A Message From Bridget: November 2021
Image: The grave marker for Thomas Conry, Bridget’s father, who served in Korea during the Vietnam War. He died of cancer and utilized medical cannabis for symptom relief while in home hospice care towards the end of his life. This photo was taken in 2013 on the 1 year anniversary of his death.
Greetings from CeresMED,
I am trying out a new format this month in an effort to make my content more accessible and easier to scan for the topics most of interest to you. Let me know what you think by contacting me directly at email@example.com. I hope you like it!
Cannabis Control Board Updates: On October 15th, the Cannabis Control Board (CCB) released to the Vermont legislature its long-awaited first report, which included, among other topics, recommendations for license types, fee structure and criteria for social equity applicants in the upcoming adult-use market. Various committees in both the House and Senate will consider this guidance in the upcoming legislative session. As a result, changes may be made in these committees before a final vote to adopt the proposals.
Soon, the CCB will also be forwarding its recommendations for improvements to the Vermont Marijuana Registry (VMR). This guidance has been developed with the help of the Advisory Sub-Committee on Medical Cannabis. This committee has three members:
- The Cannabis for Symptom Relief Oversight Committee chairperson
- A designee of the Vermont Health Commissioner
- A designee of the Vermont Cannabis Trades Association (VCTA).
The inaugural designee of the VCTA is Meg D’Elia, CeresMED Corporate Project Manager. All of the licensed medical cannabis operators in Vermont are members of the VCTA, and its primary function to date has been to advocate for increased access to the VMR.
The VMR is set to move out from under the Department of Public Safety and over to the CCB on January 1st. In March, the current rules of the VMR are scheduled to expire per Act 164, the act relating to the regulation of cannabis. Many of the recommendations currently being discussed by the Advisory Sub-Committee on Medical Cannabis are long time priorities of the VCTA, including but not limited to:
- Remove the 3-month treating or consulting relationship requirement, so patients are not delayed in obtaining medical cannabis.
- Remove the requirement that a patient must designate a single dispensary.
- Patients with incurable conditions should not be required to submit renewal applications.
- In addition to the list of qualifying conditions, HCP’s may determine which medical diseases and conditions may qualify a patient to participate in the VMR.
This year, the VCTA is putting extra effort behind two initiatives that have received less attention over the years. We feel they are necessary to expanding access to the VMR, especially to those populations that are already underserved by the health care system:
- Allow Licensees, the CCB, Cannabis for Symptom Relief Oversight Committee and HCP’s (health care providers) to disseminate information to increase awareness of the medical program.
- Create a system to collect data on current access to VMR.
The first point speaks to advertising the program. Until now, the existence of the VMR as an option for symptom relief has not been promoted by our state government (beyond the maintenance of a registry website), and licensed operators have been prohibited from advertising their products and services. Because of this, many Vermonters are still unaware that the VMR even exists, never mind how to gain access to it. It has also left HCP’s unprepared to engage in meaningful conversations about medical cannabis with their patients. So, what could advertising look like? Let’s start with public service announcements with a target audience of Vermonters living with a qualifying condition. Or how about distributing VMR informational pamphlets in relevant departments within hospitals and community health centers throughout the state?
To best target underserved populations, we need comprehensive data on the population segments currently accessing the program. This data is not available now through state agencies. It is our estimation based on eight years of operating within the VMR that people of color and those disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition and the war on drugs are under-represented. Just as these populations are being prioritized in the licensing process of the future adult-use market, we should also be actively working to increase their access to medical cannabis. With data comes dollars, or put another way, investment in systems of outreach and support to these members of our community.
Supporting veterans of the armed forces has been a priority of CeresMED since our inception. We honor their service by offering them the highest daily discount of 15%, redeemable on their entire purchase. The 12 months between September 2020 and August 2021 resulted in discounts totaling over $13,000. Veterans can begin receiving the 15% discount immediately when they present their DD214 form to our customer service team. Currently, we serve 126 veterans across our CeresMED and CeresMED South locations.
We are excited to promote that our parent company, SLANG Worldwide, is a member of the Herogrown Founders Coalition. The Herogrown Foundation is the preeminent organization fighting for a veteran’s right to choose cannabis as a safe alternative to “deadly drugs prescribed for service-related injuries and psychological disorders.”
This year for Thanksgiving, we are expressing our continued gratitude for our dedicated staff, who have gone above and beyond the normal call of duty during these challenging times of a global pandemic. Since the State of Emergency was declared back in March of 2020, our team of essential workers has provided uninterrupted service to our registered patients. We are offering them extra paid time off for some much-needed R & R and extended time with friends and family during the holiday season. We will be closed at all locations the Friday after Thanksgiving and the Monday after Christmas weekend.
My Health & Wellness Picks for November:
Beginning this month, my Message will conclude with resources that can help support your health and wellness. Here you will find links to integrative health classes, traditional herbal medicine practices, nourishing recipes and tips to enhance your use of cannabis for symptom relief. Sometimes I will also include a product or two that I find particularly effective or innovative in the wellness space.
Morning Meditation with Laughing River Yoga. It’s virtual, it’s free, and it’s private if you want it to be (just don’t turn on your video 😀). I have participated the past two months and find it to be a grounding way to start the day and build community resilience. This community service has been extended throughout the winter months, Monday-Friday from 7:00-7:15am.
Free Good Company Meetings: The first Monday of every month (that means today!), online at 3:15pm EST, led by Dr. Claudia Welch or other trained facilitators. Dr. Welch is a leading educator on Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Women’s Health, and she is based right here in Vermont! The purpose of these meetings is to support health “by providing, to the best of our abilities, a neutral, tolerant, consistent, confidential and supportive community to support the practice of basic tenets of health, which we understand to include these components of a daily routine: [Nourishment, Living in Integrity, Stress Management, Activity and Minimizing Harmful Chemicals].”
How to Make a Warming Herbal Cocktail with Tinctures: ICYMI on our Twitter feed. These recipes are wonderful to take the chill out of late fall and winter while supporting you through companion botanicals. They are also a great way to incorporate our Restore and Revitalize Tinctures into your medical cannabis routine.
In Good Health,
CeresMED Director of Brand Experience