It has been a pleasure to meet Delaware’s local activists and organizations. Last week, I met with Debbie Nau, a tremendously courageous woman who works full-time while managing her non-profit organization, The Delaware Patient Network* (DPN). Debbie has stood as a(the?) patient liaison of Delaware during its transition to medical legalization of cannabis. It was a privilege to be invited to the DPN monthly meeting, hosted by the founder herself in her element. Patients and distributor (ie, Compassion Center) staff engaged in healthy discussions ranging in topics from strain availability to prices and community updates. One member even reviewed the Magical Butter kitchen appliance that everyone’s raving about.
This event was inspiring and warmed me up for the following day’s community meeting: the DE NORML monthly meeting, which I eagerly awaited after having worked with Pittsburgh’s NORML branch. Last year, while in residency training, we rallied at the state’s capital, Harrisburg, for the Keystone Cannabis Reform Rally. The charter bus down was half the fun, and provided opportunity to meet members on a personal level. So meeting Delaware’s NORML members was expected to be a highpoint during my transition to this lovely state.
The event was less rigid than the night’s prior and the audience and speakers interacted with a closeness of old friends. It was a very warm atmosphere. Smiles abound, the meeting’s formal discussion came to a close with the board members rising after their recent inauguration. One of these board members I knew and have worked with: Maggie Fauver – office manager at Canna Care Docs’ DE clinic. Last summer I applied for a position there and worked four shifts over a span of three weeks before contract negotiations fell through. She was present for one or two of those days.
Since then, I’ve established Nature’s Way Medicine, which specializes in integrating medical marijuana with qualified patients’ primary care. Many of my primary care patients have no need for alternative treatment with medical marijuana. Those that do, are carefully assessed and are provided the opportunity to integrate the treatment into their overall long-term care. Medications are assessed, monitored and adjusted by a multi-disciplinary team consisting of other primary care providers (PCPs) and consultants. That way, if someone starts medical marijuana and their stress levels go down, or their pain improves, or they feel generally happier in life, any corresponding improvement in their high blood pressure can be adjusted for by lowering a dose of medication, thus preventing it from going to low. That’s one example of the close integration of primary care that takes place at Nature’s Way Medicine.
Between the meetings discussion and the sign-making activity to prepare for the 2nd Annual Repeal Day Rally (hosted by what I like to call a “Good Guy” (GG) organization, the Cannabis Bureau of Delaware), Maggie walked up to me and smiled.
“These are my friends and I hate you so you are not welcome here.“
Surprised by her bold declaration, my own opinions were kept to myself and emotions reserved. It takes practice to hone one’s control of character in stressful situations (eg, running cardiac arrest resuscitations), and the virulent encounter was unmoving…. until other members got involved supporting her stance. Now I was both surprised and astonished! How could it be that I devote myself to the same cause and am repelled from a non-profit organization before even introducing myself?
A senior member did step in and clarified that I too was welcome and allowed to prove myself (Phew!). This breathing room provided opportunity to meet some very descent and highly-intellectual individuals. In fact, everyone else I spoke to was like that. Some of the members I hope to speak more about because they are GGs that devote their lives to helping others, myself included.
The moral of the story for me was, never let a few bad apples spoil a fruitful harvest. Separate those apples from the pack, and then sever them from the group. Ok, not really. That was a joke!
In all seriousness, it’s too easy to feel cornered and outnumbered at times but giving others the benefit of doubt, being forgiving, and keeping an open mind allows our mind to re-frame situations into a new light. This way I ended the night with the same frame of mind in which I started it: an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals with values that unite us and strengthen our mission. That is why we were there: a mission too deep to be derailed by petty trifles.
Join the local community and show your support by coming to the Cannabis Bureau of Delaware‘s 2nd Anual Repeal Day Rally in Newark, DE on Dec. 18th, and DE NORML‘s Decriminalization Party on Dec. 18th in Wilmington. Or, go to the next Delaware Patient Network monthly meeting on Dec. 21st. If you can’t make it, at least share the events and organizations on facebook so others who can come know about it. Be part of our mission! Do your part. Hit the like button!! Seriously.