Chris Husong is Co Founder of ClubM, a San Diego based collective that delivers monthly packages of premium medical cannabis to their patients. Chris, one of our newest HelloMD Guest Bloggers, spent years as a seasoned management consultant professional before embracing medical marijuana fully. Below he tells his story of how he overcame his own stigma and found himself squarely in the middle of the cannabis industry.
My Cannabis Journey
I grew up during the “Just Say No,” era. If you’re unfamiliar, this was a national campaign spearheaded by then First Lady, Nancy Reagan. In this campaign, all non-prescription drugs were described as dangerous. There’s a famous ad showing an egg in a frying pan with the ominous voice-over stating “this is your brain on drugs.” It was pretty powerful stuff.
You have to remember this is long before we could simply do a Google search to find our own information. And ironically, this “Just Say No,” framing lead to a strengthening of prescription drugs, more on that later.
How a Smart, Nerdy, Church Kid Opens His Eyes
I was the “nerdy, smart and athletic” kid in a family of creatives. I learned to write code on my Texas Instruments 99/4A computer (a lot of you probably didn’t even know TI made computers, right?), and I was pretty good at playing football if I must say so myself. I didn’t fit in with my family, but I was active in church and I believed the culture of drugs was bad.
During high school, I had the opportunity to live in Europe for 4 years. Here I learned to drive in Germany, ski on a glacier in Switzerland and I even bartered with locals in the markets in Tunisia. Living in Europe opened my eyes because the Europeans don’t have the same cultural confusion surrounding drugs or alcohol. People drank beer more than water. None of the people my age were terrified of marijuana and they hadn’t grown up hearing that marijuana fries your brain. In fact, it seemed everywhere I went in Europe the most creative and interesting people used marijuana. This was the start of my personal quest to question everything I’d learned about marijuana. Fast forward to the age of the internet. I had become a father and even spent two years as Christian preacher. After being a preacher, I was a regular volunteer at my church and then I was even in banking for awhile. In short, I became a respectable adult.
My Mom was an artist and she used cannabis and I was always ashamed of that. When I had my own kids, I had a hard conversation with my Mom about not smoking cannabis in front of the kids. But my curiosity about marijuana had never been satiated. So I began to do a little research on marijuana in the United States. For example, I learned, according to Professor Barney Warf, as a smokable product, cannabis made its way into the United States during the Mexican Revolution, which gave it the reputation as “colored-person’s drug.” Chillingly, I learned it started to become known marijuana (rather the cannabis) during a time of anti-immigration sentiment because it underscored the “Mexican-ness” of the drug. Basically, our culture’s demonization of marijuana was based on xenophobia and only helped prescription drug companies and alcohol companies.
As I became more involved in the cannabis business three years ago, I really began to see the importance of creating a new cultural perception regarding cannabis. Cannabis has proven medical benefits. But there’s more to it than that. I started thinking about my Mom and how she used cannabis as an artist to tap into her creativity.
A Well-Lived, Respectable, Creative Life
I started thinking about how cannabis not only heals people, it often even provides opportunities for them to be better at what they do, more energized, more creative, etc. It’s not far different than sitting down with a friend to consume alcohol. So, when I co-founded ClubM, I looked for business partners who thought the same as we did because people using marijuana legally shouldn’t feel shame. It’s no more shameful than someone legally sitting at a bar having a beer.
My personal mission of “Just Say No-To Cannabis Confusion” has been in development all of my life, but it’s really been in the last few years that I really became to understand the importance of leading the charge on this issue. That’s why ClubM is built around the idea of making legalized use of marijuana part of a creative, respectable lifestyle. It’s important that the cannabis community come together on this issue and lead together. There’s nothing wrong with a life that is pain-free and creative. That’s a well-lived, respectable and creative life worth having.