Faces of Cannabis
In this day and age, you may be hard pressed to pick a cannabis user out of a lineup. No more tie-dye clad folks running the streets in protest, or young hipsters convinced they are too cool for school. These days a cannabis consumer is more synonymous with professionals, if you really think about it. No negative side effects, or hangovers, the day after a puff of a joint. Nausea isn’t caused, and is actually eased, by most uses of cannabis. Commonly known to relax and de-stress even the most stringent-scheduled executive of the days long draw. It really is the wiser choice for yourself, and those around you Let’s take a look at some faces of the current state of cannabis, from consumers to business owners, to cannabis entertainment, and all the way to activist of the year. Not to be cliché, but these books deserve far more than to be perceived by what is on the cover, because the most inspiring, and hard working people, are their personal stories contained within.
Cat Jeter, commonly referred to by the cannabis community as Grandma Cat, is a consummate professional in every sense of the word. Beyond that, she’s got the truest form of knowledge and beauty for all things surrounding her, or even passing by her.
“I was born in the middle of the baby-boom era, and was destined as a young woman in the 60’s to be an activist due to my firm understanding of the turbulence around me...at the tender age of 16,” says Cat of her youthful start.
Graduating from a Northwest Missouri high school in 1973, Cat had yet to experience the power of cannabis, but this didn’t last very long. “I smoked my first effective joint just one week after my high school graduation.”
Just two years later, in 1975, she joined the newly minted AVF (All Volunteer Force) as one of nearly 40,000 other women shortly would. Cat proudly served for three years, maintaining highest marks during an infamously turbulent time for our country’s military forces. From within her confines of military service, she was granted the opportunity to participate in the WACs first class at West Point, and was the first woman appointed to an active combat unit effective July 1977.
Cat graduated Missouri Western State College with a degree in accounting, which provided a long and professionally demanding career in accounting until her eventual retirement in 2005. As a respected, and seasoned, member of the world at large, Cat simply yearned for more. She re-enrolled in college and took courses in psychology whilst simultaneously enjoying her retirement.
The eventual passing of her father played a major role in her pursuit of natural and herbal health applications via our new state’s medicinal cannabis industry, which had recently been proliferated into a public forum via legislation in 1998, her focus now being drawn from retirement to the betterment of the ill, and ill-informed, community members of our state. “This led me to become a full-plant extractor in the herbal tradition,” she said.
The next five years would lead Cat down a road of self-exploration and worldly understanding of traditional and holistic extraction methods, and various conditions benefiting from the palliative care aspect that we all know is present with cannabis. It wasn't until 2010 that she officially branded herself, and her extractions, as Deep Green. The rest is history. She has plans for a launch in our new recreational market, stating that “we will offer the same robust selections of quality full-plant extracts and experiences for all types of consumers, focusing on peak health and healing experiences.”
With the passion, professionalism and experience this great woman has, my hope is that she gets her wish and is able to expand her brand of healing and holistics not just statewide, but a national scale as well. We as a country will only benefit from soldiers like her, and our future generations of medical professionals and herbalists will have her to thank for her discoveries with cannabis. Thank you, Grandma!
This fine gentleman here is Tom Lauerman, better known nationally as Farmer Tom. Farmer Tom has been hard at work since the tender age of twelve, tilling and amending soil plots for family and friends with organic methods. Coming up the son of a physician gave Farmer Tom keen insights into how exactly medical needs were met and addressed by the medical industry, and this carefully crafted the certified organic farmer you would see before you today.
“It’s crazy how we would look through the PDR (Physicians’ Desk Reference), my mother owned and realize there was no true understanding of how or why different medications, commonly prescribed, were affecting us,” says Tom of his childhood. “I went to a hippie school. We believed in clean and natural living, especially in light of this medical insight that was at everyone's fingertips.”
Fast forward a few decades, several downhill mountain bike races, and a multitude of gnarly waves being surfed, and we are presented a true icon in organic cannabis farming. Farmer Tom, and his lovely wife Paula, ran a great outdoor landscaping business, which allowed honing of certain essential skills and understanding of how to adapt your surroundings to your garden’s needs. Later lending his expertise and know how of garden and plant management to assist with seed production for both the pharmaceutical and herbal industries, Tom has been slowly creating a framework for anyone interested in not only being dubbed a “Master Gardener,” but truly a master of one’s garden. He’s lived a life dedicated to organic, sustainable, and healthy practices, delving further into these practices with every step forward politically, as well.
