Antuanette Gomez, the 23-year-old outgoing director of the Toronto chapter of Women Grow, sits on a stool at the bar at Toronto’s Soho House. The private members club has become an unlikely hub for cannabis entrepreneurs, and Gomez is no exception. She’s emphatic about getting a latte, but once she starts talking about the number of ventures she has on the go, she never stops to order.
Quitting her job and moving to Peru at the age of 18 set Gomez on a course to become the sought-after cannabis consultant she is today. This month, she leaves her role as director of the Toronto chapter of Women Grow, a networking event for women in cannabis. Up next? “I’m going into politics,” she says.
I use cannabis daily. I’m so next level. If I have meetings all day I’m probably just going to be using a topical. Especially when I’m having my menstrual pains I have to have a topical on me everywhere I go. I vaporize when I’m meditating because I want a clean high rather than a bong hit which is a crazy high.
But I don’t discriminate. I love glycerines, I love tinctures, alcohols, I love my CO2, my shatters, my crumbles, my bongs, my papers. I love everything.
I am a cannabis patient. I have been suffering from chronic pain since I was eight years old. I have an extra vertebrae in my lower spine. Thankfully yoga helps so much. Yoga changed my life dramatically. I used to teach ganga yoga classes. I became a holistic nutritionist and a yoga teacher within a year, and then I became a tantric teacher and did that for a year.
When I was 18 years old, I just needed to quit everything. I broke up with my boyfriend, quit my job, left the country, all in one weekend. I went to Peru, I am Peruvian, and what I wanted to do was just get in touch with myself. I would go with my grandmother to these markets in Peru. It would say, ‘These special fruits are for diabetes’ or ‘These fruits are for cancer.’ It was written on a piece of cardboard in a market that doesn’t even have a name. I signed up for holistic nutrition schooling here in Canada and I found alternative therapies, which included cannabis.
I created a company called Pleasure Peaks, a women’s sexual health line that consists of cannabis lubricants, suppositories, and a bunch of other stuff. But I got so depressed running a startup in the cannabis industry five years ago, because no law firm would take me seriously, no investor would take me seriously, and on top of that I had nobody to talk about it with. People were like, “Cannabis is what? How are you doing this? It’s completely illegal.” It was so hard navigating a grey-area industry by yourself.
When I started Pleasure Peaks, I did it because I was obsessed with tantra at the time. When I started running the company, I had hundreds of women with endometriosisreaching out to me being like, “Your product works. I can have sex again.” But I got so depressed doing it by myself.
There were so many personal factors in my life at the time. But if I didn’t do it, women with endometriosis would have nothing. That’s when I was like, “If males are the only people in the industry then what are the percentages of us talking about [women’s] sexual health?” Like c’mon now. That’s when I was like I just need to get women involved. I just need to find them! And I know they’re out there!
Now, I sit on six boards and I mentor 16 startups. Sixteen startups out of the Women Grow brand have come out of me doing it for a year. We’ve inspired so many women to just get out there and do it. Every girl knows that I am always down to jump on a call and bounce some ideas if you have a project that you need some mentoring on.
This is my last month [with Women Grow] because I’m going into politics in May. I really want to get women and minorities involved [in politics], I want to get the younger demographic involved.
Me and my fiancé had a day off, just me and him. We spent it all together, we had dinner, we had sex, and then 3 o’clock in the morning comes by, and he’s like, “What are you doing over there on the other side of the bed?” I’m like, “I’m just looking up the market research for my startup.” I’m just so obsessed with my job. It totally fulfills everything that I do. I don’t need a break.