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Pride Stories: Daniel Wing

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Daniel Wing is first to say that cannabis saved his life.

Wing (he/him), assistant general manager of Ethos – Watertown, MA, credits cannabis for his four-and-a-half-year sobriety from alcohol.

“I preach this transparency (about my sobriety) because it’s what saved my life,” Wing said. “Being open about my sobriety keeps me accountable. It took other people’s stories to inspire me, and I can just speak my truth to help others. I have no shame; it’s not embarrassing. I will tell anyone who comes into our dispensary every day, any day.”

A long career as a waiter where he was surrounded by alcohol, coupled with devastating personal trauma and loss, drove Wing, 35, to what he describes as “the bottom dregs of society” before a friend intervened. After a series of hospitalizations in 2016, Wing was encouraged to reframe his social cannabis consumption to help him migrate from alcohol use. The impact was so profound that he considered exploring returning to school to become a social worker to help others in similar predicaments, but the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold.

“Replacing alcohol and other substances with cannabis is a whole new school of thought – addiction and recovery was once seen as black and white, and now many realize that it’s much grayer,” Wing said. “The world is not in absolutes, and what works for me might not work for you. And that’s OK.”

The body of research behind substituting cannabis for alcohol is small but growing. Studies published over the last two decades cite this replacement as a valid method of harm reduction. One small 2009 study published in Harm Reduction Journal, for example, concluded that substituting cannabis for alcohol or other substances “can be included within the framework of harm reduction.”

“At first, cannabis was to help me sleep – to turn my brain off and distract myself,” Wing said. “Then I learned that it’s what helped me stay calm.”

For Wing, the connection between the cannabis community and the queer community is clear cut. Citing the documented higher rates of substance use by queer people, he believes that the synergy between the two groups is driven by a shared history of marginalization, along with core tenets rooted in happiness, acceptance, and being authentic to your true self. Notably, research has observed higher rates of minority stress, which is stress that stems from marginalization and discrimination (including misgendering) in queer individuals.

“Many in the queer community have a lot of early trauma – being queer isn’t easy, and even when it is easy for some people, it still isn’t easy,” Wing said. “That’s because of the marginalization we go through – many of us seek an escape from families and communities that disown us. Their community is out there somewhere, but it takes some people a really long time to find it, and cannabis can help with that.”

Wing said the cannabis community is one uniquely suited to support and uplift the queer community.

“Cannabis consumers are peaceful, happy, and community oriented,” Wing said. “Cannabis provides a community that’s accepting. Not only is the cannabis community already historically marginalized like the queer community, but it’s a community that wants to lift up everyone.”

That’s a message that Wing wants to signal to everyone who walks in the door of the Ethos – Watertown dispensary.

“When you walk into our dispensary, we create an environment of inclusivity because the queer community is right in front of you,” Wing said, adding that more than half the staff at Ethos Watertown is LGBTQ+. “It definitely fosters a work culture where people feel very accepted walking in the door and being themselves at work. We have become a family in Watertown, and our guests can feel it from a mile away.”

Wing carries that visibility over into his personal life, where he utilizes his social media to “share his experience just being a gay man who consumes cannabis.”

“I use my voice to tell everyone my story, where I work, and that they should come to the dispensary,” Wing said.

That personal connection is carrying over into Pride Month at Ethos Watertown. As part of the dispensary’s year-round initiative to give back to the community, throughout June 2021, the dispensary is donating a percentage of proceeds to BAGLY, inc. The Boston-based organization provides social support to queer youth, including an annual queer dance that Wing recalls fondly.

“BAGLY saved my life when I was a teenager – it was the only place I felt accepted when I was younger,” Wing said. “I am so glad that they can be our donation for Pride Month.”

For Wing, the intersection of his professional and personal life is an illustration of how perfectly intertwined the two communities can be.

“The rainbow pin on my lanyard signifies that you are welcome here,” Wing said. “Cannabis is central to the queer community, and Pride is a great time for that connection to shine.”

