by Kayla Johnson
People turn to cannabis at different times in their lives for different reasons. Some people have been experimenting with it since they were teenagers and now discover that it offers real help for what they need. Others may have been opposed to it for many years, and when they finally tried it for themselves, realized that they’d been wrong, about the plant and people who use it. For many, cannabis offers a new chance at life in different ways, whether for their health, for their loved one’s health or their career, and opens doors that they may never have even glanced at without it.
Tiffanie Dartez is one Oklahoman who has blown the cannabis-doors wide open to create a new life for herself and her family. A native of Midwest City, she now owns and operates White Rabbit Medicinals, a medical cannabis processing company where she and her business partners create incredible edibles, candies, suckers and infused butter that patients can purchase from a wide range of dispensaries across the state to create their own edibles at home. In addition, she also prepares breakfast on the weekends at Hempton Heights, Oklahoma’s first cannabis-friendly resort, when there’s not a global pandemic happening. (By the way, go wash your hands!)
While Dartez has become a prominent member of the cannabis industry and has been a vocal advocate for patients and industry members alike, like so many of us, her early years were not as pro-cannabis, due to both the familiar push of ‘Say No to Drugs’ and her own family dynamics as a child.
“My dad had his own struggles with addiction when I was growing up, and the memories of him smoking cannabis at times really clouded my judgment for a few years,” she said. “It wasn’t until my own diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) that I realized the medicinal aspect of cannabis.”
Like thousands of patients across the country, her own health needs pushed her to reexamine what she thought she knew about cannabis, and the benefits she discovered completely changed her perception of the plant, and what she thought she needed to do in order to fight for her health.
“I was overmedicating my disease with incredibly harsh medications and procedures that were just causing more health issues. Autoimmune diseases aren’t healed or cured, doctors simply try to tame the symptoms of the disease. After a while, I was taking seven pills a day and a weekly shot, just to feel like I always had the flu. The medication did nothing to slow the progression of the disease, and I was told this was my only treatment option for MS. “
Rather than give in to the illness or fear, Dartez said that was when she decided to try something new. “Once I found cannabis and decided to create my own treatment plan, my outlook on life changed. I no longer was on a path that clearly had not worked for me or others like me, and I was in charge again. I lost so much of my independence with my diagnosis, but cannabis gave it back to me instantly.”
As many other parents can relate to, she said one of her biggest struggles early on once she began consuming it a decade ago was finding a happy medium, between being honest with her kids, and ensuring that her secret was safe in order to protect her family.
“My two children are adults now, and I’m completely open with them about my cannabis use and my healthcare. When I first started consuming cannabis ten years ago, it was hard to balance telling my kids the truth about cannabis and how it helps me, but also making sure they kept that secret to themselves outside of the family. It was a very confusing time for a while, but once they began to see how cannabis changed who I was as a mom, they were completely supportive.”
Dartez actively advocated for State Question 788, and realized she could help bring together her passion for cannabis with another great love: cooking. “During that time, my goal was to somehow educate people on the benefits of incorporating cannabis into their diets. I was a chef in another life, so when the opportunity came to bring my two passions together, I jumped in.”
Ever since that leap, Dartez has made quite a splash in the state; along with her success with White Rabbit Medicinals, she also hosts a cooking channel, called Mother Rabbit Mondays, to teach patients how to cook with cannabis and offers tips on how to properly medicate or dose their edibles for their needs. While her plate is full, so to speak, her drive to help others keeps her motivated, and said seeing how her product directly helps people makes it all worth it.
“Seeing how our candies and butter make a difference in how people live means a lot to me. I love hearing stories of how our products helped someone sleep, or gave someone pain relief for the first time in years. It’s a huge compliment to us when patients take time out of their day to send us positive feedback. On the days that I struggle myself as a patient, those acts of kindness make it all worth it.”
Known for being an advocate for women in cannabis, Dartez encouraged those who are interested in getting involved in some way to find a way to start getting in contact with women within the industry, including industry meetups like Women + Weed. “It’s a great event to network and speak with other women in all levels on the industry. Just stay focused and get involved.”