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Floodwater dumped by Hurricane Dorian surrounds a car on Thursday, September 5, 2019. Matthew Fortner/Staff

As I start this column, it’s Wednesday, the day of Hurricane Dorian’s impending arrival, and there’s that sort of nervous energy and feeling of “fun” excitement before the arrival of any storm, which is to say that it’s all fun until it isn’t. This is shaping up to be the fourth flood in five seasons, and for the third time in four seasons our particular yard will have been under 2-3 feet of Atlantic Ocean. (Our raised house has gotten off pretty easily, while others have had to welcome tropical storm and hurricane flooding into their homes.)

In 2016, Hurricane Matthew wiped out submerged portions of our garden with the exception of a magnolia, a live oak, two Vitex and a couple of Chinese Fringe trees. The following year, with the impact of Tropical Storm Irma, someone recommended scattering ground-up gypsum (sheetrock) around the yard and then soaking it with fresh water. Amazingly, most of the annuals and all the hydrangeas, tea olives and gardenias made it, yet were sickly for the better part of 2018, which was technically a “dry” hurricane season for us here in Charleston, although Hurricane Florence played an annoying game of cat and mouse with Lowcountry citizens.

Therefore, for five straight years (including historic flooding from the impact of Hurricane Joaquin in 2015), we’ve had either direct inundation (’15, ’16, ’17, ’19) or felt behooved to prepare for same (2018). In recorded meteorology, has there ever been a run like that before in Charleston? Of course it is a small price to pay for living in paradise, but enough already! (He boldly proclaims with the worst of the hurricane season still ahead of us.)

To take my mind off things, I thought what better than to recount the experiences of Richmond, Va., friends who happened to visit Nantucket over Labor Day Weekend and shot us a message and a picture. “Just want to say ‘high,’ ” the caption read, with the two of them standing in front of a new emporium known as The Green Lady Dispensary, the name of which cleverly references the island’s Grey Lady moniker.

It’s the first of its kind on Nantucket: a legal establishment that sells recreational cannabis products to consumers 21 years of age or older. ...

OK, so I stopped the column on Wednesday and resumed the next day having to make one obvious correction, that for most of us this was not an inundating storm! Well, it’s better being lucky than good. Another tidal surge like what we had a couple of years ago — what with all the work that has been going on to repair properties and even raise houses — would have sent numerous folks to the looney bin. The storm hit in earnest last Thursday morning just as the tide was ebbing and rainfall totals could have been worse. The city further did a good job of stationing pump stations around the peninsula. Yes, the wind damage is a mess but in the grand scheme of things a relatively minor inconvenience.

Anyway, back to The Green Lady, which opened on The Grey Lady about a month ago. Business demand had been such that one could only visit by appointment through Labor Day, as was the case with our friends. They entered, were politely greeted by their own personal “budmaster” (although “buzzmaster” sounds more appropriate) and had to show ID not only on arrival but also after gaining access to the inner sanctum, where their nostrils were filled with the unmistakable herbal essences of homegrown goods.

Even though cannabis can now legally be sold statewide throughout Massachusetts, it cannot be transported across federal waters (i.e. Nantucket Sound), so it has to be grown locally on island and is so facilitated at The Green Lady by a special underground cellar with customized lanterns.

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All the products are made to exact specifications, including those meant for smoking, vaping, dabbing, ingesting (capsules or gummies), applying topically (tinctures). Our friends learned one fun fact, that the psychoactive ingredients need to be activated by heat to exert their stimulatingly spacey (some would say introverted and paranoia-enhancing) effects. According to their budmaster, eating a raw flower bud will do nothing, but cook it with a brownie mix and see what happens.

The real purpose of their visit was to obtain CBD products for aging parents and in-laws who don’t want to take powerful prescribed medication or get stoned on THC-containing products. The budmaster was very encouraging. “Don’t worry,” he said. “Everything we have here is good for you, unlike alcohol, which is bad for you.”

Well, there’s a “grain” of truth to that, but, as we all know, in Charleston them’s fightin’ words.

Edward M. Gilbreth is a Charleston physician. Reach him at

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