The Cultivation Corner
Brought to you by Smokey Okies Cannabis
By Travis Smith
Welcome back to the Cultivation Corner, where we discuss all things related to growing good ganja! Last time, we discussed the two different growing phases of cannabis (the Vegetative and Flowering stages) and how to mimic those phases indoors by switching your light cycles.
In this month’s column, I am going to discuss the first of the two stages, the Vegetative Stage. I will cover how to get started, what to do once you’re deep into veggin, and when to make the switch to flower.
Starting your vegetative cycle: Should you use seeds or clones?
When you decide to start growing weed, you will need to either plant seeds or plant a clone. But which is the better option? You may have guessed the answer: “it depends.”
The advantages and disadvantages of Seeds
Let’s start with seeds. One benefit of starting with seeds is the availability of so many good options through online seed banks. If you go this route, I recommend using a reputable seed bank that is endorsed by the breeder of the strain you want. Your seeds should come in packaging that came from the breeder and have a seal or other insignia verifying authenticity. You want to make sure that these seeds are what they purport to be, and actually came from the breeder, and are not just seeds put into random packaging by a middleman seed bank.
Now, here is the downside: unless you purchased an older strain that has been stabilized for many, many years, there is going to be a lot of variation in characteristics for each seedling that ends up sprouting. Why? Think of it this way: if your mom and dad kept having kids, each kid would share some family traits, while also being a bit different and unique. So if you plant 10 seeds, expect 10 different versions of that strain. (The way around this is to continue in-breeding, stabilizing the genetic, so that each additional “brother and sister” is more and more alike; this is a deeper topic for a future article). Conclusion: Seeds are great, but be prepared for a lot of different mixed results.
Pro tip: Plant many seeds of the same strain, knowing that only a few are going to be worth keeping. Save the best one, and start cloning it.
The Pros and Cons of Buying Clones
So if you don’t want to “pheno hunt” a bunch of seeds, you can instead buy clones.
The advantage of buying a clone is that the clone has already been hunted and selected. However, this advantage is premised on the assumption that the person selling the clone has already hunted a bunch of variations of this strain, and has selected the ideal version and is now selling it. Here, the operative term is “assumption.” When you buy a clone, you are assuming it is a good pheno. Therefore, you are relying on the credibility of the seller. As you are now starting to see, sourcing genetics is all about the credibility of the source, whether a seed bank or a clone seller. Buying clones is great as long as you know that the grower selling the clones is reputable.
Another advantage of starting with a clone is that you start 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule than if you had to wait on the seed to sprout and grow to a similar size.
Conclusion: Buy clones if you trust the seller, and the clone is free of pests.
Pro tip: ask the seller to explain how she sourced the genetics
Vegging your seedlings and Clones
Now that you have selected your genetics, let’s get them growing! As we discussed in last issue, you will want to use a light schedule of 18 hours on, six hours off for this initial stage of growth.
The choice of medium is up to you. You can grow in soil, rockwool cubes, or our preferred medium: coco coir. Whichever route you choose to go, you will adopt a cultivation style that suits your choice.
It All Starts in Veg
The Veg stage is where you conceive of your end result and then take action with weekly tasks that get you closer to that end result.
First, start with a vision. Do you want a large plant? A multi-topped bush? A tall and skinny plant? Do you want to harvest frequently, and therefore want as many runs in a year as possible? Or are you fine with less frequent harvests, you want more yield each time? Figure out what you want. It’s okay for your goals to change over time. But once you can conceive of the end result, you can put a plan into place. It all starts in veg. Veg is where you train your plant to become the end result you have in your mind. You can start topping early, or you can wait to top until it has been in veg for 3 or 4 weeks. You can use low stress training or high stress training. If you are brand new to cultivation, and you don’t know you want, that is okay too. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
• When you switch to the 12/12 light cycle to begin the flowering phase, your plant will double or triple in height and size;
• Keep this in mind when vegging your plant(s)
• Veg is when you can bend branches and train a plant; you lose this ability as you get into flower, when the branches firm up and lose their elasticity
• Use the vegetative phase to shape your plant. It will be on steroids during flower, so get it under control now.
That should get you started for now. If you don’t know what any of these terms mean, check out our blog at Smokey-Okies.com and use the search bar to search any of these terms. Next month, we will continue this journey of growing your own weed!
Heirloom tomato + Smoky Bacon Fat Mayo + Cannabis Leaf Toasts
Anytime is the best time to make heirloom tomato toast in my opinion. As a professional chef of over thirty years, I’ve learned that picking products at the peak of their ripeness really depends on where you live, but for heirloom tomatoes it almost always starts early in the summer and ends in the fall. Almost as much of a fad as the ubiquitous California avocado toast is in Southern California, the heirloom tomato toast with mayonnaise has not only been a hundred-year fad in the American south, but a seasonal staple as well. I know whole heartedly; I lived many years in the American south and became an official heirloom tomato toast aficionado and specialist. I’m also very proud to be involved in the transition in acceptance when it comes to fresh cannabis in the modern kitchen. Having licensed farm raised hemp and cannabis greens in the market for chefs, restaurants, and juice bars to utilize shouldn’t be far off with the way things are moving these days. I can’t wait for protein dense cannabis and hemp greens to be readily available in select grocery stores around the country, to satisfy all your tomato toast needs sometime in the next few years. Unless of course you are a home grower, then you will have plenty of fresh young cannabis and hemp leaves available. I like to sprinkle the thick sliced heirloom tomatoes with a generous amount of local sea salt flakes and a few fresh green coriander seeds from my garden. I then slather my favorite golden brown and delicious toasted artisan sourdough slices with the smoky bacon fat mayonnaise- in true heirloom tomato toast fashion that is. The bacon fat mayo is super simple to make and downright stupid good to try on your favorite tomato and mayo sandwich during heirloom tomato season. Remember to slather the smoky bacon fat mayo on heavy, to cut the heirloom tomatoes thick, and don’t be shy with the sea salt flakes. I hope you enjoy this cannabinoid infused heirloom tomato toast recipe no matter where you live…
Heirloom Tomato + Smoky Bacon Fat Mayo + Cannabis Leaf Toasts
prep time: 15 minutes
wait time: 20 minutes
yield: 5 toasts
total thc/cbd: depends on the potency of the products used
status: downright delicious stoner snack
from the cannabis pantry: cannabis bacon fat, cannabis hot sauce, cannabis butter
chef’s strain recommendation: blue cheese
medium stainless-steel mixing bowl, whisk, chef’s knife, cutting board, food processor, serrated knife, serving platter or plates
5 slices of your favorite artisan sourdough bread (cut ¾ inch thick)
¼ cup cannabis infused butter (made in the mb2e)
3-4 medium misc.organic heirloom tomatoes
½ – 1 cup smoky cannabis bacon fat mayo
1 cup fresh young cannabis or hemp leaves
1 tbsp jacobsen sea salt flakes
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
2 tsp fresh green coriander seeds (optional)
smoky cannabis bacon fat mayo
½ cup of cannabis infused applewood smoked bacon fat (at room temp) (made in the mb2e)
1 tbsp chipotle adobo (contents of the can pureed smooth)
1 ½ cups of mayonnaise (if you don’t use dukes mayonnaise, you are going to hellmann)
1 tsp cannabis hot sauce (made in the mb2e)
½ cup fresh cooked bacon bits (very small + crispy)
how to make it
for the mayo-
put all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and mix well. add a ¼ cup of super crispy bacon bits to the mayo. mix well, place the mayo into an airtight container, refrigerate. use liberally.
to assemble the toasts-
toast the bread slices to your liking, butter each slice with a little cannabis butter. slice the heirloom tomatoes as thick as you’d like them. slather each piece of the toasted sourdough bread with as much smoky bacon fat mayo as you’d like. then sprinkle a nice amount of hemp or cannabis greens on each toast. top the greens with three or four various sized tomato slices on each toast as well. then season each toast with salt and pepper. garnish each toast with a sprinkle of fresh green coriander seeds and a little more sea salt. serve and enjoy with udder delight.
equipment + product source
www.magicalbutter.com (mb2e botanical extractor)
www.jacobsensaltco.com (oregon kosher sea salt)
recipe by #theshortordercannabisrevolutionary chef sebastian carosi @chef_sebastian_carosi on Instagram
An award-winning chef, avid forager, and wild crafter. Chef Sebastian Carosi, also known as “the short-order cannabis revolutionary”, has been cooking with full spectrum cannabis and eating the devil’s lettuce since the early 90’s. Trained at Portland, Oregon’s Western Culinary Institute, apprenticed under renowned chefs in Italy, and went on to lead the farm-to-fork movement across the United States.
The Zena Myers Story
By Michael Kinney
When I met Zena Myers for the first time, things were not going well for her. In the Blanchard (Ok.) native’s own words, she was having a “bad day.”
On that June afternoon, Myers had just visited her doctor in Oklahoma City, and she had been in pain since she woke up that morning. When she spoke, the words came out slow and deliberate, but the pain speaking caused was obvious.
For Myers, her bad days are common. Unfortunately for her, her good days are not significantly better.
“When you’re as young as I am, people believe that if they see me that I’m healthy and able-bodied. But then I bring my cane out of the car and they completely change their perception of me,” Myers said. “Starting off the day was not easy. I started with both of my knees, hip not fully in place and dislocated,” Myers said. “Because at my age, you’re not supposed to have disabilities. You’re not supposed to be ill. You’re supposed to be at the top of your life and be doing the best you can, and this is probably the worst time of my life.”
Myers suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which is a group of inherited disorders that affect a person’s connective tissues. People who have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome usually have overly flexible joints and stretchy, fragile skin, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“It can cause a lot of issues within the body since it’s affected by a malformation of collagen and the collagen affects the connective tissues and the connective tissues are all throughout the body,” Myers said. “It can affect the heart, the lungs, the skin, the muscles, the eyes, the hair, the nails, everything.”
Myers says there are 13 different types of Ehlers-Danlos, which can affect people in a variety of ways. Myers has the type called hypermobile or type 3. It’s considered the most common and the least severe form.
However, that is very little consolation for Myers, who has to deal with its effects daily.
“I used to do theater dance. I was in college taking 18 hours every semester. I was in productions in rehearsals. I was doing video production for my college. All of that stopped overnight pretty much because my health flared up so aggressively that I went from doing all of those things to pretty much being bed bound because it hurts too much to sit upright. I pass out daily from pain because my pain levels are just out of control. I have days where I wake up and things are dislocated, and I can’t go about my day until I relocate things.”
Myers, who has a large tattoo on her leg that reads ‘Be Strong and Courageous,’ was officially diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in 2021. Up until then, she had no name for what was causing her problems and neither did her doctors.
“We’ve known that this has been something in our family for at least four generations,” Myers said. “It’s something that I’ve seen symptoms within myself from the age of 14. It takes on average about 10 to 20 years to get diagnosed. It’s taken my mom her entire lifetime. I’ve been the first one in our family to know what’s going on. I knew before my mom, I knew before my grandmother who has passed on. It runs on both sides of her family. We just thought that we had bad joints. Now we know there’s a name for this.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, those who have hypermobility Ehlers-Danos Syndrome have a 50 percent of passing the gene down to each of their children. Myers said her grandmother died from complications due to the disease, but she was never diagnosed.
What upsets Myers is that many times when she or her mother would tell doctors about the pain they were in, they were often told it was just in their heads.
“Knowing that I could have been diagnosed and gotten help eight years sooner is so frustrating. And I want to save someone else that heartache because it’s so hard knowing there’s something wrong with you and not being believed,” Myers said. “That’s one of the hardest parts of our condition is that we’re not believed when we say we hurt so badly. We’re not believed when we say my bones are moving around and I can feel it in my body and I can feel my ribs moving. And I’m told that’s impossible, but I feel it in my body. And I know I’m not crazy because I can feel that same feeling multiple times and I can pinpoint where it is and how it’s moving. And I don’t think that’s just in my head, right? It’s a real condition. It’s been hard because so often you deal with medical gas lighting.”
Despite having a name attached to her condition, there is not a lot the medical profession can do to alleviate her symptoms.
“I’ve tried 10 different medications. I’ve tried steroidal, spinal injections, and none of them have helped,” Myers said. “None of them have made my pain any better. None of them have taken away any of the inflammation. None of them have controlled the aggressive spasms that I have throughout my body. They don’t know what to do with me. I’m a medical mystery.”
While resuming her dance career is not an option, Myers is hoping she will be able to enroll back in college and complete her degree. She dropped out one year shy of graduating.
“My school was only 30 minutes away from my house and I couldn’t sit upright long enough to get myself to my classes much less, sit upright and attend them and retain the information,” Myers said. “I had to take my summer classes from my bed because I hurt too bad to sit upright and to do my schooling. My joint instability was so bad in my legs that I couldn’t even think about doing dance or theater because walking was so unstable. I can’t walk 20 feet without stability. If five, 10 years down the road, I have that stability back, I would feel so blessed.”
Myers created a GoFundMe page (gofund.me/9534b8d5) and a Facebook page (Zena EDS Warrior) to raise money to purchase a service dog to help her move around and resume parts of her life, including returning to school to get her degree.
“I would love to have a service dog. My goal is under two years, but that’s a $20 to $30,000 investment,” Myers said. “But they’d be able to help me with mobility-aid. I faint because of my pain.
They would be able to brace me when I walk and when my knees give out for me, they could catch me and press against me and provide that stability that my legs don’t always have. And a service dog would be able to be trained to help with that. And they would be able to call family or emergency services if need be.”
Currently, there is no cure for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
The only relief Myers finds is through the use of medical cannabis. She got her card more than a year ago to help deal with her PTSD and found it can help minimize some of the pain she endures daily.
“Medical cannabis has been the only thing I’ve found that has helped. It’s been an absolute game changer for me,” Myers said. “It’s been the only thing that’s helped.”
Myers researched terpenes and other oils and found they have helped her the most. That includes CBG and CBC.
“I’ve found that through topicals, edibles, smoking, it’s made it to where I can actually live my life somewhat,” Myers said. “I can tell when I’m not medicated enough. I can feel it in my body. I can feel when my body’s using the cannabis in my system, I can feel when I’ve used up all of the cannabis that I had in my system.”
Ehlers-Danlos has completely transformed Myer’s life. The former theatre arts major once had dreams of dancing on Broadway. Now she wants to just raise awareness about the disease and help people understand its effects.
Cannabis is the only thing that makes that possible.
“I’d love to see more research with cannabis because I know personally that it has been life-changing. It’s been what has kept me able to do things,” Myers said. “It’s been the difference between friends, between staying home and being in pain and not being able to do things that I love and being able to go out and meet people, make connections, have a social life and do the things that normal people take for granted every day.”
Bono Ape Cannabis Co.
There is a new cannabis company in Oklahoma City and it’s turning medical marijuana on its head! Bono-Ape is a multi-state operator opening a brand new, state of the art extraction facility. The extraction facility is modeled after Bono-Ape’s state of the art indoor grow. It is clear that they are serious about bringing professionalism to the cannabis industry. The new facility is sure to be a game changer in the Oklahoma medical marijuana market, and patients have been benefiting from the high quality products that they are able to produce. Bono-Ape has been a part of Oklahoma’s cannabis scene for the last year and has been in the cannabis space outside of Oklahoma for the last 7 years. There is a lot of experience behind the brand and it shows in their world class cannabis. The new lab will be a much-welcomed addition to the medical marijuana community in Oklahoma, and Bono-Ape is proud to be able to offer quality extracts to their patients. With their commitment to quality and affordability, they are sure to make a positive impact on the lives of many and be a valuable resource for the community and take the cannabis industry by storm.
Despite its rapid growth, Bono-Ape prides itself on bringing a high level of professionalism to the cannabis industry. Every part of their grow and lab have been carefully thought out and planned way before construction began, evey machine and tool was hand selected to cultivate the best cannabis, and every step in the process has been planned and engineered to the same expectation of perfection. Visiting the Bono-Ape grow is reminiscent of watching a Porsche engine rev. Though the location of the farm and extraction lab is a carefully guarded secret and you may not be able to visit the lab or farm in person, you can get your hands on what it’s all about at your favorite dispensary and give it the pepsi challenge and see for yourself what a difference it makes when you know every single thing that went into that smoke expected the same quality you know you can rely on from Bono-Ape.
Bono-Ape is led by Sean Suh. Meeting Sean is an experience all in itself. Sean is tattooed head to toe with a strong demeanor. Despite his outward appearance, there are few people as willing as Sean to share what they know and as willing to go above and beyond for his employees and the people around him. After the first few minutes spent talking with Sean, it’s obvious that Sean is incredibly passionate about Bono-Ape’s product, patients and people. Sean’s personal life experience is a real underdog story. He went from sleeping in a bus stop to being fully financially prepared to open and operate multiple businesses by 25, all through hard work and determination. Sean’s understanding of the needs of medical marijuana patients and his unique background led to the creation of Bono-Ape and ultimately the grand opening of the new Bono-Ape extraction lab.
Bono-Ape comes from a background and base in serving adults with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities as a lifelong passion. Tragically, Sean’s grandmother was killed in an assisted living home. Sean made it his personal goal to change and affect the world in a positive way so as to never let something like that happen to anyone. Over the years, care home after care home opened up led by Sean based on founding principles that value the client over everything. These same principles have applied throughout the medical marijuana farm, Bono-Ape’s new extraction lab, and for serving patients for all medical marijuana needs – growing and crafting the most fire weed and extract on the planet!
Bono-Ape is proud to open its new extraction lab and give the best quality extracts at the most affordable prices for all of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana patients. If you or someone you know is in need of medical marijuana, be sure to check out Bono-Ape and their new extracts. Bono-Ape is a reliable company that puts their patients first. This Oklahoma-based company has built a reputation for being a top-notch operator in the cannabis industry, thanks to its commitment to quality and affordability. The company’s newest extract laboratory blends professionalism, follow-through and consistency in a refreshing way that appeals to patients. This company’s commitment to quality has encouraged new ventures, contributed to a customer base that is rapidly growing, and solidified its position as a leading operator in the cannabis industry. That’s why If you’re looking for remarkable cannabis products and services, look no further than Bono-Ape! The company’s dedication to its patients and its attentiveness to excellence are unmatched. Ask your favorite dispensary if they carry Bono-Ape today to get your hands on quality and excellence distilled into flower or concentrates.
By Kathleen Baker
It’s a matter of perspective
This game we play called life
Our attitude will dictate
What is joy and what is strife.
We complicate life‘s issues
With doubt, mistrust, and fear
And lose in the confusion
Our ability to steer.
We get caught on crazy tangents
Vectors trapped in time and space
Believing the illusion
We are competing in a race!
We find grooves that we fit into
Roles played in society
Limiting by definition
All our flexibility.
Inside us rage the tempests
Which we fight so desperately
suppressing all the knowledge
Which we search to set us free.
The walls we feel confine
Are built and reinforced
So carefully within our minds.
written by Kathleen Long
This poem was found in a drawer roughly years after its author, my Aunt, shifted dimensional area codes. (Crossed over)
Being her niece and name sake I was blown away at the content of the poem. It was everything I’d been talking about. Everything I had been sharing for years.
But while she was still among the living I was too young to comprehend any of it. We didn’t have conversations like that. Instead she taught me of prisms and rainbows, hidden smiles amidst the darkness and how not to lose hope when the world of a child of divorce was crumbling.
I realized now with a smile of awe, that my name sake was simply an overlap of myself.
True, all are one. We are all different versions of each other. However this instance is special to me due to the fact she is in my perspective’s bloodline. Her story line is intermingled with mine. Both of us ‘Kathleen’s’ and both of us were able to exchange experiences on the same coil of years. It’s not necessarily uncommon, but what is uncommon is the fact that I caught onto the phenomenon. It would be downright rare if she and I were aware at the time and more over simultaneously.
Have any of you had such an experience?
The more common occurrences of self overlap come in the form of ‘the kind stranger’ who shows up with just what you need at the very moment you need it. But it’s a miracle if you see them for who/what they are.
It’s often a ‘happy accident’ or that word that I find hilarious. A ‘coincidence’.
Poppycock. There’s no such thing, and deep down you know it.
To me it gives a little more incentive to trust the universe. I mean, not only does it have the purest unconditional love for us, but We’ve got ourselves popping up in disguise to lend a hand too? Man we. Are. Golden.
Another thing about being aware of this phenomenon…it kind of makes you aware of your own behavior. Are you being a dick to your neighbor? Or are you being a dick to yourself?
Vice versa, are you being a gold star citizen to your local grocer? Or are you being kind to yourself?
Fairfarren until we read again.
The Cowboy Cup
By Pamela Jayne
“You can’t buy our buckle.” This simple statement speaks volumes about the community’s skepticism of cannabis competitions. If patients can’t trust that the winners are actually providing the best products, everybody loses. When the Cowboy Cup Cannabis Championship and Arts Festival entered the scene four years ago, they quickly became known for being an honest and fair competition that featured Oklahoma’s best cannabis. This year they have added another level of integrity to the competition by partnering with Ganjier. Herbage wanted to know more about this elite group of cannabis professionals and their involvement in Oklahoma’s most respected “cup”, so we called up the Managing Director of Ganjier, Derek Gilman, who gave us some insight into what a Ganjier is, what their Cannabis Sommelier Certification Program is all about, and their recent partnership with the Cowboy Cup.
“A Ganjier is a cannabis professional whose job it is to assess the quality of cannabis flower and concentrates, as well as guide consumers in their choices”, Derek Gilman, Managing Director of Ganjier, told Herbage. “There are trained professionals in every gustatory based industry- wine, chocolate, cheese, coffee, cigars. Each of these industries that are based off of the interaction with the senses- the appearance, the aroma, the flavor. Each of these industries has trained professionals that assess the quality and guide consumers in making their choices. Effectively, we didn’t have this in cannabis until we developed Ganjier.” Unlike in other epicurean trades, the effect of cannabis is crucial to the overall experience. It’s the whole point, really. This is why a Certified Ganjier is also trained in how to use specific criteria to communicate what the patient will experience physically and cerebrally when consuming cannabis. Being able to effectively convey this information to novice patients and folks who are simply curious about this beloved plant is crucial to successful career in cannabis, and is also an important part of moving the industry even further into the mainstream.
To become a Certified Ganjier, students must complete three steps. The first step is taking ten rigorous, multidisciplinary online courses featuring instruction by all eighteen members of the Ganjier Council. The ten courses include 31 lessons that cover everything from cultivation and genetics to managing inventory and curating menus to developing a cannabis palate, and everything in between. (See ganjier.com for curriculum information.) These courses, a complete education in and of themselves, prepare the student for their trip into the heart of the Emerald Triangle for step two where students attend a two day live training session located on 250 acres of wilderness in legendary Humboldt County, California. As Gilman passionately explained, “Part of the magic, part of the special sauce is bringing students here to experience Humboldt for the two day live training portion of the curriculum. There is no place like it and people really need to come here to experience it.” Whereas the first portion of training focuses on knowledge, the second portion teaches the skills necessary to be successful in the cannabis industry. The in person training emphasizes two things- service and assessment. Service is taught via the Customer Interaction Protocol (CIP) and assessment is taught via the Systematic Assessment Protocol (SAP), which will be implemented at the Cowboy Cup. The SAP was developed by the 18 members of the Ganjier Council. The SAP is made up of four categories that align with the four senses that interact with cannabis- appearance, aroma, flavor, and the experience of the sample. There is also individual criteria within each of those main categories. The familiar hundred point scoring system the SAP uses to grade cannabis samples was adapted from a similar system used in the wine industry. The final step of the process is to pass a 100 question written exam with a score of 90% or higher, a service exam, and an assessment exam. The service exam is 20 minute role play scenario where the student will apply the Customer Interaction Protocol (CIP) to make a product recommendation to a “customer” played by an exam administrator. The assessment exam has the student utilize the Systematic Assessment Protocol (SAP) to assess an unidentified and blindly selected flower sample that has been pre-assessed by Ganjier instructors. Just like the Cowboy Cup cannot be bought, neither can a Ganjier certification. The program and testing are tough, and it takes significant time and financial resources to complete, but that is by design. A student enters the program filled with enthusiasm and passion for cannabis, and leaves with the knowledge and skill set to match. Of the 143 certified Ganjiers around the world, 42 applied to judge the Cowboy Cup and twelve were selected for the panel based on their application responses. Those twelve will employ the Systematic Assessment Protocol to choose the top three entries in the indoor, outdoor, and light assist categories from the top fifteen that were previously selected by Cowboy Cup judges. The December event will be the first time the Ganjier SAP will be officially used to judge a cannabis competition, although it has been unofficially used by some Ganjier Councilmembers in their judging duties around the country, including the Emerald Cup.
The origins of the Ganjier/Cowboy Cup partnership came about quite organically. Patrick King aka the Soil King, who is a member of the Ganjier Council, has been attending the Cowboy Cup since the beginning, and told its creator and THCeo Daniel Lewis about the Ganjier program. The rest is canna-history. Lewis enrolled in the program and became a Certified Ganjier in June. “What I love about Daniel is that he took the partnership and the relationship seriously enough to go through our program”, said Gilman. “It demonstrates a true commitment to quality, in my eyes, because the program itself is a commitment of time and resources.” The feeling of respect is mutual. Lewis told Herbage, “We are honored to have the wonderful folks at Ganjier jump on board with us this year. To have certified Ganjiers select the top 3 winners from our judges top 15 not only adds to our promise of a fair and honest competition but it also puts the hard task of judging the best of the best cannabis in the state on some of the most qualified judges in the world.”
