C3RN IN THE NEWS
Article Source: https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/marijuana/2019/03/01/veterans-need-medical-marijuana-should-not-have-worry-about-finances-new-group-says/nWL2XAytUIv2jdKt3zE24K/story.html
Veterans in need of medical marijuana ‘should not have to worry about finances,’ new group says
Stephen Mandile, an Iraq veteran, credits medical marijuana with his recovery from a suicide attempt and addiction.
By Naomi Martin GLOBE STAFF MARCH 02, 2019
To hear Iraq veteran Stephen Mandile tell it, his recovery from a suicide attempt and opioid addiction started when he and his wife sat down in 2015 to discuss money.
“Are we ready to pay for more medicine?” Mandile recalled asking. He suffered severe pain from injuring his spinal cord in a Humvee crash and received free opioids from the Department of Veterans Affairs. He wanted to switch to medical marijuana — but the change could cost his family $1,500 a week since the VA wouldn’t pay for the federally illegal drug.
Now, Mandile, 41, says he enjoys life again thanks to cannabis. He’s involved with a new nonprofit, Alternative Treatment for Veterans, that launched Friday along with the Massachusetts chapter of the Disabled American Veterans to research veterans’ marijuana use and advocate for their expanded access to cannabis.
“Veterans are promised an earned benefit” of medical care, Mandile said. “They should not have to worry about finances when they’re trying to heal and start their recovery.”
Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
At a Friday news conference at the State House, the new group announced its first research project starting Sunday: an anonymous online survey asking veterans about their use of marijuana and other drugs, and the benefits or negative effects.
It’s a starting point for future research that will likely delve deeper into the science behind cannabis’s therapeutic potential for conditions common among veterans, such as pain, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression, said Marion McNabb, CEO of Cannabis Community Care and Research Network.
“We have to think about cannabis as a tool in the public health toolkit,” McNabb said. “You can’t replace all medications with cannabis, but it is worthy of inquiry under good scientific and clinical supervision.”
In Massachusetts, veterans are three times more likely than the rest of the population to die of an opioid overdose, according to a Department of Public Health report last year. That’s a higher disparity than nationwide.
Until a few years ago, published reports show, the VA heavily prescribed opioid painkillers to treat chronic pain. About 60 percent of veterans returning from Middle East deployments and 50 percent of older veterans suffer chronic pain, according to the VA.
The new nonprofit’s research will be used to advocate for state and federal policies to expand veterans’ ability to obtain marijuana, McNabb said.
Medical marijuana can provide symptom relief because it contains compounds called cannabinoids, which can act to balance the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, which regulates mood, sleep, and pain, said Dr. Staci Gruber, director of the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery at McLean Hospital, who is advising the nonprofit.
But, she said, the medical community has more questions than answers because of the lack of validated studies.
“Massachusetts should be a leader in medical cannabis research,” Gruber said. “It’s my hope we’re able to move the ball down the field in a way that adds meaningfully to the conversation in the country and the world.”
Federal marijuana decriminalization would be most effective in enabling the VA to cover marijuana costs, Mandile said, but in its absence, there are other possible reforms. Through his efforts, he said, eight of the state’s cannabis retailers offer discounts to disabled veterans.
Massachusetts could also enact a law similar to one in Illinois, where veterans can receive a medical marijuana card simply by submitting VA records, Mandile said.
On Friday, Cannabis Control Commissioner Kay Doyle teared up as she recalled having to avoid the topic of battle around her grandfather, a World War I veteran.
“There was nothing I could do to treat the wounds I couldn’t see, but even as a young child, I could feel,” Doyle said. “That is why I am so grateful that Alternative Treatment for Veterans has been created. . . . We must do our best to explore all treatment options.”
Keith Cooper, CEO of Revolutionary Clinics, said his dispensaries in Somerville and Cambridge serve nearly 500 veterans.
“This is long overdue,” Cooper said. “The industry needs more credible information and research to reduce the stigma of cannabis use.”
Steve Creedon, 67, a Navy veteran who served in Puerto Rico during the Vietnam era, attended the event Friday. He used marijuana for 25 years to treat anxiety and pain related to a foot injury.
“My real hope would be that this evidence persuades the federal government to decriminalize marijuana and turn it into the medicine that we’ve all discovered now.”
The group asks veterans to take its survey starting Sunday at cannacenterofexcellence.org/veteran.
