Cannabis Consciousness

in Culture

The co-founders of the cannabis brand Swami Select, Nikki Lastreto and Swami Chaitanya, have spent many years on a spiritual path that includes residing in India, frequently visiting temples, and conversing with holy men. When their journey brought them back to California, they created a sanctuary with a unique, spiritual approach to growing cannabis. With Swami Select, they pride themselves in embracing regenerative farming and praise cannabis as a way to heighten the senses and connect with others, as well as the world around them. Lastreto and Chaitanya took time to chat with High Times about the events that led to the origin of their brand, their unique approach to cannabis cultivation, and how the herb brings people together.

Swami Select’s Nikki Lastreto and Swami Chaitanya / Photo by Chris VicariThe Many Lifetimes Of Nikki And Swami

Lastreto and Chaitanya are world travelers whose spiritual experiences have shaped their cannabis venture. Lastreto describes herself as a flower child who grew up in San Francisco. She first met Chaitanya, a “27-year-old hippie artist,” when she was 14. They connected again later at a party in San Francisco and married in 1985. Lastreto worked for the San Francisco Chronicle for many years in the 1980s and Chaitanya was an artist and photographer. Together they traveled to various countries, including China and Thailand, and for a time, they lived in South India in a house overlooking the Arabian Sea.

Eventually, Lastreto, and Chaitanya would divorce. Citing a desire to embark on a new purpose and path, Lastreto moved back to the United States and embraced her love for hosting parties and creating giant altars that featured statues from different religious traditions. At the time, she worked with Tim Blake, founder of the Emerald Cup, to develop and coordinate various events. During this time, Lastreto explains, “ …

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Author: Nicole Potter / High Times

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