I first tasted the sweet aroma of Mary Jane when I was 14 or 15 years old. I still fondly remember the first time I sat with my older brother, toking away and patching up our relationship. Up until that time, we were constantly at each other’s throats. However, once I started smoking – we had something to bond over and slowly but surely he became my best friend.
In fact, even today I don’t consider anyone “more of a friend” than my own flesh and blood. Not many people can say that. Most people I know have an “okay” relationship with their brothers or sisters, but my brother and I have bonded beyond our enjoyment of cannabis, however it’s undeniable that cannabis was the catalyst that allowed us to start communicating on the same frequency.
Since the time I first started smoking I remember thinking to myself, “Weed isn’t as bad as “they” say!” and I knew that I would probably smoke cannabis until I was an old man with grey hair…like Gandalf puffing on a long pipe getting blitzed talking to short hairy people.
While I smoked throughout high school, there was a three to four year period that I stopped smoking after the death of my father. I didn’t want cannabis to cloud the pain and was more interested in dealing with it than trying to avoid it. The fact that I also became more “religious” post the death of my father also played a factor.
The church wasn’t too keen on cannabis, but had less of a problem with tobacco and alcohol – so I did that in moderation instead (even though I was never really a drunk). However, when religion failed to help me make sense of my pain and lack of purpose – I decided one day to smoke weed again.
Suddenly, the flood of dopamine and endorphins made me realize, “WTF did I ever quit!” However, looking back, I am glad I did take a 3-4 year break while I was “figuring shit out”.
Eventually, I started traveling as a musician, going from place to place and living like a nomad for a few years. But when I met the woman who is now my wife – I had to put music behind me as a means of income.
However, music was all I knew for over a decade and while I was looking for opportunities to make money I discovered that people were paying writers to write blogs, articles, scripts, stories, etc. Never having considered being a “professional writer”, I gave it a shot.
The fact of the matter is that writing comes very easy to me. I simply sit down and let my fingers do the talking. I’ve been writing stories since I learned how to write and completed my first trilogy at the age of eight, so I figured – why not write for a living!
And that’s exactly what I did.
For a few years I learned the trade and went on many different freelancing websites to track down gigs. Over time, my fame grew and so did my rates. I eventually stumbled on a brand that offered me money to write on another love in my life – cannabis!
This was back in 2011 one year before Colorado and Washington were to legalize recreationally. The pay was decent, and with a promise of some equity in the start up – I decided to go all in.
I wrote probably close to 500 articles, landing pages, social media campaigns, etc. This was back when Facebook still had a thing called “Organic Reach”.
As a result, I grew their Social Media page from 30 people to over 80,000 in a matter of six months utilizing organic marketing curation. I simply created posts, wrote about interesting facts, and tapped into the “stoner inside of me” to appeal to the masses.
When this startup decided to sack me because the operations guy sucked at his job and blamed me for the loss of revenue generation – I was jobless. Even more unfortunate, I got fired while staying in California working on the brand for a month. The guy gave me $50 and left me on the side of a high way.
I had a plane ticket back to Mexico, where I live – yet was in San Diego and had to travel to L.A with no money.
I eventually made it back, flew back to Mexico and the very next day mailed the competition to this Startup Brand. I knew they would respond since I noticed they started copying my social media strategy and when I told them that “I was the content guy they were competing with, but now no longer work with their competition…” they hired me on the spot.
I worked with them for roughly 5 years and wrote thousands of articles from the medical angle to the socio-political angle and grew their social media page from 60k to 700k in a few years (also with organic reach).
Eventually, after they outsourced their marketing to an agency – I was let go and was fortunate to find Cannabis.net who has given me a home for the past few years. And I’ve loved it here ever since – also writing on a wide array of topics, expanding on the cannabis culture, and still getting money for writing on a topic I love so much.
Thanks Cannabis.net – You’re the shit!
Today, I decided to dig deep and look back at my career as a cannabis writer and more importantly, how the narrative around cannabis has evolved over the past ten to twenty years.
When I started smoking weed – way before I ever knew I was going to write more than one million words on the subject matter – cannabis was a taboo topic. In fact, in 2004, only 34% of adults in the United States approved of cannabis.
Compare this to recent polls placing cannabis approval at over 70%, meaning that we have essentially doubled approval over the past 18 years.
Back then, cannabis was very much a “counter-culture” thing. Being a stoner wasn’t so much about being “cool” but rather it was about expressing your freedom and individuality. I didn’t smoke because of peer pressure. Rather, I enjoyed the rush of cannabinoids and living in Mexico meant that I had an infinite supply of decent weed.
Many of you older stoners will remember “Mexican Brick” and while this was easily found anywhere in Mexico, I had a few “hookups” that had “above average weed”. Nonetheless, you could get about 100 grams of decent weed for about $10 USD.
As I became more infatuated with weed, I eventually started “bulk buying” and was able to purchase a Kilo of Green for about $50 USD. Back then it was Quantity over Quality and the only “premium” weed was universally referred to as “hydro”.
At least this was true in my circles.
This was also a few years prior to the Drug War ramping up in Mexico, so it was still relatively safe to buy weed back then.
Publically however, cannabis was demonized. It was “the devil’s lettuce” and anyone who smoked it was a “loser”. There was a lot of social stigma surrounding use and every stoner I knew walked around with their personal bottle of “Visine”. I also smoked tobacco at first to cover the smell of weed since it was more acceptable to smoke cigarettes than weed back then.
The only places that had some form of legal weed at this point was California who legalized in 1996 for medical purposes.
Being labeled as a “stoner” was bad if you weren’t one…but all stoners referred to themselves as “stoners”. It’s almost what the black community did with the N-word. Stoners incorporated the pejorative term into their own culture and wore it like a badge.
