I contemplate the cost of gas as I fill up the tank on my GMC Suburban 2500, standing in the hot sun with beads of sweat dripping down my face. I?m visualizing the end of the world in the San Fernando Valley as my money disappears into the gas tank. $10, $20, $30, when will it stop? When the tank passes the $60 mark I shake my head thinking, great, there?s an eighth of marijuana gone into the tank. I start thinking about ?Willie Gas?, Willie Nelson?s new brand of environmentally-friendly hemp gasoline, and how long it will take until it comes to California.
In the back seat of my Suburban are my seven children waiting for me to take them to Universal Studios, only a few miles from our house. How much are they going to have to pay for gas when they have children of their own? I can remember my mother driving all the way across town in 1973 in our Northern California suburb to score gas at $0.34 instead of the outrageous price of $0.39 per gallon. I watch the dollar amount climb above $90. It costs slightly more than $110 to fill the tank on this beast of a vehicle that I drive. It seems to me as if the world of cheap gasoline is a thing of the past. When I bought the car it was less than $50 to fill the tank, which was still expensive at the time. Now, before putting the key into the ignition and turning the engine on, I think about exactly where I am going and rarely veer from the plan.
Right: This is the artifact we based the door design on. According to Roger Christie of the THC Ministry, it contained cannabis annointing oil from the time of Christ.
I have been reading about Peak Oil for six years now so the rapid increase in price ?which started right before September 11th, 2001?isn?t unexpected to me. At the time of 9/11 I lived on my 40- acre ranch in Snowflake, Arizona and I did a lot of driving for my hand-blown glass pipe business, so I was always aware of the cost of gas. At 6:45am on 9/11, my neighbor warned me that two planes had hit the Twin Towers in Manhattan. We both immediately drove to town to fill up our tanks with gas, and there was a line of cars, mostly trucks, filling up at the station. It took an hour to get gas in this town of 5,000 and three stations. People who live in rural areas know what it takes to survive out there and gasoline is one of the most important necessities, so it was natural to go running for it. Snowflake is a small town in Northern Arizona that was founded by two Mormon men with multiple wives. One was named Snow and the other Flake, and many people living in the town today are descendents of these men and have the surname of either Flake or Snow. (Editor?s Note: the US Representative for this part of Arizona is the excellent Jeff Flake.) It was a weird place to move to after growing up in Beverly Hills and Hollywood, but I had always wanted a rural experience after befriending the Havasupai people at the bottom of the Grand Canyon (more about that later).
Being in the marijuana industry all of my life I have used the cost of the cannabis as a barometer to judge the rate of inflation. In 1984 I graduated from high school, and at that time, good pot, the ?kills? cost no more than $25 an eighth of an ounce and $150 per ounce. But after 1984, I remember the price of pot shooting up to $35 for an eighth and $200 an ounce. This was when the US Government entered the cocaine business to finance the wars in Central America?the very wars that Congress had said the US shouldn?t be militarily or financially involved in. I used to see protesters with signs that read ?No Vietnam in Central America.? I remembered Vietnam because it was on television every night, but there was nothing about the war in Central America.
By 1986 the cost of a gram of cocaine in Beverly Hills (my home town) was down to $40, while the price of cannabis had shot up to either $50 or $60 for an eighth of an ounce. It was as though the government would rather have had coke addicts for citizens than potheads! Whether the market fluctuation was intentional, or simply the result of the stepped-up ?War on Drugs?, I was not in a position to tell. Either way, this began a period that lasted for nearly twenty years, during which pot was more valuable per ounce than gold.
Left: The worship room of the temple. The entrance features a wooden door which is adorned with sacred symbols from an ancient artifact.
I was in college when I began to sell weed. I knew enough guys from high school in the business that I could get it at $50 an eighth and sell it at $60, making the $10 spread. That reduced my price, so I could afford to smoke it at the newly inflated prices. This was also about the time I started buying it at $350 per ounce, thus increasing what I liked to call my margin. Nearly everything I know about economics comes from my education in the cannabis industry.
I?ve always felt pot smoking was part of my culture. I first tried pot when I was twelve years old. My grandmother smoked, my cousins smoked, and even my mother smoked, so naturally it felt like a part of my culture?the ?California Culture? as I called it. When I was a child, all the grown-ups would go to the bathroom at family gatherings for a puff, but it wasn?t as if we kids didn?t know what they were doing. The first time I remember my mom smoking pot was when I was in the fourth grade in 1976. My mom and aunt used to organize annual summer trips for children to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and it was there my mom and aunt smoked with some young hippies while I pretended to sleep. I continue to take my family on summer vacation to the Supai village on the Havasupai Indian Reservation at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The Supai village is the most remote and isolated community in the entire United States of America, with modest means and no electricity. This particular section of the canyon is one the most beautiful places in the world, an oasis in the middle of a desert. Supai means ?people of the blue green water? as the Canyon?s water and waterfall is sacred to them. They have also been called the ?Rastas of the Canyon? because nearly every one of the traditional tribal members smokes and reveres marijuana, and listens to reggae music. Bob Marley is an icon there and it is not uncommon to see his image as you walk through the village. Many American Indians, particularly the Hopi Nation and the Havasupai, regard ?Bob? Robert Nesta Marley as the fulfillment of ancient prophecies of their own nations. Bob had planned to visit the tribe, but died before he could. A year after his death, in 1982, his mother Cedella Marley- Booker (Mama B) went to the reservation and was embraced by the Supai. She was told that Chief Crazy Horse had prophesied Bob as ?the long awaited herald sign of the original American Indian Movement.? That night a piano was helicoptered in and set at the base of the 150-foot high sacred waterfall, and with two thousand tribal members lining the canyon and beach, Mama B and the Wailers? keyboardist Tyrone Downie played Bob Marley?s songs late into the night.
