Everyone remembers their first time, whether it’s sex or trying a taboo plant that’s been demonized for 100 years by the corporate elite because it doesn’t affect them. If you know your small town politics, you know the world. Marijuana, weed, cannabis, whatever word you want to use this year has always been a part of my life; I’ve always known that its properties aren’t evil.
I remember a giant plant growing in my backyard but in retrospect it was probably only 4 feet tall since I was about three feet high. I remember my mom buying weed, not for herself but for my 90-year-old great grandma; she would use it in rubbing alcohol to fight rheumatism. I watched as adults over indulged in alcohol and cocaine, noting when people regretted the moment, noting no one has ever regretted their actions on marijuana, just the feeling they get when “high.”
Where I grew up in Southern California a lot of my friend’s parents smoked marijuana as well and that’s where I got my first inhale, the inhale that resulted in disappointment. We were 9 and my friend Tommy stole a joint from his dad’s drawer (as I get older this won’t be the last time a friend of mine pinches from their parents), there were four of us and we were all mesmerized by the marijuana cigarette. We took the joint to the canyon, a crevice behind our elementary school and that’s where we decided to spark it.
Huddled around the joint we all thought we were more grown up for it; Tommy lit the joint and after a couple of inexperienced puffs, it was set. I couldn’t tell you how many times it went around but I could tell you about my inner disappointment that this thing really did nothing for me. Not everyone gets “high” or has a good experience their first time, not everyone gets an experience out of it, mine didn’t occur until later on in High School.
I remember some of us were overdoing the effect, psychologically we’re taught that this thing, this plant makes you “drunk like” or “high” but in actuality when it kicks in it effects the pressure on the brain, not the brain itself. It takes to the body, making you feel relaxed or when hypertension kicks in (which it does sometimes as you will learn what is the right quantity for you or your own tolerance) When an unusual tense form of paranoia, it’s than you know your limits.
We walked back talking about how we felt, two of us felt nothing and as for the other two; one acted like he was in a Cheech and Chong movie “Hey man, this is good stuff man, we need to do this again man.” And the other one was over speculating “I think I feel something but I’m not sure. I’m not the same as I was but I don’t feel extra anything, etc…”
Growing up I never felt the need to search it out in the house or try it again until I hit high school. We moved around a lot when I was little and I ended up doing High School in Buena, New Jersey. Here I met a ragtag group of High School intellectuals and here we did a lot of experimenting with drugs (alcohol is a drug). After a summer of heavy drinking and other things I realized that my true choice of recreational is and always will be marijuana. Something that doesn’t make me lose control of my being and something that is beneficial to my body as well.
As a young man I wanted to make a difference for marijuana and the greater good (Sometimes they are the same to me). Through High Times I learned of Keiko Bonk and her plight to save Hawaii and legalize marijuana, this was my first act of activism, a donation to her campaign for Governor and one to GreenPeace.
My next adventure in saving the world would be collecting signatures for Prop. 215 in California, the gateway prop to the legalization of marijuana. Before I knew the science, I knew marijuana helped A.I.D.S and cancer patients. I knew it didn’t make me drunk or different, before I knew I had a cannabinoid system.
I never had a chance to watch Prop. 215 take effect because I joined the Navy. I only smoked occasionally, out of fear of failing a piss test. Trust me, I had many scares but sometimes dumb luck or whatever people consider “The Universe” is on your side.
When I got out of the Navy and secured a job with a D.O.D Contractor supporting our nation’s missile systems, I thought I could go back to my Southern California beach bum days of smoking pot, I mean why not, I had a secure job and it’s not the weed that makes me not wanna do shit but the shit itself. I worked as a calibration service technician in Tucson, Arizona.
It’s here in Tucson that I found it difficult for me to acquire weed but could easily access cocaine from most bartenders, rum and coke please. It’s here in Tucson I realized the madness surrounding American justice, border town or not all shit should be the same.
In Tucson, Arizona at the time, cocaine was easier to get because the laws and people were harsher on marijuana thanks to Drug Scheduling and Cartel revenue. The cartels influence is not just guns, threats, and horrible things to your loved ones but money. Tucson is one of the main entrances for the cartels and marijuana was one of its greatest revenue sources. It’s easier to justify an arrest or release over marijuana but over cocaine and other hard narcotics, therefore you have a revolving prison population and consumer population.
It took me three months to find a steady connection, someone I could rely on and trust. But I could buy cocaine or meth over the counter in some bars and if I really wanted to heroin from the homeless guys begging for change on the street corners. Cartels had a good racket and are just changing hats down there I believe.
