Posts Tagged ‘marijuana’

The Cannabis Patient Experience In Legal Stores Of Washington

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It has been nearly 8 months since the legislators of Washington State pulled the access plug on medical cannabis patients and pushed them into the recreational market to purchase their medicine.

I’ve been shopping in that market for the past 8 months as a registered patient and I will share here that it has been a pain in my life to navigate. I have found some good things to report but my overall experience has left me feeling underserved and in complete disdain for the system as it currently sits.

When I walk into a legal cannabis store I am shopping to find medicine that is hopefully going to relieve pain, muscle spasms, depression, and anxiety. Unless I immediately disclose my need for a medically endorsed bud tender to help me, I am treated as if I am there to get high. It’s offensive but I ignore it. The first question most budtenders ask is if I am looking for a sativa or an indica. They have rarely have the service skills and product knowledge to really help me out.

I’m still learning how to shop in an informed way while being able to take care of my health and not break the bank. The first question I ask is if the store has anything that is known to be pesticide free. My experience has been that in many stores there might be ONE brand that they know of that claims to be pesticide free. I’ve been told multiple times by bud tenders that it is not possible to grow cannabis without pesticides. I’ve walked out of more than one store empty handed because they could not find a single brand of concentrate or flower that claimed to be pesticide free.

When I get home and open my packages to experience what I just bought 98% of the  time I am disappointed on some level. Most flower seems to have long lost its sticky icky even if it looks super good it often will smell underwhelming. I’ve smelled and seen concentrates I would never use and that would never have been purchased if I could have seen an open container of the stuff.

Then there is the packaging. So much plastic and the idea that most people are purchasing small increments like 1 and 2 grams at a time boggles my mind and hurts the tree hugging side of my brain.

The most cost effective thing I have been able to create from a retail pot shop is my own edibles. I will purchase a concentrate and put it into coconut oil and BAM, edibles at a fraction of the cost of store bought and custom dosed for my needs per serving, which by the way is more than just 10mg of THC.

Now, this is the point that I will break in with a couple of exceptions worth mentioning here. Have a Heart has started offering a 25% discount to registered cannabis patients and when I mentioned this on my social media recently I was also informed of other stores like Green Theory in Bellevue and Clutch in South Seattle is offering a 20% discount to patients. I think that is awesome because it really does make a difference on my weed budget.

Again, I’m not shopping to get high, dear Washington legislators, I’m proactively taking care of my health so I may continue to be a productive, tax-paying member of society despite chronic debilitating health issues as recommended by my doctor.

If you are or know a store that is doing exceptional things for patients give me a shout so I can share it out and help as many patients as possible through this odd time in legalization.

Should I Get On The New MMJ State Registry?

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My life with cannabis changed last week. Actually the laws surrounding medical cannabis is what changed and I am just trying to keep up.

Another loophole has been added for Washington cannabis patients, they must now register with the state through a state licensed retail marijuana store unless they are ok with only growing four plants, paying full tax should they ever buy from stores, and not having arrest protection should they ever be dealing with law enforcement.

When I first got my recommendation five years ago I remember how grateful I was to be able to get and use cannabis legally even though the process felt very strange in how it pushed me out of the traditional western medical system to get it. It all felt like a positive thing even though there were a number of steps and loopholes to jump through to legally be able to use it.

While I still feel very grateful to legally be able to use medical cannabis I have been surrounded and influenced by many personalities with very different opinions about the new state registry.

The majority of patients have told me they are not going to participate in the optional state registry and boldly/quietly do what they were doing before the new laws were made limiting possession, home grow, and access to current available medicines. They believe that the way the registry is set up goes against our rights as patients. Not to mention they are all steaming and freshly wounded from the changes to the law without adequate places to go when the law changed. I get it, believe me. The whole thing makes me want to puke.

I also have a whole other court of people in my cannabis life who say the registry is worth the arrest protection and legal defense not to mention the “freedoms” it allows for if you grow your own.

Do I think they are going to watch me extra close and raid me because I am now on a registry so I can grow and eat my own cannabis plants? Anything is possible with prohibition. (If they are not already watching, hi, I’m TwiceBaked in Washington- law abiding cannabis patient, hemp foodie, positivity spitfire. Nice to meet you.)

Upon renewing my medical cannabis recommendation last month, I asked my doctor to indicate on my card that I need to grow more than 4 plants in order to access regular fresh cannabis juice. That was the first step of the new invasive steps I have to follow.

Next, I have to register. I’m not sure where to go that isn’t at least an hour long drive from my house and as of yesterday I heard retail stores were having issues accessing the registry and were not actually able to hand out cards. But, sometime after the long weekend I will spend time, gas, and precious energy to keep up with the law.

I’m not happy about the changes in the “Patient Protection Act” but I am trying to keep a forward thinking attitude. Despite the loopholes, the poorly executed meld of recreational and medical, the limitations, the expense, and the effort it takes to remain a law abiding cannabis patient in Washington State it is still (arguably) better than no access which is the case for much of the world.

