Oklahoma cannabis patients, like the rest of the state’s green industry, have gained a reputation for being especially enthusiastic about cannabis. We have over 5% of the state’s population as patients now, people are stepping out of the canna-closet, sharing their use with anyone who cares to see or listen, and in doing so, are not only shaking off decades of stigma and paranoia, but helping to educate the rest of the world about cannabis, and the people who use it.
Meka Stewart is one of those patients who’s taking her passion for the plant and sharing it with the world to show how it impacts and helps real people. Despite her obvious love for cannabis and the people who use it, Stewart’s upbringing was far less warm towards it, something most of us are quite familiar with. “Let’s just say I was a preacher’s kid, both mom and my dad. My upbringing in that household was strictly anti-cannabis, but my extended family was more conflicted.”
Against the strict views of her parents, Stewart credits her curious nature and her families knowledge of cannabis in gaining answers to questions. She said, that the ability to learn something, even when it was taboo for her household, was invaluable. “I am a curious nerd, so I asked family members that I knew consumed cannabis questions as often as I could, and learned from the knowledge they had to give.”
Now an adult, that curiosity hasn’t changed in the slightest, and it’s encouraged her to really dive into the industry and community by being more open and outward about her cannabis use while learning all she can along the way. “I’m still that curious nerd, and my opinion about cannabis has only become more positive,” she said. “I am a HUGE advocate for cannabis education. I don’t know it all, but I’m going to be a sponge and soak it up. I really love learning about cannabis and CBD.”
That passion for learning and sharing also extends to how she and her husband of fourteen years (and counting!) raise their children. “We have four beautiful children, and as parents, we’re very open about my use of medical cannabis. We always teach education first, and as my littles always say, ‘it’s just a plant.’.”
Beyond her passion as an advocate in Oklahoma’s cannabis community, Stewart expressed a deep appreciation of the plant for her own medical needs and said turning to cannabis as medicine has helped her be more open with her use. “I use medical cannabis for my mental health, depression and anxiety. I have hidden this part of my life since becoming an adult, and using cannabis and CBD for my ailments has allowed me to be more open and upfront with my use in public.”
Like so many others in the state, Stewart has taken to social media to help share a real-life cannabis journey and continue to break down old stereotypes through her Instagram page, @cannaeyesqueen.
In Rather than hiding in the garage for a quick smoke or feeling ashamed for picking up flower, Stewart has ripped open the curtains and stepped right out, living her life, as she said, out loud. “I’m just an ordinary girl doing extraordinary things. I’m making my own mark on the cannabis industry, spreading my love for cannabis through education,” she said. “I help other patients by living my journey out loud in real life, and by serving others. I don’t know it all, but I’m hungry and passionate to learn.”
That emphasis on education is one that she suggested patients who are feeling overwhelmed or uncertain pursue. “I know it sounds cliche, but cannabis education really is key. For those wanting to consume it, I’d just say don’t be fearful. Go to your local dispensary and talk to your budtenders about what they’ve tried, what they suggest, and then go research it online for yourself too,” she said. “As a patient, talk to different people and get different perspectives. Having the freedom to choose is the beauty and uniqueness of this program and each patient. Educate, then medicate.”
For those who have taken the first step in purchasing cannabis or a product to try, but are still feeling the shame and guilt of the past several decades lingering, Stewart has simple advice: “Drop the fear. It’s okay to consume cannabis. Don’t hide it.”