CANNABIS CULTURE – “There are particular figures within the historical past of marijuana that loom giant—that nobody is conscious of. I wish to ensure that they aren’t 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 just isn’t practically sufficient to completely seize Cesar’s contribution to the hashish business.
Furthermore, his contribution to a neighborhood.
Clayton Patterson, Artist, Documentarian, and good friend to Cesar, informed Hashish Tradition that, “Mickey was very beneficiant. And he had all these kind of loopy concepts, like individuals may 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 fashionable hashish supply service within the metropolis’s Decrease East Aspect at a time when individuals who loved some inexperienced each on occasion had been as at odds with the police as individuals who pushed heroin.
Based on Patterson, “Even in these f—in’ days, Mickey [Cesar] bought to everyone. The mayor won’t be talkin’, however he most likely 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 a number of the metropolis’s castaways good, strong employment—with well being and dental insurance coverage.
A Dwelling Sacrament?
Based on Finest-Promoting Writer, 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 residing signal. He lived his beliefs.”
Sager embedded himself into drug cultures all around the US, together with the Decrease East Aspect of New York, to jot 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 stated these items that no one actually accepted, nevertheless it was the phrase of legislation.”
Alternatively, Patterson described Cesar as somebody who was simply having a whole lot of enjoyable. “Mickey talked faith and pot. However he was kinda filled with shit. He simply preferred pot,” he stated.
Doing the Work
Cesar was dedicated to serving to the world by 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 flats and cellphone facilities rent-free after they had been struggling.
In a 1990 Howard Stern episode transcript revealed by High Times earlier this yr, Cesar stated “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 goddamn what occurs to its residents?”
He finally began a church, referred to as it The Church of the Realized Fantasy, and appointed himself the Pope.
Whereas this will likely look like an apparent seize for consideration, Ponce de Leon Dios famous that “Loads of fashionable celebrities flaunt their use of hashish, having fun with plenty 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 really believed within the energy of hashish.”
The Darker Aspect
If you love everybody, accepting the ne’er do wells of the world with out query, you generally entice the incorrect sort of consideration.
Particularly in case you’re going to have a church. With medication. Within the Nineteen 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 few dozen satan worshippers” had been accountable for the homicide of Beele and serveral others, in accordance with a 1992 story within the Baltimore Sun.
Patterson dismissed the notion, saying, “Mickey’s factor was so clear in a means that it wasn’t complicated. 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 Aspect.
Patterson stated, “There was a avenue gang on his block referred to as the Hitmen. They needed him to pay safety cash and he refused. In order 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 possibly particularly) whereas handcuffed and being escorted by the police—he was “Jewish, Homosexual, and actually and Anarchist kind,” in accordance with Patterson.
Seger famous that Cesar was the sort of one who would say to the police as they had been arresting him, “Effectively in case you’re not gonna use my pot I’d prefer to have it again.”
A good friend, 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 most likely the one supplier I do know to complain that he had extra pot than what the cops stated he had,” Penley added.
Nevertheless bombastic Cesar was, he cared deeply for his neighborhood. Ponce de Leon Dios stated, “He gave individuals a spot to exist.”
Mickey Cesar died of liver most cancers in 1995.
Photographs courtesy Clayton Patterson