by Kayla Johnson
Cannabis has brought new opportunities to thousands of people across the state of Oklahoma. For some, the medicine has been life-changing for their health, giving them the freedom to do their favorite things, or even return to work after being unable to for years. For others, it’s brought new business and a new career for people who had been yearning for a change. For many, it’s been both, and it’s not uncommon for patients to turn their passion for the plant into a new way of life. Greg Wilson is one such person.
While he was born on the west coast, Wilson claims Oklahoma as home, and has turned his love for cannabis into a thriving set of businesses serving the patients and businesses of Oklahoma. Unlike many in the Bible Belt who grew up solely hearing about the dangers of cannabis, his family was quite divided on their views towards the plant: “I grew up in a conflicted family; on one side, it was that ‘wacky tobacco’, on the other side, it was something that I saw help uptight people relax and be more social,” Wilson said. “Despite that, I’ve always had a great love affair with cannabis. If anything, legalization has just increased my passions for it,” Wilson added.
Wilson has taken the plunge head-first into the cannabis industry with his brand, Mr. Mack’s, and the companies he co-owns, Pot Pop’s and Dank Confections. He continues to not only be an advocate and mentor for the industry, but he also uses cannabis for his own health needs as well. This keeps him firmly rooted in his perspective of what cannabis patients need: “I suffer from sixteen of the eighteen primary points of fibromyalgia, so I have widespread pain in my limbs and chronic nerve pain. I have a regimen of daytime strains, midday strains, and evening strains to help me get through it. This allows me to have a full-day of relief and still have a fully functional day.”
That need for different strain varieties played a big role in Wilson’s journey to becoming a cannabis breeder before his days at the helm of Mr. Mack’s. As a grower and breeder, he traveled quite a bit to grow and breed for others under the name Chilly Mack, until State Question 788 became more than a rumor, and he decided it was time to bring his experience home.
Now, with nearly two years since the vote on 788, Wilson, like so many other patients-turned-industry-member, has become more open with his family about not only his work, but his daily use as well: “I’m very open with my children. They know about my condition and my usage, and my older kids ask questions. They are amazed at the different medical benefits they hear and read about. With the success of our brand, my family and friends who did not really support or approve of it before, are now major supporters. That feels good, knowing they get to see the fruition of a dream and how it is impacting lives.”
Wilson continues providing his fellow patients with smokeless medicating options and this has kept him busy. His company is vertically integrated with its own growing and processing facilities, as well as a retail store under the same name. Keeping the medicine in house, from seed to final product, has allowed him to continue with his passions for breeding strains specific to patient needs, and it has left him with a few favorites that have been developed: “Of our in-house strains, my favorite is Bloos Kloos, a cross of Blueberry to Northern lights and Larry OG, but I’m also partial to God’s Gift, an indica, and Powder Hound, a sativa.”
In spite of the success of the cannabis industry in the state so far, Wilson is among those who, while they are very much in favor of recreational legalization, are hesitant to get behind it. Wilson believes that more should be done to protect patients and the industry as a whole from still-overzealous legislators, and a still-staunch opposition, that seems determined to push the industry to destroy itself with high fees or inward fighting about recreation bills: “I’m a proponent of recreational legalization, but I think we’re still too early to talk about recreational. I would like to see less opposition from legislators, along with a fair playing field where everyone is fully informed. Some of these bills that have been put forward recently, #3061, #1245 and others, are just legislators trying to make it even more difficult to access medical cannabis. Our program is still being treated like a covert drug operation. We are still being hit with propaganda campaigns and scare tactics when all we have seen is good from the program.”
Despite that lingering opposition in the legislature and beyond, Wilson pointed out that in relatively short order, the world has gone from being wrapped solely in the mindset of Reefer Madness on TV to actual documentaries being filmed that show the benefits of the plant globally. He says that this shift, happening locally, nationally, and internationally, has inspired him to stay active in the industry.
Like many of us, one of Wilson’s favorite aspects of having his card is simply the freedom from fear: “There is not really a fear of law enforcement anymore, and I don’t have to worry about getting locked up for a plant. I don’t use pain pills or anything like that, so having a natural alternative without fear is amazing, and it has three side effects: hungry, happy and sleepy.”
While cannabis has been a part of his life for years, Wilson has simple advice for those who have only recently considered giving the plant a try for their own health: “Read, read, and read. Everyone’s physiological makeup is different, and so are the products and strains available. Do your research, start small, and work your way up.”