All of my life cannabis has come and gone without much notice. When I was young it was just part of what everyone did and at one point I got in trouble for selling it at my high school. In the Army I got an Article 15 for having some in my locker, and I had a small quantity with me when the Army CID busted me for attempting to sell cross-tops (fake speed) and mushrooms to one of their undercover agents. At some point during my active alcoholism I stopped using cannabis because it interfered with the effect of alcohol. When I joined AA it was suggested that I drop all "mind and mood" altering substances so I stayed away from it for many years. It is interesting to note that this unwritten AA rule doesn't seem to apply to nicotine, caffeine or food, the book even suggests chocolate and sweets, and tolerance for coffee and cigarettes. Perhaps due to the inclusion of cannabis in the "Drug War" the sentiment widely persists that one is only sober if they don't use cannabis. I disagree. In fact I will say clearly to anyone that asks, if cannabis keeps you off alcohol then by all means use it, in moderation. If you find it impossible to moderate, or if it triggers alcohol use then be smart and abstain. So I still count my AA Birthday as the first day I went without alcohol and calculate the number based on how long I have been living without drinking any alcohol. Weed doesn't kill, alcohol does.
When I started visiting The Peyote Foundation seeking to enlarge my spiritual life I found many counter culture people there. There was a variety of drop outs, rejects and hippies and many of them also used cannabis. I never saw alcohol at the Foundation so it felt safe and natural to me. So much so that I eventually sold everything and moved to the property in Kearny with a motor home that I had traded the equity in my house for. I grew my hair long, worked in the gardens and tried to build an internet business. We had sweat lodges at least weekly and full Tipi ceremonies about monthly. There was a food garden and there were extensive Peyote gardens in fulfillment of the Foundation's Mission to protect and preserve the medicine. In the countless ceremonies that were held almost none of the plants growing were used. The medicine consumed was always brought from somewhere else and the only time any of the on site garden was touched was an occasional morning blessing after an all night Tipi ceremony. On these rare occasions maybe one or two plants would be carefully trimmed and small pieces shared among participants.
Nevertheless, we were raided at gun point by law enforcement and this traumatic event triggered a new sentiment in me to push back against the absurd situation making these natural things evil while so many terrible things were not. After a brief fight with local authorities to reclaim our property a new idea came to me and that became Hemp US Flag (US flags made from hemp fabric that was imported from China) which was followed by Fuel and Fiber Company and AZHEMP. After traveling to California to promote the flag I was exposed to Medical Cannabis which included Genesis 1:29 (Robert G Schmidt), Oaksterdam, and a publishing company named MMA Publishing (Medical Marijuana of America).
HEMP US Flag was a project to make and sell US flags made from hemp fabric
Fuel and Fiber Company was an effort to develop a biomass production, processing and marketing entity using industrial hemp as a feedstock.
Scroll the PDF below for a detailed overview.
AZHEMP was established to promote Industrial Hemp as an alternative crop to cotton. We engaged a university professor, local cotton farmer and a senator to advance legislation that would have allowed a research project that was ultimately vetoed by then Governor Jane Hull.
MMA (Medical Marijuana of America) Publishing started as a website with a medical marijuana services providers directory for doctors, lawyers and dispensaries.
Attending protests at the federal courthouse I met Peter Keyes and Vanessa Nelson and found her to be a gifted writer that was attending medical marijuana trials and doing in depth coverage of them. I published her articles on the MMA website and eventually we wrangled them into several books, some of which are published on Lulu. During this time Genesis 1:29 was raided and Robert G Schmidt wrote me a series of letters from prison that I transcribed, edited and then with Vanessa and Peter's help wrangled in to a book that is also published on Lulu and now an audio version is published on Amazon. Scroll the Lulu section to buy the books and learn more.
California Cannabis Initiative (CCI) was an effort in 2009 to legalize cannabis for adults
My cannabis career came to a close in 2009 after a long string of frustrating failures. The cannabis community response to Hemp US Flag was about 85% negative and it took the tragedy of 9/11 to sell most of the 500 that I had made. The veto of the bill in Arizona killed the University research project, AZHEMP and Fuel and Fiber Company. The MMA website and providers directory struggled to attract revenue and the books we published also failed to gain any support from fellow advocates. The final blow came with The Tax,Regulate, and Control Cannabis Act of 2010 filed with California Attorney General Jerry Brown giving the file number of 09-0022 which was followed two weeks later by The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 which was given the file number 09-0024. Confusing right? The first proposal was authored by Joe Rogoway, Esq., James .J Clark, Esq., and Omar Figueroa, Esq. but contained provisions that certain cannabis industry stakeholders objected to and when those lawyers refused to alter their text a new lawyer, James Wheaton, was hired to massage it. Alas the first initiative had already been filed so the title altered slightly and they gave it the new filing number. Both versions are presented below for your edification.
When I learned about the changes and found them highly objectionable I contacted the original authors and they authorized me as statewide coordinator for a petition drive to get their measure on the ballot for 2010. I rented an office, recruited a local committee and went to work setting up the petition drive for CCI ( California Cannabis Initiative). In California there are paid professionals that gather signatures for a variety of special interest initiatives. They set up folding tables in public places and urge people to sign petitions and they are paid for each valid signature.
We had no money to pay for signatures so we launched an all volunteer effort that attracted one of the professionals to contact me offering his support because he believed in what we were trying to do. He soon learned that having a cannabis legalization petition at his table attracted long lines of eager signers that were then easily convinced to sign the other petitions that he was getting paid for. He enthusiastically shared this info with his network statewide and in a short time we had a booming petition drive going that would easily obtain the required volume of signatures to get our measure on the ballot.
Then the second initiative with the industry massaged changes got up and running with substantial funding from the prosperous medical cannabis industry. The TC2010 initiative offered our network payment for signatures on their petition that they had been getting for ours for free. This effectively killed our petition drive and in the end the flawed initiative made the ballot but failed on election day.
I counted this experience as the final insult and betrayal by the movement and it's leaders that I had so freely given my very best to. I didn't get drunk, I didn't seek revenge or bad mouth anyone, I just quit and moved on. The next big push was again in the energy conservation space and that became the very successful Practical Cycle, LLC.