Cannabis Culture Magazine publisher Marc Emery has told me he is organizing events around the world from September 2006 to the summer of 2007 with the theme of Unity & Peace, and invited me to emcee a Concert for Peace with a member of the Marley family?Ziggy, Stephen or Damian?at the Havasupai Reservation in September or October 2006, or April 2007. This unique return of the Marley vibration 25 years after Mama B brought Bob?s music to the tribe will be themed ?The Healing of Nations?.
At the gas station, as I?m filling up my gas tank, I wonder ?how can we afford to go to Havasupai this year with the price of gas so high? And how will the Supai afford the increased price of food from gas prices going up so much?? If marijuana were legalized our nation would consume less gas, and we could make a lot of fuel from hemp to cut down our import demand. In producing USA-made biomass energy through hemp cultivation, we?d be creating more competition for foreign oil, bringing down the price. I truly believe cannabis can save the world so I?ve been working to get it legalized for years. I sold pot at the 1996 Superbowl, ran a bong and pipe shop in Beverly Hills for six years, developed the persona of Craig X the Pot Virtuoso, and wrote my manifesto in the book 9021GROW. For the past two years I?ve had the pleasure of being a cannabis consultant for the hit television show Weeds, on Showtime. On July 6th, 2006, the Emmy Nominations for best television picked the season one Weeds broadcast of ?The Good Shit Lollipop? as one of five nominees for best direction of a comedy episode. ?The Good Shit? has my firstseason acting appearance as Craig X the Compassion Club operator. This episode directed by Craig Zisk has me running The Bodhi Sativa Club med-pot shop.
In the upcoming second season of Weeds, I play in my second appearance in ?Cooking With Jesus?, where I go to a Tokers Bowl-like event called The Mohasky Cup and encounter a Cannabis Culture Magazine booth. This episode aired August 20th on Showtime in the USA, and will air on Canada?s Showcase in October.
When I wrote 9021GROW I called myself a warrior for pot. I related to the Native American warrior willing to risk life and limb for the cause, but now that I am older I?m moving myself into the position of General. A General?s role is different than that of a warrior, as he must think about the big picture, the entire war, and strategies for advancement. We?re fighting the Drug War, a war on free thinkers, pot people, human freedom, and the environment. My service as a General in this war is to enumerate a political, economic and social strategy for both the future of North America and the global cannabis revolution.
On February 21st, 2006 the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled in a case called ?Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal?. Their decision was that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) by and large prohibits the federal government from restricting the use of controlled substances in bona fide religious ceremonies. This specific case involved the importation of ayahuasca, with the active ingredient DMT (a schedule-one hallucinogenic drug, same classification as marijuana) for religious ceremonies and purposes. Since I?ve always used marijuana in bona fide religious ceremonies, I decided to start a temple devoted to cannabis. (Editor?s Note: There are arguments to be made that the RFRA, as interpreted by the US Supreme Court, does not include cannabis as a religious sacrament. It would be an expensive case to get to the Supreme Court, and would possibly necessitate a fair bit of suffering from DEA persecution? although persecution is certainly consistent with the establishment of any bona fide new religion that calls into question the religious orthodoxy of the day.)
I would like to recruit and organize people to fight against the war on drugs with me. Since I am trying to find like-minded people to join my temple, I want to share with you where my mind is at right now. 1) God comes first; 2) treat others how I want to be treated; and 3) according to my Biblical education, marijuana prohibition is just wrong. God gave humans all plants for their benefit. Therefore, I have opened Temple 420, a religious temple based on my core beliefs.
I was so inspired after reading the ?Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita? court ruling that I decided to form the temple and our congregation started on April 20th of 2006. My temple is a little different than most, as can be seen in the name. We are a not-forprofit corporation based in California with the mission of spreading the Word of God and ending religious persecution of people who use marijuana as sacrament. There are other cannabis-based religious organizations such as Roger Christie?s THC Ministries of Hawaii, and the well-known Church of the Universe. What distinguishes my temple from theirs? is that we are Biblically based. The Bible has always been part of my heritage, and I studied it for my history major at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles).
After deciding to open a temple, I married my live-in girlfriend, ?Mrs. X? as my friends call her. One of our temple members, Lana Parilla (the star of a new show on NBC called Windfall) recently went on the first Mission to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, where she delivered thousands of cannabis seeds from our temple to the Director of Tribal Resources.
As a General I am using my power to marshal our forces, serving marching orders to all soldiers of faith that have read this article: ?Go out and start a temple or church that uses cannabis in bona fide ceremonies.? If you are an American and you join our temple, we will protect you from unjust persecution because the bottom line is when cannabis is legal, then hemp will be brought to the energy-crisis forefront and used for fuel. It is a fact that this plant is God-given for the healing of nations. Revelation 22:2 ? ?In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.? (New King James Version)
As you read this, the physical location of Temple 420 is being completed at the corner of La Brea and Hollywood in Los Angeles, California. On September 1st renovations were complete. Temple 420 will dispense marijuana, bongs, pipes and other instruments for sacramental use. I performed the first temple wedding on July 29th this year. Temple 420 will be the first in the creation of many across America that use cannabis to perceive, celebrate and revere the divine. If I am going to be a General in God?s Army then I will prove my leadership at our first temple. I won?t ask anyone to sacrifice or do anything that I?m not prepared to do myself. Together we can change the draconian cannabis laws and end the war on drugs.
? Visit www.Temple420.org for more information about the organization!