THE PEOPLE OF Mississippi have spoken. A medical marijuana program is being put into place as I write this. There is so much work to be done, the task for the Mississippi Department of Health is a monumentally gigantic one. The horticultural world has been in a positive tizzy because of all of the possibilities and opportunities in front of us now.
The medical world will be forever changed now that we have this chance to lunge Mississippi up front with the most progressive states in the country. The real estate sector in our state, along with the restaurant and hotel industry are buckling up their boots for more flow through their businesses. Most importantly the patients of Mississippi are about to get the relief they deserve. I talk to a lot of people about how patient care will be affected. It’s easy to see why the children suffering from seizures and cancer patients dealing with nausea and pain are the first things most people thought of when they voted YES for this program.
There are so many other reasons that cannabis should be a part of health care. The silent patients are a huge part of the equation. These are the everyday folks in our families and in our lives who suffer from anxiety, insomnia, live with pain, have issues with alcohol and drugs, have restless legs, the list goes on and on of the issues that medical marijuana will bring relief to. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have or know someone in their family who suffers from one of these ailments. Help is on the way.
There are many ways to get THC into a patient’s system and from what I’ve learned is everybody’s chemistry is a little different as far as how an individual can be affected. Some people will prefer the edibles market. Edibles come in the form of a gummy or beverage or candy that offers relief that people are comfortable with because it comes without the old stigma of a bag of weed, a pipe and the smell many associate with the counter culture of the 60s. Some people prefer combustibles which include cartridges that can be safely vaped without all the fuss and the smell is virtually non-existent. I think the cartridges are going to be huge in Mississippi because of the ease of delivery of the medicine to the patient.
Of course the most important to most patients and the most common way to achieve delivery of the medicine is through smoking the flower of the cannabis plant. Most people who have experienced the effects of the THC molecule from the flower to treat nausea from side effects from pharmaceutical drugs and cancer treatments or managing chronic pain prefer to combust the flower because delivery is so much faster than the other methods.
There is so much to learn about how this medicine can have a positive effect in your life whether it’s witnessing a struggling family member having an easier time with ailments or discovering ways to live more comfortably. I have experienced the topical pain cream that will soon be available to all medical card holders. The pain cream is nothing short of a miracle.
I was headed towards my second carpel tunnel surgery which is expensive and takes months to fully recover from, not a good situation for a guy in my line of work or for any situation, when I decided to try to be religious about applying the cream twice a day every day while I procrastinated setting up a redo surgery. I can’t find a “good” time to go through all that recovery time in my calendar. I knew immediately relief was on the way. Three weeks into it my problems with both wrists were over. I try to be careful with my wrists now but I know what to do if it flares up again.
I FEEL LIKE MOST Americans live with some degree of pain since we start working from the minute we can until the minute we can’t. Hard working Americans are rough on our bodies to the point that by the time we should be able to retire we are too beat up to enjoy the later part of our lives. Not only the physical impact that our fast paced lifestyles are subjected to but the stress and anxiety that comes along with the pace and high expectations of life these days is literally killing us.
Stress has been proven to lead to many major health problems. Stress is one thing we can control with some mindfulness, prayer and a purposeful plan that includes relaxing your mind and your body during some part of our hectic day. Marijuana is a tool Mississippi voters now have decided overwhelmingly to allow us to have a chance to let alternative medicine be a path towards health at a time and a place where it is needed more than ever.
My hat is off to the voters of Mississippi for feeling open enough to choose such a positive and healthy approach to the care for those of us who suffer in some way every day. I’m no doctor but I have seen firsthand some pretty incredible turnarounds in some seemingly hopeless situations such as PTSD, major anxiety and addiction.
I have been to states where the programs have been in place for a while and the income generated has been a story worth noting in and of itself. Not only the obvious economic impact from the taxation from the sales but as importantly, the impact on our everyday businesses that comes along with employment opportunities. The cultivation facilities, processing labs and dispensaries employ thousands of people on all levels from highly specific jobs to jobs where no college degree is necessary. That is the kind of employment range that causes positive ripples throughout our state. The people who will be involved in this new industry will need to have housing, eat food at our local restaurants, join churches, spend money at our local stores and all that brings with it a huge impact to our economy in Mississippi. Probably more than any other industry in our state since it’s not confined to any one area of the state like farming in the delta or fishing on the coast or making cars at one huge factory. The medical marijuana program will provide an industry that is literally everywhere in our state so no city or county goes untouched by the improvements it has to offer. I really like the sound of that.
