Video by Steve Hyde
by Dominic Corva, Executive Director
We are incredibly grateful to Pam Dyer, Twicebaked in Washington,Â for visiting our office on Tuesday, January 27 for a long form ethnographic conversation/interview. Pam has been a friend of ours since last year’s Cannabis Freedom March, where we first began to learn about her as a “cannabis stakeholder,” as the legislators put it. Here at CASP, we like to unpack such categorical boxes so we can understand how cannabis is social policy, embedded in wider contexts, since what’s at stake for cannabis is what’s at stake forÂ society. To do that we have to know a lot more about the human beings whose lives and livelihoods are constructed in complex relationship with the plant, rather than simple categorical boxes like “recreationist” or even “patient.” People like Pam who have been around the plant their whole lives — including childhood, gasp — have something important to tell us about how to make peace with a plant.
The difference between an ethnographic interview and other ways of interviewing people is that the interviewer is looking for ways in which individual’sÂ stories shed partial light onÂ collective ones. Life stories tell us something about how individuals make choices, but not under conditions of their own choosing. Instead, they face landscapes of choice that are shared with different others making similar and/or different choices under similar cultural, economic and political conditions. The Twicebaked story intersects with shared social particularities around, among other things: chronic lifelong pain related to scoliosis; lifework associated with personal fitness and nutrition training; suburban British Columbia childhood; women’s spaces; and most recently, workingÂ in the newly out-of-the-closet cannabis landscapes which include but are not limited to legal ones. Twicebaked’s choices in these conditions for choosing are her own, but they provide us with a grounded peek into how others with similar conditions have developed their identities as cannabis stakeholders, or not.
What can you learn from a conversation with Twicebaked, then? You can learn about the content of her choices as well as the conditions others in similar positions face. Right now, the most timely combination of the two might be her account of challenges to others interested in following her along the path of raw cannabis preparation and consumption as part of a holistic diet. As the discussion about how to regulate cannabis markets develops, the question of access to and distribution of fresh, organic whole plants to juice has yet to take its place at the legislative table. Yet this may be the most healthyÂ direction for cannabis markets to develop. “Health and wellness” cannabis preparation defies existing regulatoryÂ definitions like “recreational” and “medical,” and have the greatest potential for creating new kinds of markets for cannabisÂ consumptionÂ and its associated potential tax revenues.
With that said, many thanks to Pam Dyer for her participation and engagement. She is an important part of the CASP solidarity network, and we have much common ground. Special thanks also go out to Steve Hyde, our tireless and creative videographer.