Tucked away in the suburbs of Northern New Jersey, Charolette Cercone always had a passion for cooking. Growing up, Charlotte was not the most healthy spiritually, mentally or physically. Yet, she does not want her past to define her. Like many other ganjapeneurs on the verge of taking charge of their life, Charlotte stopped feeling sorry for herself and started getting things done. Clean-eating, yoga, and her good friend Mary-Jane helped her through some troubled times. While the New Jersey Legislature has postponed the vote again, Charlotte will not been deterred. At only 5ft, fools may wonder how Charlotte truly stands so tall. A bubbly personality that cannot contain her enthusiasm for what comes next, I had the pleasure to meet with Charlotte and get her point of view.
On Growing Up and Self-Reliance:
I think everyone is trying to find their way in life. Growing up I always loved cooking. I’m from a strong Italian family. Cooking has always been a part of my life. I was never sure if a four year degree was for me and I knew I did not want to go to business school. People are exposed to so many unhealthy things nowadays, and to be honest, I was a lot like that growing up. I never had my ‘purpose’. I realized that my relationships became more of a crutch than an aid. I relied too much on others to define me. This led to some unhealthy habits.
I think people tend to get wrapped-up in their relationships. Then they just live for others, rather than themselves. But when those relationships end, where do you find yourself? I found myself asking this a lot. I felt like I lost myself a bit. Instead of thinking of the break up as a loss, I started to change my perception of what really mattered to me. I stopped trying to change others, and started to become that change in myself. I started yoga, applied and was accepted to the Institute of Culinary Education, volunteered at a hydroponic farm and have been tinkering with some of my own recipes. I know I set a really high– no pun intended– bar for myself, but at the end of the day I can look back at myself and know I gave it my all.
On Being a Young Female Ganjapeneur:
I think people will always underestimate you. I definitely see that as an advantage. I have been through a lot growing up. Bad things happen, but it also gives you strength. I would say that if anyone underestimates me, then that is their choice. I am not naive. I am very driven and dedicated to this craft. Not just for the recreational use, but rather to show people the value of a healthy lifestyle. I truly sleep better knowing that I have helped someone with their personal health.
On Health and CBD:
There is a lot of research being published about CBD. I would love to run my own cannabis cafe. I would focus on the healthy side of things. It would not just be a place to smoke, but rather a place for all people to enjoy a healthy lunch. CBD is helpful in this regard as it is non-psychoactive. It has many health benefits including: pain-relief, ant-seizure properties and makes for a great sleep aid. I really want to change the stigma of what people think a pot-smoker should be while providing a space that caters to the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of a persons life. Good food can do this.
On The Importance of Spiritual Health:
Yoga has been a tremendous part of my life for awhile now. I do it habitually and find it just helps me focus on the important things. I want to be the person who demonstrates my values everyday rather than just talking-the-talk. I want to achieve great things by working hard and yoga has given me that ability to realize I can do more than I believed.
On Hard Work:
I would say my greatest inspiration is my dad. He’s worked hard since he was very young to provide a good life for his family. He had to grind to get where he is and that taught me a lot about how working hard is the only way to get things done. It’s so ingrained in him he still drives around in a beat up car that has no working A/C or windows. . . he might be taking it a bit far hahaha. My parents set the bar high. I just want them to see me as someone who can take care of herself because of what they were able to teach me. I wouldn’t be here without them.
Final Thoughts for Female Entrepreneurs:
Love yourself, respect others and work hard. No one ever says life is easy, they just say that it’s worth it. I was lucky to meet a role model of mine Gail Simmons while attending class. She is the host of one of my favorite shows: Top Chef. She had stopped by to say hello to a mentor of hers. I’m not going to lie I felt like a giddy school girl. I want to be that person who can motivate others to their goal the same way watching Gail compete and talk about food motivated me. That’s really what I’m about.
Charlotte Cercone is a strong-willed New Jersian with a twist. She aims to get the whole world high serving her guilty pleasures-minus the guilt. Keep a look out for what she has next as this unstoppable woman ventures into the unknown to serve up freshly catered food for the first-timers, the stoners and midnight-tokers alike. Follow Charlotte on Instagram @Cercone2.