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Guy Bertuzzi – Publisher

December 2016

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” — John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

The future is here! This past Election Day, Nevada voters made their feelings known at the ballot box and passed Question #2 by 54.47 percent to regulate adult usage of cannabis. I always want to be honest with our readers, and have to admit I thought I would never see the day in this country when states would make medical and recreational cannabis legal.

One of the most optimal benefits of legalizing cannabis for adult use is that our veterans will now have safe access to lab-tested cannabis without the fear of losing their VA benefits. It also allows us the freedom as Americans to make our own educated choices to decide whether or not we want to use cannabis. I would like to remind our readers that no one has ever died as a direct result of using cannabis, unlike alcohol which has 88,000 deaths attributed annually to excessive use, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The best part of legalizing cannabis is that the state of Nevada requires dispensaries to provide education to its patients and customers. So if you choose to try cannabis for the first time, please ask the specialists at the dispensaries for advice on the different forms of consumption, dosing, and the strain or medicine that would be best for you.

Also please remember passing ‘YESon2’ does not give users the right to utilize it in hotels, public areas, and other private property. It does allow adults 21 and over to carry up to an ounce of flower, or one-eighth of an ounce of concentrate. It also allows people to grow up to six plants if they do not have their medical card. And the new law will allow people to purchase at dispensaries in the near future once the regulations for adult use are in place. Please keep it going and change the world!

Finally, this is my last note to readers in 2016 and I want to take a moment to thank you for both your support and feedback during this past year. We have published many features throughout 2016 which have had an impact on and even changed some of our readers’ lives, which is the most humbling feeling for a publisher but, more importantly, as a person to feel.

From our team to you and your family, I would like to wish you the happiest of holidays and the most prosperous of New Years. Together we can change the future and make it a little better each day!

 

Salute, Guy
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Archived “From the Publisher”

October 2016

In case you were wondering what the topic of this issue is…elevate nevada will be voting yes on Question #2 in favor of legalizing recreational cannabis. Nevadans will be voting for or against the legalization of adult usage of cannabis on Tuesday, November 8. Should it pass, I see this as just one more argument as to why the useless and ineffective Drug War declared in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s failed.

One of the main reasons I am voting yes on Question 2 has to do with incarcerating people for illegally using cannabis. To send people to jail for illegally using cannabis is asinine because during their imprisonment they are introduced to lethal forms of drugs. According to the Justice Policy Institute, there are many offenders who become addicts during their incarcerations due to the amount of drugs that are smuggled into prisons today. It’s estimated that approximately 65 percent of prison inmates in the US meet the diagnostic criteria for addiction. However, only 11 percent of those individuals receive any form of treatment.

Another reason I am in favor of Question Two is our veterans. The passage of Question Two will allow veterans to buy cannabis without registering into the state’s system for a medical marijuana card, in turn, providing them safe access to utilize cannabis to treat symptoms of PTSD and other ailments without losing their federal VA benefits. If they do test positive for cannabis there is a chance that they will still lose their benefits, but this gives them a chance to use it and regain some semblance of life quality. Veterans risked their lives fighting for our freedom, shouldn’t they have access to that very same freedom to decide their medicine of choice?

Last but never least, as a parent of two children in our school system I do not believe legalizing cannabis will give my children easier access. I also do not believe that they will be attracted to infused edibles because of packaging. As a parent and publisher of elevate nevada it is my responsibility to educate my children about cannabis. My 9-year-old will tell you that it is helping children with epilepsy and she would never touch it, go near it, or use it. To her, cannabis is the same thing as prescription medicine and that it is only okay to use if a doctor recommends it.

Making cannabis legal for adult use will also give an economic boost of approximately $20 million per year, according to the Economic and Fiscal Benefits Analysis, to an educational system which is historically one of the worst in the country. In January 2016, the Silver State fell behind all other states and Washington, D.C., in the annual Quality Counts report, which assigns overall scores to states based on student performance, school financing and other qualities of K-12 public schools. This year, Massachusetts topped the list with an overall score of 86.8 out of 100 possible points while Nevada was last with a score of 65.2. One of the main opponents of Question Two’s passage is former Assemblyman Pat Hickey who is co-chairman of Nevadans for Responsible Drug Policy and also serves on the Nevada Board of Education. Enough said!

