Creed Leffler never expected to become a cannabis advocate.
However in the years since discovering the powerful medical and therapeutic benefits of cannabis, he has worked tirelessly to become what he now calls a “cannvocate,” fighting for the federal legalization of cannabis.
Born with cerebral palsy, Leffler grew up facing a number of painful physical challenges, including excruciating muscle spasms and a heightened gag reflex. “The reason I have a gag reflex is because that’s how nervousness portrays itself for me,” he explains.
As Leffler describes it, finding cannabis was nothing short of miraculous. “When I found it, it was like ‘oh my god!’” he exclaimed. “Before that, I had a neck surgery and I was on opioids for a while. That is when I found cannabis.”
Finding a source of relief for his spasticity and choking was only the beginning of Leffler’s long journey towards gaining access to medicinal cannabis.
No Safe Access for Creed and Many Others
In his hometown of Norfolk, Virginia, not only is cannabis completely illegal – even for medicinal use, he found that his family was less than supportive of his new pursuit.
“I asked someone in my family – I’m not gonna say names,” Leffler said, “I asked someone in my family whether they would help me because they had to deal with me for two and a half years of pain and me screaming,” he continued. “[I asked] would they give me weed to stop the pain.
“They said no.”
Since then, he has carved his own path and sought his own form of relief.
“Right now, because of where I’m at, I can only take CBD. It helps me with my anxiety and gag reflex,” he told Green Flower.
“This particular CBD that I’m on is called Alternative Vibes, and it has CBN which has been known to help with sleep – and it does,” he laughed.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t have access to the one component of cannabis that could help ease his painful muscle spasms – tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC.
“THC is what helps with my spasticity,” he explains. “I would like to focus on the whole plant, but where I’m at, I have to focus on CBD at the moment.”
Leffler knows that he could probably access cannabis with THC on the black market, but he chooses not to. “I’m trying to get into cannabis industry, and I don’t want to get it on the black market.”
One of his biggest aims is ultimately the lofty goal of federal legalization.
Creed is Doing His Part to Help End Prohibition
Leffler started a petition in May of 2016, which has gained more than 4,200 signatures, including the attention and support of some notable figures in cannabis.
Steve DeAngelo, owner and founder of Harborside, one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries in the United States, has signed onto the petition.
Josh Stanley, more commonly known as the cultivator of the now-famous high-CBD strain known as Charlotte’s Web, has also signed the petition, and Leffler credits young Charlotte Figi’s story as a source of inspiration in creating the petition.
Leffler is working hard to gain more traction and more supporters for his petition, seeking out more famous figures in the cannabis world like Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg.
Creed will stop at nothing to spread the gospel of legal cannabis, even going so far as to wrap his personal van with the petition information. When asked if he ever gets harassed by law enforcement for it, he only laughs. “Nope! I wish they would! That’s actually kinda what I was hoping for. Tell the cops to stop me, so I can tell them, ‘No, I’m doing this for my benefit.’”
When asked if he would ever consider moving to a legal or medicinal state, Leffler balked at the idea, but admitted the thought has crossed his mind before.
“I can’t because of my state and federal waivers. I want to move to Arizona, because Arizona has the best waiver system of any state in the country for people with disabilities,” Leffler said.
However, the system was not set up for people with disabilities to move easily from state to state and still access government benefits. Plus, as Leffler notes, “My family is very much against me moving. My family is all in Virginia.”
No matter where he is, his goal is to keep fighting for cannabis legalization and he will continue to spread the word far and wide.
“I’m always working. That’s literally all I do. This is literally my entire life,” Leffler said. “And I’m doing it my way.”