Making Music and Edibles with the Santanas
BY MARY CARREÓN
Few things are as powerful as a father-daughter duo, especially in business.
We know this because many successful dads and daughters have influenced our culture: Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus, Lionel and Nicole Richie, Lenny and Zoe Kravitz, Will and Willow Smith, Bill and Chelsea Clinton, and Paul and Stella McCartney — to name a few! There’s another father-daughter duo equally influencing culture, but instead of doing so through entertainment or politics, they’re using cannabis.
Carlos and Stella Santana have teamed up on Mirayo, Carlos’ cannabis brand, specifically bringing the new edibles line to life. Most edibles on the legal cannabis market are made with distillate, or highly concentrated THC extract, and produce a heady high. Mirayo instead uses hash in their edibles, giving the gummies a more nuanced, full-body high. It makes sense that they’ve become Stella’s main mode of consumption.
“Smoking cannabis feels a lot different now than consuming edibles,” said Stella, who used to be a daily consumer. “Flower feels slightly more clunky, [the Mirayo] gummies just feel so smooth and subtle. They don’t generally make me lose energy or become lethargic or, like, make me become my furniture. These edibles are really all I do now.”
Stella stopped consuming cannabis altogether when she got pregnant with her son. Prior to that, smoking flower was an integral part of her lifestyle in New York, where she reveled in the limitlessness of the city and started writing her album.
“It was nice to smoke in New York and navigate that hyper-crazy energy because cannabis helps you be the center of your own stillness, even in a kookoo-crazy place,” she said. “I learned how to do that with cannabis in New York, but I think cannabis can also help because it makes you think more, and if you’re watching your thinking rather than always identifying with it, you can have little epiphanies that no one needs to know about.”
After having her son and settling into motherhood, she had the opportunity to help guide the creative direction of Mirayo. Carlos, who doesn’t smoke cannabis anymore, initially wanted to make butterscotch edibles, but over the past year, the team decided to bring more tropical-leaning flavors to market.
“Everyone working on Mirayo wants to make something cool and great, and it feels like that,” Stella said. “You need to have good synergy to make something really good.”
The process of choosing flavors, Stella explains, was the best part of bringing these products to life. “I had 5 or 6 gummies of each flavor sent to me to try, and I would give them to my friends,” she said. “I was always like, ‘Try this one!’ and I’d keep track of who liked which flavors on my refrigerator.”
Stella explained that most people she introduces edibles to are scared of them. They still think edible experiences are how they used to be prior to legalization: Someone would bake a batch of THC-infused brownies without a clue of how much is in them, and people would inevitably consume WAY too much THC. “Now it’s down to a science in terms of the dosage,” she said. “In the past with edibles, everyone would eat them and start crying or throwing up or something and be high for, like, three days. And then they’d be like ‘I’m never doing an edible again!’ But now it’s not like that, you never get to that place.”
The goal of the Mirayo gummies, Stella said, is to produce something real through cannabis. It’s difficult to do that in an industry stymied by overly stringent regulations, but the relationship Stella and Carlos have with the plant allows for a level of authenticity that many brands, especially celebrity brands, don’t execute well. The best products in the industry are crafted by people who consume cannabis and know what makes a stellar product.
“The things that do the best are the things that are real because you can’t poke holes in it,” Stella said. “Things that are authentic are just as they seem. It sounds simple, but it’s not at all. My dad does that in a musical space, but it’s cool to do something like that in the cannabis space.”
My family is massively into Santana. My mom has repeatedly told me (an anti-drug) story about when she was 22 years old and saw a person in the crowd at a Santana show snort tequila and act like nothing happened — as if it were any other Tuesday night. My dad saw Santana four times in the ‘70s. Both sides of my family are Latino and love the representation in rock and roll. I was introduced to Abraxis and Moonflower early on in my life. I say all of this because I understand the sonic soundscape Carlos creates with his music. I’ve also been consuming cannabis regularly since 19-years-old — I’m now 33. There are parallels between the environment you step into after smoking weed and the sound globe Carlos locks you into with his music.
“Of course, cannabis is a product, but something happens to you when you consume it. It’s not like alcohol — no one is having a beautiful vision on alcohol. Nobody is actually getting inspired from alcohol,” Stella said. “On cannabis it’s different. It’s another avenue to get you into that space my dad tries to get people into with his music. Cannabis gives you that, it takes you there.”
Thanks to Stella and Carlos, there’s now a cannabis product on the market that’s crafted from the same creative realm the Santanas source their musical magic from.