By Eric Newman
Genifer M jewelry smokes the competition with high-end cannabis couture
Genifer Murray, co-founder of Genifer M in Scottsdale, was simply tired of mainstream “pot culture.”
When Murray was working as a microbiologist in analytical cannabis testing, she told her father, local gemologist and jeweler Glenn Murray, that she wanted a high-end pendant that surpassed the typical kitschy marijuana-based jewelry currently in the marketplace. He produced a 2.5 karat diamond lapel pin of a marijuana leaf, which she showed off at business functions.
“I wore it proudly, and it influenced people all around the country. It was just a hobby at first, but somebody suggested that nobody is in the space, and we could make some money, so we went for it,” she says.
What resulted, in 2017, was the creation of the nation’s first luxury handcrafted cannabis-inspired jewelry collection. From diamond, gold or silver pendants to full-on diamond necklaces, Murray’s products skew more toward a higher-class realm, or what she calls “Cannabis Couture.”
“It’s professional, for a person who gives back to their community, pays taxes and either believes in cannabis, consumes it or just is an advocate in some way,” she says. “It’s just the idea of spreading the word and making it normalized.”
Despite wide success, including mentions in Forbes, Insight News and Harper’s Bazaar, Genifer M remains a family business, with Glenn Murray still heavily involved in the design process.
“I am fortunate that I am able to do what I love, designing unique and original pieces of jewelry and to be in business with my daughter,” he says. “I am the luckiest person alive.”
Dan Kingston, marketing director at marijuana industry website AZ Marijuana, says the marijuana and cannabis product business is constantly growing, but in years past, much of it looked like “hippie clothing.” He says many people, even those who used marijuana regularly, were wary to go out wearing clothing promoting a product that was stigmatized.
“A lot of people don’t want to wear shirts or apparel with images of people smoking from bongs, or sitting there high or other things in public, and they’re sort of toning it down a little bit, which makes it wearable to everyone,” he says.
Along with the many jewelry options depicting marijuana leaves, Murray’s company sells pieces featuring chemical diagrams of THC and CBD, two of the active molecules in cannabis. These allow people to wear jewelry that only lets those familiar with the science behind the plant know what the piece is displaying.
Murray says one of her company’s main goals is to make people aware of the purported widespread benefits of medical and recreational cannabis use.
Beside jewelry, Genifer M sells shirts that read “Start the Conversation” or “Legalize It” on the front, which are aimed at creating level-headed conversations between people about cannabis use.
“I’ve had people that were totally against it, and after talking about it with me or others who know the science behind it, changed their mind sometimes,” Murray says.
Many cannabis professionals say the topic of marijuana use, and the products promoting it, have entered the marketplace at the national level, as well as in Arizona.
“It’s becoming more normalized. People who thought they had to whisper the word ‘marijuana’ in the past feel more free to talk about it with one another responsibly,” says Bethany Moore, communications and projects manager at the National Cannabis Industry Association. “So those jewels or other apparel are a sort of way to get people talking together.”
Moore says a variety of people around the country are using cannabis for different reasons, and it is becoming less stigmatized with each passing day. Among those helped, she says, are the elderly who are experiencing pain, trouble eating or other chronic issues, and everyday adults who just want to partake in marijuana’s many forms for relaxation or creativity. Even for non-users, she says talking about the drug’s potency for helping those they are close to is important for further understanding and growth.
“I think when people can share their personal experiences about using it as a wellness product, rather than an illicit drug with no health benefits, that’s where the conversation is starting to change,” she says.
Murray says that given the right education and products like those found at Genifer M, a wide variety of people in Arizona and the nation can learn and experience the numerous benefits offered by cannabis.
“It’s a medicine that’s eventually going to help you, your family or somebody you care about,” she says. “So why not spread the word through something beautiful?”