August 21, 2023 — Pebbles Trippet is in Tijuana about to undergo four days of stem cell therapy to treat Chronic Obstetric Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). Dr. Salomon Karam, whose degree is in “regenerative medicine,” will provide the infusions at his Holistic Care Center. He will also provide treatment aimed at arresting and possibly even reversing scoliosis (curvature of the spine).
Pebbles is able to afford the procedures because earlier this year she went from being totally broke to being merely poor by selling her beloved cottage at the mouth of the Navarro River. She has been living north of Laytonville at “Area 101,” a compound north of Laytonville owned by Tim Blake, the Emerald Cup impresario.
In 2005 Pebbles wrote a piece for O’Shaughnessy’s called “You Gotta Have Friends,” a reminder that involvement in a political movement can be a hedge against social isolation. A serious radical might scoff at this fringe benefit of activism, but it’s real (especially when you subtract the friends who ripped you off and stabbed you in the back and took credit for your work).
The devoted friend who drove Pebbles to Tijuana, Laura Costa, reports that they made it just as Hurricane Hilary was hitting Southern California. (“People in LA don’t know how to drive in the rain,” she observed.) They had made good time — seven hours from Laytonville to Sanger, a town near Fresno where they spent the night with friends. A black and white cat came and sat on Pebbles’ lap, which she took to be a good omen. “Her spirits are very high,” according to Laura. “She told me stories I’d never heard before… It’s almost as if the treatment is already working. She feels she’s about to enter a new stage of life.”
Dr. Karam told Pebbles that she didn’t get COPD from smoking vast amounts of leaf over the years to cope with migraines. The great UCLA pulmonologist Donald Tashkin reported in 2008 that marijuana does not cause COPD. When I told this to Pebbles, she speculated that maybe pesticides on the leaf had damaged her lungs. Dr. Karam told her otherwise; only tobacco and genetics have been implicated, he said.
Pebbles and Laura are staying at the Grand Hotel in Tijuana, which adjoins the clinic. The treatment for scoliosis involves injections into the muscles around the spinal column that help support it. She is in incredible spirits. Told me stories I never heard before.
If all goes well the women will leave Mexico by mid-day on Friday and Pebbles will be home by Sunday evening.
Histories of the medical marijuana movement in California will undoubtedly credit Pebbles for her long, lonely effort to establish the right to transport the herb (which was not explicitly granted by Proposition 215). Will they acknowledge her righteous work as an organizer of the Medical Marijuana Patients Union? O’Shaughnessy’s provided this fleeting glimpse in our Spring 2005 issue: The Medical Marijuana Patients’ Union conference was held in the auditorium of the Dana Gray Elementary School. It was well organized and well attended (c. 250 people). In addition to the doctors’ panel there were patients and law-enforcement panels. The district attorneys of Mendocino and Humboldt Counties, Norm Vroman and Paul Gallegos, came out for defining the legal limit of how much marijuana a patient or caregiver can grow in terms of area (100 square feet), not plant numbers.
Vroman revealed that Ram Dass (who is recovering from a serious stroke and had spoken as a patient) was his “guru,” and that over the years he has read and re-read everything Ram Dass has written… Antonia Lamb introduced Sheriff Tony Craver with a song composed in his honor that rhymed “cream of the crops” with “cream of the cops.” Craver revealed that Mendocino D.A. Norm Vroman was his guru… “Never in all my years have I seen anything like this,” said Phil Leveque, the embattled Oregon doctor, who was amazed and delighted to be in such a cannabis-friendly milieu. Even Gallegos said it was unusual to be in a crowd where nobody thought he was too lenient.