It all started on the golf course patio almost 10 years ago. Twenty residents gathered in response to an ad in the Rossmoor News titled: “Resident starts a Cannabis Discussion Club.” The founder was seeking a group of like-minded people who would share their knowledge of and experience with cannabis in a safe, non-judgmental setting. In less than a year, the founder’s health deteriorated which precipitated her moving from Rossmoor.
Two of the core members collaborated and changed the focus of the club to Education and Support. Fortunately, the Bay Area attracted a large number of highly qualified cannabis-knowledgeable professionals who were eager to educate us. Doctors, nurses, scientists, pharmacists and researchers, many of whom have garnered national and international reputations, volunteered their time and expertise to share their knowledge. The reputation of the Rossmoor Medical Marijuana Education and Support Club’(RMMC) and its membership soared. Over the years we changed to larger meeting rooms three times as attendance went from 20-30 attendees to as many as 200. The club has been featured in numerous publications including the New York Times, S.F. Chronicle/Green State, and Forbes.
As Bob Dylan said, “The Times They Are A Changin.” When we began, marijuana, scientifically known as cannabis, was only legal for medical use in just a few states, California being the first state to allow it. Currently,18 states and the District of Columbia permit cannabis use by adults, and 36 states and the District of Columbia regulate medical cannabis use and dispensing.
Running a club the size and scope of RMMC takes leadership and many volunteer hours. Waning energies and the absence of younger members stepping up to take over, led the RMMC Executive Committee to come very close to disbanding. An alternative solution emerged as the leaders of the Wellness Group, recognizing the similarity of our missions, approached us suggesting a merger. The idea of this merger offered an attractive alternative to disbanding and a way to continue to meet the needs of many of our members. Thus, the two clubs agreed to merge.
The Wellness Group’s focus on alternative and complementary approaches to health and well-being has often overlapped with RMMC’s focus on medical cannabis, including attention to the endocannabinoid system and how phytocannabinoids can be effective in treating a wide variety of conditions.
Everyone on the RMMC mailing list has been informed of new developments in the merger with the Wellness Group. Anita Mataraso, RMMC’s Program Director since the club’s inception, will be stepping down and RMMC’s current president, Tess Schoenbart, RN,BSEd will become Program Director of the Wellness Group to help ensure the continued dissemination of new research related to cannabis. Anita gratefully acknowledges the many people who presented at meetings and the many attendees who found relief utilizing the information they acquired.
We thank all of you who have supported the RMMC with your positive comments, your loyal meeting attendance and generous donations. We also thank Brad Waite, president of the Wellness Group and the other officers for stepping up to see that emerging research findings on this healing plant will continue to be made available to Rossmoor residents. We hope to see you in future on-line and in-person programs offered by the new club.
The Executive Committee
Rossmoor Medical Marijuana
Education and Support Club