November. New moon. New now. Nowvember. This new moon is in Scorpio and brings forth possibilities for transformation in the symbolic forms of death and rebirth, again and again. In general, reincarnation is an ongoing theme of the moon cycles, which wax new to full, and then wane, dark to light to dark to light, month after month. The murkiness of lifetimes amidst the clarity of any given moment is fluid, and it’s given the spotlight during this water element Scorpionic time. “No mud, no lotus” (Thích Nhất Hạnh) More than anything, as we move further into autumn, it’s time to be clear about the past in order to move forward. At this new moon phase, it’s the Indian holiday of Diwali, the Festival of Lights. We can use life’s experiences to light the way and guide us through this dark moon forward toward the darker time of the year. The Indian calendar, like the Chinese or the Jewish calendars, among others, are luni-solar, taking into account moon cycles as well as sun cycles. Each of these calendars begins their new year on a new moon, yet each begins their new year at a different time than our modern-day January 1st. The Chinese New Year is celebrated in January – February. The Jewish New Year is celebrated in September – October. And Diwali, the Indian New Year, is celebrated now, in November – December. Each above cultural accounting has stories and rituals that relate to the new moon.
“There is no end to your consciousness; all things are glittering like stars in the firmament of your being.” – Paramahansa Yogananda. Like all new moons, tonight is a turning point. A potential initiating transition to universal awareness. Humanity is at a crossroads. To see ourselves as individuals working together on behalf of our entire world is a hopeful evolutionary goal. It not about choosing sides; it’s about peace and freedom for all. When standing up for ourselves is standing up for each other, compassion is our unifier. We must see that we are all people of one planet. Rather than destructive patterns, our work is toward sustainability for the whole Earth. “Together we stand, divided we fall” is what I like to call the Pink Floyd prophecy. We can learn to reach beyond needing to express our side of the story just for the sake of telling it. Fact or opinion, it only one side. Remember to also listen to others’ stories. Communicate commonality. To re-story is to restore. Restoration can reinvent reality and rekindle radiance. To right the world, let’s rewrite the world. Let’s tell the future a story of love.
Although it’s not related to the moon cycles per se, US elections are always held in early November and Veterans Day occurs on 11/11, both are part of the shifting energy leading into this moon phase. It provides me an opportunity to discuss the politics of pot. Last week, voters welcomed Ohio as the 24th state to legalize recreational cannabis. November 5 was the Anniversary of Proposition 215 “The Compassionate Use Act” passed in 1996, giving California’s patients’ rights to use cannabis as medicine. It’s essential to acknowledge the significance of that first step toward safe access to this plant medicine in the United States since 1937. That’s unless you count the hypocrisy that the US government holds the patent and provides free medical cannabis to this day to a handful of patients via “The Compassionate Investigational New Drug program,” established in 1978. It feels important to share more of my story and its intersection with legalization, because cannabis has been my jam long before it was our bread and butter.
When I attended FSU in the late 80s, I was a typical college kid experimenting with weed, and the first political group I ever became affiliated with was NORML. A decade later, I was in graduate school at USC when I witnessed the vote for California’s medical laws. In 1996, I was in an MSW program and wrote a social policy paper about medical marijuana in terms of public health. I closely followed the story of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club being raided and reopened regularly, for my research paper and for my personal interest. When we later moved back to California from Miami, FL, I made an appointment with Dr. Frank Lucido for the week we arrived. Until then, I had been using cannabis socially or to relax at the end of the day, but now I needed cannabis as medicine for chronic pain and anxiety, as well as other symptoms I was experiencing. Dr. Lucido testified at the Supreme Court on behalf of his patient, Angel Raich, and, as the daughter of a lawyer, I wanted that level of validation and support. He provided my initial doctor’s recommendation, as pot prescriptions were called. In addition to pain medication, I was prescribed psychiatric medications for a short time in the late 90s. Looking back, it’s easy to see that I was one of those people for whom the now required black box warning on anti-depressants exists. Suicidality wasn’t a side effect that they emphasized back then, and those pharmaceuticals created much more bad than good for me. I almost lost my life. It was a very scary and difficult time, to say the least. I called my old friend Marty asking to get me some pot to help get me off the meds, and that began our love affair of now many years, as well as my belief that both Marty and Martyjuana™ have saved my life many times.
My husband is the founder of a licensed cannabis farm in Mendocino County, CA. We are patients who have grown our own medicine for two decades. We moved across country seeking relief via cannabis from the complex chronic illness wreaking havoc in my body. It was before MMJ was legal anywhere else in the United States, and like the children who have been profiled in the national media because they moved to Colorado for cannabis medicine, I was a patient refugee. That first year in California we grew less than a pound and took half of it to a local dispensary. We didn’t make much money on that exchange, which was fine, it was not our intention. For us it was about being part of the cannabis community. Our goal in moving to California was to be able to consume clean cannabis as medicine legally. We held many patients’ recommendations in the days of the collectives. Sonoma County laws allowed us 99 plants per patient in the early years, which translated to as grow as much as you want. We stocked our flowers in many of the medical dispensaries and delivery services in the Bay Area, most no longer exist due to difficultly of recreational regulations. And, since 2017, we’re permitted and licensed cultivators in the regulated recreational market. We had an important role in the medical cannabis community as caregivers growing the purist high grade cannabis outdoors in the sun, with biodynamic, permaculture, regenerative, renewable, sustainable practices, no pesticides or chemicals, and only organic amendments. We are still committed to our craft and to providing clean cannabis.
