Cannabis Patient Care - December 2021

Cannabis Patient Care December 2021

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33 december 2021 | cannabis patient care caregiver focus where they can hang out and get their cannabis. Many people are struggling in Hawaii because of lack of jobs and housing. Homlessness and people not having a roof over their head is a huge problem here in paradise. We have to fix it. Q: What issues do you see with Veteran's Affairs (VA) and how do they handle cannabis with veterans? A: Hanley: Well, I would say getting the information out to the vets is more the problem than the VA support- ing it. Obviously, the VA supports it as much as they can, but they're guided by the federal government, which marijuana is a class I substance, so that's a problem. Here in Hawaii, the Veterans Administration is a really great administration, but they're overwhelmed. So yes, I think you'll have doctors nudging that way to go, 'hey, you can do this and you can do this with cannabis' and looking the other way. But the resources just aren't there for the doctors as well, trying to know where to send them. What we see is vets saying they heard, 'hey, CARE Waialua can help you' or something to that effect to help people. It has been word of mouth from us where we went from 20 patients in 2016 to more than 1000 now. They just keep coming through our gate and we try to pro- vide compassion and an ear to listen and a guide to help them as much as we possibly can with our resources. Q: Can you tell us about your 329 cannabis farm that you run? How are veterans able to grow their own medical cannabis? A: Hanley: It's a very easy program in the state of Hawaii. The medical cannabis bill was passed in the year 2000, the first state in the United States to pass the Medical Cannabis Bill. What the bill was put into play was that each person could go get their 329 card with a list of symp- toms that are in place for receiving your card. Once they get their 329 card, each person can grow up to 10 plants. Those 10 plants can be grown anywhere they choose to grow their plants. Obviously, our program has grown very fast because people need support on how to grow and cure, but don't have a place to grow their plants, and that has al- ways been the problem. They had their 329 cards. They didn't have a place to get medicine. Our dispensaries didn't come online until 2016. That's a 16-year lag of people having to go to the streets or go to the black market, whatever the case may be, safe or unsafe. In a lot of cases, it can be 50/50. Hawaii's had a cannabis black market for many years going back into the 1950s and 1960s. It's been a very tolerated plant, but when it comes down to law enforcement and stuff like that, it's been a little bit more difficult with dealing with all that's going on right now. A lot of "Reefer Madness" minded people in the legislation that feel this drug, cannabis, will destroy their communities. Basically, patients get their 329 card and they choose our grow site and then they have the capacity to come and grow their 10 plants with our cooperative. We have the resources there. We have the best information we feel like to grow plants, so they succeed. We also have the ability to process flower and make differ- ent tinctures and edibles. There's a lot going on in our farm that helps these vets out. It also gives them a tool to start educating themselves to, 'well, what is cannabis going to do for me? Is this really going to solve my problems or is it deeper than that?' That's kind of where we try to take things once we get es- tablished, is cannabis is not just the only solver of a lot of these things. There's a lot of stuff that has to go on such as compassion, friendships, and a kind environment, especially for people that just got out of the military. They deal with a lot of different stuff than a lot of us do. High- way road rage, people that might just be rude to them is a really high anxiety thing for them that they experience. Like I said earli- er, homelessness, just a lot of things that are going on. We've just provided a farm for people to come to and sign a lease with us and find some normalcy. They have a little 5x5 plot where they can grow their 10 plants. They're just little plants enough to grow the medicine they need and we help them succeed. Q: Have you guys had to expand since you said that you had such a small number originally when you started and now there's so many more? A: Hanley: Yeah, we can hold a lot of tenants, a lot of patients because each patient doesn't need 10 large plants. We have patients that only need a couple plants to keep up with their medicine for the month or the year. We've got quite a good program going on right now and have over a thousand 329 cards on our site that allows us to grow 10,000 plants if we needed to. We don't have the resources to do that and we try to keep up with our patient base so it looks and feels right for politicians and law enforcement to understand what's going on at our farm, and that we're not part of the black market. We are taking care of people with compassion, and that's where we started this. Q: How many veterans currently use the co-op to grow their medical cannabis? A: Hanley: I would say we have about between 40% and 50% of veterans at our farm. I would say it's about 40% veterans. And then we'll see, probably from the age of 20 to 40, probably another 20% or 30%. And then the remaining 20% is people over the age of 60. Q: What does a typical day or week look like as a caregiver? A: Hanley: All of our tenants, our patients, have the capacity to volunteer any day of the week they want. We're very organized on the work that we do on the ground. Taking care of plants, mending soil, leafing plants, harvesting plants, all that stuff goes into play.

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