Marijuana: Plant, Drug, Or Medicine?


Kym Kemp/Redheaded Blackbelt

​By Jack Rikess

Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent

Driving down 101 South, I was listening to the radio returning home after four grueling days of being embedded with medicinal farmers as they get ready for autumn’s harvest. The challenge of bringing in this year’s crops has been as nerve wracking as Lindsay Lohan approaching a DUI checkpoint.
Between mold, mildew and a growing season that’s been as erratic as Charlie Sheen’s career, the typical farmer has been working about 26 hours a day since July. Your average Mendoite or Humboldtian, is dog tired and dragging from spraying, battling a fungal infestation from early morning to late at night that could possible overtake our agricultural base, affecting the production volume of some of our favorite crops like marijuana, food, and grapes.

Right now I know of two farmers personally who lost their whole crop because of mold. And this is all happening without precipitation. The last time it rained was in early August. Puzzling. More later about this in another column.

Seraph “Red Wreck”: Arcata Trainwreck x Pakistani Chitral

​As I’ve said countless times before, whatever you think about becoming an outdoor grower — that you’ll make your first couple of million growing the diggity-dank and then retire to Thailand as a man content  — think again. It is hard work and only half generally make it through their first growing season. If it is that many.
I worked harder than I had in long time this past week going out with the gang, tending to their babies. But it’s not even the pulling of the brown leaves or the watering or the spraying or the close face-to-bud pruning it takes to understand your plant and what it needs that had weaken me.
Mostly what killed me was the walking up and down hills that do not believe in hand-rails or steps. It was the goat-like hiking that worked new muscles in my legs and arms that thought they had retired some years ago when I hit a desk, pounding out words instead of nails. 
I should have been really sore and tired for a man of my age and laziness. Oh Mary, I was sore, but not tired.
​For about five days, I’ve been juicing the leaves of fresh marijuana plants every morning. My friends showed me by taking the leaves of young plants before they get all sugary with trichomes and the magic ganja-dust that elevates ones mood, by grinding them up in a juicer, it provides the best natural stimulant I’ve ever had. 

Dazy Jones: Trainwreck x Sour Diesel x Thai

​I drink about 30 to 40 cups of coffee a day. Last week I had a total of two small cups and felt great. I had energy the whole day from the juicing.
After taking a small shot in the morning, just like I used to with Wheat Grass, I could literally feel the little ganja-protons surge through my veins. It was that fast acting. I am not kidding. 
After working a minor week above the Redwood Curtain doing whatever needed to be done, I was sore but never felt better.
Then I was driving home.
The news on the radio said that “Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the U.S.” As I was on drugs and driving, a chill came over me. I thought for a second I should pull over and give myself a time-out until the drugs passed and it seemed safe to drive again. But the reporter said it was prescription drugs were the culprit. It wasn’t the medicinal weed I got at a dispensary or the bags my friends still get from stay-at-home-dealers.
The drug addicts we need to watch out for, their pushers and suppliers go by names like, “doctor” or “Mom and Dad.” Their dispensary is called a medicine cabinet. The weak-link drivers that threaten us all, they get their drugs the old-fashioned way — from respected society.
There a great site I go to when I want to be bummed out, Here you can literally watch the amount of money that America spends on the “War On Drugs.” Right now it is at just over $30 billion. Oh yeah, the 30 billion dollars? That’s what we’ve spent just this year.
The radio went on, naming some of the usual suspects like OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Somas as the vehicular villains. 
There’s a War On Drugs, but marijuana is the only bad guy I hear about continuously. Take meth, please. I hardly hear of Operation: Breaking Bad, where 400 government agents go after meth and the production of. But sometimes the Triangle is a police state with black helicopters flying, agents holstered walking the towns and forests with the overall sense that you’re being watched. 

The Cannabis Channel

​Marijuana almost always is depicted of the drugs of all drugs that is destroying this country. That is why we spend so much money on its eradication. And again, the endgame of the “War On Drugs” is to get rid of weed.
We’re spending billions to get remove marijuana from society because it is deemed illegal. A plant seemingly without any medical value, as told to us by the government and our not-so-righteous doctors.
The goal is an America without marijuana. Keep that in mind because that is why everything is happening the way it does. Unlike all those other drugs that have been approved because of their medicinal benefits and their side effects where we look the other way.
Marijuana, bad.
It is estimated by the World Health Organization that approximately 75 to 80 percent of the world’s population uses plant medicines either in part or entirely. I did last week for an energy supplement, and it worked.
My friend who was juicing the herb spoke of a civic leader in the area whose wife was taking about a gallon of the stuff a day and had beat cancer doing it. I’m not lying but it is not my place to out them until they’re ready. 
Overseas, the same drug companies that say that marijuana has no medical importance here are holding drug trials for the exact plant they deem locally evil. Plus, publishing their findings in medical journals and are starting to get the patents f
or a drug that doesn’t “work.” 
Around 70 percent of all new drugs introduced in the United States in the past 25 years have been derived from natural products, reports a study published in the March 23, 2007 issue of the Journal of Natural Products. The findings show that despite increasingly sophisticated techniques to design medications in the lab, Mother Nature is still the best drug designer.
Yet, marijuana is the constant foe. Marijuana is relegated to Schedule One shelf that also holds heroin and the other opiates because of its high potential for abuse.
So far, there haven’t been any findings that have shown marijuana to be the Killer of Our Young, as depicted in those scary propaganda posters and movies of the 1930’s. 
Yet in 2009, prescription drugs were the cause of death for 37,485 people nationwide according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So when is a plant medicine or a drug?
I guess only your doctor or your Mom can say for sure.

Photo: Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town correspondent Jack Rikess blogs from the Haight in San Francisco

Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comic, writes a regular column most directly found at

Jack delivers real-time coverage following the cannabis community, focusing on politics and culture.

His beat includes San Francisco, the Bay Area and Mendocino-Humboldt counties.

He has been quoted by the national media and is known for his unique view with thoughtful, insightful perspective.