Charity: Well of the Desert and Desi’s Foundation
By Heidi Simmons
“We’re passionate about helping people,” said Julie Montante, Owner of PSA Organica, a medical marijuana dispensary in Palm Springs. “Our collective is community based. It’s all about our patients getting the proper care and support they need.”
For Montante, it is not enough to choose one charity. “I’m involved with so many organization it’s hard to narrow it down,” said Montante. “At PSA Organica we have a passion for helping the homeless as does Well in the Desert. And, Desi’s Foundation is about helping those with cancer, so that fits with our mission as well.”
Montante’s interest in medical marijuana began when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. She wanted to find alternative ways to help her mom fight the disease. That experience led her to 15 years of marijuana research.
“I learned so much going through cancer treatment with my mother, family and friends, that I knew I could help others find alternatives to chemotherapy and radiation treatment,” said Montante. “Cannabis has so many benefits there needed to be a place where people could go and ask if it’s right for them. Medical cannabis can also provide a way to wean off prescription opioids.”
Montante wants people to know that there is nothing to fear about going into PSA Organica. “We’re friendly and compassionate,” said Montante. “We’re here to listen and to find what works best. We have cancer and AIDS patients, and we also have those who want to better manage their pain or arthritis. I encourage anyone who is wondering about medical cannabis to come in and visit. See what we’re all about.”
Raised in Southern California, Montante loves being outdoors and especially loves the ocean. “I was born in Santa Monica so I’m a beach girl.” She has lived in the Coachella Valley for over 30 years and her brother, Leonard, works at the dispensary.
One of her previous careers was as a Hollywood set designer. She enjoys interior decorating and is often asked to help her friends decorate their homes and businesses. “I love to do it,” said Montante. “I like the creative challenge to design a comfortable and inviting space.” Montante was also a landscape designer and has an appreciation for horticulture.
Montante is single, but lives with a menagerie of rescued dogs and cats. One is missing a leg, another has no tail, and another has just one eye, but she loves them all! When Montante has time, she volunteers at animal shelters. She also spends time helping at the Mizell Center. “I like to volunteer,” said Montante. “It’s very rewarding plus it’s a lot of fun for me.”
A favorite movie of Montante’s is Beetlejuice because she was the set designer on the film. If she has to pick a favorite genre of music, it’s Motown because she loves to dance. Her favorite place to vacation is Hawaii. “I like to go during the summer to get out of the desert heat,” said Montante.
She counts her “rewards” more than awards. “I have awards for swimming and I have medals for diving that I’m proud of,” said Montante. “But mainly it is an honor and a privilege to serve the community. I’m grateful the city gave PSA Organica the opportunity to make a difference.” Montante thinks of herself as a quiet person. “I’m a doer, and just want to help anyway I can.”
People Montante most admires are those who go the extra mile. “I respect anyone who works hard and has the strength and energy to get what they want and find what they need.”
PSA Organica invites people to use their lobby and come in for a free consultation without a medical card. To use the dispensary, a medical marijuana card is required.
“I want people to know we absolutely care about our patients,” said Montante. “We sit down and listen to their health problems and work out a treatment plan. We do our homework and we are legal and licensed. We strive to improve our patients’ lives any way we can and welcome people to come in and learn more. It’s all about health and healing. There is nothing to fear and we have an array of organic products that include CBD lotions, edibles and tinctures so you don’t have to smoke a product that may make you feel high.”
Montante keeps up on the latest articles and information about cannabis breakthroughs. “There is more information and new products coming out every day,” said Montante. “My primary position in life is to help others and I hope my legacy can be that I was able to treat my patients with compassion and find the proper medicine that works best. We truly are a collective that cares.”