Cannabis. That unmistakable, sweet skunk smell holds a special spot in my heart, and my stash box! As far back as I can remember, it’s been part of my life. My parents were hippies, the real deal, Woodstock and all. My mother would only smoke the leaves of her cannabis plants gifted to her via the natural process of leaf shedding, Ewwww! We sure have come a long way baby!
Sometime shortly before my debut into this world, my Dad chopped the legs off all the furniture in the house so he could be closer to the earth. This unconventional action most likely was inspired by a handful of shrooms. At that time, he played the bass guitar for “The Drifters” (“Stand By Me” & “Under the Boardwalk”) and had a bright future in the music industry. But the pressure, stress, and pace of city life just wasn’t worth it for the family. The decision was made, Alaska or bust! They even made a sign to hang in the back window of the van for all to see as we set out.
By the time I was born in May of 1975, my Dad had constructed adequate living quarters using reclaimed lumber, minus running water and electricity. Considering winters are 30-40 degrees below zero in Alaska, with very little daylight, this was insane! I can’t begin to imagine how hard it was for my Mom to raise two babies, in cloth diapers, without running water or electricity! It’s something I now use to redirect my pointless frustration over trivial complaints all the time. Sniffle “I broke a nail” boohoo! “Get over it! You have running water and disposable diapers!”
All craziness aside, I truly enjoyed my childhood! Band practice in my living room almost nightly, with plenty of wild hippie kids running around. I loved it! To top it off my Dad’s day jobs were legit too. He ran the morning show on the local rock radio station, allowing me to co-star AND he drove school bus! Guess who was his frequent mini co-pilot? That’s right…yours truly!
Things changed drastically on my 8th birthday when we packed up and moved to the bustling city of Anchorage. My favorite part…the bathtub! We no longer had to haul water and heat it on a wood stove just to sardine ourselves into a small garden tub.
Simply turn the faucet on and voila! Instant hot water. It was magical! Anchorage turned out to be an awesome city to experience the 2nd half of my childhood, rich in culture and opportunity.
My dabbling in cannabis began sometime in high school. I was slightly hyper and my brain wouldn’t slow down, or let me sleep. I also had this awful tendency to over-analyze everything. I just couldn’t get out of my head. Cannabis brought me relief! Sleep was one of the biggest improvements, as I could finally wake feeling refreshed and energized. My focus improved and, to my parent’s satisfaction, my grades actually went up!
This was the tip of the iceberg in seeing the way that cannabis can be truly life-changing. I then became dear friends with a woman who had MS. She was bound to a wheelchair, living daily with constant pain and muscle spasms. I remember my first time witnessing her smoking weed and the utter disbelief and hope I felt as I watched her stand up, walk away from her wheelchair and clearly tell me a detailed story when speech had been seriously challenging moments before! That moment fortified in my mind that this plant was a medicine. I couldn’t wait to have a place to grow my own, learn everything I could and share its miracles with others.
At 17, I met my husband and immediately knew he was the one! We both shared the same intense passion for this plant as well as a similar upbringing. His parents owned a headshop (one of the first in America) and his Dad was the roadie for “The Almond Brothers”. After graduation, we both started working multiple jobs to save money and work towards our dream. We were determined to buy a house and grow our own weed, and in less than a year we had saved enough money to purchase our first home!
Truth…it was a mobile home in disrepair that smelled like moldy cat poop soup. There is really no way to sugar coat that. But, it was ours and I thought “I know how to clean”… Well, it turns out you CAN’T polish a turd! We sucked it up and made it work. Our total devotion, along with a gift of some killer genetics from a friend in Amsterdam, resulted in a weed that was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! In fact, it was so pungent that we got sniffed out by a Barney Fifer wannabe, hellbent on winning the officer of the year award!
Now, keep in mind this was before the days of marijuana legalization that helped to loosen some of the penalties on cannabis cultivation and possession. We had six plants that weighed out at just over a pound and I was charged with felony procession of a schedule one controlled substance.
“Perfect”, I thought. 20 years old and already a felon… “What now?”.
Hell ensued as the state brought down their heavy arm of justice on me for my, mind you non-violent, wrongdoings. They slapped me with a hefty fine, two years of probation, hundreds of hours of community service and a permanent felony record.
When people think about a felony record, I know they realize it is pretty bad, but most don’t understand the ramifications of having this label pinned to you, the rest of your life!
Being labeled with a felony record has presented some major challenges in life. For instance, securing gainful employment is a joke! After all, who really wants to hire a felon. And that was just the start of it. A few days after getting busted, I found out I was pregnant… from there, the plot and the waistline, thickened!
My husband was away at work when the troopers hit, so the state took much longer to process his case. The action was never taken against him and we had assumed there would be no charge, so we moved on. We began working remotely, and unknowingly to us, the state had been trying to serve a subpoena to him but was unsuccessful in finding us. You can only imagine what they assumed. For the next 18 years, we grew cannabis, a family and a chance to save and improve so many lives, not knowing the storm that was coming for our happy little family.
Nearly 19 years passed by without any problems. We were out with our kids, unknowingly fishing in waters that had an emergency closure just hours before. A fish and game officer came to post the emergency closure flyer up in the parking lot, before heading down to then hand us a ticket for “fishing closed waters”. The officer ran a routine background check and we were shocked to find out Nick had a felony warrant for his arrest!! Nick was handcuffed and they carted him off to a holding cell in the worst prison in the state.
The stress was immeasurable.
The prison refused to set bail until the next day, so I got on the phone and called every lawyer in the book. I even contacted the famous ex-cop, Barry Cooper. Remember the “Never Get Busted” series? (If yes, congrats! You’re a true OG!) Barry Cooper, and every lawyer I talked to, was so fired up about my husband getting arrested and taken away from his children, on an 18-year-old marijuana charge, in a state where cannabis is legal. These heroes flooded the courts with phone calls and arguments and within 4 days, my husband was released with all charges dropped! AMAZINGLY, not one of those heroes wanted any money for their time and effort.
Since then we’ve continued our mission to explore the wonders of cannabis and grow our patients the best possible medicine we can, winning a total of six cannabis cups and educating ourselves and others; especially the non-believers!
I am writing this series to share my experiences and knowledge. raising 6 awesome kids, and tens of thousands of cannabis plants, flipping houses, opening one of the first cannabis consumption clubs in the nation, and our newest endeavor “Pocket Pot Kits”, everything needed to smoke on the go, contained in a smell proof, locking duffle bag! Raising Kids in Cannabis has been a challenge, to say the least! Join me as I compile moments from my journey, for you, into a survival guide of sorts. Trust me I got some stories to tell, so sit back with some dank and enjoy the higher education!