Cannabis brand co-founder Swami SelectNikki Lastlet and Swami Cinnamon live in India and have spent many years on spiritual paths, including frequent temple visits and conversations with saints. When their journey brought them back to California, they created a sanctuary with a unique and spiritual approach to growing cannabis. At Swami Select, they take pride in embracing regenerative agriculture and admire cannabis as a way to enhance their senses and connect with others and the world around them. Lastreto and Chaitanya chatted over time High Times The events that led to the origin of their brand, their unique approach to cannabis cultivation, and how herbs connect people.
Many lives of Nikki and Swami
Lastreto and Chaitanya are world travelers whose spiritual experiences have shaped the cannabis adventure. Lastreto describes himself as a flower child who grew up in San Francisco. She first met Chaitanya, a “27-year-old hippie artist,” at the age of 14. They later reunited at a San Francisco party and got married in 1985. San Francisco Chronicle For many years in the 1980s, Chaitanya was an artist and photographer. They traveled together in various countries, including China and Thailand, and for some time lived in South India, a home overlooking the Arabian Sea.
Eventually, Lastlet and Chaitanya will be divorced. Lastreto cites a new purpose and desire to embark on a path, and loves returning to the United States to host parties and create huge altars featuring statues of various religious traditions. Was accepted.At the time, she was working with the founder of Tim Blake. Emerald cup, Develop and coordinate various events. During this time, Lastlet explains, “Swami has become Swami.” He remained in India and undertook religious initiation in 1998 at Kumbh Mela, a major Hindu pilgrimage and festival. Chaitanya has lived in the Himalayas for several years. He travels the area to visit the temple. During this time, he and Lastlet remained good friends, who returned to India to meet him and visit one of their spiritual teachers. When Lastreto announced that he wanted to build a temple on the American Hindu goddess Sri Mookambika, their spiritual teachers suggested that Chaitanya should help and led them on a journey to Mendocino County.
Honor the land
The idea behind Swami Select’s location came from the vision that Chaitanya had in Rainbow Gathering in the 1970s.
“There was a vision of a beautiful land with mountains in the distance, trees in the middle, fields and trees behind, and the message of spending the end of life there,” he said. ..
Thirty years later, he and Lastlet bought a property in Mendocino County that resembled Chaitanya’s vision. When they bought the land, they decided to get married again — this time they were going to save money on taxes. In 2017, 1967 Summer of Love 50th Anniversary In San Francisco, Lastlet and Chaitanya married for the third time on a more private and spiritual celebration on their land.
Initially, the mansion had neither electricity nor water. It was just an old two-room hut. It took years to develop this property into the vibrant and spiritual landscape of today. In addition to cannabis, the farm features a thoughtful layout and many religious statues. For example, when entering their property, there are quite a few 1,500 pounds of stone statues. GaneshaThe elephant-headed Hindu god, welcomes visitors.
Even before Lastreto and Chaitanya chose to grow cannabis, they wanted to ensure that they treated their property with respect.
“we [develop] In a truly conscious way, as you know, we really see ourselves as the caretakers of this wonderful land, so we respect the land, “Lastlet said. “We don’t own it, as the indigenous people didn’t, but it’s our duty in this lifetime to take care of it.”
This idea led to the acceptance of regenerative agriculture on their farms to maintain harmony with nature. Regenerative agriculture refers to agricultural practices that use techniques to rejuvenate the soil and the environment to mitigate the effects of climate change. Swami Select believes that a regenerative approach to cannabis cultivation produces some of the highest quality flowers.
“Forks, if you want to smoke something that nourishes your body, nourishes your mind, nourishes your spirit, [regeneratively grown cannabis] I want to go, “Lastlet said. “It sounds like a marketing trick, but it’s true. It comes from my heart.”
Grow with spiritual intent
At Swami Select, Lastlet is in charge of the business side of things, and Chaitanya focuses on growth and agriculture. Together, they frequently visit pharmacies in the San Francisco Bay Area to carry their products, train battenders, and meet customers in person.
Their approach to how their cannabis is grown is unique.Swami Select’s garden is designed in the form of a sacred geometric pattern called Sriyantra.. Creating a garden in this way is the idea of supercharging the cannabis plants that grow in it. Other rituals are also incorporated into growth.
“When you decide which seed to grow each year, there is a statue of a goddess. Ganja Ma, the goddess of cannabis, The person revealed to us by our spiritual teachers, “said Chaitanya. “On her lap, we put these seeds, and then we say a special mantra for the seeds.”
Chaitanya not only evokes the goodwill of Ganjama, but also adds a few drops of water to each sapling from the sacred Ganges River in India.
“The seeds sit in front of the cannabis goddess for about a month before we plant them,” Chaitanya said. “It charges them in a very special way. Once they crack and start germinating, put them in a small plant container with soil and add another drop of holy water from the Ganges. This is all cannabis. The plant is to create a spiritual foundation of healing and inspiration that it provides to those who use it, or those who celebrate its use. “
There are several statues of Ganjama on the premises. One is in the house (where the seeds are placed) and the other is placed outdoors during the growing season and is an additional statue to bring when visiting various pharmacies for in-store demonstrations.
“We always set her up and explain to people who she is, so this really infuses cannabis with this consciousness,” Lastlet said.
Swami Select believes that cannabis can help consumers take advantage of their spirituality.
“”[With cannabis]It’s not just your heart that is open. It’s your heart that’s open, “said Chaitanya. “One of the things that cannabis does is to remove many filters. This blocks much of the sensory input. All the various sensory organs are strengthened and more sophisticated. Therefore, you smoke cannabis. And the food tastes better, you listen to music better, your creative talents are more liberated and free.
“Cannabis removes many of the restrictions, restrictions, and blindfolds that society imposes on you. Suddenly, when you open it, you begin to open your sixth sense, not just your five senses, and you Get those sensory feelings about your intuition and what the magic of the world is, and how you relate to it and how energy flows. “
While Lastreto and Chaitanya were developing their homes, they also spent years establishing local organizations such as: Mendocino Cannabis Industry Association Connect with other producers in the industry. Chaitanya is the founder and director of. Origins CouncilA state-wide organization for cannabis growers aimed at protecting the historic cannabis region of California. Lastreto is working on a resurrection Cannabis farmer’s market In the area. Together, they contribute to a close community working to maintain a growing history and dedication to making cannabis at the Emerald Triangle, a cannabis-growing hotspot in Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino County.
“This is such a passion for all of us and our lifestyle,” said Lastreto. “We know that doing this really helps others, and as I keep saying, this great community has just been created.”
Lastreto and Chaitanya Emerald cup For 18 years (you may have seen them at the recent Emerald Cup Awards in Hollywood, CA on May 14th). Their work at the Emerald Cup was also a source of community-led passion for cannabis.
“When we get together in the Emerald Cup, we have this wonderful celebration and we respect everyone’s differences,” said Chaitanya. “That’s one of the great things about cannabis. We appreciate the differences between people because we also respect the differences between different cultivars of cannabis, different smoking methods, and different methods that can be used for tinctures and ointments. Respect. And it’s all about this diversity. And there’s no one way to do it. There’s no way, no group. “
Marijuana is a very diverse plant and can help people in different ways. Swami Select believes that cannabis can be a powerful tool for nurturing health.
This article appeared in the June 2022 issue. High Times.. Subscribe here.