Patient of the Month – Mercedez McCall

by Kayla Johnson

Oklahoma’s patient rate is catching national attention, and for good reason: 5% of our state population now carries a medical cannabis license, and the number continues to climb each month as more patients are approved. Some of them have never consumed cannabis before it was legalized, while others have been toking since the 70s and 80s for their ailments, and no matter what age you first lit up, your cannabis story is as unique as you are. For Mercedez McCall, it was a story she didn’t get a chance to begin until her early twenties, though her passion for the plant has made up for any potential lost time. 

A ‘homegrown Oklahomie’ from Oklahoma City, McCall says her earliest experience with cannabis wasn’t as early as some. “I didn’t get into partaking cannabis until I was 22. It all started with a roommate that showed me the basics.” Like many patients, her pre-legalization cannabis experience was less than ideal, and far from reliable. “It was always asking friends for a plug, or the plug is out, it was very frustrating trying to stretch my flower out as long as I could.” McCall, like others, had issues beyond the reliability factor,” You never knew what you were getting, or even how terrible the quality really was until you broke the buds apart yourself to see.”

Despite being raised in a notoriously anti-cannabis state, McCall says she grew up feeling fairly neutral towards the plant. “Honestly, I don’t have any memories of being anti or pro-cannabis. When I got closer to my adult years, though, my parents were more open about being pro-cannabis.” Now that medical cannabis is legal in the state, she says that her family has become more open about cannabis overall, and many of them use it in their own lives. “Almost all of us have our medical cards! Our family motto is ‘a family that tokes together stays together’, and I really do get the best support from my family, including my wonderful husband and our dog, Ebon. We don’t have kiddos, but he really is our pride and joy.”

 

McCall, a freelance macro cannabis photographer, started her Instagram, @dankblacksheep, back in April when she received her medical card, and says that it allows her to have a new appreciation for the plant. “Macro photography allows you to really see the beauty of the trichomes up close, and I thought it would be sick to show people what the buds they’re buying really look like up close.” She credits her cannabis use with helping to spark her creativity, but also credits it with something far more important,” I use cannabis for a lot of things, including my stress and for my mental health. I really let my depression take over the past couple of years, but I worked on that through cannabis and a positive network. Honestly, nothing is better than that first toke after a long-ass day, and just feeling the bullshit roll off my shoulders.”

McCall, similar to how many patients likely felt before their first legal purchase, admits to having butterflies that day in April. “I felt excited and a little nervous, because I didn’t know what to expect. I remember walking into Sage Wellness for the first time and they asked what I was in for, and I didn’t know how to answer.” She says she finally blurted out whatever she could think of. “All I could say was,’I’m here..to buy weed?” I felt so silly, but after I walked out with my purchase, I just stood outside and stared at my exit bag for a while, then ran to my car and immediately called my sister to tell her the awesome news,’ I just made my first legal purchase and it feels awesome!’”

Despite her love for cannabis and the community around the plant, McCall points out a major issue with the way things currently stand. “We have way too many people flooding the prison system over marijuana charges, and they need to be let go. We need to legalize cannabis on a federal level, and not just a state level.” She also echoed the same sentiment that many other patients in the state have shared: “The taxes are ridiculous.”

Even with the improvements and changes that still need to be made within the cannabis industry as a whole, McCall says the Oklahoma cannabis community has inspired her to get involved. “I love seeing how excited everyone is to just be a part of history. The people fought so hard to get here, and they are flourishing! I want to be a part of something great, and this is it. I want to help people find their favorite strains and educate them. I’m working on so many things!” 

For McCall, having access to legal cannabis has helped her become more at ease with using it as her medicine of choice. “I don’t have to worry anymore about ever running out, or having to put myself out there and meet potentially risky strangers to get the product I need. I love just being able to get in my car and go to my local shop to get what I want, when I want.” Cannabis has made an undeniable impact on her own life and for those considering trying it for the first time for their own health needs, McCall has some advice. “Don’t be nervous! Talk to your local budtender, tell them it’s your first time, and don’t be scared to ask questions. Consider keeping some CBD on you as well. Surround yourself with experienced and positive people and just relax.”

 

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