His real name is Mitchell Thompson, but I know him as Mitcho. He’s a gentle soul who played a big role in creating Sebastopol’s first dispensary, Peace in Medicine. This spring, he’ll be an even bigger presence in the industry when he launches his new company, Phytomagic (www.phytomagic.com), which will make organic tinctures and salves in small batches using the best buds, along with other healing herbs and flowers.
Sarah Schrader, the co-chair of the local chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), says, “Mitcho is the Martha Stewart of our industry and one of the most knowledgeable people about the synergy of herbs.”
Mitcho calls his concoctions “cannacentric.” Indeed, weed is at the center of his world.
“Phyto is Latin and means plant,” he says. “We don’t know exactly how THC and CBD work in the human body, but they do. That’s the magic of the marijuana plant.”
In San Francisco, Mitcho used weed therapeutically to rescue homeless kids. One of those kids, Robert Jacob, later founded Peace in Medicine and was the first person from the medical marijuana industry to become the mayor of an American city. Mitcho worked one-on-one with Peace in Medicine patients to help them figure out remedies that worked best. “It wasn’t necessarily cannabis,” he says. “We were trying to help, not make a ton of money.”
This afternoon, on the plaza in Sebastopol, Mitcho remembers his boyhood in Burbank, where he was born and raised and embarked upon his career as a Disney extra. He might have gone on to become a movie star, but other magical kingdoms beckoned. He smoked his first joint at 13, studied the herb and realized that the feds were lying about it. “I remember telling my dad that on the subject of marijuana the government lost its credibility,” he says.
From the time he was a teenager, and all through the decade of Reagan’s Drug War, he believed weed had the potential to bring peace. He still does. His hope for 2020 is that the U.S will decriminalize and legalize weed on the federal level.
“It’s time to stop arresting and jailing people for possession of marijuana, and also time that we’re allowed to put our money in banks,” he says.
In the decade ahead he wants more events where weedsters can use the herb legally in public.
“When tourists arrive in Sonoma from states where it’s still illegal, they can’t believe the availability here,” he says. “When you travel to those places you’re made to feel like weed is something dirty. Thankfully, that’s not us.”
Jonah Raskin is the author of ‘Dark Day, Dark Night: A Marijuana Murder Mystery.’