None of these actions could have ended him up in the cannabis industry if not for his collective efforts of legalization and activism first and foremost. Working with politicians, activists, and patients in the great state of Washington is something Tom does well, second only to his gardening. He has even opened his property up for national T.V. coverage, education and local collective cannabis garden efforts. Because of Farmer Tom, multitudes of patients in desperate need of medicine have had safe refuge to consult and grow some of the cleanest and most affordable medicine available.
Whether he is steadily stomping the yard at the state capitol come political session for everyone’s basic rights, or flipping over endless yards of soil for future crops of cannabis, cabbage and the like, just know one thing: He will be there, seeds in hand. He is a true green-godsend, man. Keep it up, Tom! The state and nation couldn’t do without your expertise and efforts.
Our next featured Face of Cannabis is Danielle Rosellison, a staple in the realm of PNW political activists. She is also a cannabis connoisseur turned legal canna-business owner. Trail Blazin Productions is a cannabis producer processor, co-owned by her and her husband, located in Bellingham, WA. It is a wonderful facility practicing a pesticide-free grow method, coupled with state of the art LED lighting, reducing overall power usage. Putting out premium cannabis products to the 502 market is what they take pride in on a daily basis.
Danielle may be most well known, in the cannabis community, for starting up an online forum for newly formed recreational licensees and the like to communicate in a safe environment. Danielle is currently president of one of the largest organizations in the state focused on cannabis vitality and professionalism. Known as The Cannabis Alliance, it has been a crucial tool for many of the most impressive business ventures in the industry. These influences and socially savvy skills may have had a hand to play in her input as an ambassador to the Whatcom/Bellingham Chamber of Commerce, representing cannabis industry professionals the state over.
This year, Danielle was honored by the community of cannabis professionals with the prestigious activist of the year award, which is not given lightly. On an average day, you might catch up with Danielle in the garden, the office, or you may also catch Danielle snowboarding or skiing with her beloved family. She also enjoys traveling, reading, and attending her favorite local music events. This recognition and empowerment is something this cannabis industry, and community of Washingtonians, thrive on. It truly is.
While creating a premium cannabis product line at Trail Blazin’ Productions is what she loves, Danielle also strives for something much greater, and that is a much more socially conscious community of professionals in the cannabis industry. As we grow, and learn, we inevitably lose a bit of what it means to be aware of what is around you. With the hurdles presented to most in the cannabis industry, it’s been, admittedly, pretty far from everyday worries, which for the better part of a decade has been not getting shut down. Danielle is truly an immovable rock for pushing this industry forward, and bringing it closer together in the friendliest and most highly focused manner possible.
I first sat down with Aaron on a classic Pacific Northwest type of day, wet and grey, in my office in South Seattle. “I have cancer,” he stated, quite defeated. “Among other things, but we’ll start there.” Although cynically consistent, it was an enormous blow to our light and jovial conversation just prior. Tough hand to be dealt, for anyone I can safely say.
The office we were meeting in was not a journalistic hub mind you, or bustling business office, but a consulting firm centered around palliative care options involving cannabis treatments.
“Two years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. Today I am cancer free due to my understanding and use of cannabis derived oils, FECO (Full Extract Cannabis Oils), and also with a lot of help from friends like you, Duncan, and the folks at the Center for Palliative Care!” exclaimed Aaron the day of our interview.
This brave man has seen, and done, a lot for our community and our country. Born in 1946, it was a far reach from the troubles and woes of modern America, but tumultuous all its own. By 1967 he had been shipped to Vietnam, courtesy of our United Stated Naval Forces, where he served his country, and amazingly made his way home to slowly explore further the relaxative and therapeutic properties he found that surround cannabis. “I may have enjoyed the occasional Thai Stick in Vietnam, who can safely recall?” he jokes.
After he returned home, he moved up the west coast procuring a small fishing vessel. “I bought a small dory and began my next three years as a commercial fisherman.” Today he enjoys the retired life, full of the spiritual and connective properties in life, and spends hours meditating and enriching himself and the community at large. Reading a book, spending time with family, enjoying a nice cannabis toke or edible delicacy is what his charge is now. Go get ’em, soldier – you’ve earned it.
Tyler J. Markwart and Danielle Halle
Let me introduce you to this powerhouse young couple here. Tyler J. Markwart and Danielle Halle are quite possibly two of the most motivated and educated individuals rocking the cannabis industry right now. From their first date at the dab bar “PDA Lounge,” to bouncing clientele back and forth in the current recreational market, it’s been a lengthy and enjoyable relationship, according to these two.
