By Victor Skinner
ROOSEVELT PARK – Mark Portincasa and Paul Farage are setting the record straight about medical marijuana while helping local residents find a more holistic approach to their health.
“We talk about medical marijuana certifications and how to go about getting your medical marijuana card,” said Farage, who launched The Society of Healing Arts Institute in Roosevelt Park last fall.
“Medical marijuana has a lot less side effects than other drugs, and it’s never killed anyone,” he said. “It also assists in the healing of several problems. If you use the right strain and the right dosage, medical marijuana can actually heal the (problem).”
Portincasa and Farage started hosting a weekly radio show on 100.9 FM last month to share their knowledge about medical marijuana with listeners, the show is called Walking Down the Natural Path, and it airs every Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon.
The program aims to debunk misinformation about the growing industry and help listeners analyze the positives and negatives of gaining a medical marijuana card. But it’s also a lot more than that.
Portincasa, a seasoned naturopath, works at SOHAI to incorporate medical marijuana into broader natural approach to health through a variety of services at the facility on Oak Ridge Road. Health assessment scans, biomat treatments, reflexology, ionic footbaths, light and laser therapies, and a suite of other services at the site are helping to change the lives of folks with chronic health issues, he said.
“Everything is interconnected, and if you keep things bottled up inside you it will come out, one way or another, as a sickness, a disease, or a cancer,” he said. “We’re finding out that almost all diseases come out of a trauma, mental or physical, and we work with patients to find the right treatment for their situation.”
And more often than not, medical marijuana is a beneficial component of the equation.
“It’s really about educating people about what you need for what’s ailing you,” Portincasa said. “There are really people with health issues this is helping.”
Farage first opened a medical marijuana certification clinic out of a local hydroponics store after a less than professional experience gaining his own medical marijuana card years ago, and the new SOHAI facility aims to change that dynamic with qualified, knowledgeable doctors and a fact-based approach to helping patients understand the law.
The business started in Grand Rapids and has since expanded to include the Muskegon site, as well as monthly clinics in Kalkaska and Ludington using a rotation of certifying doctors and staff who can help guide patients to the medicine they need.
“We’re just like any doctor’s office. We have board certified doctors on staff. All the standards a doctor’s office use, we use as well”, Farage said. “We care about our patients … do follow up calls with every patient who comes in here. We’re truly looking to help them with their condition.”
That motivation spawned Walking Down the Natural Path, a program that not only introduces locals to SOHAI’s services, but also tackles the tough questions surrounding medical marijuana certification and use, from locating medicine to advice on how to use it to the intricacies of the law.
In the first few weeks on the air, Farage and Portincasa have discussed fake news and misinformation about medical marijuana, qualifying conditions for certification, recent use among college kids to boost studying, the difference between specific strains of marijuana and how they impact the body, dispensaries in West Michigan and several other topics.
“We try to keep people updated with the laws and what West Michigan is going through,” Portincasa said, adding that SOHAI brings in lawyers, police and other professionals to discuss the same topics. “It’s hard to tell people where to go and get it because our side of the state seems to be playing games.”
“Right now in West Michigan, it’s easy to get your medical marijuana card, but it’s hard to get your medicine,” Farage said.
Area dispensaries have been regularly shut down by local law enforcement, while other cities like Ann Arbor and Lansing have allowed dozens of shops to operate without interference, creating a confusing situation for patients.
And it’s that confusion – about how to use medical marijuana, where to get it, and how to stay safe and legal – that Walking Down the Natural Path aims to alleviate.
“Even though it’s legal, a lot of people get arrested and a lot of people get arrested wrongfully,” Farage said. “These are all things we’re fighting for.”
The Society of Healing Arts Institute is located at 865 Oak Ridge Road in Roosevelt Par(directly across the street from the City of Roosevelt Park Police Department).
The phone number is 231-571-4900.
Walking Down the Natural Path airs every Saturday 11:00am-12:00pm on 100.9FM or www.muskegonradio.com. Call-in number is 231-739-1009.