The Running Tally, Editorial Update 11/20

A monumental day in cannabis legislation! Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

November 20, 2019

Dearest Readers,

Weed always has and always will make our government inestimable amounts of revenue- whether that be from legalized marijuana and industrial hemp to prosecution for possessing bootleg, prohibition marijuana and cultivating the devil’s lettuce for deeply nefarious purposes. (So we have been told by decades worth of propaganda.)

We need an anesthetized populace to handle our rising healthcare costs and lack of adequate and affordable medical care. Therefore I find it entirely believable that full legalization may return to the United States rapidly after today’s victory in Congress.

The revenue and positive public opinion full legalization will generate with the expansive cannabis economy far outstrips the economic benefit of the grey-market economy currently in place in most US states. Despite the protection of our state issued patient ID cards each one of us still lives with the understanding that federal law is far less advanced- yet catching up rapidly.

However, I do offer one caution- as we grow closer to legalization federally and/or enjoy greater freedoms of continuing the trend of largely progressive legislation in Pennsylvania- I anticipate temporarily inflated prices until price caps are put in place and legal pressures decrease. Increasing patient registration creates temporary scarcity- and some counties have seen prices that continue to inflate, increased pressure from shortages, as well as the rising costs of traditional healthcare that will be easily exploited if it is not countered by even more rapid legislation to prevent precarious financial choices for patients in an already depressed rust belt economy.

People ration what they cannot afford- that leaves patients with seizure disorders and trauma disorders particularly vulnerable as the most common examples of those who stand to lose significant gains in quality of life and functioning without adequate and affordable marijuana.

State Trends

Coincidentally, the prices of medical cannabis seem to form predictable trends across the state- High income King of Prussia often leads in high prices- as do the high population centers of Reading, Lancaster, and Philadelphia. Lower prices for all products across the board tend to be found in lower population areas as well as much of the area generally considered “Rust belt” such as around the Allentown/Bethlehem area, Scranton, and Pittsburgh. Erie in it’s isolation maintains consistent prices and availability with the RISE dispensary of the best selection and prices in the state.

Reports from patients of several counties in Eastern Pennsylvania indicate that TerraVida is currently seen as worthy of pilgrimages upwards of two hours across the interstate to their surprisingly stable supply of both flower and stable prices across all products.

However, the local convenience of the corner dispensary Harvest has compensated for the higher prices for me personally. I am still recovering from my stay in the ER last month, driving long distances feeling terrible is unwise- the staff are always incredibly kind and have always been more than obliging with recommendations on what fits my budget…or today where my budget was larger than usual and I had the ability to choose the closest for my health concerns and I have been incredibly satisfied with their effectiveness. (As evidenced by the ability to write this editorial).

Current Product Reviews

I have grown to dislike the opaque, black, disposable Cresco pens. I have found their dosages unreliable and their longevity entirely subjective per-pen. I have had pens that lasted for more than double the reported 30 doses, I have also had them come up as short as less than half. Even on sale two for $40 at my local dispensary- this is not the correct product for my health. I find the delivery inconsistent- however, this may not be an issue with the Cresco pens that are not on sale. For the record, the strain that lasted the longest was Pineapple Express at “it still sometimes works 2 months later”, and the shortest was Durban Poison- which seemed to pull the most heavily and rapidly at around 12. Honey Boo varied wildly between 25-50 doses which made it more of a consistent performer. OG 18, Rocket Fuel, Bio Jesus, and 707 Headband were all close enough to 30 doses to be satisfactory- however, of these only Bio Jesus, Pineapple Express, and Honey Boo were repeat purchases.

Also.

I currently do not have the stamina to chase down flower so I am now writing this on a Moxie Tahoe OG Live Resin cartridge after giving up on the disposable pens entirely. It works incredibly well, out of my Prime pen- however, true to its name- Tahoe OG live resin tastes exactly like licking the interior of a Chevy Tahoe. It could also be the flavor of the city of Tahoe, New Mexico. (If you are reading from Tahoe and happen to have this strain on hand, lick the city limits sign for me and report back.)

I am happy to report that the Ilera Dream 8:1 cart is much tastier, much more like a Citrus/Indica Blue Dream sort of flavour profile- and deeply sedative as suggested by its name. As of this moment, I am on both and evidently both coherent and above my normal level of functionality pain-wise.

Also of note: I did not make today’s purchases based on potential enjoyment, but of medical effectiveness for chronic pain and anxiety. There was enough selection that I did not feel pressured to feel like these were my only choices- I picked them by their percentages and medical recommendation. I am learning my preference will be towards better tasting products in the future such as Sour Grapefruit, Tangie, and Clementine, if available. (All three have proven extraordinarily effective.

