Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comedian, takes the edge off of the world and explains all those unexplained things in a way that will make you either laugh or cry.


Jack's Blog


Smoking with Heroes

One of the best aspects of weed is getting high with others. Beyond the tribal passing and parking lot circles, is the camaraderie of seeking out other heads who want to get high. And truthfully, the more famous they are, the cooler it is. A bunch of us were there backstage the night Dana Carvey came in to a set at the comedy club and then regale us with stories of getting high with a Beatle. For the young fertile minds who love all tales that get back to P.O. T., it was like we were in Liverpool, hitting on that joint with Macca. For all serious dopers, there is a hierarchy out there to achieve somehow. Sure, I’ve hung with Willie, Woody and some other big names that you can suspect, and some that would totally surprise you. There are the dream gigs that I wish for...Jack. Jack Nicholson. I heard he has two kinds of P.O. T., downstairs and upstairs. I’ve heard Nicholson’s upstairs stuff is the Buds of Gods. Quentin Tarantino has been traipsing through the City as of lately. He is definitely one dude I could get high with forever. It’s been said Inglorious Basterds was settled over a home-made bong. There was much talk in the old days about Brad Pitt and his Missouri-homegrown ways. How his sets were closed to everyone but his dealer and the director...But to this day...Brad Pitt, hands down is the best movie stoner ever as Floyd in ‘True Romance’. Brad beats Spicoli, Rory Cochrane’s Ron Slater, Seth Rogan in anything and the worthy James Franco. Brad brings a perfect pitch of total obliviousness and being bong-ready all in the same moment... One night when I was getting high with Robert Towne...He told me the reason Jack’s acting around the campfire was so good in ‘Easy Rider’ was because Jack had been practicing all those years for it.

It all sounds like boasting and trying to top someone else with a bigger name, but that’s not it. It’s dope lore. It’s whose cool and who isn’t. Who bangs the gong and who doesn’t. This didn’t start with Jonah Hill. I’m looking at you, Bobby Mitchum for bring the rope in from Mexico for then young Hollywood in the fifties...There’s nothing new under the sun...Except a new crop that grows with each new season. But I digress...

I don’t know about you...I like to get high with people I’ve seen on the tube or in the movies. Not only is it cool, it makes for a great story for your other stoner friends. That is to say...I used to like to do that...But now truthfully after a career of getting high with the famous and semi-famous, I’m not as keen on it as I once was. I’d rather share a doobie with an old friend than hang out with someone now because they’re famous. Living in the Bay Area, we downplay the Hollywood thing. Let our famous be. I don’t have that drive anymore. I don’t see that quest as shallow, whether I participate in it or not. I know famous people who are on the same ganja peer-to-peer quest. But now, I rather twist up the night away with Quentin than search out Harry Potter because I heard he’s cool. But everyone has stories...I’d like to hear yours...

One day on a high hill in Sausalito, after meditation, I was walking and bumped into this old guy wearing a flowing caftan. We started a conversation and he passed me a hash pipe. We smoked, talked and solved the entire world’s problems on a sunny day. I later found out it was Sterling Hayden. I don’t search them out anymore, but I don’t forget them either...

There was this place once...

There was this one day at the end of the Seventies that this skater-chick named Jill brought me to the dope store. This magical place was located somewhere between the Castro and the Mission. An older sweet gay guy, he must have been in his early thirties, sat on an over-grown high chair and we, the consumers, were allowed to pick from a variety of grasses and real hashes in a tiny glass cabinet. In those days we were starting to get our dope without seeds and the hash wasn’t made with water. I didn’t know the City that well yet and leaving the Store with grams of this and ounces of that didn’t help. That was the first time I experienced an establishment whose commerce was based solely on selling drugs, pot, and hash, in particular. I hear later this was one of Dennis’s first attempts of bringing P.O.T. to the City...Rumors...I got so high I couldn’t find my way back...

Thank God for your street dealers. As we go legal, and we are, don’t forget the guys and gals, who brought us to the dance. These unsung heroes have been holding down the ganja fort for...well...forever. We should have a National Pot Dealers Day. On N.P.D.D., we would honor the people who have risked their lives for little profit, high risks, externally and internally, and who never asked for legal fees when they get busted. Maybe around the Fifteenth of April, when we get ready for our National Holidaze on the Twentieth, we should recognize those who have made it possible for all us oldsters to score...Give them a little extra that day...A tip or a nice gift...Just an idea...   

I was leaving my store last week thinking how lucky I am to have a bad back and migraines. I sometimes get the feeling that some patients are faking it for their Medical Marijuana Card...But having a store to go to...has changed my life.