The legal cannabis scene is a rollercoaster to be involved with. I’ve come to realize that I am better in this world using cannabis for my health and that I can personally do much more to spread the good that this plant does if I follow the rules- however full of bullshit they may be.

That being said, I also stand with and support my fellow patients who choose to stay off of the registry for their own reasons and am very curious to hear of the insanity that will likely ensue from patients who may not able to follow the rules initially because the medicine they currently use is not available in stores or they can’t afford it now because it costs way more than they have been paying.

Whatever your stance is on being on the state registry, stay safe and stay well.

-TwiceBakedinWA

 

 

Saying Goodbye To Medical Cannabis In Washington State

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MMJ Universe Cannabis Farmer’s Market in Black Diamond Washington

There are less than two weeks left before new medical cannabis regulations go into effect in Washington State. For those of us who get our cannabis medicine from the current system that patients have been using since the 90’s, this is a big change nobody is looking forward to.

As I was driving out to MMJ Universe in Black Diamond this past Saturday I found tears streaming down my face thinking about this being one of the last times I would be making that sweet drive in the country to spend time shopping for cannabis in an open market environment.

I’ve been feeling a touch reminiscent about my times out at that specific market where I have met hundreds of patients and growers. Through regular market visits and attending events held there I have been able to plug in with the cannabis community.

I started going there before the adult use of cannabis was legalized in Washington State and I have been able to observe an evolution that the market has taken not only with how beautiful the grounds have become but also to how the market itself has changed over the years.

When I first started attending the market almost every table had a bong or pipe set up so you could sample their products right there. When you walked in the doors it was often a little cloudy and everybody was relaxed with their with cannabis. This was a unique shopping experience, very new to me, and very refreshing to be around. Eventually the smoking was moved outside and while that mildly changed the experience, the freedom felt and education given to patients at the market continued.

When I talked to Diedre, the owner of MMJ Universe, she said she is planning a big celebration on the 30th of June with music and vending to shed some happiness despite how sad so many of us are to be losing our beloved market.

I have much to celebrate from the gains that I have received from that market and even as the tears again roll down my face thinking that it is closing all I can do is thank Diedre and everybody involved in keeping the market going for so long and for focusing on positives and solutions at the end of this medical cannabis era.

-TwiceBakedinWA

July Is Coming: What Will Cannabis Patients Do?

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Coming on July 1, 2016 are major changes to the medical cannabis laws in Washington State. As a cannabis patient, I’m feeling a level of heaviness and uncertainty because the changes affect the way I currently access cannabis.

The changes are across the board from how much I am allowed to have on me, how much I can grow, how much I will pay, whether I want to be on a state registry or not, and where I can purchase my cannabis.

What I can grow will be reduced from 15 plants to 4. The amount of flower that I am able to carry on me will go from 24oz to 3oz. No more patient to patient sharing…and the list goes on.

I currently get a large portion of my supply from the medical cannabis farmers markets and occasionally from one collective storefront near my house that I have frequented for years now. That store is likely getting turned into a retail store with a medical endorsement to service patients who are part of the state registry.

Currently, my least favorite choice is getting cannabis from a store but soon that will be my only option. If I choose to not be on the state’s registry I’m not going to be getting any tax breaks and I would not be able to purchase as much. Regardless of whether or not I get a tax break, I’m pretty sure I’ll still have to pay way more than I’m paying now.

I plan to grow my own this summer but I’m not sure how I feel about being on a registry to be able to grow more than 4 plants.  4 plants won’t allow for much raw juicing so I would certainly want to get permission from my doctor to grow more than 4 plants if I do get on the registry.

Another word about the registry, a medical cannabis authorization does not provide protection from arrest unless you are entered in the medical marijuana authorization database and hold a recognition card. That certainly is an incentive to be on the registry but it once again of feels like patients are being treated as second class citizens.

I’ve been asking other current patients what they are planning to do and they have given me a large variety of answers. Most patients who shop at the farmers markets don’t know where they will go for medicine in July or if they want to be on a registry either. Some say they will grow their own, a few have said they will join the registry, and others have said they are making their connections now to have a guy who can take care of their cannabis needs.

In asking providers what they are planning to do I get a gamet of answers too. Some are not sure,  some are transitioning into the regulated marketplace, and some will hand you a card and offer to become your cannabis ‘guy.’

I was once mildly excited about the regulation of medical cannabis but after watching the retail system deal with pesticide grown weed I can’t help but be concerned about the quality controls for my medicine despite this required testing. If they haven’t been able to achieve quality control in the current system that has been running for over two years, how is the newly regulated medical marijuana system going to be an improvement over the unregulated, organic, frequently tested, tax free cannabis that I have access to right now?

I continue the quest to become a master cannabis grower so I can ideally manage my own supply. I know the changes will be a tough pill to swallow for many and am curious to see if people who are sick, low income, and frequently on disability will be able to afford regulated medical cannabis not covered by insurance and what new brands will step up to provide help for those in need, if possible.

The positives at the end of the day, I still have legal access to medical cannabis to manage my own chronic health conditions and I can still grow my own.