Read more Pride Stories here

 

Sobriety Through Cannabis

Daniel Wing is first to say that cannabis saved his life.

Wing (he/him), assistant general manager of Ethos – Watertown, MA, credits cannabis for his four-and-a-half-year sobriety from alcohol.

“I preach this transparency (about my sobriety) because it’s what saved my life,” Wing said. “Being open about my sobriety keeps me accountable. It took other people’s stories to inspire me, and I can just speak my truth to help others. I have no shame; it’s not embarrassing. I will tell anyone who comes into our dispensary every day, any day.”

A long career as a waiter where he was surrounded by alcohol, coupled with devastating personal trauma and loss, drove Wing, 35, to what he describes as “the bottom dregs of society” before a friend intervened. After a series of hospitalizations in 2016, Wing was encouraged to reframe his social cannabis consumption to help him migrate from alcohol use. The impact was so profound that he considered exploring returning to school to become a social worker to help others in similar predicaments, but the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold.

“Replacing alcohol and other substances with cannabis is a whole new school of thought – addiction and recovery was once seen as black and white, and now many realize that it’s much grayer,” Wing said. “The world is not in absolutes, and what works for me might not work for you. And that’s OK.”

The body of research behind substituting cannabis for alcohol is small but growing. Studies published over the last two decades cite this replacement as a valid method of harm reduction. One small 2009 study published in Harm Reduction Journal, for example, concluded that substituting cannabis for alcohol or other substances “can be included within the framework of harm reduction.”

“At first, cannabis was to help me sleep – to turn my brain off and distract myself,” Wing said. “Then I learned that it’s what helped me stay calm.”

For Wing, the connection between the cannabis community and the queer community is clear cut. Citing the documented higher rates of substance use by queer people, he believes that the synergy between the two groups is driven by a shared history of marginalization, along with core tenets rooted in happiness, acceptance, and being authentic to your true self. Notably, research has observed higher rates of minority stress, which is stress that stems from marginalization and discrimination (including misgendering) in queer individuals.

“Many in the queer community have a lot of early trauma – being queer isn’t easy, and even when it is easy for some people, it still isn’t easy,” Wing said. “That’s because of the marginalization we go through – many of us seek an escape from families and communities that disown us. Their community is out there somewhere, but it takes some people a really long time to find it, and cannabis can help with that.”

Wing said the cannabis community is one uniquely suited to support and uplift the queer community.

“Cannabis consumers are peaceful, happy, and community oriented,” Wing said. “Cannabis provides a community that’s accepting. Not only is the cannabis community already historically marginalized like the queer community, but it’s a community that wants to lift up everyone.”

That’s a message that Wing wants to signal to everyone who walks in the door of the Ethos – Watertown dispensary.

“When you walk into our dispensary, we create an environment of inclusivity because the queer community is right in front of you,” Wing said, adding that more than half the staff at Ethos Watertown is LGBTQ+. “It definitely fosters a work culture where people feel very accepted walking in the door and being themselves at work. We have become a family in Watertown, and our guests can feel it from a mile away.”

Wing carries that visibility over into his personal life, where he utilizes his social media to “share his experience just being a gay man who consumes cannabis.”

“I use my voice to tell everyone my story, where I work, and that they should come to the dispensary,” Wing said.

That personal connection is carrying over into Pride Month at Ethos Watertown. As part of the dispensary’s year-round initiative to give back to the community, throughout June 2021, the dispensary is donating a percentage of proceeds to BAGLY, inc. The Boston-based organization provides social support to queer youth, including an annual queer dance that Wing recalls fondly.

“BAGLY saved my life when I was a teenager – it was the only place I felt accepted when I was younger,” Wing said. “I am so glad that they can be our donation for Pride Month.”

For Wing, the intersection of his professional and personal life is an illustration of how perfectly intertwined the two communities can be.

“The rainbow pin on my lanyard signifies that you are welcome here,” Wing said. “Cannabis is central to the queer community, and Pride is a great time for that connection to shine.”

