The name “420” has become synonymous with the cannabis lifestyle and a celebration that occurs every April In many parts of the world, it’s a day when people come together to get high and enjoy cannabis infused foods, drinks and music. But the origins of this cherished date are so complex that it can be challenging to figure out where it came from and what it means.
Originally, the term 420 was a code that five high school students in San Rafael California, used to refer to their daily meeting at 4:20 pm. They called themselves the Waldos and met at a wall outside their school to discuss weed.
They had heard about an abandoned marijuana crop based on a treasure map, and they decided to search it out. They drew a map, found their meeting time, which just so happened to be 4:20, and planned to go to the Louis Pasteur statue on campus to start their search.
Their plan was to light a joint at the Louis Pasteur statue and then drive around the area in their car looking for the plot. They didn’t find the plant they were looking for, but they did make a plan to meet again at 4:20 pm and light a joint again, which became the basis for 420.
They later passed on this code to their friends, who also began saying the word 420. Eventually, the term spread throughout California, and it was also adopted by Grateful Dead fans, who started to use the phrase as well 420 has become a part of the language of cannabis culture and there is no end in sight!
I broke up with that disgusting and dreadful monster 4-years-ago and I think about her every day.
I couldn’t help the temptation. The blissful period when the thoughts stopped swirling in my head was my muse. She was, without a doubt, the one that would always be there to comfort me when I needed her. I told myself at a young age that one day we would part. In actuality, I counted on the fact that I would forget that promise to myself one day and my relationship would last forever.
I thought I loved her, but I realized, not as quickly as I would have liked, that I was under a spell. That spell that she cast had a hold of me and would not allow my thoughts to wander too far away.
Many other people have had “relations” with this overbearing and smothering polygamist. Though she is very committed to seeing that your side of the relationship is followed through, she could care less about the expectations that any of us have had of her.
She is the epitome of everything I know, love, and hate with a passion. “But it’s been 4 years!” you say, and I hear it. I just can’t wash it away. Sadly, I believe it may have been true love…
My thoughts have shifted over time. I’ve invested in the “new” me. I noticed early that I judged myself constantly. I started to think that this must have been the way I’ve acted toward myself for the majority of my entire life. Who was I to judge?… Then I started to wonder why I would do this to myself. With that, of course, came more self-judgment.
I’ve entered into a new space, now that it’s been 4 years. This space does nothing to take me away from the love that I still feel in my heart for her. I can’t seem to shake that. However, I am doing my best to play an active role in creating more changes for the betterment of my life. This new level of clarity is definitely becoming the most psychologically challenging aspect of my growth. It’s just so hard to get away from that cold hearted beast.
I struggle with calibrating my thoughts to align with my actions. I see it with my mindseye, yet I cannot fix it. It feels electric. The vibrations and emotions that are flowing as you watch yourself behave as if you are no longer in control. It’s a very unusual and strange experience. I’m sure many of you can relate.
I’m told it’s just a phase. Another stepping stone to get away from attachments, which may lead me back to her. Even though, a lot of the time, I struggle to have any desire to lift my foot, in hopes she may call again.
For now I will replace my old Valentine, called addiction, with something a little more pleasant. The thought of what is to come. This keeps me going. I know that someday my relationship with her won’t be so rocky. Maybe then everything will be aligned.
We pulled into the parking lot of what was obviously a structure built to move heavy machinery and vehicles, I noticed the sign for Wellevate Farms, but I couldn’t help but wonder. I thought to myself, “Why is that large, roughly 75 foot tall, gas rig blocking my parking space?” Then I took a good look around. I noticed more heavy equipment, trailers, and yes, even more rigs that stood tall and inoperable. I thought to myself again, “Maybe I should open my eyes and stop listening to that constant repetitive voice coming from my speakers?”
I felt as if I had driven into the wrong address until I recognized a smile. The smile was large and the man behind it couldn’t seem more welcoming. Adam Stockman presented himself as one of the directors. The man that wears many hats with a team of fellow multi-hatters designed to accomplish whatever is put in front of them. We were invited inside.
John Hughes himself would have been jealous and may have even made the motion to dial his attorney if he were to walk into the facilities at Wellevate Farms in Skiatook, OK. The large, almost circular interior structure with a maze/classroom aesthetic would have him screaming at the old troupe to gear up and shoot The Breakfast Club 2.0.
“So this room will soon be the house dispensary.” Adam pointed over my shoulder. “That’s why we picked the one with the exterior door.”
We met Adam during the Cowboy Cup in December 2022. One of the late nights of the cup led both myself and Brook Miller to a table where Adam and a new product awaited our introduction. The product is actually designed and offered by Wellevate Farms themselves. It’s called the WelleVape.
I will do my best to describe the product. The product is vaporized inside of the device. The vapor then flows and fills the chalice or glass. Then bottoms-up! You drink and repeat. It’s surprising, unique, and comes with an experience to accompany your meds.
We were invited to repeat as many times as desired. We made sure we had plenty of “introduction” time for one another.
“We found a way to procreate our own dispensary.” I listened as Adam opened up more. “Yeah. and, we’re about 60 days out. We were lucky for how we found ours though. I mean, I’ve heard $$$$ over and over, and we found something nowhere near those numbers. We were able to acquire this and even own the building. Most licenses are not available the way ours was, and for that we are very grateful.”
He must have noticed the twitch in my brow as he spoke and peaked my interest. Adam continued, “Yeah. The old owner just didn’t ever put anything together here. We took it off his hands. We think we can do something special with this place. That’s what we are here to do.”
The informed and intelligent Adam pointed out that the goal was to become more of an appointment only dispensary. They want to offer medicines to those specifically in the area that are in need. However, because that is where their cultivation and lab is located, they feel it best to keep the main gate closed to the public.
“Everyone always says they want to carry our product.” Adam showed that giant smile again. “We know we have the right product.” Adam’s confidence was sure. “Our sales have already given us a very positive projection. Now it’s time to network, continue marketing, and advertising so we can become more top of mind for patients when they choose.”
These guys definitely have a “There’s nothing in getting our way” attitude. They have a fully operational grow facility. They are smashing killer solventless hash rosin on a press made for giants. They have 120 Square Feet of freeze drying space. They even have their own CO2! Afterall, we were essentially standing on top of a natural gas well. I couldn’t have been more impressed.
Adam continued to show us around. “I mean, with the equipment that we have and the facility that we have, it’s been a long haul. We are all-in on the investment, time and money. More than I could have fathomed. So it’s a long game. We’re honest with ourselves though. We have an accountant. Other than accounting, we don’t really outsource anything. Everything is pretty much created in-house, even metric.”
The team at Wellevate was surprisingly small compared to the output of the facility. There’s Adam Stockman who is the general manager/all hats, and a very knowledgeable lead cultivator, Brandon Summers.
We ran into Devon Gaines and Chad Upton. Both are hash washers for Wellevate. They help press the magic, which is Wellevate Farms signature hash rosin. Fluid for the god’s, if you will. We actually had the opportunity to witness the making of said fluid.
The press was more than a press. We walked into the dedicated press room and sat back and watched as they prepped the product. At 180 degrees this beast will smash 3 full 15 gram pouches at one time. That is 45 grams in one press. They use a Low temp V2 Medusa. They have also fabricated a custom mechanical arm, which adds tilt to the base of the press to assist the drip. The team claims that they have noticed a slight change in quality since implementing this lift system. I was more than impressed.
“It’s a lot like a family around here.” Adam explained a common scenario in the cannabis industry. However, this one seemed to be run by individuals that have the mental capability to set boundaries around those emotions. They were there for business, and they all knew it. “Yeah. I wouldn’t say that on any given day, we all get along by any means. But at the end of the day, I also know that if I need something, I’m going to call one of these guys. We butt heads, because we all have real high expectations of what we want to happen. We know that we’re on the right team. We are like a bunch of brothers and sisters around here. We’d probably be better off with some boxing gloves some days. In the end we love and respect one another.”
Adam walked us through the place as if he were showing us his newly remodeled house. I felt that if Adam had a second home it would have been the apartment he slept in and paid rent for about an hour away. I even had the thought of asking him for random shop items. I had an inkling that he would be able to whisp off for a minute and retrieve anything that I requested.
I was curious about his thoughts on cleanliness and managing quality and testing. Knowing now of how small the crew was that operated such a large space, I wondered if there might be issues. As I looked around in every room there were signs of constant cleaning. Some of the spaces looked as if the equipment had just been installed. These guys had the process down for sure. The convincingly honest Adam opened an eye, “My strategy for taking lead for testing is to reach my hand into the big tub and get five grams of random nugs. I’m not cutting the top. I’m not cutting the nicest, prettiest bud off the top of the nicest, prettiest plant in the room. I literally want to take an honest sample. I think it causes us to get lower numbers sometimes. But, I’d rather somebody get a bud from us that says 25% and they get home and they get 30%.”
One of the largest factors keeping the overhead so low while also giving Wellevate Farms the ability to operate with a crew of only five is automation. “Whenever we harvest, we’ve got the bucker.” Adam started pointing at massive and sometimes intricate pieces of hardware inside the expansive main floor. “We’ve got the sorting table, I’ve got the machine trimmer, and we have a room over here that holds 288 plants. We can harvest that in one day with only three people. Our goal is always to go from a live plant to the freezer in a maximum of 45 minutes. If we can hit 30 to 40 minutes, that’s where I’m happy. An hour is acceptable, but not desired.”
After viewing the rooms, which included three mom rooms, a separate clone room, and 13 others used for cultivation, I was asked to enter another part of the building. As I walked through the doorway I felt as if I had entered a portion of the building which was its financial nucleus. It was warm and inviting, yet very much more formal than the rest of the building. I was introduced to two partners. Blaine Heg and Gary Lewis were welcoming and relaxed. I felt comfortable as we spoke.
“When you get the right people all pushing in the same direction it’s hard to stop.” Blaine seemed very savvy. His demeanor demanded respect, however I felt the desire to give respect even with my eyes closed. He seemed very well established and I could sense that any ventures that peaked his interest would certainly be solid.
“We’re more hands on.” Blaine took the lead, “We come from a world where we realize that everything mechanical is gonna break and it’s nice to know we can fix it. One of the biggest things for us is the ability to have everything right there. If we don’t we can usually find it or fabricate it ourselves.”
The owners at Wellevate Farms have been able to incorporate the use of other subcontractors. “We’ve brought subs in on our buildouts. These are local electricians, plumbers, contractors, builders, and more. We work side by side with them. Honestly the questions they’ve asked have been game changing. It’s valuable because I never thought of it the way they bring up specific issues.”
Many leaders in cannabis, as well as so many other industries, tend to think they can purchase success. Some go out and purchase the “best” lighting systems. Maybe go look for the most expensive starting quarterback when all they needed was to look around at the team. Blaine and Gary didn’t want that. They had no desire to go scouting. They wanted to build a strong and long lasting environment with people they knew and trusted. So they did both.
Fortunately they did, in-fact, find the experts fit for Wellevate Farms. However, in this case, they didn’t have to go out and seek it.
I was at a breaking point on a couple of projects that were nearly finished. My director, at the time, had been going through a ton of personal issues. His loved one had recently passed. This had been someone that he loved dearly. Someone that passed entirely too soon.
Many around him could tell that this had affected him greatly. I would often have talks alone with him and became quite comfortable talking freely about our personal life. I knew that he was not in the right frame of mind. I could feel a sense of non-enthusiasm coming from him. I started noticing him working up a 12 hour day sweat like the old days in areas of the building that he may had once even managed. He was searching for something, as if he were searching for a purpose.
One day I overheard someone talk poorly of my director’s performance over the past couple of weeks. I was very curious as to why my colleagues would stoop so low as to start rumors. I shrugged it off. I respected the man they chose to speak poorly of. I knew of his long career and dedication to his people and his family. I could not show respect to anything that would shed a dark light on him.
A few days passed by and we received a visit from the “big wigs” in the company. Otherwise known as cost cutters. Corporate ninjas coming in to cut the fat. I noticed many of my colleagues collecting around the group of ninjas. They were offering them lunch. They were throwing out fun “after-hours” ideas for the group. You know….buddy, buddy…
Meanwhile my director sat in his office going over numbers. He was no longer considered a leader by some. I witnessed as some used him like a ladder to gain approval from the cost-cutters.
The “ninjas” wanted to have a round table discussion with the group. For some reason they felt it would be just fine to leave my director, the head honcho, out. I felt uneasy as I watched people that had worked in the industry, a fraction of the time that my director had, talk badly about his work ethic. My jaw simply would not shut. They acted as if the flow of the office was more important than humanity. It was like watching an angry mob throw rotten vegetables at the heroic knight after he fell.
I thought of all the time he had put into his career. In the past he told me stories of projects that he spearheaded. He spoke of tasks that I would have killed to be involved in. I respected this person as a human and a master of his craft.
As I witnessed the rumblings of a coo, I worried that what had been said would never be forgotten. I worried that the group could never really trust one another again. I worried so much about everyone else. I wondered if my director would ever catch wind of what was said in that room. I felt a deep sense of shame for the group and sadness for the man.
A few days later my director announced his retirement. Another chapter in the books for him. I can’t say whether or not that discussion had anything to do with the announcement. However, I do know that he could have never made a better decision.
I wonder sometimes how 5 minutes of rumors could make 35 years of dedication and experience turn into a tainted bucket of water.
I realize now that that bucket was only tainted in the eye of the beholder. I look at this person’s path as somewhat of a discovered journey. One that makes no difference as to who is liked or disliked. One that has broken chains of being attached to opinions of a group of people that know nothing of his very own craft.
Now I see him from afar. I still admire his ability to remain authentic and pure to his craft. I read his words when there’s the chance. I still love (almost) every piece. I love to imagine myself to one day attain the position that he has. His position in life. His sense of self shows with his actions and hardly ever his words, unless they are written.
It’s kind of funny how something that seems so dirty can actually be some of the purest liquid of life, if it’s simply allowed to settle.
“We’ve all been in this together. I remember Temple Kush put us on the map. Now look at us. We are rocking and rolling and we can’t stop right now. I keep telling Joe, ‘you got to have a gig and stick with it, try like hell to be the best at it, and you will do very well in this industry.’ That’s what we do.” Brian Ganster, owner of Mowdy Farms was rested and ready for his second time to be featured in Herbage Magazine.
Brian speaks of a Temple Kush strain that was available in a local dispensary about 3-years-ago. I had the amazing opportunity to try and hoard quite a bit of that flower before I finally decided to track down the grower and interview him. Ahh, the temple kush…
It’s time to catch up. It’s time to check in with our friends and see how they are compared to back then. Spoiler alert… I wasn’t disappointed.
As I walked through the front entrance, I noticed a complete and total makeover of sorts. The last time Herbage and Mowdy Farms connected like this, Mowdy operations were located in a different location entirely. They now had, what looked and smelled and acted like, a brand new spot to grow some of the best medicine in the cannabis market.
Speaking of the cannabis market… The Oklahoma cannabis market seems to be shifting in a way that may be pleasing to some and not so much to others. This was more of where my interest was at the moment.
I travel a lot. I visit many areas of the state and talk to many people within the industry. There’s growing concern among many smaller “mom & pops” of whether or not they can sustain. It’s so important for all pro-cannabis communities to come together, as one, to make the best decision for the greater good.
Much of what I am hearing is actually optimistic. This is when I talk to those that aren’t necessarily trying to “get out while they can”. I talk to those that understand that there is an entire ecosystem at hand to maintain sustainability. A solid product, work well within the community, marketing at a balanced level, and continuing to grow a standard for your brand. The cultivators, dispensaries, and other derivative companies that seem to not be less concerned about the future are the ones that practice all of those parts of the equation. If, indeed, there is too much supply, then there must be a way to create a higher demand. In other words, bring your A-game. It’s time.
“The loss of quality is the worst thing that could possibly happen to us,” Brian confirmed. “If we ain’t trying to put out some of the best product we’re going to lose our f****** facing this crap just like everyone else.”
Brian is one of the more intelligent people that I have met in my life. He not only understands and is top notch at cultivating, he understands business. He
understands the simplicity of business and uses it to succeed.
“So when ‘Walmart’ comes in here and just starts making packs, we’ve still got to stand out. We got to have a customer base. We push out good medicine for Oklahoma. No question. We can push out proper medicine to the rest of the country, if they’d let us… However, I know that I want to advertise with Herbage or something that is for everything we stand for. That’s where the money needs to be. Right here in a state where we can sell f****** weed. We still have to be talking to the same people that we know. We have to continue to let people know that we’re kicking it out there. Then it’s up to me to get our prices balanced and competitive. We look at Zenoa, or Cookies, and some of these big boys that are coming from all over the country. We’ve gotta stay competitive, you know?”
Brian kept looking over at his head grower, Joe Faught. Joe is an old school grower. He’s learned some tricks or two on the west coast of our great country. Joe simply smiled and agreed. He was very good at that. However, when it was his turn…
“There’s so much going on in the market. People are talking about taxes here, overhead there, hell, even China is getting involved in the conversation somehow! Really, to me it comes down to holding onto that quality and price. There are so many growers around that are dropping their prices through the floor just to get out or pay some bills. In my opinion, this kills the economy of our industry.” Joe sat back and folded his arms gently.
Brian took the reins, “What I love is that when people go into a dispensary and see our flower they know it’s ours. I want it the same as any of the big
boys. If they see Mowdy weed in a dispensary, then I want them to trust that it is good quality weed. We’ve got to be those guys in order to even stay alive. Then we need to stay legal. To stay compliant with all of the changes and watch the prices of flower drop is very difficult now. The ticket is a huge ticket. But it’s all going to level out at some point. It will level itself out. We just hold onto our quality with a low overhead and continue a marketing strategy that works best for us. Meanwhile, there will be those that go away. Those that can’t stay compliant. Hell, make enough laws and they will push people out of here.”
I couldn’t wait to get my lungs full of some good Mowdy smoke. It’s definitely a “usual” for me at dispensaries that carry them. If you are a dispensary that does not, you may want to consider something of this high caliber.
My relationship over the years with the gang at Mowdy has never failed. Brian has always been a man of his word to me. Someone who, in my opinion, is making a difference for those out there that need his and his team’s experience and ethics when growing the medicine that keeps them so well. The Temple Kush has been long gone. Maybe they will try it again and I’ll go out to the farm and get lost. Who knows? But I do know that every strain that I have tried that is cultivated by Mowdy Farms, thus far, has been some of the highest quality cannabis that I myself have had the pleasure of experiencing.
I peaked over the top of the couch to see if I could catch what was happening outside. Something was going on that made my sister, mom, and the voices going on in this 8-year-old boy’s little head.
I watched as my family’s belongings were taken away. They were stripped away in my mind. I noticed my mother in a frantic state. My sister was a couple years younger and she had no idea. I myself knew of financial difficulties, even at that young age. It just wasn’t avoidable. I wanted to do something so badly to make it all stop. I couldn’t control what was happening in my head. My stomach started to roll. Then I looked over at something that made me feel as if I could make it through anything.
I watched as my dad reacted and witnessed what he had built up for his family over the last few years be repossessed. The look on his face was one of experience in these matters. I knew after watching what he had done in the past that he would overcome what was just set in front of him. I knew and I learned from his calmness in that situation. I could barely breathe, yet he smoked his cigarette as if it were a normal mid-morning break.
I learned a lot over that time of our life. I knew that money was fragile and it really meant nothing when it came to family and love. The support of one another in those times was the most important part of my childhood that I can ever imagine. The humor that was involved would make any down-and-out punk take a pause to laugh. Saturday Night Live had nothing on our skits. We were a tight family.
Sometimes my dad seemed to be in the background after those “crash” days. In other words, he worked his ass off to get what we needed for a family of five and only one income that recently busted. He would work nights and sometimes weeks at a time trying to get it all back. He taught me that no matter what happens, there is a way to dig out, and to always stand by your family and loved ones. That is what matters most.
My dad was simple and straight to the point. Still is. That’s one thing I admire him for.
Now that I am a dad I have been able to look back at my childhood with a much finer tooth comb than I normally would have. I have been able to pull from those winning moments that my dad had with us at that age. I have been able to imagine the failures and how to attempt to avoid them.
Funny thing is that what I learned the most from my dad was that you do not attempt to avoid failures. You navigate through them. Much like the path that I have chosen for myself over the past several years. Even though it seems much like accepting a challenge it’s really not. The hardest part is actually getting yourself to follow through on the “not attempting to avoid failure” part.
