Realm of medicinal cannabis in California
Once there, it didn’t take long to schedule an appointment with Dr. Courtney for my son, and with his diagnosis it was an easy medical recommendation for the doctor to make. Though it wasn’t that easy…
During those days, in 2012, even high CBD cannabis was hard to come by. Very few growers were specialized in the few strains available, and high CBD at that time was around 5% in strains such as Harlequin and ACDC. Now we had to find someone who had seeds or clones of these strains and start growing them.
Eventually we found a source, and started growing, producing some of the first high CBD clones available in the area, and producing medicine for my son legally.
Being on the West Coast brought a twisted inner turmoil for me. On the one hand, I was finally able to legally try this option for my son, on the other hand, I was stressed beyond the point of breaking. I was trying to pay my share of the expenses for our shared place on the West Coast, while at the same time maintaining my home in Georgia and hold on to clients from my business, all the while trying to grow cannabis for my son.
It’s hard to express the amount of gratitude and respect to my friends who helped me during this time. They tried to relieve as much stress as they could, but there was no stopping that dark shadow of fear that your child will die. I just want to again express my immense gratitude to all my friends that helped my family during this time, especially those who shared their home and gave space to try legal cannabis. If it wasn’t for all of my friends during this time, I am not sure this story would have ever happened.
After a few weeks of medicating, the benefits were obvious. We were able to slowly wean my son off of steroids, and see improvement in his health with only cannabis. Yet, after a few months I realized the stress of maintaining two homes, and living with another family, was coming to a breaking point. My ex-wife and I also wanted to be able to have our third child in Georgia, and hopefully at our home. The decision was made late summer, and it was our choice to make the long trek back across the continent and readdress the situation there.
To break the law or not?
As with life, many times we trade one stressful situation for another… So, we chose to relieve some financial stress of maintaining two dwellings in trade for the stress of living in a state that had no medical cannabis options. This meant, we either had to figure out a source of high CBD cannabis leaf in Georgia, or find other ways to get the medicine for my son.
At this time, finding commercial CBD tincture was not an option. Also, finding high CBD cannabis in Georgia was highly unlikely, if not impossible. It was hard to find high CBD cannabis in a medically legal state, much less a state with no medical cannabis program at all.
After some problem-solving, I felt the best way to deal with this issue was to freeze daily doses of fresh leaf juice for my son in small discs, pack 2-3 months worth of frozen leaf juice in a thermos, and drive it back. I felt if we could at least have a few months of daily CBD for him, that would give me enough time to figure out the next few months worth of medicine in the future.
Once again, nothing in life goes exactly as planned. Of course the biggest issue was the legality of cannabis in the various states I was expected to drive through, that’s why I thought frozen discs of leaf juice would be the best option. That was the foundation of all this mess, the legality of it all, so of course that was the main issue leading my thoughts at this time.
Now, what happened next was at its very foundation related to the legality of cannabis, but legal issues weren’t what the creator threw at me on that long drive home.
The Long Drive Home
Of course, we had to choose one of the hottest summer heat waves to make that trip home. With one 7 month pregnant wife, two small children, a parrot and ferret, we started our drive. The stress was on my shoulders a million times over, but my main goal was keeping my family (and sick son) as safe as possible. At least, all things considering.
Now some nay sayers may throw in this whole adventure was unsafe for my family. Or this or that about my choices during these years. Overall, though, I don’t care what anyone says, I did the best I could for my family at the time.
The heat wave stretched across most of the USA at the time, so we drove through some worst of it. I remember driving back through Arizona and New Mexico one day, and then Arkansas a few days later. The whole trip was a blur of heat, tons of drink and bathroom breaks, kids and animal needs, and a crippling heat no matter which state we happen to lay our tires on. The further East we drove, the hotter and more humid it got, temperatures went above 100 many times before crossing the great Mississippi River.
Once of last stops was in Arkansas. I remember it getting late and the sun starting to set. I wanted to go push myself further, but a set of occurrences demanded we stop. As the sun set behind us and we faced the Eastern horizon ahead we saw one person pulled over by the Arkansas state troopers, then another, and then another. It seemed we came upon a drug bust funnel, and they were looking for suspicious persons headed in the direction we were going.
That final vehicle that we passed, with police detaining them, was enough to make me make a decision to find a place to stay the night. It was a family with kids, parents, and even a grandparent or two in a van. The police had all the family on the outside of the van and almost 70% of the items in the van outside for a search. Even though I only had these frozen cannabis leaf juice discs in a thermos, I didn’t want to risk it. So we found a hotel and stayed the night.
The catalyst of disaster
I admit, the motel we chose was basically the only choice to make in the area. We were in a rural Arkansas town that was built around the transportation industry. With only a few truck stops, a Walmart, and 2 hotels. We unloaded the truck and kids, found some dinner, and let the night fall over us. We still have many miles to go, and I wanted to get an early morning start.
That morning started off normal, getting the kids up and moving, and packing things in the truck. Little did I know was that this morning would be the first domino to fall. As I walked out the door of the hotel with my oldest child in my arms, fate struck.
From the second floor outdoor balcony, I walked with Koda in my arms to the stairway. Ahead of the stairway was another man who turned in the breezeway ahead of me. I instantly noticed his walking wasn’t right, it looked as though he was drunk, slightly stumbling as he walked.
As this man walked ahead of me down the stairs, my worries about the person ahead of me were extreme. Within the 10-15 steps down his stumbling was much worse, and I was worried he was going to fall down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs sat my truck, as I tried to prepare for an easy packing morning. The man ahead exited the stairs below me, and instantly started falling, landing right beside my driver door in a hard fall. Instantly I knew something wasn’t right, briefly thinking this could be a diabetic issue, then intuitively knowing this was an overdose.
I had never seen someone overdose before, but when I saw the seizures, I assumed this was an overdose. Luckily, my son was still asleep, so I placed him in the running truck, locked the doors and ran to the hotel office. Also calling my ex-wife and explaining what was going on outside.
The hotel manager didn’t seem very concerned. When I explained what happen, he knew exactly who I was referring to, and was obviously irritated by the man dying in his parking lot. He briefly mentioned how the man was caught stealing from the truck stop across the street the night before, and how the church had bought him a hotel room. As he called the cops, I ran back to check on my ex-wife and kids. By this time others had gathered around the dying man, and before I could get back up the stairs the police were there.
As I carried my youngest son to the scene (beside my truck) I realized I was in an interesting situation. Surrounding my truck was probably every police in the county, along with many hotel guests. These police included drug dogs, all the while many ounces of frozen cannabis juice sat just a few feet away.
As I packed the last of our things, I tightened the large thermos that held the illegal cannabis juice. Praying to the creator that the well-trained drug dogs a few feet away wouldn’t smell the “dangerous” cannabis (medicine, in my opinion) sitting in my truck. Which would then lead to many legal implications, probably jail, and in most likelihood losing custody of our kids.
This single act of tightening the thermos, which only took a second to do and a few seconds to think about, would have major repercussions later that day. Even though I did this to protect my family, at that moment I doomed myself to a fate I don’t wish upon anyone.