Read more Pride Stories here

 

Sobriety Through Cannabis

Daniel Wing is first to say that cannabis saved his life.

Wing (he/him), assistant general manager of Ethos – Watertown, MA, credits cannabis for his four-and-a-half-year sobriety from alcohol.

“I preach this transparency (about my sobriety) because it’s what saved my life,” Wing said. “Being open about my sobriety keeps me accountable. It took other people’s stories to inspire me, and I can just speak my truth to help others. I have no shame; it’s not embarrassing. I will tell anyone who comes into our dispensary every day, any day.”

A long career as a waiter where he was surrounded by alcohol, coupled with devastating personal trauma and loss, drove Wing, 35, to what he describes as “the bottom dregs of society” before a friend intervened. After a series of hospitalizations in 2016, Wing was encouraged to reframe his social cannabis consumption to help him migrate from alcohol use. The impact was so profound that he considered exploring returning to school to become a social worker to help others in similar predicaments, but the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold.

“Replacing alcohol and other substances with cannabis is a whole new school of thought – addiction and recovery was once seen as black and white, and now many realize that it’s much grayer,” Wing said. “The world is not in absolutes, and what works for me might not work for you. And that’s OK.”

The body of research behind substituting cannabis for alcohol is small but growing. Studies published over the last two decades cite this replacement as a valid method of harm reduction. One small 2009 study published in Harm Reduction Journal, for example, concluded that substituting cannabis for alcohol or other substances “can be included within the framework of harm reduction.”

“At first, cannabis was to help me sleep – to turn my brain off and distract myself,” Wing said. “Then I learned that it’s what helped me stay calm.”

For Wing, the connection between the cannabis community and the queer community is clear cut. Citing the documented higher rates of substance use by queer people, he believes that the synergy between the two groups is driven by a shared history of marginalization, along with core tenets rooted in happiness, acceptance, and being authentic to your true self. Notably, research has observed higher rates of minority stress, which is stress that stems from marginalization and discrimination (including misgendering) in queer individuals.

“Many in the queer community have a lot of early trauma – being queer isn’t easy, and even when it is easy for some people, it still isn’t easy,” Wing said. “That’s because of the marginalization we go through – many of us seek an escape from families and communities that disown us. Their community is out there somewhere, but it takes some people a really long time to find it, and cannabis can help with that.”

Wing said the cannabis community is one uniquely suited to support and uplift the queer community.

“Cannabis consumers are peaceful, happy, and community oriented,” Wing said. “Cannabis provides a community that’s accepting. Not only is the cannabis community already historically marginalized like the queer community, but it’s a community that wants to lift up everyone.”

That’s a message that Wing wants to signal to everyone who walks in the door of the Ethos – Watertown dispensary.

“When you walk into our dispensary, we create an environment of inclusivity because the queer community is right in front of you,” Wing said, adding that more than half the staff at Ethos Watertown is LGBTQ+. “It definitely fosters a work culture where people feel very accepted walking in the door and being themselves at work. We have become a family in Watertown, and our guests can feel it from a mile away.”

Wing carries that visibility over into his personal life, where he utilizes his social media to “share his experience just being a gay man who consumes cannabis.”

“I use my voice to tell everyone my story, where I work, and that they should come to the dispensary,” Wing said.

That personal connection is carrying over into Pride Month at Ethos Watertown. As part of the dispensary’s year-round initiative to give back to the community, throughout June 2021, the dispensary is donating a percentage of proceeds to BAGLY, inc. The Boston-based organization provides social support to queer youth, including an annual queer dance that Wing recalls fondly.

“BAGLY saved my life when I was a teenager – it was the only place I felt accepted when I was younger,” Wing said. “I am so glad that they can be our donation for Pride Month.”

For Wing, the intersection of his professional and personal life is an illustration of how perfectly intertwined the two communities can be.

“The rainbow pin on my lanyard signifies that you are welcome here,” Wing said. “Cannabis is central to the queer community, and Pride is a great time for that connection to shine.”

Read more Pride Stories here

 

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