Jetty’s Shelter Project began in 2014 with the sole mission of donating free cannabis oil to cancer patients. The Shelter Project remains at the core of Jetty’s principals as a company. It began before Jetty even HAD a fulfillment department. Or marketing, or a full lab crew. The idea for the Shelter Project came to co-founder Matt Lee while on a month long surfing trip in Costa Rica, “Shelter was based off that Toms Shoes idea,” he recalls.
“One for you one for cancer. We can’t make any medical claims, but we make a bunch of oil. We know it helps. So we put some marketing materials and fliers together. People started signing up at dispensaries.”
Shelter grew and grew. At one point there were over 1000 patients receiving donated cannabis oil.
For years it was a hand-delivery operation. Assuring Shelter patients they are not only being provided with oil but have an actual person who can empathize because of her own lifelong experience with chronic illness. In the last few years, Lindsey Friedman has maintained and managed the program. She is the friendly voice on the other end of the phone and in person.
When Lindsey first began working with Jetty she was doing everything someone else wasn’t doing. Fulfillment. Filing carts and Dablicator™ cannabis oil application devices. Packaging and printing. She did a year or two of refinement, tons of rotovaping and even did a bit of work with extraction. The Shelter program had ten patients when Lindsey took over and well over 500 prior to Prop 64.
Like any good steward, Lindsey has walked in the same shoes as those she cares for. “I’ve dealt with chronic health issues throughout my life. Fibromyalgia. Lyme’s disease. A lot of things that have plagued my health. Cannabis has really helped me through my healing process. It was my Saving Grace. I had to try a million different prescriptions. The medications that they put me on were useless. One thing that has helped the most without causing other side effects is cannabis. It just kind of lined up. As Jetty grew so did Shelter.”
Shelter became a way for Lindsey to help herself through helping others. And most importantly, what it’s like to not know how you’re going to feel on any given day. She’d been living it alongside Shelter Project patients.
“It was easy for me to connect with people and hold that compassion for them for what they are going through because I’ve lived it myself, in my own way.”
Back in the Prop 215 days, many people who were supporting and advocating compassionate use were comprised of disenfranchised and marginalized groups. Chronic and terminally ill patients. Veterans. People diagnosed with HIV AIDS.
“When Nate and I met we connected through our passion for cannabis and its uses. Selling it in the black market. A lot of the people we were selling it to were friends, people who suffered from chronic illness or chronic pain or debilitating disorders like Multiple Sclerosis. We could see how powerful it was for them for their healing, including my own.”
Lindsey is the linchpin for the success of the Shelter Project.
“Obviously we can’t diagnose or say it’s a cure-all for everyone. I did know that it was absolutely improving their quality of life in one form or another and that’s what drove us to continue to support the Shelter Project. It wasn’t easy. There were so many hurdles and trials in the last ten years that could have made us walk away more than one time.” Adding, “If it were up to me and Nate and Ron and Rob, we’d give it away.”
Longtime Shelter Project patient Robert Slack is a cancer survivor. He is unabashed about his love and appreciation for Lindsey and the team. “I joined the program after a manager at a dispensary told me about [the Shelter Project]. Jetty started sending me stuff. During treatment I I couldn’t function. But the stuff Lindsey was sending was so helpful. We grew close. Text back and forth. She’d check in on me. Lindsey, Nate, Rob and Ron. Man. They are a special grouping people.” Pausing to collect himself. “I would credit Jetty for my still being alive.”
Meeting so many different people from different walks, helping them feel relief takes a unique and generous spirit. Lindsey says, “I feel as humans that’s what we’re here for is to help people. Life is not that easy and we can either make it harder on each other or make it easier to lift up one person’s day. To me that’s an accomplished day. That’s why we are hoping to inspire other companies in the cannabis industry. People can’t change the world for everyone but you can change one person’s world. I always liked that quote.”