Ladies and gentlemen, it is both my heavy burden and my great thrill to announce that, at the end of this month, I will be leaving Arizona Cannabis News and joining the Smart and Safe Arizona campaign fulltime. If you know me personally you know my heart is already there.
In the end it was a simple choice. I have been writing and publishing more than 30yrs and expect to continue doing so for decades to come. But this is the only chance I have to make marijuana legal in AZ in 2020. Each day another 44 Arizonans have their lives ruined by a cannabis charge. As much fun as writing for ACN has been, the priority is clear.
Creating and building Arizona Cannabis News has been a tremendously rewarding experience. Though I have been publishing since 1989, I have never been more thrilled as an author, than over the course of this year, writing about topics I find interesting and seeing our readership blossom from that work.
Even more importantly, at no point in that writing life have I ever seen my work have as much impact on the real world. THX to our readers, this year Arizona Cannabis News not only reported on, but helped shape the outcomes of the Rodney Jones case, the testing bill, and the legalization initiative. As a journalist, there is no higher accomplishment.
That said, even at the height of my work w ACN, my main devotion is, and has been, advancing the work of Arizona NORML. This year, combining the two, Arizona accomplished what was thought of as impossible: we reformed the AMMA Marijuana Laws for the public good, not just once, but three times. Since becoming the state director in 2015, I have taken on many jobs to keep afloat so I could afford to work on reforming marijuana laws. No other “job” has given me the schedule, access, and voice that Arizona Cannabis News provided. I am already missing it with every keystroke.
I am also already missing my colleagues who made this possible. First and foremost, I want to thank Destinee Blanco, the wunderkind, who organized our office and inspired me so often with her curiosity and passion for the plant. None of the work I have done this year would have been possible without Destinee. AND, since she is only 21, I am looking forward to seeing her influence and abilities grow.
I would also like to thank another woman who has sacrificed greatly to make this website possible. As in all things, I am eternally grateful to Beth Weisser, who has endured having a weekend husband these past 10 months as I commuted 400 miles round trip each week to the Tempe office from my home in So-Hi, AZ. Mere typing will never convey my appreciation for her support in this wonderful adventure.
Next, I want to post a list of gratitude for the fellow workers who have helped me shape the site. It is impossible to come up with a properly sequenced list, but thank you, Danielle Sedgwick, Tim Sultan, Larissa Ybarra, Amber Hudson, Jennifer Tristan, Tanya Hedjazi, Scott Novy, Taif Lasker, Eva Sigersted, Brian Griffeth, and even Tamiko Yoshimura for helping build Arizona Cannabis News to this point. THX as well to our fantastic contributing writers, Jenny Corso, Gary Smith and Jennifer Miles. THX also to the new team shaping the future of the publication, Maricela, the teams from Green Growth and AZ MJ Logic.
Lastly, of course, I have to thank Demitri Downing, my favorite marijuana world mentor, sponsor, collaborator, “brother,” and sparring partner, for giving me this opportunity and sticking w the project even in the tight spots. Arizona is better for his work in general and especially for creating MITA and ACN.
Please understand, I am not dropping off the face of the planet. In my role as rural field director for the Smart and Safe Arizona legalization campaign, I will still be attending the usual events in PHX, but more importantly I will be traveling around the state to share the message that we can end the tragedy of cannabis prohibition in Arizona at last. And when it’s done and we’re all celebrating … I will need a real world job again, so you can bet I will do my damnedest to come back and write for you once more.
—Mikel Weisser is the state director of Arizona NORML and just-past editor of Arizona Cannabis News.