“A Peaceful Nights’ Rest At Last”
I am told by Caren Woodsen, who should know, that I am safe for a year. For real.
Maudlin isn’t my style, nor is thinking that because I started Constance Pure Botanical Extracts six years ago that I’m “Old Guard.” So many others have risked so much more and served Madame Cannabis long before I began doing so. Particularly, I’d like to acknowledge Lawrence Ringo, whose early work stabilizing CBD was important and who left us this year.
So before I launch into my joy, hats off to Lawrence and the many others who made this dream a reality.
Six years ago, I was really scared. I wasn’t a legal risk taker by any means. I was a brave, ethical, true-to-values sort who thought out of the box. I pioneered the use of low income housing tax credits developed by non-profits by introducing them to institutional investors who reaped the rewards.
So in 2008, when I started experimenting with producing cannabis therapeutics for myself, though it was perfectly legal, it was still quite scary. Countless nights I woke up at 3 a.m. in fear. And when I started working with doctors to help gliobastoma patients live a semi-normal life, I got even more worried. It was exhilarating to know how generous a plant can be to us humans, but also terrifying in the sense that if anyone found out I would be in danger. What a crucible!
As I became aware of how bona fide these claims of cannabis therapeutics were from both personal and secondhand experience, I felt even more excited to know that the way I was doing this process could make a huge difference in people’s lives. And my sleep was interrupted more.
How could it be true that I could go to jail for doing something in the service of harmony? Why couldn’t I send relief to patient across state lines? I worried a lot that I might get sent to jail, or that I could become a pariah if charged for no good reason. We all tend to assume someone is guilty if charged, unless we’re really aware of the situation.
Cannabis was isolating me, but not because of my behavior. It was because of other people’s judgments about me allowing cannabis to express herself in ways that helped other people.
A stranger once called our small and scrappy organization the “little engine that could” and I loved that. There have been so many difficulties borne of the hazy legal umbrella we function under. Don’t ask me for the victim litany—just trust me when I say it hasn’t been easy.
But now, something truly wonderful has happened. For one year, the DEA is unfunded from its decades-long harassment of legally functioning businesses in the medicinal cannabis world in legal states. This is so huge. As I’ve come to understand it—after communicating with Steph Scherer, Khurshid Khoja, Matt Cohen and Caren Woodsen—it seems that there is some reality to this reprieve, at least for a year.
We can finally sleep peacefully at night.
Thank you to all and anyone that made this happen. And Happy New Year from those of us sleeping better at night at CPBE!