On a recent sunny morning in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco, I met with my friend Anna Wyatt for lattes. I listened as she described what she wants to accomplish with her new event hosted by The Betty Project. “I want everyone to feel like they can share a part of themselves that matters, you know? I want to create a safe zone for these women,” she explained in her North Carolinian accent, green eyes sharpening as she looked at me. I couldn’t help but smile as I nodded. To know Anna is to love her.
In a crisp white shirt over fitted blue jeans, her soft blond curls perfectly framing her face, even the barista can’t keep his eyes off her. She is a beautiful woman—and not just on the outside. This morning’s meeting is to discuss new Betty Project events, just one of the ways Anna brings people together with cannabis. This new party is set to be held at the legendary Avedano’s Meats, up in the hills of Bernal Heights, the perfect venue for an intimate gathering. She’s been shopping at this quaint, woman-founded establishment for years, and it’s easy to see why. Both businesses, though in completely different industries, are closely aligned, adamant in serving nothing but the best to their communities.
Growing up in North Carolina, Anna and her friends referred to marijuana as “Betty” whenever they wanted a joint or two. When she relocated to San Francisco with her husband, they began to grow some of the finest cannabis in California. Years later, they still fondly call their mother plants “Betty,” and after legalization, creating a brand called The Betty Project was a no-brainer.
I first worked alongside Anna and her team at the High Times Cannabis Cup in 2016. Our tent was the happening spot to be, and I’m not just saying that because I’m biased, or because we’d created a nice lounge with throw pillows and cheese and crackers; it was the way that Anna makes you feel, as though you’ve known her for years. Everyone took turns sharing his or her cannabis stories, and you couldn’t help but feel flattered by what a great listener she is.
That was the same weekend the Kitchen Table Tapes was born, a series of short movies featuring Anna’s patients sharing their amazing and emotional stories right in their own kitchens. After viewing some unedited first takes, I couldn’t help but feel the chills. In a world filled with of every kind of desensitization imaginable, if something happens to break through, it really touches our hearts. Those emotions are what drive us out—sometimes in droves of hundreds of thousands—to rally for legalization or reform.
And that’s what this project is all about. Shining a light on each patient’s journey, finding out what they’re going through, then pheno hunting until right kind of cannabis for their specific symptoms is found. Even though more and more companies are shying away from the expenses of growing, The Betty Project has dedicated entire rooms to genetic development alongside their cultivation rooms. “Knowing what you want makes the search for genetic superiority that much more fascinating,” is what Anna always says when people ask about her newest strain, the Lono Haze—a beautiful, high-CBD Hawaiian strain (Bwanana) crossed with Blue Cheese—decidedly excellent for easing inflammation and stress.
In an industry where the landscape changes monthly, and in a city where the tech industry has overwhelmed small businesses, Anna Wyatt is an unwavering force. She remains undeterred, passionate and ready as ever. As I sit here editing this article, I receive a text from her confirming our meeting for later today. We’re going to the Mission, where I’ll introduce her to an 88-year-old oil painter. After 20 years of taking sleeping pills, his side effects are getting worse. I reached out to Anna the moment I left his building last week, thinking, ‘If there’s anyone who will hear someone’s story and help, it’s her.’ When I mentioned he’d been limping from a recent fall (yet another side effect from the pills), she asked when we could pay him a visit.
It takes a genuine healer, someone who truly believes in the power and potency of their product to be able to tirelessly reach out to patients time and time again. Yet this is the cornerstone The Betty Project is built on, and the reason I know this brand that will not only survive, but thrive.
Website: thebettyproject.com | Twitter: @Bettyproject | Instagram: @thebettyproject