Knee-jerk reaction to edibles incident


To the Editor:

This is a response from a responsible cannabis advocate and consumer to your article “Edibles Blamed for Edgartown Overdoses” (May 17).

What happened in Edgartown at the Newes Pub was bound to happen: Three folks from Pennsylvania on the Vineyard for the weekend brought THC-Infused edibles with them. I’m going to assume they bought it from a recreational cannabis store, and either asked no questions, or just ignored any warnings a responsible dispensary agent would have given them. So instead of trying just one of the squares of the chocolate bar to see how you’d feel after a while — which is not only advisable but just plain, old common sense — they decided to treat it like a Hershey bar and eat the whole thing in one sitting. Small wonder they were thoroughly out of it.

That old axiom “Too much of a good thing isn’t good” exists for a reason, does it not? Same adage applies to products across the nation that are legal on the federal level: beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, prescribed opioids, etc. There’s a little something called moderation. With all the previously mentioned products, too much of any one of them can potentially kill you. You can drink yourself to death, you can eventually smoke yourself to death with cigarettes, and we know all too well what opioids can do. And while no one has ever died from excessive marijuana use (a statistical fact), moderation should always rule the day.

Knees all over the Vineyard were jerking out of control on Saturday morning. Islanders Talk was a hub of a whole lot of “I told you so’s” and “This is what happens when …” Thankfully, there were cooler heads prevailing to level the discussion to what’s reality and what’s stigmatic fear.

The big rub here is not to absolve people of accountability for their actions. That’s only enabling excuses and perpetuating the “it’s not my fault” culture.

Being someone whose responsibility is educating the community about cannabis for medical purposes, and who will ultimately be selling it to registered patients at the Vineyard’s soon-to-be-opened medical marijuana dispensary, Patient Centric MV, it’s very important to all of us at PCMV that you understand that we understand that cannabis isn’t for everyone. We don’t look upon it as a panacea for all ills. It’s simply an alternative form of relief you should have the option to access if you are authorized to do so by a physician. Even then, we advise strongly that you take baby steps with cannabis — medical or otherwise. Safety, common sense, and continuous education about what you’re putting into your body should be second nature.

This incident at the Newes Pub on Friday demonstrates the need for not only more education when it comes to the compassionate use of medical cannabis, but the safeguards that need strict adherence to — especially if you’ve never tried it before. And again, taking responsibility for a poor decision only shines a positive light on your character. And we — as a community — shouldn’t automatically blame the legalization of marijuana for moments like this one. It’s like blaming the turkey for your overeating at Thanksgiving.

Last, the lingering stigma that surrounds those who use marijuana is what fuels all those twitchy knees when things like this happen. Not everyone who uses cannabis is Cheech or Chong or the Dude.

Ray Whitaker, dispensary manager
Patient Centric MV


  1. Ray Whitaker, dispensary manager
    Patient Centric MV

    What is your ETA? Please provide us an update on your web site!

  2. This is just wonderful! I had commented on the main article in regards to this “overdose”, and how people should be informed on the responsible and correct approach to taking edibles. This is in contrast to how many were just blaming the plant and also making ridiculous claims.
    I have been going to the Vineyard for a long time since i was a kid, but I’m a Colorado native and resident. So i have seen literally countless times this same scenario play out, where uninformed first timers take way too much and end up freaking out, taking an unnecessary trip to the hospital.
    I have worked at both a medical marijuana facility and recreational facility, with both growing experience and product experience, so it’s good to see at least a few well informed and intelligent people are trying to educate the public about cannabis and etc. Wish you the best of luck and i can’t wait to see this facility running, the island needs it!

  3. The problem is that it looks like a candy bar. Imagine a child finding it lying around and thinking it was candy and eating the whole thing. Not likely to happen with alcohol or cigarettes. I’m not against legalized marijuana, but it’s just stupid to treat it so casually. Something this potent shouldn’t look like a kiddie treat.

    • You’re absolutely right, and it’s not at all being looked upon casually (at least, we’re not). The Medical Marijuana Dispensaries I’ve visited and patronized don’t look upon what they are selling as treats, but vehicles of potential relief (an alternative form of therapy for whatever your condition may be). A responsible dispensary agent would emphasize the positives and possible negatives of whatever is being purchased. The packaging that I’ve seen hasn’t been “fun or sexy.” It’s straightforward, plain, and not as easy to open as you might think. That’s how a REPUTABLE medical marijuana dispensary operates.
      When that product gets home, it’s time for the responsible parent to take the necessary safeguards to make absolute sure that it would never be accessible to their kids – as it should be with liquor and cigarettes.
      We can’t take these three people as prime examples of the typical edibles consumer. You also can’t hold up the old Lay’s Potato Chip commercial slogan “betcha can’t eat just one” as an excuse to overindulge in something you should’ve been specifically instructed not to over do it with.
      Common Sense, moderation, and abiding by all the same laws that apply to the consumption of alcohol should dictate the actions of the uninformed weekend warrior.
      Accountability isn’t (or shouldn’t be) an outmoded concept…

    • “Not likely to happen with alcohol.”
      Um…What about Mikes Hard Lemonade, Twisted Tea, Hard Soda, etc, etc. These drinks are enticing to children and you can’t even taste the alcohol. No one is treating this casually, except the people who made the poor decision to eat a whole edible, when it is clearly labeled and dispensary employees always tell you “start low, go slow.”

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