You’re Either For or Against Cannabis

That moment when you draw a line in the sand for you and your circle. Stand for something or fall for anything.

 

Finding Your Way to The Other Side of Trauma With Cannabis

As posted in Elevate

I wasn’t sure how to start this piece. How do I have a conversation about what happened on October 1? Should I say where I was? Seems insignificant in comparison to where the victims were. Do I say how I felt? How I feel isn’t as important as how the victims and their families feel.

Honestly, I am unsure if anything I write matters in comparison.

Almost a month ago, Las Vegas was involved in a mass shooting. This city and I will never be the same.

Two days after the shooting I boarded a plane to California to see my son. The timing couldn’t have been any better. I was overwhelmed with emotions and I needed to hug my son. As I sat on the plane I began to write my son a letter. It’s a habit I began the first time I flew away after he was born. It helps relieve my anxiety.

You see, I am Bipolar type 2. As a result of my mental illness, I suffer from mania from time to time. As I get older it gets worst. I am not sure when or why I get anxiety and or panic attacks, they just happen. Here I was on a plane to California two days after the nation’s deadliest mass shooting and the pilot had just announced we were going to be delayed due to Air Force One landing.

I felt myself panicking.

I took deep breaths and started talking myself down. Reminding myself that my anxiety was all in my mind. I was okay. Everything would be okay. My panic was increasing and I knew I had just a very few minutes left before I would be irrational. I jumped up and asked to use the restroom. The flight attended told me I had to be quick because they were sure we were going to be given the okay to take off soon.

I went into the restroom and looked at myself in the mirror. I told myself to calm down. Nothing was helping. Thankfully I carry my RELAX CBD vape pen around my neck at all times. I knew I was risking being thrown off the plane but I had to take the chance. I was overwhelmed and seconds away from a full-fledged panic attack. If you’ve never had a panic attack, for some, the symptoms mimic a heart attack.

I inhaled the vape three times and allowed myself to relax.

The flight attendant knocked on the door and said they had been given the okay to take off and I would need to take my seat. I sprayed my body spray before exiting and went to my seat. My anxiety had subsided before we had taken off. I relaxed and enjoyed my flight.

Many people are suffering from 1 October in a variety of ways. I have received an influx of questions regarding cannabis and its effects on PTSD, anxiety, and stress. Every time someone asks me about treating their ailments I ALWAYS recommend a CBD (cannabidiol) treatment. CBD is cannabis’ secret weapon and has significant medical benefits, but does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counteract the psycho-activity of THC. The serum comes in many different forms — one less intrusive than the other. CBD has been known to send lifetime illnesses in remission and submission. The cannabinoid has been effective in dissolving blood clots, acts as a healing aid for skin issues and has anti-inflammatory properties.

For me, it takes the place of my anti-depressants and anxiety pills.

I am proud of how the Las Vegas community has come together and loved on each other. If I were able to, I would have offered EVERY SINGLE one of the victims and their families a week’s supply of CBD elixir. I know it would have aided in some relief as they dealt with what they had witnessed. We are #VegasStrong.

When Being the “ONLY” Isn’t a Win

As posted in elevatenv.com/blackabis

The weight of being THE ONLY is something I wake up to every day. The weight holds me accountable to being focused and intentional. It silently puts a responsibility on me to overachieve and to understand legislative issues and policy. To be the eyes and ears of my Blackness being included. To seek out opportunities for others in the future. To create conversation when necessary and write blogs that make people uncomfortable and think. This is the single most important time of my life and I know it.

It’s easy to dismiss someone who is writing about what they think is going on. It’s harder to dismiss someone who knows. I love what I do. I absolutely love taking care of patients and mentoring my staff. Even with all that gratification, I get my feelings hurt every day because of the color of my skin. My team has learned to brush it off but for me whenever it happens, it still stings.

