From storing bombs to cannabis, one Air Force Veteran’s story of how cannabis is helping him transition to the civilian world after twenty-five years of service
John Livesay, a.k.a. “JT,” lived a life in a controlled, high-stress, structured environment for more than two decades. Since 2012, JT, a proud U.S. Air Force Veteran, has continuously worked on adjusting to the “civilian world.” The life JT built for twenty-five years in the Air Force was his security blanket and once retirement hit, he found it challenging to cope with the transition. His stresses had accumulated over the years. To ease his temperament, he explored a newly-legalized plant, cannabis. Out of curiosity, I asked JT his primary reason for consuming cannabis and, without hesitation, he responded “emotional stability.”
JT left his Tennessee home when he was eighteen years old to join the Air Force. Bombs, bullets and missiles were his career. He was responsible for testing, storing, assembling and hauling bombs for the majority of his life. He was then offered a remote, one-year assignment to Korea. In the military, when given an assignment, you have seven days to think it over to make a final decision. In JT’s case, he could either take the assignment or opt for retirement, and he chose the latter for family reasons.
JT then moved into an Equipment Specialist role for the Department of Defense. There he was responsible for the full supply chain management for everything that protects an aircraft from attack. It wasn’t until he left his role as an Equipment Specialist that he started his job search in the cannabis industry. He looked for opportunities in legal states such as Washington and Colorado, and after eight months of searching, he applied for a position as a Gardener at Shadowbox Farms in Southern Oregon. During the interview process, JT’s skill set was noticed, and he was immediately hired for a new opening position: Inventory Manager.
Not only is JT in a state where he can legally consume for his emotional health, but cannabis also provided a career opportunity to learn and grow in a new industry. Prior to cannabis, JT’s physical and emotional issues were being treated with prescriptions, but now he enjoys the freedom to choose his own pathway to wellness. JT likes a good uplifting strain such as Shadowbox’s very own Cookies and Cream to relieve stress. His favorite method of consumption is smoking as he enjoys the flavor profile cannabis has to offer.
In the emotional realm, cannabis opens JT’s ability to see someone else’s perspective which gives him an understanding that his way is not always the right way. This enhanced ability to contemplate a situation and help him look inward has improved his family’s life. His family sees a positive difference in his overall patience, and JT knows he wouldn’t be here without their full support. His wife of twenty-eight years and two teenage boys reside in Utah. The separation from his family is similar to their lifestyle when he was on assignment, but being just a state away means he is still able to see them regularly.
JT encourages people to do their own research and look into the benefits of cannabis for themselves. Knowing there is undiscovered potential, JT hopes one day we will be able to extensively and legally research what cannabis can do for us. He encourages more people to share their stories of success with cannabis.
Right now, JT is learning everything he can to help Shadowbox grow with the hope one day cannabis becomes legal in Utah. Under current Utah law, possession of an ounce or less of marijuana can result in a six-month jail sentence.1 Right now, signatures are being gathered in the state of Utah for the 2018 ballot to legalize medical marijuana.
JT hopes for Utah legalization so he can be reunited with his family, consume his medicine of choice, and do what he loves with his family by his side. Overall, a humble man of service feels like a better man because of cannabis.
With more and more brave and bold individuals such as JT coming forward to share their stories, the stigma of cannabis can eventually be abolished. On behalf of Shadowbox Farms, we thank you for your service to your country, then and now.