07/01/16 Christina

Green Rush report from Colorado with cannabis concierge Christina, pot shop owner Craig Hicks and anonymous, out of state buyer, appeal to politicians

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Friday, July 1, 2016



JULY 1, 2016


DEAN BECKER: This is Dean Becker. I want to thank you for joining us on this edition of Cultural Baggage, and I want to dedicate this program to Houston's Mayor Turner, to our police chief, sheriff, every elected official in the city, county, and state, hell, to every politician across the United States. It's time to pull your head out and smell the green. This show recorded in beautiful Colorado.

CHRISTINA: My name is Christina, and I work as a consultant in the MMJ field. Basically getting people the medicines that they are looking for, and need.

DEAN BECKER: Right. The other day, I told you briefly of a story of a lady from Tennessee whose father was dying, 90-something years old, brain, bowel, and liver cancer. I made arrangements to help him, I'm going to say that on the air, in Texas, but it felt damn good. And I'm sure your work feels similarly exciting and worth doing.

CHRISTINA: Oh, absolutely. It's -- it is probably the best thing I've ever done in my life. Yeah. And helping people is the core of it.


CHRISTINA: For sure.

DEAN BECKER: Now, if you could, give us some -- a sample or two of the nature, or the process, or how this works.

CHRISTINA: It kind of started, I worked in the industry for about three years as an edible chef, and also worked a little bit with the MED on setting up regulations for edible testing and consumption, how many milligrams. I'm the 10 milligram girl. And then also on top of that, it just led me to meet a ton of patients, and the one thing that they couldn't find were high-CBD products, instead of having, you know, most grows producing high-THC products, most people couldn't find the high-CBD products. So I just started working with people, making edibles for people, using whatever CBD I could find.

DEAN BECKER: Does it tend to, I don't know, trend towards CBD-only, or is THC involved as well?

CHRISTINA: Oh, THC is definitely involved as well. Depending on what people are looking for as far as, THC is more for symptom relief, is what a lot of people are searching for, and so I definitely deal with people that have anything from anxiety, I specialize in a lot of auto-immune conditions. I myself have fibromyalgia, so I definitely work with a lot of people and try to get them products that are going to be, you know, actually work for, specifically for their conditions. Quite often you can go into a dispensary and you can, you could say I have this problem, this problem, and this problem, and they'll give you a generalization on a product, but that doesn't necessarily work for everybody.

So, for some conditions, like, for me, for instance, I can't do, there are some indicas that I can do that don't put me to sleep, but most of them will knock me completely out. So relaxation, if I have any anxiety with my condition, you can't just give me, you know, a Grape Ape and say, you know, calm down.

DEAN BECKER: And, this brings to mind, I don't know, a little bit of observation I've been able to make is that a, I don't know, a Jack Herer strain grown in California versus one grown in Colorado, or even a different dispensary in Colorado, may not be identical of even close. Your thoughts.

CHRISTINA: Oh, absolutely. The difference from strain to strain is incredible. I find that, especially between states, they may even come from the same, from the same seed group, but yet people are still producing differently. And that's going to happen with plants. So really, to generalize every single strain carrying all the same traits, you really cannot do.

DEAN BECKER: Right. And, you know, it brings to mind that, we have in California now, they're talking with this AUMA, I think I'm pronouncing it right, their new regulation, or legalization effort, and, you know, there are those out there that talk about, I don't know, just availability of medicine, to everybody, even those who have been convicted of drug crimes and so forth. And I guess, where I'm leading with this is, there is across this country this vast wave of hysteria, leftover paranoia, I just feel that the effort in California, I wish they had pushed a little harder. I don't know, maybe this isn't, shouldn't be part of our discussion, but what do you think?