Recently I lost more in finances than my dad earned in almost one full year. The gravity of the situation is nearly incomprehensible to someone that comes from what I come from, which is nothing, financially. I have spent my entire life trying to avoid having to peek over that couch again. The loss has affected me greatly. The thought of my son experiencing a replica of that moment haunts me. However, I soon remember the kind of man my dad was. I remember how awesome it was to witness what he had done. That’s when I started idolizing him. I needed a father figure in my life that knew how to stand up for his loved ones, and he was it.
My son is almost 8-years-old now. I tend to see myself in his eyes. I know I shouldn’t, but sometimes it’s involuntary. I assume that he is thinking the same way that I was thinking at that age. I realize that I am totally wrong in that notion and it can actually be dangerous to his own psyche if I were to explore that realm further. So, I watch and learn.
I am able to witness the simplicity of life through him. I can have a near devastating hiccup in my normal daily routine and he somehow seems to know exactly what to say to help. I’m very careful to not become dependent on the words and emotions of my son, but it’s hard. As a parent you have to know…
When my son was born I could hardly handle the positive energy that was flowing. I was able to see people that I had not seen in such a long time. It was as if my son’s birth was a reunion of sorts. It was great.
Soon after I was back to hiding my emotions and calming the voices through alcohol and pills. I couldn’t help but think of the day when he would see me fail. My friends and I would have drunken talks at night about our fathers. It was ridiculously self-serving. It was the kind of talk you would think a bunch of sappy drunks would slur about so they could outdo one another.
The one thing that one of my friends did ask that stuck out to me was, “Do you remember the day you discovered your dad was not superman?” I did remember. It was the father I call dad today. It was the asshole that beat my mother and did many bad things before my real superman dad came to save us.
Finally it got to me. The drink. I had to stop or I was going to no longer be of this realm for much longer. The one true thing that keeps me sober is the love that I have for people that I care about. The most important person in my world is my son. He has given me wings in order to step away from the poison and fly high alongside him a little bit longer in life.
I also attribute my health and sanity to cannabis. I have never thought of myself as a cannabis dad. I still don’t. I think of myself as a dad. I consume cannabis so that I can keep the quality of life that my son deserves to see his father have. That’s what cannabis does for me as a father. However the magic comes from my children.
Many do not know this about me unless you know me well. I have another child that I am also very proud of. Jessi was born in 1993. I was a child myself. I had no education, clue, money, experience, or even a highschool diploma when Jessi’s mother was pregnant. What I did have was a beautiful child that I loved dearly and had ZERO clue as to what the hell a young couple with nothing was going to do. So I did exactly what I learned how to do in these situations. I navigated through it. I started working.
I worked a lot and was gone a lot. Jessi was born and we did like any other young and struggling couple that mistakenly thought they knew everything. I had rented a house that just so happened to have an address that was very close to the university in Ada, Ok. Irony? Poetic? Or just another slap in the face by the universe?
I worked many different jobs over the short time we were together. From painters helper in an auto body shop to heat & air installation. I was a jack of many trades. Not all mind you…
I soon found myself in a courtroom. I was being asked to give permission to allow my child to leave the state lines without me. I reluctantly gave in. Though, I knew her mother meant to do well.
Years passed and lives evolved as you can imagine. I reconnected with my child in the teenage years. It went well, but ended not so well in a father’s eye. We didn’t speak for years after that. However, as I stated before, the moment that my son was born reunited many of us. It also brought my other child home for a short while.
At that time I was heavily drinking and taking whatever I could put inside of my system to alter it. I was even hiding it. My own ex-wife had no clue of the amount of alcohol I drank to stay functional. I wasn’t a violent drunk. It was as if that became who I was over time. I was literally drinking for breakfast and then topping it off at night with some sleeping pills and alcohol for the buzz.
Jessi was staying over at my family’s house for a bit while in town trying to find a reason to move back. I was pushing it of course. I wanted nothing more than to have all of my kids and wife in one area. It was like a fairy tale in my head that everyone in the world seemed to keep saying was impossible, yet I knew it wasn’t. I knew deep down inside that I could change it. I could make my family whole again. If I could simply hold it together and make everyone happy things would change for the better.
One night I went back to a room where Jessi was staying. I wanted to talk about things. I was in a head space that I shouldn’t have been in. At that time I had started feeling dizzy every day. I fell once and hurt my head. I just chalked it up to that. I sat down on the edge of Jessi’s bed. The next thing I remember is falling over to the side of the bed and I couldn’t focus. It was strange. I had not drank any more than I normally had. However, the amount that I normally drank was preposterous.
I remember making it to my bedroom and crawling on the floor. I couldn’t get off the floor. Soon after I discovered that I had done too much damage to my body over the years and it was time to make a decision.
I could hear the voices talking as I laid in my closet for days. I noticed my son walking by and looking in the door. I could hear Jessi pleading to someone to take me to the hospital. I thought I started talking to spirits from the past. Even some from the future. I was under a spell that only those that have experienced liver failure or something like it can fathom. I wanted nothing more than to take back what I had done.
In my head I had not been patient enough. By that, I mean I had given up on my ultimate goal without even knowing it. I couldn’t stand the anxiety of it all. In my head I was about to die and I didn’t have enough time to make amends with what I had ju
st realized. It was as if I was dreaming of my own burial. I was alive inside the coffin and couldn’t scream.
After that moment I never touched a drop of alcohol or opiates to cope. Cold turkey. What has opened my mind to the opportunities that I actually have now as a person is cannabis. I medicate regularly with cannabis. I smoke it for anxiety. I smoke it to get high and have fun. I smoke it because it tastes good. I smoke it because I love to party sometimes. I smoke because I want to be there for my children. I smoke because I want to be there for myself.
I am assuming this is the definition of a cannabis dad. Who knows? But what I do know is that cannabis has helped me to become who I really am. Authentically I am a good and loving father and I recognize that my children are their own entities. I understand that each of them has a path that they will choose. I hope that they both are fulfilled greatly as they travel down those paths. I hope that I can be there for them if they ever need my loving support.
I do know something for certain. I am the most authentic self that I can be at this moment and time. It is not perfect and I am so happy that it is not. I love my child Lincoln and my child Jessi with all that I can muster. I love my dad for being the superman that did what he did for us back then.
Even as failure continues to attempt to elude me from achieving my tasks, I appreciate each and everything around me as much and the best that I can. I do have to give gratitude to cannabis. Not only did it bring me to my senses, it brought a ton of my loved ones back together in some strange way. Happy Fathers Day Ronnie. I can only hope that one day my children understand as I do you.
I am standing inside of a room and I have a metal suit on. On each side of me there are magnetized walls. That’s what it feels like and it impairs me when I’m anxious. I have a feeling of displacement and cannot begin to start doing anything that has any kind of forward motion for myself or my business until that displacement is met with some sort of normalcy. I tend to cling onto the ground when this happens.
When I say ground I mean more of a “grounded” feeling. I need to connect with something familiar. I need to have some sort of alignment before I begin.
Today I made the right choice. I chose Baby Breath. This wonderful moment of alignment within myself was cultivated for our pleasure by none other than Great Spirits. Thankfully I was able to locate some, easily, at a local dispensary, Namah Cannabis, in Shawnee.
The high THC level of 28.4% and the terpine high of 2.4% helped tremendously. What really set it off for me in the beginning was the earthy flavors. I could instantly place myself in a realm of content and creativity.
I loved the aromas. I could smell a rose coming from one side. I was now relaxed.
Baby Breath cannabis strain comes from a cross between Freedom Baby and Grateful Breath strains. Knowing what I know now, if I were interested in getting a grip on myself and slowing down for a minute or two, I would look for this strain grown by:
I have been told by several key individuals throughout my life that I am what some call an empath. So I guess that’s what I am. I tend to see myself through others emotions. I dive deep and it gets weird, but I’ve lived with it my whole life. It’s rather difficult to treat myself at times.
A very special person once explained it to me in a way that I could understand. She said that the emotions and toxic energy that flows needs to flow and go somewhere in order to be released. Those that are like myself, mostly bullheaded and so hyper-focused on the end result, tend to capture that energy and have no place for it to be released. So it stays bottled up inside for the “right” moments.
Navigating life with this very common issue leads me right into why I mentioned that it is rather difficult for me to treat myself at times. In order for me to feel like it’s a treat I almost have to slip into old habits.
I decided to have a real day off, At least as much as one could expect when being the owner of an independent multimedia company that changes by the minute. So that morning I turned some tunes on to start off the day. I realized the music selection that I had made was quite interesting. It was the exact soundtrack to my previous life. The life I had before the explosion of legal medical marijuana. It was the soundtrack that I would play when I knew that I was going to be having a “chill-axing” day. I laughed it off.
I felt good. I felt like just a person for a minute. No title. No obligations, other than what was for breakfast. I even had a brand new strain of the best medicine on the planet to try. I was ready.
At this moment I realized that I really had nothing else I wanted to do other than the habit that I had accidentally formed over the past 4 years. So I went to a dispensary to talk with friends. Maybe even work a little. That’d be great.
One of my favorite pastimes is eating. Laugh if you want. I like to eat. When I found out that my illness was going to affect that part of my life I was really disappointed. I accepted it, but have really missed exploring new cuisines. In the meantime I have resorted to candy… I know. Please stop thinking what you are thinking and just read.
If there’s something with sugar inside I will most likely give it a whirl. I shouldn’t and I know that I shouldn’t, yet I still do. I prefer anything that gives me some sort of rush. If my head feels like crystals of lightly shattered and weightless sugar crystals, then I’ve done something right. Sour is always good, but it holds nothing to a crunchy coated shell with a chewy sweet center. As I’m typing this I am wondering what the hell is wrong with me…
Let’s just agree that there is an actual issue at hand here.
Luckily, and perhaps fate would have it, while on my “day off” I ran into an old college friend. One that I actually used to acquire top notch medicine from back in the dark ages of the late 90’s. I had seen him around the cannabis industry from time-to-time and just never added number 2 with that other number 2 over there.
Captain Kirk Reid smiled with his very memorable and near crooked smile. He looked as if he knew something that no one else knew, but really should. The superhero color scheme and vibrance to his logo that surrounded him was form fitting of the hero standing before me. I was happy to see the guy. It brought back some smiles.
After talking with him for a while, I told him of my addiction to candy. He smiled. His “toolbox” was stacked full of wonderful extractions. I told him of my love for skittles. I told him how I thought that they may be one of the best candies ever made.
Writing this allows me to self reflect a smidge. I’m starting to become concerned over this obsession with candy…
Now picture a giant kid with a cool superhero shirt on. Then picture him standing there. He is simply smiling and holding a glass jar with little colorful balls of what looks like candy. He says nothing. He just stands with arm extended and smiles.
“Is this?” I looked at him with wonder. I plucked the jar from his hand and gave it a look. I looked inside and out. What was I looking at? The color of skittles, yet the shape of tiny golf balls?
I quickly took a bite and the captain asked what my thoughts were.
I looked at him and said that I believe I found my replacement.
A new habit quickly formed and an old friendship rekindled. However “habit forming” the process may be, it’s important to remember that things are never locked into stone. It’s okay to dip back into old healthy habits. It’s also kick ass to know there are healthy and non-life threatening replacements that may be right for you. It’s up to you to find them.
Captain Kirk’s Edibles
You haven’t tasted a rainbow this good! Captain Kirk has brought you medicated Freeze Dried Skittles that are sure to take you out of this world! Cosmic Crunchers are crunchy, tasty and will have you wanting more! Micro dosed at 5.5mg each, you can indulge till you feel you’ve met your limit! Don’t miss out on this incredible candy!
The Oklahoma cannabis market has openly worn the title “Wild West of Weed” for a few years now. Thousands of prospective entrepreneurs and marijuana advocates alike have rushed to the red dirt plains of this historically boom or bust state to try their hand at this so called “green rush”. Large multi-state operators and family farms alike have setup shop, and now more than three years into medical legalization the competition for market share has never been fiercer. For many investors in the space that may cause alarm, however the Elias Family and members of the White Barn Bud Ranch team seem to embrace it. “At the end of the day, our goal is to try and bring the highest quality raw medicine to the market. We believe there will always be a place for clean high potency cannabis.” Explains Eric Elias, head of sales and co-owner of White Barn.
Eric, and his brother Corey, never quite imagined they’d end up working together considering their drastically differing career paths. Eric has been a part of the home building industry in Tulsa for nearly 27 years, while Corey has been working in the IT world since its infancy.
“It all started with a simple phone call from my little brother,” Spencer Elias, Grower and co-owner of White Barn Bud Ranch explains while gesturing towards his younger of kin and fellow co-owner, Trevor Elias. “Yeah I’d started working up here for my Uncle Corey when he’d taken up this new grow business. We needed someone to help us get our flower onto store shelves and knew my brother had recently found a real passion for cannabis, so I called and asked if he wanted to come check the farm out.”
“I remember showing up to this rickety old red barn and giant white metal building sitting on a big plot of land just north of Tulsa. This wasn’t necessarily my first time in a commercial grow, but I remember being absolutely awe-struck by the size of the buds my Uncle’s team had been growing,” exclaims Spencer. There was a single flower and veg room at the time with much of the building still being finished out. He went on to describe these bottle sized buds but quickly changed to the issues that came with it. “They were just unmanageable plants, yes we were getting weights and the flowers looked incredible, but it wasn’t feasible and you couldn’t dry them properly. The smoke quality was taking a heavy hit because they were having to speed up the process to prevent potential mold problems. The flavor was just off.” None the less Spencer would still go out and find enough success selling the product that his parents began to take interest.
“My parents realized the passion I had for this plant, I’d been growing while I was at OU along with my roommate and next-door neighbor. My friends and I always had the grand plan of opening our own grow together since 788 had just passed. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to bring them along on this venture, but still do my best to keep in touch and am beyond thankful they were there to push me to follow my dreams.” Elias continued to follow his calling, relentlessly pestering his family to assist him in pursuing his own grow. His father expanded on, “he kept at us, Spencer was convinced he’d find a way to grow commercially. It was great to see him pursuing something he seemed to care so deeply for. There was just a new spark in him.”
When Corey’s farm reached the point that it needed to be producing more product the Elias families partnered up and rebranded the grow, known today as White Barn Bud Ranch. Spencer began his journey as the grower, while Eric and Trevor were laying the ground work on the road going door to door to build their brand. “Something a lot of people find unique about our grow is that we keep our point of sales very limited. The only way dispensaries or processors are able to purchase WBBR product is directly through my Dad or myself,” Trevor explains. It may seem a little old school to some, but the Elias family takes great pride in who they work with and want to be able to make those personal connections with their partners. Spencer chimed in to state, “No one is going to have the same love and care for our product as the people helping produce it. My dad and brother have to sit and listen to me gush about our strains and their characteristics, what this one is good for and why certain people should avoid this plant, so on and so forth.”
Speaking about the people that love and care for the plants, Spencer is under the firm belief that his team is as solid as they come. “We’ve been very fortunate to be surrounded by a bunch of likeminded individuals that have the same, over the top, level of passion for this plant. Every one of them has made substantial sacrifices to make sure our girls always come first.” He goes on to explain how his girlfriend, Molly Dudley, has taken a major role on at the grow. Earning the endearing title of Metric Molly around the farm. “She makes sure we stay organized and on task, her biggest challenge is keeping myself in check,” Elias goes on, “I’m really just the idea guy at the end of the day, she helps me bring them all to life.”
Cheryl Price and her son Jonah have been with the farm since the beginning. Cheryl is one of the lead cultivators and helps run the operations of White Barn Bud Ranch. She’s also considered by many on the crew as well as those that have dealings with White Barn as the barn mom. “I love working with this group of people. I feel like my heart has found a spot to rest safely.”
Jonah Price described how working with such an outstanding bunch of people has given him the ability to grasp comfort. He says that working with intelligent and caring family members has given him the inspiration to grow personally. He wears a ton of hats for the organization, however he says he knows that everyone else has just as many important hats in their collection.
There are a number of others that all play a significant role in getting this product ready for market. However, Spencer continuously notes one thing, “Everyone in that barn has the ability to do any job necessary. This is a group that is eager to learn and adjust on the fly.” From the sound of it Elias is always tinkering and trying to figure his plants out. “We don’t necessarily have the same SOP for each strain. The more we run a certain cut the more we can hone it in. I’ve got a big library of notes and records of the sixty or so strains we’ve cultivated here and make adjustments based on past batches. I’m sure these guys are fed up with me changing our techniques constantly, but they still go and make it all work.”
“One thing I really tried to key in on as I was transitioning from sales to growing was providing a constant variety. When I was out selling previously I’d have two or three strains with me. I realized quickly that these stores wanted a variety of top shelf products.” Thankfully for Spencer, that was right in his wheel house. “I’ve always been a genetics’ junky, popping seeds and really hunting for specific structures, smells, colors, and flavors. Having cannabis that has unique identifying factors that set it apart from what else is out there is just as important as being able to produce clean product. You have to give people a reason to want to try your flower.” Now to meet the variety White Barn is looking for not everything is found in house. “We get a lot of selections from Beleaf and other farms because they’ve put in the proper time and effort to find some special cuts. It’s not just about what yields heavy for us, it’s about how unique the flower is and how it stacks up when compared to our other cultivars.”
It wasn’t just the variety where Spencer saw the opportunity to set their farm apart. “Our process contains nothing that I wouldn’t mind exposing myself to. We aren’t using pesticides, PGRs, or any kind of foliar sprays outside of a diluted HCLO solution. Even that I don’t use once the plants have started budding.” He continued on to talk about their intense defoliation techniques and longer term drying process. “It really is key to not over dry this plant or do it too quickly. You want to preserve those terpenes and give the consumer a smoother smoke at the end of the day. When I first showed up here it was five days drying and out the door. Nowadays it can be a full month until our harvest is heading out of the door. In large part due to our low and slow drying process which I believe results in a more flavorful and less harsh smoke, but also because of our in-house trim team. Everything that leaves this facility is hand trimmed, the goal is to keep those outside trichome heads attached and the product looking and smoking consistent.”
One thing is certain, White Barn is more than happy to have the variety. “We understand that the market isn’t what it was even six months ago, we are having more small orders from buyers than ever. Thankfully we are supplied with enough of a variety to help keep their top shelves stocked. The whole goal of being a one stop bud shop is to help alleviate the constant juggling of deliveries by these dispensaries. At times, they can almost seem overwhelmed by the amount of incoming product they have from multiple people or the lineup of salesmen eager to show them the next great strain, we just want to make it easier on them at the end of the day.” Explained Eric Elias. “They just give us a call, we come to the store to show them what we have available at the time and get a drop to them as soon as they need it.”
“My family really didn’t know many people in the industry at the time we started all of this. Everything for the longest time was just cold call after cold call and it took a while to get traction. We started to visit weed events like the Cowboy Cup and Harvest Fest and really made some great connections there and next thing I know my phone won’t quit buzzing. I have to keep it on silent now just to get anything done.” Spencer and the whole room broke out into laughter. “Yeah, yeah, yeah you can blame the dispensaries for why it’s so hard to get ahold of me.”
Spencer sat and reflected deeply before speaking, “It really does blow my mind to think a year and a half ago we all were doing something completely unrelated to cannabis. We had the love and passion it takes to make White Barn Bud Ranch work and just so happened to come together at the right place and time. Sometimes it really takes someone asking the right questions to take a step back and see just what all this has meant for the team and myself. I’ve always been highly critical of my work in whatever I do, just a bit too much of a perfectionist. If I’ve learned anything from all of this it’s that with a little patience and persistence a group of likeminded people can really create whatever they dream possible. I’m beyond thankful for everyone that has played a role in shaping WBBR into what it is today.”
It’s obvious that the ultimate goal for White Barn is to bring clean and effective medicine to the people of this state. While it may not always be all of the glitz and glam that so many people expect when it comes to the legal cannabis market. This team has continuously found a way to work together to overcome hardships and times of uncertainty while finding a whole new meaning to a family business in the wild and ever-changing Oklahoma market.
I may catch a ton of heat for this statement, but one of my least favorite strains is Girl Scout Cookies. So when I was asked to give a few nuggs a whirl and I noticed that scent we all love or “hate”, I was, at the least, skeptical of what I was about to experience.
I only had a few days to give this strain a really good review and the anxiety was starting to rise. I realized that I needed to give this a fair and honest time with my palette in order to attempt to write something down on paper that resembles a review.
