When Gail shared a video of herself smoking a dab (one of the most potent ways of consuming cannabis) she had no clue she was about to break the internet. The wholesome “granny” hitting a pipe was a nearly-instant viral sensation, receiving over a half-million views in one week. Recognizing the opportunity of her newfound notoriety, Gail dubbed herself as the Dabbing Granny and starting posting regular videos of her life as an avid cannabis consumer. Three years and over 800,000 loyal followers later, the Dabbing Granny is the undisputed queen of cannabis influencers, with companies across the cannabis industry vying for her endorsement. Her new role as a social media celebrity and cannabis influencer has her traveling the world meeting with fans and industry leaders, and along the way, redefining perceptions of how a cannabis user looks and acts.
Posted at Dabbing Granny’s side is a figure easily mistaken for her bodyguard. After all, Dabbing Granny has her fair share of overzealous fans. Donning Army gear, a bad-ass beard, and a ‘don’t mess with me’ facial expression is Dabbing Granny’s Husband, Kevin. Grumpy Grandpa, as he’s also known, is a proud veteran of the US Army’s 97th Signal Battalion, a staunch advocate for veterans’ right to use cannabis, and a long-time member and supporter of HeroGrown (and HeroGrown’s predecessor Grow for Vets).
This Pot Power Couple, who met in the early ‘70s, summarized their relationship for HeroGrown Magazine: “We were both born in June, Gemini… the Twins Castor & Pollox, the same but different, two sides of the same coin and our saying is it takes two to make one, it takes two hearts to make love grow.” And don’t worry, the sudden fame hasn’t changed the Dabbing Granny, Kevin vouches that “She’s the same as when we married, her personality is the same as it was back in 1974.” Kevin and Gail started smoking pot in the ‘60s, both introduced to cannabis by soldiers returning home from the Vietnam War — a twist of fate that foreshadowed their role as advocates for the rights of veterans to use cannabis.
For over 30 years Gail managed to balance a life split between two conflicting worlds — as an Army spouse and pot smoker — even while living and working on Army bases around the globe. In an interview with therooster.com, Gail describes when the two worlds collided, bringing to an end her 24 years running a nonprofit thrift store on the Fort Carson Army Base in Colorado Springs. “I was everybody’s grandma over there,” she says. She’d hug soldiers on their way to the war zones and think about them every day until they came back. Then she’d hug ‘em again if she could. This life of hers ended in early 2016, two months after her first social media post as Dabbing Granny. She got so famous, word started to spread. When officials found out she was the stoniest nana this side of Amsterdam, officials asked Gail to clear out her desk, and barred her from the base. “Old soldiers,” Dabbing Granny sighs, “kind of freak out about weed.”
The couple uses cannabis for its medical benefits, finding pain relief for broken ribs, a broken neck, sciatica, and diabetic neuropathy. It’s also helped with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Hepatic encephalopathy. As a veteran, Kevin’s use of cannabis has received a mixed reaction from doctors at the VA, ranging from unofficial support and curiosity, being called a “junkie” and cut off medications, and threatened with being kicked out of the VA Hospital. It’s the latter reactions the couple (along with HeroGrown) is committed to fighting. Together we see a future where veterans can use cannabis without fear of being bullied by the VA.
In addition to their role as advocates, Dabbing Granny and Grumpy Grandpa use their platform to raise awareness and educate the public about issues they find important. Currently on their radar is the DEA’s highly controversial decision to reschedule CBD to benefit a single company – G.W. Pharmaceuticals. The DEA has received widespread condemnation for not including all CBD-based medications in the same classification as G.W. Pharmaceuticals product, Epidiolex. It has been reported that Epidiolex is expected to have a price tag of about $32,500. And while being touted as the first “natural,” non-synthetic cannabinoid to be FDA approved, the couple raises questions about how “natural” should be defined. In their opinion, Epidiolex does not meet the definition of what they believe is natural.
Don’t let their lighthearted monikers fool you, Dabbing Granny and Grumpy Grandpa are a serious force for progress in cannabis. They are eroding long-perpetuated stereotypes about cannabis users: young and lazy, pacified and unpatriotic. If a “granny” and her Army Veteran husband can smoke pot while living positive, fulfilling lives in service of others, maybe marijuana isn’t so bad.