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Supporting Veterans Through Local Michigan Weed

Supporting Veterans Through Local Michigan Weed

We are excited to spotlight a special strain helping us give back to our veteran community this spring! The strain is called DD420, and proceeds will go to 99for22, an organization named for the devastating statistic that an estimated 22 US veterans die by suicide each day. 99for22 is committed to raising awareness about this statistic, and to offering assistance and resources that meet the unique needs of Michigan veterans and their families. We spoke with a few of our veteran team members to hear about their service, their relationship with weed, and what it means to them to be able to give back to other veterans through the industry. Read on for their insights and to learn why DD420 is one of the best weed strains for pain, sleep, and anxiety.

Anthony Chavez, sales member of our sister company, Cloud Cannabis, served in the Marine Corp from 2007 to 2011, during which time he was deployed to Afghanistan twice. When he first got out, he suffered from bad crowd anxiety, so he got a job waiting tables as a form of exposure therapy. That job, combined with therapeutic smoking, helped him get comfortable around people again. From there, he joined our team, bringing his communication skills and passion about cannabis to our patrons. When asked about his journey, Anthony said when he finished his service, he started drinking a lot. He drank to feel, because sober he only felt numb.

Our security coordinator, Ryan Johns, agrees, “When I got out, I had one emotional setting: angry. I was nothing or angry, that was all I had.” Anthony also felt a lot of anger, and his drinking continued – until he found out that his girlfriend was pregnant. He quit cold turkey 30 days before his daughter was born and has not looked back. Anthony credits smoking weed with helping him to stay away from alcohol and process his emotions in a healthier way. He says it changed his life for the better, “not just for me, but for my whole family.”

Ryan Johns served as a human intelligence collector in the military for ten years. He kept working for the government for years afterwards, during which time he lost several friends to PTSD-related suicide. Ryan has seen firsthand how life changing weed can be for veterans. “I knew it was an industry I wanted to get involved in. It has really helped people close to me as well as acquaintances.” For Ryan personally, finding cannabis changed everything. He learned that it could help him to open up, relax, and begin to drop the walls he had built up during his service. Ryan says smoking weed also makes his relationships richer and stronger. Overall, he says, cannabis “allows me to be a better version of me.”

Another team member, Chad Douglas, feels similarly. Chad spent over 7 years in the 101st Airborne, and got out during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, he did not have access to the many resources veterans typically have when integrating back into the general populace. “The VA does drop the ball quite often. I haven’t gotten my disability rating and I’ve been out for four years.” Luckily, marijuana helps. “I wish people knew the benefits. They’re out there but not everyone knows about them. Weed is not a cure-all or substitute for all pharmaceuticals, but it is a good alternative to addictive prescriptions for many people.”

Anthony agrees, and says he regularly smokes weed to help with pain from a shoulder injury. “I would rather smoke some doobers than take some pills.

“It’s not the monster it’s been made out to be,” Ryan adds. “It’s so much less harmful for you than alcohol. I wish people understood that the stigmas we’ve been taught were a business decision. People have been using [weed] since before recorded history, but we demonized it in the last 100 years for no reason.”

Ryan recently represented our team at the 92 for 22 Walk and met with the folks in charge of the organization. “They were so grateful. The work they’re doing supports veterans that are dealing with hard times, on the borderline of becoming a statistic.” He said it was heartwarming to see that the company he represents is willing to do the work and give back to the community. “It’s huge for me.” Save the date for this year’s 92For22 Walk on August 3 in Grand Rapids!

About DD420: DD420 is a heavy, indica-leaning hybrid that creates an immersive sensory experience for mind and body. Its creamy, smooth smoke smells and tastes like spicy diesel, sweet cherries, and menthol, leaving a refreshing minty aftertaste and invigorating mental lift. The cerebral high has a slow creeping ascent but packs a punch, although not as much as its physical effects. DD420 hits with a body-zapping high that will have your eyes heavy, body relaxed, and mind blissfully at ease, making it one of the best weed strains for anxiety.

The name DD420 was inspired by another veteran and member of our team, Jonathan Bailey, assistant manager of Three Rivers, Timber. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2014, right after graduating high school and is very passionate about spreading the word about using marijuana as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. When he received his DD214 form, which certifies release from active military duty, he rolled it into a joint and smoked it. “I greatly believe that through marijuana, we can kick the trend of an opioid-crazed VA, and help drastically lower the number. 22 a day is 22 too many.”