Bob Marley’s youngest son has significantly turned up the notch on his cannabis activism. Not only has Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley made recent waves with his announcement to transform a former prison into a facility to create cannabis extracts, earlier this month he was also announced as one of the new owners of High Times Magazine. The son of one of the greatest reggae stars the world over is releasing his new album ‘Stony Hill’ on July 21 and, as a co-promotion, is debuting a series of YouTube videos highlighting testimonials from prominent cannabis activists and patients who have successfully utilized medical marijuana on their path to healing.
The videos, titled “Medication” in line with the name of Marley’s recent single, feature cannabis advocates telling both their own stories and sharing insights on the grassroots legalization movement as well as the fledgling cannabis industry. One testimonial features Cannabis Now’s own Sara Payan — a stage 3 colon cancer survivor, director of education at The Apothecarium and member of the San Francisco Cannabis State Legalization Task Force — speaking about her discovery of the benefits of medical marijuana and her work to share the knowledge she’s learned with others.
“It started out that I had one day where I was working from home and I ate breakfast and I just started to feel really, really sick and I was just in a great amount of pain, to the point that nothing else was happening, the pain was so bad that I was having like cyclical vomiting,” she says in the video.
When a friend who had his medical marijuana card offered to assist her by providing medical cannabis she said she was initially skeptical, but saw the benefits right away.
“Every time that I smoked it relaxed everything so that I was able to eat,” she says, noting that receiving assistance eating and reliving the pain before she knew she had cancer is what convinced her to get her own medical marijuana card, even though she was nervous of losing her job at a non-profit. “I was also really worried about the drugs I was going to have to use because when you have colon cancer getting constipated is deadly and opiates are very very constipating and so are the anti-medics that they give you when you’re going through chemo.”
A year out of her chemo therapy treatments Payan decided to go back to school and get her master’s degree.
“The dispensary that I went to towards the tail end of my chemo, which is actually the one I got the most education and support from, offered me a job,” she says.
It was after hosting a cannabis education event at her college that she brought the idea of educating patients about cannabis use back to the dispensary where she worked.
“I worked in non-profit and civil rights and I was always looking for something with meaning because I’m incredibly greedy, I want all 24 hours of my day to mean something and I finally found it in the weirdest of ways,” Payan says.
Other patients featured in the “Medication” series include Coltyn Turner, a teenager who found relief from the debilitating effects of Crohn’s Disease after abandoning pharmaceutical solutions for cannabis oil; Michelle Aldrich a longtime cannabis advocate and cancer survivor and ‘diversability’ rights advocate Jacqueline Patterson who uses cannabis to control symptoms of cerebral palsy.
On his website, Marley states some of the reasoning behind creating the video series.
“The most intriguing part of [becoming a part of the cannabis industry] to me so far has been all of the developments in terms of the medical purposes really,” said Marley, who also owns a Colorado-based dispensary called Stony Hill. “Because of course we’ve been smoking for years and it’s always been a part of our culture. So that’s nothing new really for us. So what comes out in all of the recent developments on the medical side and all of the illnesses that it’s helping, that’s really interesting to me.”
The medical cannabis testimonials also open the video for “Medication” on the upcoming album.
“The use of CBD so far of what we know of it’s been used for example, kids, or I guess people in general, I guess who have seizures, it’s been shown to have promising results in that department,” Marley said. “Of course with cancer patients, helping people to regain their appetite after they take certain treatments and whatnot. It’s showing good promise in a lot of those areas.”
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