The opportunity to connect with medical marijuana patients, caregivers, and dispensary workers is a top priority for Calypso. And thanks to warm weather and fewer travel restrictions, many opportunities were possible!
Within the past few months, our team hit the road and visited several dispensaries to introduce ourselves and learn more about the communities we serve. It was at these ‘Live Events’ that we received a variety of compliments, comments, and questions.
For example, there’s no doubt that many of you love Donny Burger—especially in concentrate form! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us and describing this strain’s unique aroma, flavor, and therapeutic effects. The consensus was this strain helps release your anxieties and melt away your pain.
Similarly, Cinderella 99 appeared to be a patient favorite, particularly among veterans seeking relief for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain. We are humbled and grateful to be able to provide relief for those that need it most!
Beyond your experiences with our strains and products, we were asked a range of questions. Let’s recap a few of the most common ones.
1. What’s Calypso?
Can you believe some folks don’t know us yet?! No worries, this is exactly why we hit the road. Calypso is a medical marijuana grower/processor (GP) located in Erie, PA. This means we grow our own plants and produce medical marijuana products for dispensaries to sell to patients and caregivers. Some of you were surprised to learn that Calypso is a minority woman-owned business and one of the last GPs in Pennsylvania that’s exclusive to the state—and we’re PA-proud. Many of our employees are from the Greater Erie Area and we’ll continue to cherish our humble beginnings. Thank you for all your support and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.
2. What products do you have—and are you handing out samples?
Unfortunately, no samples allowed! Medical marijuana can only be purchased from your local dispensary. In the dispensary, however, we offer many different strains and forms of medical marijuana such as flower, cartridges, concentrates and tinctures, as well as syringes and capsules. Recently, we released Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) and terpene syringes… and we’ve got plenty more items in the works… stay tuned!
3. What’s your highest THC strain?
This is a tough question for us to answer because Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC percentages can fluctuate. If we had to pinpoint a strain or two… Donny Burger, Snow Cone, and Tahoe OG on average show 25% to 30% THC. It’s important to remember, however, that high THC does not necessarily equate to quality relief. It’s the combination of cannabinoids and terpenes in a strain—what’s known as the entourage effect—that produces the best experience. Make sure you’re keeping track of what cannabinoids and terpenes (and ratios) work best for you.
4. What strain do you recommend for pain relief?
This is another tough question! For any desired effect, it’s important to consider the cannabinoid and terpene profiles of the strain. Research suggests cannabinoids like THC, cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) as well as the terpenes caryophyllene and humulene can help relieve pain. We recommend picking strains with one or more of these compounds. For example, our Tahoe OG (on average) has a high THC percentage as well as caryophyllene and humulene within its top terpenes.
5. What’s your favorite strain?
Arise and Orange Krush are popular among our team! Arise is fresh and sweet with the talent to dissolve anxious thoughts. It can help uplift your mind without creating a complete brain fog. Orange Krush is a citrusy explosion that will delight your senses, especially if you’re a fan of orange juice, orange soda, and the like. Orange Krush is loaded with myrcene to help relax your body and mind, making it a wonderful option for evening or nighttime use.
Calypso is on the move and coming to a dispensary near you! Follow us on social media or visit our Facebook Event Page to know where and when our next event will be held.
Rick Simpson Oil, more commonly known as RSO, is one of the first examples of modern medical marijuana extracts. It was first introduced in the early 2000s and thanks to its powerful potency and therapeutic effects, it has since become a staple for many medical marijuana patients. To better understand RSO, its use and its benefits, let’s first learn about the man behind the medicine: Rick Simpson.
Who Is Rick Simpson?
Rick Simpson is best known as a medical marijuana cultivator and activist. Before he became a pioneer in the medical marijuana community, Simpson was an engineer working in Nova Scotia, Canada. It’s here that a work-related injury changed his life forever.
In the late 1990s, Simpson was removing asbestos from a poorly ventilated hospital boiler room when he collapsed from toxic fumes and knocked himself unconscious. Simpson was given immediate medical attention, however, he continued to suffer from dizziness and ringing in his ears (also known as tinnitus) for years following the incident.
Traditional pharmaceuticals and pain prescriptions failed to provide Simpson with the relief he so desperately needed. He started to research alternative forms of treatment and soon began growing and using marijuana. Finally, he was able to manage his symptoms—all from a plant in his garden no less!
