Cheryl Shuman, known as the Cannabis Queen of Beverly Hills, is now looking to do her work in Portsmouth.
Shuman moved to California in her early 20s, and quickly built a career catering eye wear to the stars. Soon her life consisted of working on movie sets with Hollywood’s top actors. After making millions, she has returned home to Scioto County on a mission.
“I was born and raised in Portsmouth, Ohio,” Shuman began. “My parents were born and raised here in fact. Both my parents’ families have been in the area since 1740. We’re one of the native Appalachians. My family start in Kentucky and then came over to Portsmouth and never left Portsmouth.”
She explained that her parents had fallen madly in love when they were in high school
“It was a love at first sight type thing,” she commented.
Shuman then explained that her parents ran away and got married. Two years later, in 1960, she was born.
“My father couldn’t find work. Like many people here, he went into the service,” she explained.
Shuman said her parents drifted apart, and soon divorced when she was very young.
Forty years later, Shuman was on a TV set working on a new show and got a call from her mother, saying her dad called.
“She (Shuman’s mom) was so heart broken when they divorced that she just never got over it,” Shuman stated.
Her mom had remarried, but they this point in her life, she was a widow. Shuman continued by saying that her mom and dad had been talking everyday and decided they still loved each other. Plus, they wanted to get remarried.
“I literally went home, threw on a bikini top and started driving,” Shuman said. “I figured if I needed something, I’d pick it up on the way. I had a house and a staff at that time.”
She jumped her convertible and head home to Portsmouth.
“I drove cross country with Pink Floyd playing. I just kept hitting repeat,” she remembered. “I had always hoped and dreamed that my parents would get back together. I think every little girl does when they’re a child of divorced parents.”
Shuman stopped the story to explain that her nickname was Jake after Jake Holsinger, a local who was featured in Life Magazine decades passed for growing up in Portsmouth in poverty.
“I used to bale hay with Jake, and I just had such a think for him because he was such a hard worker,” Shuman explained. “He could bale hay and grow tobacco like nobody’s business, and I learned from him.”
As a child, she would walk around in overalls to be like Jake.
Well, back in Ohio after living in California with the stars, her mother welcomed her as Jake with her Southern Appalachian accent.
Instantly, her mom said something scary. She told Shuman she did not look good and that she has similar look as her uncle when he was diagnosed with cancer. Her mom urged her to go to see a doctor.
To appease her mother, she went. Unfortunately, she found out that she was riddled with ovarian cancer. The cancer had spread to her colon, bladder and other vital organs.
Quickly, this happy moment of seeing her parents together turned into tragedy. After having a hysterectomy, she was sent to the James Cancer Center in Columbus.
“I went downhill very quick,” Shuman remembered.
Her organs started to shut down, and she developed infections. Doctors were telling her to prepare to die. In fact, she was in the process of being transferred to a hospice setting. She way dying.
One day, Shuman decided to get on her laptop and get some work done, working until literally the final hour. Then, she saw that she had a message on a dating site that clearly cancer had taken her thoughts away from.
“I’d forgotten that I had signed up for this, and I had it set for matches in Ohio,” she said.
As she opened the messages, Shuman said she had many messaged telling her how pretty she was. Now, dying, she had lost her hair and was bloated. These messages made her feel better. Then, she saw a message from a guy she had met in high school. The nice messages made her feel so good that Shuman even made a screenshot of the messages as her laptop screensaver.
Shuman continued to message this guy she had not seen since she was a teenager.
“I gave him my number, and he started calling,” Shuman told. “I was so happy, I didn’t want to tell him what was going on. I really needed to hear something positive.”
Soon, this guy wanted to meet her. Shuman refused. She was on a 24-hour IV morphine pump and could not even walk and get around on her own.
Finally, this old friend from school said he was demanding to see her or he was done talking to her. So, she told him that she was dying and that she was about to transfer to hospice care. Still, he wanted to come.
When he walked in, Shuman was clipping a coupon for her cremation. Soon, it became very real. This near stranger explained to Shuman that his sister was in the medicinal marijuana industry in California. She was working on non-psycho active strands that did not produce a high effect. He offered to take Shuman to his home and take care of her, rather than sending her to hospice to await death. His sister brought Shuman some non-psycho active marijuana and some normal marijuana that would get her high.
She signed out of the hospital against medical advise and went to her friend’s farm to die and maybe get a little high. After smoking just a little pot, Shuman said she felt better. She did not know if she was just high or if it was having a positive affect on her health. She only knew that she was dying and felt better than she had in a long time.
Shuman’s old friend had started practicing organic food techniques and was offering his expertise to Shuman. When she first arrived at his home, she could not even eat. She was fed by IV. However, overtime, using marijuana, she got stronger. Then, through extractions, her friend was infusing foods with marijuana, and Shuman was keeping food down.
Not only did she continue to grow stronger, Shuman went back to California and started her own fight for medicinal marijuana. She opened her own farm and was soon getting support for prominent actors. She even started appearing on television programs, where she promoted pot.
“It literally saved my life,” she explained.
On her journey with marijuana, she learned of the pot had provided to others, and her passion grew.
Shuman went to Israel to study with Raphael Mechoulam, an organic chemist and the pioneer of cannabis research. She also started working as an advocate assisting with marijuana legislation around the country and world.
Shuman has since lost her mother and has returned home to be with her father. Before her mother died, Shuman promised to be home to save her home town. She passionately believes the pot industry is the answer.
After returning home, she was again diagnosed with cancer and does not know what the future holds, but says her concern is for her hometown. Shuman is working to start a dispensary in Portsmouth and hopes to see it not only assist with the economy but with addiction as well.
“I’m willing to invest everything I have in this. This is my life’s goal. This is my legacy,” she stated.
For more information about Cheryl Shuman, visit cherylshuman.com.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.