If you need to learn more about the upcoming changes, here is a link for the Department of Health website about medical cannabis laws:

http://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/Marijuana/MedicalMarijuana/Laws

Stay safe my friends.

-TwiceBakedinWA

 

 

‘The Cannabis Spa At Home’: A TwiceBaked Book Review

Making Cannabis Topicals at home.

Making Cannabis Topicals at home.

About a month ago I received a book in the mail from Sandra Hinchliffe, the Hempista, who has just published a book called The Cannabis Spa At Home. This is her second published book, a how-to guide for making marijuana infused lotions, massage oils, ointments, bath salts, spa nosh, and more.

I was so excited to receive it, read the whole book from cover to cover, and have already created two of the recipes. I made the, ‘Herbal Spa Jar Oil Jar’ that is still curing in my cupboard and will be ready to in two more weeks. I also made the healthy ‘European Sipping Chocolate’, to drink while I was making the massage oil. Yummy! The recipes were easy to follow and modify as needed.  Exactly what I would hope for from a quality recipe book.

I did have one minor personal dislike: The title of Chapter 3 is called ‘Let’s Get High on Bath Salts.’ While I fully understand that it is meant to just be a cute play on words, as somebody who is reading the book to find healing recipes, I found the words to be somewhat offensive and disrespectful for anybody and their families who may have died using the deadly synthetic drug commonly known as ‘bath salts.’ The rest of the book is so lovely that this odd title just stuck out like a sore thumb. So, I actually took a pen to my book and retitled it ‘Let’s get Highly Relaxed on Bath Salts.’

The book has inspired me to try making some kind of lemon lavender lotion or massage oil next. Actually it kind of makes me want to throw a topical making girl party and teach my friends how to do it too!

Thank you Sandra Hinchliffe for sharing such a beautiful piece of work with the world and inspiring us to look after ourselves. Keep up the great work!

-TwiceBakedinWA

Exercise, Scoliosis, And Cannabis: There Is No Space For Ego

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Remember the things you were able to physically do a decade ago? Can you still do them? This week I rediscovered an old photo album of a yoga photoshoot I did a decade ago. It was beautiful but it was also eye opening because I no longer lived in the same body that could do those poses.

The scoliosis I have been dealing with since age 10 told me back then that it would be wise to capture my spine movement I was able to physically do because one day I may not be able to do them. I never imagined that day would seemingly come so fast.

As I was looking at these old photos, I realized that I could now only do about half of the poses the way they looked in the pictures. Major ego check.

Then I started thinking about how different it was when I used cannabis way back then. I would smoke weed before I exercised to enhance my workout and be able to focus and feel on a whole new level.

Ego check number two…

These days I’m using cannabis not to enhance my workout but to actually be able to do the workout. When I get up early in the morning my back doesn’t want to workout and will protest by being sore and tight. I usually apply a cannabis topical to my torso, take some kind of CBD edible or tincture, and vaporize flower when I have it. Having to modify my intention with why and how I use cannabis is a reality check.

My morning workouts themselves have changed and are rarely high energy because my spine doesn’t want that. It wants gentle, low-key, and mellow first thing in the morning so I usually end up doing stretches and core work.

This whole experience of having to maintain a scoliotic spine is a humbling one. I have only so much control over it but it is still my job to care full-time for this little body while I live in it and be able to learn from the lessons that it provides me. Tuning in with cannabis and exercise allows me to keep the relationship with my body a positive one although that remains a major task.

If you are dealing with scoliosis or back pain I encourage you, as I do myself, to just keep moving. Respect the messages your body is sending you in its pain. Use cannabis with positive intention so you can live a higher quality of life and wellness. And then release your ego as soon as possible.

-TwiceBakedinWA

Hempfest 2015: This Protestival Just Keeps Getting Better

Last weekend I attended the 24th annual Hempfest in Seattle on the waterfront of Myrtle Edwards Park. This was my third time attending the Protestival and I thoroughly enjoyed all three days there. While in the past years I have been a volunteer and attendee, this year I was there representing MJ Headline News and MJBA to capture as much of the experience as possible.

On Friday, true to Seattle weather, there was thunder and lightning and torrential downpours shortly after the park opened to attendees. I was soaked to the bone walking to the far end of the park with my boss, David Rheins, who was scheduled to speak. When we got there the speakers were all huddled under the backstage tents of the McWilliams/Black Memorial stage and there wasn’t an audience. The stage manager was still giving the mic to the speakers who were there to have their voice heard. It was there that I met Roger Tilton, Senate State Candidate from New Hampshire:

Saturday and Sunday brought much nicer weather and crowds of marijuana enthusiasts. When not hanging out at the MJBA booth, I was walking from one end of the park to another, checking out vendors, visiting with speakers and guests backstage, and making videos for Marijuana Channel One.

This Hempfest was much different than the last two in that I was able to fulfill a goal of being able to capture and share with the world this unique event in the cannabis industry and culture.

I want to give a huge THANK YOU to Hempfest for making sure I could access all I needed to and a thank you to MJBA for giving me platform that allows me to go more places and share with the world what happens behind the scenes.