I was driving home from meeting Dan Herrera, at his home, and I was wondering how I could write this so that it could depict our first meeting. Dan is truly an outstanding individual and father. I first learned about Dan when researching Pete Mould for the first Dad of the Month. I came across a video where Pete and Dan were being interviewed by the Fox News in the beginning of the CT MMP. This was another reason, I wanted to meet Dan and get to know him.
I met his two boys, the oldest being 19 and the youngest being 14 years old. He is extremely proud of his two boys. His oldest son is currently excelling in college, while his youngest finishes up his high school years. His girlfriend, also a card-holding patient, was extremely nice. Dan was nice to invite me into his home to discuss life as a patient, a father, and an advocate. Dan suffers from PTSD, Bi-Polar disorder and agoraphobia. I found myself relating to him on so many levels, not only because, I too suffer from a form of PTSD but we had some similar sounding stories. We discussed life, our past, and how we can help inform people of the various benefits of cannabis.
Dan had a successful career, working his way up the ranks. He is a dedicated man; he stands up for himself and others. He had a complicated life, to sum it up easy. He decided to leave school early in life, but understood the need for a GED. He worked hard and became a talented installer, working in the cable industry. Life was good, until his past started to creep back into his life; he started having vivid horrifying nightmares. One day, it became too much and started affecting his current environment.
Today, Dan is unable to work due to his conditions, something that has left him struggling ever since. He is lucky to have people that care for him and have come to help provide some relief. Dan is living in an in-law apt of a former employer that saw the true man that Dan is. With a limited income and unable to get disability from his condition, Dan struggles to get the medicine that he needs, dispensary goods are normally unobtainable. He has some caring friends that help him get by with the occasional medicine, leaving him to rely solely on the prescription pharmaceuticals. Having PTSD, I agree that pharmaceuticals do not properly treat my condition. The medications seem to sedate more than help, awake on my meds from the VA make me into a zombie and in no shape to leave the house.
His house is a smoke-free house, they only vape medicine in doors. Concentrates are a luxury, but I was excited to sit down with Dan and get medicated while we talked. We discussed our thoughts on the Medical Marijuana program in CT; you name it we talked about it: Annual licensing, doctor approvals, the access to medicine, etc. I told him how I feel that the program is not being properly implemented, because there are still people who need access to medicine that cannot afford the cost to legally participate. Fees are pushing people away from participating, especially when the fine for being caught with medicine without a license is less than the doctor fee and the annual license cost. By the way, I do not recommend doing so, because you may end up at the police station or worse. It may be decriminalized, but police do not carry scales!
Let us just say if Dan had a legal grow rights in Connecticut, he would sleep a lot better at night.
My favorite questions to ask:
What are your favorite ways to medicate?
Vaporizer, upon reading a study conducted at UCLA, which concluded in proving maximum lung/blood absorption. I saved up and bought a balloon type machine made in Germany.
When did you first identify that marijuana was a better approach to treating your condition?
Well I kept becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the side effects that I was receiving from my pharmaceutical medication, so I thought to myself, what are the side effects of cannabis. I researched and found the side effects were very limited, sleep, hunger, etc. I did not mind this at all, in fact, I welcomed it. This was nothing compared to the awful feelings the pharmaceutical drugs gave me on a daily basis.
What drove you to become a marijuana advocate?
An intense incident that happened to me and my family (brother and father). Things got out of hand with me and local law enforcement Florida (nonmedical state). Mistakes were made on my side as far as judgment, but that night was a wakeup call for me. Especially since my oldest brother is a police officer and a great one too. Mental illness is a terrible thing.
When did you first start following the marijuana industry?
Upon becoming a patient in CT medical marijuana program, I felt obligated as someone who benefits from the plant. 2012 to be more accurate
What other types/strains of marijuana would you like to see available in Connecticut?
Sour diesel, Granddaddy purple and any anti-anxiety strains out there. Preferably high CBD.
As a parent, how do you address the idea of medical marijuana in your house?
It is exactly, what it is, medication. We treat it accordingly, like all my other medications. Hands off, for adults only, ask first before touching anything. Sometimes I am saddened by the fact that my children probably know more about cannabis than most politicians do.
Do you have any advice for parents who medicate with marijuana?
Educate yourself, educate your family and try to enlighten others.
What does the future of CT medical marijuana look like to you?
Grim as it is right now. On the surface it appears to be an equal program to benefit patients from all financial backgrounds, when in fact, those that have money can help themselves where those that have little to no money cannot. No rights, if no grow rights.
What are some of the hobbies/activities you like to take part in?
Still play video games, as I did when I was first introduced to Atari (older brothers to thank). I have a bad habit of writing my thoughts while I am having panic attacks, some would call it poetry. I’d like to have a grow hobby real soon, if we can change things in CT.
What is your favorite album / song to smoke to?
Memorie dal futuro by Mono