The 4th Annual Cowboy Cup Cannabis Championship and Arts Festival is a two day event featuring live music, vendors, giveaways, an artist colony, seminars, and much more. It will be held at the legendary Tumbleweed Dancehall in Stillwater, OK December 2nd and 3rd. Follow them @thecowboycup for updates and information, and go to ganjier.com for all the details about the Ganjier Cannabis Sommelier Certification Program.
By: Pamela Jayne (@pamelajayne)
Our Lady of the Blessed Doobie
By Charles “Uncle Chuck” Duncan
The marijuana cigarette, spliff, Jay, doobie, joint, stick and blunt are just some of the names that refer to a few pinches of herb rolled up in a small thin sheet of wood, rice or hemp paper or even tobacco.
I sometimes get strange looks from people when I tell them that I smoke every day. I believe this stems from the “all cannabis is party cannabis” crowd. I base this opinion on the knowledge that for many centuries before cannabis became illegal, people consumed it both by eating it and smoking it on a daily basis. It was not seen as something odd until we made it illegal and stigmatized it. Through tv and movies, we molded what a “stoner” should look like and act like. Through racist laws and greedy politics, we received false narratives and taught our children the same. None of which existed before the period of cannabis prohibition and the war on drugs. And don’t forget cannabis history goes back to a time before man could even write a single word.
Some of the people I have met over my thirty-five year cannabis journey are not so optimistic about the glares and stereotypes. This brings me to the subject of this article. The cannabis family is a very diverse group. I would argue that as a whole, the cannabis community is the most diverse group on the planet. While I already covered the topic of people from different backgrounds and social classes having a common love for cannabis in my article “Judging a Cover by its Book”, this time I want to talk about something a little different. Namely, cannabis smokers’ love for the “joint”.
The “joint” originated by some accounts when Mexican workers mixed cannabis with their traditional tobacco cigarettes. Joints typically contain between ¼ to 1 gram of cannabis. It is also worth noting that some research suggests that up to 90% of the THC content in a joint goes up in smoke. Literally. Never passing through the user’s lungs. That information has little to no effect on the very large percent of cannabis users that prefer to smoke their cannabis rolled up in a doobie. It is nostalgic for some. It is easier to control for others.
The joint became the peace pipe at events and gatherings. Friends openly participating in the famed ritual of puff, puff, pass. Sparking a doobie is an experience executed by a group of people wanting to relax and have fun. Alcohol sometimes has the opposite result. I find it painfully ironic that major sporting events will take sponsorship of beer as a wholesome weekend but if you tried to hold the same events using cannabis companies as sponsors, there would be some government hurdle stopping it. I guarantee crowd control would be much easier if cannabis was as available as beer.
Cannabis in joint form has done more to bring about world peace than any other single item known to man. In my humble opinion. It deserves a little more respect than being seen as just something a dazed and confused high school kid enjoys. Not only the cannabis plant itself but more specifically the widely enjoyed joint. So grind your herb, select your favorite paper and roll a traditional fatty, a cone or even an origami level turkey leg. Let us smoke together in honor of the mighty, mighty joint.
Holy Hail Begets Heavenly Ratios, the Rise of CBE Farms
By Jessi Lane, Patient Advocate
Heavenly ratios do not just fall from the sky like hail, or do they? Amy and Chad Bates of Edmond own and operate CBE Farms, a boutique cannabis grow buried deep in Logan County, Oklahoma. CBE specializes in cultivating the frostiest cannabis colas and produces niche medicinal ratios for patients seeking refuge in a cannabinoid profile. “We strive to eliminate opioid addiction, battle mental health and relieve everyday aches and pains,” says Amy Bates. The Bates do not have Flynt Lockwood’s FLDSMDFR from the Sony Pictures Animation movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The churning out of sticky, stinky terpene-rich nugs does not just happen on its own. Lots of lemons have had to be squeezed for this delicious, Oklahoma heat-quenching lemonade.
The year was 2018. That June, Oklahoma had just legalized cannabis as medicine. Amy and Chad were running Green Country’s renowned Bulldog Roofing and Restoration, serving Oklahomans since 1996. “We service the Oklahoma City Metro and surrounding areas as well as the Tulsa Metro,” says Amy. “We do residential roofing as well as smoke, fire, and mold restoration and remediation.” Chad’s meticulous attention to detail, cleanliness, and order and his deep understanding of the importance of the checks, balances, and interpretation of data proves to serve him well in future endeavors.
A family member had just received a cancer diagnosis and Amy’s brother, Brad, was struggling with PTSD. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website states “about 12 million adults in the U.S. have PTSD during a given year” (2022). “When I started dating Amy, Brad was nine years old,” Chad relays, wistfully recollecting his dear brother-in-law, as if lost in time – “He knows me well.” Brad Harkins, a devoted husband, father, and friend loved to play baseball, wakeboard, and snowboard, and competed in mixed martial arts. Stationed with the first armored division in Germany upon enlistment, Brad – a heavily decorated Tanker/Driver – proudly served his country in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“With Oklahoma passing medical marijuana, we knew we had to start growing,” Amy says. Once the license was paid for and filed, the Bates still had to figure out how to fund their humble new venture. The lemons seemingly piled up as the PTSD medication Brad relied upon caused seizures, and in the Spring of 2019 the last seizure took Brad’s life. “On the very day we laid my brother to rest, we had a hailstorm,” recalls Amy. With all the sudden work laid out for Bulldog Roofing and Restoration, “This was how we would fund the grow.”
As is customary for the Oklahoma cannabis industry the first harvest was, if nothing else, a learning opportunity – and undiscovered magic waiting to happen – as they were hit with a hard blow. “Late in flower we found a male plant had seeded the entire crop,” says Amy. What is that Dr. Ian Malcolm quote from Michael Chrichton’s Jurassic Park (1990)? “Life finds a way.” The Bates were beyond devasted and angry, however steadfast, they persisted and continued to grow their operation.
Hopeful that something good would come from their situation of unfortunate events, a few months later CBE Farms germinated some of the seeds from that hapless harvest and Brad’s Gas, previously known as Okie Blaze, was born! She is a rich, bright orange cinna-pine flavor profile. Generously bathed in Limonene, b-Pinene, and Caryophyllene, with a touch of cis-Nerolidol and Linalool, she is uplifting, balanced, and an ideal digestif. Many people have found this 2:1 CBD-rich cultivar to be a life-changing blessing, according to CBE Farms. “We would love to have Brad‘s Gas available nationwide,” Amy says. “Our goal is to help as many people as we possibly can and help them live a better quality of life.” Chad has remained ever aware of the celestial encouragements he receives as CBE encounters their own Oklahoma industry ebb and flow. He says, “I think [Brad] knew if I had the right signs along the way, I would never stop trying to get his flower to patients hopefully across the country someday.”
A year ago, this past month Chad found himself having to contemplate closing the doors of CBE Farms. Chad recalls, “we just were not making enough money. I was in front of our farm just sitting there thinking, [and the] next thing I know plain as day I hear ‘DONT QUIT CHAD.’” Chad knew it was Brad giving him the push he needed in that moment. He continues, “every day I go in my farm I think about Brad and the responsibility he’s given me.” It is a big one, no doubt. CBE Farms boast many of their patients have even been able to discontinue prescription pain medication using Brad’s Gas. What a beautiful gift! That lemonade sure is beginning to taste sweet! In addition to Brad’s Gas, today CBE Farms proudly offers Oklahoma patients eight boutique cultivars- Wedding Cake, Red Hot Cookies, SFV OG, Runtz of Eden, Strawberry Blaze, Straw-nanna, Sunset Sherbet, and Tokyo Snow. What a line-up! However, upon cure this craft grow sells out quickly – within days. The only retailer lucky enough to regularly stock the full CBE Farms offerings is Yukon’s Okie Medicine Flower, located at 1701 S. Mustang Road.
With the goal being to provide Brad’s Gas to as many patients as possible, Chad finds his little grow stifled with the recent changes to the OMMA enforced lab requirements. As it is, Chad understands that each batch, each day it is prepped for retail sale, must have an isolated lab test associated with that date – regardless of how many hours in that day were used for actual work. With the fees charged for this many required tests, and only twenty four hours in a day, is this new fee structure sustainable for craft Oklahoma grows? Is the whole point to flush them out of the running to make way for the Whole Foods and Budweiser of cannabis who have friends in high places? Chad and Amy remain open-hearted and connected to their celestial guide in Brad. They understand that timing is everything. While they currently may not have a board room of shareholders and the humble wooden kitchen table by which they hand-trim, shed tears, and strategize merely seats four, what CBE Farms provides to Oklahoma is a heavenly ratio worth repeatedly going to the mattresses for. “This is truly the definition of lemons to lemonade,” Amy says. “We are continually amazed at how Brad’s Gas has and continues to help so many. I know my brother had his hand it.”
Jessi Lane, Patient Advocate is an independent writer and Oklahoma cannabis industry professional since 2018. She is a Certified Cannacian III and Trichome Institute Certified Cannabis Consultant with a “full spectrum” Postpartum Wellness background.
By Charles “Uncle Chuck” Duncan
Ask a hundred people to name their hero and you will probably hear answers reflecting one or more athletes, parents, singers, actors and first responders. I will agree with the first and last of those choices. Not so much the middle two. But we all look up to people for different reasons, so I do not discount that certain singers and actors are heroes to some. There absolutely are many famous people who also act or sing for a living and are very kind and inspiring. The word “hero” is relative to you and your aspirations.
Since seventh grade, one of my personal aspirations has always been to have cannabis recognized and treated as a beneficial plant and not the poisonous, “gateway drug” it was wrongfully portrayed. It deserved more respect than that. Cannabis is too often looked at like a fart in church. Everyone giggles a little bit when it’s mentioned and conversations of munchies and stoners arise. An endless supply of pot movies, novels, cartoons and music are filling the market. Serious conversations regarding the physical and emotional benefits of cannabis get lost in the hazy noise.
One of my heroes took steps to change the perception of cannabis and did so at great risk to himself and his freedom. During a time when people went to prison for a long, long time for even the tiniest amount of cannabis. To me, that is worthy of being called a hero. Not just because he was championing a plant that I dearly loved and wanted for others to understand. But because he wanted to show the truth, no matter the cost to him personally. The hero I am talking about is Raphael Mechoulam. An organic chemist from Bulgaria who changed our understanding of cannabis and is still doing so today.
Rapheals’ first present to the cannabis community was isolating and identifying delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. He just happens to also be responsible for the isolation and identification of the endocannabinoid Anandamide. My jeep “ana” is named after this most important molecule. For more information on Endocannabinoids and THC, visit my online cannabis education portal Uncle Chuck’s Cannabis Camp at theuccc.com.
When I say that these discoveries came at great risk to Raphael, I am not exaggerating at all. He is the father of cannabis for a reason. His research and many, many scientific articles has led to amazing advancements in how we understand cannabis. He is long overdue for a Nobel Prize, in my personal opinion. Remember, he started his research in the early 60’s. Not really a cannabis friendly time unless you were attending a rock festival or playing Jazz in the deep south. Raphael was in the middle east. Parts of the middle east carried the death penalty for possessing cannabis. Some places still do today.
But Raphael had a friend. A friend in law enforcement. Long story short. Raphaels friend secured a small amount of hash for him to use in his research. This sample, having been carried back to the lab in a small container in Raphaels coat pocket. Over many bus trips and one would assume, past many officers of the law. The story goes that once Raphael got back to the lab, his friend back at the police station called him and told him he had to return the hash. Apparently his friend didn’t have permission to release it and now they were both in hot water. Raphael returned and explained that he only wanted to research it in the lab and had no intention of selling any of it. It worked.
Now decades later, discoveries regarding cannabis in general and phyto and endo cannabinoids in specific are for the most part due to Rapheals original research. He has brought scientific facts and integrity to the cannabis world. Both of which are instrumental in advancing cannabis understanding and acceptance. But more importantly the removal of misinformation and stereotypes. As a cannabis advocate, I can think of no other person I respect more than Raphael Mechoulsm. For his risk and research, I consider him a true hero.
www.unclechuck420.com Photo Credit: PHYTECS
Hit Like A Ram
By James Bridges
I was finally able to make a trip over to witness the portrayal of supertalent and smell the flowers cultivated by Rams Head Cannabis.
Rams Head Cannabis is the brainchild of Richard Yarber and veteran musicians, who are part of the Nu-metal group, Hollywood Undead, Jorel Decker and George Ragan. Rams Head prides itself on cultivating “unique and hard hitting strains that are difficult to find”.
I made my way to one of the facilities. I was finally going to witness the creation of something that has kicked my ass once or twice, as any ram should. I was excited to say the least.
As we entered the building we were greeted by Richard. Richard instantly came across as someone that was well organized and goal oriented. This was not a game for him and his people. This was a truly fantastic facility that was designed and built from the ground up by the people that were utilizing it to create the magic which is Rams Head.
“My partner and I just hit it off instantly.” Richard was describing his relationship. “He’s very clean and OCD like me. We pick up each other’s slack and it’s like, perfect. He has more growing knowledge and education in his background than I do. I come from the construction world. I’ve had a concrete business for 20 years of my life. So I’m the building and he’s the brains on the growing. So us two put together is just, you know, we have it all right there. So it helps out.”
I couldn’t help but notice the cleanliness of the place as we walked down the first hallway. My face must have spilled the beans.
“Anna actually is our general manager here.” Richard spoke quietly, yet with certainty in his eyes and voice. “She creates cleaning schedules too. She makes everything for everybody. So when you walk in this building, something gets done every day. The floors are mopped or swept to pick up as much as possible with as many flowers moving around. But yeah. It has become an everyday activity.”
“Me, myself, I’m pretty OCD. So, I always like everything to be perfect on the spot.”
I compared my reaction to the organization to driving by someones house with an open garage. You kind of get a feel for what kind of person they are just by peaking in. “Just like a garage, you go to my house, it’s the same way.” Richard understood my train of thought. “I want you to walk in and respect the grow. I want you to respect the people who work here, the team. They keep it clean. I believe that if you walk into a clean facility, you’re gonna respect it more.”
“You respect everything about the plant. I understand this too. It’s not just people getting high. This is medicine. Our main focus is medical and that requires a clean facility. So we try to keep it as clean as possible. But it’s hard.
Over the last several months we have all either participated or witnessed, and some have properly navigated through, somewhat of a slow moving market. This has essentially affected everyone in the cannabis industry.
“We see it still moving slowly. It’s moving up a little, I think now with metric in place hopefully by winter, the market will boost back up. It’s still plateauing. A lot of licenses are being taken away. A lot of growers are being sold. So I think I’ll give it four to six months. It’ll be back to normal. We hope it will be.” Richard turned a corner onto the next room.
As we walked Richard talked about things that exposed his high integrity and good intentions. He spoke about Ramshead being extremely conscious of what occurs inside of that building. They know exactly what is going in and out of the doors. He said they use zero “plant growth regulators” or PGR’s. He would even go as far as sacrificing some of the yield in order to stay true to the cleanliness of the plant.
Richard was very happy and proud to talk about their limited use of strains. They are not in this industry to become the “weedmart” of Oklahoma. They are, as they should be, very proud of the hard work and dedication by offering a select few strains and working with only some of the best growers in the world.
One of their most sought after strains, and award winning, is Tokyo Snow. Ramshead has been working on perfecting this strain, which is unique to Ramhead, utilizing 3 years of research and development. Ramshead’s cultivation process of this strain is unique and rare.
The group have decided to ride the positive pathway of which the Tokyo Snow strain has taken them and are currently developing a new and improved, if that were possible, strain called Tokyo Mints. This is a cross between Kush Mints and Tokyo Snow. The team should have this in full rotation sometime in 2023.
“We’re trying to focus on the brand now.” Richard shifted gears. “We wanted to wait until now. You’re seeing good flower. We wanted to wait until we had the right strains, the right setup, then we’ll push the brand. So that’s what we are doing now. So far, that’s a long haul, but it was worth it. It’s smart because there’s so many people that think they need to get the weed out fast. Sometimes it’s necessary because of finances, but if you wait and build slowly there is a good foundation to grow from.”
“It took a while, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of failures, but it made it to what it is today. So it’s perfect. OK. That’s what we want out of it. Yeah.”
Overall I was extremely pleased with my visit. The design of the space was laid out perfectly for good flow from start to finish. I could sense the symbiotic trust flowing from the plant to the cultivation team. It was a well oiled and smooth running machine which savored the integrity of the plant. I was happy.
I asked Richard if he felt the same. “Yeah”. Richard smiled. “This has definitely been a long struggle, a lot of stress, but we’ve stuck in there trying to grow the brand. So everything we’ve got, like, we try to work out every day, but for the long haul, it’ll be worth it in the end. So yeah, definitely. I’m happy.
HERBAGE MAGAZINE OCTOBER 2022 ISSUE 47
Digital edition of the OCTOBER 2022 print issue of Herbage Magazine. Herb•age strives to bring you fresh content regularly. We cover a wide range of cannabis culture and medical marijuana-related issues from around the state of Oklahoma and beyond. In other words, It is our mission to be the voice of the growing cannabis industry in the state. Through fair and open discourse we hope to continue the trend of bringing cannabis out of the shadows and into the mainstream where it belongs. So, please join us and help us grow with Oklahoma!
HERBAGE MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2022 ISSUE 46
Digital edition of the SEPTEMBER 2022 print issue of Herbage Magazine. Herb•age strives to bring you fresh content regularly. We cover a wide range of cannabis culture and medical marijuana-related issues from around the state of Oklahoma and beyond. In other words, It is our mission to be the voice of the growing cannabis industry in the state. Through fair and open discourse we hope to continue the trend of bringing cannabis out of the shadows and into the mainstream where it belongs. So, please join us and help us grow with Oklahoma!
R3M3DY Gard3ns: Watch Them Grow
Tucked away on a quiet road in Tecumseh, the buzz surrounding R3m3dy Gard3ns is growing louder every day. A strong start in early 2021 came to an abrupt halt later that year when lead grower Hopper had a near fatal encounter with a mosquito that put him on life support after contracting West Nile Virus. A six month recovery physically sidelined him, and although he still has some lingering issues from the WNV, he’s powering through and hasn’t lost any of the passion he’s had since 1989 when he first started growing.
Modest in size when compared to some of the behemoth commercial grows that have erupted in the last few years, R3m3dy Gard3ns refuses to choose between quantity and quality. Impressive indoor, outdoor, and light deprivation cultivation operations are all in full swing, keeping them busy from sunup, pulling tarps on the dep, until late into the night tending to the indoor while the lights are on. Keeping up with this intense schedule seven days a week, is a labor of love that is about so much more than just growing plants. It’s about growing as individuals and as a community. It’s about growing their brand in a responsible manner that will allow it to outlast trends and hype. For Hopper, it’s about one day passing it down to his daughter. It’s also important for him to continually learn as a grower. Even with 30 years of experience, he wisely admits that there will always be something he doesn’t know and he strives to keep learning. From using HID lighting and homemade brains back in the day, to present day crop steering and tissue cultures, he’s seen firsthand just how much the industry has evolved. Lately there are a few too many 20-somethings calling themselves “master growers” and the funny thing is that some of them weren’t even alive yet when he first started growing. Even so, he refuses to use the term, saying, “I’m a legacy grower, but I will never call myself a master grower.” Something else he’ll never claim to be is a cannabis influencer. He recalls being a ‘weed tech’ for Cannabis Culture Magazine 15 years ago, providing props for photoshoots (cannabis, hash, bongs, etc..) “Now it’s called a cannabis stylist”, he says with a chuckle and roll of his eyes. “I mean, all you do is show up at a shoot with products. It’s not that serious.” He does concede however, that it’s nice to see people here in Oklahoma be so excited about being a part of the industry, as opposed to California, where everyone seems to be jaded. Ron shares Hopper’s excitement for and love of cannabis. “I met Hopper through KMK a few years ago. I’ve always had love for cannabis and its healing benefits. So to not only meet KMK and Hopper, but to be able to work with these guys has been one hell of a ride, and the wheels are still rolling.”
There is solid history and a lot of common ground between the R3m3dy team. Hopper and Ron ran in the same circles on the music side of the cannabis industry years before they teamed up to grow. Hopper was Kottonmouth Kings tour manager for ten years and later in the bands run, Ron ran the KMK online store and toured with them selling merch. The future partners didn’t actually meet until the SRH Fest in Huntington Beach in 2019. Fast forward to the ‘Twas The Night B4/20 show in Norman last year where they linked up with Johnny Richter, who was performing with King Klick, and R3m3dy Gard3ns/RX3 was born. RX3 refers to their three names- Richter, Ron, Rich. (“My name is Rich, but everyone calls me Hopper” he says during introductions.)
All work and no play is no way to live, so even with the crazy long days they put in at the garden, they somehow find time to put on shows for the cannabis community. Updates on upcoming events will be posted on their socials, so be sure to follow. Hint: Thanksgiving may be a little… danker this year.
So, when they’re not running the indoor grow, the outdoor grow, the light dep, overseeing the making of their edible line, or putting on events, they raise money for charity. Painting cannabis in a positive light and disproving the lazy stoner stereotype is very important to them, and these self-proclaimed “stoners that care” have already held one fundraiser where they raffled off a Sour bong and a Jerome Baker bong. The money is being held in a fund until they find the right organization to partner with. Right now they’re leaning towards Legacy Parenting Center in Shawnee, but are open to suggestions. Hopper has a long history of giving back to the local communities he’s lived in, having received a federal certificate of appreciation from the USMC for his work with Toys for Tots. What really makes R3m3dy Gard3ns stand out among the rest, is their authenticity. It’s not just who they are, it’s who they have been for decades, and they have the receipts to prove it.
Follow the whole R3m3dy crew on Instagram to watch them grow, and enjoy the fruits of their labo
r by letting your favoritedispo know that you want to see RX3 products on their shelves. They currently offer gummies, prerolls, and RHO. RHO is a highly potent, strain specific, solventless rosin hash oil created by Hopper while he was living in legendary Humboldt County, California. All of RX3’s edibles are made from their RHO, there are absolutely no solvents in any of their products. Providing clean medicine to patients and stoners is a paramount priority at R3m3dy Gard3ns and RX3.
Written by: Pamela Jayne
The Hustle for Bliss, Naturally
by Jessi Lane, Patient Advocate
Marissa Benson is a girl from the Plains with big time dreams and the relentless hustle to facilitate her goals. She specializes in terpene aromatherapy with her brand Maribliss Essentials, offering “scents you love, affects you feel.”
Maribliss can be purchased in over one hundred and forty retail locations across four states, each of those relationships forged and nurtured by Marissa herself. Additionally, her reputable all-natural product line is sold through the Maribliss Essentials website as well as in Marissa’s fresh new Broken Arrow retail location. “They’ll never be able to say I didn’t give it my all,” she says. In 2020 Marissa, a dutiful mom and wife – a Medical Assistant with Phlebotomy & EKG Tech certifications – found herself a budtender gig at Hamilton’s Buds and Bloom in Broken Arrow. It was there she began her entrepreneurial journey with the launch of Maribliss Essentials.
All Maribliss products are handmade in Broken Arrow. “We are all about natural healing with natural products,” she says. Her all-natural 1,000mg THC free cannabis derived terpene roll-ons are made using a hemp and almond oil base. Clients with nut allergies may reach out to Maribliss and Marissa will customize a personalized blend. Maribliss bath bombs are made with water soluble colorant. Unlike her big box competitors like Target, she tells social media followers no sensitivity issues have been reported with her boutique bath bombs. With a forty-five minute burn time, Maribliss incense sticks are handmade and free of chemicals, toxicants, and soot. Comprised of only highly concentrated terpenes and Di Propylene Glycol oil – the nontoxic industry standard – Maribliss incense sticks are surely the healthiest alternative to mass-produced incense. According to PerfumersWorld.com, “DPG oil is virtually odorless. [It is] Interesting as a versatile solvent as it mixes with most essential oils but is also water soluble. [It] Acts as stabilizer for compounds. (2021)”
Maribliss Essentials cannabis derived terpenes are Full Spectrum. What does that mean to Marissa? “Full Spectrum to me means that we use the full terpene profile from that strain into our products. No terpenes are left out! Our clients can rely on getting the benefits that they are looking for and depend on without the psychoactive effects.” Marissa reminds followers, “Many terpenes are bioactive. This means they may affect the body. Inhaling the scents from some plants and essential oils may affect a person’s mood or stress levels. The effect will vary based on the concentration of the terpene itself and how a person uses it.” Of the historical use of terpenes in aromatherapy, HighFallsHemp.com relays, “[Mono]Terpenes can be traced to the introduction of Camphor in Eastern Europe by the Arab [people] in the 11th century as a treatment for illness and pain – even as a fumigant during the Black Death era. (2022)” The layering of complex cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes does play an integral role in one’s personal wellness maintenance, as does one’s method of consumption. “If [cannabis consumers] are needing to add more to their medicine, using our product will enhance the entourage effects. This is because you are getting double benefits of the terpenes from Maribliss products and your medicine, leaving you with a full body homeostasis,” says Marissa.
