US Weed Channel, the first cannabis education and entertainment media network, will hold its 420 fundraiser benefiting the creation of cannabis vocabulary for American Sign Language (ASL). US Weed Channel will host a live, eight-hour fundraiser featuring live bands, comedic talent, pilots, shows, and celebrities in support of cannabis education for the hearing- impaired community on April 19.
As cannabis become more mainstream, those using ASL still cannot communicate about cannabis. Terms and information related to medicinal cannabis do not exist in ASL. For hearing-impaired patients, their caregivers, medical providers, friends, and family, it is impossible to communicate about the endocannabinoid system (eCS) and the use of cannabis therapies due to the lack of everyday language. The nonprofit organization eCS Therapy Center and its partner, nonprofit Signs for the Times, are planning to record and develop ASL cannabis language.
New vocabulary, scientific terms, and slang expressions are easy to grasp for the hearing community. However, for the d/Deaf community, there is no guide or common ground.
For clarification, the lowercase d refers to those with a hearing loss. People who identify as deaf usually prefer to communicate orally but also can still incorporate sign language. The uppercase D identifies people who have been Deaf all their lives and communicates primarily through sign language.
Dispensaries offer experienced, educated workforce to discuss the full range of benefits of cannabis, CBD, and hemp. However, what about d/Deaf people? While dispensaries and other retail outlets employ bilingual staff for languages other than English, there is not a push incorporate sign language.
Dispensaries are not required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. When a d/Deaf client approaches someone about cannabis, options include writing things out, gesturing, or using basic sign language. Personnel will Google to try to explain something to the hearing-impaired customer. Some d/Deaf customers can attempt to lip-read, but it is considering that about 30 percent of the hearing-impaired community can lip-read the English language, that option is not always beneficial. This all leads to a lack a communication and the possibility of misunderstandings.
Deafness is just not about the loss of hearing—communication is an integral part of the person’s experience. Most d/Deaf people will often have less exposure to language and vocabulary throughout their lives. Interpreting is very different from translation. Signs don’t equate to words—phrases and slang change throughout time and generations.
Dr. Regina Nelson, president of eCS Therapy Center, is a longtime medical cannabis activist who wants to empower all people. She works with certified deaf interpreters in Denver to continue to develop this platform. Sign of the Times interpreters will tour dispensaries to formulate the new sign language. A comprehensive video glossary will be compiled about cannabis terminology. This project will also be made available to other deaf interpreters.
By translating names of specific cannabinoids, types of concentrates, and other information into sign language, Dr. Nelson and her co-workers have a goal to bring the legal cannabis industry in line with ADA standards.
Nelson is a cannabis expert with a background in teaching endocannabinoid classes to health-care professionals and consulting for cannabis brands. While working as a doctor in Boulder, Colorado, she saw a need to include the d/Deaf community.
US Weed Channel is the world’s first cannabis internet entertainment service featuring hundreds of TV shows and movies including original series, documentaries, and feature films. US Weed Channel is a subscription service and is available through Apple TV, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV, Apple ios, Android, Google Chromecast, and SmartTV.