Original Article: https://www.cometobask.com/blog/international-womens-day-cannabis-industry/
Women in the cannabis industry - International Women's Day
by Ashley Payne | Mar 6, 2019 | Bask News | 0 comments
The cannabis industry, historically a male-dominated industry, has seen a spike in the number of female employees across the nation. Today, women in the cannabis industry hold roughly “42% of the executive positions at ancillary services companies…and 35% of medical dispensaries and recreational stores,” according to the Marijuana Business Daily. In Celebration of International Women’s Day on Friday March 8th, we are recognizing some of the women in the cannabis industry in Massachusetts.
Marion McNabb, CEO and Co-Founder of the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN)
Marion McNabb, DrPH, MPH is the CEO and Co-Founder of the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN), a Massachusetts-based cannabis research company aiming to improve the evidence-base related to medical cannabis therapies. C3RN runs a virtual cannabis center of excellence, leveraging digital technologies to improve collaboration and research partnerships between the academic, clinical, and cannabis communities. C3RN, with UMass Dartmouth, is leading a two-year open cannabis consumer and patient research study to assess the impact on health, social, and economic outcomes. In March 2019, C3RN launched an open Cannabis Veterans and Veterans Family member research study with partners UMass Dartmouth and Veterans Alternative Healing (VAH). C3RN and VAH will co-host an event series in 2019 focused on science, education, and breaking cannabis stigma in Massachusetts through community engagement. C3RN is an approved qualified training vendor for the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission’s social equity training program.
Dr. McNabb holds over 15 years of global public health field experience implementing and evaluating sexual reproductive health and rights and technology-focused programs mainly in many African countries, Vietnam, and Haiti. Most recently, Marion consulted with UNICEF New York to draft a Global Approach for Digital Health for over 130 countries and consulted with HealthEnabled, a global digital health consulting firm, advising the Ugandan and South African Ministry of Health on the use of digital tools to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV. Prior, Dr. McNabb was a Senior Digital Health at Pathfinder International, where she led the development of a digital health global strategy, designed SMS-based behavior-change programs and clinical case management mobile applications and referral systems in Haiti, Nigeria, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Vietnam, and other low-income settings. Dr. McNabb holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) from St. Louis University in African and African American Studies, a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) from Boston University School of Public Health.
Dr. McNabb is well-known and highly respected in the Massachusetts cannabis community for her work to improve cannabis policy through research. Her work with C3RN to create and conduct cannabis research studies throughout Massachusetts has provided the industry with effective insights to help improve medical cannabis access and policy. When asked about the future for women in the cannabis industry, Dr. McNabb replied, “Women are leading the charge in the cannabis industry and [it’s] great to see a higher number of female-owned companies and leadership in this industry. For all the new women, there are great opportunities to make your place and career in a new industry, and lots of women-centric resources for ensuring success as a female.” Veterans who are interested in participating in the C3RN/Veterans Alternative Healing, Inc. anonymous survey can follow the link here.
JoAnne Lepannen, Executive Director, Chief Compliance Officer, Patient Education Specialist, & more – Bask, Inc.
JoAnne Lepannen holds many titles including Executive Director, Chief Compliance Officer, and Patient Education Specialist at Bask dispensary in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. After retiring from the practice of law, she joined the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIPAC) as Executive Director and President. It was in Rhode Island where she met Chapman Dickerson, CEO and founder of Bask who, at the time, was cultivating cannabis as a caregiver in the state of Rhode Island.
When medical cannabis was legalized in Massachusetts, Lepannen joined Dickerson, Tim Keogh, and Melanie Dixon on the board of directors for Bask. As a Patient Education Specialist at Bask, Lepannen provides one-on-one consultations with patients to ensure they receive the education needed prior to making a purchase. Through her work, Bask is able to uphold its mission to provide patients with access to medical cannabis in a safe and clean environment with knowledgeable staff and educational resources.
Ann Brum, Founder of Joint Venture & Co.
Ann M. Brum, an industry professional, and founder of Joint Venture & Co., a Boston-based business development agency, has embarked on a very ambitious goal; to make any client; from a timid first-time cannabis user to a large dispensary to a healthcare organization, comfortable with both personal and business decisions in the cannabis and wellness arena.
