I once met a beautiful, intuitive, and cannabis smart women through a mutual friend over a year ago. Upon meeting her and smoking joints in this mutual friend’s garage for an afternoon, I listen to her story and her background. Although we never saw each other face to face after that, I have been following her on various social medias, and I wanted to see where she was at now. So, like a crazy ex-girlfriend, I hunted her down at her work and asked if she would spend a day with Oleg and I shooting and talking about cannabis. To my delight and her grace, she said hell yeah! That would be rad!
Danielle Halle is a 23-year-old Floridian transplant to the Pacific Northwest, a Medical Marijuana Consultant, and a medical cannabis patient herself. She also has a smile that makes you think she is smoking the best weed in town. She flashed said smile at us when she opened the door to her and her boyfriend Tyler’s home in the suburbs. We walked in to see a nice table with a dab rig and one of Tylers projects (a homemade rosin press) and then our host gleefully offered us a dab. After taking a dab larger than your fingernail, we were all feeling pretty good and decided to move to an outdoor location with her and her boyfriend to talk about cannabis and the role it plays in her life.
I was curious about her being a medical patient, she said that her qualifying condition is the nausea that she experiences daily which is associated with severe anxiety and depression that she has had since a child. “As a teen, I was prescribed anti-depressants and birth control to manage my hormones, but as an adult I realized there was an alternative that felt safer and less restrictive of my body’s natural functions. Cannabis helps me overcome debilitating thoughts by allowing my mind to process external stress in a non-threatening way” she said.
I believe this is something that most cannabis users feel. An opening of the mind, an ability to understand our surroundings without the stresses that accompany them, a way to processes life events without being enervated by them. Which is one of the many reasons cannabis works wonders for people with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. She went on to say that “In addition to the nausea relief I feel immediately after consuming cannabis, I am also able to maintain a calm outlook on the world, and navigate through life’s daily problems while under the influence of this plant”.
And that’s what it is. A plant. Just as some drink their caffeinated coffee or tea through the day, others like Danielle, smoke and ingest their cannabis. Danielle has the support of her family, friends, and boyfriend Tyler around her now, but nearly 3 years ago she dropped out of the University of Central Florida and felt completely lost. She had no idea the direction her life would take her but decided to leave her home state of Florida for Washington because of the booming cannabis industry. “The very next day after de-boarding the flight to Seattle, I was put to work in a medical marijuana grow and I never looked back. Since then, I have become very involved in the implementation of both the medical and recreational cannabis programs in Washington state. I went from washing pots to being the Compliance Officer at the medical grow I worked for”.
Danielle has immersed herself into the cannabis culture and has built a supportive network around her. “I have dedicated my life to the normalization of Cannabis, starting with myself. I use it to treat my symptoms, but I also enjoy it recreationally instead of consuming alcohol. I have also chosen to incorporate hemp into my diet using powdered hemp protein as an ingredient in a variety of recipes”. Not only is Danielle a user of cannabis, but her, along with her boyfriend, study the cannabis plant and its other resources. They’ve worked for multiple grows and are avid activist for the open use and consumption of this plant for all.
With her being so absorbed into this culture, I wanted to know how she felt about the cannabis industry now, “The cannabis industry is just like any other industry except half of the people who are in it have been operating illegally for the last 20 or so years. So while there is some risk associated with becoming involved in this brand new industry, there are also leaders and professional individuals who are working to change the face of legal cannabis. These are the types of people lobbying at the state capitol, and working together with their enforcement agencies to create regulations that work for both the consumers and producers, as well as the state”.
Danielle’s life has changed completely from where she was in Florida three years ago to now. The cannabis plant helps her aliments, it has given her a job, it has provided a web of friends and relationships, and it has improved her health and overall wellbeing. Cannabis has normalized Danielle, just as she seeks to normalize cannabis for all. She is not alone in this quest and the more we support, educate, and tell our stories, the more understanding and openness we can hope to see.