Good afternoon John,
I am the Director of Operations at Kanna-Wise, an OLCC Licensed, Tier 2 Indoor, Recreational Cannabis Producer in Southern Oregon. I am the “Man Behind the Curtain”, so to speak. We grow using the methodology I have developed over the last 20 years. I am responsible for managing the team that grows and manicures our cannabis.
My story is rather unique, I believe.
My earliest memory is of my mother and I having dinner. I remember her backhanding me so hard that I toppled over, chair and all. My crime? I smacked my lips. I was only 3 or 4 years old.
One winter my sister and I were outside with our father. We were helping him shovel snow. I remember asking multiple times if I could go inside and warm up. For some reason, he didn’t believe me when I told him I was numb. I disobeyed him and went inside. He followed me in and beat me to the ground with his fists. I ended up screaming for my mother, of all people. She came in and pulled him off. I was about 8 years old.
That abuse and worse continued until I fled home into a snowy February night on a 10 speed. I never went back.
Where did the abuse begin? As far as I can tell, from my grandfathers who served in Korea and Vietnam, respectively. They came home and took it out on their families. My parents were perfectly co-dependent. “Thank you for your service” means something entirely different to the children in my family.
Fast forward a few years. I met a beautiful young woman at Ohio State and somehow, I convinced her to marry me, despite my borderline Asperger’s like personality. I promptly drop out of college and take a job as a personal banker, a good gig with good benefits and a nice desk.
One day, a customer lost his atm card in the machine, because he punched in his number wrong 3x. Instead of being humble and asking for help, he came in and kicked the front desk scaring the secretary half to death. When I asked him how I could help him, he gestured threateningly at me. I asked if he would like to step outside and he calmed down. I set him up with a temporary card and sent him on his way. Later, he complained to my supervisor and I was terminated for the incident.
For the previous 2 months, I had been paying my best friend Jay’s rent. He was out of work with a wife and a child. Megan and I had no children, so we helped them because we could. After losing my job, we were all desperate. We were discussing all the possible ways we could make money and the subject of robbing a bank came up, jokingly, at first. I knew that the bank I worked at had a broken atm machine and that I could snag $30,000 without hurting anyone, without getting caught.
While we were discussing the potential burglary, an idea popped into my head. “Why don’t we just grow cannabis?”. Remember how I said I was borderline autistic from my childhood? I never used cannabis and didn’t know anything about cannabis, but the idea wouldn’t let go. “Why don’t we just grow grass?” it kept saying, in my voice, over and over, louder and louder until I had no choice but to speak it into existence. “Why don’t we just grow cannabis. I have $2000 available on a credit card we could use to buy equipment and seeds online. I have a basement, and no one would ever have to know.”
Just like that, a fully formed business plan. I just spit it out. I’ve spent years trying to figure out where the idea came from, how it found its way into my mind. I didn’t smoke, I didn’t drink, I didn’t use drugs. I was a perfect square. The only thing I knew about cannabis is that when my dad smoked, he was a nice guy.
Jay looked at me like I was crazy for a solid minute. I asked him “What!?” To which he replied, “I know a guy who buys weed by the duffle bag full.”
As it turns out, Jay’s older brother Tim was a real gangster who smuggled hash out of Morocco and learned to grow in rockwool in Holland. Tim became my first mentor.
We didn’t rob the bank, although someone else did later and they got away with it. I wasn’t meant to have that easy money, I am on a mission from God.
Fast forward 8 years. I have a million-dollar empire going, a few properties producing bulk weight, my whole family works for me. Then my sister and brother-in-law split up. He blamed me, and called the police on us.
After a long fight, my wife and I served a year in prison. Our son was 2 months old when we went in. She couldn’t take him with her. We thought she was sterile due to a pre-existing medical condition so the pregnancy was a miracle to begin with. She got to visit with him once or twice a week. I didn’t see him again until he was 6 months old. He didn’t recognize me, that was hard.
When we got out, I went right back to growing. But this time, my family didn’t work for me and I had to start smoking the product. That’s right, I went over a decade as a grower without using cannabis.
Then one night, I ate a hash brownie. I had gotten into a fight with my wife because I spanked my son. He was just being 3 and I was too rough. She rightfully booted me out of the house. I went to the grow house and ate a fresh hash brownie and smoked until I couldn’t hold my head up. I still remember chewing on a piece of hash.
Over the next 8 hours I got so high. I got so very, uncomfortably, psychedelically high. That brownie brought the Ghosts of Christmas knocking on my door and they beat my ass for about 8 hours.
I was let in on the fact that I was the asshole in the room. I was shown how I had grown up to become my parents. I was an abusive husband, an abusive father and if I didn’t right my sails immediately, I was going to die a lonely old man. I had become everything that I hated.
And so began my quest for wholeness. I was 36 years old. I had grown cannabis for 11 years.
There is nothing like waking up. It happens in fits and spurts. Cannabis was key for me. The first thing that I realized was that D.A.R.E. was a lie. Nature is a gift, and she is here to guide us back to wholeness.
The first thing I did was look to self help books. I tried to find help in classics like Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and Dr Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking”, but it was when I found Dr. Daniel Amen and his book “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life” that I really began to understand what was wrong with me.
I checked into the Amen Clinic and had a brain scan. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The psychiatrist compared my brain to that of a Vietnam Veteran. I told her neither of us got to choose our battles. But now, I had a name for the demon. The exorcism took a few more years with cannabis and psilocybin. I am not 100% sure that I have “integrated the Shadow” (if that can indeed be done) completely. I have been tested and I am doing better, but I still make mistakes.
I started reading in prison and I haven’t stopped. I read between 4-6 non-fiction books per week, trying to figure out how I went to prison for growing a plant in a country that has “In God We Trust” written right on the green money. Everything from Plato to Jung. The world has lied to us for a very long time.
This is just the tip of the iceberg that is my life. Ask me anything.
– Bill Cook
Respectfully submitted by Bill Cook
If you’d like to share your Stories of Hope…we would be honored. You can submit to Hope@UnitedPatientsGroup.com