For the past 10 years, Ann has dedicated herself to deciphering and clarifying these industries through information, support and organizational development. The emerging medical marijuana and adult-use market, along with a seemingly endless amount of wellness services, has overwhelmed consumers and the public. She achieves this goal by creating authentic, connected experiences and out-of-the-box thinking between the public, community organizations, and industry. Joint Venture & Co. is an extension of a personal dedication to promoting wellness by delivering real-time information on the cannabis market. Her pride lies in facilitating healthy exploration of wellness alternatives while reducing risk. These goals are achieved through informed decision making, support, information and clarity to the market, consumers and health care professionals.
As a female entrepreneur in the cannabis industry she notes, “I’ve had so many moments of feeling, ‘can I really do this?’ I had to stop overthinking it; just go for it, be honest with myself and our clients. Embrace riding the wave, and you’ll find yourself living a life that is simply satisfying.” Ann recently teamed up with social justice and policy advocates from C3RN and Veterans Alternative Healing to launch the Cannabis Advancement Series in Boston.
Ashley Payne, Marketing Manager – Bask, Inc.
Ashley Payne is the Marketing Manager at Bask, a registered medical cannabis dispensary in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Payne got her start in the cannabis industry soon after leaving a local marketing company in March of 2018. Initially, she performed a variety of roles at the dispensary, giving her a better understanding of the daily operations of the small business. After a few months, Payne noticed how her previous experience in marketing could help shape Bask’s marketing strategies. Her work can be viewed across social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn, the company’s website, and the weekly e-newsletters.
A graduate of Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia with degrees in Communication Studies and Musical Theater, Payne moved to Massachusetts just two weeks after graduation in 2013. After working in sales for Apple and management at a Marriott Hotel, she decided to start a small business making all-natural dog treats where she got most of her initial marketing experience. “When I started my job at Bask, I was nervous about going into an industry that I knew very little about. I was nervous about what some of my friends and family would think, especially being from the south where perceptions of cannabis aren’t always positive. I knew I was walking into a brand new world and to be honest, I was a bit scared,” explains Payne about her entry into the cannabis industry.
When asked about her experience as a woman in the cannabis industry she said, “It’s been almost a year since I started at Bask, and I have to say it’s the best decision I ever made. When I walked in the door and met Chappy and Tim [the CEO and President of Bask], they were so welcoming and I knew this is where I was meant to be. We’re fortunate at Bask to have so many women working in every department from cultivation and processing to sales and patient education. When I attend cannabis conferences and trade shows, women are definitely outnumbered by men. I can be tough sometimes for women in the cannabis industry, especially because many women aren’t very vocal about their cannabis use. I meet people all the time who are surprised when I tell them that I’m also a medical cannabis patient. I think having more women in the cannabis industry is one way we can help end the stigma around cannabis. We could help change the perception of who is using cannabis simply by telling people ‘I am a woman. I work in the industry. And I use cannabis.’ It’s time we change the negative perceptions of the ‘lazy stoner’ stereotype and show people that someone can choose to consume cannabis and still be a contributing member of society.”
Michelle Bennett, Founder of Healing Tree Edibles
Michelle Bennett started Healing Tree Edibles LLC, a CBD-infused edibles business based out of Cape Cod, in 2018 after falling and shattering her ankle. Using infused chocolate to replace prescribed opiates for pain, she was able to stay pill free throughout her healing. Bennett, with more than 25 years of experience in the food service industry, started Healing Tree Edibles as a way to offer “a healthy way of healing” with organic, gluten free, non-GMO, low sugar and sugar-free edibles as an alternative to traditional edibles, which are typically high in sugar.
As a result of her injury and lack of mobility, Bennett noticed her senior dog was gaining weight and having frequent arthritic flare ups. That’s when she began creating CBD-infused dog treats to help ease her dog’s pain and inflammation. “Just like our other products, these too are gluten-free and organic, ” explains Bennett. When asked about her experience in the cannabis industry, she replied, “The cannabis industry here in Massachusetts moves faster than the speed of light for just one person to be able to succeed. I’ve brought my cousin, Sarah Gibbs, a Johnson and Wales Culinary Graduate, on board to be my partner.”
