant smoke and cough until you throw up if you inhale the wrong way so you can embarrass yourself in front of people” versus “hey, want a cookie? It has weed in it.” It helps me blend two connective things— cannabis and food— together into this almost magical, alchemical treat.
What helps you get creative?
Movement, music, plants, soft flowing dresses, design and art Instagrams, alone time, Tyrosine, frustration, tarot, sci-fi shows and movies, and Wim Hof breathwork.
Indica or sativa?
Hot take but sativa. I feel like my brain is always on the go: blame it on my fifth house Capricorn sun and ADHD but I find a lot of joy in being busy simply because I have a lot of energy that I need to get out. Sativa gives me a little extra umph to garner the energy to make it happen, but the calmness to find focus and get me out of my head.
What influences your cooking style?
I was really into farming in college— fun fact, I actually have my permaculture design certificate and food sovereignty was my focus in my Sustainable Development Bachelor’s degree! Enjoying foods at their highest quality peak, their most seasonal goodness, changed the way that I approach food. It’s easy to romanticize gardening but it’s also backbreaking physical and mental labor. Knowing the process makes food all the more glorious: it’s a miracle, a true blessing, for a tiny seed to develop into something that can become a cornerstone of your memory, your cultural identity, your life.
Naturally, Joshua McFadden is one of my favorite chefs. He’s able to masterfully combine fresh, seasonal tastes with fairly no-fuss, comforting meals. He’s got such an eye to detail and really knows how to celebrate the plant. I was a vegan for a few years and veganism forced me to learn to cook, because so few spots provided the vegan food I wanted, so plants are the basis of my cooking style. A variety of fresh plants— for diversity of texture, depth and brightness— combined with nourishing fats is heaven to me.
I’m a happily recovered vegan now and I’m thankful that I’ve been able to extend my care and attention for vegetables to all other areas of food. It’s helped me become a better chef. Always evolving, always looking for something new to try, always seeking a new way to work with an ingredient. Watching a lot of different cooking shows and YouTube videos helps me, too.
What's your ideal afternoon in Asheville like? Where do you go, who do you see?
What a good question. I think I’d like to spend a nicely busy morning running errands and stretching before I get started on my afternoon.
I’d take lunch to-go from Ultra Coffee— the Joey, aka the pesto SEC, is life changing— and head to a hike, preferably along a river. A jaunt in the woods before lounging next to the river is pretty ideal, even if it’s too cold to swim. I’d come home and hop into a soft dress, then you can find me at Little Jumbo for a quick cocktail or two with my partner, Cooper, in the late afternoon before we go home and make an elaborate dinner together.
Then, I’ll take an edible, trot around the neighborhood with my dog, come home and get ready to go out to a concert with friends. I feel such a specific, palpable pleasure when I’m drinking a big glass of ice water, bumping music, and taking my time putting on makeup. After we boogie down, we’ll go to a big, casual outdoor bar— like Haywood Common and The Whale— and spend the night cackling and gossiping away.
Soon enough, I’ll surely invite everyone over to my spot for a joint or few, spend time watching silly videos on YouTube and talking, before I make everyone some food and send them on their way. Then, I’ll slip into a big tee shirt, plop down on the couch with my partner and dog, and curl up in front of the TV. A simple but perfect day.
Do you have a hidden talent we should know about?
I can fall asleep incredibly quickly: I’m talking passed out in a minute flat, in the passenger seat with the radio on loud, after having caffeine, sort of quick. I really struggled with insomnia as a teenager so it’s proudly a talent at this point. Taking more time to expend my physical and mental energy, meditation, and cannabis are the things that helped me initially overcome insomnia, but my vivid dreams keep me asleep (as backwards as that can sound). I love exploring the dream realm, feeling new worlds, and analyzing all of the dream symbols and landscapes. I’m actually excited to go to sleep at this point, mostly for the dreams.
A somewhat related talent is tarot and oracle readings for other people. I read for myself often, but I only read for friends at their request because it can get real sticky, real quick, if you start freely offering them up. Regardless, it’s such a joy to spend time with friends, listening to them share their feelings— and wishes, fears, hopes, anything in between— and interpret symbols together to help gain further perspective and clarity.
Who's on your ultimate dinner party guest list?
Sophia Roe! She’s a badass chef in New York City. She seems so passionate, like she’d light up the room simply by talking about what she made for breakfast that morning. She inspires me to work hard and be authentically, enthusiastically me— for better or worse.
Jessica Lanyadoo, my astrologer queen. Listening to her podcast and reading her blog in college really helped me develop my passion for astrology, which has been an incredibly gracious and empowering self help tool for years. She embodies the sort of communication style I’d like to have.
Ram Dass. If you aren’t aware of him, he was a Harvard psychology professor who started studying psilocybin and other psychedelics with Timothy Leary in the 60’s. Long story short, he was kicked out of Harvard, became a spiritual leader, and really helped introduce a lot of Eastern philosophy— key components of Hinduism and Buddhism mixed with a healthy dose of Christ consciousness— to the United States. He was profound. I have a picture of him on my desk.
How do you like to Garden Party?
I Garden Party by reveling in all aspects of my relationships, with cannabis and beyond: What is my environment inspiring? How am I feeling? What do I really want to do? How can I find intention, while still making it FUN? I Garden Party by taking pride, ownership, and delight in my experiences.
To succinctly sum it up: aesthetically and often 😉