It is new to us and there will be lots of questions that will have to be answered from us who want this to go well and want it to benefit our state. I love living in Mississippi as do most people who find themselves here for whatever reason. I can see the problems that we face every day. I want to do anything I can do to help diminish the issues in this state in any way I can and I believe most of our problems stem from our economic woes and our health care. I believe they come hand in hand causing life altering deficiencies in our social system starting at the top with education of our youth and tracking through health care and economic issues.
Mississippi voted that we believe these issues are surmountable with an already proven methodology. The states that have medical marijuana programs before us have proven to us voters it is a system that works with very few hiccups. I’m proud of our state for finally having felt like that’s enough of this business about being last in everything good and first in everything bad. I’m so tired of hearing that saying. Apparently just about everyone in Mississippi has grown weary of that little joke. We are now moving on.
WHEN I TALK TO friends in states with a medical program I hear about the big things discussed earlier but I love to hear their personal stories about how they drink less alcohol by having a bite of a gummy instead of another drink which has caused them to begin losing weight, feeling better in the mornings after getting restful sleep. We all know those are the things that can lead to better relationships and marriages which leads to more focus on our children which leads to everyone being happier, the main goal in life, right?
It’s obvious that I’m pretty excited about the changes that are coming our way. My excitement comes from all those things above but also for the opportunities that having another agricultural crop to learn about offers. This is a horticulturist’s dream come true. This is, finally, an agricultural endeavor that will be very lucrative. We can’t say that about most of the things we do in agriculture. We usually have some crazy bone in us that we are going to do things in agriculture whether or not they are necessarily lucrative. Now we have the ultimate opportunity right here in front of us.
I’m going to be involved in any way that I can. I will help cultivate the plants, consult with people in the industry, and I am on the board of the Mississippi Cannabis Trade Association, better known as the MSCTA. I love getting people connected with the right people when it comes to anything agriculturally, especially when it benefits the state I love so much. MSCTA has a mission I can get behind because it is everything I believe can happen for my hometown that has given me and my family so much to be proud of.
MSCTA WAS FOUNDED to unite the legal cannabis industry, by curating a legitimate and robust industry alongside educating and supporting the public, patients, lawmakers, regulatory bodies and our members regarding our state’s emerging cannabis market
I have been getting trained by one of the larger cultivation facilities in the state and getting educated in all of those aspects of the MSCTA mission so I will be able do my part when it comes time to see this program through successfully so Mississippi can move forward. My son, Max has been trained in the cultivation field and is prepared to train the folks who are flocking towards the employment opportunities our state is experiencing. Max and I, with the support of Mimi and the crew at Garden Works have been in training for the last year in preparation for this. My daughter, Mia, has her master’s in mental health therapy from Ole Miss and stands behind this program 100%.
The law Mississippi voted in allows the mayors or supervisors to opt out of the program, and for whatever political reasons, some will opt out as the City of Ridgeland has. MSCTA can see the overwhelming majority of voters in Ridgeland that voted YES for the program so we don’t think that getting a petition with 1,500 signatures will be too daunting of a task. The law reads that the petition requires 20% of the residents or 1,500 signatures, whichever is less, can then vote it back in within 60 days.
This is in no way a vote against our mayor who I have a wonderful relationship with or our supervisors who I hold in the highest regard for the positive work they’ve done in our city. They are being careful in their decision to opt out because of the fear of the unknown. I respect that, but no one ever got anywhere making decisions based on fear. The education will come and we must have faith and do our due diligence to make this a success together as a community so it will work.
This Saturday, March 12, MSCTA will be set up at my business in Ridgeland, Martinson’s Garden Works at 650 highway 51. Ridgeland residents are invited (must be registered to vote) to come by and sign your name to that petition to show your support for Ridgeland and to be a part of this hugely transformative moment that our state is about to experience.
I personally can’t wait to become a part of history that will allow our community and our state to change forever and put that “last place” narrative to bed for good. I hope that you, the voters in Ridgeland, will come by Saturday and become a part of Mississippi’s history.