The marijuana at the time was not quality but it was plentiful and cheap. I would buy quarter pounds, sort out the seeds and stems in a big bowl then roll multiple joints to carry in a cigarette holder. I found myself in various shady situations for pot and felt it overly unnecessary and dangerous for something safer than beer. It was for these reasons I decided to really pick a side in the War On Drugs, the side of truth, justice and what should be the American Way.
At the same time that I was picking up quarter pounds of Mexican brick weed for my own enjoyment, people in California were picking up marijuana in store fronts. I was amazed the first time I took someone to pick up their medicine, so we could smoke weed. I waited in the parking lot, patiently and without fear, there was a certain safety blanket felt from a prescription and law. Seeing a person pick up weed with no hassle except the prescription showed me what legal could be, I am not against regulation, just certain forms of; there’s a time and a place to tax someone, just like there’s a time and a place for jail, none of it which is happening now. This is what helped spark the fire, lit the inner flame.
I sought out opportunities to volunteer. This is activism 101: if you don’t have the money, donate your time. As much as people want to discredit keyboard activism, it works. You find a problem and then you let a lot of other people know about it any way you can. Be familiar with words like memes and viral, this is the way things work now. The troops on the floor have always been the voice but the voice is digital now; digital dollar signs, digital currency, and digital cred.
Don’t get me wrong, the voice of the people is always by action from voting to marches but the true secret is by dollars and reputation. This is where the keyboard warriors come into place, shit doesn’t happen all the time but when it does you need to know who’s credible and where people give a fuck because in America the cool thing is no fucks given but the truth is there is a time and a place to give a fuck.
It was via the Internet I was able to piss a lot of people off with the stroke of a key, whether it was in support of marijuana or fucking with the local yokels over immigration rights. In Tucson you have those that think all the brown people are coming to take our jobs, rape our women, and make what is mine, less. It was in Tucson I realized what the extent of my activism needed to be, to be the example. Live life like many of the other contributing smokers but speak up as I do from a keyboard, constantly vigilant, waiting for the false propaganda to appear.
I’ve done this before, when I lived in Jersey. When you’re the only half-Mexican, Samoan all American growing up with white, black, and Puerto Rican brown faces, many already have their own stereotype about you. When one is the only minority of whatever type, one feels like the ambassador of their species, one either feels the need to be the example or rebel against the world, I choose the example.
After me and my family grew tired of the heat and racism, we moved to Washington state where I didn’t know legalization or at least what I thought was legalization was meant to be existed. Washington approved medical marijuana in 1998 and I didn’t know it. I served six years in the Navy based out of Washington state and never knew they passed medical marijuana.
Washington state had the most wonderful medical marijuana program; people stood up for marijuana and chose to educate each other. People took care in their products; the outlaws were becoming farmers, store fronts, and distributors. Marijuana markets started popping up and things were wonderful, the end consumer had a choice and an opportunity to be educated. The hundred dollars I paid for my exam was just the price to pay for what I thought legalization should be, no big producers, just small names and locally grown.
Besides the medical reason, I wanted a script for my personal rights. I had access to marijuana before receiving my prescription but I wanted “legal” marijuana and I wanted something that would back me in a court of law or in the eyes of the moral majority. You see, I had my weed stolen from my hotel room one time and I had no recourse because at the time simply because the law was not on my side. Now that marijuana is recreationally legal I imagine my fight would’ve been different at the time but all I could do was ask the front desk girl if she knew the cleaning staff, in hopes of getting my one hitter back that was stolen with it.
I was able to use a copy of my military medical record, pointing out every fucked up thing about my body, mostly for my back pain. Even though you hear stories on how practitioners just hand out prescriptions, each time I received a lecture about how I should eat right and do exercise with all sincerity about my health. It was easy for me to gain my card, minus the lectures but I am broken physically.
I saw a lot of young people coming in and out getting their authorizations and at the time questioned their motives but as I’ve been doing this for a while now I realize all use is medical use. Even if you’re getting an authorization to “feel good” at night, I’m sure it’s the marijuana that causes you to do less of something like drinking, not more, as in the case of drinking. When a person smokes marijuana and plans to be drinking, they are more than likely to drink less and this makes all use medical use.
Walking into a dispensary for the first time was a culmination of religious and “We did it” feeling. As I would learn later on, not all of these places were safe to prosper and in fact the present situation has a lot to be desired for from a plant aficionado perspective but we’ll get into that later, right now I’m in Valhalla surrounded by glorious jars of weed, kief, medicated toothpicks, and other shit I never thought of.
The medical marijuana scene or situation (however you want to present it) was everything I thought legal marijuana should be, there was safe access, people were becoming knowledgeable not just what type of plant is best for them, but the process involved in getting it there. It was a time when a good hippie who has been growing for 20 years illegally could stand up and say “I did that.” In the Seattle area there was a safety blanket, at the time the D.A. said he would never prosecute anyone for solely marijuana offense, in other words pot doesn’t make people do crazy shit.
For four years I enjoyed going to various medical dispensaries and markets around Washington State. Having my medical prescription was like having a pass to the most awesome marijuana show. Now I know some people are going to think the way I used my prescription belittles the whole medical marijuana concept but I truly saw medical conditions that it helped across this state and I was able to have an unbiased opinion because everything I’ve done has been from my own pocket, observing and noting the quality of plant and people involved in the market. Medical marijuana in Washington was what I thought legalization should be and my hundred dollar yearly prescription was my contribution to a higher cause.
I agree there was a lack of regulation but it was also illegal from the government perspective, so why involve them (the government I believe is only really getting involved because it is economically sound, nothing to do with the end consumer) and part of the failing was on the community itself, though lab testing was slowly getting its credibility (you can’t tell people what needs to be regulated when it comes to growing, regulation needs to be on the labs itself, people need consistency to become knowledgeable), the business men and women to collectively get together and agree on a proper infrastructure, the only time I saw the masses collect was to yell at Olympia and even then a good portion of the voices were patients and not involved in the industry but were trying to protect what they had. When you call marijuana medicine and live off Social Security one doesn’t have many choices but to grow their own or rely on people who know what they’re doing. I agree with the premise of a recreational law, I disagree with the type of regulation that has been in place.
My activism and love for weed has brought me here, to a point where I choose to tell you who I am, so the next guy or gal isn’t so scared. How many other causes does one have to use an alter ego out of fear of losing a job, not getting that job due to a Google search, or worse becoming a police target because it’s only a matter of time until they catch you for that evil plant.
My government slave name is Miguel Jorge Santiago Mulholland (But I go by Miguel or Miggy) and I’ve been writing as Miggy420 for the past 6 years, in support of marijuana legalization. As well as being an overall internet troll for marijuana, for my country’s future, for my children’s future, and for justice to actually be served.
When I’m at an event helping an organization I hear one question, what can I do? And here is where I am going to tell you what I believe in and what I’ve done.
There is no one organization that is going to make this happen, there is no one person that has changed the tide, and there is no one child that will be the living proof that marijuana is medicine.
I don’t believe in our legal system (or else we’d be there already) or in the government structure but I do believe in the moral majority and my country, I believe that politicians are small minded people that just want to be popular, so one needs to follow popular opinion, that’s what I work on, spreading the truth. There is no set way to make a difference but honestly it takes commitment, to make yourself a vessel for truth when it comes to marijuana through science and its social impact.
My sole purpose has been to change public opinion and to do that one has to be a good stoner. My adult activism started not with marches but with securing a decent job. From there I helped the cause as best I could. When the local NORML Chapter in Tucson needed cardboard for signs, I grabbed all the discarded cardboard boxes from my company to give to them. You help through donations, donations of time, of materials, of skills, and of course money.
Besides using my available resources for the greater good, I turned to the internet to further my efforts. Before you could tailor Google News, I figured out that if I Googled marijuana in the news section I could see what was happening in the world pertaining to marijuana. All the stories I saw popping up were arrests (not from some random act of violence or accident caused from solely being “high” but because they were farmers, shopkeepers, or transporters) and scientific studies that were done, nothing telling me that a person deserved to be in jail, unlike heroin or meth.
I trolled every news story on reputable news organizations websites doing the point and counterpoint on why marijuana is not bad. That its truth is it’s a healing plant that some prefer over alcohol. People fear it because they want to point out a moment of intoxication that doesn’t really happen under marijuana. I agree that in my use there have moments where I overindulged or tried something so strong that I realized I shouldn’t be driving right away but the thing is, in that moment my will was still mine, which is the opposite in alcohol. Besides arguing with every ignorant thought I found, scientific proof leads to enlightenment, which I put out there. Learn as much as you can and share it, the truth will set us free.
The Drug War is real and one has to pick a side, hopefully it’s the side of common sense. Let me introduce you to Jury Nullification. A rule, a law, a stipulation that goes back to the time of Kings, it’s your right to say “Not Guilty.”
Another way to help the cause is through Court Support. Just being present at a court trial is a statement in itself, we all can’t be legal statements but by us being there is a statement in itself. Along with Court Support comes the counter balance when that fails and that’s letters of support or as I like to think of them Letters of Hope. Hope is a strong motherfucker and if a person has that in dire conditions, they have a lot.
Since this is a war, a Drug War, wars are won not through violent tactics but through hearts and minds, this is how we win, I believe. Helping those behind bars and trying to help prevent others from going to jail, that’s how we win. Giving hope to those behind bars and guilt and shame on the ones putting them there, fight real crimes.