In 2013 my mentor introduced me to the cannabis industry. It wasn’t long after that I became a cannabis patient. As a minister in an African American Holiness Church I struggled with coming out as a patient and industry leader. How could I tell my community that I was going to “sell drugs legally?” I was afraid I would let my pastor, peers and church down. I didn’t want to be labeled as a “ghetto hood rat” because I choose to use cannabis as treatment for my mental health issues. I didn’t want to let my community down by entering an industry known for incarcerating my people.

Every time I would show up to a City Council, County Commissioner or state meeting I would desperately scan the room hoping to catch a glimpse of others like me. Desiring to connect with someone who could empathize with what I was experiencing. While I haven’t found that community I am looking for, I am grateful to the women in my life who have supported and loved me while I cocooned.

I KNOW I am fortunate that I work in a black-owned establishment. It allows me the opportunity to be who I am freely. To practice and develop my #BLACKGIRLMAGIC openly. To challenge the system AND give voice when the platforms are made available. However, I am very much aware that I work in an industry where my African American owners are the ONLY African American-owned and funded dispensary in Nevada. This makes them part of the one percent of the industry’s African American ownership invested in the cannabis space – a space that is forecasted to have revenues in the $20-billion-dollar range by 2020.

I don’t want to work for THE ONLY African American dispensary in Nevada. I want to be part of a network of African American dispensary owners in Nevada. I don’t feel like I am winning as the “only.” I feel like an evangelist constantly looking for tent service where others like me are gathered on one accord. I started Blackabis because I hoped it would attract other African American men and women in the cannabis Industry. It is my beacon of light in a dark sea. Today we are few but I believe sooner than later we will be plenty.

The Dawn of Legalization in Nevada

In less than 24 hours Nevada will sell marijuana to adults over 21. In a business full of people of means there is an anxiousness to stop the bleeding of cash. An estimated 46 Dispensaries in Nevada, all medical facilities have been operating in hope for this day.

Many of the Industry leaders in Nevada have spent most of their lives believing marijuana was a gateway drug and everyone that smokes it was a thug. Some of them still do. However, on tomorrow night, they will ALL make their mark as the FIRST to sell marijuana legally in Nevada.

Las Vegas is estimated to have over 40 million visitors this 4th of July. Many of them will absolutely try pot for the first time while they are here. I wonder how many of those people will walk into a minority owned establishment and purchase minority products?

While I will admit this is a time to celebrate I also can not help but mourn a little. I know that someone in my community is STILL incarcerated for the same amount of marijuana someone else this weekend is going to be able to purchase “legally.”

In 2016 I advocated for Question #2 because I knew legalization was what was best for my community. Not because of the dollar but because if there is a possibility ONE of my brothers didn’t go to jail for pot, my community wins. Also because I have a minority son and it is my responsibility to make a better future for him.

So although legalization is a victory for those who will profit, I am very much aware of the places where my community is losing. There is 1 Black owned Dispensary, 3 Black owned cultivation and not one black owned lab. That means the odds of someone walking into a minority by ethnicity owned dispensary is 45 to 1 and the odds of someone buying a minority by ethntecity product is 75 to 3. I know these numbers sound unreal but I can only write what I know. This is the place where I mourn our loss.

My mentor once told me, “everyone is ok with Minorities being employees, NO ONE wants us to own.”

I have seen the future of this industry and I am few and far between. The future is White male doctors, scientist, lawyers and politicians. They ALL believe this plant can help treat many ailments but their true consumers are minorities. Marijuana is legal, they are getting paid and they STILL just see us as thugs.

 

 

African American’s Marijuana to be Sold in Las Vegas

Nature’s Kindest Delbert and Dyran have been working on this project for over 2 years. Congratulations to them and their partner Stephanie for being consistent and seeing this thing through.

 

You can ask for Nature’s Kindest at your local Nevada Dispensaries.

 

Interview was done LIVE on Facebook on Nov 2016 by A’Esha Goins & Eboni Browning

Marijuana for Pain Instead of Pain Pills

The most frequent question asked this week in the dispensary has been, ” How do I use marijuana to manage my pan?”