With Danielle’s relentless drive to document and promote the industry at every turn, and Tyler’s knowledge of genetics and cannabis-relevant health issues, they truly are a force to be reckoned with. Not often do you come across a couple that gets to enjoy each other's company, as well as perfectly complementing each other professionally. Tyler and Danielle have achieved just this.
Coming from Florida, our state's cannabis laws seemed a bit outlandish and unreal for Danielle, who admittedly was overjoyed at the bountiful opportunities that awaited her at her family's medical cannabis operation. “It’s an industry unlike any other in that it has given everyday people amazing, and life changing opportunities. Life long bonds and friendships are formed every day here,” Danielle said fondly of the welcoming atmosphere created in Washington by like minded professionals.
Plucked from the equatorial marshlands that were, and being thrust forth into a bountiful cannabis garden, was just what she needed to kickstart her mission in the industry, to explore it and share the wonder with the world through both growing, and capturing a photojournalistic record. “We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what this industry is, and will be, plagued by interstate trade and commerce, for example. Who’s got that in mind? Not our legislatures,” says Tyler of the next step forward with legalization.
Tyler has been in and around the cannabis industry for the better part of a decade here in our state, serving on the board for Sensible Drug Policy at WSU while studying molecular plant sciences. Later, evolving out of his studies and love of a plant he knew would hold significance to him, both professionally and medically, he pursued a business in genetic breeding of various cannabis strains for the local medical cannabis market as Allele Seeds. This bout of next level growing and showcasing what this plant had to offer opened up the floodgates to coverage of his growing prowess in High Times Magazine, and joining the editorial forces at Northwest Leaf and Culture Magazine. He currently sits as owner/operator at Allele Seeds, as well as Concentrate Production Manager for a cannabis producer called Origin Cannabis Co. Danielle currently holds the title of marketing director for a retail cannabis shop named Seattle Cannabis Co., as well as providing photography and written content for a host of sources, including Northwest Leaf.
Watch out world! With these two educated and inspired individuals striving to bring the best to the table at every turn, we just may see a new norm much sooner than later amongst this new wave of legalization.
Chris "Crayzie" Robertson
This, folks, is Christopher Robertson, better known as Chris Crayzie, who is definitely credited with proliferating the term “terps” in reference to the “terpenes,” or smell-producing molecules, contained within cannabis. This fun loving, eccentric, and wildly talented cannabis guru and musical talent is someone we can proudly boast is ours and ours alone here in the Northwest.
An ever present force in the hip hop community, outlined with his passionate drive for cannabis centric theatrical musing,s has garnered this young man quite the social media following and attention in the public eye. With hit songs like “Terp Saucey” and “Dab Bar,” he most certainly exemplifies what it means to enjoy oneself and the state of legal cannabis. Promotions, entertainment and event hosting are just mere mentions in this man's accolades in the cannabis world, which has seen him on award winning teams at Cannabis Cup after Cannabis Cup.
This year has even given way to the proliferation of his own proprietary lines of cannabis, including his namesake Chris Crayzie Kush produced and bred by Dark Horse Genetics. Highly entertaining individual, mood elevating master, and craftsman of all things cannabis can be rolled up into his repertoire, as well as proud father and promotional maestro. If you are a new, or struggling, cannabis business interested in a promotional partnership with the likes of this individual, you should safely bank on garnering the support you need, to say the least. All of his accomplishments are not for not, as he maintains a constant face for the industry and strives daily to create and maintain crucial relationships the world over, all in the name of cannabis education and entertainment one terp at a time.
It’s solely because of pioneering individuals like Chris, Farmer Tom, Aaron, Tyler and Danielle that we as a country even know what cannabis is, let alone the benefits of it medically, economically and otherwise. They represent us in every facet with every quirk and difference. Recognizing these individuals on the street, in passing, or at a local event may not seem like the paradigm shift I’m alluding to, but you just may be surprised if you were to delve deeper into these books, people. They are chock full of so much knowledge, passion, humor and love for thy neighbor that it almost seems impossible that they’ve proliferated from a nascent market once considered the scourge of society.
Let me assure you, the faces of cannabis do not fit into anyone’s cookie cutter preconception of what a professional or passionate cannabis character appears to be. The tie-dye and complacent mumblings of cannabis clichés are long gone, but the rebellious and peaceful drive to change the perception of an industry remains at the forefront of everyone's mind, burning bright.