Because she understands the importance of varying consumption methods, the lavish product line of Maribliss Essentials includes bath bombs, shower steamers, and fizzing bath – or foot – soaks for decompression and rejuvenation. When it comes to soaking as a method by which to consume terpenes, scientists with BasicMedicalKey.com tell us, “Rectal and vaginal dosage forms aimed to obtain a local effect are, from a biopharmaceutical viewpoint, comparable with dermal preparations. However, it should be known that after rectal and vaginal application a greater part of the active substance may reach the general circulation than after cutaneous [dermal] application. (2017)” Marissa offers terpene dermal roll-ons for immediate relief from stressors. She also formulates incense sticks, 100% soy wax candles, wax melts, and terpene diffuser oil to set the tone and ambiance for one’s surroundings. One client wrote of the bath soak, “I was recently given some of the Grandaddy Purp bath soak and I cannot be happier. My tired, teething baby slept all night after his bath. Even my husband commented on how quickly it calmed him down!” With many of Marissa’s raving online reviews covering the positive effects clients received from the Grand Daddy Purp formula used in Maribliss’ various products, it’s sure to be one of her best sellers.
Maribliss Essentials is on a direct course for boutique aromatherapy domination, however true to herself, Marissa remains ever kind and humble. “My goal in the future is to be able to grow Maribliss as big as I can and be able to provide security and freedom for me and my family.” She goes on to say, “I also want to be able to provide help to people who need it one day!” An Oprah Winfrey quote resounds with her. “Be thankful for what you have, and you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have you will never, ever have enough.” The next time you are in Broken Arrow, stop in Maribliss at 1433 E. Kenosha St, for a personal reset. Or when next shopping your local dispo, peruse the nonTHC inventory and look for the Maribliss Essentials terpene profile wheel. Grab a Maribliss bath soak or roll-on and layer your way to bliss.
Jessi Lane, Patient Advocate is a writer and Oklahoma cannabis industry professional since 2018. She is a Certified Cannacian III and Trichome Institute Certified Cannabis Consultant with a “full spectrum” Postpartum Wellness background.
The Cultivation Corner
Brought to you by Smokey Okies Cannabis
Welcome back to the Cultivation Corner, where we discuss all things related to growing good ganja! Last time, we discussed the two different growing phases of cannabis (the Vegetative and Flowering stages) and how to mimic those phases indoors by switching your light cycles. In this month’s column, I am going to discuss the first of the two stages, the Vegetative Stage. I will cover how to get started, what to do once you’re deep into veggin, and when to make the switch to flower.
Starting your vegetative cycle: Should you use seeds or clones?
When you decide to start growing weed, you will need to either plant seeds or plant a clone. But which is the better option? You may have guessed the answer: “it depends.”
The advantages and disadvantages of Seeds
Let’s start with seeds. One benefit of starting with seeds is the availability of so many good options through online seed banks. If you go this route, I recommend using a reputable seed bank that is endorsed by the breeder of the strain you want.
Your seeds should come in packaging that came from the breeder and have a seal or other insignia verifying authenticity. You want to make sure that these seeds are what they purport to be, and actually came from the breeder, and are not just seeds put into random packaging by a middleman seed bank.
Now, here is the downside: unless you purchased an older strain that has been stabilized for many, many years, there is going to be a lot of variation in characteristics for each seedling that ends up sprouting. Why?
Think of it this way: if your mom and dad kept having kids, each kid would share some family traits, while also being a bit different and unique. So if you plant 10 seeds, expect 10 different versions of that strain. (The way around this is to continue in-breeding, stabilizing the genetic, so that each additional “brother and sister” is more and more alike; this is a deeper topic for a future article).
Conclusion: Seeds are great, but be prepared for a lot of different mixed results. Pro tip: Plant many seeds of the same strain, knowing that only a few are going to be worth keeping. Save the best one, and start cloning it.
The Pros and Cons of Buying Clones
So if you don’t want to “pheno hunt” a bunch of seeds, you can instead buy clones. The advantage of buying a clone is that the clone has already been hunted and selected. However, this advantage is premised on the assumption that the person selling the clone has already hunted a bunch of variations of this strain, and has selected the ideal version and is now selling it.
Here, the operative term is “assumption.” When you buy a clone, you are assuming it is a good pheno. Therefore, you are relying on the credibility of the seller.
As you are now starting to see, sourcing genetics is all about the credibility of the source, whether a seed bank or a clone seller. Buying clones is great as long as you know that the grower selling the clones is reputable.
Another advantage of starting with a clone is that you start 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule than if you had to wait on the seed to sprout and grow to a similar size.
Conclusion: Buy clones if you trust the seller, and the clone is free of pests. Pro tip: ask the seller to explain how she sourced the genetics
Vegging your seedlings and Clones
Now that you have selected your genetics, let’s get them growing! As we discussed in last issue, you will want to use a light schedule of 18 hours on, six hours off for this initial stage of growth. The choice of medium is up to you. You can grow in soil, rockwool cubes, or our preferred medium: coco coir. Whichever route you choose to go, you will adopt a cultivation style that suits your choice.
It All Starts in Veg
The Veg stage is where you conceive of your end result and then take action with weekly tasks that get you closer to that end result.
First, start with a vision. Do you want a large plant? A multi-topped bush? A tall and skinny plant? Do you want to harvest frequently, and therefore want as many runs in a year as possible? Or are you fine with less frequent harvests, you want more yield each time?
Figure out what you want. It’s okay for your goals to change over time. But once you can conceive of the end result, you can put a plan into place. It all starts in veg.
Veg is where you train your plant to become the end result you have in your mind. You can start topping early, or you can wait to top until it has been in veg for 3 or 4 weeks. You can use low stress training or high stress training.
If you are brand new to cultivation, and you don’t know you want, that is okay too. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
- When you switch to the 12/12 light cycle to begin the flowering phase, your plant will double or triple in height and size;
- Keep this in mind when vegging your plant(s)
- Veg is when you can bend branches and train a plant; you lose this ability as you get into flower, when the branches firm up and lose their elasticity
- Use the vegetative phase to shape your plant. It will be on steroids during flower, so get it under control now.
That should get you started for now. If you don’t know what any of these terms mean, check out our blog at Smokey-Okies.com and use the search bar to search any of these terms. Next month, we will continue this journey of growing your own weed!
By Chet Tucker
We are taking a slight turn into the celebration side of the Freedom Flower. As we continue to document the breaking through of stigmas and controlled regulatory “law” ceilings, I think it’s important to take pause and celebrate the victories. To me, one of the single grandest victories has been the fact that we have a legitimate and honed in cannabis competition that brings the best of the best to the yard. To boot, it keeps challenging quality improvement here in the central heartbeat of American cannabis, all while creating a gathering of a cannabis community that shows up in supportive droves to support the right to choose plant-based medicinals.
I met Daniel Lewis in the spring of 2019 at a Braum’s (I mean that’s as Oklahoman as it gets right?) and within moments I understood his vision and passion for creating an “Emerald Cup” in the heart of Oklahoma. Loaded with a well-prepared binder of sponsorship opportunities and band line up, he shared that his Cowboy Cup would be held at the iconic Tumbleweed Dancehall in Stillwater. A quick brain check and I was like, great venue, well located between Tulsa and OKC, and this guy has had experience working at the biggest cannabis events in the nation. I was in and he accepted me as an ongoing collaborator and friend.
Fast forward to 2022 and the Cowboy Cup has established itself as the revered competition in the state. With entries and vendors nearly doubling year over year, it’s clear that the well ran event is the gold standard of cannabis events in Oklahoma and beyond. Complete with music, VIP lounges, eating and smoking lounges, and an overall freedom vibe that moves with anyone that flows into the venue, “The Cup” is an all inclusive family of flower and freedom.
For the plethora of cannabis products and vendors, the Cowboy Cup offers competition categories that include indoor flower, solvent and solventless hash, pre-rolls, tinctures, edibles, and topicals as well as sun-grown and sun-grown assist flower categories. Layer in the fact that this year’s competition will include Ganjier judging and you’ve found yourself mixed into one of the most comprehensive and experienced set of judging that any cannabis competition could showcase. And the icing on the cake is this isn’t a corporate bought championship. This is as blind of a competition that state regulations could allow and certainly one that can’t be bought. It’s the cowboy way.
All entries are submitted via Metrc compliant means via drop off at The Lettuce Bar (and their processing arm, Lettuce Depot). Submissions are processed into compliant judge packs that will be available through The Lettuce Bar 7-10 days or so after submissions are entered. Each set of entry dates will include all 2021 first place winners and their showcase of award-winning products. Those participating winners will have a booth and products available at The Lettuce Bar on each final day Saturday of submissions (9/24, 10/1, and 11/12). Check www.cowboycup.com for entry details for submission to Lettuce Depot (PAAA) but the submission dates are as follows:
Location for competition entry drop off:
Lettuce Smoke Canna Co.
12007 NE 23rd St
Choctaw, OK 73020
Indoor Flower: Sept 22nd- Saturday Sept. 24th (10AM-6PM)
All other products: Sept. 29th-Oct 1st (10AM-6PM)
Sun-Grown & Sun-Grown Assist: Nov. 10th-12th (10AM-6PM)
*Judge dates for pick-ups will be communicated via email
Cowboy Cup Championship and Celebration Festival
@Tumbleweed Dancehall – Stillwater, OK
Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2nd and 3rd, 2022
Give Me Some Sugar
By James Bridges
Some friends told me that I should go check out Sugar Cannabis in Shawnee, OK. I thought I would give the new place a shot.
As I walked into Sugar Cannabis I was greeted by a few people behind the counter. I was very pleased to see the happy faces. I was curious about the products they were currently offering. I started asking about the flower.
A man with a large smile stood up from a chair. He hadn’t said much as I walked through, but once he knew I was there to look deeply, it seemed to catch his interest. As he firmly shook my hand, I noticed that the smile never left his face. He seemed authentically happy that he was where he was.
I quickly discovered that the man shaking my hand was the owner, Tony. He introduced me to his team as if they were family. It turns out they were actually family.
Sugar Cannabis is a family owned and operated dispensary in Shawnee, OK. They have a fun, clean, and vibrant atmosphere inside of the shop as well as portrayed consistently by the “family” oriented employees. Sugar Cannabis has long term ambitions to offer clean and affordable products to their patrons.
Come experience their Grand Opening celebration on September 10th with plenty of Cuban influenced food, entertainment, and deals that are meant to clear off the shelfs to make room for more!
“Happy Birthday T! I love you my son.”
Sugar Cannabis – 1528 N Harrison St – Shawnee, OK 74804
By Michael Kinney
Steve Miller has tried to live a peaceful life. Despite numerous medical battles, he does his best to stay stress-free.
However, in early July, Miller was at his breaking point. It was a place he had been just a few times in his 69 years of life. But this time it was worse.
Miller suffers from a disease called Essential Tremors. It causes his body to violently shake, especially when his anxiety rises. As Miller cared for his sister, who was going through her own issues, he had what he called a psychotic break that affected him mentally, emotionally and physically.
“When she was trying to get off alcohol and stuff we both kind of started feeding off each other’s anxiety she ended up in the hospital and going to the emergency room because she didn’t know how to handle it,” Miller said of his sister. “I didn’t know how to help her. She actually had seizures that morning. So, I called an ambulance and got her. And then she got back home. And I, I can’t tell you how many days it was, but about 3, 4, 5 days later, I had to call 911 for me and take me to the emergency room, full chest pains.”
Miller said the pains felt like he was having a heart attack and he couldn’t breathe
“I had been shaking so much for so long and so hard that my intestines were just tied in a knot,” Miller said. “. Once you get anxious, you kind of get a little bit psychotic when it gets real bad.”
Essential tremor is a hereditary affliction that has been passed down through Miller’s family and landed on both him and his sister. However, he wasn’t diagnosed with it until he was 46 years old.
Up until then, no one knew what caused Miller’s violent shaking or any of the other host of issues associated with the disease.
“Growing up didn’t have a clue what it was,” Miller said. “My dad shook. He’s who I got it from was from his side of the family. I remember my grandmother shaking a lot.”
Miller said his grandmother sounded like the late movie star Katherine Hepburn, who was also diagnosed with essential tremors in the later stages of her career.
According to the Harvard Medical School, essential tremor affects about five percent of people over age 50. The intensity of the shaking from essential tremors can be mild to very significant. Also, the tremor can vary in location, being most prominent in the hands, head or voice.
For Miller, the symptoms began when he was a kid growing up in Guthrie.
“I want to say it was around six, seven years old,” Miller said. “I’d go to play with other kids and they’d noticed me shaking. I didn’t notice it was supposed to be anything different. They laughed at me about it and stuff.”
To Miller the shaking was normal. He was still able to function and do all the things kids his age could do. But that didn’t mean it didn’t affect him in different ways.
“I was put back in first grade because I couldn’t write. I start to write and I couldn’t, it wasn’t legible to them,” Miller said. “So, I got put back in first grade because of it, they don’t didn’t have a clue what this was back then. And not very many people, especially schools don’t know what it is. I’d actually run people off from being friends. It scared them. I couldn’t tell him what it was because you didn’t know.”
That left Miller to figure out how to navigate through life while dealing with a disease seemingly no one knew anything about.
“I just found ways of getting around it. Of course, I’d shake, but I was able to do things and play,” Miller said. “But if it was something real tedious I couldn’t do it. It was hard to make friends and keep friends when I was young. This is an anxiety-driven disease. I mean you get out and you just know somebody’s going to bring it up and you don’t want to talk about it. A lot of people with essential tremors stay hidden, especially when they get older and they’re as bad as I am shaking. That’s one reason I get out. To get people to understand that there is a disease out here causing this.”
While essential tremor is often mistaken for Parkinson’s disease due to the shaking, Miller says the two are different in several ways.
An essential tremor is an action tremor, meaning that the involuntary shaking increases when you move and try to use your hands. In Parkinson’s disease, tremors occur mainly at rest, and activity reduces the symptoms. Some people with essential tremors develop head nodding or shaking; few people with Parkinson’s do, according to Harvard Medical School.
“It’s totally the opposite of Parkinson’s. With Parkinson’s most of their tremors happen when they’re at rest,” said Miller. “No muscle movement or anything. That’s when their tremors start, they’re shaking. With essential tremors. It’s when you do something, anytime you engage a muscle.”
One of the hallmarks of essential tremors, useful in diagnosing the disorder, is that alcohol can temporarily ease symptoms. Miller discovered this remedy early on and used it for most of his life to help him cope.
“From the time I was a teenager until about five years ago, I’ve kept it under control with alcohol,” Miller said. “Drinking alcohol calms not only the shaking outside, it calms the inner trimmer I have. And it helps with anxiety. So, it affects it all. It helps with all three of them. It will keep it hidden so I wasn’t having a lot of trouble with it as long as I was drinking.”
Unfortunately for Miller, prostate issues related to too much alcohol made it impossible for him to keep drinking alcohol.
“I quit about six, seven years ago,” Miller said. “I’d have a drink every once in a while, just to see if my prostate could handle it. I decided it was not working, so I had to completely quit two years ago.”
Miller knew drinking that much alcohol was not good for him. Despite seeing how it affected other members of his family who also had essential tremors, he said the positives outweighed the negatives.
“My big older sister had it and she was this bad in her thirties,” Miller said. “It affected her real bad and she ended up committing suicide with alcohol because of it. And her son did the same thing.”
Without the use of alcohol, his symptoms became worse and more uncontrollable.
Since there is no known cure for essential tremors, that led Miller to look for any other possible remedies. He said there are medications for other diseases that he can take, but nothing specifically for essential tremors.
“There are two surgeries that they’ll do. The first one is DBS surgery and it’s where you basically have a pacemaker for your brain. But it doesn’t help the cognitive or the inner tremor,” Miller said. “So I elected not to do it because the outer shaking doesn’t bother me anymore. I get out and be around people and it helps me get the word out. I just kind of decided that no if I’m going to get the word out, people need to see what I’m doing. See how I react when I get out in crowds and stuff like that.”
The decision to become an advocate for essential tremor education and awareness was an easy one for Miller. He was spurred on not just by the memories of his own childhood, but also from watching two marriages end due to his disease.
“You can’t think so you keep overthinking everything and it just feeds it and feeds it and feeds it. And that’s what happened the two times before. One of them ended up getting divorced because of it, I just couldn’t handle anything going on anymore. I had to get away from everything, But I was married the first time for 15 years and had two kids. And the second time I was married for 25 years. I was trying to escape from the tremors, right. The anxiety is what I was trying to get away from. I just couldn’t handle it anymore both times.”
Miller now uses medical cannabis to help him deal with his disease. A variety of products have helped him deal with the disease.
“I started using about two years. I found some pre-rolls that helped me pretty good,” Miller said. “And then somebody suggested I try an RSO. So, I started taking RSO at night at about 8:30 and by midnight I’m asleep. I’ve never slept a full night’s sleep. Very seldom ever did I get to the rim sleep. the real good sleep. So, RSO helped me get to where I could sleep at night. I’ve been using RSO every night since, cause I can rest and stuff.”
Just being able to get a full night’s sleep for the first time in his life has enabled Miller to have a little better control of his anxiety and lets him do what he loves, which is meeting new people.
“I love talking to people and everything, but the anxiety, just leaving the house to go to the grocery store to go do anything will start this out,” Miller said. “And it gets pretty intense. I love to go to events and talk to people. I love people. I love talking to them right. It’s one of my favorite things to do and being around the crowd, but it’s kind of a catch-22 because it causes this to happen.”
Almost as important as the physical effect cannabis has on Miller is what the cannabis community has done for him emotionally and mentally. For the first time, he says he knows what it is like to have friends.
“The people caring, never had that in my life. Really. That’s the biggest thing is people showing me love and I can feel it is from their hearts that they really do care about me and trying to help me get the word out about this disease,” said Miller. “I’ve actually got friends now and they understand the disease and they accept it with me. And that’s been the biggest thing in my life. The cannabis family has helped me so much just being there.”
It was during Miller’s latest breakdown that the cannabis community showed up in force after he made a simple post on his Facebook page that he needed help.
“I was at the end of my rope with it. I just posted on Facebook that I need help,” Miller said. “But I had probably 15 different people reaching out and one was on his way over to the house. He helped me get to the hospital and then helped me get my sister back home and everything. And that was just amazing. Another person came and spent the night and stayed to help me get through that night and most of the next day and everything I’ve never asked for help, but I knew I needed it. I didn’t know what else to do. I couldn’t think of anybody to call. I couldn’t think of anything else to do, but to that, just put it out there. And, and they jumped in there. I don’t know of any other group that would do that. No other group has done that before. I mean, nobody that I’ve ever been around,”
Miller knows as he gets older, his symptoms will only get worse. The things he has grown to enjoy over the past few years with the help of medical cannabis will no longer be available for him to do.
But while he still can, Miller wants to get the word out about essential tremors. He says there are 10 million nationwide who suffer from the disease, but very little research is being done. He wants to change that.
“The biggest thing that I want to do is get research started to make specific meds for this disease, but they can’t come up with a specific me until they start talking to us and listening to us. I want to get the word out and hopefully write a book on my life,” Miller said. “That’s something I’ve been working on. I’ve got 22 pages written. It’s kind of scattered because my brain’s kind of scattered. Sure. But that’s something I really want to do is get the book and explain how this affects you in each part of your life and everything. Old age is bad, you know. But old age and essential tremors are even more.”
Miller’s favorite saying comes from Mahatma Gandhi. It states, ‘In a gentle way, you can shake the world.’
“That’s always been my thing is that I’ve followed that through my life because I am a gentle soul,” Miller said. “Going through this I’ve learned that I am a kind person, I’m a good person. I’ve always felt like I was bad.”
By James Bridges
As a cannabis enthusiast (aka: stoner) and professional chef or over 20 years I have infused cannabinoids into a tremendous number of things, from high octane alcohols, to MCT oil, grapeseed oil, hemp seed oil, creamery butter, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil. But the most exciting of all the fats I have use to help bind to all of the readily available cannabinoids in cannabis has got to be bacon fat, yup you hear me. Preferably rendered from heritage bread pork belly smoked over applewood, or what other folks call BACON. I realize that 99% of the previously mentioned fats and oils are plant derived but according to an article I read in the June 1st, 2016, issue of High Times Magazine, bacon fat is one of the top three fats to use when extracting those readily available cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis. First off- I couldn’t be happier when I heard the results of the study on bacon fat and cannabinoids.
Second off- I had no frickin’ idea that there was such a study. As I mentioned earlier, being that professio
nal chef of over 25 years, I’ve been proudly cooking with cannabis since the early 90’s, cannabis bacon fat only made sense. So, over the years I have transformed this super simple, traditional peanut butter cookie recipe that has floated around the family cookie archives for decades to include a couple of full spectrum cannabis products that will help mellow situations and liven up the conversation at any event. (cannabis tends to do that) Do not skip the light sprinkle of sea salt flakes, it’s a palette pleasing addition. *And just to help clear up any future questions that may appear in my Instagram in-box @chef_sebastian_carosi, duck fat works just as well.
recipe by #theshortordercannabisrevolutionary Chef Sebastian Carosi
Cannabis Bacon Fat Peanut Butter Cookies
prep time: 15 minutes
cook time: 10-12 minutes
yield: about 24 cookies
total thc/cbd: depends on the potency of the products used
status: pugnacious peanut butter cookies
from the cannabis pantry: cannabis bacon fat, cannabis vanilla extract
chef’s strain recommendation: LA Confidentiel
stand mixer or handheld mixer, 2 stainless mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, rubber spatula, parchment lined baking sheet, spatula, wire rack
½ cup cannabis infused bacon fat (made in the magical butter mb2e)
½ cup crunchy organic peanut butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp cannabis infused vanilla (made in the magical butter mb2e)
1 large pasture raised farm egg
1½ cups organic AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp Jacobsen sea salt flakes
½ cup salted peanuts (rough chopped)
how to make it
-preheat an oven to 350°.
-in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a stainless bowl with an electric mixer, beat the bacon fat, peanut butter, peanuts, and sugar until the mixture lightens in color and the mixture becomes creamy. (about 3 to 4 minutes)
-add the egg and keep beating until completely incorporated.
-in a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and the kosher salt.
-slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture, mixing until all the ingredients are combined well.
-roll the dough into balls about 1 inch around. place the cookie dough about 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet and gently press the top of each cookie dough ball with a fork dipped in granulated sugar to make a crisscross pattern.
-sprinkle the cookie tops with the sea salt flakes.
-bake the cookies for 9 to 10 minutes (this is the perfect time to smoke another joint), or until they are barely browned around the edges. (do not overbake the cookies. the cookies may appear slightly puffed, it’s all good, they are all okay.)
-let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes.
-then carefully transfer the dank ‘n delicate cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before devouring.
equipment + product source
www.magicalbutter.com (mb2e botanical extractor)
www.jacobsensaltco.com (oregon kosher sea salt)
recipe by #theshortordercannabisrevolutionary chef sebastian carosi @chef_sebastian_carosi on Instagram
An award-winning chef, avid forager, and wild crafter. Chef Sebastian Carosi, also known as “the short-order cannabis revolutionary”, has been cooking with full spectrum cannabis and eating the devil’s lettuce since the early 90’s. Trained at Portland, Oregon’s Western Culinary Institute, apprenticed under renowned chefs in Italy, and went on to lead the farm-to-fork movement across the United States.
By James Bridges
“You can make higher yields and higher quality products, but also you want to make that product people are gonna come back and reorder. It is all about the Patient.” – Ray Tinsley, owner, The Gas Farm.
I looked up at him. Me. I’m not the tallest in the room, but I’m not too short either. I’m 6ft 2’ and I was looking up at Ray as his overwhelming smile paused slightly in order for the mouth to function as he spoke. He was happy. I could tell why as he opened the first flower room to show off his ladies.
“We have about 95 plants that are harvested every 3-4 days with our continuous harvest system.” Ray continued to smile as we walked inside. “We average about 4.2 pounds per light. I love my plants. I love what I do. I understand the business. But the patients are the ones that really matter.” I could sense the sincerity in his voice. “If we make something and we sell it to dispensaries and dispensaries don’t turn it, then it does no good for the patients. There’s no reason to keep it in production. Right?”
My thoughts immediately raced to someone putting all of their eggs into one basket, or one product, then it not moving at all. How does one prevent this extremely long failure process from occurring?
“Ideally when you entertain coming to the market and bringing the funds to build this, it’s all about the process, consistency, reducing risk and the ability for it to actually go to a recreational market.” Ray was directly to the point.
“I worked for large fortune 500 companies in the past. That is a little different than the cannabis business. When I left the corporate world, I told myself I was never going to work for anybody else again, and I would take the good from the corporate world – and leave behind the bad. We wanted to build a culture that folks wanted to be a part of.” Two quotes we use often at the Farm – “What is good for the Grow” this is a lens that helps drive many of our decisions. The second is, “We know it is Medicine.” This level of pride, our whole Team reflects on, they know our products could be used by one of their Family members.
He hasn’t since. Neither have some of Ray’s own family members. Two of his brothers Kevin and TJ are partners, but so are other family and long-time family friends like Renee, Eddy, and Michelle that are the bedrock to their success. They have formed a family unit of business minded people. I was absolutely impressed by their ability to recognize and utilize each one of their own special talents and skills to create this sustaining business.
