Had someone told me back in 1996, when California’s Prop 215 first legalized marijuana for medicinal use, that I would become entrenched in the cannabis movement, I would not have believed them. Other than the rare toke at a party, I didn’t use marijuana. It wasn’t until I was in my late 30’s that my doctor suggested I try cannabis to help with a chronic nausea problem. It worked. Not only that, I soon found I no longer needed the anti-depressant prescriptions I had been taking for years. The marijuana I was using for nausea also treated my symptoms of depression, without unwanted side effects that came with the pharmaceuticals!
Around this time I was phasing out my career as a professional entertainer and phasing in a career as a professional writer, recipe developer, and internet entrepreneur. In 1996 I founded FabulousFoods.com. What began as a passionate hobby turned into one of the net’s largest and most popular cooking and recipe sites. Over the next few years I was also able to explore my passions for patriotism and country with the publication of The Great American Handbook (2002 Berkley Trade Editions); U.S. Citizenship for Dummies (2003 Wiley); and Everyday American (2008 Bookspan)..
All the while I marveled at how cannabis had improved the quality of my life. I was able to focus and accomplish tasks far more efficiently than ever before and my career thrived. Yet, I worried I might somehow be doing myself harm. Like most Americans, I had been indoctrinated into the school of thought that marijuana is evil and dangerous. But it didn’t feel that way. I had to find out for myself , so I started reading and doing research.
After graduating from Oaksterdam University, I continued to attend seminars and classes on cannabis at every opportunity. The more I learned, the more I became convinced that marijuana not only improved my specific symptoms, but was beneficial to my overall health and well being too. The more I learned, the less I could keep quiet about the amazing findings I was reading about.
I found myself continually outraged by the outright lies the government told and their hypocrisy surrounding the war on drugs. I found it tragic that people all over the county, including states where medical marijuana is legal, were (and are) still being prosecuted and jailed over this benevolent plant.
In the course of about 6 months I went from the typical closeted American marijuana smoker, who never publicly admits to using marijuana, to an outspoken cannabis legalization and anti drug war advocate . And I haven’t looked back since. I help organize rallies, fundraisers, and other cannabis events. I speak frequently at civic meetings, and city and county councils. I write articles about the injustices of the war on weed. And perhaps most important, I attend countless court supports for medical marijuana defendants.
Part of my cannabis education, exploration and passion naturally involved food and cooking. While trying to learn to make delicious and effective medibles, I often found myself frustrated by the lack of good information. I found all kinds of cookbooks and internet sites filled with contradicting advice and formulas, and most of the recipes lacked the finesse a foodie seeks in a culinary experience, medicated or otherwise. I set out to change all that and bring cannabis cooking up to the standards of today’s sophisticated foodie culture.
I started experimenting with the best ways to incorporate cannabis into foods, from the perspectives of flavor, as well as the effectiveness of the herb. By the time Culture Magazine asked me to start writing their monthly medicated menu in September 2010, I had already started work on a cannabis cookbook and had quite an accumulation of delicious cannabis recipes. (I stopped writing for culture after the August 2011 issue.)
Cannabis has changed my life in so many ways. I continue to speak about the subject of marijuana and organize efforts to affect the repeal of prohibition and help those caught in the crosshairs of the current convoluted legal system surrounding this plant. Through it all, I am always cooking and developing new recipes.
I am most excited about my new book, Mary Jane: zthe Complete marijuana Handbook for Women (2015 Seal Press), which has been getting a lot of mainstream media attention and even mainstream retail attention (it’s even carried in urban Outfitters!).
I don’t only write about cannabis. Here are my other books:
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Easy Freezer Meals (2011, Alpha Books, ISBN: 1615640649)
- Everyday American (2008, Bookspan, ISBN: 1582882975)
- Armchair Reader: Weird, Scary and Unusual (contributor, 2008, Westside Publishing)
- The Low Carb Restaurant Guide (2004, M. Evans Publishers)
- US Citizenship for Dummies (2003, Wiley, co-author with Steven Heller, Esq.)
- The Great American Handbook: What You Can Do For Your Country Today and Every Day (2002 Berkley Books)