Some years later, in 2003, Simpson was diagnosed with a form of skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma. This led him to further explore marijuana as medicine. Simpson read a study from The Journal of the National Cancer Institute in which Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (the main psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana) was found to kill cancer cells in mice. Inspired, he extracted oil from his plants and methodically applied it to his skin. As the story goes, the cancerous growths on his arm disappeared in less than a week. From this point on, Simpson was a true believer in the medicinal benefits of marijuana and was determined to share his discovery with the world.
Notably, as a testament to his character and passion, Simpson chose not to patent his oil or his method of extraction. Instead, he encouraged RSO to be accessible to all who needed it.
What is RSO and How is it Made?
It’s up for debate but RSO can be defined as a full-spectrum extract—at least this is the case for Calypso. The buzzword ‘full-spectrum’ refers to full-spectrum cannabis oil (FSCO) or full-extract cannabis oil (FECO) in which all the compounds of the marijuana plant (e.g., flavonoids, phenols, fatty acids, terpenes, and cannabinoids) are maintained during extraction.
More research is needed, but there is reason to believe full-spectrum extracts can provide more therapeutic effects for patients. Specifically, experts note what’s called “The Entourage Effect” or the theory that marijuana compounds work together, and when taken together, produce a better effect than when taken alone. In other words, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Of course, it’s the method of extraction that determines if compounds can be stabilized and maintained. Ethanol, low heat, and patience can yield full-spectrum extracts. Other types of solvents like alcohol or butane can be used to extract RSO, however, at Calypso, we choose to follow best practices and use food-grade ethanol.
RSO can be extracted from any marijuana strain, though Indica-dominant strains (strains often associated with calming effects), as well as strains with high levels of THC, are desired. Depending on what strain is used, the color and consistency of RSO can differ. Some marijuana strains produce a light amber color with a gooey consistency, while others produce a dark, thick consistency like molasses. Nevertheless, the end product is a highly potent oil (>60% THC), which is why it’s recommended for patients with conditions that require a high dose of THC or for those who have a high tolerance to THC.
How is RSO Consumed?
RSO can be consumed in a multitude of ways, making it a versatile choice for patients with different conditions. In general, however, RSO is often applied as a topical or ingested orally. As such, Calypso provides two options for patients: (1) capsules and (2) syringes.
Capsules offer more precise dosing, while syringes can be used to squeeze oil under your tongue (sublingual), onto your skin (topical), as well as into foods or liquids (oral). Oral consumption results in slower onset, but long-lasting relief, compared to other methods.
Keep in mind, as a full-spectrum extract, RSO can be pungent and sometimes bitter to some patients! Luckily, its taste is easily masked with food or drinks. Good ‘fatty’ snacks like peanut butter, avocados, or yogurt are ideal options and can help increase your body’s absorption rate. Another idea is to freeze individual doses on a piece of parchment paper, then dilute the oil in your morning coffee or tea.
What About Dosing?
As mentioned earlier, Rick Simpson was transparent about his extraction method for RSO as well as his treatment experience. This led him to develop and share a regimen for others to follow based on his findings. Simpson recommends patients ‘start slow’ and allow the body to build up a tolerance to THC, then acclimate to its effects. Detailed dosage instructions can be reviewed on Simpson’s affiliated website.
Remember, dosing is patient-specific and should be based on your health condition(s) and biometrics, among other factors. Always consult a licensed medical marijuana physician to develop a treatment plan that’s right for you and your needs.
OG is an important term used throughout recreational and medical marijuana culture. You’ll find it paired at the beginning or end of a strain name. Though it may seem like a simple acronym, this two-letter term has a complex and debated history. Nevertheless, we’ve done the research to help you better understand what OG really means.
Banana OG, Fire OG, Larry OG, Skywalker OG, Tahoe OG—these are just a few examples of the many, many members of the ‘OG’ family of recreational and medical marijuana strains. As a whole, this family is known for potent effects, earthy and herbal profiles, and unique backstories.
For some marijuana aficionados, OG Kush resides as the godfather of this family, since many OG strains are bred from its genetics. However, each strain deserves respect by its own right. In fact, that’s one of the ongoing theories about the origins of OG. It’s commonly considered an abbreviation for Original Gangster, a term that implies someone who is old school or the first of their kind.
