Cash Only’s 420 Recs: Melissa A. Vitale, the OG Weed and Sex Publicist

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Melissa A. Vitale is one of the rare publicists whose emails I will read start-to-finish, regardless of the topic. The brains and namesake behind the firm MAVPR and Pressboxx has a gift for making press outreach feel intimate, fun, and collaborative. There are no guilt-trips, passive aggressive follow-ups, or desperate “spray and pray” approaches from the cannabis and sexual wellness expert. Part of the reason she’s so good at her job is that Melissa makes an active effort to get familiar with writers and their personal interests, so when she does reach out, it’s usually about something up my alley.

And damn does MAV get results! I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen glowing, authentic coverage of her clients in top-tier outlets— from Rolling Stone and New York Mag, to the New York Post and Fox fucking News — and smiled to myself, knowing Melissa was the low-key finesser behind the scenes. And, as her site notes, the coverage usually focuses on “education over sensation,” which is essential for normalizing plant medicine and sex positivity in mainstream media. 

Melissa has overseen campaigns for admirable cannabis companies like Her Highness, Binske, Elixinol, and TOCA, as well as sextech and luxury intimacy brands like Pure for Men, ZALO, and Upko. She also rolls one of the best spliffs in New York and will treat you like royalty if you’re lucky enough to have a meeting at her home office (which has not one, but two epic balconies). 

The Italian stallion also has great taste, and she generously made some time to chat with Cash Only about her weed preferences. Below, MAV breaks down her perfect spliff recipe, recommends a crystal ball pipe, and flexes her pot picnic chops — an activity she can get ready for in a matter of minutes. Thanks Melissa, you are a ganja goddess and an amazing human <3

Photo by Chad Johnson, courtesy of Melissa A. Vitale

Do you have a current favorite weed strain? How do you like to consume it?

Melissa A. Vitale: For the past three years my go-to strain has been Space Queen. I’m a spliff enthusiast — 95% Space Queen with roughly 5% Danish Export Tobacco, hand-rolled in Bob Marley classic rolling paper with a RAW Classic tip. I’ll be cutting out tobacco by my next birthday and I’m looking forward to switching up my consumption methods. 

Do you have any favorite weed products — any particular papers, grinders, or whatever?

Neither of these recs are clients of mine, but I was recently given a Grounded Crystal Ball Pipe from Sackville & Co, and after figuring out how to smoke it, it quickly became my favorite piece in my house. Like tons of other folks in cannabis media, the Flower Mill has also captivated my heart; if you identify as a regular consumer or stoner, I recommend the Premium Flower Mill

Photo by Maria Wurtz

Which cannabis brands excite you from a marketing/PR perspective? What companies or public figures are killing it in terms of their online presence? 

I love brands like Her Highness, DomPen, and KIVA who are finding ways to incorporate their brand ethos into compliant packaging. Cannaclusive is an incredible organization with an awesome online footprint and engaging community — plus, their co-founder Mary Pryor is a boss babe who I’m perpetually in awe of.

Does weed help you professionally? How do you utilize the plant during office hours — what tasks does it help with?

I smoke throughout my work day; cannabis helps me stay focused, creative, and drowns out the distractions.

Photo by Zach Sokol

What activity do you like to do after you’ve gotten stoned? 

I’m an avid picnic’er. I can be ready with a blanket, cooler bag, speaker, snacks, a bottle of wine, and spliffs in a matter of minutes. Let me know where to meet you! I’ll smoke while in transit and then settle in to smoke, eat, drink, and enjoy the outdoors all day. 

Can you recommend something to watch after smoking?

I’ve been having a bit of a Matthew McConaughey moment, so stuff like Fool’s Gold, We Are Marshall, and Lincoln Lawyer have been my recent go-tos.

Photo by Zach Sokol

What do you like to listen to after smoking? Any albums, radio shows, or podcasts?

My music taste is all over the place. I’ll listen to anything from rap to country, with an embarrassing amount of Taylor Swift in between. 

Can you recommend something to read when high?

If you’re into romance and fantasy, check out Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe, a gorgeous graphic novel series about Hades and Persephone.  

Who’s in your dream blunt rotation? Dead or alive. 

It’s on my bucket list to have Snoop Dog smoke one of my spliffs. For a dead sesh, I’d have to pick Jesus.

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