Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Kirk Reid & Gersh Avery: An Interview with 2 of Michigan’s Most Influential Patients - by Ben Horner
Kirk Reid (AKA Captain Kirk) and Gersh Avery (AKA Peanut Butter) have been working with medical marijuana since before the MMMA passed in 2008. Their experience has benefited many throughout the state and beyond. These cannabis craftsmen freely educated others how to use medical marijuana to treat a variety of illnesses, including MS, cancer, chronic pain, IBS and many more. Both of these gentleman have pioneered this rediscovery of the medical uses of marijuana, doing things their own way, following their own moral compass. In my opinion very few have proven to be as selfless, compassionate, and generous as Gersh and Kirk. They despise greed, and are some of the few in this new industry that haven’t sold out for personal gain at the expense of others.
Kirk is an award winning cannabis chef. Known for his line of edibles available exclusively at the finest provisioning centers in Ann Arbor and Detroit, the Captain takes great pride in the quality of medibles. He believes in using only the finest ingredients, and creating health alternatives to the stereotypical pot brownie.
Gersh is known for his peanut oil which is a made from extracted hash oil and organic oils. As well as being a healer, he is a constant activist, dedicating his work to cancer patients and other like-minded individuals.
Q: How did you first discover your role with Medical Marijuana in Michigan?
Reid: I was laid up in the U of M hospital and they wouldn’t give me any pain meds because of the THC levels in my system. They thought I was an addict. So my friend Doug Orton brought me a medicated muffin and I was able to get some sleep. When I woke up there was a note that said glad you got some relief, talk to you later brother. I thought, well if a marijuana muffin can do this, I wanted to do this. I knew I could make more options, meats, sugar free options, and Jolly hashers. This was before the medical marijuana when we were working on the petition. I was attending compassion club meetings that was mostly educational and was held in libraries, techniques from grower to grower back in 2007. I helped collect signatures after meeting my first cannabis activists a booth at the Ann Arbor Hash Bash.
Gersh: I remember making oil (cannabis oil) using isopropyl alcohol on a gas stove many years ago. I started looking at the medical aspect of marijuana when petitioning for the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act of 2008. I wanted to know everything about the medical aspects so I could educate potential voters. Back in 2005, I was working independently on my own campaign to end the drug war. When I heard that I could get paid to help legalize, I joined the movement.
Q: What did you do after the medical marijuana law passed in Michigan?
Kirk: After the law passed, I started working in Michigan’s first medical marijuana dispensary making edibles. When we first opened up there was a huge influx of people and many activists that opposed dispensaries. I was putting out the first edibles on the east side of the county. (This was in 2009-2010)
Gersh: After the law passed I was ready. I had produced my first batch of oil and I quickly realized that the lack of supply was going to be a big challenge. That is when I started to produce my Peanut Oil, which had many applications from topical to ingestible. Patients with a wide variety of injuries and illnesses have reported amazing results.
Q: Why did you decided to put your heart into medical marijuana and help other patients?
Kirk: There was a patient that was fed through a feeding tube. I provided him with a medicated sauce that he could easily consume. He couldn’t keep anything down, no food, no medicine, but my sauce helped him. He was able to get some relief and also some nutrients. Governor Snider and Schuette wants to put people like me in prison, but what can I do. If you have the ability to help someone, how could you not help them? If you saw a dog injured on the side of the road isn’t the moral thing to do is help?
Gersh: After the raids in Oakland County I posted a prayer on Bill Schuette’s Facebook. It said: Please make Bill Schuette have to endure what he has been dishing out to medical marijuana patients. The agony of disease. The fear of fighting the legal system. May he endure pain and suffer like all of the sick people that have no relief because he has raided the dispensaries where they get their medicine. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. I realized that only the spiritual was powerful enough to stop these people.
Q: So you went out on your own, describe how you’ve done it your way?
Kirk: I decided I could do more for the patients if I went on my own. I really enjoyed the recognition and the three High Times Cups and the 4 local cups that I’ve won and all the people that have entered my life. I got to do them my way. I don’t consider myself a leader, I’m just a patient trying to get his medicine and have a decent life.
Gersh: After I posted that prayer on Schuette’s Facebook. I got a visit from the state police. The first thing they wanted to know was if I was making weapons of mass destruction. I let them in and showed them my plants. I had nine large plants. They had nothing and after being thoroughly inspected I think they decided to leave me alone. I have always wanted to change the world. Being a healer is leverage; it helps people open their minds to something knew. People can move mountains, one person at a time. I like to teach people how.