Mike Adams never planned on spending the last nine years or so writing about cannabis. It happened by accident. He’d been plying his trade as a freelance writer, publishing pieces in local publications where he lived in southern Indiana. That led to a gig as one of the head writers for a national media group, with his work syndicated to hundreds of publications worldwide. But virtually none of those stories were about weed. That was soon to change, however.
“I started doing some work for Playboy which resulted in an interview with Tommy Chong. You might think that all we talked about was weed. But we actually didn’t discuss it much at all. We mostly conversed about his time in prison and whether he had any good sex stories from his early days on the road with Cheech,” Adams remembered in a virtual interview with High Times.
“I think the only part of the conversation that was weed-related was when he told me that none of the kids in “That 70s Show” smoked pot in real life, and that he doesn’t think he would have been as successful without “handlers” since he was always so stoned,” he continued. “By the time we wrapped up, I had a story to tell. Only my editor at Playboy dropped the ball on it due to family issues, so she eventually gave me permission to shop it elsewhere. I immediately thought of High Times.”
Writer’s Career Takes A New Direction
That launched Adams’ career as a cannabis writer. Soon, just about every marijuana-themed publication was hitting him up for his work. But he found that a lot of them only wanted a rosy picture painted of the cannabis industry and community at large, and were exclusively looking for articles that could say no wrong about the mystical plant and the people who surround themselves with it. So when Forbes came calling with an opportunity to write about cannabis with more creative control, he took them up on their offer.
But he soon found out that he didn’t really have the autonomy he thought he did. When he wrote a piece suggesting cannabis reform advocates would make progress more quickly if they invaded the halls of Congress and spanked their representatives with wet rubber hoses, an editor contacted him and told him the article had to be edited. Another essay that lumped together Trump supporters, the uneducated masses, and gas station CBD buyers as basically one and the same also saw the wrath of Forbes’ editors.
He’d been given three strikes to continue working as a writer without ruffling too many feathers, and he eventually went down swinging. The final strike was a story about a portion of a scientific study that showed a slight uptick in STD cases in jurisdictions with legal cannabis. Written in a tone that was sure to give cannabis purists a coronary, Adams was soon notified that his contributor’s agreement with Forbes had been rescinded.
A Book Is Born
Since his editors had made it clear that they weren’t happy with his output, Adams decided to put together a compilation of some of his best work for the publication so it wouldn’t disappear from the annals of the internet. The result is Marijuana Misfit: Two Years of Terror, a paperback just released last month.
“Part of what made me write Marijuana Misfit was to make damn sure that there was documented evidence of my two years of terror at Forbes and ensure that my unconventional approach to this thing called cannabis journalism was never forgotten,” said Adams. “Because I think a lot of what I wrote for Forbes is worth a second look. It’s experimental, shit-stirring, and ultimately honest. I never coddled the audience – there were plenty of others that were doing that. And as a result, I got into trouble all the time.”
The book contains close to three dozen entries from his time as a columnist for Forbes. In addition to both the edited and uncensored versions of the articles mentioned earlier, Marijuana Misfit contains a decidedly original take on CBD suppositories, the illicit marijuana market, and the eccentricities of the cannabis culture. Adams’ writing is humorously barbed, brutally honest, and designed to get under the skin of the feeble, with generous doses of machismo and heavy metal thrown in for good measure.
Not long after his departure from Forbes, the coronavirus outbreak led to many publications, cannabis and otherwise, to scale back or eliminate their budgets for freelancers, and some have shut down completely. But he’s still finding places to scrawl his musings, pandemic or not.
“I’m just going to keep writing—articles, books, and on bathroom walls. It doesn’t really matter to me. I also have a novel of fiction that I’d like to publish before I drop dead. I guess I’ll have plenty of time to chip away at my various projects,” Adams said. “I got into a little trouble with the law over the summer—just a slight misunderstanding—so I’m on probation for the next year. And yes, I’m fully prepared to be dragged in for a piss test once my probation officer catches wind of this interview. How do I know he will? Because I’m going to send it to him. If there is one piece of advice I have for the younger generations, it’s to never stop pushing buttons.”