The term ‘original gangster’ was first popularized or brought to the mainstream by Los Angeles-based hip hop artists like Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac in the 1980s and 1990s. At the same time, more and more ‘OG’ strains were introduced into the marketplace—coincidence? As in any other industry, it helps when a product name (or in this case a strain name) is marketable, so it’s easy to conclude growers used the cool, catchy moniker to their advantage.
Another theory surrounding the origins of OG—one perhaps most widely accepted among recreational and medical marijuana users—also begins on the west coast. This theory claims OG stands for “Ocean Grown” and signifies a strain with coastal, Californian roots. Moreover, this theory circles back to the godfather, OG Kush.
OG Kush was first grown in southern California, but it wasn’t long until other cultivators took the strain and harvested their own creations. The story goes that a conversation took place between two marijuana connoisseurs, one who claimed that OG Kush obtained its tremendous smell, taste, and potency from the growing conditions near Californian mountain ranges. What he soon learned, however, was the particular OG Kush he admired was actually grown indoors along the pacific coast, hence it was ocean grown rather than mountain grown.
Whether you’d prefer OG to mean “Original Gangster” or “Ocean Grown” is entirely up to you! Whatever ‘OG’ strain you try, it’s destined to provide you with powerful effects and an exceptional profile for your senses.
With this in mind, we have our own thoughts on what OG could represent and we hope the sentiment will transfer into our next strain release, hitting dispensary shelves soon. It’ll have you saying, “Oh gee—this is good!”.
She’s fierce. She’s mighty. She’s Oriana, our Logistics Manager. Oriana is an invaluable member of our team who helps bring structure and order to our fast-paced and demanding workdays. Oriana excels under pressure and “lives on her toes” so she’s always ready to find a solution and tackle a problem. We are so grateful to have a strong, passionate leader like her on Team Calypso. To learn more about Oriana, check out our employee interview below:
How long have you worked at Calypso, and what’s your role? “My one year anniversary will be in October, so I have been in my position for just over ten months. My role is Logistics Manager. I run The Vault, which means maintaining accurate inventory and picking, packing, and shipping out all orders!”
How do you start your mornings and/or end your days at Calypso? “I always start my morning with coffee and end my day with a Diet Coke. Lots of caffeine needed to get all the work done! When I get into the office I hear a lot of ‘HEY-O!’s’ (my Roller Derby name, and favorite nickname) from the team, which always makes me smile.”
What’s surprised you most about working in the medical marijuana industry? “Outside of work, I’m always a little surprised when I talk to someone who’s unaware of medical marijuana and how it provides relief to patients with chronic and challenging conditions like Chrohn’s Disease, epilepsy, and anxiety disorders. It goes to show there’s still a need to educate and advocate in this industry. That said, I’ve also experienced plenty of conversations with people who are ecstatic to tell me how much medical marijuana has helped them. It’s particularly rewarding to hear someone say how much they love Calypso products!”
You shared that you are a medical marijuana patient, what’s your preferred method of treatment? “I find that vaping works best for me, particularly for my anxiety. It works fast and really helps when I start to feel the anxiety coming on. It also helps me with chronic pain I have from injuries.”
What’s something that most people don’t know about you? “It’s hard to say, most people hear me talking non-stop about Roller Derby, so that’s out. I’m a super nerd who plays Dungeons & Dragons, loves puzzles, and plays a lot of video games. I also have 9 tattoos and a motorcycle—so I guess I’m a tough, adventurous nerd! On a more serious note, I think a lot of people don’t know that I have a son, Robin Pierce, who was stillborn on December 9, 2018. I’m wearing his shirt in the photo (above). Losing a child is a traumatic experience, and medical marijuana has helped me get off conventional medications and manage my anxiety and PTSD from losing my son. Working here at Calypso has been a blessing. Everyone has been so supportive of me and my family through my recovery journey.”
Medical marijuana oils, concentrates, and extracts are umbrella terms that refer to any product derived from medical marijuana flower that is processed into a concentrated form. Tinctures, capsules, vape cartridges, hash, and “dabbable oils” like shatter and wax are a few examples. Compared to raw flower, these products often offer more refined aromas, flavors, and effects, as well as precise dosing.