Choosing products entirely by taste is a luxury we all can experience affordably in the coming months. However, deterrent flavor may lead to longer lasting prescriptions.

I also purchased Cresco Extra Strength Pain Cream. For all that it seems to be stronger than the Ilera Soothe Cream, smells exactly like mint toothpaste and has a thinner consistency much more like a lotion than a typical cream. At under $30, the price was more affordable by over $10 over the equivalent Ilera product. With frequent use, the Ilera Soothe cream did last me over 8 months from a single container- other patients have reported favorably that the Cresco Pain Cream extends just as well- I certainly hope so.

I deeply respect brands that are direct and simple with their product names; this is far easier for patients to choose a product called “Pain Cream” verses “Island Sweet Skunk”-elderly patients still overcoming a lifetime of cannabis stigmatization are also better served by clearly-named products that match their intended functions.

On the Vape Controversy

I would also like to point your attention to the following statement from Harvest regarding the vape controversy this this link. I believe dispensary vape products to be safe- although this publication will hopefully be releasing our own research in the coming weeks.

Considering all Pennsylvania uses the same suppliers, products, and packaging I accept this message from Harvest as counting for all of Pennsylvania dispensary vape products unless/until I see otherwise.

Conclusion

This past month has had great highs in the release of the new gleaf brand, the exciting advances in federal legislation, and increase in registered patients utilizing the safer, more legal PA dispensary program. Conversely, our continuing shortages, high prices, and limited selection still plague us all.

At this point the push we need is legislatively for both increased protections for patients and increased freedom in purchases for all citizens regardless of medical status. The competition from homegrows and skilled co-op growing will eventually decrease dispensary prices as we have seen in other states further along the road of full legalization to get to that point- we need more patients engaging with their representatives and local governments.

Patient self-advocacy brought us this far-continued political momentum is necessary for progress. I believe that will occur naturally as low income patients finding surprising relief from cannabis over conventional pharmaceuticals are not going to be quick to abandon the freedom from debilitating symptoms and side effects cannabis provides.

Congratulations, fellow cannabis consumers- we are one step closer to legalization!

Ren Anderson
Editor-in-chief

October 31, 2019

Dear Readers,

Since Reading, Pennsylvania decided to use Upton Sinclair novels as inspiration for both environmental as well as occupational hazard protection in this rustbelt hellscape-it has taken me this long to update from several weeks of endless doctor appointments.

While awaiting my diagnosis of Pneumonia/Pleurisy in my several hour stay in our local emergency room- I heard at least four code-blue calls requiring Narcan. Incredulously, for my chest pain they prescribed a narcotic my insurance covers for under five dollars. By contrast, the inhaler I require for my asthma runs me about $30-$60 depending on the month and the least expensive dispensary product is a disposable pen at $20 at this time.  People purchase flower cannabis by the gram often by the price point, not the effectiveness to their specific medical needs.

It’s the cannabis equivalent of attempting to correct an astigmatism via reading glasses you purchased at the drug store by picking the first pair that “looked okay”…  it won’t kill you, however it can give you a hell of a headache and if you could afford better, you would. 

By contrast, RSO and THC pills can easily run past $100 for even a month’s supply.

The average individual on disability income- the sickest of our population in Pennsylvania, receive less than a thousand dollars a month- and insurance is not free. 

Our state is running a thinly veiled recreational market via dispensaries which in turn inflates prices and reduces the selection of medical cannabis in favor of products devoid of essential terpines. This forces many patients to the black market where they can pay to have their specific strain grown by bootleggers of varying ethic.

Dispensary products are enormously safe- free of mold, pesticides, and much of the medicine I have purchased has indicated it is free of additives, however, the expense is enormously prohibitive.

Honestly, the cannabis industry, one way or another, is one of the only industries which is fairly recession proof.  In poor economic states- the health of our population suffers and we require medical intervention to survive the physical and psychological burdens of physical and psychological stress.  In more solvent times, we can afford better healthcare- and better quality cannabis products more closely tailored to our specific health needs.

Being an asthmatic on a vape is idiotic. However, putting an asthmatic on a narcotic seems to make even less sense. 

I am by no means a medical professional- I walked out of the only EMT class I ever attended at the first slide, however I am capable of reading both the medical side effects as well as observe the sociological side effects of opiate painkillers.  Effective medicating is literally limited entirely by cost for the majority of individuals I have met in our Medical Marijuana program; hopefully a lawmaker or three will read editorials such as this one and help correct these fatal oversights. 

In my city, I know countless people going bankrupt from healthcare expenses. Our serious decline in air quality is killing us, our tap water in my municipality resembles ice tea and I have friends who live near fracking sites… but at least we have medical cannabis… at 800% markup compared to other states.

