My name is Jenna Lee, and I was a Sergeant in the USMC. My motivation for joining was partially growing up in NY and being affected by 9/11, my country was my world and the first responders were my family and my symbol of humanity.
From Aug 2005-Oct 2012 I fulfilled 2 combat deployments to Iraq, serving as Ops, Intel Analyst, and liaison to build trust between local citizens and allied forces. This was critical because we conducted detailed analysis of natural and manmade events, issuing warnings and recommendations to support higher command decisions.
When I was younger I was first introduced to cannabis at 15 by one of the “cool moms.” I remember she snuck a joint into a Kiss/Aerosmith concert back in the late 90’s. It wasn’t until I was transitioning from the military and pharmaceuticals in 2012 that I started using cannabis medicinally. It was at that point I decided to start living more consciously and holistically. Cannabis works for me because it is a low risk alternative to opioids. It helps me to manage my chronic pain, balance my metabolism, sleep patterns, cope with trauma and find internal balance. Most importantly, it keeps me alive when death, drugs, and alcohol have surrounded many other veterans. I also use CBD and THCA daily for its supplemental anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.
Fast forward to present day and the same honor and purpose that motivated me to serve my country are now the same qualities that inspired me to serve the cannabis community. My Marine Corps experience taught me how to be strong, decisive, and disciplined. It taught me how to be an effective, contributing part of a team. Most importantly, it taught me how to be part of a community. We integrate in the industry in many ways.
My business partner and I support organizations like Tactical Patients, a NorCal nonprofit providing education, community resources and safe access to veterans and their families. They host their monthly meetings at Bud and Bloom OC. We align with Quanta, a leader cannabis technology, and we source exclusively through Cannabis Buyer Distribution to align bulk requests with consistent high-quality products. We also collaborate with MRE, or Marijuana Ready to Enjoy. MRE provides low risk plant based alternatives to veteran demographics that may be higher risk. MRE is perfect because they don’t require any cooking!
Initially obtaining medicine felt overwhelming, and caused me so much anxiety. I knew that using pharmaceuticals wasn’t working for me, but I was afraid of what I didn’t know about cannabis. My doctor thankfully directed me to the right people, and I have been with those collectives for years. They made the transition to cannabis a lot less tumultuous. It’s remarkable how welcoming the cannabis community has been. I feel blessed to have found it because I know what it’s like to work and be a part of communities where you don’t quite fit, and there are a lot of good people here directing the industry toward a positive narrative.
One of the ways I deal with the VA is that I’m transparent about my cannabis use. I have not been condemned for my usage but advised against it. I think the VA is going to have to come up with an integration plan to provide safe access to cannabis. It’s the only way to rebuild brand trust with veterans and pivot toward progress.
To all the naysayers we understand that the largest barriers we face in cannabis are social and cultural. Typically, people are anti cannabis when their perspective is recreational. To medicate with cannabis is to use sublingual tinctures, topicals, isolate, transdermal patches etc. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there, so here are a few tips!
1. Do your research! Know your cannabis and what will activate and compliment your endocannabinoid system
2. Start small; a proper dosage is 5/10mg per 100lbs and should research micro and macro dosing
3. Be patient with yourself: finding the right dose and delivery method takes time. Just listen to your body