While the Lansing, Michigan cannabis community struggles with a lack of ordinances, business licensing, and a general understanding of cannabis as medicine, Extreme CannaQuest Expo co-organizer Maria Green is choosing to educate the public via a little fun.
Green said the Lansing event that took place at the end of April wasn’t just about cannabis–it was about living a holistic lifestyle comprised of medicinal herbs, eco-friendly products, and getting back to basics. “Our event took into account other natural health and healing,” Green explained. “My mission is to help people see cannabis as the medicinal herb it is again. We pushed so long to get people to see it as medicine, they now see it as a pharmaceutical, and we’d like to reign that in a little.”
Surprising products like hemp-based laundry detergent were available, along with a plethora of medibles, flower, and personal care products. All were judged, with beautiful hand blown glass trophies given for the first ever Crystal Trichome Awards at event’s end.
Jeremy Hall was on hand from the First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason, expounding on the Endocannabinoid System and the need of bringing spirituality back into the cannabis conversation.
“Duber” Taxi shuttled expo attendees to and from the airport in a well-stocked minivan, promising, “DUI-proof mobility for MMMP patients and caregivers,” an indication that Michigan just might be ready for legalization.
Visiting speakers included failed Drug War POW, Robert Platshorn of Florida’s The Silver Tour, speaking on how to turn the senior vote around; Jeff Mizansky, a longtime cannabis POW from Missouri who shared his story; and patient/activist Adela Falk, advocating for those incarcerated for the plant. Falk’s POW 420 tagline, “No one belongs in jail for a plant,” has gone viral with its simple message.
Education is what Maria Green is all about. As editor of Michigan cannabis magazine, Hybrid Life, she educates her readers from a personal standpoint. She became an activist after she and husband Steve Green’s home was raided in 2013, and then-eight month-old Bree was taken by Child Protective Services.
Maria medicates with CBD cannabis oil for myriad symptoms from Multiple Sclerosis; Steve medicates for epilepsy. They had a medicinally legal home farm at the time of the raid, but baby Bree–who Maria was nursing at the time–was taken away for several weeks, then returned with all charges dropped with a medical defense acknowledged.
The experience was enough for Maria to dig deeper into Michigan pot politics, creating Extreme CannaQuest in an effort to further educate the masses by bringing an eclectic mix of speakers into the conversation.
Hospice, Healing & the Herb
Mainstream Michigan Nurse Cathleen Graham, RN, CHPN, spoke about her work as a cannabis copacetic case manager with Hospice of Michigan for the past seven years. Recently promoted to manager, Graham said she advocates on her own time and dime, traveling to Lansing to speak for the first time on palliative care and cannabis.
“As a registered nurse and case manager, I have been directly involved with the care of dozens of Michigan patients whose end-of-life journey was significantly helped by medical cannabis,” she shared from the podium. “From my personal experience I’ve seen cannabis accomplish many things, including controlling nausea with chemotherapy; stimulating appetites when facing malnutrition; easing muscle spasms; and decreasing pain, while improving the ability to focus and interact.”
Graham said people are surprised to hear that in all her years of caring for patients using cannabis, only one actually smoked flower with fire. Most ingested tinctures and capsules, used topical lotions, and inhaled via vaporizers.
“The challenges I face with advocating for patient safety for those that use cannabis at the state level is that I am the only medical professional coming forward to educate our elected officials,” she informed. “Currently there are not any medical groups that support the cannabis bills in Michigan because of their lack of patient safety precautions.”
Marketing Good Medicine in Michigan
Jamie Goswick is Owner & CEO of Canna Media Works, a marketing company specific to the cannabis industry based in Grand Haven, Michigan.
Her talk during the expo was on marketing cannabis in the conservative state, which she said is a “huge challenge” due to the lack of ordinances city to city and no businesses licenses available in most cities, including Lansing. “Without proper permitting offered to legitimate medical businesses, in the eyes of law enforcement, some businesses are operating illegally,” she explained. “Business owners are hesitant on putting themselves out there. What they don’t understand is how important it is to market themselves before the big legalization boom in Michigan. If they wait too long, then they will be competing with companies who have much larger marketing budgets.”
Goswick said she really appreciated the “business track” at the conference, as it provided a great opportunity for those already in the industry to help those just getting started. “There are so many people in this state that can be a great resource for those wanting to learn more,” she surmised. “If we all come together and mentor each other, the industry here will grow in a very positive way.”
Overall the expo was informative and much needed in the Midwestern state. Observations from California patients were that the Midwest is about 10 years behind West Coast cannabis mentality on the herb as medicine. Legalization brings confidence to medicine makers and patients already eager to share their stories. Legalization means education and healing, two much needed things on Michigan soil.