CHRISTINA: I totally and completely agree. And I think it's definitely the case here, also, in Colorado. The fact that we, we really haven't pushed for as much testing in the push towards, you know, once we hit recreational, it's just everything medical just fell off, and all that money got put into that recreational instead of getting put into areas that could be of study, so that we can ease some of those tensions that people have about, just about the usage of cannabis in general. So if we can get past, if we can get past that by allowing more testing, and allowing more, just, trials, period. then we can start to see people ease into it. But then again, necessarily, not what pharma would like to see us do, and definitely on control levels, it's harder to control people with medications that they can grow in their back yard.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and this is so true. I want to bring up something, because to me it was so outrageous, that, you know, here in Colorado, in the first week or something, there were a couple of people that did stupid things. I understand, it happened. But, after those few weeks, it seems to have -- the stupidity seems to have ebbed, and it brings to mind, we had a situation last week in my home town of Houston, Texas. They found sixteen youths, you know, runaways, throwaways, people on probation, homeless, passed out in the city park from smoking that, quote, "synthetic" marijuana. I've learned that they, the fire department picks up five people on average per day, passed out somewhere within the city limits of Houston, passed, on -- what do they call that stuff, K-2 and spice. Nine hundred in the last six months. And, I just want to get your response to that, to that comparison, of what went on there with that fake marijuana versus what happens in Colorado.

CHRISTINA: I mean, obviously, the difference is night and day, because we don't have that issue, we don't have any of those issues. Even the rates of underage smoking has gone down. And we're seeing a lot of that, and a lot of that just has to deal with education, and once you allow something to become legal, like marijuana, that has absolutely, you know, no, other than people, a couple of incidences, like you said, nobody's died of marijuana consumption.


CHRISTINA: So, by allowing it to be legal, we're basically taking it out of the hands of kids because they don't want it any more. And then on top of it, they're very well educated on it. Very well educated on it, so it's, it's so important that we continue forward in that way, and there's also been some educational talks about putting some actual systems into our schools, some curriculums into our schools, and hopefully I'll be part of that, here in Denver, here, pretty soon. So, if we can just make that real to people, then, and they can see the statistics, you can't question the statistics. You can't question the people of Colorado.

DEAN BECKER: What am I leaving out? What are some important things that the legislators, the elected officials in Texas and around the country, because this show goes out to many different states where they haven't legalized, and yet they continue to latch on and cling to the hundred year old hysteria. How do we break that cycle? How do we awaken those people?

CHRISTINA: I think a lot of it, Colorado's already doing. By showing that legalization can not only be hugely profitable, for the state, on top of that we've also seen that it's been, you know, hugely profitable for the economy, for just creating jobs. You know, people can't stop moving here. So, it's definitely given people a different idea about what it is and why they want to be here, and then people start coming and visiting, and then they're like, okeh, it's not this, like, it's not like reefer madness everywhere when you go to Colorado. Not everybody's walking around on the street smoking joints, and not all the kids are drug addicted and on the streets. It's, we definitely have a different idea about it, and that's how we went into it, you know, ten years ago.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. I remember, what was it, 12, 11 years ago, was it Paul Armentano and Mason Tvert wrote that book, Marijuana Is Safer Than Alcohol So Why Are We Continuing To Do, something, I can't remember, but the point is, I think that point is proven every day through the deaths we see continuing from alcohol and sadly the increased numbers of people using opiates and heroin, and it's, it's such a better alternative. It's an option that should be explored, should it not?

CHRISTINA: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I think that, one thing that we're already looking at here in Colorado, there's a lot of talk of, is really implementing MMJ on obviously lower THC levels into possibly VA PTSD, also looking at some mental conditions and obviously some others that we don't want to go towards. So really, it's a matter of, like, basically what we're looking at is moving towards being able to put programs into place that handle all of those other drug issues. Marijuana can definitely be used as something to ease many people off of many other drugs. I've seen it happen. And it can help to ease, you know, some of those detoxing issues, also. Yeah.

DEAN BECKER: I understand the US Congress lately was voting on allowing VA doctors to prescribe medical marijuana, and then somehow it got shortcircuited, didn't go to the right committee, or, I don't know, it's Congress. But the point is, we have 22, I hear, veterans committing suicide every day, every day, and why should we not explore that opportunity.