The process to transform medical marijuana into a concentrated form involves isolating its most desirable ingredients, while removing excess plant material and other impurities. Think of it like orange juice concentrate—the fruit’s stem, leaves, peel, and pulp are filtered out for a purer substance that maintains the smell, taste, and benefits of the fruit. This may seem like a simple task, but it’s actually a complex process that requires careful attention and a skilled workforce to be completed safely and effectively.
Let’s dive deeper into the processes that produce quality medical marijuana oils, concentrates, and extracts. Most products are made by one of two options: solvent (chemical) and solventless (physical) extraction. Each method is equally effective, and will result in an assortment of products, some of which you may find work better for you than others.
Solvent extraction is a chemical process in which solvents or “substances that have the ability to dissolve another substance” are used to breakdown medical marijuana and extract its essential oils, cannabinoids, terpenes, and other desirable compounds into concentrated forms. Many different solvents are used in the medical marijuana industry, and the most common two (and those used by Calypso) are butane and carbon dioxide (CO2).
Butane is a hydrocarbon, an organic chemical compound that’s been used in food extraction for decades. As a highly flammable substance, butane can be dangerous to work with, but it’s argued to be one of the most efficient solvents for plant extraction. For medical marijuana products, butane is added to fresh, frozen flower or cured (properly dried) buds and isolates the plant’s medicinal compounds. The resulting product is Butane Hash Oil or BHO, which can be crafted into various textures and consistencies.
Note: Before BHO is packaged and delivered to a dispensary, it is mechanically “purged” to eliminate any residual butane from the product, so it is safe to consume.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extract
CO2 is another chemical compound—one we naturally exhale—that’s considered among the highest quality solvents and particularly effective at extracting flavorful terpenes and cannabinoids from medical marijuana. In the extraction process, high pressure and heat are used to transform CO2 into a “supercritical” state where it’s simultaneously a liquid and a gas. Combined with medical marijuana, the result is a raw extract that can be fashioned into different forms or can experience distillation to improve its purity and potency.
Distillation or distillate is another extraction method that helps to further refine the final product and isolates the essential compounds of medical marijuana. Pure distillate is virtually flavorless and actually requires terpenes to be reintroduced for a unique and tailored taste.
Solventless extraction is often considered a more artisanal approach to producing medical marijuana products, as it requires more expertise and time to complete. The process itself involves a mechanical or physical means (like heat or pressure) to remove and collect medical marijuana trichomes—the sticky, hair-like glands that contain the plant’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and other medicinal compounds. Two common types of solventless extraction are dry sift or dry sieve, and ice water hash or bubble hash.
Dry Sift or Dry Sieve Extract
With this process, dried flower is rubbed or rolled over a sieve (a fine mesh strainer) that helps separate the plant’s trichomes. The result is also referred to as “kief” and looks like a crumbly off-white powder, which can be pressed into other textures and consistencies like hash and rosin.
Ice Water Hash or Bubble Hash Extract
Hinted by its name, ice water hash or bubble hash extract involves cold water to separate the plant’s trichomes. Medical marijuana flower is tumbled through ice water, filtered through a fine mesh strainer, then dried before it’s consumed. Depending on how long the drying process is, the final product can have a range of consistencies.
Now that we’ve covered how medical marijuana oils, concentrates, and extracts are made, let’s take a closer look at the world of medical marijuana extracts. Online or at a dispensary, you might find the terms “extracts” and “concentrates” used interchangeably. It may be helpful to remember that all extracts are concentrates, but not all concentrates are extracts. Extracts are a specific type of concentrate that use solvents (chemicals) to draw out the desired substances of a plant. Familiar examples of this include vanilla, peppermint, and other flavor extracts you might use for cooking.
There are many varieties of medical marijuana extracts, which have names like budder, sauce, and sugar to reflect their texture and consistency. These attributes are determined by how the extract is formulated and processed. Below is a simple breakdown of a few popular extracts that Calypso offers.
TEXTURE & CONSISTENCY
Smooth and creamy, like butter, with a wet terpene gloss.
Extracted with butane, the resulting cannabinoid and terpene mixture is whipped over heat
Gooey like marmalade, rich with terpenes and clusters of THCa crystals.
