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What started as a journey to help her son, a Marlow mother became the first owner of a medical marijuana dispensary. Julie Sanders, owner of Red Bud Dispensary, said she saw what Cannabidiol (CBD) oil did for her son. “I believe in the medical properties and I’ve got several family members that could benefit (from it),” she said. “It is also looking at the big pharmaceuticals — you just get tired of taking all the junk. 

I’ve been using essential oils for about the last two years and my son, I started him on CDB oil last fall for his arthritis. It did more than any of the medicine that the doctors ever prescribed for him.”   Sanders said one of the arthritis medicines for her 10-year-old son had horrible side effects like stomach problems, rashes and she was tired of it hurting him more than helping. 

“There’s just too much medicine being pumped into people,” Sanders said. “So, I just started looking into information and it was really after the CBD oil — when I could see that much change in my son, that he doesn’t have to take anything for his arthritis except for the CBD oil. It just got me reading and looking into more things and when 788 passed, it made me think a little bit harder.” Sanders said she and her husband Greg thought long and hard about opening the business.

“Being a local person, I wanted to have that opportunity to open up a store — to provide services in the Marlow area,” she said. “Who better to know your communities than people who live there?” The pair took their time on finding a location and making modifications so they could be in line with regulations.

“We took our time because you didn’t know what the regulations were,” Sanders said. “We tried to anticipate what changes might come from the legislator so we added a few extras things, which are now showing up in legislation. We are glad we were ahead of the curve. We hope to be open by Valentine’s Day.” Sanders has added a lot of safety features including, but not limited to, bullet proof glass, FOB key access only areas, a waiting area separate from where the products will be and safe/storm shelter. 

Sanders said she wondered if Marlow was ready for medical marijuana. “When I started talking to people and listening, they’re tired of taking medicine, they want an alternative,” she said. “When my Facebook page went live, I didn’t have questions that said ‘What’s the strongest strain of marijuana you’re going to have and how high will it get me?’ It’s ‘My dad has dementia,’ ‘My husband has alzheimer’s.’ Basically what are things that could help.” Medical marijuana isn’t a magic cure-all said Sanders. 

“I’m not going to say there is a cure because we don’t have the research. Until the federal government makes it not a narcotic, a class 1 narcotic, the research is limited,” she said. “I have read enough to know there are studies, there are testimonials and there is research out that is just phenomenal that says ‘yeah it can make things better’ because of the way it interacts with your system.” Changing people’s minds about medical marijuana isn’t a priority. “I am sure I will not change 100 percent of people’s opinions and I don’t expect to because that’s their opinion,” she said. 

“What I want to do is be able to help those people who are reaching out and looking for that alternative because they’ve tried everything else or they are tired of taking the medicine and it’s not getting any better.”   Sanders stock will be about 50 percent smokeables, like the vapes and the flower, but the rest will be the oils, topical creams, edibles, sprays and patches. “Originally, I didn’t want anything that you can smoke because of your lung health. 

I’m on Pathways board and it’s not healthy,” she said. “But there are people that can’t swallow, so what do you do? We’re trying to have a variety and there is so many new things coming up in Oklahoma. We’re not California, we’re not Colorado so we’re still growing the things that we need since we can’t buy it from other states.” 

Products at Red Bud will be High CBD, low TCH strains. The higher the CBD, the more medical the product. THC is the compound which can, in high enough doses, give the intoxicating effect. “We are only buying things that have been tested. If you can’t give me your test results, we don’t buy from you,” said Sanders. “I’ve met with the guys at Cannawise+, Daniel and Brian, and we want to make sure that what comes into Stephens County helps our residents. 

Sometimes when you have big companies come in, they forget that this is Marlow or Duncan and not Oklahoma City.” 

Red Bud is hosting a patient drive with two guest physicians from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Feb. 10 at 1502 N. Broadway in Marlow. No walk-ins, you must have an appointment. The fee is $125 and $80 for veterans. 

“The two things you have to do before you come in is there is a seven page medical application that you have to have and an email already registered with the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority — all that is your name, address, date of birth, and a password so that it is set up to load your application.“
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