We love the meme, “Healers not Dealers.” We field calls and messages from friends, family, and even strangers weekly with all kinds of questions. We’re no longer able to supply folks directly (unless you come to my house, and I give you some of my stash). That’s a frustrating part of the regulatory licensing framework, but everything changed, when the recreational laws went into effect in California, the medical collective model mostly went by the wayside. It’s been strange to watch the rest of the country and the world embrace medical efficacy just as we are forced to move on to recreational use, which has corporatized the original grassroots industry. Proposition 64, “The Adult Use of Marijuana Act“was voted in by the citizens statewide, on November 8, 2016. But these laws have been detrimental to the patients activists considered the safe access movement. Since the state laws went into effect, it has detrimentally affected us and every small farm we know, in a million different ways, including the economics of our local community as a whole. Mendocino County is part of the Emerald Triangle, along with Humboldt and Trinity, known worldwide as the original frontier of California cannabis. But even stores that are not cannabis related are closing here because the major economic driver of our rural counties was cannabis. Many of the OGs have been forced out for the time being due to overregulation. It is sad to hear about the evils of the black market, when many of the people the label is referring to right now have been operating in a legitimate medical market for over 25 years. We, the medical cannabis community, since 1996, welcomed everyone who wished to participate, like stoners everywhere welcomed all who wished to partake to pass the joint around the circle. It was a well self-regulated network of patients helping patients, including growers, testing labs, retailers and consumers. The promises that were made to the stakeholders before the recreational laws passed have not been upheld and it has had a crushing effect on our communities. The regulations need better provisions and fewer barriers for small business. A reframing of the equity and the small farm model is imperative for the cannabis culture to continue to survive and thrive.
The efforts on our commercial cannabis farm project have been the hardest in our lives. It is exhausting work added to the untold stress of the unknown. With Federal lawmakers dragging their feet on reclassification, no access to banking, no direct sales, no interstate commerce, double taxation, overregulation, ever-changing policies, and a whole host of other issues, corporate cannabis is crushing the little guys. It often feels crazy, but here we are. Although we didn’t vote for Prop 64, we’re committed to work within this system, but we are also staunch advocates for changing the system. We have come to know the obstacles in our path are the path. And the plants remind us to take it day by day and keep growing!!! Recently, California passed a cannabis compassion amendment to benefit low-income patients with free medicine, and so we have been able to again donate some of our products to people who really need it. We see that as a small win. Like Dennis Peron, US military veteran and a major driver of the medical cannabis compassion movement, said, and we agree, “Every cannabis user is a medical patient whether they know it or not.” I’m still a cannabis patient who renews my doctor recommendation annually even though it’s not necessary anymore in California. So is Marty. Compassion, by every definition, is at the heart of our desire to create a sustainable lifestyle.
Things take time and have phases, like the end of cannabis prohibition is happening in cycles. We can look to nature’s cycles for wisdom and comfort. The entire planet experiences the same moon phase at the same time. Earth as a whole feels the effects of the progression of the months and the years. It’s already chilly rain on our mountaintop, brrring on snuggle season, beckoning us to wind down a bit more. This new moon is another shining window of opportunity to practice our capacity for insight. We can find our way with the cyclical flows of universal nature. We can sink deep into the shadow of the dark moon phase to become aware of what we can become and bring it into the light. So much turbulence in the outside world that our internal self cannot help but be agitated on some levels. Darkness can remind us that we most need to emanate bright light from within. Light a new candle and tune into the flame. Get centered by focusing on the firelight. Let it mesmerize and hypnotize. Make a wish for the future and when the candle goes out, may it release any obstacles in your path and light your inner light. This new moon allows for powerful integration as we all move together through sacred space toward common ground. Nowvember new moon is special. Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Indian Buddhists and Muslims celebrate Diwali tonight in the most populous country in the world. We can all benefit from traditions that help us shine light from within. Write it in the stars. “Be the change you wish to see…” – Gandhi. Be the light. Vote for love!
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Photos are of Martyjuana 2023 harvest. Photo Credit: Brandon Lyles @thebiggreenwave on IG
Laura Clein once upon a time worked as a recreational therapist in retirement communities and an event coordinator on college campuses. She was in graduate school for an MSW at the University of Southern California and wrote a paper for a Social Policy class on medical marijuana in 1996. Although she lives with chronic pain and complex debilitating illness for many years, she & Marty have created a lifestyle that works. She writes many articles, and manages the social media. She is proud to be patient #1 at Martyuana™ & she says often, "Thank goodness, cannabis helps."