No more waiting in late night parking lots. No more hanging at a guy’s house when he’s fighting with his old lady. No more fear of being busted by an overzealous cop or a rookie trying to prove something. And the most obvious, having to be spared the shame of being arrested for weed in the Twenty-First Century...

The Dispensaries have changed everything. There’s no going back. That small little oasis a younger version of me happened upon  all those years ago while being magically guided by the young woman on a skateboard with proper chucks, will never be found, yet will never be forgotten...We have crossed a line here in the City that would be hard to go back against...L.A. of course is getting greedy. There are more dispensaries than there are Starbucks for Johnny Drama to get his hats...

Beyond being more civilized...It’s safer...It’s healthier...And there are patients who couldn’t live without the medication...It’s not a game...Is it up to us to see this through?

The Sunset grow houses are being set-up by gangs from Vancouver...Maybe that’s why they get busted???...Our National forests are embedded with Mexican gangs...

Because...Because it’s cheaper...Purple is the new Black...Growing seasons are being hurried to meet the demand...I leave most dispensaries with a half ounce of some of the best medication I’ve ever had like it’s nothing...Even the small dispensary has good bud...For the most part...I can barely remember having a dealer...God Bless Tom Ammiano and Dennis Peron...Here’s to never going backwards...


It’s a Start

Humble Beginnings...It’s starting to feel like the universe is at seventeen or eighteen after four, just a couple of minutes till the momentous twenty after four when the golden herb, our Yerba Buena, our original tag, that now could be so fitting as our new role as the American Amsterdam, sorry Oakland.

By the way, 4:20...Whatever you heard, whatever the disputes and late night arguments around the glass bong may occur, this is the real deal. Just like Burning Man, these stoney urban myths all begin from humble origins.  

In the late Seventies, Mount Tamalpais was happening. Alongside with these crazy people who were running and exercising on the mountain paths to the chagrin of passing motorists, were long-haired kids who rode street bikes down the knobby, steep terrain. These Pioneers of the Extreme rode their thin-tired Schwinns and Huffys down Tam, bouncing and falling and going head over teakettle, all culminating with a major smokeout. These wild guys did it almost every day. They’d meet at Tam at Four:Twenty. History never knows what it’s doing until later.

I used to smoke with those guys. No big thing except I can always remember them saying at the end, “Seeing you dudes tomorrow...”then the Dopateers would all chime in... “at 4:20, man.” Then they would hop on their hill-thrashed bikes and split.

We’re still in the Seventies...I moved to City right after The Band held their Last Waltz. My roommate, like many other like freaks around the City would, around the first week after New Year’s, bring dried up Christmas trees to Ocean Beach. There would be groups of people, separately, burning the ol’ Xmas tree, of course accompanied by the Yerba Buena. In a few years those beachstoners enlarged the circle, threw the collective trees in the middle, and lit up. The cool San Francisco cops looked the other way for a few years until it got too big with the amount of people and fires. Hence, backwoods Nevada for all fire and smoke watching.

I understand there’s like fifty Burning Man prototypes going on in America now. Even my Mom knows what 4:20 means. Why? Because people like to get high and have fun...

Back to Legalization... It’s all happening and here in San Francisco, we’re at Ground Zero. As Frissy goes, so will the nation. The ghosts of the Kennedy and Seagram bootleggers must be drooling in their graves. We are going from quasi-legal to getting more legal every day. These are heady times. Yesterday we had a major storm. I had Chinese food delivered and a little later, the grand champion of this year’s Cannabis Cup, Dragon’s Breath, was dropped off by my dispensary’s delivery service. These are great times. Speaking of...

Many thanks to all that made the Cannabis Cup 2009 a success. There were rivers of chocolate twisting and turning around stations of stoners and happy smiles ingesting and eliminating some of the best herb available anywhere on this green Earth. While I doff my wool cap to the producers and organizers behind the event, I’d really like to thank the special people who made that night extra cool for me. Like my dapper dreaded friend who produced a joint of the Tangerine Kush when I had asked him, “Had you see any of that T.K. that was floating around?” My D.D.F. patted ever so gently the breast pockets of his three-piece suit, then the side pockets of said suit. Then my D.D.F. checked his pants pockets with a hesitant smile, then the inner breast pockets once again before finding the mammoth doobie in those notorious deep breast pockets. Success!

There was the Edible Lady who danced around and gave us small amounts of body heat in the cool night air while she dropped brownies and truffles into our collective open mouths...There were dressed-down millionaires who’d been living in trailers in the Mendocino hills coming to the big city to show off their wares. But of all the characters I met and the good staff people I hung out with, the Big Shout Out goes to my new BFF, Josh. Josh, if you ever read this, I can never say the words Diesel or Sour without squirting THC- laden tears and thinking of your big buds, Dudesky. And I mean that in the most manly way...