CHRISTINA: Even though many of the states and the recreational states are pushing for, are pushing for recreational, I would like to see that we eventually get to a point where we start really putting some serious time and energy and money into creating facilities that grow and produce oils that can heal people, whether it be epilepsy, whether it be cancer. I would like to see, you know, us definitely start to go in that direction.

DEAN BECKER: You know, Christina, it's been, not, I don't know, a goal of mine for years is to smoke weed legally in Texas, right out in front of the courthouse or something, and I can't do it yet, but I'm going to take a big hit right now here in Colorado.

Blue Dream, is that what that strain is? It's very tasty, and the cops are not going to come get us, are they?

CHRISTINA: I'm in my back yard. They can't come get us, I'm in my back yard.

DEAN BECKER: Such a difference. You know, I feel, you know, the police chief, the sheriff, the DA, the mayor, the governor -- I don't know about the governor, he's plain crazy. But everybody else, you know, and most legislators, you know, reps and senators, they know the truth of this matter.

CHRISTINA: Oh, absolutely.

DEAN BECKER: They're constrained by their prior statements, are they not?

CHRISTINA: Oh, absolutely. I, they're totally calling themselves out at this point, to go with legalization on that end. And, yeah, it's a fear, but it's a fear that they're going to have to get over, because everybody's going to fall in line eventually.

DEAN BECKER: Sometimes weed will make you cough a little bit, but it's nothing to fear. You know, I spoke with my police chief, he's now retired, but he called the drug war a miserable failure. He carried that thought to the national chief of police convention, made international news with that thought, and I guess, my thought is that, for those politicians who wait too long to step forward and embrace the truth that marijuana is not the threat it was ever purported to be, for those people who wait too long, history is not going to be kind to them. Your thought, there, Christina.

CHRISTINA: Oh, absolutely, it's definitely not going to be kind. Because, by turning away from it, you're also turning away from a lot of cures. You're also talking about a lot of people that didn't need to die of cancer, that didn't need to die of Dravet's Syndrome, that didn't need to leave these horrible endings of their lives just because somebody decided that a plant was wrong.

DEAN BECKER: A hundred years ago.

CHRISTINA: A hundred years ago. Right.

DEAN BECKER: Oh, and you bring up the healing nature, I have not done a lot of investigation, personal, I hear the anecdotal stuff, but that the cannabis oil, the Rick Simpson oil, as they call it, has been able to heal, to cure, hundreds if not thousands of people from cancer and other horrible maladies. Your thought there, please, Christina.

CHRISTINA: Oh, absolutely. And Rick Simpson oil is something that I often turn people towards. It is by far the quickest way to start breaking down the cancer in your body. And it is, and if you're in chemotherapy, the THC is going to get you through that chemotherapy, and it's going to help build your immune system and build you back up. We're going to find that, by making Rick Simpson oil, or Phoenix Tears, and doing it even in higher yields, so once we really start to master the extraction process of using higher yields, especially in CO2 processing, we can start to see some real differences in quick cancer. You know, cancer being killed super quickly. And there's going to be a point where our legislature is going to say, well, we really can't deny this now, because the people are getting more and more pissed off about the fact that they cannot get this medicine, because somebody's just telling them it's illegal.

DEAN BECKER: Well, even in Texas, I think the -- they've done polls showing 75 to 79 percent of people in Texas are for medical. I'm thinking that it's probably half and half for recreational. But, it's, the politicians have ignored that as well. You know what I'm saying? They tend to, again, they're clinging to the past.

CHRISTINA: To an extent. They did at least pass, like, the compassionate care act. So, which does have its absolute contention, because all it is basically going to help at this point is going to be Dravet's patients, anybody with a severe epileptic condition. Right?

DEAN BECKER: You know, Christina, the Blue Dream, was it?


DEAN BECKER: Very tasty. We're now ten minutes since we started smoking. I feel the tension in my neck, but I also feel how to relax it.

