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Chicago Chad’s Lifesaving Move

I have spent over 12 years growing micro-miniature orchid species in customized enclosures.

With a passion for plants dating back to his teenage years, Chicago Chad’s medicinal appreciation for Cannabis comes with an edge of advocacy – not to mention a deep gratitude for those that fought for the existence of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, the initiative that inspired this Chicago native and his significant other to make the lifesaving move to the PNW. 

How long have you been using medical Cannabis and what benefits do you receive?

Perhaps around 14 years old I began not only using, but advocating for patient rights and Cannabis reform. I participated in rallies and marches with organizations like NORML. I grew up in the Chicago area and even in a progressive city, we fought opposition daily. I was a convicted felon at 18 for Cannabis, and continued in the revolving door of the Illinois judicial system until I moved away. Medically I have always suffered from chronic stomach issues related to ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease – after decades of medical advice and prescribed therapy, it has been Cannabis that continues to provide me the most relief. 

After living in what were black market states for our entire lives, we finally decided a move to Oregon for better access to Cannabis was our best option. Aside from my own challenges, I am also a caregiver for my significant other who suffers from epilepsy. For her health, Cannabis is even more vital. Moving to a new state without a single friend or contact was challenging, but we could not be happier – mentally and physically. We could not be more thankful for the OMMP program and those that fought for it … I hope that in our time here, I can contribute as much as those before me.

I heard that you’re an orchardist?

My true passion is cultivating and understanding the diversity of orchids. I have spent over 12 years growing micro-miniature orchid species in customized enclosures. One of my proudest accomplishments was getting published in an Australian journal, winning the show trophy award from Orchid Digest, and receiving the highest cultural award ever given for a particular species. 

Do you feel that dedicating your life to growing orchids has helped you along the way?

During my youth, while I struggled the most, I attribute my dedication to change being drawn from my passion for plants. My lifelong commitment to orchids, Cannabis – having true passions – has guided me through some of the most difficult times in life. 

What’s your favorite way to consume Cannabis?

In terms of consumption methods, I will always smoke flower – but we dab the majority of the time. I find the most relief in single-source extracts. We regularly use tinctures made at home or purchased from organic producers. We consider ourselves educated consumers, and rather particular on what we consider medicine. I am also a strong advocate of owner/operators and would always prefer a small-batch, hand-crafted product. 

This article was originally published in the March 2022 issue of Oregon Leaf.

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