I started to think about times in the past. I would allow the anxiety to take over when it came to tasks that I assumed I would regret. I knew at some point that I had something that needed to be done in order for me to accomplish my goals. Many times it wasn’t fun. Even more times, I made the assumption that it would not be worth the effort.
I started to become depressed.
Why do I do this to myself? I asked. Why is it that I place myself into situations in order to either pass or fail. There is never an in between… (The cruel judgment we put ourselves through in order to grasp the entire complacency of victimhood…)
I finally jumped out of that winding rut of a trail. I’m not a victim. None of us are. I thought about the task at hand. Sarcastically, I started to write.
Whilst waddling in my ‘first world problem’ damnation, I had been smoking this Grape Biscotti from Mowdy Farms. I noticed that the taste wasn’t what I had assumed at all. This was actually a beautiful tasting flower. Yes I could taste the cookies. But it wasn’t that ‘twang’ I dislike when smoking GSC. The gassy aftertaste reminded me there was some real fire going down those pipes. I couldn’t wait for the effect.
I eventually noticed that my depression was gone. I was in a nice happy and relaxed headspace. I could actually function creatively. It was a high that gets you back into the game, with just a little soft landing.
This strain is a creeper and it’s definitely good medicine.Caryophyllene is the main terpine in this strain, which is easy to spot with it’s distinct aroma. It is known for its calming effect. It also helps to reduce anxiety and depression.
STRAIN: Grape Biscottie
CULTIVATOR: Mowdy Farms
TOTAL TERP: 3.11%
DISPENSARY: Local Leaf RX 19680 S. Gordon Cooper Dr. Tecumseh, OK
Mike Bennett, AKA Big Mike, served 21 years in the military. 10 years in the Marines, and 11 years in the army to be exact. He himself would tell you that he was “pretty damn good at it”.
Big Mike was injured in 2012 while in Afghanistan. He was on his fourth combat tour. He developed Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy or CIDP.CIDP is a rare type of autoimmune disorder. In an autoimmune disease, the body attacks its own tissues. CIDP paralyzes as it creeps through your body. Big Mike said that his, “started in my toes and it’s up my waist now”.
“I’ve been in a wheelchair for 4 years permanently. I retired in 2013. I got on pills. So many pills. My pills were on pills.”
“I was in the active duty military. So I never use cannabis.” Big Mike was reflecting. “My dad was an avid consumer. I never got to smoke with him. I loved that he would be hanging out with his buddies and enjoying life. I just thought I’d give it a shot. I did and I haven’t turned back. I haven’t used any over-the-counter medication for any prescribed from a doctor since. I mean… even like blood pressure medication. No pills are going into my body. I just use all different types of cannabis.”
Big Mike continued, “In 1996, when I was in the Marine Corps, they did the Anthrax vaccination. It’s kind of a similar situation to the Covid vaccine. It was mandatory for the military. I developed some really bad skin problems. I get it in my face or my chest and my back. Now, all I use is cannabis cream.That’s it.”
Big Mike travels all over the country and “my mom lives in Yukon. She’s completely deaf and she wears hearing aids. Back in the 60s and 70s she was going to concerts and so she’s completely deaf, but she reads lips. So she started talking to her doctor and everything and then got approved and got her card. She is an older lady and she doesn’t feel comfortable going to events like the Cowboy Cup or even dispensaries. So I try to help her out as much as possible.”
Big Mike says that he is using cannabis on a different level than his mother. “She’s kind of relying on me as her doctor now. We talk about the strains and effects. We talk about the medicinal side of cannabis.”
Attending some of the country’s top cannabis events doesn’t keep Big Mike totally occupied. He loves to play professional wheelchair tennis. He says he is constantly traveling. “I’m in Tennessee right now. I’ll be in Louisiana next week then I’ll be in Baton Rouge.Kentucky, Louisville, Kentucky, then I’ll be in Baton Rouge. From there I go to Dallas and then Colorado.”
Big Mike says, “I’m constantly traveling. I heard about the Cowboy Cup so my buddy and I went and hung out at my mom’s house and told her that we are going to the Cowboy cup in Stillwater. She was so excited and it was just great to go up there and meet all these wonderful vendors and everything. Meeting Daniel was such an awesome experience.
“I showed up on the first day of the Cowboy Cup. I’m wearing a hat that says Big Mike and Tennessee. So it already looks like I’m an out-of-stater. I’m in my wheelchair in line, but I notice that a sign says vendors only. I see one guy walking around with a radio on his hip. He happened to be Daniel without my knowledge. I told him I bought some tickets online. I asked if I was in the right area. He told me to check in at the building. “No problems.” So I went in and I was talking to all the vendors and stuff.Someone finally asked if I was a vendor. I told them that Daniel said to check in. They smiled and continued enjoying themselves. I saw Daniel later on during the cup. He sat down with me and asked if I had seen the lady in a wheelchair going around. I let him know that I had. That’s when he let me know that it was his wife.”
Both Big Mike and Daniel Lewis say it was as if they had this immediate connection and now there’s an understanding of one another on a level that means more than just the surface. The Cowboy Cup is definitely one that I will return to year after year.
I was reminded of the Legendary Comanche Chief, Quahna Parker. The Comanche Chief is forever anchored to the rugged land in both family name and in legend in Parker County, Texas.
and found a prop Parker County, TX is the very ground where the Comanche Compost Company is headquartered. I had the special opportunity to sit down with the multifaceted creative mind of owner, David Mayer, and the very innovative Director of Education and Product Research, Sage Howell with the Comanche Compost Co.
David started Meyer Materials in 2006. “It’s evolved from my passion with soil and agriculture.” David explained. “We were at the time purchasing farmland and developing it into wetland restoration habitats. We found a property in Fort Worth that we really thought had potential. We eventually started to realize that there were many opportunities to recycle commercial generated food waste such as daily yogurt.”
The team developed a system that would extrude the yogurt out of the fully palletized products deemed to be off just a bit off because of quality assurance. The process allowed them to grab that bulk yogurt, recycle the plastic containers, meanwhile saving the yogurt for repurposing. The yogurt then goes into their composting process. Now that process is used for repurposing. This gave them the ability to add it to manure or alfalfa bedding which is used for example in various rodeos and stock shows.
Their Fort Worth, TX property had a great deposit of sand, salt and clay. “We started to combine that with the various organic inputs to create something really awesome.” David was smiling ear to ear. “Our select product got into the major landscaping side of the business. We got into garden centers. We stepped up our game, in terms of what we were developing, in the way of potting soils and garden soils. We got into high-end compost product backed products for the retail sector.” David took a breath.
The company slowly made their way into the cannabis sector. “It started with the Humboldt Seed Company”, David admitted. “Those guys approached us to develop soils around the seeds that they were trying to pop here in Oklahoma. They were breeding here. They came to me asking about different amendments that they could use for their outdoor grow facility.They were obviously interested in the compost, but they are also interested in our soil manufacturing capacity.
The Comanche Compost Co. has many capabilities, including taking in peat moss, perlite, core, and things of that nature. By combining these high-end performance propagation tables they are able to achieve the highest performing soils in the region.
“David and I both have a mutual passion for agriculture”. Sage Howell is the Director of Education and Product Research for Comanche Compost Co. “I was growing in a 30000 square foot GreenHouse in Toledo for Fresh Point, Cisco, and Hellofresh. I was developing these vertically integrated propagation systems and hydroponic systems for food. Once I had mastered that, all my focus went to one thing. How can remediate this 19 acres by the Clear Fork River estuary to be an organic farm? So I started to figure out that my cost of inputs was going to exceed what the returns were in terms of food. So I started calling around. I even went to Dublin Texas to work with dairy farms and learn how to make my own compost. I started to get alfalfa from other farms just to make my own compost.Then I met David. He was really curious what I was up to because I had been calling a bunch of materials people in the industry.
It was at this point the two forces would meet. David called Sage and invited him to lunch.
“I have some worm compost you may or may not be interested in but I need to learn what you’re doing”, David’s curiosity would not allow for anything less.
“We hit it off.” Sage smiled and glanced at David. “We spent at least 2 and a half hours discussing the finer points of using bacteria and waste products like coffee grounds. We spoke of turning it into something that could be of value. A product to be added to an agricultural list for a farmer or just somebody that wanted to be certified organic, but didn’t have the means to go buy nutrients from Michigan or Canada or Oregon. We discussed doing it domestically and locally by taking waste streams and turning it into a commodity. Turning soil into a vegetative crop. David approached me with the Comanche Compost and we just ran with it.
The two passionate innovators decided to build out soils that produce organic flower buds, terpene and cannabinoid profiles that positively impact the landscape of commercial and home growing in the cannabis industry.
I asked Sage about living soil. “So there’s a big importance, and this is something that you learn on a commercial scale. In Hydroponics you control every single detail from the microbiome in the soil horizon, your water, all the way through the plant being harvested. With living soil, you are not controlling the bacteria load that’s in your water, but you’re allowing it to mimic nature in a soil horizon zone. You’re mimicking the ability to have nutrients cycling through bacteria in your soil by utilizing either a beneficial bacteria microorganism inoculate, which we achieve with our compost. We’re introducing something like yogurt, but we’re letting natural bacteria be alive and present. This versus a sterile compost or a sterile soil is the difference between living organisms living soil and sterile soils. You’re trying to force feed your plants whereas in living soil, the roots interact with the bacteria.”
Sage clarified, “In my opinion it’s a fact that living soils are producing more beneficial plants and good medicine because you’re depending on nature doing its work versus you controlling every aspect of nature. So you know it’s good to have a little bit of the mystery of the soil, but when bacteria and microryza do the work the plants are happier that way.
David talked more about the opportunity to join both worlds. “It’s rather invigorating to know that you are on the cusp of something so interesting that it could change how patients and enthusiasts receive their medicine.” David’s passion was permeating.“I’m proud to say that we continue to push forward this combination of our coffee grounds and a formula that was developed by American Plant Food Texas A&M and ourselves through very extensive studies. We desire to meld the scientific with the organic so it does offer some kind of a medium that works to the best of it’s abilities within the shortest amount of time.”
Organic composting and the overall complexity of the soil industry is an ever evolving thing. I myself have to do nothing but agree with the methods that are being set in place by Comanche Compost. I have full confidence that outstanding terpene profiles are being produced from their soils. Customer relations in Oklahoma, Texas and the region seem to only rave about what Comanche Compost is building and what kind of materials they are putting into our compost and their soils.
Please learn more about this innovative industry changing company at comanchecompost.com.
I had no idea of the extremely high speeds in which this vessel would achieve. I strapped in and looked forward to what I assumed would be one of the most important rides of my existence.
“All aboard!” Comes from a faint voice in the distance.
There’s a tunnel of sorts. It’s sucking me in. I can see a pinhole light coming into my point of view from a large span of space. The tunnel walls seemed to be vanishing as I looked more closely at that light.
The walls of the “tunnel” were like plastic sheets. They started to dissolve. It was as if I were cleaning a window that had a hint of film along the edges. I could see clearer. So, I had to take the opportunity to look at my surroundings.
I was hovering at the edge of the known and the unknown. I could see an enormous globe full of energy below me. I was able to look down at that globe and see bits of energy within it. I could sense struggle and conflict. I felt a negative vibration radiating from the constant anxiety and wonder. At that point I felt I needed to make a decision. Should I go further on this ‘ride of all rides’ or hang back and enjoy the idea of it?
There was a figure of sorts. It was like a shadow. Let’s call it a silhouette. It seemed very familiar. I noticed that it was trying to catch my attention. Another silhouette zoomed into view and next to the other. This one seemed more curious as it cupped both eyes with its hands to take a peek. I realized they were both behind another set of plastic sheet-like walls. I knew at that point that there must be another layer. My own curiosity made the decision for me. I was going further on this ride.
I shot up through another “tunnel”. This time I was thinking to myself that I must be dreaming. The walls actually looked like the patterns one would see when Captain Kirk would command the ship to go into hyperdrive.
I came to a plateau of sorts as my trajectory stabilized. I was able to hover once again. This time there were many globes below me. Some of them were very far off into the distance. It was as if I were on the far side of a solar system and I could look back and see the alignments of stars and planets.
I noticed a movement coming from afar. As I looked closer I witnessed the two “silhouettes” dancing with one another. They soon dissolved into one another. I could see a single “silhouette” form. It hovered off into the distance for a bit then it was as if it were traveling back to the globe which I started. Seemed odd, but made complete sense to me at the time. I felt the need for the existence of two entities to become one in order for it to realize what it’s purpose was.
I turned my head to the forward position and looked up. I felt a warmness embrace my entire being as I accepted the fact that I was indeed on some sort of journey and not a dream.
She was there. Her face was twice the size of my body. Her hair seemed to move as if it were alive itself. It was as if it were protecting her from whatever may attempt to harm the mind of a perfect being. Her eyes were shaped like a kitten’s eyes but had the depth of a panther. She could attack at any moment’s notice. I felt no fear.
Oddly, yet only oddly in reflection, she was able to communicate with me in so many ways other than voice. The only audible words were a deep and cheerful accusation coming from her mouth. She kept saying, “You see”. Her eyes would tell me differently. “You see!”
I was learning from the teacher as she was commenting on how well I was doing.
I noticed she had no body. I tried to get a look behind the curtains, but every angle I chose only returned a solid wall. I could not see past her face and hair. I was puzzled. She roared her giant laugh. I smiled and was happy to amuse her. She seemed to already know exactly what I would do before I even did anything. Then I realized it was time to go.
I wanted to learn more. She was able to help me feel somewhat satisfied until our next meeting. As she communicated with me, I slowly drifted back to the source of where this journey began. She told me to try to remember the faces of the silhouettes. I couldn’t. She asked me if they meant something to me.
Depression is something that cannot be explained. It cannot be communicated through speech. Not with me. It’s a feeling. It’s a mode of being. In order to get past bouts of severe depression I have been able to lean on silent conversations with “silhouettes” or “spirits”, if you will… These conversions derive from the inability to communicate my modes through voice. The silhouettes sometimes represent the darkness that is around me. They sometimes represent happiness, or a glimpse at it. However, the most important conversation that I ever had with those silhouettes happened during this journey.
When I looked back and noticed the two entities dancing and becoming one I knew I learned something. I knew because it made complete sense. It was simple and right in front of me the entire time. In order for us to grow we must accept the fact that we dance with all of these emotions within ourselves. The good and the bad.
The next time you think the devil is in your house, ask him to smoke a bowl with you. It might get rather interesting.
One could swim in the essence of cozy satisfaction felt in the room. It was late and I needed to experience something ‘different’. I found my way into a smoke lounge in Norman. While admiring the room as I settled into the oversized velvet sofa I was approached by an interesting character who immediately caught my attention. I could feel the creative energy pent up in- side of this unique individual’s head. She told me her name was Stephanie Alexandria. As I started to speak she handed me a gift. She had hand drawn a special piece on a coaster. She wanted me to have it. I gazed into the drawing as she told me a story of one other piece she would love to show me.
Titled Southern Hospitality, it’s a collage piece. It was created with paper, pen, paint, glue, and googly eyes. She spoke of a time when she was temporarily living in Wisconsin to help family. She said she wanted to create something that tied her back to her southern roots. She wanted to emphasize her lonesomeness, but also portray her longing for a partner in crime. In the piece, she reaches her arm out to offer gifts. Behind her she conceals a weapon. This symbolizes the desire for vulnerability and trust while at the same time exemplifying the fear of vulnerability and trust. The eyes above her boots symbolize watching your steps.
To Stephanie, Southern hospitality is all about love and acceptance. Desiring vulnerability and trust yet being mindful of what you’ve experienced. I made my way out of the lounge as the gift that she drew for me made its way into my chest pocket.
It’s me from the future. Before you go on a wild goose chase for some of the best medicine, please consider the possibility of me communicating in this very unusual fashion.
About two weeks ago you were on a mission to find seeds for a fellow enthusiast. While on this journey you picked up a pre-roll that brought you back to one of your all time favorites strains. The essence of sweet and sour lemon and tangie could not be ignored any longer. You felt the strongest urge to find the best Tropicana Cookies in Oklahoma.
With the seed hunting now placed on the back burner, you will hunt for this strain. You will travel throughout the state. You will ask fellow connoisseurs. You will make phone calls. You will even ask your next door neighbor, Melanie, as she looks at you with a blank stair and an overwhelming gaze of judgment.
Please understand that I am trying to help you move in the right direction. It will save you so much time and anguish. You will thank me. If only you can interpret and take to heart my urgent plea for you to stop looking right now. You will not find what you are looking for in that strain.
What you are looking for is definitely the taste and smell of Tropicana Cookies, however, it is not perfect for this month.
Your new found creative motivation from the Tropicana as well and the destruction of your social roadblocks will help you overcome the inability to converse. But I want to give you a piece of advice. Want the giggles?
Try adding Chem to it. The nutty and slightly cheesy tasting addition that leads up to an actual aroused sensation is why Tropicana Chem is my strain of the month for February.
Thank you POLLEN NATION CULTIVATION.
Tropicana Chem is heavy on Caryophyllene, which studies show a potential to reduce alcohol intake, making this terpene a possible treatment for addiction.
“It feels like a dream. It’s honestly something I would have never expected.”
If you have ever had the opportunity to visit one of my personal favorite shops in town, Sage Wellness in Oklahoma city, then you must have experienced the smile that comes from the one and only Talon Hull. Talon owns and operates Sage Wellness.
I love to visit this place. It’s located in the Western Avenue district of OKC. It’s a great place to grab a bite and then hop on over to the candy shop. That’s right. Sage Wellness is located in what was once a neighborhood candy shop. Very fitting if you ask me.
Talon walked me around the consistently comfortable setting. I love the exposed brick. The urban feel is much more inviting inside of Sage Wellness than one might expect.
“I grew up off of 79th and Western,” Talon spoke about his connection to his community. “I feel like It was fate. I was meeting with my mom and my sister, who is our creative director, and I was, at the time, going to OSU. I was enrolled for about six months or so and I wasn’t really going to class as much. It just wasn’t for me. While we were having lunch my mom was like, ‘You know we’ve got to figure this out.’ We all knew we needed something. I was like, ‘Well, what about a CBD shop?’So after we had lunch we went over to a local CBD shop just to check it out. It was cool. The shop was put together nicely. The owner was having fun. She seemed to enjoy what she’s doing. She said she loves what she does. She believes in her product.”
Talon said that at that moment he was completely inspired to do something that he felt would help so many people on a lot of different fronts. “I felt like we could do something. We could bring something to the community that hasn’t been seen before.”
At that time Talon and his family knew of a place inside of an old building that would be perfect. It was up for lease. The location was inside of the neighborhood they wanted to impact most. To top it off, it was inside the same building as the Western Avenue staple, VZD’s.
VZD’s Restaurant & Bar is a locally owned and operated bar located in the heart of the Western Avenue district of Oklahoma City. For three decades, it has been a hub for live music and fountain for beer and fabulous mixed drinks. VZD’s reopened in the fall of 2015 after being remodeled and revamped, but still offers locals all the tradition it has always entailed.
Talon told of how he and his family discovered the location. “It turns out that one of the old candy stores on Western was going out of business after 30 years. I visited the candy store as a child. My dad was a chef at VZD’s Restaurant at one time. My mom even had my baby shower in VZD’s. That’s why I say it was fate.”
Talon brought us back to the “time for action” lunch with the family. “So after lunch we all knew we needed something. We all went our separate ways. I saw the sign in the window. I picked up the phone and I called. At first the realtor was a little bit reluctant. I asked her to please just go check out this CBD shop that we had just experienced. I promised her that I would do my best to have the best experience. Just give me a chance and go. So she arranged a visit. Fast forward… they gave us a chance!”
I could tell Talon was reliving the experience as I watched emotions come over his face. The twists and turns that must have been going through his head at the time… Onecould only imagine.He let me know that he received enormous help from his cousin. “He’s been in business and helped me in the beginning. My mom was still doing dental billing full-time. I came here and started making the best of everything.”
The pivot turned one day for the family and the business. It was a day that everyone will remember in Oklahoma. Well, anyone who gives a damn. I know most of us will.
“I’ll never forget it. June 26th 2018.” Talon was speaking of course about the infamous day that Oklahoma shocked the nation by accepting cannabis as a true medical option for those in need.“788 passed that day. I have written papers over State question 788 back in high school. There’s even a video of me, to this day, with shaggy hair and my teenage self talking about 788 and it being on the ballot before it was actually even on the ballot. My mom was into cannabis and CBD. I loved that she was into something that I loved and knew. My dad lived in Oregon, so I was able to kind of grow up and see a legal marijuana market. It was simple to me. This is here helping the community and so I got really, really inspired at that point.”