Maintaining a cannabis business on Cape Cod does not come without challenges as many towns have voted against the adult-use cannabis industry, including ancillary businesses. Her advice to women interested in starting a business in the industry, “It’s a tough road to make these dreams become a reality. Long hours, constant battles, times where you just feel like giving up…’DON’T! You need to reach out and ask for help and guidance as it’s not easy by any means…changes happen hourly, but if you want to make it, don’t give up. ‘Slow and Steady wins the race. This won’t happen over night no matter how fast the industry moves.”
Natalie Moniz, Patient Education Specialist – Bask, Inc.
Natalie Moniz is a retired clinical social worker who began her role in the cannabis industry as a patient educator in September 2018 at the Bask dispensary in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Using her previous work experience, she is able to apply her clinical skills and knowledge of cannabis to help patients navigate this new frontier of personal empowerment with self-medication of cannabis.
Moniz started to grow her own cannabis soon after becoming a certified patient due to not being able to obtain a caregiver who was already growing for patients. “I became fascinated with the cannabis plant and soon realized using cannabis to relieve pain really was a very complex issue. Although there have been great strides made in a short time discovering the healing potential of this life affirming plant, there is much left to learn,” Moniz explains.
Her passion about medical marijuana’s potential to help patients help themselves is what interested her in joining the cannabis industry. Moniz encourages women who share the same passion to join the cannabis industry whether that passion is in cultivation, patient education, or sales roles. “As in so many other male dominated professions, this industry needs more balance with an increase of women in all areas of the industry.” Her advice to women interested in joining the cannabis industry, “You can make a difference!”
HIGH TIMES Original Article: https://hightimes.com/culture/people/high-folks-beautiful-existence-heals-with-cannabis/
This breast cancer survivor’s relationship with cannabis redefines what it means to be connected to spirit and present in your power.
Published March 4, 2019 By Lyneisha Watson
Editor’s Note: Welcome to one of our newest bi-weekly columns, High Folks: the cannabis-infused version of Humans of New York, in which we take an intimate look at people’s relationships with our most beloved plant. The connection between humans and cannabis is primal, dynamic, and profound. But it’s something that’s increasingly overlooked in the new age of weed. So in an effort to combat the superficiality of cannabis in the social media-age, High Times is proud to present to you a collection of work that highlights one of life’s most beautiful gifts: connection.
Beautiful Existence’s life is guided by the spiritual relationship she has with cannabis. Her connection with the plant exceeds mundane human understanding because when she was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer in 2015, cannabis nurtured her like a mother back to perfect health. As a way of saying thank you, Existence goes throughout the world to connect and guide others who have heard the call and felt the spirit of Mother Ganja.
“I never realized it but my first impression of cannabis was when I moved into a farmhouse the summer before first grade,” Existence tells High Times.
In 1978, seven years after Richard Nixon launched (the failed) War on Drugs, Existence moved with her family to Rochester, Washington, into a 100-year-old farmhouse located in the legendary Rainbow Valley. The room that the previous owners used to grow cannabis would eventually become her bedroom.
“I literally watched the adults dismantle track lighting and take huge bags of seeded marijuana out of the closet space and burn it in the field,” she says. “It wasn’t until I was in college that I recalled my memory of the farm and realized that the plant had always been there.”
Existence understood the spiritual component of her life and hardships, and she treated her 2015 cancer diagnoses no differently. “I had already suffered multiple experiences in my life prior to this where I had had the rug pulled out from underneath me and had to pick myself up.”
At the time of her diagnoses, she was working as a marketing and media director for the third largest spiritual center in the country and living between Boulder, Colorado, and Seattle, WA., so she had access to a multitude of spiritual resources. She immediately approached her illness from a very holistic and spiritual perspective and attacked it with everything she had.
Courtesy of Beautiful Existence
When she began using cannabis to treat her cancer, medicinal strains and Rick Simpson Oil were being phased out because in the state of Washington recreational consumers were looking for strains that were high in THC and low in CBD, making it difficult for Existence to find the right strain.
“It wasn’t until I got a chance to be around the growers and the people that had been apart of the medicinal advocacy within the state that I really understood what I needed to get and that was the concentrates,” Existence says. “I had so many mineral deficiencies… I had to completely detox and change my entire life. And [cannabis] showed me this: in healing, you need to have the concentrates and you need to have the strains. So, I’ve been going across the country and advocating for that for three years.”
In February 2019, a report by Swiss researchers shows that dabbing cannabis concentrates allows users to inhale more THC and CBD into their lungs than smoking, which, in essence, allows for more of the healing benefits of the plant to impact the body.