Extracted with butane, cannabinoids and terpenes are left to “crash out” or naturally form THCa crystals in a cool, dark place with controlled pressure. THCa crystals separate from the mixture and are recombined in a certain ratio for desired consistency.
Wet and grainy, like sticky sugar, sparkling with small THCa crystals.
Same process as sauce. Smaller THCa crystals are recombined in a certain ratio for desired consistency, usually with less terpenes.
Clear, crystalline chunks consisting of pure THCa.
Same process as sauce and sugar with more controlled pressure. THCa crystals grow larger and remain separated from terpene-rich mixture.
When we consider the different ways to consume medical marijuana oils, concentrates, and extracts it’s important to remember these products are more potent than raw flower. Medical marijuana flower often has a THC content that ranges from 10% to 25%, while concentrated forms can reach 80% or more. Therefore, dosing is important. Remember to “start low and go slow” to find the amount that works best for you. Even small doses may help you achieve a desired effect.
Concentrated forms of medical marijuana can be consumed in a variety of ways and you’ve likely already tried a few. For example, have you rubbed a topical into your skin, swallowed a capsule or inhaled a vape? Some patients who prefer extracts use what’s called a “dab rig” to heat up a small amount of product and inhale the vapor for the immediate onset of effects. These are just a few examples and the ideal method for consumption depends on the type and texture of the medical marijuana product. Be sure to consult your dispensary pharmacist or budtender as to the recommended method of consumption and dosing for any concentrate you choose.
ShaVonne shines inside and out, and we are so thankful to have her on Team Calypso! Like many of our team members, ShaVonne was brand new to medical marijuana but soon learned all about best practices and special nuances of the industry. She’s shown tremendous growth and initiative within the past few months, which is why she was promoted to Nutrient Team Lead. To learn more about ShaVonne, check out our employee interview below:
How long have you worked at Calypso, and what’s your role? “I started with Calypso back in September of last year, so it’s been about 10 months. I was hired onto the Cultivation Team but have since been promoted to Nutrient Team Lead. I’m grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to learning more about medical marijuana in this role.”
How do you start your mornings and/or end your days at Calypso? “My mornings start with arriving to work on time, every time! I greet our friendly security officers and trust them with my post prized possession—my phone! Then, I make my way over to Central Feed to check-in with my fellow “Aqua Mafia” team members to look at the day’s workload.”
What’s surprised you most about working in the medical marijuana industry? “What’s surprised me most is how versatile medical marijuana is… not only are there hundreds of different strains, but these strains can transform into a variety of forms (oils, concentrates, tinctures, etc.). And with all these different options, it makes sense that it can help treat a range of medical conditions. Currently, I am not a medical marijuana patient but I plan to get my card soon, especially after learning and hearing first-hand how patients benefit from the program.”
What’s something that most people don’t know about you? “Something that most people don’t know about me is I love DIY arts and crafts—specifically, dessert-related challenges. One of my favorite things to do is bake and design cakes, like really big cakes!”
It is more widely known today that the marijuana plant contains hundreds of cannabinoids, which are simply natural chemical compounds of the plant—the two most abundant of which are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Over the years, these three-letter acronyms have buzzed in the industry and sparked research to better understand the medicinal benefits of marijuana. In the end, however, many patients still have the same question: What’s the difference between THC and CBD?
Well, it starts at the molecular level.
THC and CBD have the same molecular structure: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms. And although these structures are the same, each is built differently. This variance accounts for the different effects you may feel when you consume THC and CBD.
As cannabinoids, THC and CBD react with your body’s innate endocannabinoid system, a vital network of receptors that enable homeostasis or essentially, the processes that ensure your overall wellbeing.
Fun Fact: The endocannabinoid system was ‘fully’ discovered in humans in 1992 while studying the effects of THC on the mind and body—and hence, named “the endocannabinoid system” after the cannabis plant.
THC and CBD will commonly react with “CB1” and “CB2” receptors in your endocannabinoid system. This interaction releases neurotransmitters or chemicals that communicate messages between your body’s cells and influence a variety of functions like pain perception, appetite, mood, and sleep.
