- Christopher Smith, Editor-in-Chief
500 Stories: Why I Created the American Cannabis Report
Five years ago, I created the American Cannabis Report as a platform to share what I’d learned about the elimination of hemp in America under the false pretense of “protecting us from the evils of marihuana.” To share what I’d learned about people like Rylie Maedler, Alexis Bortell, Billy Caldwell, Boone Cutler and his comrades in arms, all of whom would have died without cannabis medicine.
To share what I’d learned about the many ways our enemies continued to persecute those who use cannabis to fulfill their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
At the time, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others amused themselves by trying to crush the nascent cannabis industry, which was already creating innovations, jobs, and wealth-building opportunities.
The only way to combat the unconscionably cruel bullying of the most vulnerable Americans was to meet it with equal energy and force.
Mind you, I had none of the tools I would need to fight a Jeff Sessions. I am not a lawyer or politician, I didn’t have money, I hadn’t yet built a stable of allies. At first look, I had nothing with which to fight.
… until I realized that the fight wasn't against a person, it was against a mythology... and furthermore, the Reefer Madness mythology was just a monster story (admittedly one of the most successful propaganda campaigns of all time which kept cultures around the world in a state of fear for more than 80 years but still), a monster story wrapped around a big fat lie!
Well, Mr. writer-by-trade and storyteller-by-nature, why not just hike up your skirt and tell a better story?
Better yet, why not tell more than 500 stories (as I have since published) about how:
· Cannabinoids and other components of The Plant provide relief and survivability for children with terminal epilepsy and many other qualifying conditions
· Cannabis is a forbidden but viable alternative to the opioid-heavy regimens could help our treasured military veterans, who were still killing themselves at a rate of 20 per day
· A robust legal cannabis system would protect children from using cannabis too soon.
I felt honor-bound to do whatever I could do to help protect and support these brave people. And it was that last bullet point that clarified my mission to protect my own children (and yours by the way).
What About the Children?
My youngest son, 14 at the time and in middle school, asked me “why I was in the pot business.” I responded with a challenge: “Let’s have a race to see who can score some pot quickest.” Without a second’s hesitation he said, “I’d win! I’d just walk across the street to the high school, I know where the guy is… I’d be back in 10 minutes.”
Exactly my point, my son. You are 14 you can buy pot from a street dealer who will NEVER ask how old you are. A robust legal cannabis dispensary system does not allow kids to purchase, and pressures street dealers to move elsewhere. The system works. "I do this to protect you and kids like you."
A light-bulb moment for the lad.
But the reefer-mad folks remain uninformed and afraid. I remain hopeful that I can help them understand, with the most important asset I have: the truth.
I have little in common with Jeff Bezos, but with the American Cannabis Report, I have also answered The Golden Question.
Bezos said, "I knew that when I was 80 I was not going to regret having tried this... I knew that if I failed I wouldn't regret that--but I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried and I knew that that would haunt me every day. And so when I thought about it that way, it was an incredibly easy decision."
I have devoted myself to this mission to illuminate and inform anyone who will read or watch about the many (many, many) positive benefits of the cannabis plant. I have written over 500 stories; interviewed veterans, doctors, nurses, athletic champions, presidential candidates, prisoner advocates, social activists, native American royalty… I’m particularly proud of my growing library of stories and interviews featuring women and people of color.
And the opportunity to communicate has expanded - I'm a correspondent on the State of Cannabis News Hour, working with the National Cannabis Party, provide content for Pro Cannabis Media in Boston and UBCTV Network in New York, and was a moderator at the 2022 CWCBE conference in New York City.
The cannabis community has helped restore my belief in good people, celebrate the indomitable spirit of mothers protecting their children, and fulfill a simple desire to leave evidence that while I was here I stood up to evil, that I fought with what I had to leave a better world.
The job’s far from complete, but it’s been a hell of a ride so far.