Lelehnia DuBois: Her Change of Mind Towards Cannabis
MMJ Advocate: Lelehnia DuBois, Humboldt, CA
Being an advocate for cannabis was never in her realm of what she wanted for her life. In fact, even though she grew up with a grower and consumer as a mother, she always disliked the ‘pot’ culture. But one day, that all changed and cannabis became her only saving grace. It may come easy for some to harbor this disdain and stigma towards the plant and believe it to be nothing but the worst, but after reading a story like Lelehnia’s, I’m sure you’ll come to realize that it’s nothing but the very best!
So, I have been in and out of the emerald triangle area since 1977. My mother was a homesteader and my father was a life guard on the beaches of San Diego. I had two very different lives: one of those lives was a part of the heritage that I now am fighting for. I grew up disliking the “pot” world. I was class president and a cheerleader at Hoopa High School; Everything I did was to hide my hippie mother and her “pot”. I got to know the logging community, the Indian community, and the hippie community and it was through that diversity that I was raised to connect with people from all sides of life. As a young adult I choose my yuppie Southern California and hid my heritage.
In 1994 my amazing mother died, leaving behind two young sisters who needed a female support in their lives. I moved to live in Humboldt until they graduated high school and I finished nursing school. I still disliked the “pot” culture and felt the stuff just made me tired – Not my cup of tea at that point in my life. I was too active and driven for it. Then, in my second year of nursing school, I internally ruptured two discs into my spinal cord by catching a patient in a fall. A few months into my injury, I ended up in a 6 hr coma from Demerol toxicity. That event brought my two sweet sisters to me with cannabis, which is how I began using cannabis instead of taking the traditional pharmaceuticals. It took an event like that to convince me that my mother might have known a thing or two. She herself had suffered a back injury, which is why she started growing her own cannabis.
A few months into my injury, I ended up in a 6 hr coma from Demerol toxicity. That event brought my two sweet sisters to me with cannabis, which is how I began using cannabis instead of taking the traditional pharmaceuticals.
In 2000, I started using cannabis daily. By 2005, I was growing my own small medical grow. By 2011, I had designed three indoor grow rooms on different scales and had grown both indoor and outdoor. I have always been on my own as a single woman and a mother and it was crazy rough. In 2012, I was blackmailed. I walked away from growing. I lost everything, even the room above my head. However, what it did do was give me the ability to speak up about what I so believe in, my community, my heritage. I have been speaking loudly ever since!
Can you tell us about your current work in the space?
I just recently stepped down as President of the founding board of California Cannabis Voice Humboldt. However, I am remaining on the board and instead, focusing my energies towards The California Cannabis Voice Womens Alliance, a chapter under CCVH that Chrystal Ortiz, Terra Carver, and myself have founded. Our first meeting had over 65 women attend.
When was your interest first piqued by the cannabis plant?
Well, like I said before, I was born with the plant. My mother was a grower, but I didn’t take any personal interest in it until I came to need it as an adult for medicine. I suffered a spinal cord injury in 1999 and have been a cannabis consumer ever since.
What were you doing before becoming a part of this industry?
I was in the nursing field. It was when I was catching a patient that I damaged my spinal cord.
What’s the most touching story you’ve heard from someone you’ve encountered in your work?
I think my favorite moment was at the first CCVH-W meeting. We had a woman who had her cancer cured by a CBD oil maker and coincidentally that oil maker was in the same room. Being able to see them reach out and appreciate each other was a beautiful gift.
We had a woman who had her cancer cured by a CBD oil maker and coincidentally that oil maker was in the same room. Being able to see them reach out and appreciate each other was a beautiful gift.
How would you describe the cannabis consumer community?
What do you wish people would know about the cannabis plant?
That it is a plant! I wish people knew that an amazing community has been surviving on this plant for over 65 years and that it will not hurt the world, but has a huge chance of saving it!
What words do you live by? Is it a quote? A mantra?
“We are the women of cannabis. We are on front line of this drug war. We are strong. We are survivors. It is time to unite and lead the way. It is not only the industry our mothers created, but our lifestyle that we must protect. The clean air we breathe, the real food we eat, the beautiful and diverse smiles we get to share face to face. This is what we must stand for, This is why we must stand as one to preserve our Humboldt Heritage, our mountain sophistication!” My battle cry!
What part would you like to play in moving this industry in a positive direction?
I would like people to see that cannabis farmers and patients are smart, diverse, and amazing people! I’d like to bring about the awareness that Humboldt County is community that has so much more than cannabis to share with the world! We are a community sustained by cannabis, but what our community actually is, is so much more than even that!
What trait does one need to do great work in this space?
They need to have integrity and fortitude.
What is your message to the CannaEffect community?
This about much more than cannabis… this is about our freedoms!