“Our father had a stroke.” The tone of the room dampened for a few seconds. “His own doctor came in and said he’s a prime candidate for medical marijuana. The doctor talked about it helping his appetite and other ailments.” This was in the State of Delaware, and although, they were one of the first to approve medical cannabis, it took almost five years before the first grow license was awarded.
Ray and the group continued to research this industry further to find the most efficient ways to make this business a reality. Ray talked about the importance of having a strong foundation. He came across as being very comfortable in the position that they have carved out for themselves in this industry.
“I think that when you sit back and look at it, then yes, you can do it.” Ray was speaking about himself. “You know, there’s other businesses coming behind us. They have business plans and structures that could definitely be able to sustain in the market, however they seemed to only be concentrating on one sector. Our plan continues to focus on being a completely vertical business.”
Inspired and eager to see more we moved onto more rooms as I had hoped. The long stretching hallways and extremely tall sidewalls of each room were enormous. I felt as if I had walked into an underground fortress of solitude. Hell, even Ray’s brother TJ looked somewhat like a fictional superman, without the cape of course.
TJ is the CFO for The Gas Farm. “Ray leads the Relationship Managers, and the income aspects or our organization, my role is to take care of it from there.”
TJ seemed to be a bit more of a “behind the scenes” player on The Gas Farm team. His smile was contagious as it played itself off as something that doesn’t come out much. However, after getting to speak with TJ, I tend to think there’s a major soft side.
It brought a big smile to TJ’s face when I asked him about the employees working for them. “When we started we had 1 employee. Now we have 30. Plus we bring in temps.”
How many other small businesses do you know have the ability to take something that was non-existent, as a legal industry, in as little as 4 years, and employ over 30 people from our local community? It’s happening. It’s happening in Oklahoma and it is providing families with more than financial relief. The medicinal fall-out that is blanketing this land is becoming more and more pleasant to witness each and every day.
“I mean, it’s outstanding. We brought a lot of jobs to the market. We brought a lot considering all the work that we had to do to build it right. It totally impacts the community. We see it here and the people that we work with are like Family. We help each other, we help our neighbors and we all help serve the community.” “We can never can say it enough, but I would like to publicly say thank you to all of our Teammates, and everyone who has supported us on this journey – ‘THANK YOU ALL!’”
I knew the soft heart would come out eventually. It was fun to watch the brothers make eye contact as they spoke about their recent co-adventure. I imagine what it must be like to work with a close sibling. The fights would most assuredly proceed, however the overall close bond that it must form would, in my imagination, be something that cannot be described by words. Oh the joy and overwhelming pleasant hell of it all…
TJ continued speaking about the business as if I had unraveled a puzzle that he wanted to describe. I was glued to his speech. “It’s farm to table. So, our prices are less. This helps patients take advantage of the medicine. Okay. And we’re gonna do everything by volume. So if we have enough customers, everybody will be great.” TJ smiled, nodded, then drifted back into the background as if he said his peace.
We walked toward the next room. I was able to pick Ray’s brain a little more on the business structure and his obvious ability to form a very sustainable model.
“We pop seeds from time to time, but we work with other growers and acquire other genetics. I think it’s, you know, it’s all about if we all win as a team, you know, that’s how we really do it. It’s about teamwork.”
I wanted an example. Ray had several, but one stuck out to me.
“ I was talking to a farmer from Chandler. He was having a challenge. And even though it’s a simple solution, we got connected from mutual colleague we both know in Colorado. End result, his issue is resolved, and we have a new relationship to work with towards our goals. Helping each other is the way to do it. Right? We’re all stuck with challenges like banking, regulations, and even Metrc and all other learning curves in the industry. But you know, you have to work inside of a system and his farm and our farm run very parallel in our systems. So that similarity between our companies gives us the platform to form a relationship. To work together, make genetics work, and we know often an outdoor farmer would not engage an indoor farmer for help – yet it was what was needed.”
Ray continued. “From time-to-time, you have to make compromises. You have to step back and navigate instead of making the waves. I always like to introduce everybody to these.” Ray opened the door. “These are my handicapped ADA bathrooms that cost me $1/2 million a year. The reason being is the city asked us to put them in, but it took out our 19th Flower room. Okay? But you have to make a compromise. We wanted to do everything right. We’ve completely integrated with the city of Oklahoma city from day one. We’ve had over 160 inspections.”
“We had a longer start period, but we knew it would take us a longer period of time to get to where we needed to go. But when we did it we did everything the way they liked it. That’s the focus for us. The city likes it. The state likes it. Same with OMMA. OMMA has trained over 75 of their grow inspectors here at this facility. They trained all of their 40 processing inspectors here at this facility and a large portion of their dispensary inspectors here at this facility, as well as their auditors.”
I then realized the enormity of the place which I was standing inside. It caught me off guard a bit. Everything from the cleanliness of the place down to the friendliness of each worker I encountered was spectacular. One couldn’t ask for a more informative and near perfect tour of a fully vertical grow operation. The business minded “gentle giant” that walked next to me was impressive. His ability to see past obstacles that could potentially damage his pathway to success was incredible. I was, let’s say, intrigued.
“You know, you have to work with these organizations or these departments.” Ray simply couldn’t stop giving me quality lessons to ponder. You can’t work against them. So we came here to work with the city, with the state, with the departments too. It gave us a few hiccups in the beginning. But, the end result is you got a fully manufacturing facility that harvests 95 plants every three days.” There would be nothing that would have taken the smile off of Ray’s face at that very moment.
“Yeah.” Ray comfortably explained, “So that’s what we’re really doing. There you go. We do it for the patients. It seems more seamless that way. That’s it? I mean, if you look at us compared to other growers, we sell the product to our dispensaries below the market price. We give them more, for less money so they can make it more affordable for the patients..”
I still couldn’t get over the enormity of the space.
TJ let me know that they use enough electricity in here to run a 63 bedroom complex with two bath houses. “Literally that much electricity.” TJ snickered and sighed. “There’s almost 14 miles of wire running inside here. There’s four miles of piping in here. We use about 5,000 gallons of water a day.”
“In business you’re always having setbacks – failing means growth. You have to constantly be learning from your challenges to grow.’ Ray mentioned, “You’re always having things come up. You’re not growing if you’re not embracing challenges and turning them into solutions. It is always a challenge. I always talk about growing. One part about growing is that every day, even though the tasks are set on the calendar, something will come up that needs attention. You know then that it’s gonna be more challenging for you that particular day. It always is. That’s what farming’s all about.”
“I think if you surround yourself with the right support system and you give them the right tools and you reward them correctly, then you will gain loyalty as well as give it. Then you help one another be the best that you can be.” Ray smiled once more.
Ray was headed into another room as he spoke. “We’re gonna expand on our existing facility, open up another large amount of rooms. So we’re planning to add another 17 million to the economy to Oklahoma City and we’ll end up harvesting 95-100 plants every day.”
I was curious about his work force. I wanted to know more about his vendors as well. Were they looking to work with Oklahoma residents? How are they going to fill these positions in the future?
“I interviewed someone today, for example. The only reason he wants to get in this business is because he got out of football and he was so beat up and he was on so many prescriptions and whatnot. Cannabis literally helped save him. You know, we hear that story. We read about stories like that. But when somebody sits across from you five feet away, and they share that personalized story, it makes an impact, and you know you are in the right business – We know it is medicine.”
I noticed an even softer spot by the look on Ray’s face as he explained.
“Yeah. That is a huge difference, a big difference, it inspires me, and motivates me to get up and come to work every day. That’s why we do it. That’s how we have to do it. We know it is medicine, otherwise we’re just going to work. What’s the point in that?”
“We just reached a goal of being in over 450 dispensaries.” Ray mentioned. Our future plan is to expand our dispensary business and expand the processing product line. We are planning to have our own branded dispensaries and involve other brands inside. Future announcements to come.”
I looked across the room full of flowers. I wanted to lay down and live in them. I was in heaven for one brief moment. I was able to witness what it feels like to be amongst 3,537 plants that would one day help thousands and thousands of people live a better life.
I’ll have to admit. I was intimidated by venturing into what I thought was possibly the belly of a beast. I imagined walking into a very nice clean medical vibe atmosphere that only cared about pushing products and making profits. I was pleasantly surprised to find a group of like-minded individuals that cared so much about the people that supported their efforts, yet also the people who that live in this world.
For folks interested in learning more about the Gas Farm OKC, you can contact them on Instagram, facebook, Leaf Link, or the web – their office number is 405-594-3375.
The Feminine Divine
Nobody Puts Tessy in a Corner; From Crunching Numbers to Liberating Oklahomans, a Woman’s Story of the Reclamation of Her Own Power
by Jessi Lane, Patient Advocate
Tessy Copeland-Dukes, EA is a trusted, kind-hearted woman with a take-no-bull disposition. She understands that you can catch more flies with sugar than you can vinegar. She strives to end generational patterns, traumas, and stigmas with herself, so that her children can live lives bigger than she had. She is warm, caring, and wise beyond her years. Tessy is one smart cookie. When she has something to say she is clear and concise and holds a captive audience. If she were running for District Rep, you would cast your vote for Tessy. Her passion for the cause is contagious. Tessy Copeland-Dukes embodies the Divine Feminine.
Tessy comes from a long line of strong, independent, empowering women. Tessy’s late grandmother Dorothea Copeland was a standout female plumber in the 1960s, who went on to work till age of ninety-three. She owned a plumbing shop and once earned top saleswoman for Kohler. Her Aunt, Mary Jo Copeland, was the first female Mayor of Tecumseh, Oklahoma – a quaint city comprised of fifteen square miles total, where Tessy’s family still resides. The late Mary Jo Copeland was the mother of Mary Copeland Fallin, who served as Oklahoma’s first female and 27th Governor from 2011 to 2019. While Tessy has so much admiration for these women before her, she also respects their differences in views. She has set out to create her own journey.
Tessy herself is a well-educated analytical person. Having graduated from East Central University with a master’s degree in Accounting, Tessy spent 11 years overseeing large corporate banks and multi state corporations as a Senior Tax Accountant. She poured her life into her tax job, working seventy to eighty hours per week in a male-dominated industry while raising her children. “Within that male dominated upper management environment came a lot of expectations without recognition,” she says. “No, I don’t expect to be patted on the back, but when you’re relied upon to deal with duties above your pay grade because ‘you’re the best one for it’ or ‘the staff respects you more,’ you would think that would be enough to prove your worth.”
Having personally cared for her father for 16 years battling by his side through addiction, mental health, liver failure and transplant, his PTSD, Cancer, and suicide of their loved ones, Tessy continued to pour into others, including her mother who at that time lived with alcoholism. Tessy was determined to create a healthy life for herself. During her time in college, Tessy befriended her now business partner Melinda while doing odd jobs including a position in Melinda’s custom drapery shop. Years later, in producing quality foods for Oklahoma farmer’s markets and co-ops across the state, Mittie’s roots budded with the 2012 opening of Mittie’s Kitchen – when Melinda started a commercial kitchen with the support of Tessy from a tax accounting standpoint. Mittie’s Kitchen was named for Mittie, Melinda’s grandmother. With the 2018 passing of State Question 788, Tessy and Melinda felt their calling. It was time to merge their shared passion of providing small batch, high quality goods with their life-long enthusiasm for cannabis as medicine – and in April 2019 they did just that.
Mitties Medicinals is a family owned, female owned, small batch cannabis processor. A locally renowned mom and pop brand, Mittie’s Medicinals’ boutique full spectrum product line includes nano emulsified drink mixes, tea bags, suckers, and Cannagars. Combined with their gummy and hard candy selection, Mittie’s provides a plethora of reliable patient consumption possibilities. Mittie’s products are made with love from the Mittie’s family including her spouse, Mikie, who comes from a human resource and finance background and is a valuable business resource. “[Mikie] handles a lot of the Cannagar production. He packs, I wrap them,” Tessy says. Currently he is still juggling his primary job to provide health insurance. Tessy notes their business has given them a platform to do something they both love together and strengthen their marriage in many ways.
With Mittie’s power-packed line of wellness products, and the life changes folks – including Tessy’s own mother – are accruing because of it, comes a new-found level of respect and admiration from her peers Tessy never felt in accounting. “I don’t want to work in corporate America,” she told High Hopes podcast (Spotify, 2022), “I don’t want to run my business like corporate America. I don’t want to run my business like big pharma.” While Tessy fully believes in what she is now doing and her pure intentions to help patients, she says she “has spent many years being sat in the corner, quietly counseled for advice that was portrayed to the masses as theirs. I was never given the deserved respect for my successes but quick to be reminded for my failures.” Tessy often finds herself inundated with Imposter Syndrome and gets uneasy with praise and recognition but says that Mittie’s has given her a new sense of being.
While industry professionals trust and respect Tessy and patients rely on her brand for consistent, quality cannabis as medicine, there are unavoidable peaks and valleys along her entrepreneurial journey. “Such a struggle feeling like you’re doing everything for [the] right reasons but then you hit so many roadblocks that make you want to just turn around.” She says some days that is how she feels about every part of her life. “[The industry] started to get more corporate,” she told High Hopes. She went on to say, “I started feeling discouraged in the last few years. It was like more regulation, more regulation and it felt so much more like big pharma – like companies were taking these more corporate styles the way they were putting their products out there and I didn’t want that.” Tessy and Melinda wanted it to be like their roots, like the farmer’s market. “I wanted it be more like that atmosphere – like we got to really help patients,” said Tessy.
It is common knowledge that Oklahoma’s market was so outlined to inevitably result in oversaturation across the board. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority June 13, 2022 licensing report shows 2,266 licensed retailers and 1,449 licensed processors. Recently, commercial processors have experienced varying burdens with the state-wide transition to the contracted METRC seed to sale tracking system. “METRC is not really developed for small manufacturing which presents a lot of challenges in the way we manufacture edibles,” Tessy says. “Testing, quality, and compliance is very important to us but so is efficient manufacturing.” She explains that METRC is set up for mass production. Only after mass production does it allow you to test products, which she finds is a very inefficient way to produce goods at their scale.
Tessy considers the first few years to be continued beta mode and through research and development and life experience believes they are ready to continue steps to expand their patient reach. “METRC implementation and economy has impacted sales more than anything,” she says. “We see that cannabis sales really reflects the economy – when it’s back to school, holidays, times patients have other financial obligations like rising gas and food prices they use less disposable income on cannabis.” She goes on to say, “I think that might surprise a lot of people with the stigmas around cannabis.” In her observations, Tessy has found cannabis incomparable to addictive drugs or even tobacco in this way – when patients do not have that disposable income, she finds they do not purchase. “It’s ok, things are incredibly slow in the market [currently] but on the other hand I’m super low on inventory.” With family emergencies, deaths, and the team spread thin, Tessy is feeling that roadblock, however she remains hopeful, empowered, and ever patient. “Even on the darkest days,” Tessy says, “I know with time the light will shine again.”
After winning the 2021 Herbage Magazine People’s Choice Award for Best Blunt with their Cannagar as well as several edible wins and connecting with the people of Sherweed Forrest, Tessy finally felt like she identified with this community of people that have the same like-minded vision. “It’s about having small batch, high quality products at affordable prices,” she told High Hopes. “I know that I’m not going to get rich in this and that’s okay to me because I am providing for my family, and I am so rich in the community that I have built.” She continues to show out for her brand industry event after industry event, which helps fill her cup, but Tessy understands when it is time to pause for family. The delicate balance of fulfilling both business and personal obligations is not for the weak. You must remain steadfast and steady.
“I’ve lived a lot of life in my 38 years,” says Tessy. “My life is never dull and sometimes feels like more adventure than I signed up for but it’s beautiful – all the good, the struggles, the ups and downs have made me a better human being.” She never looks at adversity with defeat but instead chooses to sit back and look at it from an all-encompassing view. “I accept the reality that it will work, or it will not, but the journey has purpose no matter how hard it is to see – and I do my best to choose grace.” She goes on to say, “I hope that I raise my kids to be better human beings than me. I hope that I build a legacy whether big or small that they can be proud of.” Everything produced by Tessy, Melinda, and the Mittie’s family has a purpose, a passion, and a story. It is about time you join Mittie’s in your own story of healing and happiness.
Jessi Lane, Patient Advocate is a writer and Oklahoma cannabis industry professional since 2018. She is a Certified Cannacian III and Trichome Institute Certified Cannabis Consultant with a “full spectrum” Postpartum Wellness background.
Survive To Educate
By James Bridges
I pulled around the corner of the large empty parking lot. It was mid-afternoon. I could barely stand the sweltering heat radiating from that giant gas globe in the sky. I needed something cold. Something with some sort of quench at the end of it. There was a coffee lounge and an interview waiting just over the next curb.
I had landed. The place was called Aces of 8’s. I knew I was about to get lucky.
Alan Matthew Taylor, AKA the Dab Father, seemed to be setting up shop in the corner of this dark and surprisingly inviting coffee house, which I found even more inviting after grabbing the coldest bottle of liquid I could find.
“Yes. I’d love a dab from the Dab Father,” I announced after the invite was given by Alan. He immediately began serenading me with his open arms and inviting tone of voice.
“The funny part about that name is that it didn’t even kick in until about three years ago,” Alan chuckled. I was, of course, intrigued. I bit.
“Yep. I was not known as the dab father until 3 or 4 years ago. Way back when weed was still illegal in Oklahoma,” Alan grinned. “ Of course, I was still dabbing.”
“So my next door neighbor decided he wanted to come over and start learning how to dab. The first couple of times, he nearly killed himself trying to hit it. He never really damaged anything. He just coughed until he would pee.” We both giggled. Of course. That’s what grown men do when they hear the word “pee”.
“Okay. So, all right now,” Alan continued, “I came to find out that he didn’t really smoke dabs before. So we came to the conclusion that it’s time to teach him. At that time there were about four, five of us friends starting to catch onto this whole dab thing. I myself have been partaking in the art of dabbing for about 10 years.” So, the name Dab Father was just a joke at first. You know, like the godfather of dabs. So, slowly but surely, I started teaching people.”
I was curious how one goes about teaching another to “dab” properly. First of all, let’s talk about what dabbing is for people new to the game. Dabbing is consuming very potent and concentrated forms of cannabis. You use something called a dab rig in order to consume said magical products. This can and does, at times, resemble something straight out of a chemist closet. Yet, let me tell you from experience, it works and it works very well. But still. How does one teach this?
“What I try to do is look at extremes then dial things down in order to create the best results.” Alan dove right in, “So we don’t let you pass out, but we get you right to that edge where you wanna pass out, but you’re still able to function. Eventually, we’re getting you used to your moderation types. It’s at that point when you’re able to understand there is a medicinal value and you simply need to find that value number and dial it in. This is one of the biggest challenges when teaching people how to medicate themselves. It’s not about trying to over do it.”
When I enter situations such as this interview, I tend to reflect. I remember what the thought process was like just a few short years ago. To have to hide in the dark to gain access to such medication and pleasure feels like an eternity at times. Others, not so much. Other times it feels as if we have immediately stepped into a time warp. Here we are. Sitting in a coffee house in the middle of a summer afternoon while ripping dabs from a dab rig that looks as if it were made by nasa. Damn, I love this moment.
“Now it’s a process of teaching them about terpenes and which ones are going to benefit them the best.” Alan was getting to the next part too quickly for my taste.
I wanted to have more depth. Why is this person that is sitting in front of me qualified to educate me on cannabis? The “little red dude on the shoulder” advocate was put to rest.
“I was running gorilla grows in California for, I don’t know, let’s call it three and a half years.”
I leaned forward.
“On the outskirts of vineyards in Stockton, California. We were right on the edges, just on the edges of where the police couldn’t get us and the sheriff wouldn’t mess with us.” I could tell Alan was traveling back in time.
“The biggest problem we had to worry about were produce farmers. They would just go through and mow it all down. They didn’t care.” We both laughed at the thought. “They just chopped it all down, cause they knew the cops would never show up. They had the mowing on a schedule. Eventually, we actually had to get in ‘good’ with the field workers. They would let us know when we needed to move out.” Alan grinned, again. “I ended up going up the trees and I started planting up in the trees.”
Instantly, I pictured cannabis plants all over tiny tree houses. I wondered how many times people have actually walked under a barrel full of this beautiful plant and never knew it.
“Never, not even once, did we get caught. Right. Sheriffs would come looking. They would fly the helicopters over. You could see it from over top. Right? But, you could be standing directly under it. The police would come and look and it would never be there. We built these little platforms across the tops. We had irrigation hoses running up and everything.”
Something happened in the room that is rare when two people like us are present. A very long pause. I had to calculate some things in my head.
“Yeah. Haha.” Alan was laughing. “I eventually discovered that the trees wouldn’t be sufficient. We were right next to a river. So we ran the water right out of the river and straight up. I mean it. Talk about a gorilla growing. Honestly it was just trying to be sneaky. I knew cops usually never looked up. Right? I have run from the police in the past. I hid under cars. They always found me. Right? If I hid up on top of things, they never looked up. So this became a cat and mouse game. The mouse is up there and the cat is down there looking around. They’re looking down at the ground. Does it make sense?” I nodded and confirmed. “Mm-hmm.” Alan smiled. “Put the weed in the trees, put the weed in the trees. Yeah. Put the weed in the trees…”
Long before I ever talked with the Dab Father I worked with the Dab Mother on a few projects. It seems that communication is not only an issue in the medicinal cannabis side of the coin, but with actual communication companies as well. Herbage, until inspired to be remedied, was one of them. So I thought I would ask a little about the better half of Alan. You know, just to make sure. I was pleasantly surprised with new information about already known acquaintances.
“20-years-ago I had a cervical issue that came back Atypical.” Jennifer unexpectedly began telling her journey. It was apparent that there were no regrets. “I went through some procedures and they did a cryosurgery. Everything’s been fine since, but my daughter’s pregnancy was a hardcore weird. It just ran the mill with me. At that time, I just hadn’t felt the same since. I finally got in touch with a really good OBGYN and they found atypical endo cells. So they scheduled an ultrasound. It came back fine. There was still that question of why.”
“So we went ahead and did a cervical and an endometrial biopsy yesterday.”
Wait, did she just say yesterday? As in, the day before we had this interview? She started this out with “20-years-ago.” Anyone else catch that?
“So hopefully, um, it’ll be, it will be good news. Um, but, uh, yeah.” She smiled and carried on as if this was normal. For her, it was.
I wanted to know more about how she became an actual cannabis educator.
“I’ve always been intrigued by how the body works. As a kid in science class I felt at home. I loved it when it came to biology and we had to dissect everything.
I just wanted to know what’s in there. How does it work? You know, what’s going on? Um, then I kind of lost track. My career changed. I ended up in the military, did some stuff there, but then after I picked up and went to school to be a medical assistant and continued on and got my associates in sports medicine.”
Jennifer let me know she discovered that Western medicine “ticks her off.”
She was very adamant that the practitioners and decision makers are constantly pushing medications that seem to be the most profit driven rather than what is best for the patient.
Surprisingly, I was able to get somewhat of an insight to the amount of judgment that goes on behind the scenes in a doctor’s office. According to Jennifer there were many personal and moral judgment calls being made by those that have the power to possibly change the quality of life of others. “It was too much.” Jennifer spoke as if she found a lump of clay in her pudding.
Now that she is “free from that world”, Jennifer educated others in regards to cannabis use and benefits. Jennifer herself has gone through quite the personal transformation.
“I got sick with pneumonia back in 2019. That’s when I got really serious with cannabis. I started to notice changes. I started realizing that different strains were affecting my appetite and other health benefits that were specific to something. I just needed to figure it out. So, I started digging into terpenes and the cannabinoids that are in those certain strains. Everything started relating. I knew then and there that I could figure out a terpene that could help with certain ailments. So I did a lot of research. Sometimes it would help, sometimes I just needed to mix that plus something else and it would be near perfect. That would then unlock something else.”
With exercise, diet, and cannabis, Jennifer drove her weight down over time and in a healthy way. No pills. When she began she weighed 250 lbs heavier than she did that day.
“I got on a scale this morning and I weighed 135 lbs.” We both laughed.
“I fought and fought and fought my weight for years before cannabis. I was in the gym every day, making sure my diet was on point, but I couldn’t lose weight. I was constantly gaining and I didn’t understand that stress is a huge factor. So digging into, you know, the spiritual side of things and learning how to try not let things affect me that used to drive me out of my mind. Things just started falling into place and, and I’ve just kind of noticed lots of different changes.” Jennifer seemed to sigh a little out of relief.
I could sense a bit of comfort in the air. Jennifer was comfortable with exactly where she was on her path. Awareness is abundant in society yet genuine awareness of oneself is still rare to find. I believe that Jennifer has found it and she wants to share.
“I love my church, but I’ve been judged a lot for what I stand behind. I am judged pretty hardcore at my job, and it’s really, it’s been tough. It’s amazing to me because I want to shout at them and say I’m still the same Jennifer that you guys knew beforehand! I’m just in a better place.”
“My husband was the big driver.” Jennifer sounded thankful. “He introduced me to the whole thing. He hot boxed me the first time. It was great!”
Laughter, as you could imagine, ensued. If you know then you know.
