Sara Rotman | BueBird805
It was 9 am and the Santa Barbara sun rested beautifully on Sara Rotman’s farm and on the bellies of her Rottweiler pups, taking full advantage of the understatement that is this great outdoors. As an LA native and never one to go far from it, this was one of my first farm experiences. That being said, I'm pretty sure Sara is doing it more than right. As a previous fashion business owner, the home decor was open, elegant and ornamented with personal images and art. But, now as a badass survivor and cannabis brand owner, the backyard is literally where the money is.
Sara and her husband sat me in their stunning kitchen with a cup of espresso to my hand within moments. The vibe of the farm is slow and serene, but the caffeine kick reminded me that Sara’s business days are far from over and her dedication to medicinal marijuana ignites beneath her every single moment.
“It started reluctantly and by accident,” Sara said about the start of her cannabis brand, BlueBird805. “When I got sick, western medicine was really letting me down and I was getting sicker. My husband and I started doing things like growing all of our own food on the farm to stay healthy and eventually somebody suggested that we try cannabis. I was so sick, I would have tried anything. We did CBD, I didn't tolerate THC very well, and mostly my disease was one of inflammation so CBD was very good for me. We started using CBD that we got at different dispensaries in California, and I had a bad situation with arsenic poisoning once, and another time something that was labeled as 20:1 CBD to THC was actually full of THC so I was stoned when I didn't want to be stoned and very uncomfortably so. So, my husband, Nate, was like, ‘We have this farm, we’re growing food we should really try to grow our own medicine.’ It just made perfect sense. As someone who is aesthetically driven, I quickly learned just how much beauty there was in this plants. From its healing properties to its aesthetic nuance, and I even became obsessed with terpenes and each terpene profile. That’s why we do a lot of concentrates. I love the live resin because it really is this beautiful expression of the plant and this sort of olfactory sensation thats possible in addition to the effects.”
As marijuana is a medicine that produces a change in perception, I found it so interesting that Sara can find the overlap between her passion for fashion and this powerful plant. She furthers this in saying, “Different genetics really do give you different sensations which is so mindbogglingly complex and interesting and entertaining, and there’s just no way to ever get bored or know enough. The more I know the more I learn that I don’t know anything,. And yet, Im so excited to learn. I think fashion is like that too. Any beautiful endeavor has that complexity to sustain interest.”
I can assume many of you reading this may live in an overlap of fashion and weed as well, as both may be assets to your daily life. But the dichotomy between the world of New York and textiles to California and buds is seemingly vast, yet somehow Sara simplifies it all and shows that they are closer in culture than we may think.
“There’s so many similarities between running a big fashion agency and running a farm,” says Sara. “There’s insane deadlines that are impossible. There are large groups of people with different responsibilities and opinions and goals that you have to manage. What we have in farming that we don’t have in fashion is plant that just doesn't really give a fuck about what you want to do with it. So there is the nonhuman element which I find very gratifying. But, the shoes are super different. I don’t wear heels as much.”
To be able to start multiple fashion business from such a young age is inspiring in itself. Then, to start a business in a whole new industry with the goal of saving your own life is beyond belief. But the fact that all of this was done by one tireless woman is the real icing on the cake.
“I just think this was a level of maturity in my adult life that I needed. The universe does give you what you need whether you ask for it or not. I think the entrepreneur spirit is the through line and does apply to both industries. You’re either a leader who enjoys these challenges and takes them on, and I think this wouldn't have been possible without that point of view. I am the scorpion, that’s who I am. This challenge has just been really great. I’ve done fashion and advertising for a long time and I loved it, branding was in my soul. I can take all of those skills and apply it to learning how to do this farm and this business and launch this brand.”
So, what is Bluebird805?
“We have distillate carts, live resin carts, live resin sauce, and we do tinctures as I personally don’t enjoy smoking. We also have all the olive trees here because we want to make our own infused olive oil which I’m super stoked on. We can continue to hopefully evolve into more edibles, like our famous hot sauce. We do some flower, we’ll do pre-rolls this year but I like the tinctures. It’s easy. Bluebird 805 has the broader product assortment, but we also are coming out with another brand called Busy Bees Farm Flavors. For Busy Bees Fam Flavors we are going to mostly do a vape line that has flavor profiles that are food related terpenes. Instead of ‘Chem Dog’, we’re going to do things like honey, fig or pomegranate. We’re going to do flavor profiles that we can grow at this farm so that it’s really rooted in this specific region. We probably will have more, entrepreneurs do entrepreneurial things.”
And what does “BlueBird” mean?
“The name came from me. The Blue Bird tattoos, I got them when I left my corporate job to start my own company and I always called them my blue birds of happiness and freedom because they were a symbol of independence for me. That logo has been with me as a talisman of luck and independence long before the farm showed up in my life. And interestingly, when we bought this farm and came here, they have a huge blue bird population. They were just naturally here and I adore it, it makes me so happy.”
Aside from the beauty that is medicinal marijuana, Sara and Nate clued me in on some of the horrors associated with farming a plant that has had a 50 year government sponsored campaign against it. As the plant is not federally legal to grow it, it must be kept squeaky clean under strict guidelines that neighboring farms of organic produce are not under. For that reason, weed is 1 million times cleaner than organic produce, yet still associated with such negativity to the point that people do not want it grown around them. I thought Nate put this beautifully when he said, “Would you rather live next to something that cures cancer or gives cancer?”
So, with this in mind, I asked Sara what she thought was next for the industry of cannabis?
“I think it will eventually go federally legal, which will be good for everybody. I hope when it goes federally legal, that we will retain some of the standards. Its shocking say this considering what a struggle it is to operate in California under the strict guidelines, but I do think when it goes federally legal I hope that it retains some of the quality control that we’ve been seeing. I’d like to see the bureaucracy reduce, but I do think it’s important that we maintain the healthy and safe products for people, and sometimes when it becomes federally legal to farm we see the rejection of that. It would be nice if people in states where farming is a successful tradition and a tradition that is conducive to this beautiful plant, that they get to grow the kind of product that people in Ohio should be able to have even if they can’t grow anything in February. So I’d like to see access for people who really need this healing herb.”
And what is next for Sara?
“I would also like to see Veterans have access to weed. I’m very passionate about that. I can’t stand that people who have literally given their whole lives or gone to war for our country can’t get medicine and are forced opioids which are literally killing them. Their dealing with pain that was inflicted on them in service to our country… are you fucking kidding me? Can we please just give a dude some cannabis?”
Sara’s story is not unlike thousands of American’s who need cannabis to better their health and overall life. Sara Is a shining star in this battle as someone who has committed to simply doing something about it, yet shows us that this battle must be fought even in our very own minds. The impact she had on my perception is immense, and she left us with one last point.
“We had a 50 year campaign against this plant that has been pushed really hard. I find to my own disappointment that those tropes bubble up by accident in my own mind. That’s a lot of work for us. Here I am, a pioneer and maverick of cannabis advocacy and action. Somebody who’s life has become one hundred percent possible because of cannabis, and sometimes I get caught off guard on my own previous prejudices.”