Let me set the scene for you: I’m frantically calling cab companies at the Hudson Amtrak station, trying to hitch a ride into Coxsackie, NY, for a MoodRXtreats women’s cannabis retreat, hosted by Holly Teegarden of the Pittsburgh hemp dispensary Moodporium. There are no Ubers, no one’s picking up, and I have no weed, because the retreat insists they will provide more than enough for the two-night escapade.
I am pissed, wondering if trekking upstate from New York City to attend a retreat for women, namely women in their 30s and older, to explore cannabis and participate in ‘woo woo activities’ for a weekend away is a mistake. I’m missing the mocktail happy hour by now, and the dread builds.
Finally, I catch a cab with a local guy, who corrects my pronunciation of “Coxsackie,” and has an upstate mystique about him. The drive to the retreat property soothes me with its verdant fields, homes with yards and porches, drive-in movie theaters, and, oh, yup—there’s a big ‘Fuck Biden’ sign out front of someone’s house. When I finally arrive, Chef Jaci Miller greets me in the enormous kitchen and ushers me out back to the patio where a group of women, my compatriots for the next two days, are smoking joints around a fire pit.
Founder Holly Teegarden appears, with a face made for smiling and curly silver hair that gives her the appearance as if materializing from the clouds (or maybe that’s just how it felt to finally arrive), ushers me to my room, shows me my goodie bag of edibles and accoutrement, and tells me, “Girl, roll a joint.”
‘We were so chilled out, we forgot to do infused smores.’
Few things surprise me after 8 years in the cannabis industry, despite the increasing ingenuity and continuous innovation of products, services, and experiences. And I also almost always find myself, as a woman, a minority amongst the bros—women-centric events tend to be big on CBD and lacking in just getting freaking stoned in style. I went in skeptical of MoodRXtreats, looking for flaws and insincerity. Their mission statement does admit to “woo woo” activities for women of a certain age. But, wow, Leafly nation, I’m eating those words. The weed was plentiful and potent, the hot tubs were bubbling. The Hudson river gleamed from the backyard, and the women came ready to blaze. I caved to the vibe, and let the guided sound bath cleanse my chakras.
Teegarden’s passion project, and her story, resonate. First smoking at age 15 in upstate New York, she initially picked a straight career in corporate America. Given that she’s in comfortable clothing and sandals all weekend, this is hard for me to picture.
Then, “around six years ago, I started my own self-care ‘Who am I?’ journey. I was on a bunch of different prescription medications. And I thought, ‘There’s got to be a better way.’ And I realized that cannabis, plant medicine, was the ticket. I quit my job, and I started down this path.”
Teegarden echoed a lot of things I hear from women in the industry and community.
“Nobody looks like me,” she said.
Many events are about getting high as a sprint, not a journey.
Teegarden says, “I love travel; it’s a passion of mine. So I was like, ‘I think I can do this. I think I can do these retreats.’”
Her ultimate goal is to be the “Bethenny Frankel of Cannabis,” and carve out a space for women and the nuances of their cannabis wants and needs.
“There’s so much misogyny in the industry,” she shared over joints on the patio. Women need a space to get away and enjoy themselves, whether it’s with weed or not. This is the third “MoodRXtreat,” with one more scheduled in October in Ellicottville, NY.
On to the weed. On the living room table was a cornucopia of weed goodies, including prerolls from the local Hudson Cannabis, flower from Sherbinskis, Kiva Camino gummies, some Cresco carts, pastilles from 1906, Sessions Goods pipes, and even some tinctures, which went mostly untouched. Each attendee also got a personal tin of gummies, a vape battery, papers, lighters, a pouch of crystals, and essential oils, along with some swag. After I’d rolled up some Gello Gelato, the first of many joints I would consume over the weekend, I joined the group out back, ready to discover just what brought this group of women here.
They came from as close as Syracuse and Brooklyn to as far as Chicago and Florida. Of the 10 of us, less than half were mothers, most were in their 30s, and none of them were cannabis beginners. If we were outside, hands were nearly always occupied with something lit.
So occupied, in fact, that Holly had to place a delivery order on Saturday that included a half-ounce of Gelato flower, multiple grams of Papa Smurf bud from Hudson Cannabis, and many more joints that ranged from Space Runtz to Sherb Cake to Lemon Kush. One woman was a weed publicist and two founded the web show and lifestyle site High Herstory (think Drunk History but stoned women), but one worked in tech and another was a social worker. A mother and adult daughter pair had a family business and came to New York for horse shows.
One woman, the mother who’d come from Florida with her daughter, was the eldest in our group. She observed us all smoking Saturday morning, as clouds parted from an early rain, and remarked, “my generation, we grew up with weed, and then [the government] got strict about it. It’s so nice to see your generation enjoying yourselves.”
Please don’t ask me for minute-by-minute specifics, because I was stoned the entire time, and so was everyone else. The itinerary was loose and approachable. All we did Friday was smoke, eat a delicious, balanced meal by Jaci (my first wedge salad!), and if we wanted to, a sound bath led by Chief Wellness Expert AJ Williams paired with a 1906 Chill pastille. We were so chilled out, we forgot to do infused smores.
Saturday morning, many slept until breakfast, but I wanted to try the cold plunge. Again, I stood poised to scoff at what I thought was largely a Tiktok fad. Again, I ate my words. Turns out, submerging in 60ºF water for two minutes at a time does wonders for your cortisol levels.
And after such a delectable breakfast of frittata, biscuits, gravy, and fruit, we nixed the morning activity and most of us napped on and off until lunch, followed by a tarot reading and then “high tea,” after which I took my second nap of the day and strolled down to the river for some solo contemplation. After another astonishing dinner, we finally broke out the infused smores, and one of us, a self-described tank, accidentally consumed a 200-mg chocolate right before karaoke, which took place in the kind of game room I’d imagine Hugh Hefner might have had back in the day. Don’t worry, she survived.
I woke up Sunday very sad, knowing that in a couple hours I would need to board another train back into the city and back to the many stressors of real adult life.
I see every successful cannabis event as a victory, and a step towards a world where weed is no more or less than what it is. But few, if any, New York cannabis events have felt this affirming in their acceptance of going with my own flow. Granted it’s not a super accessible flow, as the retreat starts at $900 if you room with a friend, and $1,200 if you go solo.
Holly told me that more retreats are the works, and she hopes to expand to potential co-ed experiences, mother-daughter trips, and far flung locales. She declared in the early Sunday morning light, as a thick mist rose off the river, that this was the best retreat yet.
The cannabis plant is female, and so is the future.