Editor’s Note: Welcome to SF Evergreen
I need to make a confession.
For a long time, when people asked me what I did for a living, I’d lie.
I never misled. I never claimed to be a brain surgeon, an entrepreneur, or an astronaut — but I misdirected. Like a process server for a divorce lawyer passing himself off as someone “in the people business,” I was always sure to leave an important bit of my day out of pleasant conversation.
Lying by omission was easier than dealing with the confused looks, rolled eyes, and the not-so-subtle suggestions that it was time to get a “real job” every time I said, truthfully, what occupied a good chunk of my time.
I was “the pot reporter.”
And I hated it.
This was a contradiction. I loved covering the industry. I can’t name another beat that requires and rewards a simultaneous interest in science, politics, culture, criminal justice, and business. Now wrap that up in social justice and societal change happening before your very eyes. Covering cannabis is a dream beat for an enterprising reporter. Cops or courts or city hall is not nearly as interesting or important.
But try to tell that to a roomful of relatives back home at the holidays or a pack of judgmental strangers at a dinner party. Forget impressing them with your intimate knowledge of terpenes, cutting-edge cancer research, a hostile and hypocritical government, or the endocannabinoid system. About the best reaction I could hope for was an inquiry as to whether I was holding. Usually the answer was yes — but I’d lie about that too. Belittling one’s occupation isn’t the way to get smoked out.
This only happened when I said I wrote about marijuana. It is perfectly acceptable to be a writer who focuses on beer or wine. Our food writers are — often rightfully so — revered for their mealtime opinions. When I said that I also covered politics, I would get a sage nod (as opposed to when I started to talk politics; then, eyes would glaze over and fingers would fumble for phones to swipe at). But for some reason, it was normal for polite society to dismiss cannabis as a joke, some odd-smelling novelty to shunt off to the side.
You can probably relate. Whether you cultivate the magic plant, package and sell it, use it to heal yourself or merely to have a good time with something less toxic than alcohol, you’ve probably dealt with something similar. “Stoner.” “Pothead.” “You’re wasting your life and your talents.”
Yeah. All of that — the drug war, the prohibition of a plant that’s been a constant companion of humanity for thousands of years, the ignorance and the shame — is ending.
So let me say it now, and say it proudly.
I’m the pot reporter.
And let me offer you some thanks. You are helping to end the era in which it was acceptable to laugh cannabis off. You changed the country. Look at the Gallup polls, showing that nearly two-thirds of the country is sick of the war on marijuana. Look at Wall Street, where investors are falling all over themselves to get into the marijuana game.
Nobody is laughing now. And what you’re holding in your hands is proof.
We’re hoping SF Evergreen can offer the kind of serious journalism that the question of cannabis in America in 2015 demands. Someday, somehow, legalization is coming to California, be in 2016 or later. In the meantime, the latest Green Rush is well underway. As marijuana millions are made, we need to make sure the people who need medical marijuana can get it, and that the people doing prison time for a plant receive justice. And we’re going to have some fun. In our first issue this month, you’ll read about a line of comic books for stoners, who to laugh with at SF Sketchfest later this month, and why Del Tha Funkee Homosapien doesn’t fuck with shatter.
We hope you like what you see. It’s been a long time coming. And you made it happen.