CANNABIS CULTURE – “There are specific figures within the historical past of marijuana that loom massive—that nobody is conscious of. I need to ensure that they don’t seem to be forgotten,” says Nico Ponce de Leon Dios, Co-Founding father of Foxy and Govt Producer of the quick movie, The Pope Of Dope: The Story of NYC’s First Delivery Service.
However the homage was maybe too quick. The movie’s size of six minutes and thirty-four seconds shouldn’t be practically sufficient to totally seize Cesar’s contribution to the hashish business.
Furthermore, his contribution to a neighborhood.
Clayton Patterson, Artist, Documentarian, and buddy to Cesar, informed Hashish Tradition that, “Mickey was very beneficiant. And he had all these form of loopy concepts, like individuals might have healthcare and stuff.”
He added that Cesar “made some huge cash on pot. And he spent some huge cash on individuals.”
The First Hashish Couriers of NYC
Cesar ran his common hashish supply service within the metropolis’s Decrease East Facet at a time when individuals who loved some inexperienced each every now and then have been as at odds with the police as individuals who pushed heroin.
In keeping with Patterson, “Even in these f—in’ days, Mickey [Cesar] offered to everyone. The mayor may not be talkin’, however he in all probability is perhaps smokin’.”
By the point Cesar was promoting his on-call service on the Howard Stern Show, everybody in New York Metropolis knew they may dial 1-800-WANT-POT, to summon a motorbike courier with an envelope filled with hashish.
Not solely did Cesar present the residents of NYC entry to a handy and reliable supply service, however he additionally gave among the metropolis’s castaways good, strong employment—with well being and dental insurance coverage.
A Residing Sacrament?
In keeping with Finest-Promoting Creator, Award-Successful Journalist, and Founding father of The Sager Group, Mike Sager, Cesar’s stage of dedication to his trigger was unparalleled. “He made his physique a dwelling signal. He lived his beliefs.”
Sager embedded himself into drug cultures everywhere in the US, together with the Decrease East Facet of New York, to write down the collected works in Stoned Again. He spent a substantial amount of time with Cesar and his group, and he spoke of that point with intense fondness:
“Mickey had a humorousness. However he additionally had an method of othodox that solely he and his small band of freaks and weirdos adhered to.” He added, “He was so loveable and so perverse. He mentioned these items that no person actually accepted, but it surely was the phrase of regulation.”
Alternatively, Patterson described Cesar as somebody who was simply having lots of enjoyable. “Mickey talked faith and pot. However he was kinda filled with shit. He simply appreciated pot,” he mentioned.
Doing the Work
Cesar was dedicated to serving to the world by means of hashish, with an absolute sense of conviction.
All through the AIDS crisis, he gave the individuals in his neighborhood assist and free hashish; and he let individuals keep in his residences and cellphone facilities rent-free once they have been struggling.
In a 1990 Howard Stern episode transcript printed by High Times earlier this 12 months, Cesar mentioned “There are individuals on the market struggling, people who find themselves dying who want grass.” He begged the query, “What sort of authorities is that this who doesn’t give an excellent goddamn what occurs to its residents?”
He ultimately began a church, referred to as it The Church of the Realized Fantasy, and appointed himself the Pope.
Whereas this will seem to be an apparent seize for consideration, Ponce de Leon Dios famous that “Loads of fashionable celebrities flaunt their use of hashish, having fun with a lot of consideration for it; however they aren’t ideologues the best way Cesar was.”
He identified that, “One of many causes Mickey was on the market and in your face, is that he actually believed within the energy of hashish.”
The Darker Facet
Once you love everybody, accepting the ne’er do wells of the world with out query, you typically appeal to the improper sort of consideration.
Particularly should you’re going to have a church. With medicine. Within the Eighties.
Daniel Rakowitz, a person accused of brutally murdering ballerina Monika Beerle and feeding her to native homeless individuals, was related to The Church of the Realized Fantasies.
As a result of there was a fascination with—and panic over—“Satanic” cults on the time, the church was on the coronary heart of an investigation. Police suspected “a couple of dozen satan worshippers” have been accountable for the homicide of Beele and serveral others, based on a 1992 story within the Baltimore Sun.
Patterson dismissed the notion, saying, “Mickey’s factor was so clear in a method that it wasn’t advanced. And it was apparent that that wasn’t his factor.”
Along with a number of cannabis-related arrests and a conviction that had him spending lots of his previous few years in jail, his enterprise suffered the ills of any enterprise in a neighborhood just like the Decrease East Facet.
Patterson mentioned, “There was a road gang on his block referred to as the Hitmen. They wished him to pay safety cash and he refused. So that they shot him six instances.”
That didn’t cease Cesar. A number of accounts claimed he was so massive that you simply couldn’t even inform he had been shot till you noticed the injuries oozing.
The Legend Remembered
Mickey Cesar (aka The Pope of Dope) was memorable to everybody who met him, with “joyful” being one of many phrases most used to explain him.
A towering determine who’s proven grinning all through The Pope of Dope—even (or perhaps particularly) whereas handcuffed and being escorted by the police—he was “Jewish, Homosexual, and actually and Anarchist sort,” based on Patterson.
Seger famous that Cesar was the sort of one who would say to the police as they have been arresting him, “Properly should you’re not gonna use my pot I’d prefer to have it again.”
A buddy, John Penley, was quoted in High Times as saying, “It doesn’t matter what they did to him, he wouldn’t shut his mouth.” Which is probably going what led to his enterprise’ downfall.
“He was in all probability the one vendor I do know to complain that he had extra pot than what the cops mentioned he had,” Penley added.
Nevertheless bombastic Cesar was, he cared deeply for his neighborhood. Ponce de Leon Dios mentioned, “He gave individuals a spot to exist.”
Mickey Cesar died of liver most cancers in 1995.
Photographs courtesy Clayton Patterson