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Mota-vated to succeed: Joint rolling class offers advice to women breaking the 'grass ceiling'

Motavated Academy is run by cannabis veteran Mia Cristerna
Posted at 6:15 PM, Apr 24, 2024

TUCSON, AZ — In the heart of downtown Tucson, women are gathering for a unique learning experience that extends beyond the conventional classroom setting.

Led by Mia Cristerna, the Motavated Academy is empowering women in the cannabis industry, offering hands-on lessons on joint rolling alongside discussions about navigating the challenges of a male-dominated field.

Mia Cristerna, the founder of Motavated Academy, expressed her passion for teaching the class, emphasizing her comprehensive knowledge of cannabis and her comfort in educating others about the plant's intricacies.

"I’m very educated about the whole process and the science behind it… To where I’m very comfortable educating people, head to toe, about the plant," Cristerna said.

Despite progress in the cannabis industry, women remain underrepresented, facing what participants describe as a "double-edged sword" due to the pervasive "grass ceiling."

Industry data reveals that only 22% of marijuana businesses are women-owned or managed, highlighting the need for initiatives like Motavated to address this disparity.

The Motavated Academy is not just about learning to roll joints; it's about breaking barriers and advocating for gender equality within the cannabis sector.

Cristerna and her fellow participants are determined to challenge the status quo, recognizing the unique opportunity in Tucson to lead the charge for change.

"Tucson, especially, is a very unique place… In that we’re probably more radical than most places… So even just our existence right now… Likely wouldn’t be happening in a larger metropolis," Cristerna said.

As Motavated prepares for its last class this Saturday, Cristerna remains steadfast in her commitment to empowering women in the cannabis industry, paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable future.

Eddie Celaya is a multimedia journalist at KGUN 9. Born in Tucson and raised in the Phoenix area, Eddie is a life-long Arizonan and graduate of the University of Arizona who loves the desert and mountains and hates the cold. Previously, Eddie worked in print media at the Arizona Daily Star. Share your story ideas with Eddie at, or by connecting on Facebook or Instagram.