By Carisa Rowe
On the east side of Lake Texoma, in a small Oklahoma town just a few miles north of the Texas border, Abraham and Me- linda Evans are shaking up the cannabis industry. This entre-preneurial duo has dedicated themselves to sharing what they genuinely believe is God’s medicine. Southeast Oklahoma has been the Evans’ home for a decade; they moved back to the region to care for Abraham’s grandmother when her health was wavering. It was the decision to come home for the family that sowed the seeds for Elevated Native, the Evans’ booming dis- pensary located in Calera, OK.
The story begins in 1998 when Abraham moved to Colorado. The timing of the move put him in the perfect place to witness the birth of the state’s medical marijuana industry. Along this leg of his journey, Evans was still a recreational cannabis user – one who was always seeking a bigger or better high. His ap-preciation for the plant and its hallucinogenic effects eventually led him to a colleague who was making a powerful cannabis concoction known as “phoenix tears.” Phoenix tears did not look like weed but he took some of the dark, tar-like substance with him and shared it with friends. Evans emphasizes that they partied all weekend with concoction, experiencing intense highs from heavily the concentrated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the thick, earthy goop.
Abraham returned to his friend searching for more and explained how they had partied all weekend and felt amazing.
Evans’ colleague called him an idiot. He explained that Phoenix Tears were medicine. Evans learned how highly concentrated cannabis oil was being used to treat cancer and other illnesses. Stories of natural healing and wellness without pharmaceutical side effects converted Evans’ mindset about cannabis. He stopped viewing it as a party drug and started respecting it for its infinite health applications. In fact, Evans set out to make the medicine accessible to everyone.
One night as he was picking through a bag of flower to recover shelf-worthy buds, Evans realized that he could do something with the unsellable trim and larf (airy and loose cannabis flowers) and he decided to go into the concentrates business intent to make more Phoenix Tears. The concentrates operation kicked off with KitchenAid appliances and before long, it dawned on Evans that he could help even more folks by reducing his cost to manufacture. Before long, Evans and a couple of friends were in the cultivation business. The operation began in a log cabin where Abraham willingly slept the couch and floor so that the bedrooms could house grow setups, but the
arrangement came to a halt when his grandmother’s health began to fail in 2012. Evans, now married to Melinda, returned to Oklahoma and hung up his hat on the cannabis industry. Within a few years of making the faithful journey home for family, the state began to buzz with talk of a medical cannabis market of its very own.
After Oklahoma legalized cannabis for medical applications in 2018, Evans prompted his grandmother to try a tiny dose of a compound known as RSO, or Rick Simpson Oil. The dose helped her sleep better than she had in ages and it helped her manage the pains that accompanied her every day. Now in her late eighties and a cannabis connoisseur in her own right, Grandma Marlene calls weed “a cure all.” In fact, it was Grandma Marlene who encouraged Abraham and Melinda to open a weed store in Calera. It was through her blessing and daily prayer that they created and opened Elevated Native. The shop was built on three founding principles: faith, experience, and community.
Those principles are imbued in the very bones of their shop. During the renovations for Elevated Native, the Evans’ inscribed Bible verses on the studs and support beams. Patients comment often that the store feels safe and comforting and the Evans know that it is because they are shrouded in faith. Melinda and Abraham are proud to have a nurse practitioner, Emily Ault, on staff to guide patients in their treatment choices. They are also proud of Tara Dollar, their resident social media expert,
and a patient advocate of the highest caliber. The Elevated Native team offers their patients a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding cannabis and its therapeutic applications. Their approach to education and accessibility sets them apart from their peers.
Accessibility is a major concern for the Evans.’ It was early in his journey with Phoenix Tears, now most known as RSO, that Abraham resolved to bring the medicine to as many people as possible by making it affordable. With the official grand opening of Elevated Native taking place on April 1st, the cannabis couple has managed to amass a vast selection of flower for its patients and a wide variety of other medication options including concentrates, topicals, edibles, and tinctures. In the pursuit to enrich their community through cannabis access, the Evans’ have developed some incredible relationships with local cultivators. Those community ties have paved the way for Elevated Native to be Oklahoma’s “Home of the $100 Ounce”. The store currently boasts more than fifty varietals of flower, many
of which fall into the store’s $100 price category.
Having a large variety allows them to address a wide number of medical concerns. They actively seek new flower based on its therapeutic effects. One of their most in-demand flowers is “University of Washington,” a low-THC, high terpene varietal that is rumored to have been stolen from a research lab on the campus of UW. Melinda extols it for its migraine-busting power as well as its ability to stave off menstrual cramps. Other patients have exclaimed its efficacy against Fibromyalgia pain. The Evans are currently searching for veteran-friendly varietals
such as Harley Quinn, 3 Bears OG, and Spec Ops, all of which have been shown to be beneficial in treating PTSD, depression, and anxiety.
With a tiny seed of faith, unknowingly planted in 2012, The Evans’ have managed to sow a field of opportunities for their patients and colleagues. They continue to expand their inventory – aiming to always keep a rotation of two hundred varietals on shelf. They continue to expand their network, building relationships that provide penny RSO programs, food, and clothing drives, and so much more.