“I’m just a patient that didn’t understand at first.” She sounded as if she were admitting guilt. I was holding onto the thought that she had to understand that her simplicity to this education is probably the most beneficial style of training to any patient wanting to make the cannabis choice. “I didn’t know what was going on. I just started digging in and researching and finding scholarly articles. I recommend this. However, I am here to translate and simplify if people ask.”
“Open communication between the patient, the patient’s doctor, and cannabis experts is key.” Jennifer reminds us. “Unfortunately, those conversations aren’t open. Doctors are making radical assumptions before seeing patients as well. I witnessed a conversation between the doctor and the patient. The doctor hardly had time to look over his clipboard before demanding that the patient not ask for pain medicine, ‘because you’re not gonna get it.’ The patient was very upset at the accusation. Medical professionals need to understand that there are alternative ways and there are healthy alternative ways, and it’s not just a drug.
Jennifer has a 23-year-old son, Devin. Okay. He was diagnosed at the age of four with severe ADHD and possible borderline personality disorder. He uses cannabis. Jennifer gave a simple opinion.
“I don’t think he medicates the way he needs to. It’s tough. I’m educating and training others. I want him to pick it up and really use cannabis for his advantage. I believe that if he would concentrate on the correct strains and terpenes then it would really help him.”
Her other child is a young girl named Sophia. Jennifer describes Sophia as her “mini me” as she has mocked the process when it comes to diet and a healthy lifestyle.
“That girl will reach for a bowl of salad before candy or whatnot. Now don’t get me wrong. She’s a little sneaker. I’ve caught her, but yeah, for the most part, she’s really good.
“I was 39 when I met Alan. I’m 45 now, but my forties have been my best years.” A calm sense was lingering. Jennifer was in a good spot. “Yeah. Um, I finally just figured out how to say, screw it, I don’t care. You know? If you don’t like me, whatever, it’s not my place to care what you think, you know? I’m more concerned about my family and loved ones. I’m healthy, they’re healthy. I can walk out of this life with a smile on my face, you know?
Alan commented about Jennifer as if he were talking about himself. I could see the love he had for another human being. I noticed a slight twitch on his lips from a “near tear” situation. “She dove nose first into this and it was. Just full on. It is amazing. Six years ago. She did not smoke weed at all. She was a heavy drinker. Jennifer and her family didn’t smoke cannabis at all.
“So THCV also helps the Thyroid. Not to mention a little bit of psilocybin.” Alan supports the use of all plant medicine in order to help the body, mind, and spirit. “Those combined together help unlock your brain and reset the chemical makeup, but it has to be done in very gradual motions. You can’t just jump in and expect to be healed. Right? It does not happen.”
Both Jennifer and Alan’s story is straight out of a script made to root for the underdog. This time the underdog is still paddling upstream. However, the destination is clearly in mind for the both of them. The most important part to them is being able to educate others. They want to help others to stay off off the bench of an underdog team, and possibly win once in a while.
“Yeah. I didn’t realize I’d be more of an underdog story actually.” Alan was completely serious.
Alan was recently named the Cultivation Director for Platinum Farms in Oklahoma. “I’m spending thousands and thousands of dollars to help get a very large farm. I’m looking back, wow. I mean, this, this is coming from a kid that grew up on the streets.”
“I’m 4-years-old. We moved from Oklahoma to California.” He was reminiscing. “We lived in a small apartment for a long time and it was just me, my mother and my little brother until my stepdad came along. My stepdad was great for the first few years. Like he was always great. And then my mom got sick and it was like, as soon as my mom got sick, he got violent and just belligerent and his number one punching bag was me.” I noticed a spark in his eye.
“When I was 7 until about 14-years-old, I was abused regularly. As soon as he came home from work, I either made myself completely scarce and disappeared, or I was guaranteed to get my ass whooped for something. It didn’t really matter what. So he put me to work at his rental yard, which helped give me the skills that I have today. I was driving tractors and hooking up trailers and filling propane. By the time I was 14 or so I was already working my way to being a full-time drug dealer. My step dad actually turned me into a drug dealer. We were picking up methamphetamine on an every two week basis.”
This got my head spinning. This person in front of me seemed nothing like the DARE posters that float around to warn children of dangerous people with evil drugs in hand. This was a very intelligent, well groomed, hyper focused individual. I asked him about the drug use.
“I was. Um, so about 12 years old was my first experience with methamphetamine. I didn’t really key in on it right then. So a couple months later my buddy brought it up again and then it was on from there. So at the age of 13, I was hooked on meth and I was running 24 hours a day for up to 21 days in a row. At this point I was mentally unstable. I was pulling guns on bushes. There was a video of me chasing ‘nothing’ down the street and shooting at it. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t believe it. Told everybody they were lying. That’s not me. That video looks like me, but it can’t be me.”
“So, I just completely played denial for a long time. I went back to doing exactly what I did best, and that was selling methamphetamine and marijuana. I mean, I was sitting there with long hair and a don’t care attitude for the longest time.
From the ages of 14 to the ages of 24 Alan was homeless. “I had my home base. It was a water tank on the corner. This thing is now a train station. I used to dig a hole under the side of the building and tunnel under it, so that I had a place that was warm during the winter. My mom was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She couldn’t get outta bed. They couldn’t figure out how to get her pain under control. She had a bag about the size of this backpack full of pill bottles. It was not good. If she had a sniffle, it was right to the pain pills. I watched my mom go from this beautiful creature to this person that I didn’t know anymore. She would never come out of the room. She would just be hibernating 24 hours a day.”
“When she did come out,” he recalled. She was on meth and she let my stepdad do whatever he wanted to do because he supplied everything. It was a situation where me and my little brother were just kind of left out to defend ourselves.”
“My little brother was taken care of a little bit better than me. I was the older one and I still remembered my real dad. My step dad even told me that because I know my real dad, he shouldn’t have to care. I was 16. That moment was the first real fist fight that we got into. He kicked my ass. Hardcore.” I believed Alan as he was speaking. The sincerity in his voice was non negotiable.
“I came back one day. I beat him down. I made it a point to do it in front of everybody.
It took me almost three years to do that. I actually learned how to fight in prison. I’m not proud of that. It was something I could have avoided.”
“I wouldn’t call it a success story,” Alan pointed out. “I survived. I conquered a ton of challenges that you think would knock someone out when they are at the bottom. All of this has been a learning experience. It wouldn’t be anything without my wife by my side.
I revealed before that Alan is now the director of cultivation for Platinum Farms. I asked him about his qualifications once more. This is a rather large task and I was curious as to who would be accomplishing it.
“My dad was a cultivator before I was born. So, I guess I’m a second generation cultivator. On August 22nd, 1986, a 400 watt high pressure sodium light that was ordered out of high times magazine. He had it delivered the same day that I was born. It was installed the same day. I was put in that room. I have been in a cultivation situation since the day I was born. I took over cultivation operations at the age of 16. I was running around when I was telling you we were doing those gorilla grows and stuff in Stockton, California. They slowly got bigger. We needed more products. It was cheaper to produce it ourselves and then take it to the street. At that time, cultivation was a life sentence. So manufacturing was a life sentence. We were doing all of this.”
“We were open blasting in California. BHO open blasting in the middle of vineyards, so that we could see if cops were headed our direction. I mean, we would all jump on dirt bikes and take off, no joke. I finally started perfecting my open blast BHO. I wanted to be one of the first people that had the dragon balls, the 3000 gram hash balls. I never made it to that point, but I was one of the first people to have the sheets.”
“I was one of the first people in 2012 to enter canna-butter into a cannabis competition. I received 17th place out of about 1,700.”
I can see clearly that both Jennifer and Alan are in a much better place in life. They are now positioned as caregivers as well as patients themselves. Both are in a very unique position to help more people than they will ever know personally. The derivative effects from the knowledge and passing down of such knowledge will last for eternity. Or as long as those out there willing to make a choice for themselves will open their hearts and minds and listen to what is now simply put in front of them. Many call this knowledge and education the answer. I tend to agree.
Cover Artist – Sean Vali
By Sean Vali
I get so hypnotized when I’m drawing or painting. everything around me can disappear in a deep State of Trance that can really place you inside of the moment. Creating for me is trying to capture a vision that’s popped into my head and attempting to translate it into a physical form. like a still photograph from a dream that blooms and unfolds in so many ways.
Some images are formed in the smallest of moments While others grow over a longer time. Of time before they make it to the physical world. That’s where it all starts for me. all the while designing and redesigning and illustrating them in my head before finally taking it to the SketchBook to get the idea pushed further.
Some pieces have deep meaning and symbolism While others are more fun and free-flowing. like taking a hike through the forest or looking at the deciphering clouds. Then there are the pieces that are just for fun. What would a deer with weed plants as antlers look like?
Cannabis has been very close to my artwork for a long time. It has a way of quieting down the hustle and bustle of the world and allows me to focus and encourage the Deep Thoughts of creativity.
Can I create art without cannabis? Absolutely! It just doesn’t sound like very much fun to me.
Follow Sean on Instagram: @seanvali
HERBAGE MAGAZINE AUGUST 2022 ISSUE 45
One Tiny Drop
By James Bridges
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.
It’s The Little Things
By Charles “Uncle Chuck” Duncan
The term “everyday things” refers to something which happens or is used every day. We tend to make those items not important and make big things like vacation trips and anniversaries our “big ticket” items. Photo-opts and scrapbook fodder. Posed grins and smiles to complete the experience. Ironically, we spend the majority of our waking hours earning money to try and recreate those “memories”.
I believe real life is just the opposite. The culmination of all the mundane little things we do is what makes a life. When people toast others at weddings or remember their loved ones at funerals, they speak and remember the things we do or did most. They say things like, “they always had a smile” or “they loved” this activity or that sport. They remember the big ticket items for a story to share but what you are to them really is contained in the little things you did most of the time for them and with them. Your amazing hugs. Your dad jokes. Your ability to make the most amazing lasagne. Your weakness for anything Star Wars related. Those memories come from attending the many wonderful shows that are you. The real you. Even the not so flattering ones. From laugh snorting to rolling the ugliest doobie. We all have some negative qualities. Those of us with anxiety and depression, tend to magnify those latter qualities, to the detriment of the former.
Those “everyday things” are not so easy to do when you have anxiety or depression. The majority of your time is spent alone and away in your own world. You think, no one can hurt you or be hurt if you just stay in your own world and come out for the big ticket items. But that’s not life. Life again, is full of many small moments.
Everyone knows that alcohol helps tear down those barriers and can turn an introvert to an extrovert faster than a new Ryan Reynolds appearance. But unlike Ryan Reynolds, alcohol comes with tons of baggage all its own when used too often.
Cannabis has proven on so many fronts that it is the best natural medication for certain anxiety and depression symptoms. The only thing standing in the way between the patient and the plant are politicians. Politicians who are either pandering to a lobby and/or just ignorant when it comes to the science behind cannabis. As an advocate, that’s on me. I need to do a better job at advocating and educating the public. But we need your help. We need more and more non-advocate, regular, non-industry tied members of the public to stand up and question your representatives. Ask them why they are making it hard, or in some cases impossible, for those among us who suffer from anxiety and depression to obtain a plant and start experiencing their “everyday things”.
Let’s Get Mowdy
By James Bridges
“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.
Feminine Divine – Ebony Jones
Keeping the Faith; a Woman’s Story of Generational Resilience and Healing through Curated Experiences and Sweet Potato Pie
by Jessi Lane, Patient Advocate
Ebony Jones, of 8Twenty8, is a cannabis Pastry Chef paving the way for other people of color following her path. “Being one of the few known Black women in the Oklahoma cannabis industry has been very challenging, but [it is] a fight I’m willing to stay in. I’m more than ready to occupy spaces with more powerful women looking to open doors in this industry with hopes and dreams like myself,” she says. Ebony is a Survivor, a Caregiver, and entrepreneur. An empath and spiritual Virgo, she is both lion and lamb – strong and bold yet gentle and calm in her approach and is agile and flexible in her pursuits. She is a fine example of the Divine Feminine.
Ebony is an Oklahoma cannabis industry transplant who comes to us by way of Georgia. The youngest child in birth order, she was born in Hampton, VA to a big military family. Her Mother, Toni, was a member of the US Air Force. “She taught us who God was,” Ebony relays. Her maternal Grandmother, Annie, was the only Black teacher in her school. She taught Art and Home Economics and was a Godly woman. Growing up, “she had us at revivals from eight to four in the afternoon.” It was not until high school through the age of twenty that Ebony found her personal relationship with God.
Toni had fallen ill with papilledema, a condition that, according to the National Cancer Institute, causes swelling around the optic disk. This is the area where the optic nerve enters the eyeball. Toni was also diagnosed with Arnold Chiari Malformation – a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal – subsequently forcing her into early retirement from the United States Postal Service at the age of thirty-five. This was the beginning of a life-long battle. A caregiver for her mother from about the age of ten, Ebony dropped out of high school to care for her more closely.
Toni’s multiple surgeries and required aftercare unfortunately resulted in readily available narcotics in the home. Without Toni’s knowledge, Ebony became a young person with access to unmonitored prescription medication and heavy burdens to carry. She was also living with the ghost of personal trauma. Ebony is now an advocate for therapy. “If I hadn’t gotten in therapy, I wouldn’t be here,” she declares. After a choice decision left a sibling stranded when she numbingly put him out of the car during an argument, she quit the pills. She tells us, “We are survivors of the pill pandemic.”
As a young person Ebony aspired to open a medicinal cannabis café for kids. “Since tenth grade my business plan has always included weed.” She returned to high school and upon completion went on to obtain her Associates of Occupational in Patisserie and Baking from Le Cordon Bleu while she established herself as a Baker and Pastry Supervisor in the highly competitive and innovative Atlanta food service industry. The delicate measure and alchemy of baking is in her bones so naturally our meticulous, calculated Virgo excelled in her craft – including a position as the Baking Supervisor with Carlo’s Bakeshop as featured on the reality tv show Cake Boss. She recalls, “[The] first day we had a line out the door starting at 3am, and we didn’t open until 6!” She reflects on her position with Primrose Schools – an institution that provides high-quality early education and care – in the highest regard, “I loved those kids.” Ebony’s interest in holistic wellness was unwavering and she would also obtain her Certificate of Completion in Cannabis Education through the Cannabis Training University of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
She saw what was happening in Oklahoma and wanted a piece of that sweet potato pie she would later bake for herself. Ebony began submitting resumes everywhere and received a bite when RD Hendrickson – the owner of Arizona-based Sublime – reached out to let her know if she were ever in Oklahoma, he would like to interview her. “You don’t know these people,” her family said, “turn your [phone] locations on,” she recounts through a giggle. She was not going to miss this opportunity, regardless of the risk. Ebony’s personality is as golden as her resume and Hendrickson wanted her to join the team, so with the support of her grandpa, she left everyone and everything she knew to pursue her dreams. “To others it may appear as if it came easy but take some time to converse with me [and] you’ll learn it has taken trials, tribulations, tears, and plenty of therapy sessions.” It was the first time she had ever left home, and within a week of her big move Ebony’s sweet Grandpa suffered a stroke. Then suddenly her employer lost their location, forcing them to temporarily close during the relocation period. Instead of retreating home Ebony stuck it out through her tribulations and found a cannabis industry position with Euphora dispensary until Sublime’s new building was secured.
“Oklahoma is a sacred land,” she tells us, “So much has happened here. You can feel the blood in this land.” Ebony’s euphemism is not lost on us. “This industry is messy,” she goes on to say, “the divide out here is crazy.” She is speaking to the boundary that is being “one of the few in the room,” she tells us. “In all honesty it has been worth it, though in the beginning it was a huge culture shock, and I didn’t think I would survive Oklahoma.” She asks herself how she is going to change the conversation. “I love being in a place in my career where I can professionally correct others for being culturally inappropriate or placing me in an uncomfortable position and we can still operate in a healthy environment after the teaching moment.” Ebony speaks openly and earnestly on her social media platforms. “I’m down for teaching. I’m still learning myself,” she says. She believes herself to be a “Virgo that has no filter at all.” However, she tells us she “understands the effects of speaking before thinking and evaluating the power of your words and how they may affect another person.” Within her healing process Ebony has also learned that to achieve growth she must “take accountability for my wrongs, correct those wrongs, and put in the work to actively become a better person for this world.”
The life of an entrepreneur is not for the weak, and keeping your faith is ten times the work, she’s found. “Choosing to uproot what I knew as comfortable to relocate to Oklahoma has shown me the power and resilience that has been instilled in me by my mother.” Ebony now represents and manufactures products for Country Cannabis, who acquired Sublime. “They are a diverse company,” she says and asks, “what does country look like to you?” She tells us she is incredibly grateful but “technically I’m still out here by myself.” While she feels immensely supported by her employer Ebony’s real hustle is her passion project, 8Twenty8, LLC. Romans 8:28 reads, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Taking leaps of faith and believing in the purpose of the company is what keeps 8Twenty8 going, Ebony believes. 8Twenty8’s craft-baked goods and custom orders have satisfied the palettes of Oklahomans with every dietary restriction and preference known – try those gluten free oatmeal cream pies – but she is not just in the business of baking dessert, her true business is loving people. Ebony doesn’t want you to stereotype her- she’s not just about pies. She is interested in curating experiences, and tells us, “Whether that’s with me, you tasting my pies, or hosting an event.”
Things have been taking off for 8Twenty8. Ebony has received lots of exposure recently as 8Twenty8 has been featured in recent Studio 30 events and Sherweed Forrest’s Throwdown Bazaar. She is called upon for private catering and custom orders by the biggest names in the Oklahoma cannabis industry and while ever grateful, Ebony is always looking to the future. With an entrepreneur’s heart she declares, “I’m not accepting this middle class shit anymore,” she goes on to say, “America has taught us to work to live.” She wonders, how can I not think about making money while I make money? “I think it’s disgusting how much I want to give back to people,” relays our brave empath. Ebony dreams of an 8Twenty8 small-batch kitchen to order, that would accept custom orders for a patient’s individualized needs or commercial grow orders for retail sales. She also wants to create opportunities through events designed to be a retreat – a vacation.
8Twenty8 in association with Universe with Jaz Present Puff and Plant in the Park Sunday, June 12th, from 6-8pm. Located at Veterans/Centennial Park, attendees can expect an evening filled with release and manifesting. Paint’n’Plant intention kits provided with the purchase of admission. Event features Sound Bowl by The Reiki Mama, massages by Beyond Skin Deep and Oracle readings by Soar. Smokable organic herbal blend provided by Universe with Jaz. Light snacks served by 8Twenty8.
Happy Father’s Day
By James Bridges
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.
(Taking a look at Neurodivergence and Cannabis)
By Kathy Barker
Have you ever missed a stair in the dark? It’s like your heart stood up too fast, whilst being in the process of a dizzying white out blindness, before pulling on your lungs for support. SO. naturally, your chest tightens and you start sweating because OBVIOUSLY something is wrong. Welcome to anxiety. There are many ways to placate this beast. However, there are equally as many ways to Piss it off. Fun fact to start us off. Cannabis can do both!
Let’s take a look at both perspectives shall we?
In the right corner we have William Terrell weighing in at : Extremely Anxious.
I asked him how our beloved cannabis helped to quell the nonstop barrage of brain chatter?
“It’s as if I live my life with an old TV in the corner, with static blaring all the time. The static distracts my thoughts, slows them down, But THC turns that TV off for a couple of hours. It’s as if I’m a different person. I’m not fighting to exist in my own mind. I can think and feel and experience things so much more clearly.”
It was surreal the way he was describing it, because I too could relate with the static. For me however, It wasn’t my own static, but the static from other people’s minds. Hints my aversion to crowds. I continued my curiosity with the question of who was he when the TV was on as opposed to off?
“I’m nothing when it’s on, the motivation to exist isn’t really there. The complexity of Life hits me too hard. Life feels too stimulating, especially social interaction. When it’s off I can be me. I find myself mirroring others less when I’m smoking. I allow myself to be me rather than what others want me to be.”
I think we can all agree that’s pretty intense. William shared that it was a long road before he actually smoked regularly, but when he did make the decision, it was because he noticed the plant’s healing gift of “quieting the noise.” For him, his most noticeable setback was lethargy. But the benefits out-way the cost considerably. Furthermore, between Vaping, smoking, and eating THC, it was never concluded that any of the methods were “bad” per say. Simply, different.
Now in our left corner Sits Jaszi the Bunny Butler weighing in at : So anxious, she has the capability of transforming into a mute.
That’s no exaggeration either. With the wonderful privilege of being able to call her heart warmingly important for four years now, I can confirm she usually stumbles over sentences and giggles until she just stops trying to use words all together.
But honestly it’s not quite so cut and dry. I asked Jasmine for her perspective on anxiety and how it manifests for her, there was a simple reply.
On a common day to day? : “Sweaty hot feet, or rabbit paws if you prefer. I feel like I’m gonna pass out, I start seeing in tunnel vision. I can feel my heart’s just not having it at that moment. I get palpitations.”
She went on to mention that those symptoms become more severe when she’s in social situations or figures of authority are speaking to her. Now when she smokes weed it’s a completely different ball game. When I first met Jasmine, she was always down to puff, in fact she could nearly out-toke her best friend, my husband Johnny. (Being a dialysis patient, he medicates quite a bit)
“It put me in a mellow state of mind and I could do anything I wanted to, socially, without caring and now I can’t function in public. I can’t even leave my bed.”
I wondered when it had all started for her. How early? The answer was a resounding ‘VERY’. “Just before I turned eleven, three weeks before in fact,” she answered. By a lot of standards, that’s fairly young. But when life immediately gives you lemons…you make lemonade. Alas, Medicating with Mary Jane wasn’t fated to last. She took a two year break and it turned into a breakup.
“The last time I smoked weed I took a hit and I was fine. Then I took another hit and it instantly hit me. My head got hot, my body started to shake, I couldn’t form words, I was dizzy and couldn’t move. It lasted for about three hours. It felt like I was trippin’ on acid.
Everything was moving, colors were bright and everything was nauseating”
I couldn’t close my eyes without feeling like I was falling.”
That in itself is a pretty persuasive reason to stop, or at least take a few steps back. But what was the real kicker?
“There was a time in my life when I was going to the hospital almost every day. I told the doctors I had cyclic vomiting syndrome, (CVS) and they asked me if I smoked weed. I told them yes, and then they told me that I had Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) and that I needed to stop smoking. I went in two weeks later for my heart monitor and it turned out weed was slowing my heart rate down when I slept and spiking it during the day, giving me more palpitations. That was the last time I went to the hospital and I stopped smoking after that.
I haven’t had a CVS attack since then”Well what about CBD? Does that do any good for you?
“Cbd helps in gummy form, but only in gummy form.”
What do the other forms do for you?
“Nothing really, they just give me a hand to mouth smoke fixation”
Got any advice for all the readers out there?
“Go into it with a good mindset, be in a good place with friends.” “Keep some water nearby and something too munch. If you can relate to any of my experiences, consult your physician, is all I gotta say.”
Thank you for reading everyone!
The Chronissuer – DOC FERGUSON
Time To Dab
Reviewed by Hopper
Written by Pamela Jayne
If you would have told me 30-years-ago, 20-years-ago, 10-years-ago…hell even 5-years-ago, that I’d be setting up a cannabis grow operation with intentions of it to be tracked by law enforcement, I would have bet money that would never happen…but here we are. Fresh out of METRC deadline hell with all plants tagged and everything in full compliance.
Like a homie of mine said, “Hell didn’t freeze over, but Hopper went legal, so that’s pretty much the same thing.” I know a lot of you were putting in long hours to make the deadline too, and we’re probably thinking pretty much the same thing.
I know I took a little trip down memory lane while I was tagging plants, thinking about how far we’ve come. I’ve got nothing but love and respect for the black market because it’s where I’m from. There would be no white market if it weren’t for the risks taken and innovations made by the black market. Sorry about the tangent, l just get super passionate about that subject.
Anyway, when James with Herbage Magazine handed me the goody bag of reviews and I saw that this month is all about concentrates. I was beyond stoked to fire up the Puffco and change gears for awhile. The fact that it’s technically considered “work” reminded me what a gift it is to be a part of this industry and community.
#1 Chem Dahlia Budder by Double Down Dabs
This buttered up beauty has a beautifully creamy, opaque sheen to it, and it has a really interesting nose. The first words that come to mind are “poopy funk” if you know what I mean. There’s definitely a hint of citrusy limonene in there, too. The texture is perfect. It’s like scooping up a dab of buttercream frosting. I can already tell this is going to be epic as I sit here not so patiently waiting for the Puffco to heat up. Wow! It was worth the wait, for sure. The flavor is super clean and crisp, full bodied and well balanced. It’s not sweet citrusy, it’s more acidic citrusy…but that’s a good thing. It’s a heavy hitter that expanded the lungs nicely but didn’t choke me out. The hit is just as clean as the flavor, and provides instant head to toe relief of physical and mental stress. It frees the mind of whatever has been occupying it, and lifts the spirits. Nothing will be able to weigh you down after a dab of this. Not even METRC, haha.
