Name: Matthew Frigone Bernhard
Occupation: Owner and Manager Lazy Bee Gardens
When and how did you become an advocate for cannabis?
About eight years ago my father was diagnosed with Stage 4 thyroid cancer that had spread to his lymph nodes. I was living in Park City, Utah at the time and had a good friend ask me if I had heard of Rick Simpson Oil (RSO). Once I began researching and really digging deep into the issue and studying the human endocannabinoid system I became fairly convinced that there was some substance behind these claims. I moved back to the Methow Valley that spring, got my medical card and proceeded to start growing with the intention of making the oil for ingestion. His body had rejected radiation treatment and the surgery he had already gone though had not worked so his doctors were trying to put him into chemotherapy. He started taking very small amounts of RSO, then worked his way up to one gram a day and proceeded to take that for quite some time.
How has cannabis benefited your life?
First and foremost my father is still alive. We still get to ride powder together on the hill and share a bowl on the chairlift. The thought of losing a family member can be devastating, so knowing that there is something you can do about it is very empowering.
What’s your greatest achievement to the cannabis cause?
I’m not so sure anything I have done yet in my life could be considered great, but the best thing that has come out of it is having my father around still. Now mostly we just spread the word that this plant is real medicine. I never try and force the matter on anyone, all you can do is show someone the door.
Who do you look up to or admire?
Probably the first person that comes to mind would be Rick Simpson for his work in exposing the benefits of cannabis oils. It took a lot to do what he did, he lost a lot in the process, so I admire what he has done, and the movement he helped spark.
Other than that, honestly, it’s everyone out there that is doing the same thing from the largest scale, to the smallest. I don’t usually look at one specific person and the impact they have, in my experience it’s all the small things daily that so many people are doing that are going to facilitate real change.
If you could change one thing about the way cannabis is viewed and/or treated right now, what would it be?
There is obviously still “Reefer Madness” stigma that still is very prevalent throughout the nation that we have to continue to fight. Good people do use cannabis! Though I only see it as a matter of time before that whole institute crumbles. Many also still see cannabis just as a recreational drug. Even the states are distinguishing some kind of difference between medical cannabis and recreational cannabis.