Although the answer would seem simple, the symptoms are not. I’ve had patients come in to the dispensary with illnesses ranging in severity from arthritis to multiple sclerosis. The pain ranging from mild to consistently agonizing. Each time I’m offering a different remedy for the question. The one thing that is consistent in all my suggestions is the use of CBD. 

The cannabinoid CBD acts an anti-inflammatory and can be used everyday without any psychoactive activities happening in the patient. I typically will suggest CBD as an every day supplement or with the use of a transdermal patch. 

Its easier to ask patients to use marijuana in forms that are non intrusive than to ask someone that’s never smoked before  to begin smoking. However, very often if the pain is severe or if the patient has already built an addiction or need for opiot based pain killers, we will suggest THC in microdoses to ease pain. 

We’re in a world of the Evolution of marijuana and because of that you can eat it, vape it, bathe in it, lotion with it, drink it like a cough syrup, use it as a lip balm etc… 

There are many ways a person can use marijuana as a treatment without changing their lifestyle or adopting a new one. 

African Americans Open Marijuana Farm in Vegas

About a year and a half ago, I was at Applebee’s with my mentor having all day marijuana meetings. That day we were at Applebee’s for about 10 hours. We got there for lunch at noon and I remember having to damn near hitch a ride home around 10 p.m. That was a very busy and memorable day. We met with a realtor, an engineer, a doctor, the partners, potential employees and of course a cultivation owner.

As we were finishing our meeting with the engineer, I was ordering my 5th round of drinks when in walks two young African-American men. They introduce themselves to my mentor as G5 Cultivation. Up until that moment, my mentor and I weren’t aware of any other African-Americans in the Las Vegas area cannabis business. It was a pleasant and greatly inspiring moment.

Larry Smith and Shawn Holman comprise G5 Cultivation, and are also natives of Las Vegas. Larry is a successful local businessman and Shawn is a local electrician. Larry can be described as being strong in stature while Shaun noticeably wears a head wrap which honors his culture. Both men confidently shake my mentors hand and sit with us at the table. At that point, we ordered more food and began to dialogue on the upcoming changes to our city as the cannabis industry begins to boom.

Today, we are in the dawn of the opening and launch of G5 Cultivation. Our launch party is set for June 7th, 2016 at the SLS Hotel and Casino as the city of Las Vegas eagerly awaits the arrival of its FIRST black owned and black funded marijuana farm.

Larry, why did you decide to get into the marijuana business?

Larry: Shawn pursued me and thought it would be a great challenge for us. The more I researched and learned about the culture the more I saw the opportunity to help the people and make an impact in my community.

How important is the support of your family while running your business?

Larry: It’s EVERYTHING to me. Without my family and friends, my business won’t have life.

Is being a marijuana farmer harder than you thought it would be?

Larry: No, not at all. It really is a lot of fun. I enjoy the challenges this business has to offer. I wake up early every morning and dig in. I also like being the diversity in the business. It means that I have an opportunity to be the first. That is a great feeling!

What are your highest expectations for the cultivation business?

Larry: Do your best!

I really only have one expectation for myself in this business, “Touch the line.” It’s a basketball term that means, “Don’t cheat yourself.”

If you had to do it all over again, would you?

Larry: Absolutely! Without the cultivation there is no product. The farmer is essential to the cannabis business. This is the best business to own in the cannabis business.

What advice would you give someone who wants to be in the cannabis business?

Be prepared to bust your ass and do the work because there are others that are busting their ass as well.

What legacy do you plan to leave for your children?

To just simply be kind, humble and do right by others. Those three things will always open doors and will carry them further than anything else I could leave them.

 

You can follow Larry and Shawn and their adventures of  Selling Marijuana Legally  on YouTube.

 

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Jo Cato ( Pulse Magazine), Larry Smith, Shawn Hollman & A’Esha Goins enjoying African-American Community during a Family Reunion Concert in the Park in Las Vegas, NV

By A’Esha Goins