Talon barely took a breath as he spoke. “I was in Colorado picking up our first CBD order. It was exciting as we were ready to get stocked. That’s when I learned that State Question 788 had passed. I knew I had to spend another four hours out there picking up products for the CBD store. I freaked out, you know! It was on the news and I was seeing everything. I wanted to get back to OKC as soon as possible.”
I could sense the excitement and wanted more. Imagine the joy to know that you are fortunate enough to already have the lease. A CBD shop up and going. All of this while knowing that it is all about to change. The perfect timing, location, neighborhood and a purpose to start building up a dispensary.
“On December 25th of 2018 we were in here putting in all of the last shelving. We were hanging the TVs on the wall, etc… I was so excited to open. We had our product, you know, and so the next day was December 26th— the day after Christmas.So we decided to open the doors. We probably shouldn’t have opened. But, you know, five days before the end of the year. We end up having to file a tax return for five days of business. It was totally worth it.”
Talon described the time as “a dream come true. I remember being in here with some of my friends and family and just looking at a place I grew up in. This candy store is now an adult candy store as well as a place for the community. In my opinion, Western Avenue is the best area because of the camaraderie. I guess it was really the beginning of the roller coaster.”
The crew kicked off their 2019 with a bang. They cruised into their very first 420 calendar celebration. Talon described it as “such a party here. It was the first 420 since State question 788 had passed. Seeing everybody from all across the state come out in lines was amazing. We crushed our 2019 goals. Towards the end of 2019 we launched a new product. Then 2020 rolls around. We had the pandemic obviously. As a team I’m really proud of the 14 of us. Down to when I started this place. I was 20 years old and I had never been into a dispensary. You have to be 21 to get into a recreational dispensary. My mom came here and helped me get the license. At that point I was like, what we’re going to do is to the best of our ability to make this work. I’m proud of us.”
Sage celebrated its third year on December 26th of 2021. “It’s so cool,” Talon reflected again, “to be able to see what’s happened over the course of time and then you’re in the pandemic. I think back to when our team came together and you know we put in Social distancing procedures. We had curbside pickup and it was obviously a lot of adjustments for everybody. I hoped and realized that we would push through it all, especially through the storms.”
“I say the floodgates are open now.”
In 2021 there were over 10,000 licenses. More than 8,800 licenses had been issued for growers. Oklahoma had up to 2,200 dispensaries. This is four times the amount of growers than there are dispensaries. Talon acknowledged that a lot comes down to relationships. Without question Talon explained his values, “There are three core values: our experience, our relationships and our community. I really believe it’s like a math equation. You build a relationship that creates this experience. You genuinely support your community… That’s our main focus here every day. We want to create an unforgettable experience.”
In my opinion, there has to be more when it comes to creating an experience that is actually beneficial to the entire process. All of which go hand in hand. There are wonderful businesses in this world that can claim success in measurements, such as productivity. However it’s those special shops where you might find the perfect candy that accepts the fact that a better “quality” experience is a much more lasting and beneficial situation for all.
“I don’t know if this is weird, but it’s really impromptu.” I watched the video as if I had stumbled upon an overlooked voice coming from somewhere within. “I’m 10 minutes into the drive back home and all I want to say right now is that if you’re fighting for something that you believe in, don’t quit fighting!” Summer was talking to the camera while wiping tears.
“Keep going,” Summer yelled. “Keep
fighting for what you love.”
“My mom is so stubborn… I have been in her face letting her know that I was on cannabis.” Summer insinuated that her mother had previously been against the use of cannabis. “I kept talking about
how it was making your state a whole lot of money and it’s making her daughter happier than she’s ever been in her whole life.” I noticed tears coming from the corners.
“Mymom took CBD for the first time to-night.” It seemed Summer had shown a light to someone by the look in her eye.
“I know it may not seem like a big deal,
but like my mom has a lot of health issues. All plant medicine, especially cannabis, is a huge passion for me. For my mother to actually drive me to a dispensary to buy her CBD is so insane to me.”
I felt the need to contact Summer with some unanswered questions. After looking through her portfolio of artistry, which some seemed to come from divine inspiration, I wanted to know
much more about the mind behind this
self healer and amazing artist, Summer Rose.
My initial question was one that I felt
would really give me a grasp of what
inspires Summer. Summer told me that
she dreamed of living, “in a forest with
my cat. I would be growing the majority
of my own food, and making art full time
for my community.”Summer stresses the importance of one’s dreams, “Whether that be healing of the self, creating a space for open-
ness and vulnerability, or art that helps
to destigmatize cannabis and shine a
light on its monumental therapeutic effects.”
I was curious as to what she felt was stopping those dreams to come true. Summer thought as she responded, “I like to think nothing, but in all honesty I struggle with my energy levels due to
depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD and chronic pain. I find that holding a job to make ends meet as well as having the energy to consistently be creative and make work is very difficult for me due
to these issues. I often don’t have the physical/mental energy to create work.” Summer admitted, “This is scary to be so open about, but it’s also my passion and mission to create awareness
around mental health issues. It is so incredibly important to put the health of your mind first. It is your root system from which every action and thought stems from. Just like cannabis, if her root system isn’t strong, then she won’t produce what she’s capable of. I’ve been working on my roots and don’t intend to let my struggles stop me, but to
motivate me to inspire others.”
I wanted to know more about Summers’
daily routines and how they fit well with
her creativity. She responded, “The majority of my work inspiration comes to me in meditation. I’m not perfect, so I can’t say I do these things daily, but
meditation is an integral part of my life and has been an absolute catalyst to my healing. When I began to sync my thought process and journey with the changing of the seasons and the cycles
of the moon, I began to feel more connected to the earth, the cycles of life, and the ebb and flow of time. It made my life feel less chaotic and out of control. This universe shows us that it’s
okay to not always be in a stage of visible growth, but that it’s just as important to turn inward into the dark, heal and re-emerge a better version of ourselves again. There is no light without darkness, of course. The trick is, you have to face the dark.”
Summer also goes by the title, “Weed
Witch”. Summer explained, “I call myself a “Weed Witch” because cannabis is a guide for me. Just like other entheogens such as psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, and peyote, these plant medicines have been used for spiritual and physical healing for thousands of years. While I do believe it’s important to maintain a practice without using entheogen regularly, there is no debate on how groundbreaking these medicines can be for wellness when used in ceremony with intention and respect.
Cannabis has been like a compassionate warm hand leading me into the parts of myself that I need to heal to be the best version of myself, and I will
forever be grateful for her guidance.”Summer continued, “When I’m seeking to create a certain feeling in a piece of artwork, but can’t quite decide how, I sit with cannabis in meditation. I can’t really describe how, but it really helps to open those neural pathways to find the visual language I’m pursuing. I will sit with the feeling I wish to portray in my artwork, and the images and words
begin to flow. I always make sure a notepad is right within reach! Cannabis truly is a great guide when used with intention.”
I asked Summer how cannabis helps her daily life. She said that there are, “So many reasons cannabis helps me. It has been such an important medicine for me on so many levels. It has helped
with tension due to chronic anxiety. It has helped with insomnia, pain. It helps me to eat regularly, obliterating panic attacks, nausea and a multitude of other symptoms I experience.” “Most importantly it has helped me to heal my spirit by exploring my own mind and expressing it creatively through my
work, my presence, and my words.”I asked Summer about the painting I wanted to use as the cover image for this magazine issue. Summer said,
“It’s titled ‘Rise up’. This painting concept was about decay and rebirth. The never ending cycle that is death and regeneration on this earth. I used fungal spore patterning in the painting at the same size as the figure to insinuate that we are one in the same as this worldwide fungal network, built to rise
up from decay.”
Find more of Summer Rose art and inquire about commissioning:
Translation – (Strain of the Month)
By James Bridges
Clanging of mind monkeys play in the background. I wanted to focus on what was in front of me. Clang’, clang’ away monkeys…
In an instant my perspective on life had changed the night before. The level of balance achieved could not be verbally explained without some sort of translation. I was on the hunt for such a tool for the craft of communication. So I visited Namah Cannabis Co. in Shawnee, OK.
An essence of content engulfed my body and mind. I was able to imagine.
I used to love driving along the San Fernando Valley in L.A. The calmness of the breeze would settle in as I watched the shadows of my favorite tree (brought to Los Angeles by the 1932 Olympics, btw…) dance along the streets.
I would park in residential areas for my breaks to escape the oncoming slew of rats in the race. Seems they were always on the move… Once I noticed an older gentleman. He stood out on his front patio staring up at the sky. He walked with a cane and held his lower back. This now occupied my entire attention.
I noticed a stumble come into play as he scooted from one post to another. Then a fall. I jumped out of the car. No one was around. I looked on for what seemed to be forever as he never lifted his body.
As I reached for his hand I noticed a finger twitch. I wanted him to wake up. I could hear panting breaths coming from behind as I called a hospital. Once they showed and revived the gentlemen I realized the magnitude of the situation. So much so that it seemed to happen within an instant.
A change in perspective within an instant.
I broke free from my imagination for a spell. Reflecting on a moment in time that affected your universe can turn into a treasure of curiosities to unfold. Finding the proper communication method to pass along that information can be challenging. I found mine with:
A true vertical grow with family orientation. That’s what I had set out to go visit. I wanted nothing more than to feel as if I were around close families during the holidays. I believe I got my wish.
Brian Goodwin was practicing pharmacy in Ada, OK with the Chickasaw Nation. His brother, Grant Hall, had a CPA practice. The father of the two brothers was a dentist. The family wanted to go into business for themselves. An opportunity presented itself for them to do so. They would also have the bonus of working collectively.
“We had another investor. We all went in together.” Brian was to the point. “So we then had the financial means to begin. Now it was time for my brother and I to turn on the sweat equity. Here we are 3 years later and we feel like we’re getting better. We know it’s a very hard market right now. We’re doing everything we can to separate ourselves.”
“If it were up to me we would have 8 dispensaries coming soon on a sign hanging everywhere.” Grant Hall, sweat equity and partner for Progressive Grow, laughed. Of course, then we would be spread too thin. My brother prevents me from overdoing it like that.”
I watched Grant talk about the creation of Progressive Grow. He was so passionate and proud in his approach to this natural medicine. I could tell he was a driving force in the company that would carry them even farther down the path of success.
Grant was motioning for me to follow him. “Our other partner is a really smart person. He started lot of companies. He’s very savvy. So when we ever get in a bind and we need some ‘real’ business advice, we go directly to him.”
We walked down the hallway into the flower rooms. Exactly what I was there to see. I could smell happiness as the doors opened.
There are thousands of growers in the Oklahoma cannabis market. They are competing for the same footprint. There are times I step back and take a look at the Oklahoma market and how far we have come and I can only say the word, wow! In order to stand out you must be on your A-game at all times. There most assuredly is no time to pause. Having the ability to adapt and evolve are the key components to surviving in this current environment.
The first room we entered was huge.
Karsten Thompson, flower manager, Clay Balthrop, grow manager, and Christian Colbert, assistant cultivation manager were introduced to me as “part of the team”. They wanted to be sure that I was aware they could not operate with only the people currently standing in the room. I feel it necessary to point out a great character indicator when I see one. So I did.
I asked them all for some pointers for growers wanting to get in the industry. I received collective answers. “Don’t give up. It doesn’t fall into place right away. Be aware of shady people fronting as legitimate grows. They do exist. Sometimes you have to weave through some of the bad to find your place in the industry.” They also pointed out, “Don’t be afraid to try new things. It’s such a new industry that there’s not a set way to do anything. So there might be a better way to do everything. Keep experimenting and finding out.” I thought for a minute we were all going to high five. It was simply one of those moments.
Grant could barely contain himself, “We used to have plants in here that would literally be hitting the top of the lights. They were so lush. So we started growing a ton of different strains. We were spending a lot more on genetics. We are trying to have first generation mother’s. We are now actually flowering out the clones to see which ones we like. Then we’re going to have the first generation mother’s always cloning. So, we are starting to run out of room.” He smiled.
We both had a laugh as we looked around at the flowers. Such a wonderful sight.
Some of the struggles they were facing are common among growers of all sizes. It’s a matter of dialing it in. Growers must consider doing things like changing the size of the pots. Small details that add major weight gain exponentially throughout each cycle.
“This harvest right here is already cut by 40 lbs.” Grant pointed at the flower, “because the plants are too small. We are tweaking operations now to achieve a more full and lush harvest. Our HVAC is being upgraded from 30 tons up to 45 tons. Now we will have much more room. You see all the fans now and everything we have upgraded. We are probably going to be switching over to some high powered LEDs soon throughout the grow. We are also looking into an air scrubbing system that constantly scrubs the air clean. We are basically trying to do everything we can to get dialed in.”
I was curious how Grant chose the strains to grow under the pressure of the Oklahoma cannabis market. Grant informed me of the difficulty to pick something that may or may not be good for the market. The ability to foresee the future somehow missed him when he was created.
Grant shook his head, “Way early on we had a strain called comfortably dumb. It was super popular. It kind of gave us a name. So, we embraced it. We started putting all of our efforts into a ‘popular’ strain. We put so much effort into it we got tired of it. But it’s something we felt needed to be done. We had Comfortably Dumb all over our veg room. It was all over our flower rooms. When you load your rooms with a strain then it takes a while to effectively change that.”
A major issue while dealing with this is finding yourself at the other end of the spectrum. You change everything so that you have a ton of variety. When you go this far over to the other side you get harvests that are only 3 to 4 lbs each. That just doesn’t make financial sense.
Grant talked about how they were focusing on higher terpene and potency levels. He added, “By growing less strains it allows us to focus more on the quality of the medicine. We are able to make it easier on ourselves while still focusing on quality and potency.”
We made it over to the lab. There were two young men operating the lab. I managed to pull Tyde Thomsen, head solventless processor for Progressive Grow Labs. “Straight from harvest we trim up the buds, then vacuum seal them. We throw them in the freezer to get the whole extraction process going. They sit in the freezer for about 2 days,” Tyde was all smiles. “We throw it into our fully automated washing machine. This really helps out not having to break our backs to obtain washes all the time. It has really helped us improve low temperature work. We do that then we drain it into rosin washing bags. It filters out all the tricome supermicro layers. and then we’ll collect that throw it into a freeze dryer. We collect it and then we immediately press it. It’s been a whole process of learning the ins-and-outs of hash. It’s such an amazing opportunity to work in this lab.
I couldn’t help myself at that point of the conversation. I had to point something out. I asked Tyde to tell me again how old he was and how long he had been doing what he was doing. Tyde smiled and confidently said, “I graduated high school in 2019. I’ve been doing this for about a year.”
I was set back. I imagined myself at that age. I imagined the opportunities in front of Tyde.I’m not sure how often Tyde thinks about his moral value to this world and the people that live within his bubble. So I acknowledged it.
I asked Tyde to think about the number of lives that he is now affecting in a positive way. The medicine he is in charge of is making others have a better quality of life. Thousands of individuals touched by the work of a recent high school graduate. His weapon of choice just happens to be one from caring and enjoyment. Just imagine the possibilities.
One of the major factors that a good quality business tends to set aside is marketing. It’s extremely important to advertise and market to your audience and potential customers. There are no cookie cutter ways of doing so. The best way to handle this is through a consultant. Someone that knows the ins and out of both advertising and the cannabis environment. The team at Progressive Grow Labs is now looking into marketing and advertising as it should. “We are no longer in the flea market or barter/trade style market.” Grant agreed as we both talked about the number of current growers in the market. “This industry is starting to grow up, sort of speaking. Also there are just too many people in the market. So if you just do the simple math of 7,000 growers. If they merely harvested an average of 1 lb per month that would already be a lot of cannabis. However, no one is going to grow only 1 lb per month unless they aren’t operational. So that’s just a ton of cannabis in the market. You have to set yourself apart in some way. That’s where our advertising and marketing come in.”
I started imagining how awesome it would be to work on something of this scale with my own brother. Grant chimed in, “My brother and I are very close. This has actually forced us to become closer. It’s been great. It can be challenging sometimes, but it’s totally worth it. Because we learn from everything. Then my dad works with us. Mostly things he could do from home. He’s retired, but he helps us a lot.”
I asked Grant about the next steps for Progressive Grow Labs. “I think the next step is trying to figure out how to make a few more products for our store. We want to make them for ourselves and then also wholesale. I think now we’ve kind of switched gears and we’re going to be hyperfocusing on our current grow. We want to make it the best that it can be then expand from there. Ultimately we want to be multi-state. Right now we need to concentrate on our home bas which will continue to be Oklahoma.”
Brian reminded me, “We had no struggle with the crew when we went through some changes. I feel like now we have a really good tight crew of hard-working people. Everything is family and we’re trying to open a dispensary. So it’s just that. You know? Family. Making friendships and acquaintances. That’s what we’re looking to do in this industry. We are looking to be a good name for the industry. We want to do things right. We fully support the cannabis industry and want to portray the best for it.” Brian was sincere. The way marijuana has been treated throughout the years has been so bad. We are trying to change things.”
“This industry is very progressive. To us that sums up this industry. It’s always growing progressively. Brian had undertones of pride in his voice, “The whole marijuana industry is progressive.”
The name obviously resonated with the group of entrepreneurs. Progressive. It was interesting having the opportunity to speak with the family at Progressive Grow. To notice another crew at the top of their game and to understand that they have consistently had twists and turns along the way helps me see something beautiful. The dream is not dead. Entrepreneurs rest assured. If you do in fact have a premium product idea, the courage to commit, and the sweat to spare then you can, indeed, achieve the dream. You just have to go get it.
A progressive family full of very progressive thinkers. I was once again fulfilled by witnessing the life of a deserving family being made better. All due to our amazing life ally we call cannabis.
Growing up I often had a lot of “cool” friends. One of my best was considered somewhat of a catch to the many qualified individuals standing in line to be his next girlfriend.
I found out the other day that he is now growing cannabis commercially here in Oklahoma. I knew the day would come as I recalled all of those “schools out early” afternoons driving around, smoking some of the best ditch brick “weed” we could find and both singing every single word to Kashmir.
We reminisced about some life advances and some moves not so much in the forward direction. He told me of one of his biggest regrets. It was not at all what I had thought. After knowing him in high school through college years, I would have assumed him to be covered in gifts from the universe. He was, in my eyes, a charmed person.
We used to talk about how we would someday be badass, baseball stars. The largest accomplishment we could both foresee was to one day walk up to home plate with a kick ass song playing over the loudspeakers.
He wanted me to consider hope.
I’ve always thought of hope to be something given to those in need of direction in a positive light. I never really looked at it within myself as guidance. However, I knew deep down that hope had been a major player when it came to decisions in my life.
It’s hard to admit sometimes, but I truly believe that hope has value. I imagine conservative thinkers to snicker and shuffle if they were to read those words.
He said that much of his life, it seemed, he had something on his mind. An idea of sorts. One that gave him a sense of purpose. A quest if you will. One that he recently discovered. Yet it was there all along. Some call it an imagination.
He said to consider that imagination as truth. He hadn’t found the courage to do so himself.
He noticed a twinkle in my eye. He said he figured I had some hope left in me.
We took a few last tokes off of a blunt that should have been rolled 20 years ago. I “hope” to run into my old friend again very soon.
If you’ve ever had a spider bite you know the discomfort feeling. It’s somewhere between the itch of a mosquito bite and the deep tingling of an open wound. It’s rather irritating and strange. I discovered such a bite on my arm a couple of weeks ago. Instantly I wanted to scratch it and make it go away. Those that have been there know how difficult it is to resist temptation… However, I was luckily able to conjure up the strength. I looked at the bite/gash (that would probably eat my arm off) and started thinking.
I was curious why I wanted it gone so badly. I thought of something unique. At least it helped me silence my desire to scratch. My mind was telling my body that something is out of whack. My animal instincts were begging me to remove whatever was out whack so that I could carry on in comfort. The skin that covers my arm, where the spider “attack” occurred, had been the same smooth formation for years.
Now something has come along to change it. “Change” is a mild way of addressing it compared to the thoughts rushing through my head at the time. What had really been flowing were terrifying thoughts of a creature gnawing away at parts of who I was. This creature wanted to attack me in ways that had never been done. Afterall, this was my first spider bite. One could only assume. It wasn’t as if this spider was trying to communicate or let me know why it wanted to “eat” me. I assumed that this spider cared nothing of the soul inside of the skin that it was now devouring. Nibbling just enough to get it’s fill in the middle of the night while I’m silenced by my slumber. I automatically assumed that it would repeatedly return and cowardly eat more and more of my arm. It would ingest my other limbs at some point. Meanwhile I would sleep and scratch and hope that things would get better.