So join me in voting yes on Question 2 on November 8th for the sake of petty offenders, the vets, and our kids.

September 2016

January 23, 1993 haunts me every day. It is the day I lost my sister Donna to an opiate overdose. Since we started elevate Nevada, I have often wondered if my sister had been using cannabis at the time, rather than opiates, would she still be with us.

A lot has changed since 1993 with regard to cannabis and its medical discoveries and, yet, in some ways nothing has changed at all. On August 11 the DEA, again, decided not to reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I drug because they do not believe that it has any medicinal value and that it is highly addictive. I could fill a phonebook with the anecdotal evidence of how cannabis provides relief and medicinal value for myriad diseases and conditions, but that’s another column for another day.

Because the DEA does truly believe cannabis has no medical value, I have to wonder if the powers-that-be at the DEA did their due diligence. There is certainly plenty of compelling research to consider with regard to cannabis and the opiate epidemic that is plaguing this country. For instance, the National Bureau of Economic Research released a study in 2015 that showed: “States permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not.”

And if the DEA was really doing their job and looking out for the American public, wouldn’t they reschedule opiates from Schedule II to Schedule I? Research shows that opiates are more than likely, and quite ironically, the real gateway drug. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, four in five new heroin users start out misusing prescription painkillers. As a consequence, the rate of heroin overdose deaths nearly quadrupled from 2000 to 2013. During this 14-year period, the rate of heroin overdose showed an average increase of 6 percent per year from 2000 to 2010, followed by a larger average increase of 37 percent per year from 2010 to 2013.

All of this brings me to my point. You have to be your own healthcare advocate. It is okay to question your doctor about your treatment options and do your due diligence about what they want to prescribe for you. Read this issue with an open mind, and ask your doctor about cannabis as an alternative treatment plan for pain. Addiction is a disease and cannabis is an option. No one has ever died from a cannabis overdose, but in 2014 opioids caused 18,893 overdose deaths. So you tell me which should be classified as a Schedule I drug?

April 2016

April is full of celebrations. From Earth Day, the beginning of Passover, and April Fools’ Day to Administrative Professionals’ Day, Tax Day (well, this may not be such a celebration for everyone) and 4/20, there are plenty of special days to choose from. And this year we can add another as we commemorate Elevate Nevada’s first anniversary. Time goes by quick! We have published nine issues and now you hold the tenth in your hands.

There is much gratitude involved when you are starting a magazine from nothing, especially in a digital world. I would like to start with thanking my business partner, Jonathan Fine. After working for his family for almost a decade, I approached Jonathan with my idea for Elevate Nevada over coffee at the Venetian. At the end of the conversation, he just looked at me and said he was in! His support, his trust, and his belief in my vision have been a blessing.

Elevate editor Beth Schwartz is another person who has been with me from the first issue. The experience, work ethic, and validity she brings to Elevate are humbling. Over the last year I have watched her learn about cannabis and all of its many facets as she delved into the research and writing of this magazine. I have been even more pleased to watch as she has educated the uninformed with great fervor about the healing benefits of cannabis.

My wife, Brooke, who designed our first two issues as well as the one you are now reading, has been my rock. She supported me in leaving a really stable and lucrative job to take this risk and has been there every step of the way without judgment. It has not been easy working together, but she lets me be me!

There are a few former staff members who are no longer at Elevate, and, if they are reading this, I want them to know I do appreciate them, their contributions and would like to thank them. They were important to our journey and helped to define what you see today.

I would also like to congratulate all of the “firsts” in our industry, as featured in the cover story on page 23, for setting the Nevada cannabis industry on the right path. Additionally, I would like to give a shout-out to Vegas Cannabis magazine for being the first publication of its kind in Nevada.

