Posts Tagged ‘washington’

The Healthy Cannabis Lifestyle Project

A few years back, at some cannabis industry event, I met Jerry Whiting. If you’ve ever met Jerry, you probably know he is a jovial, kind, and generous man who does a lot for the cannabis community and has a great deal of knowledge about using the plant for improving health in those with serious ailments and also those who are healthy and wanting to stay that way.

Jerry and pj

Jerry was the one who introduced me to the experience of regularly using cannabidiol (CBD) as part of my cannabis regimen. His line of LeBlanc CNE high CBD and low THC tinctures proved to be life altering in my long term cannabis use. He is also the one who taught me exactly how to decarboxylate cannabis without all the bad information that exists out there on the interweb. Here is a link if you want to learn how to decarb too…

This year Jerry, through his brand LeBlanc CNE, launched an educational cannabis health podcast  peppered with special guests and his own very entertaining stories. I am happy and privileged to be a regular contributor on the podcast. Here is the show Jerry and I recently did about using cannabis as part of a healthy lifestyle.

I also recently launched a motivational food and health blog, Butterfly Sessions, as part of my work as a holistic health coach. Follow me there for motivation to keeping a healthy lifestyle and original recipes of seasonal, hemp, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free meals and treats that are easy to prepare, delicious, and nutritious.

Peace.

 

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.

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

Why Does Medical Cannabis Feel So Second Class?

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One of the most fascinating and annoying parts of using medical cannabis is how I repeatedly feel treated as a second class patient or citizen for my health choices. Not only by the occasional friend but also medical professionals and even society in general.

Ask anybody who is seeking out how to legally use medical cannabis, it is a journey filled with prejudices.

First, you have to self educate and get over the stigma of being told it is a dangerous drug, used by losers and addicts with no brain cells who sit around all day playing video games and eating munchies on the couch.

Then, you have to have the talk with your doctor. In some cases you will have to seek out a new doctor if yours is uneducated about cannabis or unwilling to have the conversation with you. If all else fails your last option is to go to one of those medical cannabis clinics that staffs a doctor (often a naturopath) who will give you an evaluation and recommend cannabis if you match the state’s prequalifying medical conditions that allows them to suggest you use cannabis. You will just need to provide your current medical records that show you have been seen by other doctors, confirm your diagnosis, and show you have tried other pharmaceutical drugs before ever considering cannabis.

Now that you have your state required recommendation, which was not free or paid for by insurance, you have to start the search for your cannabis medicine. Currently there is no pharmacy that your doctor can connect you with so it is literally up to you to find a legal cannabis shop and figure out what products work best for you.

Now, you are officially out of the modern medical system and in a whole other class that is not recognized by insurance, doctors, or even the federal government as a valid and effective medical treatment.

It is not uncommon when conversing about health for people to ask me if I am being seen by a ‘real doctor.’ I can’t even begin to tell you how offensive that is on so many levels but it highlights what I’m talking about perfectly. Although I regularly see my doctor once a month, if I am not being seen by a western medicine doctor I have been given the vibe they don’t think that I am truly looking after my health very well.

I have met many cannabis patients who have been dwelling outside of the western medical system to help manage or cure their issues for years and now find themselves in a perpetual B-Class system of sorts where they are responsible for finding, preparing, dosing, even growing their own cannabis medicine. They have found that cannabis works better for them than the pharmaceutical alternatives and are willing to jump through the hoops to use a natural medicine even if it puts them on the fringe of society.

No matter how good your health insurance benefits might be, your medical cannabis is not covered by insurance and is therefore paid for out of pocket by you.

To review, it is not that hard to get medical marijuana. All you have to do find the right doctor, prove you have qualifying medical conditions, seek out where to buy it, figure out how to take it, and be able to pay for it out of pocket.

I know that to simply remain a legal cannabis patient this weird journey is not over because I currently have all of those things figured out for myself. Never mind the constantly changing laws, if I move or need to find a new doctor I will have to deal with all of these same issues again.

Cannabis may be an A-class medicine but it totally still comes with B-class prejudices.

-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

 

 

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.

Washington’s Medical Cannabis Farmer’s Markets Remain Open, For Now

With recent changes to the medical cannabis laws in Washington the future of medical cannabis farmer’s markets are looking bleak and uncertain.

One market, MMJ Universe in Black Diamond, announced this week that after years of providing a safe access point for thousands of medical cannabis patients they would be shutting down by August 8th. This announcement came shortly after a press conference by the King County Sheriff that said all medical cannabis dispensaries will need to shut their doors if they are not part of the regulated system that Washington has created for recreational use.

When I arrived at the MMJ Universe market on Saturday, I was pleasantly greeted with a sign that said, “We are staying open.” Apparently, they have been advised that they will be able to remain operating until at least October and possibly beyond.

Most of the cannabis vendors that I talked to there were relieved to hear this news but still very apprehensive to feel optimistic because of how the new laws are requiring a major cutback in what they are able to provide for themselves and other patients.

As a patient who frequents these cannabis markets, I would love to see these special places continue to operate in the state. They provide an important and safe place where people can access affordable medicine, learn about many different strains, how to use them, and regularly come together as part of a larger cannabis community.

To check out my video at MMJ Universe on Marijuana Channel One, click here: