Coming Into Los Angeles, Pt. 2: Toke Tags Along To The Cannabis Cup with NORML Women’s Alliance


Cheri Sicard started using cannabis medicinally in 2009 after a suggestion from her doctor. She was astonished at how well it worked.

By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent
Sharing the NORML Women’s Alliance booth this weekend at the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup in Los Angeles will be two notable authors.
First is Cheri Sicard. Cheri spent much of her childhood and early adult life, interestingly enough, traveling the country and the world as a circus performer, magician and mentalist.  Along the way she started writing about travel and food which lead her to become an internet entrepreneur back in the days when it was just a series of tubes.
She is the author of The Great American Handbook: What You Can Do For Your Country Today and Everyday (2002 Berkley Books), US Citizenship for Dummies (2003, Wiley, co-author with Steven Heller, Esq.), Everyday American (2008, Bookspan, ISBN: 1582882975), and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Easy Freezer Meals (2011, Alpha Books, ISBN: 1615640649).

Around 2009, after a suggestion from her doctor for an ailment, she started using cannabis medicinally. She was astonished at how well it worked. She then began reading, researching and educating herself. What she learned astounded her to the point where she couldn’t stop talking about cannabis to anyone who would listen. In the course of six months she went from the typical closeted American marijuana smoker, to an outspoken advocate, and has not looked back since.

Cannabis Cheri
Cheri Sicard’s “The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook” has something for everyone’s taste. You can get it for $24.95 by clicking here.

​Cheri’s activism started in California’s San Bernardino County, arguably one of the state’s most hostile territories for medical cannabis, where she worked with Lanny Swerdlow and the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition project and started Americans for Safe Access’ first ever “action group.” After moving to Long Beach in 2010, she started working extensively with The Human Solution, especially helping field PR efforts during the Joe Grumbine and Joe Byron trial, which ended with their conviction (an appeal is in the works).
Cheri is also excited to be the new Los Angeles County community leader for the NORML Women’s Alliance, working to educate women on cannabis related issues.
It was also natural for Cheri to combine her love of food with cannabis. She wrote Culture Magazine’s monthly medicated menu column for a year, and her first cannabis book, The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook, will be making its public debut in the NORML Women’s Alliance booth at the High Times Cannabis Cup (all sales at the event will benefit the Women’s Alliance).
Also sharing the booth, offering a different literary flair, will be playwright and screenwriter MJ Bannon. Bannon, who had her Nikola Tesla screenplay recently optioned, will be selling a limited numbers of her latest and groundbreaking work, California Seeds: A Political Fantasy.

Mj Bannon
Mj Bannon’s book “California Seeds” goes to the heart of what’s happening today.

​MJ’s book goes to the heart of what’s happening today. It is a story about three friends who come to a crossroads in their lives at a time when the United States is ripe for legalization. Big Business sees the potential in the cannabis industry long before the hearts and minds of America turn. The monster-hungry corporation, Monflako, wants what is at the root of the industry and movement: the seeds. This is a story about corporate greed, the hippie ethic, and possibly the direction that this country may go if the right people aren’t in control. And the kicker, it all takes place in the 1970s. 
As we read every day about some country begging Monsanto to leave them alone or about Monsanto’s slow drive to take over the agricultural industry, I asked MJ Bannon what inspired her to write about this timely subject.
“I was driving up Highway 5 looking at all the rows and rows of corporate farmed plants and giant sprayers and wondering how it has all come to this? All these seeds and plants owned by some giant corporation. Where were the farmers? At the same time, I thought about how marijuana is still grown and cultivated by small farmers who are struggling against these same big corporations and thought, what if these two forces combined,” she told me. “In the 1970s there was a chance for this to happen. My book is a political fantasy that follows actual people and events of the times amid a story of three reunited college friends who ban together to fight the opposing forces as they legalize marijuana.
I understand a major studio turned you down. What did you say to them?
“I said, ‘So you can make movies where you torture women and cut their heads open and eat their brains, but you can’t make a movie showing marijuana in a favorable light?’ “
What are the main themes for you?
“The bonds of friendship, the struggle against corporate dominance and the realization that utopia could almost happen with a plant. Think about it. Plants provide us food, shelter, wine and pot, and even guitars are made from them. We better get up off our asses and start rallying to save them.”
It will be for sale, yes?
“This very limited edition will benefit the NORML Women’s Alliance. I believe this organization has the foresight to see the importance of women gathering to empower the legalization of a plant. As the saying goes, ‘If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.’ “
Stop by and say “High” to MJ Bannon, Cheri Sicard, the noted activist Pebbles Trippet and Kyndra Miller at NORML Women’s Alliance’s booth at the High Times Cannabis Cup in Los Angeles this weekend. All sales will benefit NORML Women’s Alliance.

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.