Cannabis: From the Counter to the Capitol & Cinema

Cannabis: From the Counter to the Capitol & Cinema

by Brittany Clarke, March 12, 2018
 
The first time I ever experienced cannabis, I was 20 and in college. A few months earlier I had consumed alcohol for the first time. I had grown up Independent Baptist and was going through a process of changing my old ways of thinking at a private Catholic college. I got high after the third try- the first two were miserable experiences. A lot of coughing, not enough water, and my finger throbbing from first learning how to use a lighter. It was pathetic. But the effects afterward were otherworldly. I melted into the couch with Sigur Rós playing over a muted episode of Planet Earth. I felt as boundless and infinite as the ocean on the screen. Fast forward five years later and I’m selling the very thing that was the antithesis to my beliefs growing up. I remember the D.A.R.E. lion in 5th grade and was convinced that weed was a gateway drug- addictive and deadly (I would argue that alcohol is both the gateway and the most harmful drug). 
We are going through many changes surrounding cannabis reform in Vermont. Working in a large wellness department has been an eye-opening experience in the last several years. I remember when it was first announced that we would be carrying CBD oil. I didn’t know much about it other than it came from the cannabis plant and I knew it was a breakthrough. CBD sells itself now for the most part, but it’s unbelievable the number of people who ask me to educate them about it. I have talked to thousands of people at this point on CBD. In just one year it went from selling one brand behind the wellness counter to having a glass case installed for customers to shop as they please. At one point crowds of people stood around the wellness counter and asked questions about its benefits. I have learned so much on the subject since then, but it took all of these people who shared their stories with me. 

Cannabis use has changed and enhanced lives while also changing the way we purchase our products. This is a product that many people purchase for others, hating to spend that amount on themselves. As a college dropout I experienced many lows and highs, eventually taking prescription SSRIs and weening off them. I had experienced several ailments including PTSD and abdominal migraine that led me to take a prescription and finally several herbs including cannabis. Cannabis as many of us know is a female plant that is resilient to many conditions. We can’t talk about the health of the plant without the health of the soil, just like we can’t separate the mind from the body. Cannabis transcends belief, language, and gender.  

I took an online herbalism course led by Rosalee de la Forêt the year before and although it didn’t make me an herbalist, it changed the way I viewed individual plants and the intelligence they share with us. One of the major points Rosalee expressed is how it’s easy to put herbs into boxes. “This herb is good for that (insert ailment).” While looking at the long list of medical claims that cannabis has I can only imagine what I will learn in the UVM Cannabis Science and Medicine course this April. I am excited for not only the medical and alternative medicine books to be rewritten, but the history (herstory) books as well. I work for Elmore Mountain Therapeutics (@emtcbd). Both the company and the plant has pushed me to my limits with what I thought possible- from attending Cannabis in the Capitol to helping promote the premiere of Mary Janes: The Women of Weed in Burlington, VT. My cousin directed Primer and Upstream Color and years later I’d never guess that I would somehow be involved with the way cannabis and women are portrayed in the film and wellness industry. The idea is to start with self care so that we might treat others the same and be the best possible version of ourselves. There’s a saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Photo credit: Katy Kent (last photo)