#2 Kush Mints Wax (Doc Ferguson and Rams Head collaboration)
This Kush Mints wax is a nice buttery blonde color and has a crumble like consistency that is very easy to work with, which is nice. Aromatically it’s like a mash up of Pinesol and a freshly picked mint leaf. It’s also kind of gassy and I get a little bit of a garlic smell, too. It hits super smooth and tastes out of this world. Its flavor profile is gassy lemon pine with undertones of garlic pepper. I love the Kush Mints flower, so of course I’m really digging this wax. Doc Ferguson and Rams Head really knocked it out of the park with this collab. Just one big hit of this really sat me back in my chair and had me thinking about life and what a beautiful trip it is. It’s a nice little cerebral vacation that won’t knock you out physically but does help with muscle tension and the aches and pains that come with a hard days work.
#3 Mimosa Diamonds by Double Down Dabs
Chunky and pale blonde with some golden highlights, the Mimosa diamonds is a beautiful champagne color. The bright white in it really highlights its golden hues. It’s a really good looking, top shelf concentrate. The nose on it is mostly on the limonene/pinene tip, and also has a slight eucalyptus aroma. It also kind of smells like Tiger Balm. You know that old school stuff for muscle aches? I haven’t thought about that stuff in years, but that’s what this sort of reminds me of. The hit is mouthwatering. I mean it literally made my mouth water and gave me a nice punch to the lungs with substantial expansion that got me coughing pretty hard and gave me an instant head change followed by shoulder dropping relaxation and cerebral euphoria. This one is a homerun for concentrate lovers.
#4 Sugar Diamonds (Double Down Dabs and Rams Head collaboration)
I’m already excited to try this one because the last Double Down Dabs and Rams Head collab was amazing! They’re both crushing it hard. Hats off to you guys for setting the industry standard. This platinum blonde colored Sugar Diamonds is a visual stunner, and the nose has a slight hint of a gas/fuel like terpene profile. I can’t wait to get this in my lungs and see how it feels. Here we go…It hits you right in the sinuses and gives you a little terp sneeze. You can feel it all through the nose, eyes, and forehead. It offers a focused, cerebral euphoria. It’s great if you want to get into a creative project or just zone out to some tunes. This one is all about the head. You’ll almost immediately feel your eyelids get heavy and your mind start to drift off…It really gave me the munchies too, and I don’t get the munchies very often. A Dr. Pepper freeze from Braums sounds amazing right now. Huge thanks to Doc Ferguson for bringing some bangers this month. I really enjoyed them and I actually really needed the time out from dealing with all the METRC bullshit.
Before we wrap it up I want to thank everyone for coming out to the King Klick and Blaze Ya Dead Homie show at the Brickhouse. I had such a great time celebrating the launch of RX3 and R3M3DY GARD3NS with all of you and look forward to many more awesome events in the future.
Strain Of The Month – GREAT SPIRITS
By James Bridges
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:
visit GREAT SPIRITS
ABOUT THE COVER
Shannon Seitter worked in conjunction with “The Happy Festival” to create this month’s cover of Herbage Magazine.
Shannon began a career in art at an early age self teaching to sketch..Shannon was inspired by the junior high art teacher. Shannon watched her paint across canvas and was awestruck by her ability to bring such beauty.
Shannon began a venture into painting. While beginning small and then grew through watching and observing other artists’ use of different mediums and techniques. Shannon began to grow a personal method of art.
After Shannon’s grandmother passed away, “I buried myself in my art and began to grow and use it not to just help myself through grief but bring beauty to others who also needed it. My art has been my passion.” Shannon has always amazed Herbage Magazine. “It is a beautiful and therapeutic way to express myself and bring additional beauty to the world. I love sharing my art with everyone and enjoy when someone connects to my art as I have. Each piece I create has a personal connection to me.”
Shannon’s hope is to bring more art to Oklahoma City and connect with more people who love the process of creation.
“I love working with other artists and bringing something new to life that didn’t exist. I find my inspiration in all things in life but from a new point of view.”
email@example.com | Facebook @moedartokc | Instagram moedartokc
ABOUT THE COVER
The Happy Festival originated when Brian Butler, Daniel Stone, and Jason Smith, along with support from their spouses Katie Forehand, Lani Stone, and Miranda Smith, came together to bring a festival to Oklahoma to celebrate and honor their dear friend Happy Patel.
Patel was popular among his friends, who called him Happy. He came to the US as a student in 2009 with his twin brother Akash Patel. He was a co-founder of the garment company What’s Happy Clothing. Patel also worked to promote events, and local clubs in Oklahoma City. This loss devastated Happy’s community. Happy hosted “Life In Color” paint parties as well as other Electronic Dance Music (EDM) shows.
Happy was friends with DJs such as, world renown, NGHTMRE. He actually managed a few of his own. He even had an iconic t-shirt and hat that read Happy. To this day, people from all over the country still wear them.
His twin brother Akash started a foundation called Happy World Foundation after Happy’s death. Happy Festival is donating $1 from every ticket transaction to this foundation. GO HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS
The Feminine Divine
the Holy Energy Making a Planetary Impact
By Jessi Lane
Photography by Justen Christensen
Asma (“Ess-mah”) is a Palestinian Refugee, an entrepreneur, and a military spouse. She is an advocate for holistic healing and mindful living- a fierce protector of her family, of her personal goal and of our planet. She embodies the Divine Feminine. Goop.com tells us, “The sacred feminine energy is nurturing, soft, grounded with strong boundaries, and trusting of her intuition. The sacred masculine energy is present, logical, and focused with a deep desire to protect and build.1” The synergetic union of energies allow us to embrace “all that makes us human and holy,2” according to Goop. “I believe God works and flows through energy.” Asma says. “It’s in everything around us. It’s in us.” Asma grew up in a Muslim household with Christian extended family. Everyone prays for her to “see the light,” she says. “When I was a little girl, I thought God was this enormous giant.” She motions to the empty booth seat next to her in the dimly lit coffee shop, “Now I imagine God next to me all day -that respected fear.”
Her decade-long passion project turned small-batch skincare business, Feel This, is handmade, organic, inclusive, and breaking into new territories. “If it is not of natural source, it is eliminated from our equation,” she says. Los Angeles’ Spectrum News 1 reported in June 2020 that the national cannabis industry generates 150 million tons of waste annually. Feel This aims to reduce that human carbon footprint by reducing the amount of microplastics and toxic chemicals found in skincare products.
She believes every ingredient serves a purpose and says, “we are here to give your skin cells something healthy to feed on.” This mission of clean healthy food was likely derived from Asma’s mother and her grandmother before her. “My mom cooked everything. We weren’t allowed to eat out.” With a wide grin she recounts a friendly negotiation with the local Little Caesars staff. Asma and her brothers would pay for a slice or a couple and receive a whole pie they would then scarf down with their favorite side – hot Cheetos – before they trashed the evidence and headed home for their mother’s delicately crafted meals.
Asma’s mother was a determined woman in a new country. She didn’t speak the language and had three mouths to feed. As she worked relentlessly to provide for her children, Asma kept a watchful eye over her brothers. For some time, they made a home in San Diego but eventually moved to Flint, Michigan. Once she was old enough Asma moved to be near her father who was living in Tahlequah. Her brothers soon followed behind her, but the little family struggled to protect them from themselves. Her father, an entrepreneur, graduated from Northeastern State University with his degree in Mathematics. It was an Alma Matter Asma would one day call her own. But not without experiencing immeasurable heartache along the way.
One of Asma’s brothers had gotten into trouble and hit with pot charges. Because he was a Permanent Resident in Trump’s America and he was deported to Jordan, the place of his birth. “He was on one of the first boats,” Asma powerfully recollects through tears. “My reason to grind is to bring him home,” she continues, “nothing scares me because nothing is scarier than having your baby brother deported.” While in prison Asma’s brother learned to fluently read and write in Spanish and he learned to tattoo. He has gone on to become a high profile skilled tattooer in Jordan with an extensive celebrity client list. Asma will never stop pursuing her goals in the name of her brother. The silver lining lies where, through her beloved brother, Asma met Caleb- her partner in matrimony and in business. He is her constant supporter- quiet, with a sweet knowing smile.
Asma became a mother on someone else’s mission. Pregnant with her daughter, Sophie, Asma moved to South Korea, where Caleb was stationed. A military spouse in unfamiliar territory she had developed a perinatal dermal condition. She reached out to her grandma oversees for relief. In her home growing up, when someone had a nagging cough, it was treated with a spoonful of sesame or Tahini oil. Asma recommends this home remedy to this day. For her rash Asma’s Teta recommended warm olive oil blended with sugar into a paste. Later when baby Sophie developed cradle cap, Feel This Old Fashioned Bütter was too born.
Through isolation and a longing for community Asma discovered Hearts on a Mission, a health and wellness support group of military spouses. Her friend Gia encouraged her to turn her handcrafted home remedies into a marketable product. “You have a gift,” she told Asma. The Hearts on a Mission ladies put their money where their mouths were. “They wiped me out!” she joyfully recounted. With two thousand dollars in her pocket Asma embarked on her relentless personal mission to heal the planet and our bodies, no matter who told her she couldn’t do it along the way- and they told her. “They said you won’t. I said f-ing watch me.”
Caleb and Asma moved back to Oklahoma where Asma personally shattered glass ceilings in the automotive dealership industry. She knocked the machismo out of every service department she touched by excelling in customer service, retention and upsells. Caleb too excelled as a Service Advisor. She lovingly reminisces, “He respected my boundaries as a woman in the car industry.” In November 2018, the couple obtained their OMMA patient licenses. Having lugged the hefty stash of yogurt and mason jars used in her alchemy everywhere they called home, Asma at one point bought a couple of grams of CBD isolate, “just to play around.” She began formulating with her tried and true recipes. There was no stopping her from climbing to reach her goals and continue to shatter those ceilings along her way to the top.
Asma persevered through business licensing, incessant packaging delays and interpersonal industry heartbreak. She went on to single-handedly plug her renowned Feel This product line into one hundred dispensaries. Feel These products include Asma’s famous Lipbôm – voted Oklahoma’s best cannabis lip balm in 2021 by Herbage readers – her incomparable Mineral Sünscreen and Coffee Sügar Scrub, plus Shower Stēamers, Underarm Bâr and other unique skincare food. But this road to the top has not been paved with gold and Asma has had to do some real soul searching as she pivots from the cannabis market to a boutique beauty and spa client list by removing THC from her entire line sans Lipbôm. Nearly all Feel This products are now hemp derived. While pondering the state-required packaging labels adhered to her precious metal tin reading “Women should not use marijuana or medical marijuana products during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects” and “Keep out of reach of children,” Asma began to reevaluate her target clientele. “My real clients are babies and grandmas,” she declared. I had to ask myself, “Do I want 1% of the world or 90% of Oklahoma?” With her eyes on that glass ceiling prize Asma is creating opportunity for herself using all her valuable skills.
Recently Asma and Caleb have launched a new project they call the Alpha Experience Collective offering creative one on one and group training to companies looking to transform their customer experience. Alpha Experience provides data driven results in the form of comprehensive brand strategy, interactive sales training, problem-solution strategies, recruitment and hiring, and many other customer retention and upsell points. The days of working to prove a point are behind her as Asma has written off crying over other people’s opinions.
A natural entrepreneur, Asma has many aspirations to heal the planet and its people including an animated children’s storybook character, Frank, the Alpha Experience Center, and maybe even a clothing line. She also dreams of creating a rehabilitation facility with a voluntary one year sign up that would include dorms, commissary, church and holistic, plant-based therapies because Asma is never doing anything for just her. She arrives for battle waving a banner of all the names of the people she loves and fights for. Even all of us and all the things are around us, for they too are holy energy. FEEL THIS
THE CANNXIETY CHRONICLES PART 4…
Charles “Uncle Chuck” Duncan
You know those commercials that show a man on one side of the screen and a woman on the other and at the end they let you know that he makes much more pay than her? Have you ever wondered to yourself, why are they telling me? It’s not like I control her (or his) pay. It’s safe to say that the majority of people seeing that commercial have little or no control over anyone’s pay. There are more worker bees than manager bees in the world. The short answer is, they are recruiting you to be an advocate for equal pay between men and women. They want you to get out and demand a change. That is the goal of advocacy. To support a change. To really make a change, in my opinion, you have to be willing to share your story. Why are you interested in the specific change for which you advocate?
We each have our own story and they are as important as they are unique. Fear and embarrassment often hold us back from telling our story and working toward receiving the help we need and living our best lives. This is my personal story and I truly hope that by telling it I inspire others to do so as well.
Opening oneself to the world, or in this case the followers of my articles, blogs and podcasts, is no easy task. It’s hard enough to talk to your family and friends about your mental health. Telling people you have never met and putting it in print often opens up a whole new set of challenges. Even more so for some battling anxiety and depression. It’s often difficult to talk about an illness when that illness contributes to your silence. But ironically, talking about it is one of the strongest weapons you have when battling these mental health issues. Like leaving a job you’ve hung on too long, it can be very liberating to open up to others about your challenges. And when you do, chances are you will be amazed at the number of people who want to help. Nurturing is in our DNA, it’s just not in the DNA of those responsible for most of the media and advertising so you don’t see it. But it’s there.
My testimonial on my battles with anxiety and depression started when I was very young. My father was in the Air Force so we moved often. Like almost every year. This combined with a skin condition made life very interesting and sometimes cruel. Interesting in the fact that I got to see new places and meet new people all the time. I was the new kid and I had a skin condition. That made me easy fodder for the attention seekers and bullies of the world. I fought back with humor and finding ways to get along with who I could. I did, in hindsight, develop more friends than enemies but since we moved a lot, i never really got to see those friends for more than a year. Then it was a new state, new set of friends (and bullies.
All that ended in 6th grade. My dad finished his stint in the military so our annual migration ended. And so did I, being the new kid. The skin condition and bullies were still there, but so were friends. Friends I would have this year, next year and in some cases decades later. Friends who learned about my skin condition and came to me with love and empathy and not hate and ignorance. These traits of love and empathy, as I would soon learn, would benefit me more than I could ever imagine.
You see, having the pleasure of not being the new guy and being able to hang out with friends that I knew for more than a year shined a spotlight on a previously undiscovered condition I suffered from, other than the previously mentioned skin affliction. Anxiety. More specifically, anxiety when speaking to large groups. Something I never had to experience before as my circle of “friends” stayed small until now. Also lucky for me, my new circle of friends included someone who would introduce me to cannabis. Not as a party drug but specifically as a way to battle symptoms of anxiety. Did it work? Well I currently advocate for groups that sometimes number in the thousands. And I got here by telling a friend 35 years ago of my anxiety. Imagine who you might help by just speaking your story to a friend, pro fessional or family member.
By Chet Tucker
At what point did we wake up to realize that we’ve been indoctrinated into a system that curbs our natural instincts of being at one with ourselves and our provider, earth? Who decided that a truancy officer could enforce a dictated governmental (govern mental states) school systems that box our thinking and funnel our energy to learn so many irrelevant idealisms? When did we give up our individual and parental rights in exchange for what some foreign entity deems right for our minds? What form of being freely born unto a planet formed without ownership have we misinterpreted? Why does some collective bureaucracy dictate what we can and can’t do with our bodies, land, and property? Really think beyond a “that’s just the way it is” and realize that’s how programmed we are to accept the current state.
We’ve clawed back civil liberties and still haven’t won all the battles for self autonomy … but we’re getting there and just have to continue standing and speaking up. No single other person should control our individual rights. Not a single other person. If we are doing harm to another human then that’s where the line is drawn. However, to trust a collective of suits and ties to make decisions about our right to cultivate plant medicines, amongst other self liberties that I’ll not address here, is giving up our own rights. At what point were we convinced to keep pretty green lawns in exchange for spraying down some amazing and healing “flowers/ weeds” (cannabis aside) like dandelions. At what point did we wake up to realize the propaganda to spray DDT and other chemicals in the interest of our health?
So, what do we do to press forward a powerful republic of Oklahoma and put our rights above the “rulers” that say cannabis, again trying to keep it down this narrowed scope but it relates to so many other liberties, must be managed so tightly and that we allow a government to spend these tax dollars in ways that aren’t fully accounted for … only to spread their tentacles of control as if they’re doing us a favor? Whether you see it as medicinal or a basic right to a plant, it’s our right to consume as we may and without so much governmental overreach. The additional costs for tracking businesses and the rising taxes that stack up on the back end only comes out to cost the consumer/patient more. And for what benefit? The consumer then is faced with paying more for a plant than possibly their government assisted pharmaceuticals that are proving more and more to be less helpful than plant based medicinals. In addition, it creates a marketplace that’s considered as the illegal black market. Ironically, it’s more of a free market trade without all of the strings and costs attached.
I’ve passionately shared before that there is a need for regulating testing and dosage because we know that it’s important for consumers (patients) to know what they are taking. However, the tax monies earned by the state should be leveraged for honing in these test results with developing more useful and educational ways for the marketplace to thrive. THC, cannabinoids, terpenes, and how they interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) could only further illustrate the power of the plant, especially when the variety of characteristics are understood and illustrated for a better result for all. It’s not just indica, sativa, or hybrid; it’s how does this particular flower or processed flower product assist me personally?
I hope that words are read and digested to continue helping not only Oklahoma but other communities of people to demand transparency and more individual rights. A right to cultivate is a born right and we certainly don’t live in a “free” country if we are taxed to death (and sadly after too) and dictated as to what we can or can’t do with our bodies, lands, and property. The key is in our hand, not the other way around. Hanta Yo!
Could Raw Cannabis Be The New Superfood?
Written by Dr. Pepper Hernandez ND, Ph.D., CTC
Award-winning, Board Certified Holistic Health Professional
So did you know that cannabis is a superfood? I have been well aware of that starting over a decade ago when I started juicing leaves for health and wellness benefits. Cannabis is an incredibly unique plant that contains over 400 different chemical compounds. The number of vitamins, essential oils, and acids found in cannabis has leading experts calling cannabis a “dietary essential.” Cannabis is a particularly special plant in the world of nutrition because the herb contains extremely high concentrations of cannabinoid acids. Turns out, these acids are incredibly important for a human basic cell function.
Among the main cannabinoid acids so far studied are THCa and CBDa. In the process of smoking, vaping, or cooking cannabis, these acids are broken down into slightly different chemicals. Specifically, some convert them to psychoactive THC and cannabinoid CBD via metabolism. Activated THC and CBD offer their own benefits, but the one downside is that your body can only handle a limited amount of these newly activated cannabinoids. Decarbing is the process of converting these cannabinoid acids into their active form.
Raw cannabis is capable of processing extremely large amounts of THCa and CBDa without any issue. The body then converts these acids into the nutrients it requires through its own metabolism. The endocannabinoid system helps your cells communicate with each other when you consume these cannabinoids. By consuming more cannabinoid acids, chronic diseases caused by deficiencies in endocannabinoids may be prevented. Endocannabinoid deficiencies are thought to play a major role in the development of medical conditions like:
If you are going to start consuming leaves, grow your own, grow organic always, and learn how to choose the correct cultivar for your health and wellness needs. Start by adding leaves to your juices and smoothies. To keep the raw acids intact do not cook or heat the leaves. Eat them raw. #craftcannabis
The information in this article is provided solely for educational purposes. Research gathered from external sources has been used as a basis for the content. Before beginning any new diet or lifestyle change, check with your Cannabis Educated Physician or Cannabis Therapy Consultant.
Dr. Pepper Hernandez ND, CTC, CNHP is a Naturopathic Nutritionist, Cannabis Therapy Consultant, Founder and Education Director of the Cannabis Holistic Institute. To find out more about her private practice, educational programs, videos, and other offerings you can find her on the massive inter-webs, social platforms, or at drpepperhernandez.com.
Go forth, Go Cannabis…
The Andrew Lopez Story
By Michael Kinney
By all accounts, Andrew Lopez seems to be living the ideal life. The retired Army Staff Sgt., who spent 22 years in the military, is married with five kids and three grandchildren.
Almost nothing brings a smile to his face more than when talking about his family, except maybe his passion for lowrider cars. Especially the 1963 Impala that he has been working on for the past few years.
However, it took Lopez years of pain before he could get to the point where he could appreciate what he has. From the murder of his younger brother to having a fellow soldier die in his hands, the 47-year-old Los Angeles native has been to hell and back.
Lopez credits the discovery of medical cannabis for him being able to make his way out of the dark path he was on and into the light.
“I have been happy. Wonderful. I consider life lovely now,” said Lopez, who lives in Lawton. “I owe everything to Mr. Green. This is a miracle drug. Without, I don’t think I would be here to tell you the truth.”
Many of the issues Lopez has had to overcome began back in 2004 during his first tour of duty in Iraq. While on patrol was hit downrange with an IED (Improvised explosive device).
“It basically hurt my entire right side,” Lopez said. “I got severe nerve damage on the right side of my body. But it also messed up my back.”
Lopez was medevaced out of Iraq and taken to Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany where he underwent surgery. According to Lopez, after just three months of physical therapy and recovery, the Army sent him back to Iraq.
“I was hurt, but regardless of my injuries they still felt that I was fit to go back downrange with my back and neck injury. I was doing the same mission,” Lopez said. “I was still busted up. I wasn’t ready to go back and do much. But in the Army, they really don’t care. It’s to get the mission done first, then we’ll worry about you.”
Despite how his body felt, Lopez was sent back to Iraq to complete the final six months of his 18 month tour.
For the next few years, Lopez said he kept complaining to his superiors and doctors about his constant back pains. Their solution was to give him more pain pills and muscle relaxers.
“That was my life,” Lopez said. Pain pills and muscle relaxers and physical therapy. It was horrible because it messed my body up so much. I felt like I was always bloated. It was messing with my digestive system.”
According to Lopez, the only remedy the doctors had for him was to lower his dosages. But the pain and physical ailments continued.
In 2010 one of Lopez’s physical therapists was looking at his X-ray and noticed a mass that didn’t look right. She told him he might want to get it checked out and suggested that he might have a tumor. This was the first time anyone had mentioned it to him.
“She said this has been here for a while,” Lopez said. “She was looking at my X-rays back from 2008. I was happy that she actually spotted it. Because how many of my doctors in the military have seen this and haven’t said anything and just let it go by? All these years I keep thinking they could have found it so long ago. When you are in the military, you really can’t do anything. You can’t do anything because you are their property. That’s what gets me so mad.”
Lopez went and had an MRI done. When the test was completed, Lopez’s doctor had one question for him.
“He asked ‘how are you walking,” Lopez said. “I said excuse me. I walked in here with my cane. The doctor said no, ‘how are you walking? There is a tumor blocking all your nerves to your lower extremities. You shouldn’t be able to walk.”
Lopez said they scheduled him for an operation the very next week. But that week turned into years due to a difference of opinions between several physicians.
According to Lopez, the cancer specialist said he thought it was just a fatty mass and wanted to just keep an eye on it.
The cancer center in Lawton suggested radiation as a treatment. However, the doctors at the cancer center in Oklahoma City told them not to do radiation because it’s too dangerous and too close to his nerves.
“There was too much running through my head,” Lopez said. “I got doctors from over there, over there, these guys, those guys. I’m like you guys are killing me. What do I do?”
Lopez did his research and decided against the radiation treatment. He felt compelled to follow the advice of his primary cancer doctor who said it was just a fatty mass and just wanted to keep an eye on it.
However, in 2016, the mass had gotten so huge it was blocking his nerves. So, a decision was made to have surgery and remove it.
“They didn’t know it was cancerous until it got too big,” Lopez said. “All they could do was scrape out the tumor. It was too late to cut it out. From them scraping it out, they damaged even more of my nerves. I couldn’t feel my legs when I woke up. I was just devastated. I thought I was paralyzed.”
Even though the cancer had been removed, that didn’t mean an end to the medication Lopez was on. He had to continue taking a variety of different pills such as Oxycodone and OxyContin.
“It was enough to knock out a horse and they wanted me to take it every four hours,” Lopez said. “You basically could call me a zombie. I couldn’t live like that.”
In January of 2021, Lopez was at his breaking point. The years of constant pain and the medication had pushed the veteran to the brink until he did the unthinkable.
“It just got too much for me. I was just (at home) laying in bed and I couldn’t do nothing,” Lopez said. “The pain got too much for me. It got way too much for me. I ended up trying to kill myself. I said I’m done with this.”
Lopez didn’t go into detail on exactly how he tried to take his life, but he didn’t succeed and ended up being sent to a hospital in Texas, which he said made him even worse.
Lopez soon came back home and was still in the same situation he was before the attempted suicide. With nothing else to lose he decided to take his health and well-being into his own hands.
“It ended up just being me having to see reality on my own,” Lopez said. “I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just like I have seen the world through my other eyes. I think I had suffered just about everything. I’ve been through so much. My wife said I was like a cat, but with only two lives left.”
Lopez had heard medical cannabis was an option to help ease the pain. So he asked his pain management doctor if he would help him apply for his medical cannabis card. However, because the federal government still sees marijuana as an illegal drug, that goes the same for military installations. So, his doctor could only tell him no and that he doesn’t support cannabis.
Lopez didn’t let that stop him and found a more understanding physician who was not associated with the military, and he was able to get his card early in 2021. He said he didn’t care if the Army allowed it or not, he was tired of being helpless.
Lopez has been under the surgical knife 16 different times during his 22 years in the military. But he said medical cannabis is the only thing that has eased his pain.
