Diane T. of Scottsdale
As a pediatric physical therapist, Diane Tvert has witnessed firsthand how medical cannabis helps kids with seizure disorders. Also, NBD, her son happens to be one of the country’s foremost cannabis activists.
Seeing the powerful benefits of cannabis for seizures
It takes a mighty heart to work with sick kids, and Diane T. has kept hers strong by caring for the worst cases.
As a pediatric physical therapist for over 45 years, the 67 year-old grandmother has worked mostly with newborns and toddlers suffering from a catalog of serious conditions.
“Genetic disorders, drug babies, abused babies, near drownings, developmental delays, you name it,” she sighs, ticking off the list.
Many of her patients have had seizure disorders, and she has shared in their parents’ tearful joy as they’ve watched those children find relief in medical cannabis.
“I’d see these kids every week, and you basically become part of their family. One girl had 18 seizures a day and now on cannabis she has one every couple of months. Wouldn’t you give it to your kid?” Diane asks rhetorically, with no patience for those who want to debate the issue.
“People deserve access to medicine. I used to see one little guy whose parents had moved from somewhere on the east coast because he could have access to medical cannabis here in Arizona.”
Diane has lived in Scottsdale since 1979 (“I remember before there were freeways!”) and received her education in her native Ohio—though she had no idea she’d be working with sick little ones at the time.
“I used to play guitar and sing with a friend back in the 60s, and we used to go to hospitals and nursing homes. We went to this children’s convalescent center in Cincinnati, and I just dug those kids,” she recalls. “I never really thought of it as ‘this is what I want to do when I grow up,’ but when it was time to pick a major, I thought, yeah, I’d like to do that.”
She nurtured her physical therapy career while raising two kids, and her drive to help others found purchase in her son, Mason Tvert. Mason, a cannabis lobbyist who has been called the “Don Draper of Marijuana” for his ability to garner publicity for the cause, was instrumental in the passage of Colorado’s cannabis legislation initiative in 2012. The hypocrisy of marijuana prohibition has long been in Mason’s line of sight, and when he was investigated for smoking weed at the University of Richmond, his mother unequivocally took his side.
“There was this drug task force trying to clamp down on marijuana at his school. It was like McCarthyism—they wanted you to name names, tell us where you got it, who you smoked it with. They harassed him, made him show up to the station at 7am the day of a final, that kind of nonsense,” she says, noting the ironic discrepancies of college students’ two favorite substances.
“If it was alcohol, no would have cared. But because it was marijuana, he’d attracted attention from law enforcement at every level of government. It was ridiculous.”
When Mason announced after graduation that his plan was to get cannabis legalized, his parents supported his ambitions. He briefly worked for the Marijuana Policy Project, then founded Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), where he carried out successful PR stunts like challenging Denver's former brewpub-owning mayor John Hickenlooper and beer magnate Pete Coors to a one-for-one, puff-to-beer contest to demonstrate how cannabis isn’t as debilitating as alcohol. After more than a decade in advocacy non-profit work, he is now a partner and VP of Communications at VS Strategies, a public affairs firm specializing in marijuana policy—making his mother very proud.
Supporting cannabis legislation and medical cannabis
Diane’s own relationship with cannabis was always ambivalent. As a child of the 60s, “there were potheads everywhere,” though remnants of “reefer madness” propaganda remained in professional settings so partaking was not a temptation. That all changed in 2011, when medical cannabis was legalized in Arizona.
“My back began deteriorating about 20 years ago, and I’ve got no discs left between my vertebrae. I’ve had a hip replacement, shoulder surgeries...just lucky, I guess,” she shrugs with a smile.
“My doctor took one look at my MRIs and I easily qualified for a card.”
She’s an avowed vaper, though during the recent concern over concentrates she’s switched back to her trusty Volcano. While she doesn’t have any qualms about who knows she smokes, having it out on her kitchen counter is “not her favorite.” Whether its flower or concentrates, however, this lady knows what she likes.
“Sativa all the way,” she nods decisively. “No couch lock for me. I’ve got things to do!”
She sure does—Diane maintains a busy schedule of someone far younger, and cannabis helps her keep up with her grandkids, yoga classes, tooling around in her garden pots and putting together puzzles. She also still works part time, and she continues to support parents’ choice of cannabis to help their children.
How Harvest HOC’s medical cannabis benefits adults of all ages
She also encourages her peers to explore the possibilities of cannabis, and knows from Mason that people over 50 are the fastest-growing sector of cannabis users. Her 95 year-old father will hit her vape pen if its around, and before her mother passed away from cancer at 84, Diane made sure it was accessible during chemo.
“I would leave the vape pen in the stretchy coil of the rotary phone where she could find it at night,” remembers Diane. “It was the only thing that made her feel better.”
She’s been a Harvest customer since the very beginning, frequenting the first location in Tempe since it opened in 2011. These days she’s more of a regular at the Scottsdale dispensary closer to her house, though she’s noticed the clientele is decidedly different.
“It’s shocking to me how old everyone is! I mean, they’re coming in with the walkers and everything—and I’m one of them!” she laughs, her big heart audible. “Who knew it that would happen?”