Josh and I smoked and talked about where Weed was going. Josh’s main point, unless the growers are cool, conscious, and not into it for the money, Weed will always be cool. When it’s about the money... then you’re going to have problems.

This is what this column is about. Where Weed’s going... by a guy who’s been going with it since he found his walking stick at twelve. Humble beginnings, sure enough.

More later...

Jack Rikess

King of Three Leaf Journalism


Homelessness and Street People

”What about the homeless problem in the Haight?” My answer, how can there be a problem if I know the name of the homeless on my block. On my block in the Haight/Ashbury, there are about four to six people sleeping at night, on the street, on a regular basis. Around the corner from me, there’s a tent city every night that in the morning, adjourns to the Panhandle for the day, only to return every night for beddy-by, unless dispatched by 5-O.  Once every couple of weeks, I have someone sleeping in my doorway. This is living in the Haight.

To me, there are two kinds of people living on the street in my neighborhood, the people who live on the street and everyone else.

For example, Gary.

Gary’s the guy who lives in the Panhandle with his over-flowing grocery cart. He’s dressed to the elevenths, even on the hottest day of the year. For a good time, he walks away from his cart, and watches it from a statue. When other humans get close to his worldly possessions, he freaks like Rainman. By the way, his real name isn’t Gary. That’s what I call him. When I go shopping at Lucky’s or Falletti’s, I give Gary some leftovers or sometimes, a few bucks. He thanks me with a nod. One time I saw Gary at Lucky’s. I was surprise to see him...indoors, but I guess the homeless have to shop too. Well, for some reason, Gary had a meltdown in Produce.  I don’t know why he was freaking, but he was. I went over to try to talk to him. Thinking we had some connection. I might as well have been Dick Chaney at a Bush family function. I wasn’t welcome by Gary as he signaled the planes to land with stalks of rhubarb.

Charles the street painter. Charles thinks he came out sometime in the late seventies to follow the Dead. He thinks. That was a long time ago. Another lifetime for Charles. So may family members ago. I commissioned Charles one drunken night, mine, not his, outside of Murio’s, to do a painting for me. He did. I paid the downtown price for his artwork, and was happy to do it. I talk to Charles almost everyday. I know he lives in the Park at night. I think he’s happy. The other day, we were talking about his newest creation. Most of his artwork is bible-based. He does love his biblical action figures. While we were discussing the teaching of St. Augustine as Charles sketch the saintly Floridian, he eye was distracted by the city’s trashcan on the corner from where Charles lives during the day. As much as he tried to draw the saint, he kept fidgeting the garbage container. He didn’t like the way it closed. The door that opened to allow you to empty the receptacle didn’t have tight enough grip. This didn’t sit well with Charles. As fine as artist as he is, not much work got down that day due to the faulty hinge on the trash can. I had to leave Charles as he became a broken record that still spun.

Larry. We think Larry is his real name. Larry thinks Larry is his real name. That’s what we go with. There are those times when we were able to catch Larry in those small lucid moments. In those nanoseconds when he’s able to recall who he is without any of our help. He said that he’s graduated college and has been to war. If the war part is true, we could get Larry some help through the Veterans Administration. When some concern neighbors took Larry to the V.A. to see about getting him on some assistance, or at least a place to live, Larry imploded. The questions must have got to him. He went buggy and they had to leave.

And it goes on. I know many of my street neighbors. Some I know with a nod, others a hello. A guy like Gary, I’m never really sure if he knows who I am. Even when does. Then there are the kids.

The kids range from kids too young to be away from home on their own to the old geezers with their bicycles pulling trailers from here to who knows where. There are vagabonds and partying-transits that glide from town to town, spare-changing and soup-kitchening their way across this great land of ours. By the tattoos on their faces and the nasty outstretched hand position for entitlement, they sit and block Haight St.  Some of these punks yell at you when you don’t pony up the silver or green that they expect. They gather at the corner of Haight and Cole, by the clinic, and party during the day while they work the street. If I’m not anger at the kids for badgering me for the take-out I’m bringing home for the wife and kids, or hitting me up with the promise that if I give them money, they leave. I feel sorry for them. I know for every kid there is a broken home. Or maybe a home that is now broken hearted. I don’t know who’s right. I just know who is hitting me up for spare change.

By the way, having lived and worked on Haight Street for most of my life, the most sure fire response I have for the street kids when asked for spare change is...

Sorry, I am French, en francais.

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