Doing it Right
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by Stasia DeMarcoPennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program is managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The number of companies dispensing medical cannabis is growing rapidly with multiple locations across the state. One thing for sure is that medical marijuana… Soulful Cannabis Announces Pennsylvania Institute of Technology as Sponsor MEDIA, PA (September, 2020): Soulful Cannabis is excited to announce Pennsylvania Institute of Technology as a sponsor of Soulful Cannabis.  The Pennsylvania Institute of Technology (P.I.T.)… As the global pandemic spread in early spring of 2020, Skip Shuda sat down with Sonia Gomez of the Hemp Revolution Podcast to record this podcast.   Sonia and Skip covered a wide range of topics including starting a Soulful business in the cannabis industry and…  Soulful Cannabis endorses the following check-list for Adult Use cannabis legislation.  These high level principles can be addressed through numerous legislative paths and language.  We offer them as a guide for educating law-makers, activists and policy advocates…. At Soulful Cannabis, we feel the need to speak up at this time of extreme social unrest. Sparked by a series of recent, devastating attacks […]

Caregiving in PA's Medical Marijuana Program – Past and Present
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Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana program was born out of caregiving.  The “Mama Bears”, groups of mothers demanding cannabis options for their seriously ill children, had pressured and shamed legislators into action.  Along with the help of some forward-thinking politicians, Act 16 legalized a medical marijuana program in PA. These mothers were now able to get medicine to ease the suffering of their children.  One of the original Mama Bears, Diana Briggs, started PA Compassionate Caregivers and began helping non-family patients with getting medicine from the dispensary.  People fighting cancer, people at end-of-life and, now, immuno-suppressed individuals, all need help getting their medicine without traveling to a dispensary. Our primary vision is to see the cannabis industry as being the best version of itself.   In that spirit, we are pleased to see dispensary caregiver programs springing up in response to the pandemic at Terra Vida Holistic Centers, Ethos Dispensary (although as of this writing, it appears that Ethos has discontinued the program) and others across PA.  As long as the services are free to the public and don’t have a minimum purchase requirement, […]

The State of Caregiving in PA – A Call to Action
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Like the rest of businesses across America, the cannabis industry has also felt the impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic.   For some patients, it is more difficult to make purchases and for others going into a dispensary at this time is simply not an option.   Some seniors, cancer patients and immuno-compromised patients are having difficulty obtaining medicine that helps relieve pain, helps with sleep, soothes their anxiety and calms their tremors. Fortunately, the PA caregivers provision provides a mechanism for doing exactly this.   So, why then, are some dispensaries and growers in the state perhaps slow to embrace this procedure as a means to bring medicine to people in need?  Caregiving for PA patients seems to be mostly an afterthought. That  needs to change, and the change is quite straightforward and easy. It makes good business sense for dispensaries and grower-processors to embrace and and support the caregivers program.   Dispensaries and Grower-Processors should be actively encouraging, recruiting and supporting caregivers in PA.  Its the right thing to do and makes sense for their bottom line. Art Credit: Soulful Cannabis Business Facts […]

Catherine's Story – Cannabis and Gastrointestinal Disease
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(Thank you to Catherine for contributing her story to the Soulful Cannabis blog) For a dozen years I searched for relief from the unbearable pain of gastrointestinal diseases. During my frustrating quest, I took a variety of ineffective pharmaceuticals for my symptoms and was prescribed a dangerously addictive narcotic. But ultimately it was a bushy plant that offered me a real remedy. I found an alternative, natural answer to conventional therapies with medical marijuana (MMJ). I started having gastrointestinal issues in 2006 (at 42 years of age) and the pain was extreme. My healthcare journey included seeing my doctor and her associates, three trips to the ER and many uncomfortable tests. The diagnoses were gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and duodenitis – inflammation of the duodenum. The doctor prescribed omeprazole. It didn’t help. You know what did help? Oxycodone. Oxycodone! It killed the pain and/or made me so stupid and tired that I could ignore or sleep through the pain. But the controversial Oxycodone, which is associated with addiction and drug abuse, is not for digestive diseases. I was experiencing “narcotic […]

Let's Create a Healing Cannabis Industry! 10 Principles
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 Soulful Cannabis endorses the following check-list for Adult Use cannabis legislation.  These high level principles can be addressed through numerous legislative paths and language.  We offer them as a guide for educating law-makers, activists and policy advocates. Affordable and Accessible Permits.   The number of permits for cultivation, manufacturing and retail sales should be large or unlimited.  The permit fee should be low enough that permits are available to any entrepreneur in the state.  Home Grow.   Residents should be able to grow their own.   This is the only way to truly have a program that is intended to benefit the residents of the state first. Clear and Helpful Taxing.  Taxes should be easy to understand.  Tax revenue should be shared with local municipalities and earmarked for the common good of the state.  Social Equity Support.  Include programs that will support disadvantaged communities with access to ownership in the program including business service support, education and discounted fees. Ensure equitable geographic distribution of the businesses.  Expungement and Prisoner Release.  Cannabis-related arrests and convictions should be expunged from the record.  […]