CHRISTINA: It puts you in a bit of a state of of euphoria, but also, it's uplifting enough that it can keep you focused, so it's not too heady, it's more body. So that's why you're feeling yourself come into it, and you're feeling yourself relax your body, because your body's just naturally going to do that, as you progress into it. And, yeah, it's an absolute daytime, it's a good daytime healer.

DEAN BECKER: Yes, and I, I think about --

CHRISTINA: And it's two very strong, on the other end, indica-sativa dominant, so it really kind of puts it towards the center.

DEAN BECKER: Right. I often hear it said that we've got to worry about people driving after using cannabis. I can see where that could be a problem if somebody eats a lot of strong edible or just overdoes it. Maybe youths being stupid, I don't know, comes to mind. But I think for the average user, that uses a little during the day, or at night, that may even use a little before driving, they're not the threat that it is purported to be, and in fact, I've heard studies that say at the right level of intake, that a person is actually more focused and a better driver. Your response in that regard.

CHRISTINA: Well, if a person is in severe pain, and they're out driving on painkillers, the likelihood of them getting in a car accident is way higher than if somebody had just smoked a bowl and got in a car. The, and the differences is, is once again, you go back to strains, like, what are they smoking, how much of it are they consuming? Edibles, absolutely not, don't get in your car. If you're going to take edibles, don't get in a car, please, for all of our sakes.

DEAN BECKER: That first hour may fool you, you'd best not do it.

CHRISTINA: And you never know, you might have, you know, one heck of a metabolism and 45 minutes in, you're thinking you have another 30 minutes and you're on your way somewhere, and you have to pull over your car, like, it's, yeah, it's not okeh.

DEAN BECKER: You bring to mind something that's often intrigued me. You mentioned 45 minutes. I have a general perspective that it's an hour after taking an edible, that it starts to have effect, but I have felt it a time or two before, a little earlier. What's your thought in that regard? You mentioned 45 minutes, and, can it vary even more than that?

CHRISTINA: It has a lot to do with when you consume it, the food that you consume before, or the food that you consume after. Depending on your carbohydrate levels, like, if you are naturally, obviously, if you have a natural tendency towards diabetes or low or high blood sugar, either way, you're going to want to, you know, be careful about your dosage and what you're eating, making sure that you're eating, so you're keeping your level good. But you really shouldn't be doing edibles frequently at that point. You should look towards something else.

DEAN BECKER: You know, Christina, as I drive around Colorado, the people are real friendly. The attitude is amazing. And the weather's pretty damn good this time of year. And I hear a lot of kids, young people, are moving here, seeking jobs, maybe not growing bud but serving as accountants to the dispensaries, or etc. It's really booming here, is it not?

CHRISTINA: It's insane. Booming is, like, you, that's too simple of a word. What it's doing right now is basically tripling Denver's rents. You know? Tripling our way of life, pretty much. But, it's also increasing huge, by a huge amount of people as far as the 25 to 30 year old group. So we're seeing like this huge influx of young people, for some of us natives, we're not crazy about it, but, and worried that we're going to get kicked out of our city. But we also know that it's also driving an industry that needs to be driven.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. I tell you what, I appreciate the hospitality, I appreciate the Blue Dream. I appreciate the high. And I, more than anything though, I appreciate the work you do, and I understand the nobility of what you're doing, and I, my hat's off to you.

CHRISTINA: Well, thank you. Thank you very much.

CRAIG HIXSON: My name's Craig Hixson. I started Faragosi Farms about, a little over a year ago. Started it with the intention of a business that we could use to give away money to help the poor. Also make a little bit of money on our own. And, use most of that money for growth of the business and for feeding the hungry and for animal welfare also. I hate to see a dog sitting outside like this, when we have a pet-friendly sign right here.

DEAN BECKER: That is something, it truly is. And Craig, can I just interject the thought, I mean, here we are, it's a beautiful morning, light breeze blowing, the air smells a little like cinnamon to me, to be honest. And it, this represents what America used to be, where freedom was just kind of the norm. And I come from the city of Houston, and in this past week, we had a situation at the Herman Park, one of the biggest parks in the city, where 16 people were found ODed, laying out in the park, because they had been smoking Kush, and many of them are poor, on probation, all of these sorts of things, and to them, Kush won't show up in a urine analysis.