It’s complicated of course, but essentially, THC is more likely to interact with CB1 receptors, which are more prominent in your central nervous system—your brain and spinal cord—and due to the proximity to your mind, THC can lead to more psychoactive effects. On the other hand, CBD is more likely to interact with CB2 receptors, which are found throughout your body and can lead to less or more often no psycho-activity. In addition, CBD can block THC from binding to CB1 receptors and further reduce psycho-activity or the euphoric feelings associated with a traditional “high”.
Then there’s the effects.
Based on scientific studies and anecdotal records, both THC and CBD have therapeutic properties that aid in the treatment of numerous conditions. For instance, THC has shown to be effective at relieving pain, reducing nausea and vomiting, suppressing muscle spasms, slowing the deterioration of the nervous system, reducing eye pressure, and acting as an antidepressant. Likewise, CBD has shown to be effective at inhibiting cancer cell growth, reducing blood sugar, relieving anxiety, slowing bacterial growth, and reducing inflammation.
These examples are just a few of the recognized health benefits of THC and CBD. With more research, new benefits are sure to be discovered.
Protects Nervous System
Relieves Crohn’s Disease
Relieves Rheumatoid Arthritis
Note: These effects are not universal or definitive; your experience may vary.
And sometimes, two is better than one.
There are multiple medical conditions that can be treated with both THC and CBD like chronic pain, depression, muscle spasms, and nausea. While you can choose to treat any of these conditions with only THC or CBD, the entourage effect—sometimes called the ensemble effect—occurs when they’re coupled together. The entourage effect happens when multiple cannabinoids and terpenes cooperate to enhance the therapeutic effects of each compound. Think of it like a hearty meal. Your dining experience will be much more satisfying with side dishes, garnishes, and other bits rather than a single, unseasoned steak.
With that in mind, be sure to look at the THC to CBD ratio as well as prominent terpenes in your medical marijuana. In general, you’ll find products with the following ratios:
High THC, low CBD (e.g., 10-30% THC, trace amounts of CBD)
Balanced (1:1) CBD to THC, (e.g., 5-15% THC and CBD)
High CBD, low THC (e.g., 5-20% CBD, THC under 5%)
And if you’d like to learn more about terpenes, check out our blog post that goes into more detail. You might also consider keeping a record of this data as you try different products and consumption methods. This may help you uncover and better understand what ratios or combinations work best for you. We’ve created patient journal pages exactly for this purpose, which you are welcome to print out and use.
Just remember to do your research.
Due to decades of growing and curating plants to particular preferences, along with a lack of knowledge about the therapeutic benefits of CBD, much of today’s marijuana market includes products with high levels of THC. Up until recently, CBD was largely overlooked. The turning point or CBD’s claim to fame was its ability to treat a rare and debilitating form of pediatric epilepsy called Dravet’s Syndrome. Then, as part of the Farm Bill in December 2018, Congress made hemp (a cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC) a legal agricultural commodity, from which CBD oil can be extracted and sold in some states.
As the popularity and availability of CBD products increase, it’s important to note that not all products work as advertised and are more often than not, unregulated goods. Be sure to look at the ingredients of the product, as well as the company making it, particularly if the product is purchased outside a state-regulated, medical marijuana dispensary. Luckily, we have some exciting things planned involving strains with higher levels of CBD, which you won’t have to second-guess—stay tuned!
There’s still much more to be studied about marijuana and its role in our mental and physical health. For instance, consider the fact there are 120 known cannabinoids and we’ve only just begun to understand two of them and how each can affect us. As you start or continue your journey with medical marijuana, let us know what you discover.
Danny is a friend to everyone he meets and is the type of person you can always rely on. He’s the ultimate team player with an upbeat attitude and a willingness to help out wherever he is needed—cracking jokes and lightening the mood along the way. We are so grateful to have him on our team and appreciate his enthusiasm about the work we do! To learn more about Danny, check out our employee interview below:
How long have you worked at Calypso, and what’s your role? “I’ve been with Calypso for almost a year, specifically working on the Cultivation Team. However, I sometimes feel like Taysom Hill, helping out all over the building. You might find me in cultivation, production, helping with our waste and recycling program, or running around with a disinfectant bottle, sanitizing everything, during which some of my teammates like to call me The Danitizer.”
