beautiful photo of japanese macaques at what looks like a hot spring

It was hairy there for a while. I mean, really hairy.

Six interminable months of internet exile.

For those of you new to Cannabis Commerce, the old site crumbled, succumbing to a relentless succession of cyber attacks. Our once-vibrant potspot was reduced to a “Temporarily Closed for Remodeling” splash screen.

How’s that feel, then? Like being marooned for all eternity in a bleak, bottomless cannabyss, where the sun never shines and icicles pierce your soul.

What took so long for the new site to appear?

Fashioning shattered eggs into Fabergé eggs is time-consuming.

The cannabis gods tested our will to endure tsuris that would have shaken Winston “one damned thing after another” Churchill to the core.

this photo shows the teext of Winston Churchill's "We Will Never Surrender" speech

I’ll crawl for predicting it would take “a few weeks” and I’ll crow for predicting the redesigned and solid-as-a-rock Cannabis Commerce would be worth the wait. I’ll croak before I go through that again!

Somehow or other, we clawed our way back.

If we’d surrendered, life as we know it without Cannabis Commerce would be:

  • Better for patient rights groups, because one persistent voice in the wilderness wouldn’t be howling that medical marijuana is an elitist model in every way inferior to repealing prohibition.
  • Brighter for other poteconomists, because no one would be questioning whether predictions for the amount of cannatax that could be produced in a fully legal, regulated environment — by entities beholden to the DEA — are absurdly low.
  • Easier for traditional reporters, who are reluctant to forcefeed themselves enough economics to ask economists tough questions.
  • More dogmatic for pro-pot advocates who like preaching to the choir without offering opposing viewpoints.
  • Sterner for the deadly serious among us who want the facts, just the facts.
  • Sadder for folks who appreciate articles longer than two paragraphs, posts with more than one quote, and extensive cannanalysis.

By the skin of our teeth, we stayed the course.

Identifying the right web designer proved sufficiently daunting.

With the benefit of hindsight, I now see that the likelihood that any one person had mastered coding and design was minute.

But I didn’t know that then.

I tried valiantly to make the right hire. I turned to the young and the old, the male and the female, the in-the-flesh and the virtual.

Cannabis Commerce lay crumpled, in a cryonic state. Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. Still, I waited for others to program it back to life. I was down to the very last resort: rolling up my sleeves and programming it myself — a truly terrifying proposition.

All other choices exhausted, I resolved to take a crack at it.

Why didn’t I take the reins earlier?

It’s true that I’ve always had the technical ability to develop the site myself.

However, as a card-carrying compulsive, I was concerned that if I demystified the process of developing for the web entirely, then, once the site was back up-and-running, I’d be tempted to audition design and layout changes when I was supposed to be concentrating on content. That meant the hardest programming feat would be programming myself to resist writing and designing during the same session.

Amazingly, not long after I resolved to take on the project, I was rewarded with a tremendous break. WordPress sites, like this one, run on WordPress themes. Think of themes as blueprints for sites. Like blueprints, they provide a basic framework; you decide if you want marble flooring or pine planks, and how elaborately you want to dress things up. Normally, I’d prefer swallowing a mouthful of Titanus giganteus beetles to rummaging through hundreds and hundreds of themes. But I was committed. So I did.

Right before theme overload hit, I somehow stumbled on this one. Lo and behold, it was absolutely perfect for my needs, drop-dead gorgeous right out of the box, with room to grow for the future — an absolute godsend! I wouldn’t have to upgrade the look and feel, a laborious process involving endless hours of trial and error, especially if a finicky client, me, demands something out of the norm.

The opportune find checked off the boxes for just about every design consideration on my list. It eliminated the need to hire another designer or come up with a more sophisticated design than I was capable of producing. For the first time since I resolved to redesign the site, I was looking at the Cannabis Commerce I’d always wanted to see.

There was just one problem.

The theme struggled with abandonment issues; its authors hadn’t updated it in three years. The support forum was like a vacant lot, overrun with garbage, broken bottles, and weeds.

Try as I may to work around its many idiosyncrasies, resistance was too great. I needed a WordPress craftsman to recode the recalcitrant theme. My fortunes had changed. Enter George Plumley, author of WordPress 24-Hour Trainer. George turned out to be an adept coder who actually did what he said he’d do when he said he’d do it. Here was a guy who could repair fractured eggs and fashion them into Fabergé eggs.

Things finally began to mesh. I was freed to take on more of a producer’s role, visualizing how I wanted the site to look and function.

Funny how my karma changed after I decided to get my hands dirty! The two lucky breaks came in rapid succession. I didn’t have to stand on my head nearly as much as I expected to. A bleak, barren cannabyss with icicles piercing my soul warmed into a lush, tropical, paradise where, at long last, I could resume my favorite pastime: envisioning pot plantations thriving alongside sugar and pineapple estates.

an idyllic photo of a Maui pineapple plantation

Technically the site is still a work in progress, additional features and functionality will be added as we progress, tweaks must still be made — but we’re back, back, all the way back, when we could have been going, going, gone.

I’d like to thank all the friends and family members who kept my spirits up during the ordeal. I’d like to thank George for his tremendous contribution at crucial junctures of the development process. And I’d like to thank all the friends of the site I’ve never met who kept the faith when it was floundering 20,000 leagues beneath the sea.

Last but not least, I’d like to personally thank you for coming around to visit.

Winston Churchill gives an adoring crowd the "V" for victory sign

Now back to the usual mayhem and mischief …