Cannabis Nurse Wants Pasadena to Be Open-Minded as Opening of Marijuana-Related Businesses Draws Closer

Published : Tuesday, March 19, 2019 | 4:41 AM

Sue Feldmeth, RN. Photo by Colin Feldmeth

Licensed cannabis-related retailers will be coming to Pasadena soon and nurse Sue Feldmeth wants people to get educated.

Feldmeth is a cannabis nurse who practices in Pasadena.

A licensed R.N. with a Bachelors Degree from UCLA, Feldmeth says in her role as a cannabis-focused nurse, she does not sell or dispense any products. But as she comes from a traditional nursing background, and she wants people to be educated about how to use cannabis for medicinal and healing purposes.

Feldmeth will present “Learn the Facts About Medical Marijuana” on Wednesday, March 20, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Pasadena Village, 236 W Mountain St #104.

Feldmeth’s presentation comes at a time when the City has no legal marijuana dispensaries but is knee-deep in the process of “weeding out” the businesses that may soon open up shop in Pasadena.

“I’m a nurse and started learning about this plant in an effort to help my mother with her osteoarthritis,” she said. “She was on a lot of opioids and her pain management doctor basically said there’s nowhere really to go from there. We can’t keep going up on the dose. He suggested we find options. And this was one of the options.”

At first, Feldmeth said she and her sister “thought he was crazy.”

“We had all sorts of ideas about cannabis — that it wasn’t for us. We didn’t have any experience with it,” she said.

Her change in outlook dawned only after she “really got into researching it to understand why I was saying no and trying to figure out why he would possibly suggest it.”

The research helped Feldmeth come to some important decisions.

“I realized there was so much about it that I wasn’t aware of,” she said. “I didn’t learn in nursing school. Nobody else had ever said ‘This would be helpful for arthritis.’ Then I was hooked on just learning about it and became confident enough to help my mom start on it.”

Feldmeth said her mother’s reactions were positive and dramatic.

“The results were pretty amazing. She could decrease her opioid use and she did decrease from three (doses) a day to one,” Feldmeth said. “I realized this is such an amazing beneficial plant with very few side effects when used correctly. That I need to share it.”

Feldmeth also says she wants to focus on the evolving niche industry and the opportunities the medicinal cannabis industry presents.

While Feldmeth does not take issue with recreational marijuana users, she feels she belongs to a higher calling.

She said there is a completely different purpose — separate from recreational use — for people who need medical cannabis. And with that is a process.

Would Feldmeth prefer to work with businesses that sold only medicinal cannabis, and not recreational marijuana, too? She said she is hopeful that at some point there would be a split between the two sides of the industry. Particularly since the process and reason to obtain cannabis really create two completely groups of customers.

“It’s a letter from a doctor and it’s called a letter of recommendation,” Feldmeth said. “Although in California, anybody 21 or over can go into a dispensary and purchase anything. I can’t write a letter of recommendation. I can’t prescribe anything. I don’t have any products. I just give education to the patients and it’s really up to them to make their decisions, which is what they’re doing anyway.”

“But they’re doing it without guidance and sometimes they’re taking too much for taking the wrong thing and it’s because they didn’t know,” Feldmeth said. “And so I feel that’s my role, it’s to educate them so they don’t make those mistakes that are easy to avoid.”

It’s a sticky subject though, as through those dispensaries is expected to be some overlap between products sold — some are for medicinal purposes and some are recreational products, Feldmeth said.

Feldmeth said the cannabis industry has a perception issue to overcome in that it’s moving from the “shady” side to the legal side.

“That’s why it’s not such a cut and dry industry,” she said. “I’ve entered it in what in my mind is the most just the clinical side of it and just focusing on clinical information, which is hard in an industry that is, shrouded in all of that history.

“So I really think, and I know it’s coming in the next few years, there are going to be clinical specialties, cannabis specialties. I’m sure it’s the wave of the future.”

There’s no place yet available to legally buy either medicinal or recreational marijuana in Pasadena. The application deadline for permits for cannabis-related businesses in Pasadena closed only last Jan. 31. There were 128 applicants and the City is currently whittling down the finalists en route to selecting a few businesses.

A total of 128 applications were submitted of which 122 applications were submitted for retail licenses, three for testing laboratories licenses and three for the cultivator licenses.
After review and scoring, selected applicants will be interviewed, likely in June, according to the City.

There is no specific timeline as to when the businesses will open and there is no set number of businesses expected to open yet, City spokesperson Lisa Derderian said in an email Monday.

For more information on what is a cannabis nurse, go to the American Cannabis Nurses Association.

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