While looking for her perfect strain–which happened to be Charlotte’s Webb–and connecting with the plant more, she began to dive deeper into advocacy work. “The plant spirit has shown me all these different levels of what she has known,” says Existence. “[She] has been evolving with us as a species for thousands of years.”
In her advocacy work, she’s also helped states like Massachusetts build sustainable equity programs that help communities at the state and local levels.
One of the programs Existence works with is Cannabis Community and Research Network (C3RN). C3RN’s focus is advancing science, research, and best practices in the cannabis industry. In December 2017, C3RN won the first Boston University Cannabis Startup Competition, in which Existence helped build their initial website. CEO Dr. Marion McNabb says Existence has been a huge help because of her wealth of knowledge regarding the cannabis industry.
“She’s been a consistent mentor, friend, and help in designing programs and making connections to help advance science, research, and education in the industry with us,” Dr. McNabb tells High Times. “She’s provided strategic alliances and insights for us on how we can collectively advance social justice and rigorous science and research together.”
But Existence doesn’t just work in advocacy. She’s also the mother of 2 sons, a co-owner of HER Cannabis Line, creator of the Flower of Life Cannabis Tarot Deck, and is a mentor to those seeking to connect with themselves and cannabis on a deeper level.
In September 2014, Kerri Jade was en route to Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida–a school in which she earned a full-ride softball scholarship–when she got into a car accident. The trauma from the experience ignited a fear of death within Jade. But that all changed after connecting Existence on Instagram for guidance.
“[Existence] has absolutely guided me in putting the puzzle pieces together of self-healing, self-awakening, and seeing a broader spectrum of what this life is about,” Jade says, who is now a student of Existence. “It’s so cliché that her name is Beautiful Existence because it fits her so perfectly.”
Existence believes the plant saved her for multiple reasons. “She knew that I would go out, and show, and help, and make a definitive difference with it rising up in the world.”
And Existence has done exactly that: spread the healing wisdom of Mother Ganja.
Feb 17, 2019 Original article, South Coast Today: https://www.southcoasttoday.com/special/20190217/bask-in-fairhaven-nominated-for-best-medical-dispensary-in-massachusetts
Bask in Fairhaven nominated for Best Medical Dispensary In Massachusetts
By The Advocate
Posted Feb 17, 2019 at 8:01 PM
FAIRHAVEN — As Fairhaven pushes toward recreational marijuana sales, the town’s only dispensary, Bask, has been nominated for an honor.
Bask, Inc. (Bask), a registered marijuana dispensary in Fairhaven, was recently nominated as the “Best Medical Dispensary” by the New England Cannabis Network (NECANN), according to a news release. The nomination comes as Bask prepares to celebrate its one-year anniversary of opening the doors to patients in Massachusetts and is finalizing applications to serve the adult-use market.
In February of 2018, Bask officially opened its doors medical cannabis patients throughout Southeastern Massachusetts.
According to the release, the Bask team is grateful for the nomination, and made sure to note that it is the only dispensary from Southeastern Massachusetts nominated for title of Best Medical Dispensary. “As a locally owned and operated business, to have Bask put the SouthCoast on the map, competing against dispensaries in Boston and Worcester, means a lot to our team and the support from our community” said Bask CEO, Chapman Dickerson.
According to NECANN, the New England Cannabis Community Awards are designed to shine a spotlight and show appreciation for the cannabis community as a whole throughout New England. These awards offer a chance to recognize people and organizations who have made great contributions to the cannabis industry and communities throughout New England. The winners will be announced during the NECANN Conference March 22nd, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.
Other organizations nominated for awards include Veterans Alternative Healing, which works with Bask to help veterans reduce use of prescription opiates and provide access to safe and affordable cannabis. The partnership offers discount programs for veterans with 100 percent service connected disabilities.
Another organization, nominated for “Best New England Cannabis Non-Profit”, is Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN). Recently, Bask and C3RN teamed up with UMass Dartmouth to create a cannabis survey that was distributed to patients at Bask and other participating dispensaries in Massachusetts.
“We’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to work closely with these organizations that share a common goal of providing adults with safe access to cannabis products and expanding cannabis research. I’m excited to see what 2019 will bring,” Ashley Payne, marketing manager at Bask, said in a statement.