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(I’m an avid user of marijuana for my mental and physical issues, and I find that it works wonders. I wish to clearly state, however, that knowledge about how to use the plant is important before use – particularly as it relates to how your mind and body respond. Use cannabis responsibly.)*
I visited the recently launched OHJA Medical Cannabis Dispensary for a meditative session with Wonakee Amos (Brand Manager) and Hanay “Yanah” Lawrence (Budtender). The atmosphere was natural, warm and homely, and I immediately felt peace upon entering the premises.
What would you say separates the OHJA strains of marijuana from the others available on the market right now?
“Well, what I would say is that we have such a wide range of strains (indica, sativa, hybrid) but, most importantly, they’re organically grown. Our product is 100% organic, and that’s something that we pride ourselves in. Our CEO (Paul Glavine) would speak about it because he looks at it from a medicinal point of view, where it has to be pure from the farm to the store, to you.
The dispensary has been here for three months, but the structure behind the dispensary is well seasoned; we’ve been growing herb for quite some time, and we’ve mastered certain grows, and we have the brightest minds in science working at our farm to perfect each cycle.”
Is it safe to mix strains, or should they be enjoyed individually?
“I personally would say, think about it like you would any other drug, or any other substance, like alcohol; think about it – to have straight rum or to mix vodka, rum and something else is a different feeling. I would say experience each strain individually to benefit from the effects, and then perhaps if you feel adventurous thereafter, you can mix them.”
“The only mixing we promote is hybrids (laughs) – likkle bit a indica, likkle bit a sativa, you know. I wouldn’t really say mix your strains, but…hey.”
How easy is it to purchase your products, and what would the process entail?
“So, we have a standard process for everyone who comes in; have to fill out a form; have to be approved by the doctor because you know, it’s medical cannabis – so as much as we allow recreational use, we do have that process. It really is less than five minutes. Nothing tedious or uncomfortable.”
What about the cost?
“It’s $1000.00 for registration. If you do have membership at another dispensary (which you have to have proof of, e.g. your medical I.D.), then still sign the form but you don’t have to talk to the doctor or nor pay the fee.”
Have you seen a reduction in the negative stigmas often associated with marijuana users?
“Personally, I would say yes, because there are now governing bodies enforcing rules to these dispensaries and outlets. I think that’s subconsciously changing the way people think about marijuana and its distribution. For example, my mother recently had some type of “foggy mind” situation happening and I had suggested CBD oil to her. Now, she’s old-school, born in the ‘50s: ‘Weed ago mad yuh, stop bun weed! Yah guh tun eediat! That’s why yuh nah do well inna school! Dats why yuh sleep all day,’ etc. I remember saying to her that ‘the Xanax and the pharmaceutical stuff that they giving yuh is gonna cramp yuh. Try di CBD oil.’ She was open to it, she tried it, she actually finished the bottle…and I was like, ‘Mum! Wow! Ok! Yuh know yuh just took weed, right?’
Of course you know it’s not the psychoactive one, so now she’s understanding that not all weed makes you ‘high and lazy’ and all these negative things. She’s realizing that there’s actually a medicinal side to it, which is the CBD side. Doesn’t have the psychoactive effects but it has all the medicinal benefits that you would get from a nutraceutical drug.”
“Working here as a budtender, I’ve definitely seen patients of all ages. Surprisingly, I thought we’d never see anybody past 40 (years old)! We have people carrying their parents and family members and saying, ‘Hey, look, it’s more than just smoking. You can take it to alleviate pain, you can relax, etc.’ so yeah, I’ve been seeing all sorts of patients coming in to sign up.”
What more do you think can be done to spread awareness and education about marijuana?
“More testimonials, I would say. More people being bold enough to come out and say, ‘Hey, I medicate.’ We’re so used to seeing the yute on the corner doing this (digs out her hand middle in “street” fashion) but we don’t see the business man or the lawyer with his grinder in his apartment after a long day. He’s doing it behind closed doors and another man is doing it on the corner. Both men are medicating for some purpose, but it’s the stigma attached to it.”
“We need to show a lot of persons that it enhances your productivity, not diminish it (like persons who get high and go sleep, or yuh just become lazy). It actually gives you a nudgie (sativas), a great start to your day; it boosts your creative spunk, vibe and energy. You meditate and you get all these creative ideas that you can’t even contain sometimes. It’s just a matter of letting people know it’s not bad for your health. There are very holistic ways in which you can consume marijuana and be productive with it; it’s not a ‘waste man ting’, or a ‘lazy man ting’ – it’s a doctor thing, a student thing, a lawyer thing. It’s for anybody.”
“We wanna change the narrative from ‘Weed makes you lazy’ to ‘Weed makes you relax’. Think about the two statements; one carries a negative connotation. No, actually, weed relaxes me. I’m sitting down, my anxiety is down, I’m finally here with my thoughts, and I finally hear the sound of me breathing. That’s very important.”
Information for the Public:
“OHJA has been open since July, as the newest herb house in Kingston. We recently opened our Montego Bay store last week Monday (October 19, 2020) and we launched our Kingston store last week Friday (October 23, 2020). We had some notable people in the marijuana industry, like Minister Dr. Norman Dunn (Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce), Douglas K. Gordon (founder of ‘CanEx’), Dr. Wayne Isaacs (founder of ‘Green Stripe Naturals Ltd.’), and other personnel and media that came through and covered the event. At the store in Montego Bay, we’re having a special: the cost for all buds is at $500.00 per gram. We sell the best marijuana, the best cannabis, for the best price – and that’s just facts.”
Yanah: “Over here, we care!”
Wonakee: “Yeah, over here…we care.”
Feel free to visit OHJA Herb House at 90 Barbican Road, Kingston 8. You can also use their other links:
Phone: +1 (876) 390-1980
Email: [email protected]
Blessings in abundance!