Conscious Counsel: Lee Croy

We sat down with Lee Croy, founder of Docent Goods, a Portland based product company specializing in cannabis accessories that promote ritual and slow living. Their product line (set to launch this fall) includes rolling trays, hemp wicks, scoops and incense holders made with post-consumer materials. We talked everything from rituals, conscious consumerism, manufacturing and social equity. 

Tell us a bit about your background?

“I always like to say that I was raised by two high school teachers in a micro city right between Detroit and Cincinnati and so it really was a town that had aspect of both cities. After landing in Pittsburgh for school for industrial design, I started in the motocross industry at a company where they made everything they designed in house. From there I moved into the world of consulting which ultimately led to the creation Docent. I had worked with several humanitarian based startup’s and been schooled in designing products that were focused not only on consumption, but also the systems involved to connect humans in different ways and doing it for a good cause and thinking beyond profit. 

What sparked the idea for Docent?

“I got back into cannabis right after legalization and was having a hard time finding strains that didn’t produce anxiety or paranoia. It was really about creating tools that removed those feelings and encouraged mindfulness around the plant itself. I wanted to look at the areas on either side of lighting and inhaling and knew there was a saturated market for accessories like bongs and pipes. It was the time on either side of consumption that I found fascinating. I wanted to look at how to intentionally add time to the ritual of smoking by engaging with both the plant and oneself. It was an act of resistance to the casual convenience of vaping.” 

What value can people find in these products?

“I do believe they can be considered wellness products, the fact that they are intended to slow you down in every aspect - that creates mindfulness around consumption. Imbuing the ritual with intention, similarly to yoga."

How do you fold ideas around conscious consumerism into the Docent brand?

Conscious consumption has to start with conscious manufacturing. Thinking about how much we make before it gets sold, doing it cautiously and on an on-demand basis. Through reductive manufacturing, we’ve worked with Paperstone, a paper composite surface made with 100% post-consumer recycled paper, petroleum-free resins and natural pigments.

Can you speak to your founding principles?

    • Creating Primitive Technology for Modern Rituals
      • We realized after creating the initial designs that [the suite] was akin to ancient forms of technology. Tools that could have existed before the invention of batteries and microchips. We wanted these simple tools to be used in this world where [ritual] is very much needed. Taking time out of our busy schedules to practice intention.
    • Creating Equity for the Communities Affected by the War on Drugs
      • I went through an upheaval of my own about the hypocrisy of the cannabis industry. Watching a lot of white people get rich off of this, while members from black and brown communities were still in jail for cannabis related charges. I didn't want to be just designing another product line - we don’t need a lot of things as a species and I didn't want t o be another white guy creating a cannabis brand. Equity in the industry is something others have aligned with reparations and I think it can be the catalyst for this. It is a representation of all the industries that white people have colonized. The connection to political reform is crucial. We need to start generating economic development and advocating for equal access for BIPOC in the industry.
  • What are some of the organizations working towards equity in the cannabis industry?

          • NuLeaf
            • “We pair business owners with the cannabis industry’s global thought leaders for personal mentoring and business coaching. We facilitate a customized business accelerator program with education and technical skill building. We build paths for business professionals of color to exit corporate America and break glass ceilings in cannabis. We award businesses of color annual grants in amounts as large as $30,000 and as small as $5,000.”
          • Minority Cannabis Business Association 
            • “Founded in late 2015, the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) is the first 501(c)(6) not for profit business league created to serve the specific needs of minority cannabis entrepreneurs, workers, and patients/ consumers. The organization currently serves members from across the United States. Its 15-member board of directors is comprised of a diverse group of cannabis industry veterans and activists from across the U.S."
          • Hood Incubator
            • “We ENGAGE Black and Brown communities so we can recognize the power and economic opportunity we have in this moment, and to foster a sense of community that heals the isolation and stigma we have experienced as a result of the War on Drugs 
          • NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) 
            • “An American non-profit organization based in Washington, DC whose aim is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the legalization of non-medical marijuana in the United States so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty. According to their website, NORML "supports the removal of all criminal penalties for the private possession and responsible use of marijuana by adults, including the cultivation for personal use, and the casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts", and "supports the development of a legally controlled market for cannabis.’”
          • The People’s Dispensary  
            • Women/LGBTQ owned dispensary in Southeast Portland fighting for social equity in the cannabis space.