By Nina Zdinjak
Carlos Santana has openly shared his respect towards the plant throughout the years.
A magician on the guitar, the music legend and entrepreneur has often touted the healing properties of marijuana ever since he was a little kid. Santana credits his mother for shaping his outlook, as well the appreciation of his native Mexican culture, which cherishes earth given medicines.
The 10-time Grammy-award winning musician is also known to the public for his charity work. Back in 1998, Santana founded The Milagro Foundation (The Miracle Foundation) with his family. The group helps underserved and vulnerable children around the globe, and supports organizations that work with children in the areas of health, education, and the arts.
Since its inception, the foundation managed to raise and grant more than $8 million, thus helping 396 organizations across 18 countries and 36 U.S. states.
Santana seems to be passionate about helping others in any way possible — getting involved and sharing, not only his art, but his knowledge and beliefs. That’s why Santana decided to join the cannabis sphere.
In January, he partnered with Leaf Coast Ventures to help create high-quality cannabis and CBD brands. The first line of cannabis products yielded from this partnership debuted in October. Santana named it Mirayo, which means “My Ray” in Spanish.
Mirayo was created to honor his Latin roots and spiritual approach towards the plant. When it comes to cannabis, Santana sees it as an ancient remedy, something that can help us alleviate pain and, what’s more, awaken out consciousness and creativity and find our “inner light.” I reached out to Santana and asked him to elaborate:
You were familiar with the plant’s healing properties since you were a child. Nevertheless, throughout your entire life, stigma around it was present. How did that make you feel? Did that ever shake you up and make you question the things you knew about the healing and spiritual benefits cannabis brings?
From when I was very young, I understood the healing benefits from marijuana plants from my mother, Josefina. She would infuse it into alcohol then use it for different ailments. Growing up, I was very aware of medicinal uses of various herbs as it is part of the Native Mexican culture. When I was a kid on the street and working in bars in Tijuana, there were people who smoked marijuana, so I never really bought into the stigma. In the 60s, it was a consciousness revolution and the counterculture where we rejected what Uncle Sam was selling us and opened up our hearts and minds to all sorts of possibilities. I made a conscious choice to take my own path.
What’s your advice to older folks who are hesitant to try Mirayo because of the stigma around marijuana when they grew up?
Medicine is made by a beam of sunlight into plants, so it is natural. Drugs are man made in a laboratory. American Indians from Canada to Brazil knew about healing, by changing the molecular structure through the earth and we are finally catching on to what they always knew. I think it is starting to find its way into the “straight culture” through topicals and ingestible and older people with arthritis and other ailments are learning of the medicinal qualities that cannabis offers.
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Ask most cancer patients if they find cannabis to help. Now they have a legal way to find relief. People are starting to understand that so much good can come from these plants and we are just beginning to understand the healing properties it offers. We have come a long way. It is interesting that people will blindly take pills that have side effects because the FDA says it ok, but have not opened up to cannabis. Perhaps now, with it being legalized in California, Nevada and so many other states, you can go to licensed dispensaries where you can access safe, tested products, people will feel more comfortable.
The cannabis industry won many battles in regards to legalization in the U.S. throughout 2020. The stigma seems to be slowly fading. Was this perfect timing to join the industry, or was it something else that moved you in this direction now?
It’s an exciting time in the cannabis industry and in the world. So many walls are coming down. In the 60’s it was the Black Panthers, marching against Vietnam, Woodstock, the Women’s Movement. In the 70’s and 80’s it was the Berlin Wall coming down and Nelson Mandela being freed. Then Barack Obama as President and now Kamala Harris breaking the glass ceiling. We are evolving and people’s view on cannabis is too.
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To see society transition from where it was back in the 60s and 70s when you bought your herb in a matchbox, or you needed to hide it from the cops to being able to buy it in a store is inspiring. What’s most exciting to me is now cannabis is more widely available, so that more can access this healing medicine.
You mentioned many times how cannabis helps people accept the light inside their hearts and how your mission with Mirayo is to “help people use cannabis as a door to a more benevolent behavior like kindness and compassion.” Imagine a scenario — a utopian one I guess — where most of the negative associations with cannabis have been removed and the use has been legalized globally. Do you think with more people accepting and consuming it there would be more compassion around the world, and also less illness?
Absolutely! Cannabis opens a door to divine wisdom and the everlasting gift of our uniqueness. It can lift the veils of illusion of mental slavery from feeling programmed to be a wretched sinner unworthy of your own light. That is an illusion. Cannabis can help you go within your center, relieve your daily stress and find your light. We need to open our minds beyond the Bible or the constitution and listen to our hearts’ light. That in itself will create more compassion and less mental and physical illness. When you are centered and at peace, you have more compassion, and your body can thrive. As Bob Marley said “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.”
This year, people were social distancing, and quarantining. How did you keep busy in 2020? And what’s your advice to people feeling COVID fatigue?
We are inspired by the incredible work the Milagro Foundation does, in making a difference in the lives of children around the world. We continue to put our energy towards helping children and their families adversely affected by COVID. In addition to the launch of Mirayo, we started working on a new album in October and that has been a beautiful process, discovering new melodies and ideas. Stay in your heart and wake up each day to make a positive difference on the planet. Thank you for helping transmit the frequency of benevolence. Peace.
This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.