Curious Stories of Success
At Our Community Harvest, our goal is to help curious adults gain cannabis fluency for their lives.
We seek to provide you with the education you need to confidently explore an enhanced lifestyle. We also hope to provide a new perspective of the cannabis lifestyle not typically shown. No blunts, no haze of fog. Just responsible adults seeking to enhance life in a new way.
We share these stories of people we’ve met along the way in our own cannabis journey, and the paths they’ve taken.
How I became a federal medical cannabis patient — and why the federal government does not want my protocol studied
Cannabis was made illegal in 1937. I discovered the medical benefits of Cannabis in the fall of 1971 and started learning about the Federal prohibition against a plant that has been around for thousands of years. I also learned about the only legal grow in the United States that was started in 1968 on the campus of University of Mississippi.
I started taking on the Federal Government in the fall of 1972. First, I had to get the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve of my studying using Cannabis to enhance the effects of Dilaudid (synthetic morphine). They also had to approve of my doctor and me. If and when that got done, then we would have to contact the Drug Enforcement Agency to get their approval of the legality of my doctor and myself. Only then would the National Institute of Drug Abuse, with the approval of the other two agencies, ship out the Schedule 1 Experimental New Drug to my doctor. Remember, this was 1972.
Needless to say, the powers to be had no intentions of helping anyone but the lobbyists who represented big pharmaceuticals. My doctor and I were not surprised by the lack of help from FDA. I kept the pressure on as best as I could.
In 1976, Robert Randall was arrested in Washington D.C. for growing a small amount of Cannabis for his glaucoma. He went to court claiming medical necessity and was found not-guilty. He had applied to the FDA to get Cannabis from the government farm for his glaucoma and, having won in court, was granted access — at least for a little while. (That’s another story)
I met Robert in 1978 and with his help turned my medical study to the program he was now under called a “Compassionate Care Investigational New Drug Protocol.” We reapplied to no avail. With the help of my Congressman, the Virginia State Police and the State’s Crime Commission we doubled our efforts with the FDA. Still to no avail.
In early fall of 1979, I was lucky enough to get the University of Virginia Law School (UVA) to take up my cause. The FDA stonewalled UVA until the spring of 1982 when UVA threatened to sue the FDA in federal court. Finally the leadership at the FDA gave in and held hearings for me in their headquarters in Rockville Maryland where I would have 15 minutes to convince a panel of 19 doctors that my project was valid.
I won those hearings and on November 20, 1982, I became the second person in the United States with a prescription for Cannabis. The program got up to 13 patients when President George Bush senior shut the program down “grandfathering” the 13 of us in. Today there are only two of us under the Federal program.
Since 1937, the pharmaceutical, oil, paper, prisons, and other interested parties have been putting out false reports so they can keep control and continue making money. Big business and the pharmaceutical companies DO NOT want a person to be able to grow their own medicine. This is why they have never used any of my 70 + medical reports that have been submitted by my doctors for over 35 years.
This is why we need to continue to educate everyone about the wonderful medical aspects of this needed plant. Books like Our Community Harvest’s own Rob Mejia and mine are very important. For those who want to read my entire story “My Medicine” How I Convinced the U.S. Government to Provide My Marijuana and Helped Launch a National Movement, you may order it on Kindle or for a signed copy order at www.mymedicineconsulting.com
Opening the door to cannabis opened the door to possibilities: Ashley Picillo turns cannabis professional, advocate and author
I was 100% a D.A.R.E. kid. While my parents are extremely liberal on most fronts, they were staunchly opposed to “drugs.” As the oldest kid—and a female—my parents watched me like a hawk. I was a classic over-achiever by all accounts and, by way of my upbringing, saw marijuana as something that could only derail me from my plans. While I certainly became more open minded during college, I refrained from consuming. In the fall of 2013, a strange series of events unfolded and the idea of moving to Colorado in advance of legalization was presented to me. I was slated to start an operations job in New York, but had a few months to kill and had always wanted to spend time in Colorado so I packed up a suitcase and hit the road.
I quickly found myself immersed in this “industry,” and realized a few things:
1) Cannabis is not a drug. It is a plant and a medicine;
2) As someone who thoroughly enjoys building and designing systems, I realized that I had an incredible opportunity helping to build something that had never been built before.
I spent the next two years intimately involved in the Colorado market heading up operations for a vertically integrated facility where I had my hands in just about everything from dispensing, through post-harvest, to product development, extraction and distribution. It was the steepest, most rewarding learning curve of my life and, because of this experience, I was equipped with almost every tool I needed to take this knowledge on the road (“almost” representing the incredible team I did not yet have). In 2016, I launched Point Seven Group to support companies around the country in procuring licenses to grow, dispense or process. Since then, my entirely (badass) women-run team has grown to support a wide range of services for the industry.
In 2017 I authored Breaking the Grass Ceiling, which connected me with 21 pioneering cannabis women. I wanted to create this biographical collection to educate female newcomers in the industry, while showcasing the incredible professionals working in cannabis. It’s been the greatest adventure of my life and I look forward to spending the foreseeable future advocating for patients and policy reform, while working to shift the mindsets of people thinking the way I was only a few years ago.