I then realized what I needed to do. I realized that this was all in my own head. I only wanted to scratch because there was something different about my arm. It wasn’t all that bad. The thought of a spider biting me terrified me, but it wasn’t bad in reality. So I decided to embrace it. I didn’t take it personally. I knew that the spider needed to bite on something. I also knew that once I accepted and evolved to the change the spider bite would eventually become a part of me. There was no “removing” of it. It wasn’t possible. Instead there was a lesson. One of embracing obstacles and accepting them as part of myself.
Having a thought is one thing. Acting upon that thought is a completely different experience. Once you are in it, you are in it. The experience…
I told her to sit next to me as we rode around on the bus. I wanted to talk about what had happened. I wanted to make it right. I knew it wouldn’t be easy.
I assumed she would blow things out of proportion in order to save face. I assumed that we would never talk again after. I felt so strongly that what had happened could never be forgotten.
So we sat.
I told her that I couldn’t believe how I had acted. I felt as if I had let everyone down. I told her I should have shown strength when I chose to expose heart strings instead. I found the situation I was looking at to be ridiculously malicious and personal. I chose to make it about me. I became what I had feared. I made myself a victim.
We both exited the bus. She had said nothing in return. She pulled out a leather case. Inside was flower and a glass pipe.. So we smoked.
I started thinking again…
I realized that she hadn’t gotten mad at me. The fact that she’s still standing there meant a lot. I noticed her beautiful smile. One that was fixed upon her face the day we met. We smoked more.
I noticed that the sun had come out. It was turning into a day of which one would love to be outside. I commented and even smiled a bit.
She finally spoke. She let me know that what I have done is discovered the 80/20 rule.
I was curious. I wanted more knowledge.
She said about 20% of most people’s day is focused on negative thoughts. The other 80% is untapped positivity that goes unnoticed by most of society. She wanted me to know that in order to function at a higher level of self love one must essentially retrain the brain to see the 80% and capture it.
It’s natural to have negative thoughts. It’s much easier to remember that there are way more positive thoughts that come when you smoke my strain of the month from Algoma Farms.
STRAIN: Apples and Bananas
CULTIVATOR: Algoma Farms
Dominant Terp: Caryophyllene 3.76
Caryophyllene is known to help relieve anxiety and pain, reduce cholesterol, prevent Osteoporosis, and treat seizures.
I met Charles in a weird spot. We were both 19-years- old and both completely out of our element. I had just made a move away from Oklahoma into a world of unknown possibilities and he was the same. It just so happened that his family was from a different state.
The thing that stuck out most to me about Charles was his extreme kindness to people that seemed as if they were involved with a “counterculture” of sorts. The pointy tip on the top of that thing that stuck out was his distaste for anything or anyone that seemed to come from money.
He was only 19 but he seemed to have the soul of a wise old man. More interesting was his ability to show once in a while that he was, in-fact, still only 19.
We started jogging together in the mornings. I had never really been into fitness or working out. How- ever, during that period of my life I found running to be a very satisfying task. I loved the fact that I could force my body and mind into a zone of complete synchronicity. It didn’t last long. But while it lasted it was very therapeutic.
It was strange jogging together at first. It seemed to be one of those, “where do I put my hands” moments. However, once we both accepted the fact that we were not there to entertain one another it was quite blissful.
I noticed one day that he would start falling behind while we jogged. Quietly he would slow down and look at the sky. I could tell he was looking at the horizon. We both had similar thoughts when it came to imagination.
Strangely, and to my surprise, I discovered that he came from a long line of “growers.”
At that time in my life I had only been close to my personal supplier of the underappreciated medicine from Mother Earth. I had only heard of such things as “growers” from movies or ~zines that I watched or admired. I wondered what it must be like inside an actual family that participated in the realm of devil’s grass.
One year he asked if I wanted to travel up the coast with him to take a load of “goods” from his parents farm to some other unknown destination. I knew at that point not to ask too many questions. I just went along for the ride.
The day started like normal. A quick energy shot. Thanks to the overworked brains of truck drivers, back then over the counter gas station speed did the trick. Little did we know or give two shits of the damage we were exposing to our organs.
It was around 10:00 that morning and we were well on our way for the 8 hour journey. There was a lot of desert to cover. So, we decided to pass the time with some good tunes, better weed, and every once in a while a nod of agreement that we were both, in fact, in the right place at the right time.
We showed up earlier than expected. I looked at the time and it was around 3:00 in the afternoon. Perfect timing for a “day changing” high that lasted just long enough to grab a sandwich that was waiting when we walked inside.
There was a pleasant ambience in the room as everyone seemed to gather and hug as if it had been a decade. When all eight of them hugged me one-by-one I gave no hesitation to give in return. I felt welcome and at home even though I had never once met any of them. Well, except of course Charles.
Charles stood in the distance a bit as each was greeting me. I noticed that he was observing the family closely. I wondered what he was up to in his mind. It was almost like watching a child go into a room full of people that he had just met. Looking deeper I noticed a concerned glance to his left.
A very large man entered the room. He wasn’t sim- ply large in stature. He commanded the room. His voice was one of a king in his very own castle. He laughed and acted as if he had no idea what was happening. His eyes met with mine and he grinned. He asked my name and I told him. Not once did he ask about Charles. Peculiar…
He invited me inside and wanted to know if I had any family in the area. I told him I was from about five states away and that he could probably bury me in the backyard and no one would ever even know. I quickly regretted saying that out loud as I remembered what we were there for.
His eyebrow raised.
I looked over at Charles as he covered his eyes and shook his head. I felt as if I were in some sort of horrible drug gang film and I was the idiot about to get jacked. I wanted to explain myself. I desperately needed for this giant king of a man to know that I am totally down with whatever legal or illegal they have going on out here in the middle of nowhere.
I believe it’s called sweating bullets.
For a while it was a bit hoaky. Suddenly, they all started laughing and smiling. The giant king stood up again and walked over to my bubble. He forced my hug as he pulled me tight. He looked and let me know that this isn’t what I think it is.
I wondered what that meant.
They started to walk into another area of the house. We were all standing inside of an area that had roughly 30 cannabis plants. They started lighting and passing. That’s when the real Charles came out.
I was able to see who he was and where he came from. He came from a long line of “growers” alright. The closest of his family members, even his great grandmother, all lived within 20 feet of one another. They all grew on the same farm. They were some of the most authentic, dirty, real, salt-of-the earth type of people that I have ever spent an afternoon with. We spent the rest of the afternoon grilling outside. We amused ourselves by playing a ton of guitar. We sang songs with no clue of the correct lyrics.
As we sang we started loading the truck that Charles and I drove. I had almost forgotten that we were actually there for a reason. We needed to pick up the “goods” and take them to their “unknown” and final destination.
Bag after bag, we handed off each package as if we were in a bucket brigade. It was communal and we all pitched in. They let me know that was how they enjoyed looking at most of everything they did to survive. “It’s a community.” They wanted me to know that for certain.
I started thinking about the “goods” and where they may be going. I knew I shouldn’t, but my curiosity hardly ever loses a battle. Oddly, I could smell citrus as the bags passed under my nose. As I grew more curious, I attempted to peek inside by slightly unwrapping a couple of bags as they passed down the line. My thumbs were not quick enough.
I noticed another raised eyebrow from the king.
He asked why I was so curious, as if he could read my mind. I tried to ignore it with a grin. He gave none in return. I felt I overstepped and so I backed off of the thought completely. I continued to load as they passed.
The king smiled again. He told me to give it a look. I gave no argument.
As I looked inside I realized it was food. Produce to be exact. I was completely confused. I wondered how in the world they could get weed inside of this packaging and cover it up with produce. Then I recalled a few movies from the past. I nodded to myself and carried on.
The king laughed. He told Charles to fill me in as he shook his head.
Charles let me know that his family was a family of “growers”. He was giggling a bit as he explained. His family worked in groves. The lemons, oranges, tomatoes, and other produce that I was smelling are some that they help grow throughout the year for a very wealthy farm owner. Every year for thanksgiving they all get together at the farm. They all smoke weed and catch up as they always had for years. After catching up, it was tradition to take that leftover produce to a shelter where people could enjoy the fresh harvests.
I was completely embarrassed about the assumptions that I had made about that day trip up until that very moment. I had no idea what the effect of everything and everyone around me was. The stigma kept telling me that I was going to go into a dangerous situation. Most likely guns would be involved. I expected the stoner guy that could barely function to be sitting in the corner watching cartoons. I figured while I was there I would hear a police helicopter or 3 overhead. I was completely ready to ward off all of the salivating, muscle with a brain pit bulls from sniffing my crotch or possibly taking a little more off than I wanted. I thought I would need to be straight as an arrow so that I didn’t get busted or thrown in prison. I was ready though dammit… But also very embarrassed.
Charles laughed and let me know it was fine. He told me that he actually expected my reaction. He just didn’t want to tell the whole truth because it was funny as hell. He asked me what I thought. I told him that I actually feel like I learned something.
That Thanksgiving I learned a very valuable lesson. I learned that weed and weed life was not what everyone said it was.
I am so thankful that I get to write about it.
Cannabis has saved the lives of so many that surround us here at Herbage Magazine. I have been fortunate enough to pass along stories that have touched many people in a positive way.
The stories that we pass along are yours. With much gratitude we offer this publication for free to our audience. We thank each and every one of you for what you do to better this place we call home.
I had the opportunity to meet another man one day that completely and utterly inspired me to learn more about what I was doing with my life. I thank the universe I did.
I hadn’t heard much about this person. I assumed he was just another grower of the most miraculous plant on earth. So I researched.
The more I researched, the more I was inspired.
I started realizing that some of the information that was being published by his social media platform was very similar to thoughts and information that I had been interested in for quite a few years.
I am not a religious person. Meaning, I do not claim to have a specific belief system that I feel personally as my one and only truth. I have always been interested in all cultures and theology. It just so happens that “hermeticism” and those that follow it’s teachings believe in something that I actually believe in myself. That is called prisca theologia. This is the belief that all religions fall under one theology given to man directly from God.
At this point I was on a mission to find out more about the company Hermetic Flower Co.
Hermetists see the cosmos as a beautiful creation in the image of God. It was apparent that a positive atmosphere surrounded the crew as I finally reached what was, in my mind, meant to happen.
We connected in a way that changed me. It actually changed the way that I look at growing cannabis. It changed the way I look at growing everything, for that matter.
For years I have had thoughts of how or why or even “if” we are here in this universe. The question of all mankind… What would happen if we actually knew the truth?We may want to think about that notion once in a while.
I have felt restricted in my thoughts. However, the pressure to go along with what is now perfectly acceptable to society overwhelms my need for it to be validated. Therefore I care not. I will speak of my own experience.
First off, my thoughts and inspiration are not religious. I believe in a positive and powerful source of wise thinking that provides me with a sense of belonging which can be measured by no other person than myself. If you are wondering if there are sarcastic overtones in my typing please read the next sentence. The mere fact that I feel the need to print those words as a disclaimer should suffice.
“She laughed. There was a smile of concern so I eased her mind. I let her know I’m not insane. However, I didn’t really know if I was or not. I wanted her to know what I was talking about. She simply couldn’t comprehend.
I told her again that if you can imagine it then it must have existed. I was serious. I assumed she thought I was joking. I wasn’t. I completely believed, and still do, that if you can picture something in your head then it must have existed in some realm of the universe. Yes. Even dragons…”-personal boring journal.
Once you finally accept that your thoughts control your life through your mind and spirit you can become the director of your own film. Ever try to meditate? You may have and you just do not know.
I find it best for my psyche to self reflect, however that in itself can become an issue when living a life that requires connection. I find myself ignoring the outside world at times in order to work and hyperfocus on myself. This has led to many failures in my past. I hope to learn from that and stay connected.
I must check up on myself once in a while by stepping outside of myself. I try to look at myself as others might. Do I like that person? Would I call him for help? Would I accept him for who he is?
I think we can come to the conclusion that feelings and emotions build off of one another in order to create an entire sense of being. One that only exists within that bubble of the one who created it. Or quite simply, a vibe. Yes, they exist.
Have you ever been on such a high that you forget about your mental pain? It doesn’t sound healthy from the start. Hear me out…
You wake up to what you believe is the worst news you could possibly imagine. You are completely disappointed. You decide to process the information rather than react instantly. Something good happens that is unrelated. Another good thing happens that is directly related to that first good thing. And so on… That’s living in a vibe. You are riding the stream between good and bad and at that very moment you can, in my view, quickly gain access to a wonderful and amazing thing happening inside of your head.
In college I was forced to take intermediate physics courses. This was because of many reasons. The main reason was that I was a terrible high school student. During this time I learned that I actually loved physics. I loved it so much because it made perfect sense to me. The natural order of things. The simple fact that knowing there was an equal and opposite force for every other force in the universe clicked. I lifted off and started exploring.
After exploring for a while I learned an even deeper thought. Quite simple actually.All of these forces are actually the same.
A loaf of bread can be dry. It can be moist. It’s still a loaf of bread. The river runs swiftly in this vicinity yet flows slowly in another. It’s still a river. Do I sound like Mr Miyagi yet?…
These are the foundations for my happiness.
I believe in this foundation of happiness very strongly.
I do believe that you can turn a positive into a negative by controlling your own thought patterns. You do this through a “vibe” that you create. In order for me to create that vibe I seriously have to look at the situation on all sides. If you remove the self discipline overtones and add a necessary note you could say that I also constantly remind myself to do so. It’s a process. One might even say it’s “alchemy”.
I used to fight the thought of change. Especially when things seemed to be going smoothly. However, I’ve been able to recognize a pattern of fluidity within my world. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine things differently. Especially when those things are imprinted so heavily in my thoughts and memories. Like everything else, those memories become glamour. The glamour which I assume that those around me would be picturing.That’s why flow has become so important in my life.
Without some sort of flow there is no growth in the foundation. If you remember, the foundation for my happiness comes from a positive light. A thought or a seed is planted then it needs tending. There will be days when the light requires a helping hand. There will also be days where I can sit back and watch the current move. However it may be, there is no authentic and true life without flow. I am very thankful to have the opportunity to acknowledge it.
As I am sitting at my desk writing this I have been presented with multiple chances of distraction. Some call this resistance. I call it a pain in the ass most times. However, I’ve learned to live with it.
If I were to answer one of the many emails or texts that I am receiving at the moment I would be forced to choose. Once I have decided to engage with the person or device that is communicating, there are essentially only 2 choices. Be affected by the noise or to create more noise myself.
It’s very tempting to engage, however, once I do I lose the flow. Once the flow is gone, the rhythm in which my vibes were depending on becomes jumbled. If this happens I cannot connect with my bubble or those that are in it. I feel as if I am simply a bystander. That’s when my thoughts turn dark. I start to feel as if my universe never really was about being about mindfulness. The depression demons start to come out to play…
Then I remembered her. She was introduced to me in a completely different way than I had ever been introduced. Her natural beauty could not be approached by the most sensual roses presented at any parade. The essence of spirit which flowed through her could not go unnoticed. She was perfectly balanced.
We smoked some of the best flower that I have ever smoked. We had some of the best conversations that would only be a beginning to what hopefully will be a long lasting relationship.
I was reminded to think holistically. Especially with my psyche. I was able to self reflect again. This time it was very therapeutic. I was able to confirm to myself that I can and should continue on with my very own bubble making.The inspiration for creativity definitely left an impression.
Nearly a year ago I was fortunate enough to spend the day with the Hermetic Flower CO. team. There was a planted notion within me. That notion was to indulge myself with the cleanest and most natural way of connecting with not just my universe, but the universe of many.
I can’t wait to connect with you in that same universe.
“There’s a door right up here.I know I keep it here, but no one else can.”
She tapped her head as she spoke.
Quietly I was aroused by the fact that I was invited into a realm of opportunity to see a person’s soul. She spoke with a gentle voice with the character only a true connoisseur of cannabis would portray. I was tuned in.
I hadn’t been feeling right in my head. As if there were such a thing, right. Electronic and gadgets aside, some broken, I followed the path of least resistance to heal my swelling demons. A conversation with a real human about real life shit. Little did I know it would turn into a mind opening experience.
Walking in what must have been an apparent cloud of confusion, I noticed and welcomed the calming effect of her words, however, her eyes told the real story.
I noticed her glance once or twice to the other door as she spoke of business partners and those that surround us both in our professional life. When her eyes met with mine the room shuttered.
She asked me to sit next to her. I knew she couldn’t speak loudly. It was too real for anyone to know. Curiously, I obliged.
She told me of a place where she knows herself. As a familiar place to me it was apparent there was a reason she was opening up.
She smiled as if I didn’t. She smiled as if she didn’t. I knew she did.
The doors of which we bar our true selves behind are but doors. They can and must be opened.
She told me of a place of flow. One of which I have been seeking all my life, it seems.One that makes sense to me. One that requires me to look in rather than out. It was a place of dreams. A place of content. A place with no holes to be filled. A place of understanding.
We both knew. We both had seen this realm that only existed in someone else. A tear rose to my eye as I fantasized about this space of happiness. One of which all innocence could return. One that we both knew was right there inside our head.
I sailed through the complexity of the day. I woke up thinking about cannabis and what it has done for me and my friends. I usually go to sleep thinking of damn near the same thing. Hopefully by the end, some of those benefits would have kicked in.
One would say I have a love affair with a plant.
There’s actual romance happening within the connection between her and I. I accept it. I write about weed constantly. I live around it daily. I connect with others that see the same light from her.
It’s overwhelming to think of those that have not been helped. Some tend to forget. Some tend to turn away from why we are here. I know that I do.
I was frustrated at the work that still hadn’t been done and the time in which to do it. I was rushing around. I wanted a little processing of the brain time.
The weather was starting to energize out outside. Inevitably, the texts and calls warned me of my impending doom. The noise seemed to be coming from everywhere except the actual storm. I started sweating.
I was thinking about some of the things that had happened that day. Some personal. Some business. Happenings nonetheless. I found myself getting worked up. Mentally, I desperately needed to check out.
I noticed the time.
I realized I would never finish anything I started unless I desired to fight being cross-eyed while looking at a computer screen. So, I checked out.
While laying in bed I scrolled through the never ending fulfillment of comedic relief, which is my Instagram feed. I realized that I had forgotten. I turned away from one of the reasons why I exist.
Quickly, I scrambled out of bed. I needed to find a way to make this right. I hadn’t forgotten overall. I had solutions to any obligation currently set in place. It was merely something that I needed to correct for my own personal sanity.
So I wrote this. I wanted to personally thank those that have served in the military. Like many, I was caught up in the whirlwind of chaos, which is life. Even though I had everything set in motion, I still forgot the most important part.
This edition of Herbage Magazine is very special to me as a publisher and a proud member of my community.
I am personally very thankful that I have the opportunity to be a part of something that is larger than one scoop.I would much prefer diving into the entire barrel. Many of us have been at the bottom of that barrel and needed something or someone to show us the way to the surface.
I am swimming inside of a pool filled with gratitude for those individuals spreading the light. The brands and companies creating good medicine and products for our better quality of life deserve our thanks. The leaders and pillars of this community who want what is BEST for it, inspire me.
I firmly believe that in order to move forward in a positive way we must honor rather than judge.
Most of all, I would like to recognize the true heart and soul of our community’s gratitude. That is the individual patient and their families that have suffered for many years under an inhumane law.
May your persistence lead to the greatest of success.
Wendy Elena is a cannabis industry compliance and regulation expert. Thenakedgrower.com
“This thing started in a garage in West Seattle!”
The excitement to talk about Robot Pharmer was filling the air as we finally got a chance to sit down with the creators of this powerhouse brand. From seed to sale this unmistakable company has been producing products that are flying off of their very own dispensary shelves. “We all work damn near seven days a week. We have a lot of pride.”
Jeff Ely, co-owner and visionair, was ecstatic and very passionate about his team. “For Isaac and Josh to really take that project on and believe in it, you know? We came together and really learned about one another. All of us brought a different skill set. We were able to recognize that and work very well with everyone involved.” The heart and soul of Robot Pharmer was ready to explode into the world with the early team of four entrepreneurs. So much so they were able to describe their experience as somewhat of a calling.
