BOSTON - An Alzheimer's diagnosis has inspired a Massachusetts man to develop a THC alternative. The Best Dirty Lemonade is now selling in dispensaries statewide and it all started with a son hoping to help the person he loves most.
In 2013 Jacquelin Rickerby-Anderson, known to her family as Lady J, was given a heartbreaking diagnosis.
"She was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at 53," said her son Omari Anderson, saddened but not surprised having noticed a change in his mom's behavior.
"I would come over and my mother wouldn't recognize me. I had to actually stop calling her mom. She stopped eating, she wasn't sleeping throughout the night," said Anderson.
Desperate to alleviate the Alzheimer's symptoms, Omari developed a calming concoction for his mom, who was known for her sweet tooth.
"I remember growing up playing basketball outside my mother would always come outside with a pitcher of fresh juices," said Anderson.
As a cannabis user himself, Omari knew THC could help, but Lady J wasn't going to ingest it in the traditional way. That's how The Best Dirty Lemonade was invented, a low dose THC infused drink.
Omari does have help bottling and selling it from NETA, a Massachusetts marijuana business.
"Being a part of the legal cannabis industry is everything," said Anderson.
He feels a sense of responsibility as he watches his lemonade brand grow soon to be sold in 11 stores statewide.
"That's an immense responsibility we feel we have. Mass incarcerations are still happening, people getting arrested having their lives change," said Anderson.
According to a 2020 ACLU report, between 2010 and 2018, there were 6.1 million marijuana related arrests. The report showed marijuana use is roughly equal among African Americans and white people, yet African Americans are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for possession.
"It was Black and brown people that kept the cannabis industry alive," said Anderson.
And now he's using his brand to keep his mother's name alive too.
"I always say this lemonade was born out of a tragedy... I lost my mother in a physical sense, but I feel like now she's with me, she's on this journey," Anderson said.
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