Take a minute, take an hour, whatever you give is more than you gave before and that’s what counts. It’s as simple as sharing news stories of a marijuana arrest because the more people that know about their plight, the more people can support them.
I wish I had more advice on how to make a difference but I don’t. I just do, and do, and do some more. Some of it makes a difference, like when I found pictures of the D.A. prosecuting long time advocate Joy Graves standing in front of a marijuana leaf giving the peace sign while on a mission in Africa as a Mormon. She showed up in court with this image on a shirt and eventually all charges were dropped.
This was one of the most satisfying moments in my efforts to fight evil but be forewarned activism does not pay your bills, just feeds your soul. I had a friend warn me about activism, about the egos and personal conflicts but for me it’s about the person behind bars and justice in the place I live called America.
Another time I saw a posting on Reddit about a kid that killed himself over an accusation of being high on marijuana. He was kicked out of a school dance; shamed that he would never do well in life and was kicked off the football team… all because they thought he smelled like marijuana. He then killed himself… all because they thought he smelled like marijuana. I helped spread his story and make it viral but most importantly I helped spread awareness. He wasn’t the first or last but this another life that has been taken by the drug war.
For years I’ve been an internet ghost but no more. I pass the torch on to you, anonymous reader. In others words take no shame in what you do, as long as you speak up when you can, that’s the whole point of everything. We shape the world by acting upon our heart. I encourage you to seek out the ignorant comments and statements like “Marijuana is a gateway drug” or “Marijuana made him do it”, find the truth in the story and point that out.
Marijuana, cannabis, weed whatever you want to call it is just a plant that serves many purposes. The only thing gangster or criminal about this plant is the law and the propaganda set against it for the past 90 years and let’s face it people are easily swayed, both sides. From the ignorant propaganda continued on by Kevin Sabet to the hoodrats thinking they’re ‘gangsta’ for slinging weed. Marijuana is just a plant with a bad reputation because ignorant people with an agenda (payoffs from corporations and lobbyist) have been in charge.
I hope to live in a world where we can actually judge right from wrong, where the real bad guys are the ones sent to jail and to do that we all need to step up and speak out. My name is Miguel Jorge Santiago Mulholland and I just made it easier for all those assholes I’ve pissed off to find me but honestly I’m not scared, just annoyed that this has to be a thing, with each voice we’re closer to that world I spoke about.
“It’s only pot” is a statement that does more harm than good, if you ever hear that or see that, that’s your opportunity to point out the injustice of people in jail, people whose children grew up without a father or mother, a person who was a contributing non-asshole member of society has lost time in their life due to a bad law. We win this war by changing the conversation and by pointing out the obvious, legal marijuana will not kill America but make it stronger with a better sense of direction and common sense.
I don’t believe in my government, a biblical god, or that they should have ever cancelled Charmed, but I do believe in intelligent people and that as a whole we can all agree on some basics; 1) Rape is bad, no one should ever have a power over another (like sending a person to jail for pot) 2) Murder is bad, to take a life is a horrible thing (like a person losing time in their life that they’ll never get back) 3) Pedophilia is bad (I have nothing witty to put here this is just fucked up).
We can all agree a person is not really of value if they do those things but a person involved in marijuana should not live in fear out of the police but we do. I don’t believe in my government but I do believe can be shown that everything they thought they knew on marijuana is wrong.
When it comes to activism I’ve avoided the word activist, to me it’s just common sense for a common sense world. If there was no prohibition, I would just be another shitty poet trying to break through but instead I’ve used my adult powers for good by writing letters of support to judges and attorneys in hope in shedding light on the situation a person faces because no matter what nobody deserves to go to jail for a plant.
Before I leave you I offer you advice on two films to watch for inspiration; one is Grass, a film narrated by Woody Harrelson. This film is enough to stoke the fires of justice in your heart, when you have an understanding of the origins of the law. The other is The Scientist, a film about the studies conducted by Israeli researcher Raphael Mechoulam; these are some of the oldest unbiased studies conducted proving marijuana is medicine and safer than alcohol.
My name is Miguel but I will continue to write as Miggy420, it’s the nom de plume I started with and the one I’ll die with. You have to have experiences before you can write and this is my artsy fartsy, “my life the great social experiment,” where I prove bad shit doesn’t happen because one consumes marijuana.
Marijuana is not legal, despite what you think, until all our people are out, until possession doesn’t give you the possibility of jail, until I don’t have to look over my shoulder, until I no longer feel the urge to help people, that’s when its legal, that’s when I can work on stories that don’t depress the hell out of me.
Free our people. Put families back together. Let people grieve. This is the most fucked up side effect of the Drug War.