DEAN BECKER: But, it, what does this scenario present to you, sir?

CRAIG HIXSON: Well, so, in Colorado, we don't have to deal with that at all. I don't think there's any of that even sold in this town anywhere. Because marijuana is readily available. In Trinidad, we have nine pot shops open now. Plenty of choices, plenty of places to go, plenty of good pot to choose from, without having to resort to some of that.

DEAN BECKER: And Craig, if I may interject a thought, you know, that was not a one-off. The 16 that were found laying in the park --

CRAIG HIXSON: Oh, I'm sure.

DEAN BECKER: They say there's an average of 5 a day, and in the last six months they've had more than 900 such call-outs for people ODed on Kush. There is a better way, is there not?

CRAIG HIXSON: There's a much better way. Just legalize marijuana. It's regulated to a point right now in Colorado, it's a little bit over-regulated maybe, however it's regulated to a point where it's a perfectly legal thing to do. People come in, they feel comfortable in the atmosphere that they're buying it. More comfortable even than in the places that I saw when I lived elsewhere, that would sell them the artificial stuff. It's really, it's horribly, you have no idea what's in that. What's, what's in, what's in our marijuana, it's all been tested by state approved labs that are, that go through rigorous regulations to get the right testing, also.

DEAN BECKER: Okeh, we're out here in front of the Faragosi Farms cannabis dispensary here in Trinidad, Colorado. I'm speaking with an anonymous gentleman from an anonymous state who just made a purchase here at Faragosi Farms. What did you purchase, sir?

ANON: Well, I have emphysema, so I bought nothing but edibles.

DEAN BECKER: Yes, sir. And I noticed the package seems large, is this for a long-term treatment of your empysema?

ANON: Most of it's just for me. I have some friends that have cancer, and I share it with them, and, but I don't make, I don't deal, most everything I have I give away or I use myself.

DEAN BECKER: Yes, sir. And, you know, we're both getting to be that age where we've got maladies. A lot of us got some kind of dang malady that needs treatment. What are the dangers of using these cannabis products, sir?

ANON: There's no danger at all. There's none at all. That's one of the big myths that was perpetrated by the war on drugs. There's no myth, no one has ever died from an overdose of cannabis.


ANON: I mean, no one has ever died. They may have gotten sick, because they ate too much or smoked too much, but no one's ever died.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. Now --

ANON: I can't think of a safer drug. Aspirin's got a worse history than that.

DEAN BECKER: Now, we, again, we're not going to mention your state, but how often do you come here to buy your products? It's a beautiful trip no matter what, is it not?

ANON: I was last here in April of this year.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. Yeah. I think most of us at our age have some sort of COPD, because we were taught that cigarettes were a good thing, even doctors used them, and we were definitely fooled. Any closing thoughts you'd like to share with the other seniors like us that might be considering a trip here to Colorado?

ANON: You always wondered what it would be like to live in a free country, and when you walk into Colorado and you can be treated not like an outlaw, but like a law-abiding citizen, and you don't have to worry about being stopped on the highway and searched, and if they find something in your car, being arrested and having your car taken away from you. Colorado's not the problem, it's the states surrounding Colorado you have to watch out for. And that's where the biggest danger comes from. I've gotten old enough that I don't fit a lot of the profiles anymore, so the profilers see me and they don't really give me a second thought. At least that's my illusion.

DEAN BECKER: I hear you.

If you're a senior like me, I advise you to go to Colorado, get some of this medicine. It will help and it won't debilitate you like those pharmaceuticals, and if you've got some kids, send them to Colorado. They can find a job here.

Thank you for being with us on this edition of Cultural Baggage. And again, I hope the mayor and the sheriff and all the good folks are listening. And as always, I remind you, because of prohibition you don't know what's in that bag. It might be K-2. Please be careful. Still tap-dancin' on the edge of an abyss.