My first act of cannabis activism at 17 was sending money to Keiko Bonk’s campaign after reading about her campaign in High Times. It was only 5 dollars, but it’s what I could do. I always have felt it was essential to support people willing to be in power and support legalization. What better way to change the machine than to be a cog?
Between 18 to 21, I lived in New Jersey and California; it was in California, where I had the opportunity to help gather signatures for legalization. I answered an ad stating get paid to legalize marijuana. I thought fuck yeah. After a week of gathering a couple hundred signatures, it was questionable whether I was to receive any monetary compensation, so I walked away, chalking it up to experience and as a form of helping the cause.
I eventually joined the Navy out of necessity, which ultimately became duty. During this time, I consumed on an intermittent basis. After the Navy, I worked for Raytheon in their cal services department. I helped maintain the machines that make America’s missiles. The missile portion of Raytheon is located in Tucson, Arizona, America’s gateway for all things illicit. Questionable things go from Nogales, Mexico to Nogales, America than on through to Tucson, Arizona.
Fresh out of the military, I wanted to smoke freedom weed. Weed that didn’t have a looming piss test. The ability to smoke without losing my job consequences due to no random drug tests. If the tech sector ran like the manufacturing sector of America, there would be no innovation or employees. People aren’t robots and truth be told; it’s the manufacturing industry and hospitality industries that deserve it the most. I love cannabis and alcohol after a long day of cleaning shit.
Fresh out of the military with my new job secured, I wanted to smoke weed and enjoy my day, but I couldn’t find any cannabis. At the time, it was easier to find coke than marijuana because the cartels funnel everything pass Tucson while keeping the local population in control through coke and money.
It drove me crazy that even when I did find a connect, it was shitty MS13 weed at a 150 a quarter-pound with probably a third of the weight in seeds. During this time, I tried to change the world online and in real-time. There was a Tucson Chapter of NORML fighting for legalization long before it is what it is today. This chapter was seeking donations to make signs for either picketing or marching; either way, I want to help, but being a DOD contractor at the time, it was not in my best interest to do. So I did what I could by taking all the cardboard boxes to be thrown away and donated them.
Then there’s the writing and online trolling. MySpace was the dominant site at the time. A time where bands were blowing up off their MySpace page that also acted as a personal website with embedded players and whatnot. I joined various writing groups, where I learned to build confidence to share the things I put down. They were mostly poetry groups, but it still takes a lot to share anything you do.
The internet was young, and people were learning they had the world at their fingertips. I wrote a lot about legalization and the injustices I saw daily; it was here I decided I wanted to find an outlet.
When I was younger, I went to the Hightimes offices with pages of poetry and my brilliance, only to be handed their magazine plan for the next 12 months and told to submit them accordingly. Even though this popped my bubble, I also realized that a magazine is a business, and one can’t bank on the willy-nillieness of a writer.
There weren’t many cannabis websites at the time; there was, of course, High Times, Hail Mary Jane, Toke Of The Town, and one that we shall call The Brick Weedblog, to show the sentiment of what happened through the course of its existence. I thought Brickweed looked well done, so I reached out to them. This is what started me on the path where I am now. At first, I would submit articles from around the world. Why? Because the cannabis conversation wins when it can be centralized. Now every “legal” state paper has a “Weed” section. I flooded them with so much info and opinion; they gave me a login. I could now write and submit articles, but I couldn’t publish them. Which was fine, some were released right away, others sat in the queue for a week or so, the guys got busy, but eventually, some sat for months.
When articles started sitting for months, I grew frustrated and expanded to other cannabis websites and content for activism. During this time, I never had any personal interaction with the founders of the site. So didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes.
During the early days of the internet, if you were smart enough to secure everyday use words as URLs, you were bound for riches, and if you had good content with that, well, then you’re killing the game. Websites like Marijuana.com sold for millions solely for the name, which is now Weedmaps.
I learned during this time that guys were wooed left and right for a piece of the website. They were flown to places and treated like kings; things like this make you think you’re a good businessman when you haven’t sold anything yet. My friends eventually got involved with someone who they ultimately found out is only good at bullshit like his wife.
The site went from a million unique hits a month, and the reputation of creating the cannabis conversation to now its strongest asset is a Facebook page with a million likes. Added value has been lost through gaslighting and bullying over control of the website made by my two friends. I learned about all this after the fact like I said; in its prime, I had no contact with the creators. They were busy doing website things while living their best lives, and I was busy learning about missile systems and trying to be a family man, fresh out of the military. When I did occasionally communicate with one of the founders of the site, he would tell me he appreciated my efforts and that as soon as they get paid, I’ll get paid. In the end, no one got paid because of a greedy married couple who helped raise funds for Oregon’s legalization.
TheBrickweedblog was my street cred. Even though my articles weren’t getting published and had notoriety, I had one other thing with the login, an email. Miggy420@theweedblog.com was the email I would use to communicate with cannabis businesses and for activism. It made it hard for prohibitionists to find me and let cannabis business know I had serious inquiries. That email at the time was the equivalent of having an @HighTimes email or @Microsoft for those in tech.
My articles on Brickweed weren’t getting published, but I was able to use the email to write for others and build support for those behind bars for pot while communicating with them through Coorlinks until one day I wasn’t. Now, if you wonder why I have such disdain for the married couple that stole a website through gaslighting and court, it’s because of this email situation.
I didn’t know there was a power struggle for control of a website I didn’t create, just helped build its reputation. I didn’t know the names of players and investors; all I knew was that my articles weren’t getting published. I didn’t know anything until I tried to log in to my email to continue a conversation I was having with a prisoner through Coorlinks. For those not in the know, Coorlinks is the prison email system used. Prisoners are charged for its use per letter; its a pain in the ass to sync with prisoners, but many knew my Miggy420@ email, and it was easier for them to contact me than most.
The website email was being used to help pot prisoners, so when I was cut-off warrantless, and needlessly, it pissed me off — just another example of greed hurting something doing good. The end of my email was not the end of my activism, it just made more exposed, and I no longer had access to those I had been communicating, a bummer but not an end-all, end-all. In fact, I’ve done some pretty cool things when it comes to helping others in the name of justice.
Not all my articles and writes are bangers; in fact, some of my best work I feel will never get seen. Those are the letters to Judges and Lawyers in support of victims of prohibition, letters written in support because every American voice counts or so I was taught to believe.
I’ve also helped reduced sentences. I even helped get a case dropped on spiritualist Joy Graves, by finding a picture of the prosecuting attorney standing in front of a Legalize It mural giving the peace sign and another simulating smoking cannabis while on a Mormon mission in Africa, it was a slight conflict of interest and representation.
If you made it this far, I appreciate you. I am prematurely ending this one because I can go on for days on ways to help, but most importantly is the fact that you do something, anything. One more thing is more than the nothing that is presently occurring. If you made it this far and like what you read, please share with others and if you would like to share your story with me, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject My Weed Story.
Until next write.