Long before publishing Northwest Leaf, the first Leaf magazine we launched in Washington state, my passion for Cannabis was brightly evident. Of course, the introduction to getting baked in high school is a memorable cornerstone of anyone’s life, but when a college journalism professor asks, “Do you always do your homework when you’re stoned, Wes?” – you know you’re in deep. When my true love for the plant really sunk in, however, was upon hearing the district judge call my name for the charge of marijuana possession, to which my mother seated next to me responded, “Is this how you want to live your life?” In my heart the answer was an undeniable ‘yes,’ but with a deeper respect for the legal history that preceded me, and the Golden State pioneers who paved the way.
I wanted to be able to use Cannabis responsibly without repercussion. I wanted to be able to grow and share a plant that has brought value to people’s lives for thousands of years.
I wanted to see the war on drugs ended and peaceful people freed from private prisons. I wanted to see children returned from CPS and I wanted to live in a world where an organ transplant list doesn’t preclude medical Cannabis use.
Youth and passion often share the same lane, and this combination is what led me to become part of the lobby that urges positive change.
So, in June of 2010 the first issue went to print at a time when Cannabis use was highly illegal and medical was a burgeoning fringe movement on the West Coast. And with the hint of a legal world brewing, an optimism spurned with the notion that by serving the community as a positive voice, we could be an influence on many levels and reshape the narrative that had been so misconstrued.
A decade later, the Leaf is currently publishing in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Maryland, and now very proudly, California – with other amazing markets on the near horizon.
We have honored the original model of providing truthful journalism while still offering an entertaining lean. We never sell our content or compromise our values in the fight for freedom. Today it feels as though we have come a long way, but that our journey as a publication and as a global community of Cannabis consumers is still in its genesis. Many of our obstacles remain for us to overcome – wrongs to be righted and prisoners yet to be freed.
With that purpose ensconced into my fiber, I am determined to continue the mission of the Leaf and forge through another decade, continuing to document, support and share the stories of our growing Cannabis communities worldwide. Thank you for reading and sharing, and for your love for a plant that has changed so many lives for the better. To offer this publication in the great state of California is a dream come true and I feel deeply blessed that you will be taking this journey with me.
STORY by WES ABNEY @BEARDEDLORAX | designs by DANIEL BERMAN @BERMANPHOTOS