Jeff had a very successful real estate career until market woes and financial burdens hit a volatile market. “Then the market crashed and you know I filed bankruptcy. I lost everything. I always loved Austin. So, I went back to start over. At first I did a number of random jobs. I started a business eventually building houses.” Jeff started a boat jet ski rental business. “We were operating on the two Lakes down there. This opportunity with Robot Pharmer came about. Josh was in Seattle at the time.”
Josh Wheat, co-owner and visionaire, divulged himself in the Seattle medical marijuana market early on. He started growing medicinal cannabis and eventually created the Robot Pharmer brand. “I wanted to have the robot as an ambassador for the community. I didn’t want it to be much like 420 pot leaf stuff. I wanted to create a robot that everyone could rally around instead of the cliche “stoner” look and feel. We got a really badass designer that was super creative. I was able to relay my ideas through him with sketches. He started creating different scenes in the industry.
So that’s how we got started with the Robot Pharmer brand. We wanted it to be a more inviting brand rather than just a “stoner” brand.” Soon after Josh described the Seattle medicinal scene as a “soon to disappear” environment as the recreational cannabis atmosphere hit the culture. “When Oklahoma became medical, I was in Texas and I talked to Jeff. We were actually still thinking about Oregon at the time.” Josh was laughing at this point. “So, as soon as Oklahoma opened up we knew where we were going. We already had one of our partners in Oklahoma, Brant. We had some equipment and he did as well. We were able to put that together and get an operation started.” “Garrett is our genetic junky. So the first two years we went through a ton of seeds.”
Josh seemed to know the brand story like the back of his hand. “We were just going through different things to start some different varieties of cultivars. It took a ton of patience. We wanted to try and figure out what the up sides and the down sides to each so that we can offer more strains that would fit the patients needs rather than just what is hyped at the moment. It’s a process.” Jeff was certain they could grow at this point. Now what to do with this big idea of being able to sell in their own dispensary? “Why would we not apply for licenses? The worst thing that happens is we lose $2,500” I thought to myself, let’s hit this full on. So that’s what we did. So then we got Josh.”
The room was in all ears as the two were traveling in a highway of recollection. “I was in Austin. I remember like it was yesterday.” Josh’s eyes moved to the recall position. “So we got the emails back. I called Jeff while he was with another partner. I said… y’all get together let me call you back. I called and I had a big American flag on my back. I was so happy. We got our licenses and then the dispensary license came in just hours later. We were all so happy.” Jeff spoke as if he was talking about his family.
His deep care for his team was very apparent. “Josh is up in Seattle and he had come down right before the news. Brant was in Broken Bow and was with his family. My longtime business partner and also close friend Isaac and I worked in the construction business for around 10 years. That’s where the connection is.” “Before plans go out the window you’re constantly pivoting based on what’s happening in the market.” Jeff explained. “I think we all at this point understand that the bills in place initially were put there with the intent to evolve.
The OMMA did it this way because it benefited us. So there’s been a lot of rule changes. Our thoughts from the beginning were simple. We have a couple people on our team that really know how to grow good weed. We’ve got a couple people on our team that can operate a successful business. So it was simple. We’re going to grow weed.
We’re going to run a dispensary. We’re going to make concentrates, carts, edibles, and now there are gummies. It’s all really blowing up!” 28 The key component to every edible is the Chef. Robot Pharmer has filled that need and then some with the addition of their very own, Brandon Bentley. “We have an amazing Chef that’s working with us now.” The look in Josh’s eye was one of imagining the flavor. “It’s so great. Maybe you have some issues with a crop and it doesn’t come out exactly how you want. We need to create an outlet for this right?” We were curious to ask Jeff about some of the most challenging issues they are facing today. “We need to put some time and focus into some current challenges. Right now the market is flooding. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about dispensaries, flower, and/or processing.
At the end of the day that’s what everybody is kind of up against. I think for us. We are doing well at going into those different zones when needed.” The Robot Pharmer team has learned the importance of diversity. In order to sustain certain waves of market reactions Robot Pharmer has built a foundation that can evolve with the overall flow of the industry. That in itself is a task many strive to achieve. “Josh created this brand like a sunset in Seattle.” Jeff confessed. “I don’t want to say I didn’t understand how important a brand was, but at the same time I was very focused on production numbers. This is kind of how I think.
The brand introduces that we have great quality products. I’m so happy and proud of the product we put out, but you have to have the branding with it. In a market that is so competitive everybody has that challenge right now. Including us. Luckily the amount of time and effort we put into our products and the amount of skus in a variety of products has given us that advantage that we need to try to meet some of these challenges.” Josh wanted to make clear that “The quality of products and the safety of our patients is very conscious on our end. The reality is… what are the patients going to like? As soon as you think you know, you’re in the wrong. You don’t know. So it’s really going through as much as possible, going off what we think people might like, and going through that 10 month pheno-hunting process. It’s hard to say because you just don’t know sometimes. I believe a lot of our success comes from staying consistent with our quality, safety, and marketability as a whole.” Jeff pointed out that everything they do is live resin. “We stay completely away from distillate. We have a one gram cart. That’s the only distillate that we use in any of our products.
Robot Pharmer, with total transparency, pheno-hunts and cultivates quality strains from real breeders, while maintaining credit where credit is due. They flower to the best of their skill set, which in our opinion, places them in the top 5% of flower quality in the state of Oklahoma. Watching Robot Pharmer naturally grow in the industry and provide an open learning environment has been very inspirational. If you’ve been looking, you don’t have to look far for some of the best flower, and flower based products, and of course friendly faces, from Robot Pharmer.
I noticed a hole inside of me and I needed to fill it.
The near sereal connection of my past and present resistance is overwhelming at times. I headed to an old abandoned feed mill.
I wanted to take some photos and reminisce. I stopped at a department store.
Immediately, I checked my appearance. I looked around. The people in the store seemed to all glance over. I tripped just enough as I walked forward to look around for an audience. I had one… Out of place, I nodded to an older gentleman as we passed and I noticed a concerned look given in return.
I started to sweat. I started feeling lonely. I had no close connection to the people in the store. I started to wonder if I would ever simply feel comfort. I could see the isle I was searching for now. I turned the corner and there was a person standing on the opposite end. He looked familiar. In some ways he looked off putting. There was a scar on his chest which was exposed for the world to see.
He started to speak. He asked me why I did what I did. I was puzzled. He wanted to know why I left him. He asked me why I always want to play with others and never with him. He reminded me that he was my friend. I remembered. He reminded me of when we were both children and I cared about him. I knew he was going to do something with his life. I also knew I would probably never get to see it.
I accepted the fact that he was gone a long time ago. A sudden and close to damaging slap went across my face as he screamed for me to wake up. He reminded me that he was the most pleasant person to ever be with. I should accept him back into my life. He wanted me to stop looking in the mirror out of vanity. He told me the demons don’t matter anymore. He wanted me to stop desiring to be out of myself. Then he invited me back in.
I looked at his eyes and I knew it was me. I gave him a hug and a promise. “I will never leave you again.”
I’ve often wondered why it’s called, “walking on eggshells”. Eggshells are generally pretty soft and easy to crumble. There’s the squishy part that might not feel so good between the toes. All-in-all…not that bad of an experience if you ask me. Try walking on top of uncracked eggs. Now that’s something to ponder…
The outer shell of a rotten egg is still the shell of an egg.
We crawl into a corner and cover ourselves up with guilt, shame, blame, praise, encouragement, and improper direction from others around us. We hide and protect ourselves. We victimize ourselves and one another so much that we create an outer shell. We hope no-one, except for maybe someone, will be able to crack. We find ourselves feeling broken because we are in pieces. Society tells us this is wrong. With encouragement from Humpty Dumpty himself, we try to put ourselves back together again.
Seems like a lot of energy…
I have come to find that I like walking on broken eggshells. I find it nice to meet the true “authentic” you. Once you get past the squishy part it’s really quite exhilarating. Hopefully once we figure out that all those worries about building the outer shell were for nothing, we can start showing one another who we really are.
I had been awake the entire night before. I thought I could figure out what the hell went wrong with society. Eventually I realized… I just wasted the entire night trying to figure out what the hell went wrong with society.
I figured, what better way to get my mind off of the absurdity of my environment than to become part of it. So I drove into town.
I had a plan. I had some errands to run then of course make a stop to pick up my weed. I thought long and hard before I made it into town. I decided to get the weed first.
The unpleasant aura of which I carried must have been highly visible as I entered Namah Cannabis. They knew that I knew that I needed to shake some things off. Maybe even cool off just a bit. The very wise budtender gifted me the option to purchase what he said would absolutely do the trick. I took it.
Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long. You see, in the great state of Oklahoma, a smoking area option is an option I prefer as well.
Caribbean Cooler from Pollen Nation Cultivation definitely took me to a happy place. The one place I always miss. I felt as if I were taking a walk along an old familiar path along a quiet beach while sipping on the sweet kool “aid” of creativity.
I may not have found the answer to questions of absurdity. However, I did find a way to not really give too much of a damn and carry on.
POLLEN NATION CULTIVATION
The dominant terpene found in the Caribbean Cooler strain is Caryophyllene. The unique molecular structure of caryophyllene allows it to easily bind to CB2 receptors primarily located within our peripheral endocannabinoid system. This means that is doesn’t cause any of the euphoric feelings of cannabis while providing many of the benefits associated with activating those receptors, like reducing inflammation.
It’s unlike any other terpene because it is the only one that has the ability to directly activate a cannabinoid receptor, especially CB2 receptors.
I couldn’t see much else other than the soft silhouette and the glow which surrounded the now more frequent visitor from the woods…her.
She asked me to follow. I couldn’t resist.
The bricks that have been mortared must be unsealed.
As we moved forward down the path once again to what would most assuredly be some sort of puzzle for me to ponder, I felt some sort of lifting sensation. She glanced with a slight smile.
Her eyes were visible this time. The slight amber rings embraced the entrancing dark windows to the soul. The mere thought of being noticed by them instills inspirational assurance.
We stopped and she pointed. I looked and there were three paths. In front of each path was a sign. Only one of the signs came into focus. I glanced at her and she was smiling.
As the path grew narrow I noticed I wasn’t following her any longer. By the time we reached what was meant to be seen we were standing side-by-side. Looking and watching. Laughing and crying. Hoping and fighting off the past that never was and never will be.
The walls that surround must crumble in order to see the light.
Advice.It’s something I take lightly all too often.It’s something I consider after the fact.It’s something I cannot, for the life of me, stop diverting. It’s something I laugh about when I fail. It’s something I wish for even when I “win”.
“Your job is to observe and report.Never join.”That’s the current advice I am pondering.The one piece of advice that was given to me in regards to this “circus” we call our community.
They never took into consideration that I am like you. I am also confused.
Have you ever been in a situation when you knew exactly what was about to be discussed? You knew the outcome. You could sense the feelings of the people involved. You understand the process and steps completely and holistically of how you all got to that point? Did anything around you seem a little peculiar? Have you ever physically tingled from emotions so much that you cry and didn’t know why? Have you perhaps experienced an underlying relatable understanding between a group of like minded individuals that you are all “in-tune”, and actually mean it?
The ability to accomplish this multiple times daily without the use of heavy hallucinogens or mind altering drugs has led me to believe that actual true authentic life really does exist. I have absolutely ZERO personal issues with being part of that “circus”.
The fact that I would most likely be a perfect candidate for an FDA approved mind altering drug to force me to forget those emotions and observations should be criminal.
There’s power out there. An energy.One that we all know.One that we all have denied at one point or another.
We joined the circus a long time ago. The moment that our human bodies took its first breath.
Witnessing someone trying to keep oneself from considering the fact that the circus is actual life would be much more of an entertaining act. Oh the drama… Those that deny and observe are merely not ready for what is at hand.
At times it’s strange to see someone act as “themselves”. One might even start to believe that authenticity is “fake”. It really makes you wonder who or what are these “fake” figures, and why do they keep popping up…
As I entered the dwellings of what one might call the traveling type I was greeted. Gratitude was in the air, even at 3:00 AM. I entered with a smile.
I was then introduced to a few more characters. Although they are not for this tale. These individuals were in a perfect environment for psychological warfare of sorts.
The one who greeted me at the door was apparently the glue.
I began a conversation.One with the glue. I was amazed at the symbols, letters, and zeros floating from the top of his head as he spoke. It was intellect. Somewhat of a knowledge that was kind and true. A knowledge known from experience.
That’s when he introduced himself as Mr. Green, AKA Trevor Green.
“Music has always been a big part of my life. I grew up on classic rock. Simon & Garfunkel, Pink Floyd, that genre. Then I got into the beginning of Hip Hop. I got a high out of learning something. It was like the beginning of a movement. You know? So as I started listening to the rhyme scheme and everything I really loved it.
I’ve always loved poetry. So, it kind of fit. That’s just something that had a lot of impact on me.
I was in my teens and I listened to grunge. A bunch of grunge. Then I got into Indian music. Once I got back into some hip hop again I performed more of a spoken word thing. I slowly worked it into actual hip hop. I’m using more of that structure.”
Trevor’s inspiration is clearly from all of his surroundings. It’s artists like Trevor that intrigue me the most. Ones that clearly lack the ability to pigeonhole themselves into a genre.
Trevor talked about deeper inspiration. “Until about a year or so ago, I’d never written a happy song. A lot of people say writing comes from that expression of what we otherwise in our lives can’t find a way to do. Then I realized a lot of that was because of what I had circulating in my head.
Through the whole process of writing I’m able to see what my psyche is doing. From there I can say, okay, well I have to choose to put out the positivity. The positivity that I’m trying to see in myself. What seems to help is the mindset that I take in order to cope and deal with the stressors of everyday life. Like we all do.”
It was at that point I could imagine myself lifted. I sensed the positive outlook on this train and I wanted a first class ticket.
“I’ve been through several drug consultations and things. I did that because of a court-appointed situation. It doesn’t take long to see it was about control and the psychology of it. Most people twist and turn things in order to win. It’s not necessary.
So now that I’m able to see what my psyche is doing, I can control things that apply to me. On a moralistic level that makes me want to be better myself.
When I started writing it was never to get famous. I was expressing myself. So that’s what I do now. If this helps people then I’m going to continue. There are still all those negative times in my life. I feel like I got it, but there are still times when I write angry music. Wild-ass music that’s just like, where I’m even thinking, wow this dude is messed up. It’s just where you choose to let your mind go.
Nearly every day I struggle with the negative. This morning, when I woke up, for some reason I had this itching feeling. Like why am I even doing this? What is the purpose of it? Then I think of this one thing. I’ve got enough affirmations. I just have to stop letting that self-doubt and that negativity in. Wrangle your thoughts so you are dialed in and focused.
“I grew up in a Baptist Children’s Home. My family is broken. When I was probably 13 or 14-years-old I had tons of anxiety. I didn’t know what to call it. Then I had all these things on my plate. I was at the Children’s Home. I was vice president of the student council. I went on leadership outings. I was always helping that family home with livestock. I was doing work at another ranch. I was an honors student in school. I was just trying to figure it out. I didn’t realize how strained I was. That’s when I first experimented with bud.
I figured out quickly that the stigma that society has on weed causes people to do things unsafely. The psychology of a younger person when they start using bud under those stigma causes the inability to release stress.
For me, I know and I believe that I wouldn’t have wasted as many years trying to figure something out in my own head.
I asked Trevor about the medicinal values and how he interprets them.
“As I got older I started developing stomach issues. Severe acid reflux and GERD. In four months I lost 40 lbs. Every day, for about 2 months, I couldn’t eat without getting sick. My throat is permanently scarred from it. Yes there were things in my life that were causing it. One of the main things that I found, even as I grow older, is that because of traumatic conditions I’ve been in, stress is a huge cause. Bud was always there to help.
Since then I’ve just learned how to work with it.
As a youth there was so much stigma that it was just negative. If you imagine you can almost understand how to use cannabis you felt wrong. But for some reason it was healthy. it’s just such a confusing thing to put in someone’s head.”
Check out Mr. Green’s new single “Right With It” on Spotify and Youtube.
Too much. Those two words are very difficult for me to swallow. Though swallowing too much has never really been an issue, perhaps thinking has.
Some odd reason other than not really comprehending where I actually was walking at the moment, I found myself in a mall. I had no idea why I let the journey of the afternoon take me to the halls of hell some call shopping malls, however I was there and I wasn’t turning back.
I recalled someone mentioning an art gallery nearby. I hurriedly walked toward the light. As I entered I realized I had been focusing so intensely on my last few projects I was possibly there for some inexplicable reason.
There was an eye looking directly at me from the canvas.
“This started as a joint project with several artists.” Holly McHughes, AKA Night_Owl_Artist, says about the cover art on this month’s Herbage Magazine. “I picked the eye color. It was interesting.”
Many artists feel the intuition of the piece they are working on. Holly is no different.
“My work has to have some type of spiritual depth. It has to have a connection to me. Not just to my viewers. I probably stared at this eye way too long. All the other people were staring at this too. All of those other artists that worked on this painting. We all had to focus on this eye. I would walk away from the canvas but the eye didn’t go away. Like it, it just kept coming every single time I would walk away and come back.” Holly seemed reserved a bit.
I could tell her reservation came from judgment. She seemed worried that she may be judged for thinking too “openly”. It’s quite sad what society tries to do to a person’s creativity. I wanted Holly to understand there is no such thing as judgment in this space.
“So I just decided to be okay with the thought that apparently this is supposed to be. To me it’s a look at how we normally feel. All of the crazy anxiety up in your head. We have to get rid of it. Sometimes we can’t figure out how. So it’s really a matter of just how you feel at that moment. The focus…”
I’m very intuitive. I can’t express that enough. I think art just evolves as we stare at it. I guess that’s the best way to put it.
As I approach the desired altar of what once may have been called love, I find myself lacking.
Adventure stirs as the thoughts of what might be. This action is far greater and more amazing than pondering what might have been. The self-assuredness awaits its lonely turn as always.Time ticks…
I think of the courage it will take to be completely and openly vulnerable.
Desire is but a fraction of the streaming emotion…
I’m looking around and I notice the extreme lack of attention to detail.This is not me.I need something. Something is missing in this puzzle and I can no longer ignore it. Locating the solution is no small task.
Trial and error quickly becomes monotonous.
I find the need to have a “lack” of self discipline growing from within as I overburden and overthink my way through the path of life. This must stop.
Eggshells do not present the Aura or texture in which I crave. However, she did when we were face-to-face. The orange that glowed was ever present and that is why this month’s strain of the month is:
“I was around 7-years-old when my cousin’s and I thought it would be a good idea to steal a joint from my aunt. Ever since then I have loved living with cannabis.”
Chris McCarley was the youngest in his group of friends.Naturally he was introduced to experiences in life that many would have to be patient and wait for their time.Not Chris.He was all in.He found something without even knowing it.
“Once I really got into smoking I liked the way I felt.It wasn’t just being high.Even as a kid it took a lot of stress off of me. My home life wasn’t necessarily the best life you know, but it’s what we had. I remember times with no electricity. Some nights I would crawl out my windows to stay at a friend’s house. You know, I was eating over there. My mom worked three jobs. I remember at one time she was working four jobs. She was coming home and getting two hours of sleep, you know?” He was recalling vividly. “As a kid I would stay away from home as much as I could. So, being over there with older friends, I really got introduced to weed and smoking a lot more. I was right around twelve-years-old when I really started smoking every day.”
I myself remember being that age very clearly.It was the age I began experimenting with all kinds of “new” things.Like Chris, it started off as something that was cool.I noticed my friends could step up and handle the strongest.I wanted to prove myself as well.As for Chris, it became somewhat of a best friend.
Chris teed it up, “I wanted to do exactly what they were doing. So yeah, it was more on the cool side at first. I also liked the way that it made me feel.” The animated gestures revealed his passion. “Whenever you get a really good sativa, I get that really nice head high, you know? It just kind of zones me in on the important things, you know? Then I’m not running around all confused and anxious. It just helps the day go by a lot faster. I’m not thinking about the stress at home. I guess it became more of a medication to me.” Chris seemed as if he could breathe now with that off his chest.
“I was diagnosed with ADD when I was about 10-years-old. Cannabis, even at that time, I noticed it really called me down. I had actually broken my back in the fifth lumbar before as a kid. I had a lot of back pain. I was given Lortabs consistently three times a day until I was about 16-years-old.So prescription medication was something and is something I very much want to stay away from.Cannabis has given me that opportunity.”Chris seemed at ease.
