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The Exhale: Inside the Spiritual Leune-verse


In The Magazine

The Exhale: Inside the Spiritual Leune-verse

With a strong focus on cannabis 3.0. consumers, Nidhi Lucky Handa’s lifestyle brand pays homage to her rich Indian heritage.

Living in Los Angeles, Nidhi Lucky Handa is surrounded by yoga and meditation studios, signs for cannabis and words such as “kush.” “These are Sanskrit words, something from my culture that’s so deep,” Handa says. “My ancestors have been using cannabis forever. There’s nothing new about this plant; there’s history and heritage.” 

Born and raised in California, Handa is a proud second-generation immigrant who says she celebrates her roots while embracing the future. “I was raised by Indian parents, but I grew up in this country,” she states. Looking back on that influential time, Handa describes her home as a “very Ayurvedic household where cannabis was just a plant, like a lot of other plants with medicinal purposes.”

The practice of Ayurveda emphasizes balance and harmony through personalized nutrition, herbal remedies, mindfulness and daily self-care practices. While growing in popularity as an “alternative” medical system, Ayurveda originated in India more than 5,000 years ago. Recognizing how the concepts of this ancient practice fit in with a new type of consumer—cannabis 3.0 consumers as Handa calls them—led her to create Leune, a cannabis lifestyle brand known for its mission to provide design-forward, purpose-driven plant products and accessories. 

Handa identifies cannabis 3.0. consumers as people who understand that getting high is only part of what the plant can offer. “When I walked into a dispensary, I was confronted with choices or a conversation that didn’t cater to somebody like me or my peers, because maybe I don’t look like a stereotypical stoner or cannabis consumer,” Handa says. 

Leune founder Nidhi Lucky Handa

bollyweed As Leune’s CEO and a person of color, Handa says she’s determined to raise industry standards for workplace culture, representation and social equity.

Those disappointing experiences compelled her to create an inclusive, educational, ethical and socially equitable cannabis lifestyle brand that’s rooted with intention at every move. Her professional background in luxury brand communications and celebrity talent management provided her with extensive business acumen—the perfect foundation for building Leune. The business launched in California in 2018 with a debut range of refined pre-rolls and all-in-one terpene-infused vapes. Today, product offerings include a range of flower, plus popular products such as PAX Era Pods, Gem Drops edibles and 510 cartridges. 

California consumers embraced the Leune ideology and high-quality products, which gave Handa and her team the confidence to set their sights on expansion into new markets. In 2021, Arizona became the second state to experience what she calls the “Leune-iverse” concept, with more than 30 dispensaries embracing the unique lifestyle brand. Expansion into Maine and Missouri followed in 2022, followed by New Mexico in June and Montana in August 2023. Make no mistake, Leune is quickly becoming one of the most recognized MSO brands in cannabis, with plans to continue reaching new markets.

Handa, Leune’s CEO, embodies the epitome of a successful entrepreneur with a trailblazing spirit, strategic business acumen and unwavering determination to make a genuine difference in cannabis education. As a woman of color, Handa says she aims to raise industry standards for workplace culture, representation and social equity. 

Leune is a part of Broccoli Magazine’s Floret Coalition, standing alongside other small businesses in the cannabis industry to actively combat racism. The collective supports and finances initiatives that promote equity via monthly donations and social campaigns. Their unified goal is to generate both financial resources and awareness for organizations that prioritize the requirements of Black, Latina and Indigenous communities. 

Leune’s Cloud Berry All-in-One Vaporizer.

Leune, Handa says, proudly collaborates with the Last Prisoner Project, providing steadfast support to their continuous efforts to achieve justice and liberation for individuals imprisoned due to non-violent cannabis offenses. They also sponsor Eaze Momentum, a business accelerator that supports and empowers underrepresented founders while fostering a diverse cannabis industry—something especially meaningful to Handa. Part of Leune’s educational approach is Honestly Grown, a magazine produced in-house that strives to deliver a thought-provoking view into the cannabis world. The publication seems to be dedicated to elevating the discourse surrounding the plant as well as to activism and social justice.

Commitment to ethical business practices and an unwavering dedication to corporate social responsibility, social equity and inclusion have all defined Handa’s leadership style. When asked what she’s learned about herself through the journey of launching Leune, Handa says after pausing for a beat: “After five years in this industry, I feel certain that I’m extremely resilient and have a capacity that’s a lot bigger than I ever thought.”

This story was originally published in issue 49 of the print edition of Cannabis Now. Read it now on the Cannabis Now iTunes app.

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