As the lazy Pennsylvania stoners such as myself enjoy attrition from Lyme’s disease, environment-induced migraines, lung problems,  and a myriad of mental health issues stemming from chronic financial instability and occupational hazards- we are able yet to somehow function and live among those who seem to avoid the afflictions of the human condition in stealth, at least partially, thanks to the help of cannabis.

Fight the good fight, fellow Keystonians.
Ren Anderson
Editor-in-Kief 

autumn weed

October 23, 2019

Dearest Readers,

Well, that project took far longer than I ever anticipated; however, I actually encourage all of you to share the new resource and re-use it as needed for your communities and organizations.  I am incredibly happy I managed to find links for every single dispensary as well as figure out the county for each one.   Since I am still pretty drearily-ill, the roll-out of the site has been slowed to a snail-like pace as I work around the continued pleurisy issues and such.

I am not just a writer- I am also a patient working hard against the awful injustice we live in a state destroyed by Opiate addiction where a prescription of Codeine I will never use cost me under two dollars while my dispensary prescription for a similar painkilling effect, could easily run several hundred dollars.  Instead, I have been making my own edibles (cookies, to be exact) out of some wonderful Tahoe OG.

They have been working marvelously- especially with Bio Jesus in my pen- hardly touched- to manage my anxiety and PTSD episodes.  Clearly, I manage.

I was in the hospital twice last week- that’s where you go when you are in your late thirties with asthma and tachycardia when you have chest pains.

Those of us with these issues are all painfully aware of how seldom chest pain is “serious” or “temporarily normal”.

First, I was sadly disappointed my diagnosis limits my daily energy for a few weeks, more so, I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of dead people.  The nurse’s station was outside my room- a Thursday morning looked like a Saturday at midnight, except filled with the dehydrated heroine and methamphetamine zombies too far gone into their addictions to know if you are paying respects to the passing parade of  victims on gurneys… aged fifteen or fifty.

“Code blue” was a ceaseless chant with random numbers.  It means Someone else is dying.  But dear Gods- That was a ton of people.  Apparently, this is the new “normal” which does not need to be even common in our shared future here in Pennsylvania.

I enjoyed the bottom of triage, (meaning I wasn’t dying- I was cool with that.)  I had a hot blanket, youtube, and giant IV bags of antibiotics with Latin names longer than Welsh greetings.

However, people just kept dying.  My health has sucked most of my life.  Never have I ever experienced more than maybe two or three people dying while I stayed inside of an ER for any length of hours, and before now, the time of greatest loss of life I had observed even as a hospital chaplain occurred after a multi-car pile-up.

Something has changed radically regarding fatal addictions in the last few years in our state- and cannabis is a major piece of the solution.

I believe firmly we all deserve to live with our physical and psychological managed safely with minimal side effects physically, psychologically, and socially.

Now then, let’s work together to keep increasing Pennsylvania Cannabis Legislative and Industry Transparency!

Catchy mottos aren’t my forte.  I’m working on it (along with scrubbing all the Oregon off of all the articles I plan on reposting here.  Even with goo-gone, Portland requires extra work to remove from any article!)

Anyway,  It’s all coming soon.  Everything is coming soon.
Thank you for your continued encouragement and support!

-Ren Anderson

Editor in Self-Imposed Writers Isolation
prettyweed

October 21, 2019

Dear Readers,

After an exciting week of unexpected ER visits for pleurisy and other symptoms of overwork…
I am still near complete with the final touches on our first release of articles.

-A simplified guide of how to obtain your Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana patient card.
-An introduction to medicating with Cannabis
-Cannabis Etiquette
-Cannabis and PTSD: A Primer
-Medical Marijuana and Migraines

…As well as compiling and organizing information on our unique strains, creating printable patient/dispensary resources, as well as a county-by-county guide of local laws/legislation in plain language to better serve all of Pennsylvania.

…Along with so much more in the pipeline with recipes, tutorials, and the beginning of a several part series on distillate and the case for edibles in the Keystone State.

Thank you for your continued patience and enthusiastic support!

-Ren Anderson
Editor
bluessss

October 9th:

Dearest Readers,

Welcome to The Greenbud Gazette, your source for Pennsylvania medical cannabis news, reviews, and activism. In the coming weeks, we are excited to expand this publication to provide you with the best, most comprehensive coverage of upcoming legislation as well as providing a living history of the end of Cannabis prohibition in the Keystone State.

The people of Pennsylvania deserve to reclaim our state history of hemp production in our beautiful farmlands from Bucks to Butler counties and everything in between. If you are interested in contributing to this movement- email greenbudgazette@gmail.com

Stay Lifted,
Ren Anderson
Editor

purpss

2 comments

  1. Thanks for putting this page up! It is exactly what Pennsylvania needs. Imagine excited to watch it grow!

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