“Cannabis doesn’t take me out of my mind. When I am told by big pharma that Lortabs and their medications are the answer and I mistakenly follow directions, I don’t really know exactly what I’m doing, how I’m functioning, and things like that. So that was my choice. At the age of 16, to say no more.”
In close company with cannabis is jail time.Not anything new to the cannabis community.However, something very new to a far more superior holistic medicinal industry that does and will forever exist in this world.
“The first time I got in trouble I was riding around with my friends and we were pulled over. I had about 3/4 of an ounce of bud on me. That was the first probation. A misdemeanor probation. I got through that year of probation.I had literally just turned 18-years-old. So that gave you my first ‘strike’. Here, there’s a 2-strike-rule. On the second one it’s a felony.” We moved into the future of the timeline. “I was twenty-two and I thought I was a big shot. I got caught with about an ounce and a half of weed. I felt lucky they didn’t get me for distribution or anything.I wasn’t distributing.But because I had it in two different bags they could have charged me. However, I did get a felony.”
Chris was so nonchalant about his experience I wondered if desensitization may be a larger issue in the cannabis community than I previously thought.
“I know everybody wants to stay with weed, but systems make it so so hard for people to even get it. I mean you’re charging people $200 for a card that says they can now choose medication which is going to cost the patient money on top of that. I mean where does that make sense? Where do the people see that money? When do we see it coming back into schools? When do we see it back to fixing the streets? I mean there’s a thousand streets around here right now with huge potholes. We can drive right down the street,” Chris pointed East, “there’s a big hole right down here. I mean it makes no sense.” I could see the cavalry readying the horses.
“They are charging all these people getting caught with weed that don’t have their cards X amount of dollars. I mean $400 a ticket. It comes from the ground. A natural herb. They’re making a business off people’s downfalls.”
Chris’ passion could easily be mistaken as anger.However, in my opinion it goes hand-in-hand.Sometimes in order for those with enormous self appointed power to hear what you have to say it is a necessity to be both.
“I need help. We actually have a solution to help these people right here without it costing a dime to the government. Pharma wants the government to have their say in it.” Chris took a breath and sighed.
If you really want to know who would like to be involved in cannabis there are many ways to find the right connections.However, if you look at the traditional connections between the government and those that would like to control cannabis, just follow that little trail of money that’s falling off the fan leaves.That’s where all the vulchers like to hang.
My month had gotten away from me.Again… The pressures of a deadline are there for a reason.It’s to keep me on my toes. I tend to use them as crutches at times.I have manipulated a deadline or two into becoming a symbol of inspiration in my career.It’s not the most preferred method.
I’ve locked myself away for days to write and that’s what I intend to do this time. Hempton Heights in Vinita, Oklahoma was calling my name. The bats in the belfry were just about to start bickering. It was time.
Hempton Heights on paper is a getaway for those wanting peace and quiet. For me, it’s a peace and quiet in a, ‘I’ve got to get out of this hustle and bustle before I snap’, kind of way. However, it is way more than that.
I live about 2.5 hours away from this luxury cannabis destination according to the “shortest” route on my maps.I did what I usually do and chose the longer and hopefully more adventurous route. The journey truly does come into play.
Lost are the souls that can actually sway with the melody and may you receive guidance from those that create it.
The music kicks in and I become entranced.This is a perfect opportunity to get the “real” work done.I start to grind.
I remembered the first time I visited Hempton Heights.It was the first season they were open and I was so interested in this new venture for the couple of thoughtful folks that took the leap to start it.
Nicole Holt and Jeff Lipe wanted to create a safe and relaxing place for others to go without any kind of fear of judgment while medicating in peace. Nicole is a pancreatic patient herself.She has taken charge of her health and was able to stop taking several prescriptions by replacing them with cannabis. This gave Nicole her life back.Both Nicole and Jeff missed traveling and the people they would meet. Creating Hempton Heights has given them both the opportunity to serve as well as live their dreams in peace.
Jeff sat down with me on the morning of my first visit a few years ago.He was able to open his heart enough for me to know that, indeed, it was in the right place. There’s a special place for those that mimic the actions of Nicole and Jeff.
I drove on.
The final trek of the now 3.5 hour journey was closing in.I had somehow managed to occupy my headspace with none other than my own thoughts for the final two. The scenery reminds me of when I travel into places that I can’t stand. I can’t stand the jealousy that I feel knowing that at some point I will have to leave. It’s beautiful. Rivers, lakes, trees, and hills.There was even a kick ass area for Jeeps to go off and play.An adult playground.All I needed was weed.
I could literally throw a stone and hit the dispensary close to the resort.My shoulder would most likely be in some pain.I may need to see someone soon after for medical advice.But it’s so close, you get the jist.
When I enter the cabin I can hardly believe the sensation.Mere seconds ago I was wondering if I was going to be able to swim through the humidity just to reach the front door.Once inside I was actually a bit cold.
Here’s a great example of how generous and thoughtful the owners are and why I will and I encourage you to visit frequently.Remember, these are the owners of the very first cannabis friendly resort in Oklahoma. It is sold out on a regular basis. It has ratings through the roof.
I was scheduled to stay inside of a yurt for 3 days.This was eating at me a little as I wondered how in the world I was going to manage writing on my laptop while I was under water. It was the only way I could calculate that I was going to be able to survive. Then I received a text.It informed me that Nicole and Jeff insisted that I stay in a cabin at no additional cost and that it would be ready for me when I arrived.
I’ve not once felt as if I were unwelcome at Hempton Heights.I have experienced wonderful dishes from a couple of private chefs in our Oklahoma group of badass cannabis chefs.I’ve swam in the amazing swimming pool and felt like a million bucks.I’ve walked the grounds and experienced the soft lush grass with my bare feet and gazed at the trees and the moon.I’ve sat at one of the comfortable fire pits and watched a dancer with glow streamers dazzle my imagination.I’ve sat inside the beautiful event barn and witnessed a small glimpse of the opportunities that await. I have done so many things that I have done in so many cabins or hotel stays around the country.But the most special part is when you feel like you are really staying somewhere that honestly cares about themselves, the land, the buildings, the community, and you.
Back to my month.
My intentions were there.I was motivated to get things done.I needed to write.I was finally in a place of peace.So much so that I was literally forced to stay away from the internet.Thank’s At&t for having very poor services in areas that I frequent. Well, maybe just this time…
Here’s my point.I was in a good place.Headspace was ready to flow onto paper. I sat and relaxed for a minute as I was finally able to breathe.I took a drink of water.I noticed the “only smoke cannabis” sign in the room.So.You know…
I looked over at my phone.It was 7:00 AM the next day.Maybe I didn’t need to write…
Andrew Green, owner of Cowboy Cannabis Pharm in Dover, OK, grew up in somewhat of an “Americana” atmosphere.It’s not new. It’s actually more common than not. Once you look around at the ones that actually matter to you and your well being you realize something simple.Almost all of them would never have given a damn if you consumed cannabis if it were not for the LAW.
“I’ve been around cannabis since I was a kid. I was more brought up with alcohol and tobacco and stuff you know? I never knew the medicinal benefits of cannabis. I always knew that it was put on this Earth for good.” Andrew was bringing me into his world.
“About 5-years-ago my dad passed away after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer two years prior. So, I did more research.All of my research kept leading me towards medical marijuana.”I could tell where this was going. Andrew was still driving though. “Dad was kind of old school. He wouldn’t try it. There was too much of that stigma around it being illegal. After he passed away we actually found a little of what we tried to give him stashed away and never touched.”
I’ve often thought about what people I leave behind might find hidden away.So many reasons to wear clean underpants when I leave the house…However, a stash is one thing I would not mind you finding.For that matter indulge yourself.Please…
“I was working in West Virginia and there was an old man up there that had a greenhouse. He told me that I need to get into this, you know.He talked to me about his stories and about his business.” Andrew was recalling as the story unfolded.
I felt like I was on a train ride that had to get to its destination with a sense of urgency.Andrew knew exactly how he got into this business.Step by step it seems that every move the universe around him made was to assist him to get to this point.
“I came home and I was in my local bank that day. My ex partner, Monty Taylor, actually walked into the bank.I looked at him and it was a little bit of a shock.Like fate or something. It seemed like there was a reason why our paths crossed.”Andrew’s passion was starting to show.
“So anyway, he started telling me about his father-in-law who had cancer in Colorado and basically beat it. He had stage 4. He beat it with medical marijuana and eating right.We started talking about all of the research that I had done.His experiences and mine.So we partnered together to grow.”
Later down the line the two have ventured toward different paths in the cannabis world.Monty is more on the dispensary and retail side of things.Andrew seems very comfortable on the grow side.
Andrew’s uncle, his father’s brother, passed due to cancer only one month after his father.Another uncle soon after was moved to hospice care because of stage 4 cancer.
“Now an uncle on my mom’s side of the family is suffering from stage 4 cancer. Cancer is a big issue for me and my family.It just scares me.I know this stuff can help so many people.If the government would just get off their tail.”I could tell Andrew had enough, like so many of us.
“I think chemotherapy is such big business.It would cost my dad $75,000 for every treatment of chemo. The insurance would pay, but that was the bill.How is this happening?A plant from mother nature can help with this and we have so much greed going around that this is acceptable?”Andrew’s facial expression most likely matched mine at that point which was disgust.
If throwing your hands up out of being ass-whipped then congratulations.Welcome to a rather large population of society that wonders, why in the hell are we still listening?
Now go do things like below:
“We want to be like those guys that showed the world Charlotte’s Web. We want to be known as a company that cares.We are here for a reason.We love our patients and we are proud to help them get well. I don’t care about making the money as long as I pay my rent.It’s about helping people and making this a better place to live.”Andrew dotted the eye.
The enormous amount of good spirited people that I run into in this cannabis community is overwhelming. I can’t explain the feeling I get knowing that once we were all considered criminals. It truly is a good feeling to know that there are choices. For the most part those new choices of a cannabis life are much healthier, safer, less expensive, and less collateral damage causing.
“You can always make money doing something else.You just have to find it.This is something special. This is something that can give back to people.”He smiled. “To me… from all the things I might have done wrong, this may be my way of paying it back.” Andrew looked concerned.
A man can be torn down in many ways.The mind will most assuredly win a battle between itself and one’s physical size.So when you take a large and dominant figure like Andrew and witness him behaving out of self guilt for no apparent reason I raise a brow.To me, this means something or someone got into his mind. To believe that your own past requires you to claim redemption is pretty bold in my opinion.This is a small aspect of what our misguided principals and miseducation have done.
Once Andrew noticed an opening in the current vein of conversation he went for the grow rooms.He couldn’t wait to show me what’s going on behind the curtains.
The grow was very clean and something any respectable cultivator would love to work with.
Andrew let me know of a few challenges the team has been facing while growing with coco.Growing with coco and looking for high terpene output equals not a fun or short process of hitting oneself in the head.However Andrew showed enthusiasm as he shouted, “We are going to!We’re going to figure it out.”
“I consider ourselves to be more of a boutique type of grow facility.Yes, we are small. We care for each and every plant and we are comfortable knowing that it’s good medicine.”
Andrew and the gang have aspirations of getting into the edible market with his wife, Robin.“You can ask these guys.I mean come on.Robin’s cooking is delicious.Her cookies are so good.The problem is that you want to keep eating them.”
Who knows?Maybe the next time I’m out in the area I may stop in for a “magical” dinner and a smoke.
I got this photo taken the other day. It appeared in my inbox. The first thing I thought to myself was EGO.
I looked around and couldn’t find any good, print worthy, photos of myself so I thought, what the hell?Maybe my son will use it as a rolling tray one day…
Over the last few years I’ve really gotten a chance to take a good hard look at my ego.On a better note…I have been fortunate enough to have the ability to step back and examine the handling of my own ego.We all have one.It’s just a matter of controlling it.
Of course my ego has popped up quite frequently throughout the years.Without self reflection. No wonder it got out of hand.I was under the spell of what once had me and now the truth has shown me the mask.
It’s a very dramatic way of saying, damn. I really screwed some things up… It’s also become a very dramatic way of me saying, damn, I’m really starting to clean some stuff up.
Not uncommon to the largest of egos is a blow to the head with a hammer full of the most terrible things imaginable. Your past.
Humbled and chewed up a bit, I’ve come to realize that most of my problems have derived from that bastard inside my head called Mr. Ego.The good thing is, I may still have a little time.
Letting go has given me a glimpse of the life I didn’t live.I regret that my ego wasn’t given the gut punch until later. Not so much because of the experience. I’ll never want to change that. It’s because later in life the weight of that hammer is very near unliftable.
It’s the most complex puzzle I have ever attempted. I flirt with conceding daily.
It’s fascinating to me as I look into this digital copy of my eyes of how much they have changed.It’s not age.It’s just…different. I can see some things.But it’s not what I imagined.I feel as if I were talking to a mirror and the mirror is condescending me.
Mine eyes see true yet innocence… never forgotten.
“All of my life people all around me have said they experience some sort of De ja vu or spiritual moment. It seems strange, but it’s normal to me.” Alex Lestrange’s voice was telling me something I already knew as I was asking her about her work and life.
I knew because I had experienced something once I noticed the painting that is currently on the cover of this magazine. I recalled a very vivid dream that I had about two weeks before. The unnecessary naming of a condition called anxiety has become such a household diagnosis that I question my motivations to even write the term down. Anxiety…“Cannabis helps me with my art, but it helps me get through my day. I have severe anxiety.
I consider myself somewhat of a hermit. I spend a lot of time alone and I try to work on myself.”Alex’s voice was quiet.I asked her about this painting specifically. I wanted to know if it meant the same thing to her as it did to me.
She told me it was from one older Japanese style of art. It meant luck.
Though it wasn’t the same meaning that was swimming in my head, it was a very positive one.I noticed a flare of energy come from the phone as I felt Alex didn’t want to miss the chance to say, “I wanted to do this art for my Grandmother. She passed away recently. This was for her.”
“I’ve been using cannabis as medicine since I was little. I had always been pretty good in high school baseball and sports. I noticed when I smoked cannabis I felt more relaxed. My mom was a pharmacist. So, you know, I was always aware of the pharmaceutical side of things. Cannabis made me feel more relaxed. I fell in love with it very young. So I would just get some and never tell anyone. Especially after sporting events.”
There’s a moment when you are talking to someone that is passionate about what they do and they get in this sort of trance-like state. It’s a mixture of excitement, preparedness, love, hyper-focus, and soul. When it takes over you know it. That’s where Mike Langston, the grower for Local Leaf Cultivation, was when I caught up with him. He was on a wave and I jumped on for the ride.
“Then we moved to Wichita Kansas. I was nineteen years old. After about five years of adjustments and being in Wichita I had a very close musician friend. We would jam together a lot. One time after a good jam my buddy Jake says, ‘You got to come to the basement dude. I’m dying to show you something.’ So I went to the basement and I’ll never forget it. Ever. We were 24 years old and I’m 47 now. Jake pulls back this hard plastic curtain. It was the first time in my life to ever see this. There it was. A giant high pressure sodium bulb with a big mega-heavy ballast. I got chills. This was amazing! I could now grow my own medicine. I wouldn’t have to go into these shady areas to find what I needed to function. It was an eye opening experience to say the least.” I felt Mike breathing easy.
In a connoisseur market, which I’m going to personally hold onto as long as possible, I look for quality cannabis. I could care less if you grow acre after acre of throw away head-change weed. I want the good. That’s why it’s so important to support.
“I have a couple of friends in the LA area that grow. Actually it’s my friend Scott from the band 311. Another friend of mine that was with 311 is Ryan. He got out of the music business to grow. So I’ve always had a connection with someone that I could collaborate with somewhat.” Mike went on.
“So after I got my license, I went after the Black Mamba strain. I have a few other cuttings from some grower friends. So we’ve gone through a ton of selecting on the strains. We think we’ve found some winners. It takes a minute to find. About a year-and-a-half for us. Now we’re really hitting our stride.”
I’d say… Keeping it simple and interesting all at the same time. Mike believes in touching and being with every plant from seed to harvest. This was definitely my kind of grower. With strains like Black Mamba, Eiffel Tower, a super sativa Sour Apple, Blue Cheese, a very gassy and stanky Blue Purple OG, and then there’s the Grape God.
“On September 22nd 2013, I was getting ready to run a marathon in Wichita, KS. The police called me and said, ‘Mr Langston you need to come to the emergency room immediately. Your son’s been involved in a stabbing.’ My son was fatally attacked in downtown Wichita by this dude with a knife. He stabbed him 57 times. The knife was stuck in his brain. He actually lived dude! I snuck cannabis into the hospital for him.” A tear was forming.
“I don’t drink alcohol and I haven’t for 15 years. So during this time, you know, it was a real struggle. Cannabis every single day is the only thing that helped me get through that trauma. To see my son lay there for 11 days in a coma… When he came out of the coma, to make a long story short, he said directly to me that we are all spiritual beings of light and I love you. Those were the first words he said.”
“It was at that point when I started sneaking in cannabis oil for my son. I believed in it. I had made this for cancer patients and now I’m going to help heal my son. So I snuck it in the hospital. Man I don’t care… After he said those words to me there was no stopping.”
“In twenty two days he was out of rehab and back in my house. Cannabis oil works. It is here for us to heal from the inside out. I call it the god flower.”
I eventually discovered that Mike was not riding on a wave. Mike was the one that was creating a wave for many to see. He wants people to understand that happiness is obtainable. We have choices, fortunately. Most importantly, it’s about the patient. It’s still about the journey. But when you are at the helm and there are big waters ahead Mike is the perfect example of someone just like you and I. If we can continue to make a difference in other people’s lives for the better. Meanwhile he is simply working on himself.
We were able to sample every strain. Each one had its own journey to create inside of someone. This was craft cannabis. But it was more. It was craft living.
Pencils are very cheap. You could probably find a few under your stash box right now. Paper’s not so bad either. So when you put the two together and you tell someone they can draw and they scribble something down, that doesn’t make them the next Keith Haring.
It’s the same with every art form. The cream rises and it’s better damnit. It’s just better…
Catie Hubbert was enrolled at Oklahoma State University with the full intention of becoming something that society had told her she would probably need to do in order to make it. By happenstance she enrolled into her first “formal” art instruction. That’s when she found love in the form of art.
She walked away from that Aggie school with a bonafide BFA and now it’s time to do Catie the way Catie wants to do Catie.
“It’s a really wonderful and fulfilling place to be. It’s hard to make it in the art world and make a name for yourself to the point where people recognize your work or come to you requesting a piece. It’s a really cool thing to experience.” Catie’s eyes were wide open.
I called Catie a few days before meeting with her. I noticed something inside of her artwork that made me stop. I wanted to know more about the person that created this brilliant combination of color and design. I noticed a touch of magic and design that not many have the talent to match. I asked her what she attributed to her beginning success.
“I think a lot of it is forcing myself to be uncomfortable. I put myself out there consistently now. I’m naturally a very shy person. I’m very awkward. I kind of made a pact with myself a couple years ago to do all of the things that I’m afraid of doing, all of the things that make me uncomfortable. So one of those things is music. Putting that out there for the world to see.. That’s been a huge milestone every time I post a video or something like that. It works the same with my art. I just consistently put my work out there without tearing myself down or telling myself that this isn’t good enough. I try not to worry if others are better. Just getting past that and sitting in that discomfort for a little while..It’s really paid off because people see my work now and it gets recognized.”
Living and working around artists myself I have recognized when some artists go under the influence of wondering whether or not people like them as people or they really enjoy their work. It’s a hard spot. I asked Catie if she had had her turn with that emotion.
“I like creating work for strangers and I am to the point now, like I said, where I will have strangers come to me and ask for art. When it’s people that you know it’s kind of difficult and there is a little voice in my head that always says they’re just doing me a favor or they’re just doing this because they want to support me. Without having people other than friends and family coming to you requesting work, it’s really easy to let that voice win. You just have to continue with your craft without listening to that voice. You must consistently do the best you can. And people either take it or leave it.” Catie reassured me that she is on the correct path, which is her path.
An artist can feel the fire of other people actually liking their work. They of course get a little bit of a boost. A personal boost that says I can do this. I most certainly can and that, my friends, is a wonderful feeling. To accomplish this as an artist without it actually being a popularity contest is rare and it is something that Catie is forever grateful for.