Over the course of the next eight years, the dialogue of cannabis would shift dramatically. Perhaps it was the +150,000 dead people due to the outsourced War on Drugs in Mexico, or the fact that more cannabis was being shipped to the US irrespective of the efforts of law enforcement to “crack down” on the trade.
I remember living in Mexico during the 2006-2012 period, where people were hung from bridges. The fact of the matter was that the Merida Initiative – the agreement between the US and Mexico to fight Drug Cartels – only made things far worse.
Firstly, they created chaos in what was a pretty organized drug trade. Before 2006, most drug cartels stayed in their lane. The Sinaloa Cartel was by far the biggest in the world and while they were known for their violence, they hardly ever went after simply users and minor dealers.
However, after the US and Mexico decided to militarize the Drug War – just like the US did in Colombia in the 1980s – all hell broke loose!
I already mentioned people being hung from bridges, but the fact of the matter was that people were being offed left and right. While the government claimed that these were only drug dealers – everybody on the streets knew of a friend of family member who got caught in the crossfire.
What’s more, under Obama, the failed “Fast & Furious Operation” or “gun walking scandal” as is referred to presently;
“…was a tactic used by the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Arizona Field Office of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which ran a series of sting operations between 2006 and 2011 in the Tucson and Phoenix area where the ATF “purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them”. These operations were done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States. The Jacob Chambers Case began in October 2009 and eventually became known in February 2010 as Operation Fast and Furious after agents discovered Chambers and the other suspects under investigation belonged to a car club – SOURCE: Wikipedia
Unfortunately, these guns were discovered in numerous massacres in Mexico and even several violent crimes in the US, meaning that the US government essentially armed drug dealers with high caliber weaponry in the name of “Stopping Drugs”. Well, officially, they were trying to figure out where the drugs are going – but if you know the cartels like us little stoners do…they own a few agents in every major law enforcement agency.
I’m even certain that the Cartels probably have a few influential Senators and Congress people in the US.
Nonetheless, this was a difficult time to be a stoner and while the drug war narrative got tainted as a result, it helped lead towards legalization. People like Mason Tvert became an underground celebrity as he debated his opponents in Colorado and managed to legalize it within the State.
When the rest of the world saw that the Drug War had a different solution – it took less than 10-years for more than 33-states to Adopt some form of Cannabis legislation on the books!
Now, ten years later and all the wiser – I still continue to smoke cannabis, however my relationship to the plant has changed dramatically. These days, I smoke a lot less…in fact, as I’m writing this article completely sober (due to Sober October) – I have found a new respect for the plant.
People have discovered that cannabis indeed is a medicine, however, as more acceptance of the plant begins to unfold within society, also more “at risk individuals” are seeing some negative consequences. This shifted the narrative away from the benign image of cannabis or “it’s just pot” and now with more potent strains and forms of cannabis readily available – is sparking “some” concern.
For the vast majority of consumers, cannabis remains a non-problem. But for some people, it can become a crutch or factor in their mental stability.
Irrespective of this, people are still in favor of cannabis and more than two-thirds of the US population believes it should be legal. Politicians, who built their career on a “tough on drugs” stance and demonized us “stoners” for so long are now warming up to the idea of legalization. Not because they changed their minds – of course not!
People like President Biden doesn’t believe in legalization – however, the people who vote for him do. And therefore, reluctantly he had to cave to the demands – even if it’s only for public adoration.
The fact of the matter, these ancient drug warriors are still trying to control the ganja and if we’re not careful they will impose a new form of “prohibition” under the guise of legalization…as we’re seeing in places like California (the once mecca of marijuana).
While California still grows some of the dopest dope on the planet, their legal system is abysmal. Nonetheless, we’re currently at a time in history where approval for cannabis is at an all time high.
And right now, as the US Mid-Terms are rolling up, the Democratic party who’s entire platform is “We’re not Republicans” are pulling out their “Trump Card” (aka Cannabis) to win over votes.
However, irrespective of who takes control – legalization will only happen once our corporate masters have aligned themselves to benefit from it. There are still a few lobbies that are fighting legalization, however this is a losing battle.
We’re on the verge of a new dawn in human history – the re-legalization of cannabis.
If there’s one thing I have learned about cannabis is that it’s not a predictable thing. I can’t tell you how many times I said, “In five years it will be legal” over the past twenty years. The truth of the matter is that we’re living in a rigged system and one theoretical side effect of mass legalization is that people will become awakened to the fact that the system is rigged.
I believe this was one of the reasons why they outlawed it in the first place. The government only maintains power on the illusion of their influence, however, those who defied the laws and smoked anyhow realized a long time ago that the government is a bunch of lying sacks of shit. Politicians only care about being re-elected, and sold you out to the corporations who only care about making money.
Nonetheless, cannabis will be legalized one way or another. And what this will do to the masses who knows. I can’t tell you how people will think about weed in another ten years because the world is volatile. We’re currently living the “post-pandemic Clusterfuck” induced by our beloved politicians who bent their knees to the weight of Pharma.
The same Pharma who’s the sole beneficiaries of the Controlled Substance Act – the great monopolizers and funders of many government institutions.
Hopefully, cannabis can help dispel the bullshit and allow people to see beyond the veil.
But for this seasoned stoner, it will always be a companion. Even now, with abstinence, I still love the plant and have no qualms about it. I love growing it, smoking it, and hanging out with other like-minded stoners.
So if you’re reading this, take a toke…enjoy it, because you never know what politicians and the government will do with it. It took about 80 years to get rid of prohibition and undo the lies from people like Anslinger, DuPont, Hearst, Nixon, and the rest of the dinosaurs.
In the end…weed won!
MORE EVOLUTION, READ ON….
THE EVOLUTION OF ANTI-CANNABIS PROPAGANDA! CLICK LINK!