Leafwell Joins Soulful Cannabis as 2020 Sponsor
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Soulful Cannabis Announces Leafwell as Sponsor Media, PA (September, 2020): Soulful Cannabis is excited to announce Leafwell as a sponsor of Soulful Cannabis.  Leafwell has joined as a 2020 sponsor of Soulful Cannabis, allowing Soulful Cannabis to pursue its programs of cannabis education, access, and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Leafwell is a telehealth platform focusing on getting people their medical marijuana cards and physician’s medical cannabis certificates/recommendations as simply and easily as possible.  Leafwell’s CEO Emily Fisher says “At Leafwell, we believe in providing accessible care to every patient and in the medicinal value for cannabis to help treat a wide range of conditions and symptoms. Through research and education, we are committed to helping patients navigate the landscape and furthering our understanding of cannabis as a medicine.”    “We are thrilled to have Leafwell as a sponsor and partner,” said co-Founder Skip Shuda.  “We are collaborating on providing easy access to physician recommendations and creating an education series around Cannabis and Hospice.  Because many hospice agencies receive federal dollars, there is a lack of information on how cannabis can be […]

Soulful Cannabis Statement of Solidarity with Protesters and Calls for Reform
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At Soulful Cannabis, we feel the need to speak up at this time of extreme social unrest. Sparked by a series of recent, devastating attacks against African Americans (Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Christian Cooper, George Floyd) and countless others captured on video, the current social unrest is  a magnification of repeated crimes and injustices against marginalized people. Born out of the original sin of racism, it has shifted from slavery to the Jim Crow era to the militarization of law enforcement and the Mass Incarceration era that we live in today, denigrating and sucking the soul out of communities of color and enriching (mostly white) communities of privilege. Soulful Cannabis was largely formed as a response to injustice and inequity, and we actively work to counteract this paradigm and offer solutions based on corporate social responsibility because we believe that a healing plant deserves a healing industry. Social Justice reform lies at the heart of our work. We seek to: expose the bias implicit in our language (Language Matters Series) provide access to education through events and online content (website, […]

Soulful Cannabis during the age of Corona Virus
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April 5th.  “It’s good to be alive.” Think about that saying.  It takes on a new meaning these days, don’t you think? Family, friends and/or celebrities are contracting the Corona Virus.  I actually find myself wondering if this could be my last day where I can easily fill my lungs with fresh air and let a soft song wash over me on a spring day, free of fever, cough or body aches.   I consciously try not to spend time amplifying this concern, while also recognizing that more than any time in our lives, our neighbors and friends may be suffering, anxiety may be sky high and tempers may be short.   A little compassion and empathy can go a long way right now.   So let’s talk about the things we can change for the better.   Opportunities are showing up all around us to choose new paths… productive paths… healing paths… soulful paths. I’m grateful to say that yesterday my path was soulful. As a caregiver in the Soulful Caregivers Program, I held two tele-consults with medical marijuana patients, completed the necessary […]

Soulful Cannabis Attends a Kundalini Yoga and Sound Journey
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Village Wellness, owned by Lance Isakov in Berwyn, PA recently took a giant stride towards breaking down the stigmas surrounding cannabis by hosting an event that was the first of its kind for Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana cardholders. The event was a Kundalini Yoga and Sound Journey hosted by Lance himself.  Attendees were able to use medical cannabis in vaporizers throughout the 2-hour event. The only prerequisite for attending was having obtained a medical card. The medical community and healthcare systems have begun to widely embrace and tout the numerous health benefits and alleviation of symptoms available with cannabis use. However, the landscape in Pennsylvania has been devoid of a conversation discussing the spiritual capabilities of the plant. Soulful Cannabis aims to start this conversation by explaining how cannabis can be used with intention and within a community setting. Village Wellness created an incredibly welcoming atmosphere for our group of spiritual pioneers. As the evening began we formed a circle with our yoga mats, pillows and blankets. We were invited to bring anything that would make us feel more comfortable for […]

Introducing the Soulful Cannabis Language Matters Series
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Language matters.   In areas where there are deep-grooved stories of danger, mis-trust and trouble, our language often reflects that.   At Soulful Cannabis, we are seeking to promote a re-imagining of how the world thinks about cannabis.   How we think about something follows from how we talk about something.  Pot, weed, dope, ganja and marijuana are all slang terms for cannabis.   Cannabis is the botanical name of the plant.   All of the other names were assigned by street culture and then mis-assigned by law enforcement authorities and government officials seeking to prohibit access to the plant.  Today, the language used around cannabis has been used to perpetuate a propaganda campaign to continue prohibition of the plant. This plant seems to provide numerous health and wellness benefits to a wide range of people.   Its time that our language changes to properly reflect the truth behind the plant.  Follow this thread for our Soulful Cannabis Language Matter series.  We’ll be tagging our “Language Matters” blog posts in the category section. 

What is the “best version” of the cannabis industry?
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Just what does it mean to “help the cannabis industry be the best version of itself”? Soulful Cannabis is meant to be a resource to anyone working in or around the cannabis industry.   Although we are “thinking globally”,  we are “acting locally” and since our roots are in PA, just outside of Philadelphia, that’s where we’re starting.  At Soulful Cannabis, we believe that the most important stakeholder is the patient. After the patient, other key stakeholders include those who serve the patient’s needs: the prescribing physicians, caregivers, the dispensaries that stock the medical cannabis, and the grower-processors who grow and distribute medical cannabis products. The State of Pennsylvania and the Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Office also play a huge role. Additionally, local towns and boroughs across the state are wrestling with this new business model in their midst. In essence,  everyone living in PA is a stakeholder in this newly emerging medical cannabis marketplace.   Communities where medical cannabis is sold and grown will be affected by this emerging marketplace.   Soulful Cannabis was established to help this emerging industry […]