How do you start your mornings and/or end your days at Calypso? “My mornings always start with friendly greetings from our Knights in Shining Armor, the security officers. And I wish my homegirl, Jamie, a good morning. Then it’s time to scrub up! Once I’m changed and sanitized, I walk over to the cultivation wing and check-in on what my tasks are for the day. I wash up again, put my hair net on, and get to work.”
What’s surprised you most about working in the medical marijuana industry? “I’m continually impressed by how many lives medical marijuana has changed for the better. When the topic of marijuana comes up in movies or tv shows, it’s often portrayed in a negative light or with over-the-top characters—and in my opinion, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve met people who have been in car accidents, struggle with anxiety, experience daily aches and pains, and other serious medical issues. Many of these patients use medical marijuana as their only source of medication and it’s been able to give them their lives back.”
You shared that you are a medical marijuana patient, what’s your preferred method of treatment? “I’m always looking to explore new treatment methods with medical marijuana, but as of right now, vaping is what works best for me. My favorite from Calypso is Downing Dawg, then I mostly stick to Indica-dominant and CBD strains.”
What’s something that most people don’t know about you? “I’m an open book, there isn’t much about me that people don’t already know. I’m a simple guy who likes sports, listening to music, watching TV, playing video games, kayaking, and spending time with my wife and two cats. However, most people are surprised to find out that I love to dance—if a banger starts to play, you better believe I’m about to battle someone and they’re about to get served.”
April 20 or 4/20 is widely considered “Weed Day”—a special day for marijuana enthusiasts to collectively celebrate the plant and its effects. In its infancy, this so-called holiday was embraced by a counterculture movement made up of free spirits and others who denounced greed, corporate influences, and all things mainstream. Ironically, celebrations have evolved dramatically over the years with largescale festivals sponsored by popular commercial brands with millions of dollars’ worth of merchandise. However, 4/20 has also provided an opportunity for organizations and individuals alike to champion progressive legislation and the growing acceptance of marijuana as lawful medicine.
Governor Tom Wolf legalized medical marijuana in Pennsylvania on April 6, 2016, and on February 16, 2018, medical marijuana became available for patients at dispensaries across the commonwealth. A study from Compassionate Certification Centers, published in December 2019, concluded around 225,000 patients have since registered for the state program, with close to over 175,000 certifications issued to date, and more than 1,000 physician practitioners registered on the state medical marijuana physician registry.
The study claimed, “these numbers show the robust and rapid acceptance and growth of the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program, and also point to the need for continued and improved patient-based support services and resources.” Additional findings of the study included:
A majority (76.25%) of participants said they would “definitely agree” medical marijuana has made an impact on their quality of life; and
A majority (74.46%) of participants said they would “definitely recommend” the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program to friends and family.
Furthermore, a majority (93.70%) of participants agreed that grower/processors like Calypso, are making quality medicine—we love to hear that!
As we continue to explore and discover the medical advantages of marijuana, there’s no doubt that widespread public opinion on the topic will continue to improve as well. In fact, the latest poll from Pew Research Center found that two-thirds of Americans say the use of marijuana should be legal, especially for medicinal purposes. In addition to its medical advantages, the residual socio-economic benefits of marijuana are also helping to progress its public image. Two such benefits include the boost in jobs and tax revenue.
The legal marijuana industry (medical and adult-use) has tremendous growth potential and is on track to create hundreds of thousands of jobs; jobs with strong wages and benefits that are vital for the economy and supporting families. A report from Leafly concluded that as of January 2020, the legal marijuana industry supports 243,700 full-time-equivalent jobs and is the fastest growing industry in the United States. In the past year alone, Pennsylvania’s market has doubled in size and now supports a total of 8,765 full-time jobs. And while these positions are directly related to marijuana production and distribution there are even more potential opportunities in secondary industries such as software development, financing services, construction companies, just to name a few.
The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program has already collected $6.45 million in tax revenue. As the program continues to expand, and if recreational adult-use is legalized, the Department of the Auditor General estimates this number could jump to hundreds of millions of dollars. Not only would this affect the state’s bottom line, the revenue would continue to improve public health initiatives such as:
Children and Youth Services – including programs that address child welfare, health coverage, and early education;
Opioid Treatment – including programs that provide integrated care, various therapies, and other addiction services;
Research Opportunities – including programs that support the development of technology to help regulate the industry and advance applications for marijuana; and
Veteran Issues – including programs that help Veterans access and receive mental health and drug treatment services.