“When I first tried, I felt the pain relief,” Lopez said. “‘I don’t need a wheelchair, I don’t need a cane. I walk fine. I am really glad I got rid of all the pills. Those man-made pills. They weren’t helping me at all. All they were ding to me is clogging up my stomach.”
Anthony Rodriguez, who runs the dispensary Nice Dreamz Collective in Lawton, has seen what a vast transformation Lopez has taken.
While Lopez is grateful he found cannabis when he did, he still feels anger that it has taken as long as it has for it to become available. When he looks back at his mother who had to deal with seizures her entire life, tears begin to stream down his face.
“This should have been legal a long time ago. My mom could have used this years ago,” Lopez said. “She is epileptic. My mom could have used this when she was young. You look at my mom now and her hands are all burned because she had a seizure when she was cooking and her hands fell in the oil. Now her hands are just all torn up. Her face is jacked up because she had a fall during another seizure. But this was illegal. She has suffered through so much when they could have just made something with this and” they could have given it to her. It is just so upsetting.”
Lopez now looks at his life and how he was living before cannabis and he can hardly believe how much he has changed. He says if he hadn’t found it in time, he knows he would have tried to take his life again and would have succeeded.
But that does not seem to be a worry anymore.
“It mellows me out. I see how it connects me more with my family. I really have a short fuse, but ever since I have been on cannabis, it has brought me a lot closer with my family,” Lopez said. “My kids see it a lot. I have been able to communicate a lot better with my kids than I used to. I am able to communicate better with my wife. Our relationship has gotten a lot stronger. It’s made me a better man. I wasn’t like this before. Ever since last year, when I tried to take my life, it has transformed me into a better man.”
We Gotta Take the Power Back
The Killer Whale on the Frontlines with State Questions 818 and 819
by Jessi Lane
Are you ready for the rec, retroactivity, abolishment, and rebirth that is about to be the Oklahoma Cannabis Medical and Right To Use Acts? If ever we needed a call to arms, this is it. Zack De La Rocha said it best, “We need a movement with a quickness. You are the witness of change. And to counteract- we gotta take the power back!”
State Questions 818 and 819 have the industry a buzz. Oklahomans are tired of this “shot-gun approach to chop up our medical program” says Brandon Rust, and they are moving to take the power back. State Question 818, also known as the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Enforcement and Anti-Corruption Act, protects the Oklahoma medical program and “makes it part of the state constitution, not a health code as it is now,” Rust says. This progressive grassroots stride for change and reclamation of power for and to the people can be attributed to the tireless efforts of the Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action or ORCA.
Founded by Jed Green, Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action is a 501(c)4 not for profit incorporation. According to their website, ORCA’s “task is to establish the organization and structure with the intent of stepping back into ancillary support roles as the organization grows and a long-term structure developed based on interest and support from the cannabis community and industry.”
But SQ818 isn’t just about cementing in the rights and privileges of licensed cannabis as medicine patients. Oh no. Leaving no stone unturned, ORCA developed a hefty fourteen sections that make up 818, with the goal of permanently establishing an unbreakable constitutional amendment and medical program Oklahomans deserve. Beginning with the disbanding and break down of the OMMA and the creation of a new state agency called the Oklahoma State Cannabis Coalition (OSCC).
OSCC would be comprised of a twenty-member board including a representative from the Oklahoma Department of Health, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the Fire Marshall, and the office of the Attorney General. They would share this panel with licensee representatives for subgroups like Growers and Dispensaries, Patients and Caregivers, and many more. The coalition would be led by a Governor-appointed Commissioner who, additionally, must be approved by two thirds majority of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
OSCC would assume authority over cannabis and hemp, plant-based medicines, and the products and services therein. 818 would also hold OMMA accountable for potential misspending of funds that may be found via an audit and require the funds paid in a structured, timely manner to an established OSCC General Fund- also named and included in the sections therein.
All funds collected and spent by the OMMA, OSDH, and the Oklahoma State Tax Commission from June 26, 2018 to the date of passage would have to undergo an audit, report, and accounting of, and be publicly provided by, the State Auditor within a specified timely manner. Any funds found by the Auditor to not have been spent in a lawful manner would be returned to the OSCC General Fund by the agency which expended the funds. However, if said agency is unable to transfer within 30 days, the transfer would come from the Oklahoma General Fund.
Speaking to Oklahoma cannabis business owners Rust says, “If you want to get rid of METRC this is the only way. The contract is with OMMA.” If Oklahoma votes to disband the OMMA through State Question 818, the contracts made with said agency would also cease to exist. The goal is to keep Oklahoma cannabis money in Oklahoma not Lakewood, Florida, the location of METRC’s headquarters. Under SQ818, OSCC would be tasked with the creation of a new tracking system that is “no more restrictive or burdensome than federal guidelines for hemp harvest batches”, according to ORCA.
Currently Oklahoma cannabis business owners are excluded from state tax write offs. 818 would allow for state tax deductions and exemptions for licensed cannabis businesses. It also provides and regulates tax credits for hemp businesses and separates hemp from cannabis excise taxation. According to ok.gov, over three million dollars in state taxes has been generated by medical cannabis sales. In the taxation section of SQ818, 7% excise tax would be collected on cannabis sales at the point of sale. Should we go rec, this percentage may increase up to 15% on non medical purchases. A portion of the excise tax would go into a Research Fund, another portion into a Rural Impact and Urban Waste Remediation Program Fund, and another to the Dept of Ag to provide mitigation support efforts and insurance related to crop damage caused to our agricultural non industry neighbors by accidental overspray. There are portions of the collected taxes allotted for emergency mental health response programs, to fund addiction recovery programs, and to support mental health crisis training for law enforcement.
SQ818 outlines patient and caregiver rights including parental rights, offering protection from state agencies like DHS. It protects those patients seeking housing, healthcare, employment, or public assistance and those wanting to own firearms from denial due to licensing. It defines the limitations and annual fees of commercial, patient, and caregiver licensing. For example, the newly drafted Marijuana Handling License requires dispensary employees to undergo a minimum of two hours of cannabis related education every two years. Just knowing what’s fire won’t be enough product knowledge for a budtender under 818. An education license would provide license holders with the opportunity to apply for grants to develop cannabis materials and curriculum.
Due Process and Equal Protection Rights would protect persons under state supervision from penalization based on cannabis consumption as it is outlined in SQ818. Furthermore, cannabis can not be used as reasonable cause for search, seizure, or arrest nor can the cannabis itself be seized. 818 also states that the existence of THC alone in one’s system does not assume a position of impairment while operating a motor vehicle.
SQ 819, the Oklahoma Marijuana Regulation and Right to Use Act sets out to legalize cannabis for anyone 21 years of age or older and structures the regulation therein. It allows for existing medical dispensaries to also function as recreational dispensaries without any additional licensing. Like SQ818, there is consumer General Protection Language specific to housing, healthcare, employment, etcetera. Parental rights and firearm ownership rights would be protected for 21 and up recreational consumers as well. Due Process and Equal Protection Rights are covered in 819. Most notably, the Retroactivity section of 819 states that those with cannabis related convictions may file a petition for resentencing, modification, reversal, or dismissal of their sentence.
Under 819, tax rates are built to reduce over time for medical cannabis patients. The excise tax is also divvied up in 819. Portions would go to DHS for the benefit of persons with developmental and physical disabilities, the OK Water Resources Board, to agencies with the end goal of increasing access to evidence-based low-barrier drug addiction treatment as well as job support, housing, and counseling for people living with substance use disorders. A portion would fund mental health and addiction services grants and law enforcement mental health crisis training, like 818. The Research Fund, Rural Impact and Urban Waste Remediation Program Fund, and the Dept of Ag are all allotted a percentage of this excise tax.
Brandon reminds us that all these rights and privileges could be provided to us in the following months if we collectively sign the petition -95,000 signatures will be required within 90 days- and vote Yes on the November ballot. If you’d like to get involved with ORCA to best ensure positive Oklahoma cannabis industry change for the people, fill out their volunteer form at https://orcaok.com/volunteer-sign-up/
Where Does It End
By James Bridges
Photography by Justen Christensen
If I were to get involved in a sporty game of “who would you rather” and the topic was: Who would you rather ride for two hours in a car with? I know my answer.
The rules are simple. No tunes and the conversation will be packed full of amazing attempts at philosophical exchange between two very unqualified thought provokers. I would definitely choose to travel with my friend and photographer Justen Christensen. However, little did I know… my ride along partner was, by chance, somewhat of a fanboy of the powerful Oklahoma original, and dominating nationwide company, Heartland Cannabis.
30 years ago Pat Dickey and Chris Elias made a pact. The pact was silent, but still they knew. They would be friends for life. Still to this day…they can look at one another in the eyes and trust in the sanctity of that relationship. Both can be extremely proud of a powerhouse company making waves in the cannabis industry.
As Justen and I approached the doors to one of the two facilities run by the operation, I couldn’t stop thinking about the Gelato. “Gelato 33 or something. You would not believe it. I love it man” Justen’s words were looping inside of my head. I just wanted to taste it.
We were both greeted at the door by Pat and Chris and some visitors from out of state. We instantly connected as they were visiting from an area that was literally blocks from where I had once lived. I collected a definite sense of a wholesome family and friends oriented company. There was this warmth about it. Like walking inside on a cold day into a warm room. Yet, it was hot outside that day. Still, I felt it.
They asked us to follow them down the hall as we opened the discussion with casual pleasantries. I was waiting for a break in the nearly silent noise that was surrounding us as we made it down a hall with tiled floors. Thankfully I heard a voice.
“Who’s the deadhead?” My trusty photographer saves the moment with his never ending eclectic knowledge of things most consider quite intellectual and intriguing.
“Been at every show for the past 5 years bro,” both Pat and Chris were smiling as if we had turned a page. Discussions of past encounters with the musings of greats such as Dead & Company along with many others were being reminisced from the newly found friends of the same tune. We walked further down the long hall toward more doorways.
Pat smiled as he looked back at me. He had to have noticed the look on my face as I understood the enormity of the warehouse. I’m wondering how many of our readers have been inside of a 19,000 sqft warehouse. What I am more curious about is how many of our readers have, “legally”, been inside of a warehouse that large with 6,720 sqft of actual flower canopy. It makes for a nice afternoon.
We were fortunate enough to see the moms during the 18 hours of lights on before the 6 of sleep while doing their best not to allow the forces of nature to blossom their flowers of healing.
24 total strains are currently selected through a process that is often overlooked and uncalculated by many cultivators and business owners alike. Pat presented it to me as something very serious. You go into the situation knowing that 3 out of 5 usually won’t hit.
Chris talked about the hand trimming and presentation of the flower. The importance of every step as a whole. He noted that his trim managers go through and make sure there are no seeds or stems throughout the product. “Pure nug,” Chris said with a cheshire cat grin. I couldn’t help but make the correlation as he held out a cleverly crafted Heartland Farms branded burlap/plastic bag. I took a whiff.
“We already had the Gelato 33 from Denver and one from LA,” Pat was talking about whatever was inside of the package he was carrying. However, my focus drifted away from his words about the package as I noticed the unique structure, color, and overwhelming brilliant aroma coming from it. Even in this crowded room full of flowers I was captured by the most valuable player in the room that they called, Gelato 2. It was definitely unique enough to be on its own.
“Right now the traditional lime green strains like OG’s, etc… are not moving as quickly as the dark colors, and more developed strains. We kind of focus on what is different and unique, but also a little tried and true because they move a lot better.” Pat’s business mind revealed a great strategy.
It was at that moment I understood the duo’s roles. Pat was a great sales person for the company. He was extremely intelligent and a natural. He came across as someone that could possibly score very high on an IQ test as well as roll the fattest joint you ever wanted, then smoke a while for some good company.
Chris was a developer type and a cultivator. He seemed to me as the Wyatt Earp to his Doc Holliday. I sensed a foundation of sorts that they could both grab ahold of if ever any one of them felt alone in this business and in life. There was camaraderie and brotherhood which must have supported them to work with such a strong passion to keep moving forward. Not alone, but together.
We moved on through the tour of this enormous facility. I noticed the fluidity and the careful planning that must have taken place during the layout stages of the property.
Chris was very proud to show what they have been working with a crew of people that are “extremely talented.” He introduced us to fellow employees along the way, as if they were family members. Some even were!
Taylor Elias is the nephew of Chris Elias. He doesn’t necessarily love being introduced in that way. However, it’s not for the loss of love for his proud uncle. Taylor runs the drying, trimming, and maintenance. The hardest part of the warehouse is the maintenance according to both Taylor and Chris. Some may disagree, however they were essentially holding the mic at the time. So…
Taylor seemed to know his job well. I was able to ask him about key performance indicators and he instantly schooled me in a course of curing I would have gladly paid tuition for. He loves working with the best team. He says it’s really not a matter of pay. He loves that they all wake up and work together to have the best day possible.
Chris glanced over with that cheshire cat grin again. “Tell him about the magic room.”
Taylor told a story about when he first started working in cannabis. He would walk by a specific room inside of the warehouse. He never went inside. He would always ask his uncle what was in the room. He thought of it as the “magic room”. He wanted to know if that was where his uncle kept all of his magic to grow everything. We all had a laugh.
Taylor said he knew there wasn’t magic. The room is a product storage room now. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with him. After he left the room Chris nearly teared up. It was a character trait I hope Chris never loses touch with.
“We finally have our license, you know? There’s no more gray area.” Chris’s passion peaked a bit. “We have legitimate bank accounts. We pay all of our taxes. It’s very hard whenever you’re running into thousands of dollars in cash and attempting to track everything. It’s been a long journey. In many ways it’s been surreal.”
While listening to Chris answer my question of whether he missed the “grind”, I received a glimpse of what a natural entrepreneur looked and sounded like. He explained how he loved the blossoming of a business. He loves to plant a seed, get everything ready to be on a growth pattern of perpetuity, and watch the benefits that it has for all of those that touch it. It is rather poetic in my point of view.
“Sometimes I am so excited.” Pat seemed a little reluctant. “I’m so eager to tell people that I’m one of the owners of Heartland Farms, you know? I want to. However, often, I just say that I work here. It provides me, you know, with more real information. Honest opinions are easier to get good feedback when someone is talking to an employee rather than an owner.”
I sensed a moment of retrospect within Pat. “Our first grow was over by the Drillers stadium in Tulsa. We had two, 600 watt, HPS lights in the garage. This is like 18 or 19 years ago. We were so freaking excited about our first quarter pound of weed. Every year it just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger you know?” Pat seemed to be reaching the point of awareness only privileged business owners achieve. “We went to Durango, Colorado and started doing a lot of outdoor cultivation. Our first green houses were very small, the second one was a lot bigger, and then the third one was huge. After that we went out to California to start commercial indoor growing . It’s funny to watch the evolution of this beast we developed and it’s been pretty sweet man.”
I couldn’t help but wonder if the two were where they wanted to be. Where was the finish line? Did it exist? Pat told me quite frankly, “We’re just going to keep producing exceptional medical cannabis to the best of our abilities. I don’t think we will be stepping back anytime soon. I’m still young. We both have a lot of years left to kick some ass. So I will see you in about 30-40 years. Then we’ll let you know.”
The Chronisseur – Essential Flowers
Words by Pamela Jayne
Review by Hopper
Photo by Ron Eberhart
And we’re back! I want to start by giving a huge shout out to everyone I saw and smoked with on 4/20 at The Brickhouse block party. It was a perfect day, with nothing but good vibes and great, likeminded people at a chill event celebrating this beautiful plant that has brought us all together. I can’t wait to be back at The Brickhouse on June 2nd for the Underground Alliance Tour presented by RX3 and Herbage Magazine, featuring King Klick, Blaze Ya Dead Homie, and Stacc Styles. This show is gonna be sick and the smoke will for sure be thick, so you do not want to miss it. Now let’s load up this DGAF bong gifted to me by the homie Chucky Chuck and get started…
Cookie Mac by Essential Flowers
Visually, it’s an impressively chunky, resinous, good sized nug. It’s incredibly dense and heavy, and has solid structure. The color is a paler shade of green due to the large amount of resinous trichromes, and it has extra-long orange pistils weaved throughout the knotty, swollen calyxes. It’s a looker, for sure, and it also smells amazing. I can’t wait to get this in my lungs and see what it has to offer. So it has a pretty heavy, substantial hit and cough that produces an instant head change. Do a big hit or two and you’ll be immediately relaxed, and able to forget about the stresses and frustrations of the day and get some clarity and motivation. The last time I smoked this, I went to pick up Ron at the airport. I rolled a fatty and we had a nice, productive ride back to my place while we took some phone calls and had a little RX3 mobile meeting sesh. I’d say this is a great strain for the working stoner. Even though Cookie Mac is a strain that tends to be more cerebral, it does also have some physical benefits. Shoulders relax and tension melts away, and you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of medicating, and still get shit done. Don’t get me wrong, you’re gonna have a chill, stony time with the Cookie Mac. It’s great for helping you laugh and see things in a positive light. You’re just not gonna get glued to the couch wondering why you can hear your hair growing. I think this is a great strain for both newer and more experienced patients, just adjust your dose accordingly.
Collision Kush by Essential Flowers
Up next is the Collision Kush (Triangle Kush x Kush Mints), also from Essential Flowers in Shawnee. I could wrap this one up right now in just three words- Damn near perfection. I mean, it’s just an absolutely stunning bud. Hats off to the grower. You can see the love and knowledge that was put into growing this. The super swole bud has phenomenal structure with very tight calyx formations. I can’t believe it’s even more dense than the Cookie Mac! The coloring is art. It has so many different shades of green ranging from emerald to olive to lime, and there are a few dark purple leaves in there too. It’s draped with these thick, burnt orange pistils and coated in trichromes that give it a really pretty sheen. And wow, it smells soooo good. The terps are LOUD LOUD LOUD. I get major notes of limonene with undertones of that traditional skunky/poopy kush aroma. The first hit expands the lungs just the way I like, and the second hit really opens you up. This is another strain I’d recommend for basically anyone. It gives you that classic, on the couch type of relaxation, so if that’s what you’re looking for, get the snacks ready and enjoy the munchies, and have a laid back night. You’re going to be introspective and talkative, in a positive way. It also opens up the mind and encourages creativity and long conversations. It really is more of that stereotypical high, which I personally love. I really can’t say enough good things about the Collision Kush. You’ve really got to get down to Essential Flowers and try it. I’m actually gonna head there myself soon to see what else they have to offer, because judging by these two selections, their shelf is pure fire.
That’s it for this month, check back in June to see what Oklahoma is gonna be smokin’ on this summer, and follow me on Instagram @hopper448 and let me know what you’re putting in your lungs. Peace!
Compliance In A Country Of Cannabis
By Michael Kinney
When Donnie Pyatt was asked to describe Country Cannabis, some of the first words he uttered were ‘veteran-owned’. As the Chief Compliance Officer of the Oklahoma-based dispensary, he could have used a myriad of different phrases, but that seemed to be the one that was most important to him.
It’s not just because Pyatt spent 23 years in the military himself. Or that his brother, Clint Pyatt, who founded the company was in the Marine Corps for six years as well.
“We come from a military lineage. Our dad was in the army and was drafted to Vietnam,” Donnie Pyatt said. “Both his brothers got drafted. My son is 18 and about to leave for the Marines Corps boot camp after he graduates high school.”
So, when Pyatt says Country Cannabis is ‘veteran-owned and also trying to help veterans out,’ it’s not just some words stuck on a company bumper sticker. It’s something they mean.
In the four years Country Cannabis has been in existence, they have strived to give to the military community. That includes providing a discount for military (retired or active) personnel.
Pyatt knows the physical, emotional and mental toils of being in the military and knows cannabis is an option that many veterans are starting to explore more and more.
“Every veteran deals with their demons the best that they can. All veterans will have demons. There is no doubt about that. For good or worse, if you become a veteran and get out of the service, you are a changed person,” Pyatt said. “How you deal with that is completely independent upon each veteran. I can’t say that a veteran is handling it wrong or handling it right because I had to deal with my own. If medical marijuana, or even if it goes recreational, if they have PTSD and they have demons, or they have things they can not forget, and if medical or recreational marijuana helps them, then more power to them.”
As a former member of the Tulsa Police Department, Pyatt has seen firsthand the alternative of not getting the help that is needed to battle those demons. That is a road that can lead to addiction to drugs that can destroy lives.
“I have seen so many lives shredded and torn apart by hard narcotics, oxycontin, prescription meds, Heroin is a huge one,” Pyatt said. “Those are nasty drugs to get addicted to. That’s why a lot of people are on heroin. People I have made arrests on and talked to, I would ask them why they are messing with heroin, it’s horrible. They are like, “well, I got hooked on OxyContin and I can’t get any more Oxycontin. It was just easier to buy Heroin on the streets.’ It’s a nasty drug to get addicted to.”
Part of stopping the surge toward opioids and other drugs means helping change the perception of marijuana in the medical field.
“Cannabis is not seen very well in the medical field as helping. There are still a lot of people who say it doesn’t help,” Pyatt said. “That is just not the case. We have patients who come up and they will tell us straight out they had a problem until they got their card and took our product. ‘I had nothing else to turn to. Now I do.’ It’s kind of like the giving back is being able to do something that is not a hard drug. I know from personal experience, from my wife’s family members, who could have had a better quality of life before he passed if was able to have medical marijuana.”
The Country Cannabis motto of giving back extends beyond the military as well. The very first Country Cannabis dispensary in Oklahoma was opened up in Wilburton, which is in the Southeast corner of the state. Built on the backs of the coal and gas industry, it now has a population of under 2,500 people and is declining.
It doesn’t seem like a prime spot to introduce a business. But that is not the way XX Pyatt saw it.
“My brother, when he came into Oklahoma, he started in Wilburton Oklahoma. My grandparents are from there, my parents still live in that area. Our bloodlines run deep in that county,” Donnie Pyatt said. “That is not an area that is usually hit with a lot of industry. He could have picked Tulsa right away. But his thinking was, if we go in there and do this, maybe we can help out the area and give some jobs to people. Maybe I can kick start the growth of Wilburton again and make it to where it’s not a dwindling little ghost town like so many other small towns in Oklahoma seem to be doing.”
Pyatt has only been with Country Cannabis for four months. He previously had been a member of the Tulsa Police Department for close to seven years until his brother was able to convince him to take a job with the company.
It was not an easy decision for Pyatt to leave the police department for a career in an industry he knew almost nothing about.
“The TPD, we have had our times when we have been in the news for stuff, but it is a huge family,” Pyatt said. “You make so many good relationships and they are just like your family members. It was a tough decision because it was like leaving one family to go work with my blood family.”
In that time Pyatt has had a crash course on the industry. He is having to learn the ins and out of not just the company, but also a growing industry that is still trying to figure out which way it’s heading.
“Wading through all the rules and compliance. Not just Oklahoma. We also have processors in Colorado, we’re getting into California, South Dakota, Florida is coming up, New York. Just reading all the rules and regulations for each state is definitely a challenge. It is exactly what I thought it would be. I knew I would be dealing with people who have been in the game for a while. I am new to it. I knew it would be very challenging to try and catch up and I’m not even close to catching up to everyone else’s knowledge in other companies or just my brother.”
Yet, the challenge of learning the industry is just one of the elements that excites Pyatt about his new position.
“What’s really exciting about coming to work for my brother at Country Cannabis is him opening up in other states. He puts the business in other states,” Pyatt said. “It’s just to see the company grow. That is what’s exciting. Like Kansas. It’s not legal there yet, but if I was a betting man, I would say it will be by next year.”
But no matter where a Country Cannabis store is located now and opens up in the future, Pyatt said they will still have the same foundation they started with.
“We’re not a bunch of people who just got together and said, ‘Oh, we’re going to make this company in Oklahoma and we’re just a bunch of outsiders and we’re just trying to do it to make money.’ I would like for people to know that Country Cannabis, born and raised, native Oklahomans, and we’re not out to just sell a product to get rich or to make money off of it,” Pyatt said. “That’s not the goal. The goal is to provide a product that people can take for medical issues. And that it’s just good people trying to do good things with it.”
Thank You All for helping honor the men and women who protect our freedom.
Rob & Sons Cannabis Company, 201 W 9th St, Shawnee, OK 74801
MJ’s Apothecary, 2311 E 12th Pl Tulsa, OK
Affordable Medical Cannabis, 1805 E Steve Owens Blvd Miami, OK
MedVets, 8 South Mill Street, Pryor, Oklahoma
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Tarostrology Gemini Season
By Anna Ervin
May 21, 2022 – June 21, 2022
Though I write this editorial nearly a month before it’s published, I can already see how the cards for Gemini season deliver unlimited possibilities. Many of the signs drew messages that resonate with their individual characteristics. For example, I pulled the King of Wands for my own sun sign (Aries), which puts me right in my element and reminds me of my leadership abilities. Pisces drew the Hermit, a card that many (like myself) might find intimidating while sweet Pisces placements often enjoy their alone time.
Lately, I’ve found that the card of my rising sign seems to resonate with me the most If you know your rising sign, or ascendant, I recommend reading that first. Use the following guidelines along with your natal chart to give the cards a deeper meaning (for example, the card that falls under your moon sign will apply to your subconscious and emotion).