But, most importantly, I need to thank our readers. The emails, phone calls and love you have shared for our magazine and its mission make everything worth it. As we continue to grow, we ask that you share your story. It is time to admit you are a patient. Do not be ashamed, embarrassed or scared. There are a lot of potential patients out there who would benefit from hearing about your experience and seeing themselves in your story. This miracle plant has amazing healing powers and spreading the word will only help others improve their quality of life.

In the very sage words of George Bernard Shaw, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

February 2016
Happy Valentine’s Day! February always brings our focus to love, which from a business standpoint is a key element to be successful no matter what industry you are in. My dad always said if you make something with love, the end result will always turn out just right, which brings me to the first article I have ever written. It’s a profile about Steve “the Robot” Cantwell (with my wonderful editor Beth’s help, she is seriously a godsend).

Beth and I took a tour of Green Life Productions located in Pahrump last December and I was lucky enough to meet two of its owners, Steve Cantwell and his wife, Kouanin Villa. Steve’s passion for cultivating exudes from every inch of him. Personally, I feel of the current selection of flower that is available in Nevada, his cultivation has some of the best strains I have tried and I immensely enjoyed hearing about Steve’s innovative growing methods. Beth will even tell you I have a bit of a man crush!

I truly believe his love of cultivating, which he wants to share with Nevada, shows in Green Life’s final product available at most of the dispensaries that are open in Southern Nevada. So please read the article I wrote chronicling his journey from UFC fighter to cannabis cultivator on page 20. Oh, and did I mention he was the last WEC Light Heavyweight Champion, and probably one of the only cultivators who has his own video avatar?

This Valentine’s Day pick up one of Evergreen Organix limited edition heart-shaped sugar cookies if you have your patient card. Please tell your dispensary that Guy from Elevate sent you. Speaking of dispensaries, the women of Sahara Wellness have opened their doors. Stop in and congratulate them, they have a pretty amazing story we are hoping they will share with you in an upcoming issue. Sahara Wellness is the first all-female-owned dispensary in Nevada and possibly the U.S. Brenda, Stacey, and Alex put a lot of love in their efforts to open a great healing space for Las Vegas’ patients.

We are blessed by the love our readers send our way and want more of it. Angela, a very amazing woman and one of our avid readers, asked for several copies of each back issue so she could mail them to friends to spread the word. She even gave me a hug for publishing the information and telling the stories that fill the pages of this labor of love. So please share your stories with us and we will handle them with care.

Last but not least, Happy Valentine’s Day to my wife Brooke, my daughter Alexis, and my son Jackson, they are what drives me to share my love and passion for cannabis with you, our readers!


November 2015

I have visited all four dispensaries as a patient and have had some great experiences. The employees at Euphoria Wellness, Las Vegas ReLeaf, INYO Fine Cannabis, and Nevada Wellness Center were all more than accommodating, friendly, and employ the kind of people you want behind the counter when you need to make an educated decision for your condition or ailment. In the near future I will be writing about each one individually, but for the time being I am waiting for the dispensaries to get more product selections to review.

The arrival of November also brings with it Veterans Day on November 11, and our chance to acknowledge those brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our country and our freedom. Veterans Day is near and dear to my heart since my father served in the Army, my uncle served in the Air Force, and several family friends have served this great nation and put their lives in jeopardy for our freedoms.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a public health crisis that is brutally affecting our veterans and their families. Cannabis is one of the few medicines that give PTSD sufferers relief. As we report on page 16, the federal government is finally allowing research to be conducted to study the effects of cannabis in treating the symptoms of PTSD. And, yet, our politicians still need more convincing that cannabis is an effective alternative to offer relief to PTSD sufferers.

Join me in thanking our veterans not just this month, but any time you see our dedicated military personnel. We have our freedom because of them. You can show your appreciation by spending some time helping at a VA hospital or, again, just thanking them. You can also reach out to some of the non-profits that help our veterans, such as Veteran’s Village Las Vegas, veteransvillagelasvegas.org, which offers transitional and permanent housing for U.S. veterans who are homeless. Veteran’s Village is an amazing organization that does so much for our service men and women including staffing a 24-7 crisis intervention center as well as offering medical and mental health services, job referral and training.

Last but not least, our Elevate Nevada family wishes you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.