It comes as no surprise that these benefits are helping sway opinions and popularize marijuana as a regulated industry. It’s also important to mention that as legislation continues to change, the number of arrests and criminal justice costs are likely to follow suit. For example, between 2016 and 2017, individuals arrested for having less than an ounce of marijuana cost Pennsylvania taxpayers an estimated $46 million. With greater acceptance of marijuana, this money would be earned, rather than spent.
The socio-economic benefits of marijuana as a regulated industry are hard to ignore and are without a doubt opening opportunities to discuss and reform legislation for the better. As of January 16, there were 975 marijuana-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions. With the support of officials and the public at large, our industry will undoubtedly change and further solidify its legitimacy.
Today, COVID-19 has halted operations for many businesses and is changing the way we live our daily lives. With these changes, it’s become increasingly clear that medical marijuana is considered a vital commodity. From top state officials, medical marijuana organizations were deemed “essential… life-sustaining businesses” and granted permission to remain operational, providing medical relief for patients who need it.
As we celebrate 4/20, we can’t help but feel honored to be a part of this industry and community. We are proud of the progress we have all made and will continue to champion the use of medical marijuana to help patients state-wide and support advances in the medical marijuana industry.
She’s an artist, a photographer, a certified mixologist, a self-described ‘crazy cat lady’ and not to mention, a valuable member of our team. Jordan walks around with spunky and playful energy that’s guaranteed to make you laugh. She’s the first to step up, volunteer, push her sleeves back and get the job done—with a smile of course. Born and raised in Erie, we are so grateful to have her on our team. To learn more about Jordan, check out our employee interview below:
How long have you worked at Calypso, and what’s your role? “I’ve been with Calypso since July 1, 2019 and I’m a proud member of the Cultivation Team, which we jokingly refer to as Calypso Cult.”
How do you start your mornings and/or end your days at Calypso? “Almost like clockwork, I walk in every morning to a fabulous greeting from Jamie, our Master of Custodial Arts! She usually gives me a hard time for not saying, ‘Good Morning, Jamie!’ enthusiastically enough. So, I’m working on that, but I’m not much of a morning person until COFFEE. Then it’s fist bumps, elbow knocks, and obnoxiously good whistling that echoes throughout the hallways for all my coworkers to enjoy!”
What’s surprised you most about working in the medical marijuana industry? “I’ve been surprised by the number of people who work at Calypso or in the industry that are not medical marijuana patients themselves. You’d think everyone in this industry would have an MMJ card, but in fact, you’ll meet individuals who are simply passionate about this medicine and recognize and understand its potential to help others. There’s also so much diversity in this industry. I work with grandmothers, former dairy farm workers, retired ‘hippies’, college students, you name it. I think it’s amazing what medical marijuana can do for so many people.”
You shared that you are a medical marijuana patient, what’s your preferred method of treatment? “I like to use vape cartridges for ease of dosage, but I’ll also use topical lotions and salves. And although THC edibles are not available in PA dispensaries, patients are allowed to cook with medical marijuana at home. So often, I’ll add a concentrate, specifically RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) to my meals. I like having a full spectrum of treatment methods. I find it’s ideal for someone like me who suffers from chronic, post-surgery back pain and anxiety.”
What’s something that most people don’t know about you? “I’m a sucker for ‘warm and fuzzy’ commercials. I’ll cry during any commercial that has an animal or an elderly couple in it. Be it insurance, car dealerships, prune juice—doesn’t matter! If it’s cute and adorable, I’m tearing up!”
We also asked Jordan to share her passion about art and the role medical marijuana has played to spark her creativity. Here’s what she had to say:
“Without a doubt, medical marijuana helps with my chronic back pain, which allows me to physically create art and enjoy my creative process. For example, when I do an acrylic pour painting, I must stand over the canvas. When I’m medicated, I can stand for longer periods of time. Likewise, it helps ease my anxiety and allows my mind to be creative. I’m not bogged down with negative thoughts, instead I feel free and inspired. For me, it’s a holistic treatment—when I feel physically well to be creative and make something special, it brings my mental health into balance as well.”