Stories From the Road- Tina.

I was a delivery driver for a Prop-215 cannabis company for 1 ½ years. Here are some experiences from my time in community-based care.

By Dan Shook

Twitter: @DanWShook

I had the opportunity to get to know Tina in 2016. She was strong and powerful before society celebrated those qualities in women. She got a divorce at a time where a woman’s value was diminished due to that status. She was on the board of a law firm- where her opinion was not only heard, but respected. When I first went into her home, I was amazed by the life-sized artwork that adorned her walls. Her friend that referenced me was one of the subjects- caught in a state of life-like beauty. Tina had a family and a beautiful home, and breast cancer. She wanted something to combat the nausea that her chemotherapy was bringing, and our community-based cannabis services allowed me to educate her on her legal options for healthcare.

She was nervous about experiencing psychoactive effects, so we started with CBD to help her with her anxiety. She kept the tincture in her fridge, and the avocado oil in our tinctures would congeal, so I recommended that she run it under her tap for a minute to melt it a bit. She stated that she appreciated the calm feeling, but that she was still very uncomfortable with her nausea. On the next visit, we switched up to an indica vaporizer pen. I showed her how to twist on the vape cart, how to turn on the battery and select the right temperature. She tried traditional cannabis for the first time with me. She felt the warm body sensations, and couldn’t quite elucidate the feeling other than in a smile. As she walked me out of her home, she paused and remarked that the tree in her front yard was particularly beautiful- especially the individual leaves gently rustling in the breeze. It is an endearing moment to re-experience the appreciation for nature through a first-timer, and I noticed too the simple beauty of a green, happy tree.

Her cancer continued to advance throughout our visits- when Tina called, even on my days off, I would make sure that it was me who came over and explained what other options we could try.

The last time I saw Tina, she was feeling ill from her opioid regimen. She told me about how her family had traveled from the east coast to say their goodbyes- and she didn’t remember the interaction. She told me that she wanted to feel like herself again- that she wanted agency again. I had spoken to a friend that made Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) and had gotten her a gram to try. I told her that cancer patients have consumed a whole gram a day in attempts to fight their conditions, and I wanted her to have that option.

I don’t know if she took the RSO. I later heard from her friend that she passed away.

Being a delivery driver is commonly looked upon as the lowest-rung of the cannabis hierarchy. My experience as a substance-abuse rehab facilitator changed my perspective of the service. I didn’t call it pot delivery- I called it community-based services. We went into peoples homes and educated them in their home environment, just like when I participated in children’s mental health services in central San Diego.

When I started as a delivery driver, I wasn’t convinced that I would find the same sense of purpose and satisfaction that I did when I was helping at-risk youth. And then I met Tina. Being able to provide another human being with the option to end her life with dignity and agency meant the world to me. And with that feeling in my heart, I advocate for more access in my community for adults to inform themselves about their healthcare options, and to make informed decisions apart from the fear and irrationality that is found in our elected representatives and neighbors.