Gemini – Page of Wands
Happy Birthday sweet Gemini! You might find that this season delivers a bit of a playful, explorative tone as the page of wands indicates taking a child-like approach toward creative ideas and projects. Consider allowing yourself to quiet that ever-so-active mind of yours and allow your intuition to take the lead. Get curious about the way you allow energy to flow in your life. Children are unattached to ideals and outcomes, allowing them to explore and create beyond the limitations that many of us, as adults, place on ourselves. Are there any areas of your life where you could afford to relinquish some control and open up to new possibilities?
Adopting an open mind and exploring new ideas allows me to have fun with the natural flow of energy in my life.
Cancer – Five of Pentacles
Lack of resources, victim-mentality
Nothing tells me that Cancer is going through it right now better than the five of pentacles. This month could deliver a series of hardships, leading you to feel alone in your struggles. I’d like to invite you to consider this: are you feeling helpless because others refuse to help, or could it be that you refuse to receive help? Sometimes it feels like you’re drowning while the whole world keeps swimming around you. It’s not that your friends and family don’t care about you, they might not even realize the weight of the burdens you carry. It’s important to learn how to communicate your needs with the world around you, and to open yourself up to receiving.
I am safe and supported. My needs are met when I communicate clearly with the universe.
Leo – Eight of Swords
Feeling stuck, mental blocks
Leo, the card I drew for you this month should feel familiar because I pulled it just two moon cycles prior. The eight of swords once again invites you to examine the limitations and boundaries that you allow to tie you down. It’s time to unbind yourself from those burdens and open your eyes to the reality of your situation– the only person holding you back is you. What kind of limiting beliefs have you allowed to occupy your headspace? Do the people and energies in your life support your best interest or limit your mobility? It’s not always easy to face the truth, but you and I both know you can’t stay stuck here forever.
I am dissolving the limitations of my own mind. My thoughts support a healthy flow of energy.
Virgo – The Devil
Fear not, sweet Virgo, for the devil card is not nearly as scary as it looks. This month invites you to consider the attachments in your life that are holding you back or keeping you chained to lower vibrational frequencies. It’s time to take a closer look at the relationship you have with the people in your life, technology, and your own vessel. Unhealthy attachments can come in the form of addiction, toxic relationships, and self-harm. What is it time to let go of?
I lovingly release that which no longer serves me, which never served me to begin with.
Libra – Three of Swords
Libra, it’s likely that you’re already aware of the heartache that the three of swords implies. Sometimes our lives move in a different direction than that of those we care for. Trust that the absence of others, or the end of a relationship, no matter how painful, will likely help you grow into the version of yourself you long to be. Everything is in alignment with your plans, Libra, but sometimes that means having to walk away from people and situations that are not.
I gravitate towards healthy love. The relationships in my life are in alignment with the highest version of me.
Scorpio – Strength
The focus for Scorpio placements this month is strength, but I’m not talking about the kind you build at the gym. This type of strength will require you to better understand the inner workings of your heart, and learn how to transmute your deepest emotions into lessons in healing and growth. What can you learn from the things that bring you sadness, and alternatively, the things that bring you joy? When you feel angry, what is your heart trying to communicate with you?
My sensitivity gives me strength, and my vulnerability makes me resilient. My open heart is a blessing.
Sagittarius – The Sun
Childlike bliss, euphoric
I can’t think of a more perfect card for my sweet Sagittarius friends than the sun itself. This joyous card predicts forecasts of sunshine and blissful days. Gemini season will likely invite Sagittarius placements to tap into their inner child and look at life as one big adventure— something that should come easily for most of you. Let yourself bask in the light, fulfill your sense of wander, and find space to hold gratitude for each of the tiny blessings you find along the way.
When I send love and joy into the universe, love is returned to me, joy surrounds me.
Capricorrn – The Star
Capricorn, if you have recently found yourself in the midst of turmoil, the star indicates a renewed sense of hope and faith in the universe’s plan for you. The struggles you have faced have taught you important lessons about the role you play in this world, and the values you hold dearest to you. It’s time to open yourself up to a fresh perspective and new sources of inspiration. Allow this hopeful energy to carry you to new heights in the pursuit of your dreams.
I am in alignment with the universe’s plan for me. I find hope in both darkness and light.
Aquarius – The Moon
Illusion, subconscious energy
Sweet Aquarius, this month, the moon’s dreamy message indicates that you may be experiencing subconscious breakthroughs, or a persistent “gut feeling” lately. Allow those intuitive thoughts and messages to flow. The universe is trying to help you to notice energies that require a deeper awareness to perceive. Keep a dream journal, pay attention to synchronicities, and trust the natural flow of your subconscious thoughts.
My subconscious allows me to witness the natural patterns and synchronicities that surround me.
Pisces – The Hermit
Alone-time, personal growth
The hermit implies comfort in solitude for Pisces placements this month, which should make this dreamy sign feel right in their element. Pisces may enjoy the company of others, but typically have no issues being on their own. Right now, you are being challenged to use that alone time for personal growth and development. Cancel your plans, turn your phone on DND, and dive whole-heartedly into the things that inspire you to learn.
When I sit comfortably in my own silence I learn valuable lessons about myself and the world around me.
Aries – King of Wands
Aries, this Gemini season should invite confidence in your leadership skills and success in your entrepreneurial efforts. Fiery Aries placements are often known for being visionaries, and the king of wands emphasizes following through with these goals. Move with intention, stay focused, and believe that you have the power to achieve great things.
I lead my life with intention and meaning, because I know I have the power to manifest great success.
Taurus – Six of Wands
Lovely Taurus placements should be gloating with pride as the six of wands invites a season of celebration and accomplishment. It appears as though whatever you have poured your efforts into lately has met some milestone of achievement. You might find yourself surrounded by people cheering you on, and it’s important to allow this sense of pride and victory to remind you of all that you are capable of.
I humbly applaud myself for each milestone of success and reward my efforts with celebration.
By Anna Ervin
serves: 4-5 I dosage: 15-20mg per serving
• ½ C coconut aminos
• 2 Tbsp maple syrup
• 1 Tbsp infused olive oil (1 used 50mg)
• 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
• 1 tsp rice vinegar
• 1 C quinoa or rice (cooked)
• 1 sweet potato (diced)
• 1 C pineapple (cubed)
• 1 C shiitake mushrooms
• 1-2 stalks fresh swiss chard
• 1 Tbsp garlic (minced)
• ½ C cashews (roughly chopped)
• ½-1 tsp vindaloo curry seasoning
• salt o. pepper to taste
• fresh dill for garnish
Cook quinoa or rice per package instructions, set aside. Whisk sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
Heat 1-2 tbsp water in a large pan over low-medium heat. Add sweet potatoes and cover, allowing to simmer for 5-10 minutes, until soft enough to stab with a fork. Drain remaining water from the pan and add pineapple, mushrooms, and half of the sauce. Cook over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add cooked rice or quinoa, swiss chard, garlic, cashews, and seasonings
(excluding dill for now). Continue to stir and cook over medium heat for another 2-3 minutes, until swiss chard begins to wilt. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Drizzle the remaining sauce over each dish and garnish with fresh dill to serve.
The House Bills of 2022
Change on the Horizon of the Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Landscape
By Jessi Lane
The Oklahoma cannabis industry is preparing to buckle down in light of the May 26 roll out of METRC, Oklahoma’s contracted seed-to-sale and tagging system, as well as the introduction of several new House Bills designed to tighten up our Medical Marijuana program. As Legislature shifts their gaze to marijuana licensing and commercial grow reporting and closes in on retail counter flower engagement, cannabis industry professionals and patients alike question how these changes will affect them directly.
All state laws originate as bills. On average, roughly 2,500 to 3,000 bills are introduced each session (Farmer 2022). The sessions are held the first Monday in February through the last Friday in May, allowing legislative committees four weeks to consider new bills. Once a bill passes House and Senate, either in its original or amended form, it is known to be “enrolled.” The bill then goes to the Governor and becomes a law once signed (Gerrish 2022). However, only about 20 percent of legislative proposals become law. “When a bill reaches the governor’s desk, he has three options. He can sign it, making it law. He can veto it, sending it back to the Legislature. Or he can leave it lay. During the legislative session, if he leaves it lay for five days, it becomes law without his signature” (Farmer 2022).
There are a number of House Bills regarding medical marijuana at play this session. While the OMMA catches up on their backlog of pending license reviews, inspections, and investigations, House Bill 3208 places a 2-year halt on any new (non-renewal) dispensary, processing, and commercial grow business licenses to begin August 1, 2022. Upon completion, OMMA’s Executive Director, Adria Berry, may lift this moratorium.
HB 4056 creates a marijuana testing laboratory license category through OMMA. This bill also lays out who can and cannot operate the contracted lab and the ways in which OMMA may oversee said lab. A proposed substitute for HB 2179 suggests a tiered licensing commercial grow fee, determined by the size of the grow. The big guys and the little guys would no longer be required to pay the same fee. HB 4055 requires commercial growers to report their utilities and allow for data tracking. HB 3530 focuses on state tax revenue for the purposes of inspections. This bill allots five million dollars annually from state marijuana sales taxes to fund a county sheriff’s office grant to implement annual cannabis business inspections by the county Sherriff’s Department.
Another bill to sweep the House floor on Lincoln Boulevard with 8 yeas and 0 nays is HB 4287. This bill – drafted by District 98 Representative Dean Davis (R) of Broken Arrow, who is a member of the House Committee on Alcohol, Tobacco, and Controlled Substances for the State of Oklahoma – is known as the Flower and Pre-Packaging Act. It directs processors and commercial growers to sell cannabis flower, trim, shake, kief, or other flower-based product not defined as a concentrate to retail dispensaries in prepackaged containers no less than 3.5 grams and no more than one ounce. Engaging with the flower, known as “deli style sales,” is prohibited under the Flower and Pre-packaging Act, however, the packaging -usually drams and mylar bags- is no longer required to be opaque as long as it meets all other state requirements and is in an opaque exit bag, per proposed HB 3019. State compliant allocated smell jars at the retail counter will be allowed (Legiscan 2022).
Considering the nature of open container engagement at the retail counter paired with the current health crisis, and by citing preservation of the public peace, health or safety, the Flower and Pre-Packaging Act has been moved to Emergency status. The emergency clause is a provision that allows the bill to become effective immediately upon the signature of the Governor or at a specified date (Oklahoma Policy Institute 2022) and will “take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval” (Legiscan 2022). As introduced, HB4287 states that upon approval this act shall become effective November 1, 2022 (Legiscan 2022). Representative Scott Fetgatter tells Oklahoma City’s KFOR, “if all goes to the Republican’s plan, the earliest these policies would be put into action would be sometime in June” (2022). Until then, Oklahoma medical marijuana patients and industry professionals will stay tuned.
Dr. Carl Hart
A Scientist on a Mission to Spread Knowledge in Support of Health and Happiness of Drug Users
by Jessi Lane, Patient Advocate
Jessi Lane, Patient Advocate is a writer and Oklahoma cannabis industry professional since 2018. She is a Certified Cannacian III and Trichome Institute Certified Cannabis Consultant with a “full spectrum” Postpartum Wellness background.
“Whether we like it or not, recreational drugs are part of our society, and it should be our mission to use this knowledge in support of the health and happiness of drug users. Clearly, part of this mission is to try to keep them safe, not push them into the shadows and force them to risk their lives when there are better alternatives,” (p. 83) says Dr. Carl Hart (2022) in his latest book, Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear.
Carl L. Hart, PhD, is a neuroscientist and psychologist studying the behavioral and neuropharmacological effects of psychoactive drugs in humans. Dr. Hart is the Ziff Professor of Psychology in the departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University and is one of the first tenured African American Professors of Science at an Ivy League institution of higher learning. Hart is a member of the National Advisory Council of Drug Abuse and a board member of the Drug Policy Alliance. He has published a wide variety of scientific literature focusing on dependence, drug-taking behaviors, drug self-administration and the cognitive effects of drug use and has testified before the U.S. Congress serving as an expert witness on the effects of psychoactive drugs (American Psychological Association [APA], 2022). “I see the job of the scientist, in part, as helping to correct the blunders of politicians and journalists. It’s one of the reasons that I became a scientist” (Hart, 2022, p. 107), he says.
It may be true that Dr. Hart is a renowned scientist and an educator. But first and foremost, he is an activist. He is committed to our nation’s citizens who are “tired of watching their tax dollars fund unethical people and corporations” (Dr Carl Hart, n.d.). Dr. Hart has shared that this ultimately perpetuates social inequality and does not lead to effective drug policy. “The privileges afforded to some are acquired at the expense of others” (Hart, 2022, pg. 26), he reminds us. In fact, a 2020 report released by the American Civil Liberties Union showed Black people are 4.2 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana possession in Oklahoma, despite comparable national marijuana usage rates. Oklahoma also ranks thirteenth in the nation for the largest racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests (ACLU 2020). “This characteristically American pattern of cognitive flexibility on drug policy, with harsh penalties for some and sympathetic treatment for others, has a long history” (Hart, 2022, p. 25), he says. This issue of racial bias expands nations. “I have also observed that the enforcement of drug laws, regardless of the country, is frequently carried out in a selective manner. Individuals from despised and marginalized groups are disproportionately targeted, arrested, and imprisoned for drug-law violations, even though recreational drug use is common in every strata of society” (Hart, 2022, p.251).
Dr. Hart believes the US government should not infringe on certain unalienable rights of its citizens as described by the Declaration of Independence, of which he is inspired. Among these are the rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. He feels this document declares governments are created to secure these rights, not to restrict them. “Why is it that guns can be legally purchased but heroin cannot?” (Hart, 2022, p. 54) he asks. “Why is alcohol legal, whereas heroin is banned?” (Hart, 2022, p. 55) Dr. Hart has stated that adults should be permitted the legal right to sell, purchase, and use recreational drugs of their choice, just as they have the rights to engage in consensual sexual behaviors, drive automobiles, and purchase and use guns. “If there isn’t vigorous and continuous resistance to governmental intrusions on freedom, the rights guaranteed by our noble founding documents will be steadily eroded. I remind[ed] my students that it is their responsibility to fight each day for these rights. If they don’t, we will lose them” (Hart, 2022, p. 38).
With his expertise in pharmacology and all the pomp and circumstance that accompanies a man of his stature having been published extensively on the topic of drugs, Dr. Hart (2022) relays to us in the simplest of terms and with certainty, “there is no drug that produces addiction after only one use” (p. 94). In his thirty-year career, Hart (2022) says he has “discovered that most drug-use scenarios cause little or no harm and that some responsible drug-use scenarios are actually beneficial for human health and functioning. Even recreational drugs can and do improve day-to-day living” (p. 9). Furthermore, he tells us, “There are virtually no data on humans indicating that responsible recreational drug use causes brain abnormalities in otherwise healthy individuals” (Hart, 2022, p. 96). To account for the relatively small percentage of individuals who do become addicted, Dr. Hart has found co-occurring psychiatric disorders account for a substantial proportion of these addictions. “We need to cut the bullshit,” he says, “and stop pretending drugs inevitably – and only – lead to undesired outcomes” (Hart, 2022, p. 62).
Any old-timer will tell ya, marijuana available today is ten times more potent than the marijuana of the 1960s. This political regurgitation implies “the weed of the 1960s might have been relatively harmless, but the current stuff is dangerous. Well, that’s an oversimplification,” (pp. 73-74) says Dr. Hart (2022). He firmly believes, decade after decade the public has been deceived regarding the real effects of cannabis. He tells us, “A stream of blatant lies has been promulgated to justify marijuana prohibition” (Hart, 2022, p.164). He goes on to say, “Too many people now have marijuana-use experiences that conflict with the cannabis gaslighting engaged in by public officials” (Hart, 2022, p. 164). According to DEA.gov, Marijuana is a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision (Drug Enforcement Agency 2020). However, the March 3, 2022 OMMA licensing report shows 381,974 Oklahomans have received their license to consume cannabis for medical reasons (Oklahoma 2022). Dr. Hart’s (2022) extensive research can also argue “to say marijuana is a gateway to harder drugs is baseless: correlation, a mere link between factors, does not mean that one factor is the cause of another” (p. 8)
While cannabis may not be his primary drug of choice, Dr. Hart himself is a respected, successful drug user and is now, after many years, willing to share his firsthand experiences. “My conscience will no longer allow me to remain silent about my drug use, nor can I remain silent about the absurdity of punishing people for what they put into their own bodies” (Hart, 2022, p. 252). He goes on to say that, with his extensive studies, if he did not come out, he’d be a hypocrite and a coward (Hart, 2022, p. 252). “I should know because I had been living as such for many years, I refuse to do so any longer” (Hart, 2022, p. 252). He recommends that respectable middle-class drug users also stop concealing their use. In doing so it would help to thwart the generalization that all drug users are troubled, irresponsible members of society. Dr. Hart and his spouse, Robin, are in favor of whatever makes one a better person and makes the world a better place for all. “I am simply pointing out that we have found, at least from our perspective, what works for us, in line with who we are and with who we are striving to become- more compassionate and humane people” (Hart, 2022, pp. 116-117).
Dr. Hart understands the immense importance of his position as Guide, if you will, when wistfully reflecting on Gil Scott-Heron’s 2010 song, I’m New Here– “It’s just that the song forces me to think about my responsibility regarding showing others around; to provide drug users with a few important lessons to facilitate their health and happiness. If I had to boil them down to a few tips, they would involve these four topics; dose, route of administration, set, and setting” (Hart, 2022, p. 73). In Drug Use for Grown Ups, Hart provides detailed strategies that a responsible adult drug user can employ to enhance positive drug effects, while minimizing negative ones. These are the same tactics used in his government-funded research designed to keep research participants safe. “Dose is everything” (Hart, 2022, p. 74), he says. “By dose, I simply mean the amount of drug taken. This is perhaps the most crucial factor in determining the effects produced by the drug” (Hart, 2022, p. 73). He explains that generally, larger doses increase the likelihood of harmful effects- this being one of the most basic principles of pharmacology. We know that potency is the amount of drug required to produce a particular effect and have learned the smaller the amount needed to cause the response, the more potent the drug. Dr. Hart (2022) includes, “the route of administration determines the speed at which the drug reaches the brain and, therefore, the immediacy and intensity of the drug’s effects” (p. 75). The set and setting – or environment, mindset, and company – will also affect the user’s individualized results, as well as the user’s tolerance.
“It is not surprising that the highest drug-related mortality rates in the United States are found in regions, including the Appalachia and Oklahoma, with lower rates of university completion and greater economic distress” (Hart, 2022, p. 79), he says. Drug testing facilities would greatly reduce these numbers as Dr. Hart has found that a grave number of ODs are due to contamination, often with illicit Fentanyl. “Imagine if we could provide [drug safety testing services] for communities around the world and give every user the opportunity to test their drugs to ensure they are safe. Deaths from contaminated drugs would be dramatically reduced” (Hart, 2022, p. 81). In his international travels Dr. Hart (2022) has found fewer drug related deaths where drug testing services are available and believes “if our current government – or any government – were genuinely concerned about the health and safety of drug users, it would ensure that free, anonymous drug-safety testing services were widely available” (p. 250). That may be far and away for Oklahoma – and sadly too late for many of our loved ones who are drug users – however in a feat of social service in April 2021 Kevin Stitt approved Senate Bill 511, allowing drug users to exchange used hypodermic needles for clean needles without fear of retribution.
Recently Dr. Carl Hart visited Tulsa’s own Magic City Books for an in-person author event to celebrate the paperback release of his latest book, Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear. He shared Tulsa’s evening engagements with Snoop Dog and Ice Cube, who were performing up the street. “50-year-olds on stage doing hip hop. That’s gonna be interesting,” he smirked to his intimate audience. “We are competing with some aging hip hoppers.” Dr. Hart has visited Tulsa before and was among friends at Magic City Books. As a knowing audience nodded their heads in agreement he confirmed, “Oklahoma, you’ve been arresting everybody in this state.” He reiterates, “you are really one of those states that really go after your white people.” Familiar characters named in the book proudly took audience with attendees present from various Tulsa communities in almost gleeful congregation. “After reading this book, I hope you will be less likely to vilify individuals merely because they use drugs. That thinking has led to an incalculable number of deaths and an enormous amount of suffering. (Dr Carl Hart n.d.)” He goes on to say, “If the ideas expressed in this book are embraced, we can get on with the business of treating each other better and enjoying more meaningful and fulfilling lives. And isn’t that what we all want” (Dr Carl Hart n.d.)?
Today Dr. Hart resides in both New York and Geneva. “I can’t do the American thing anymore,” he told his captivated Magic City audience. “I’ve had enough of the hypocrisy.” He encourages us to go, live our lives openly and out. “There is no such thing as being completely safe. Any life worth living is not without risk. So, I would suggest you live your life as you see fit. At least you will be living” (Hart, 2022, p. 53).
The Budtender Diaries – Building Trust
by Anna Ervin
I think that “I don’t know” might be some of the most unappealing words you could hear come out of a budtender’s mouth. Sure, we all have to use them at times, and hopefully we follow up with a quick “but let me find out for you,” before proceeding to dig for more details… but what happens when those details aren’t readily available to us? Or we’re fed misinformation about the products we’re being asked to sell? I’m convinced that there is no greater shame than being unable to answer a question a patient has asked about the medicine they choose.
I’ve always been naturally self-competitive, so this kind of setback has been a difficult pill for me to swallow. There have been occasions that made me want to melt into a puddle of embarrassment on the dispensary floor after a patient left without making a purchase. This has little to do with monetary loss for me. Sure, I would want the dispensary I work for to succeed, but at the end of the day the thing that gets me is knowing that I failed to make the process of shopping for medicine easy and transparent for my patients. Looking back at a time when I was just a patient, I can remember feeling pretty discouraged when the people selling me medicine weren’t able to answer my questions about where it came from, or how it was cultivated or processed. I’m now positive that they felt the same.
I think I speak for most budtenders when I say that we want our customers to leave happy, empowered, and informed. At the end of the day, we need our patients to trust us, and the source of that trust traces back to both our own responsibility to stay informed, and our relationships with the brands that stock our shelves.
Now, I’m not here to whine about the issues I see without proposing at least a few ideas for solutions. I don’t have the type of brain that allows me to recognize a problem without coming up with a million ways to solve it. At the same time, these are just ideas. The goal is simply to offer a new perspective. Hopefully, this is only the beginning of the conversation. So where do we start?
Last month the focus was how cultivators and processors could better provide the resources and tools budtenders need in order to create a solid bond with dispensaries. This month, I’m turning the tables, but that doesn’t mean that both sides of the industry won’t find a little insight here.
I’ve said this before, and I will continue to reiterate for the rest of my career, but it is a budtender’s responsibility to continuously educate themselves about industry standards, as well as the science that goes into cultivation and extraction. I know this is a daunting task for some (like me). So instead of droning on about topics I don’t fully understand (yet), today I’m offering a list of tools budtenders and dispesaries can equip themselves with in order to build a foundation of trust and transparency, furthermore empower their patients to make educated choices when shopping for medicine.
Easily Accessible Lab Results
I know this seems obvious, but hear me out. I have worked in one dispensary, so I can’t speak on how many of the others operate. However, I will say this, it is gut-wrenching how grateful my patients were that I actually had test results on a shelf behind me for literally any of the products they asked for. This shouldn’t be something patients are surprised to see, it should be something they are used to. Having lab results that are easily accessible not only provides valuable information for patients that understand those results, but it gives budtenders a tool to help them sell products they may not know as much about.
Understanding Cannabinoids and Terpenes
Buy a poster for reference, make flash cards, do whatever you need to do, but learn your cannabinoids and terpenes. Though research is sparse, and we’re only just beginning to understand the effects these components contribute, this is hands down one of the most useful tools you could utilize to help you recommend products to patients. The most important thing to remember is that the research that’s currently available is just a starting point. Cannabis affects everyone differently, so while you might begin by explaining that terpinolene can provide energy and focus for some, you would also benefit from explaining that it can invoke anxiety or even sedation in others. This level of transparency with your patients not only empowers them with useful knowledge about cannabis, but it inspires them to pay closer attention to how different components of the plant benefit their experience or overall health.
Knowing the Right Questions
Rather than getting caught off guard on the sales floor, equip yourself with the knowledge your customers may seek before the products you sell even hit the shelves. What were the cultivation methods used? Processing methods? Are the extracts full-spectrum, distillate, or some form of isolate? Were solvents used in extraction? Are the products single-sourced or did they come from a collective of licensed cannabis businesses? The list could go on. These may be a bit on the extreme end, but there’s nothing worse than being surprised by a question that indicates your customer knows what they’re talking about. Talk to your cultivators and processors. Even if you’re not entirely sure what you’re asking yet, keep asking. I promise most of the people investing their time and livelihoods into cannabis are eager to share their expertise with you– and if they’re not, you should definitely ask more questions.
Building trust with our patients begins by building a foundation of trust in our cultivators, processors, employers, and ourselves. Put yourself in a patient’s shoes (this shouldn’t be difficult for most of us). Wouldn’t you want to purchase products from someone who takes the time to educate themselves and research what they’re selling? What are your thoughts? Let me know!
The Budtender Diaries
A monthly column which aims to shed light on important topics within the cannabis industry, and invoke positive change by inspiring empathy, awareness, and independent thinking. If you are a member of this community, you have the potential to help create an industry that benefits both patients and the makers of their medicine. If you have questions, stories, or topics you’d like to add to the conversation, please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org.