“It’s hard to build a name for yourself in the art world. It is very, very intimidating especially for someone who’s really bashful. Oh gosh I’ve been doing this full time for so long. For about nine years. I’m just now to the point where people are starting to recognize my work. So it takes a lot of bad art to get to the good. But art is about finding out who you are as a person and letting that shine through on the canvas. People are going to recognize you and they see your voice and your personality in each piece. So they can go hand-in-hand. Figuring out who you are or what your style is, what your taste is, what is your signature thing. Self-discovery. I think it’s all a very big important part of success. I really do think they go hand-in-hand.”
“I did hyper-realistic portraits. Paintings that look just like the person. I did that for the longest time. Not really because I ever advertised it or wanted to do it. Someone just asked me once because a loved one had passed away and they wanted a commemorative piece. It turns out I was really good at it. More people started asking so I did that for a long time. Finally I got to a financial place where I felt like I could do what I wanted and paint in my own style rather than, you know, commissions and specialty pieces that people wanted. So I started painting this show called Oklahome-Sweet-Home. It’s kind of a mix of mysticism and Oklahoma landscapes and whimsical things. It’s the world that I live in. I see it in Technicolor and there are so many beautiful things that we miss every day right here in Oklahoma.
The collection has gotten a lot of attention. I’ve had people reach out and put my buffalo paintings on t-shirts. I sold a lot of those. I’ve had people reach out and ask me to recreate some of my pieces. I have a few of those. So it’s been really great and like I said I’m to the point now where business is coming to me. It’s been a whole lot of fun just to do me. It feels really, really good.”
“I know it seems totally different…but I’d actually like to get into animation. The reason why I started hitting it really hard with my art and my daytime job is that I’m saving up to buy the proper equipment. I’d like to get heavily into animation once I can buy all the software. I want to transition over and see what happens.”
“I have a lot of health issues. I have had some neurological issues. You’ll notice I twitch. I’ve had that since I was little. It’s because I have a severe OCD. I get overwhelmed and it comes out in twitches. In college I got very sick and was hospitalized. I was diagnosed with lupus and I was on all the medicines for all the years and just felt miserable. I felt like there was no room to be me because all of my energy was consumed by just being sick.”
“Then I found cannabis and replaced all my medicines. I started microdosing and building my way up and it was just like the whole world opened up to me because I didn’t have to worry about all that other stuff. I could just be Catie. It’s just been so life-changing and my journey into self-discovery owes so much to cannabis. It played a major part in me learning to love myself and having space to finally become my best self. There’s no way I would be where I am without it. I would still be miserable and missing out on life. I would be watching it go by feeling like I can’t do all those things I want to do. So I feel like it would be a mistake if I did not thank cannabis itself.”
“It’s because of cannabis I was able to see all the shit in my life that doesn’t matter and toss it away. I learned that life is about connection and love and seeing the beauty in all the things. All the stuff that I was worried about and all the things that continuously made me miserable..I learned that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. All of the anxiety, all of the fear. It was just stopping me from showing all the colors that are inside of me.”.
When I say things similar to Catie or I listen to others say them I imagine angry foolish bad people that once had control now crumbling because they are pissed off that it doesn’t matter any longer. A smile rises every time. The green wave is real and will never subside. At least I hope it doesn’t while I’m still around. It’s people with vision and the ability to step away from the norm that will keep it flowing.
“It’s a full out of body thing you need to experience in order to heal. I think you have to look at it as ‘everything is connected’ and you can’t just heal the physical and get better. You need to heal your emotions. You need to heal your soul, your mind, your body, all of it. And cannabis can reach all of those components. It’s like it reaches across barriers and can pull out what you need to see and show you the areas where you need to do some work”
Catie Hubbert and her mixture of music art and whimsical imagination can be found online at:
When I was very young I would travel, a lot, with my grandparents. To this day I can still smell the morning dew on the ground as I head to the showers. I loved it.
We did a ton of connecting with nature and learning about things. I never really knew I wanted to learn about them. I was twelve. Let’s face it. I had no idea…
I was never really afraid of snakes during those travels. Spiders were another thing. I was and am still frightened by the mere thought of a spider on me. So much so that as a child I was convinced that if I joined the “National Spider Sniffing Club” and vowed to never kill a spider they would leave me alone. Hold on a sec. I see a spider in my peripheral vision as I write this. There… Squashed.
Anywho… Where was I? Oh yes. Snakes.
I may have never really been afraid of snakes, but I never even dreamed of laying down next to one.
As of late I have found myself in too much of a rush to smell the flowers on the way. We can all get there at times. It’s called “autopilot” mode. I needed to slow down. So naturally I visited one of my local favorite spots to discuss this very significant matter, Local Leaf RX in Tecumseh, OK.
Leah, look for the badass chick in charge, down at Local Leaf RX suggested I try the Black Mamba. “You wanna slow down baby? Take this home.” I can’t resist a smile like that. Especially when it has weed with it.
So I did what she said. That is if my home were the riverside that is roughly less than a stone’s throw away from the purchase. Zip, zip…
It has been a long weekend of fun in the rain and a ton of deadlines have been broken. I was contacted by people I didn’t need in my life any longer. I had a bill collector mistake me for someone else and then argue with me that I am in fact the person he is looking for. I was beginning to have some issues with my car. Life shit. Fake life shit. The screw was turning and turning. Here we go.
As I greeted the snake into my realm I forgot about those things which bothered me. I noticed a hug. Was it my imagination? The scales were shiny and looked hardened. Surprisingly they felt like pillows. The sweet scent of her tongue was too powerful to resist as she looked me in the eyes. I asked her if she had been dipped in grapes as I tasted the strong purple pouring into my lungs. She was beautiful and I was in love.
I’ve been in this situation before. This time I’m not looking away. I’m not going to find something to pick me back up. I’m going to lay here with this wonderful black snake as long as I possibly can and drift…off…to…sleep.
The Black Mamba strain grown by Local Leaf Cultivation is my Strain of the month for July.
19680 S. Gordon Cooper Dr. Tecumseh, OK 74873 email@example.com 405-287-3053 Mon-Sat: 10am to 8pm Sun: 12pm to 7pm
Since 1971, the war on drugs has cost the United States an estimated $1 trillion. In 2015, the federal government spent an estimated $9.2 million every day to incarcerate people charged with drug-related offenses that’s more than $3.3 billion annually.
State governments spent another $7 billion in 2015 to incarcerate individuals for drug-related charges. North Carolina, for example, spent more than $70 million incarcerating people for drug possession. Georgia spent $78.6 million just to lock up people of color for drug offense 1.6 times more than the state’s budget current for substance use treatment services.
In contrast, marijuana legalization would save roughly $7.7 billion per year in averted enforcement costs and would yield an additional $6 billion in tax revenue. The net total $13.7 billion could send more than 650,000 students to public universities every year.
There’s a glare. It’s in the window in the backdrop of the room I just entered.
Ocean waves crash.
Slow motion. Like a Deftones song, and maybe a drop of magic. I’m swimming in a dream.
I look over to my right and I notice a man in a suit smiling and laughing with another person in a gas mask. There’s a floating set of handcuffs drifting in front of me in a smiley pattern.
Have I gone insane?
A police woman is catching a tennis ball with her boot. Of course… there’s the beautiful women in swimming suits giggling for no apparent reason. There’s a politician and he is sitting on his hands. Something is hanging from his mouth that looks like an extraordinarily long tongue. I can hear children playing but nowhere to be seen. I notice a tiny bug in the corner of the room dancing and pointing at the window.
More ocean waves crash.
Smoke fills the room. No worries.
We are now in a spa floating amongst clouds. Somehow we all fit in. Dreams…
A police officer looks over at me and asks what is wrong? A bloody and abused black woman is laughing as if this is the best day of her life. A priest walks by and throws a purple rubber duck in the mix. For some reason I found this to be the strange part. So I followed it.
It led me walking down a small pathway. There were twists and turns along the way.
I made it to a clearing and there was a purple flower in the center of an all white room. The urge to look away from this flower was nonexistent. I could not think of anything other than this flower.
Now I am in a small white room. No flower. No priest. No spa. Not even smiley face shaped handcuffs. Just a white room and myself. I close my eyes.
I imagine being on an island. At first there’s fear. Fear of being alone. Fear of abandonment. Fear of loss. Fear of worthlessness.
Remember the sounds. The ocean waves. The children in the distance. The little bug in the corner telling you to look. The people laughing and not playing roles.
Then there’s the glare. All you have to do is look into the glare.
Mankind is funny. It does things to itself for no reason other than to grow and learn from it. There’s one thing that has always been something that I strive to grow daily. Foundations.
When I had the opportunity to sit and visit with another person on that same level of thought about foundations I believe we both witnessed something rise from that “foundation” as we talked.
Fayetteville Arkansas is where Alex Ritter, owner and visionary of Hermetic Flower Company, did most of his growing up. He left town to join the Navy. Alex found himself wanting more from his life. He then decided to grow cannabis in Oregon and that is his Foundation.
“We are very unique because we are not just any vertical grow,” Alex was excited to show us around. “We are an organic living soil vertical grow, which is extremely hard to do on multiple levels. Typically, if you do see it being done it’s in pots. That plays well with Organics. You’ll see a lot of that, but you’ll never see a full-blown living soil with beds and a two-tier system. It’s just a very difficult thing to do with the weight.”
Alex took me to the catwalk areas over the actual flower rooms. “I am attempting to figure out the living soil vertical growth space so that I can kind of dial that in. I think that the future of farming in general is going to be the indoor vertical farming space.”
When owning a grow or most every small business you are in a constant decision making model. You always have to keep the future in mind. One key is to set yourself apart. Alex has really been able to capture the uniqueness aspect. However there’s always that one decision that every dreamer/owner has to make. Sometimes it’s a gamble. For many, it’s a solid, logical, developed plan for a specific outcome and there is really no other question other than what or who is in your way. I believe the latter for Alex.
“Look at it more as the wheels have already been invented,” Alex continued. “I just have to put it together in my industry. I borrow pieces from other Industries. For example, you see I have the duct box going down the fabric. The duct box is to help push my airflow in to get it spread so my canopy is getting moving. There’s no pockets in there. I borrowed that by watching other growers kind of figure it out.”
“I walked into Sam’s Club here and I saw them working on this new duct system and I was like, that’s a fabric duct! I watched how they put it on. I knew we could do this with cannabis. At that same time kiss Organics had recently had a podcast about the duct box. I was like okay… that’s synchronicity.” Alex looked at me with watering eyes. “Another thing I borrowed is how we set up the HVAC system plumbing so that I can get air flow down to the bottom of my vertigo system. You have to be able to get cold air to these hot pockets. I went with a cat water system. It kind of hurts me but makes the efficiency better at the same time it hurts me because it traps all the hot air downstairs creating more hot pockets, but it helps my work efficiency because I’m able to get air. So I had to kind of account for those sorts of things.”
Take a box of puzzle pieces and throw them on the table. Now grab a handful and burn them without looking at them. Then destroy the cheat sheets and the box. Now create something that is brilliant and make it look as if it were originally created for that brilliant something and there you will have my description of the process of the perfect piece of artistry. Alex and the Hermetic team are not far off from this scenario. Especially the “brilliant” part.
Alex took a puff, “I wrestled in high school so, I’m all about my foundation having a strong foundation in the basics. When I look at cannabis genetic profiles everything is a hybrid now. Now I’m thinking of foundations in cannabis. That’s going to be your land races.”
I watched the geared shift into GO, “Most medicinal land races have been known to come from mountain ranges. Mountain ranges are probably going to be kind of cool and humid. I started more research about things. I reached into the Hermetic side of things. I try to mimic the Nepal mountain range because I feel like if it’s a good heavy Indica they’re going to come from Afghanistan or Nepal. I want to bring that genetic profile out. I want to manipulate the DNA to make it mimic as if it’s at home but in our more advanced society.”
“I grow organically because of the symbiotic nature that the soil has with the plant. Morally and ethically I’m against Hydro Growers. They can just use a synthetic base or soil is medium. There will never be a symbiotic connection of the microorganisms with the plant so you’re always going to be missing something. When you are missing a puzzle piece and you’re trying to fit the wrong piece in there, of course it’s never going to fit. You’re not feeding the plant, you’re feeding the soil. The plant is more of a tool to tweak it a little bit. That’s why some people chase their tail. They didn’t start from the foundation of a soil. Maybe they didn’t know exactly what to do and that’s why they’re having to go grab some Epsom salt.”
“I chose hermetic because it’s a spiritual foundation and it’s a spiritual plant. I need to have both those foundations and any time in any business I’ve always found that if it doesn’t succeed is because it doesn’t have a strong foundation. In my mind I’m building something that’s not just for me. It could be generational or has the potential to be generational so that foundation is necessary. I think this is and I want to make sure that other people have something to go off of. A standard. The Cannabis industry is so young in its legality that we don’t have a standard, we have tradition.”
For most independent grows the first year or so could easily turn into a cash cow with no end in sight. The Hermetic team has quite the experience of their own. Alex came from a commercial setting in Oregon and had a six-month layover that he utilized to plan the operation. That allowed Alex to come to Oklahoma to see the big picture. He just needed to put the right pieces together.
“I started here in December, we got our license in January. I had us up and running.” Alex smiled with sincerity. “It probably took me like four months to kind of get everything ready to go in this rented building before I had my first round out. I mean that’s not long…”
“This is my second run that we just pulled out of here and now I’m dialed in a vertical grow. It’s definitely been a challenge but we have got it done in a year so it’s been really fun.”
“We’ve come far. I started off with 8 plants in a 5 by 9 area and now I’m at 21 plants in a 4 x 4 x 8 area. It’s about trying to dial in how you manage your canopy in accordance with plant counts and your veg time in a vertical rack. This is also my first time dealing with LEDs and having a uniform canopy. It’s a very different thing than having to build a canopy.”
Someone with this much drive and focus can sometimes find themselves in a social predicament because passion can sometimes be mistaken by the witness. Some with this much passion tend to find ways to create their own pleasant social environments.
“I made the business as an extension of myself. All my obsessions here are my obsession with hermeticism and the occult. I can still fill my obsession with cannabis and psychedelics.It’s here. Let’s go to the cactus room. I grow Cactus. The reason I grow San Pedro over peyote is because I can grow this much quicker and more sustainable. Peyote is an endangered species. So nobody should be going and picking that anymore. I don’t know how far Oklahoma is behind with psychedelics as medicine, but it’s coming. I like to study worm castings. I like to study the symbiotic relationship between it when I mix one thing that I’m thinking about and I want to see how it reacts. I’m not unlike a mad scientist. I’m just not really using a microscope all that often. I’m going off my intuition because that’s what got me here.”
“I have a nursery agricultural license for San Pedro and is totally legal as a decorative Cactus here unless it’s for the church. If they just come to me and they say that they need San Pedro I just cut it fresh and send it home. I don’t process it. I don’t do any of that. I just grow it.”
“I make all of our own compost in house using a special blend. I do a little bit of a metaphysical thing here. We buy fruits that match the colors of the chakras and if it’s not acidic, (we don’t put anything citrusy in here) but everything else I’ll be caught using strawberries, blueberries, vegetables such as eggplants, lettuce that sort of thing. Our intention is that by doing this and formulating it and setting the intention it will affect your chakras. We really focus on the heart and the third eye chakra so that you feel it more throughout your whole body, very loving and more of a psychedelic experience rather than a full-blown heady soup.”A lot of people say when they meditate it’s great for cerebral visions. We kind of do that on purpose through this process.”
Every journey starts somewhere.
Alex’s sister was killed in a car accident when he was 10-years-old. This sent his family through a depression whirlwind. Fortunately Alex was young enough that he didn’t quite understand what was happening. However he was old enough to know something serious was going on. It was then, even at that young age, he started to really question everything.
“Why would a god do this sort of thing.” Alex explained. “My sister was even more into the church than I was. So it is a confusing thing for me. I grew up without my father. That was always kind of something on my shoulders.That really sent me on this quest of self-realization or searching for God. I found psychedelics at a very young age. I knew it was DMT when I was in 10th Grade and I was actively looking for it to have an experience where I found my god. I’ve been doing what feels like my whole life in increments.”
“I didn’t know really much about hermeticism until I met my wife. She’s Italian and so she kind of has a better background understanding of the Renaissance and Western philosophy than many. I was obsessed with Leonardo DaVinci and Nikola Tesla and I’m into springboarding.”
Alex continued. “So I lost my job at my other other grow in Oregon and then it started having visions. I was thinking to myself, alright I found it. It’s been really cool to watch this happen because it’s always been something I’ve been interested in as a kid. I feel good about sticking through it.”
“This is who I am. People look at me and ask why would you do a hermetic thing in Oklahoma? It’s because I want to.
“Doesn’t affect me directly.” That’s what my go to thought is when I get angry at those that have so many followers when they speak untruths or talk in ways that make their followers feel blindfolded and act as if they are their savior.
Guess what did affect me. Maybe more indirectly. It has reminded me of the actual importance of making oneself be heard. What affected me has affected all of us that are still living on this planet within this realm of reality. That thing was Richard Milhous Nixon’s declaration of the war on drugs a mere 50 years ago.
Fear is an easy thing to hide things under. Simply browse through most literature and historical documents and you will see a trail of fear dragging behind some of the most absurd and damaging happenings on this planet made by mankind. It is atrocious to say the least.
I traveled throughout the internet and all over Oklahoma shops and could never find a mask that resembled that dirty old Dick. So what’s the next best thing that actually turned out to be a better choice?
I called an awesome local artist Sonya Spears and tried to explain. She cut me off mid sentence. “Say no more,” she said. “I totally see what you are going for.”
And she did. Sonya Spears is available for commission. You can read more about her amazing talent by Anna in the other pages.
The amount of hate I’ve received over the last 10-15 years is near comical.Not too large of a collection, but just enough to call it a “collection” of sorts.
The topics vary and can be time mapped to show the cultural differences of change.
The complaints are sometimes so surreal they seem fake or set up.So surreal that you want to start believing in that “pretend” world of film or lore where people would call up the local press to cause change.
There are a ton of complaints out there.That is fine by me.There are way more positives than those negatives.So, bright-side, yada, yada…
However, sometimes there’s an email or letter or some form of communication from an audience member or reader that takes the cake.
I save those, mostly for topical hilarious discussion during serious networking meetings, but I have them.Congrats if you made the list.Though, I wouldn’t be so proud if I were you.
There are those fun innocent mishaps…Once I frightened readers in a small town. A few believed there would be an actual zombie apocalypse while promoting a halloween parade.So frightened that my publisher was essentially forced to apologize on my behalf.Embarrassing isn’t even close enough of a word.But it’s a hell of a story!
There’s a huge difference between an upset reader and someone that hates what you print.I save those too.
Those remind me of why I go ahead and stick my head out sometimes.A reminder that there is a large portion of society that actually believes they are “better” than the rest.
My most recent hate email came after publishing the Tulsa Race Massacre story in Herbage Magazine, May 2021 edition.
I won’t get into the full details, but it ended with this person actually trying to use guilt and shame to tell me that I am publishing incorrect history and that I should be ashamed.
“It was never called a massacre until the current administration came into office. All plagues at the memorial say “Race Riots”. You have strayed too far from what your magazine was at the beginning. Shame on you.”
Yes, you read a small portion of what people like me get to see.
This let’s me know I am doing something right. I’m doing something right for what I feel is right because I am an independent magazine owner.
Press and media may have the ability to sway, accompany, document, opinionate, embrace, and fuel change.Yes.
Do I have the ability to cause change?Hell no.
I can promise you this.If I did in fact have the power to “cause change” as some believe, your radical racist thought pattern that has stuck you inside of this rut that you call comfort is as archaic as the petroglyphs on our ancestors walls however not anywhere near as advanced thinking as what the people of that time found to be inconsistent, which was that ALL HUMANS ARE EQUAL.
I walked into my local shop. What do we call them now? Not watering holes.
Something more… You get my drift. I was having a bit of a day. I needed the right medicine for the tasks at hand. I felt really nothing that morning.
No motivation. Not tired. Not bored. Not mad. Nothing.
Not much of an issue unless you have a ton of greatness in front of you to witness and be a part of. I was not in a “wanna get amped up mode”. I wanted to have some emotions happening inside the old noggin as I work. So put away the Green Crack. Stop it with your diesels and poisons.
I just want to get high and move along. Simply put. This strain nosed perfect before I even met the jar.. The sweetness reminded me of opening a jar of fresh berries and I had to try. The emotions were already turning on. Once I broke the flower down it was perfectly sticky for a nicely rolled joint. I must say I was quite proud of the twist.
Half way down I knew this was the one. Come to find out there was even a little diesel fuel taste in there.
Needless to say , the rest of my day was fantastically pleasant.