What I’m Thankful For…



By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent

I think it’s essential at Thanksgiving that we remember what’s important and yes, what we are thankful for, as we lay out our fat pants in anticipation for a day of complete stuffage. Before we begin the mental preparation needed for enduring the forced march that is Uncle Bill and the onslaught of his incredibly misguided and alcohol-scented opinions, before it gets crazy, this is what I’m thankful for. 
I’m thankful that every day, marijuana becomes more accepted.
I’m thankful for the people who celebrate 4/20 as a holiday. It is a flame for the rest of the world to smell.

I’m thankful that Uruguay is considering legalizing cannabis. One of the world’s largest producers of soy beans and horse meat probably has a lot to offer the average spoiled American who’s ready to trade premium cable for premium marijuana for pesos. It’s a tiny country but they wouldn’t throw you in jail for weed like they do in Oklahoma. 
I’m thankful that someone took their finger out of Hash Dam in the Netherlands and rethunk their whole banning giggling in the coffeehouses idea. Amsterdam is a great town with a lot to do, really. But without the hash and cannabis, you’re nothing but Belgium on bicycles for the tourists’ dollars. Glad you came to our senses.
I’m thankful that 60 Minutes and other mainstream news programs featured somewhat positive portraits of cannabis in their reports. And when the public passes legislation favorable to weed: I don’t care if the anchors and news people snicker and make fun of the pot stories that they’re reading off the prompter. We’re winning.
Thank God Weeds ended.

Angel’s Fight To Stay Alive
I’m thankful for Angel Raich for vaping earlier this year in a hospital while waiting for a medical appointment

I’m thankful for Angel Raich for vaping earlier this year in a hospital while waiting for a medical appointment. She was kicked out for using medicine in a place where medicine isn’t encouraged. Ms. Raich, suffering from an inoperative brain tumor, continues to lead and stand up for the rights of all patients while taking it to the Man. 
I’m thankful for Richard Lee and the dream that he started, Oaksterdam. (It’s still open!)
I’m thankful for Mitch McConnell. When he said that “marijuana kills thousands of Americans every year,” even those who’ve been against pot for years decided to take another look at it. Mitch’s pants are on fire so much, he could light every doob at Burning Man and still have some flame to burn.
I’m thankful that my buddy, Sharon Letts was able to make her cancer disappear using cannabis. Her brave story told in Toke was inspirational and bold as it was personal. Hopefully this is the beginning of many such stories depicting the benefits of cannabis therapy by showing those who are still wearing blinders that Rick Simpson was right. 
I’m thankful for Pat Robertson(Did I just write that?) Once again, the crazy guy on the right is coming to our side, kind of. After coming out for Weedaztion in 2010, Patty Waddy, this year, says our jails are too full. He blames the prison overpopulation on drugs, and the disproportionate busting of non-whites. He still blames Hurricane Sandy on Streisand fans.
Speaking of, I’m thankful for Diane Fornbacher. Not only a cannabis warrioress for decades, the Jersey girl has been working nonstop since Sandy touched down in the Garden State distributing amenities, care bags and other life-saving products to the stranded citizens of her ravaged state. Diane was part of the gang that helped the Christie State get Medical Maryjane. During all kinds of storms, Diane is there.
I’m thankful for the 41 million in tax dollars that medical marijuana brought to San Francisco in 2011, according to the controller’s office. That’s a lot of sourdough.
I’m thankful to watch what’s going to happen in Washington and Colorado. It’s like watching your younger brother get beat-up by bullies in high school in the same way it happened to you. You kind of want to see how he’ll handle himself. And then again, it’s not you.
I’m thankful for the medical professionals like Drs. Ware, Tashkin, Abrams, Hergenrather, Courtney, and Nurse Mathre who, for years, have been working to use factual data to rise above the fear and misinformation that our government would like us to believe.  These folks are in favor of the truth, where ever it may take us.
Luckily, these guys have found the cure for most everything via cannabis. Seriously, it cures cancer. Maybe the reason Sean Connery, in Medicine Man, lost the cure to cancer was because he forgot where he put it. I’m talking about early cannabis research.
I’m thankful for Sabrina at NORML. 

Jimmy Kimmel asked President Obama at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, “What is it with the marijuana crackdown?”

How cool was it that Jimmy Kimmel, while hosting the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, asked the sitting president, “What is with the marijuana crackdown?” J.K. had a prime gig and risked it over weed. Fun fact: Jimmy Kimmel hates weed and any of his writers who smoke. That makes it even cooler.
I’m thankful for Governor Gary Johnson and Judge Jim Gray for taking it to the streets. As soon as the mainstream made fun of the third-party poopers, they changed their tune when it appeared like the Gov and the Judge could influence the vote where cannabis was on the ballot. Soon, we’ll be leaving the Era of Cannabis as a Third Rail Issue and entering the Era of Follow Me Children to the Promised Land. Roseanne Barr deserves some credit there too. [Editor’s note: And Jill Stein!)
I’m thankful for guys like John Vergados, Raphael Martinez, and Vivian McPeak and others like them who fund the fun and help makes this world spin a little easier.
I’m so thankful for the people around me who put up with my constant weed talk. My in-laws who never intended on having a pot activist as a son-in-law yet act interested about what “my friends” are doing. The poor stoners who come over expecting the buzz of their little lives and have to listen to an hour-long speech about human rights before they get to consume some Cheesle.  
I’m thankful for Greg Proops and his mancast, The Smartest Man in the World. He defines funny today. He’s not a pot comic; he’s a comic talking hysterically on pot. It’s free, dudes.
I’m thankful for Tim Blake, Johnny Santa Rosa and The Emerald Cup. And for outdoor, organically grown, weed. 
I’m thankful for YouTube in case I missed anything in the past million years.
As a dedicated baseball fan, unlike the losers who jumped on the bandwagon at the end of the season, I’m not only thankful for the San Francisco Giants for winning the Super Bowl twice in three years. But it was also cool that everytime they showed a Giants game or the parade celebration on TV, plumes of blue smoke rose off the fans like ceremonial incense. Soon, everyone’s going to be grabbing their buds in the grandstands.
Finally, I’m incredibly grateful for Steve Elliott, the dog-walker of cannabis. Like a dog-walker, he can’t take a day off or not show up to work because the animals learn to depend on the familiar scent and the caring personality. Unlike a dog-walker, he doesn’t get the $125 per hour per dog. He does it out of the love for the beast. He does it because he cares about the protection of the animal and its welfare. Cannabis is the animal that Steve takes out for a walk every day for us. I’m grateful that cannabis has such a good, compassionate friend.
Lastly, but mostly, I’m thankful for the readers who support Toke of the Town. Without you, we do not exist. Thank you.  

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 jackrikess.com.

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.