Thirty-six year-old Chef Anna (a professional name), strolls through a Michigan Walmart and approaches a woman in the frozen food aisle. He covertly removes a jar of weed from his pocket, then pretends to pick it up from the back of her motorized shopping cart. “You left your bud down there?” he asks. “Somebody else did,” she replies. “Give it here.”
He happily hands it over, then rushes into another aisle like some sort of 420-friendly superhero, leaving her as the proud — if not somewhat confused — recipient of a new stash.
Anna has plenty of videos like this on his Instagram, where you can find him gifting random people with jars of weed, placing full-grown marijuana plants in people’s shopping carts and him hiding ganja in the aisles of Walmart. Somewhere between a prank and a giveaway, stunts like these have earned him attention and adoration from his thousands of followers, many of who tune in to watch him shell out a once-scheduled substance like it was bottled water or airplane pretzels.
Anna wasn’t always Walmart’s weed fairy, though. Two years ago, he was working a typical (and depressing) corporate job in marketing and advertising. “It wasn’t going well,” he tells me. Layoffs were frequent and far-reaching, so he wasn’t sure he’d last much longer. It was around this time when he began thinking about a career change — he wanted to work in the weed industry. After all, he’d been smoking since he was 18 and knew how to grow reliable plants.
So, as a final farewell to his corporate job, Anna brought weed into work. “I decided to start growing weed at my desk,” he says. “I was going to let the plant grow until I got caught.” Twelve days later, Anna and his budding shrub were discharged, and he began a career selling cannabis seeds under the name Chef Anna White Label.
Since that moment, Anna has set out on a mission to challenge the stigma associated with weed by handing it out at places like Walmart, and sometimes even walking around holding whole plants. “I like approaching older people who come from the Reefer Madness generation,” he says. (Weed is legal in his home state of Michigan.)
Anna recalls one older woman in particular who, at first, reluctantly took him up on his offer. “She took the jar, smelled the weed and was so excited,” he says. “But she was also concerned. She thought she’d get in trouble on her way home if she got pulled over.” But when he ran into her a week later at the very same Walmart, she was so infatuated with weed that she asked him how to grow her own. It’s these sorts of perspective changes that Anna strives for when he heads out to distribute weed.
Besides handing out free ganja — and exchanging it for cigarettes to discourage less healthy forms of smoking — Anna can also be seen on his various social media accounts handing whole plants to cops. “We have over 40,000 people locked up right now on nonviolent cannabis charges,” he says. “Nobody should be in jail if I can walk up to a police officer and put a weed plant in his hand.”
Despite his openness with weed, Anna says he’s never run into any trouble whatsoever — no disgruntled bystanders, no trouble with the law. However, he does occasionally encounter someone who’s less than friendly:
In the end, though, Anna is just a 420-friendly do-gooder who’s encouraging people to be more candid with weed. In the process, he’s once again proven the old maxim that it’s better to give than receive — especially when the giving involves some really excellent kush.