Adam Ill on Podcasting, Cannabis and Getting High

Photography by Dylan Bartolini-Volk.

Typically, figures like Cheech and Chong may come to mind when discussing the topic of cannabis. While these guys are legends, in 2018, we need new voices alongside the classic ones to fight the good fight. Adam Ill fits the profile, and he’s here to spread the good word. CULTURE caught up with him to talk about cannabis consumption, his work in the spotlight and how the cannabis industry can keep moving forward.

How did you get started as a cannabis advocate and podcaster?

I’ve wanted to work in entertainment for as long as I can remember and have loved cannabis ever since I first tried it when I was about 13. So I’ve been passionate about those two things, entertainment and cannabis, for the majority of my life. But I think the way I got my official start in the cannabis industry and as a podcaster was very lucky in a “right place, right time” kind of way. I’d been working at CBS Radio for about a decade when the station changed formats, right after I’d been promoted to on-air talent. At that time, a friend from the station decided to create his own podcast network, asked if I’d be interested in doing a show, and since that’s what I’d hoped to be doing at the radio station before it was cancelled, it sounded like a great idea. So in 2009 I began my first show, The PotCast (originally called The Adamacadocious Show)… and I haven’t looked back since.

Do you have anything exciting in the works that you want to announce?

I don’t want to be too specific, because I haven’t announced anything quite yet. But I’m working on new products that I’ve played more of a role in developing or designing than in the past. I really want to see the cannabis industry become accepted and mainstream… but in a way that allows us to retain the integrity we’ve had as a grassroots community or counterculture movement. One specific thing I’m excited about is the opening of a new Los Angeles Kush location, because it means that the products I really enjoy will be available to more people.

How would you describe the work you do? What is your focus?

I’d describe what I do as entertainment. It always makes me laugh when I hear more derogatory terms to describe what I do, like “weed mascot” and stuff like that. The truth is, I have a background in talk radio and I “trained” in that field for nearly 10 years; there’s more to what I do than yelling “WHAAAAAT” into a mic or using social media popularity as a platform for advertising. Becoming a “spokesperson” for different cannabis brands was a natural progression from where I started and I got very lucky with that, but it was never an end goal. My focus has always been on entertaining and, at events, making sure everyone is having a good time. But if I can use my platform to educate people about cannabis at the same time, so much the better.

How do you feel about the world of podcasting and entertainment, and how it has embraced cannabis so far?

I think podcasting has been huge as far as allowing people to embrace cannabis. It’s a much less restricted platform than mainstream media, and I think that’s what really allowed me to get started. But more importantly, I think that freedom is what gave me the ability to define my own role in the cannabis industry as a host and entertainer.

How do you feel about cannabis legalization so far? What could be done better, or differently?

It’s hard to say that I feel negatively about anything that moves us in the right direction… but that’s the thing. We’re making a lot of progress, but I don’t really feel that it has been fully legalized quite yet. Sure, there are states that are legal, and of course the laws vary by state; that’s normal. But so long as federal law says otherwise, I don’t think we can consider cannabis fully legal. As far as what could be done differently or better, I think it’s pretty simple: stop taking people to jail for weed, release anyone who currently is in jail, and (unless it’s related to a violent crime), wipe anything cannabis-related from their records. I also think there’s a massive need for more regulation and control in testing facilities. As of right now, you can take the same sample to two different labs at any given time, and when you get the results, there’s a pretty wide margin of difference. There are also quite a few within the industry who openly admit to paying for the results they want, whether to make their own product look better, or to damage the reputation of a rival. With situations like that, how can anybody know when they’re getting accurate information?

How has cannabis affected your life and/or creative process?

Cannabis pretty much is my life. Actually, that sounds pretty strange, but it’s true; I can’t think of anything significant in my life that isn’t related to or influenced by cannabis. I’ve enjoyed cannabis recreationally and continuously for the majority of my life; it’s the main reason I was able to combine two things I love and define my own “career.” The people I meet through working in the industry have also become the friends I hang out with in my free time… and while it may not be how or why, cannabis also played a pretty big role in how my fiancé and I got together. She actually has a lot more to do with the creative process than I do, because she does the majority of the writing for my show. The people I work with in that capacity, like the photographers, videographers, etc., deserve a lot of the credit for creativity. I keep saying it, but I really have been lucky in many ways, and that includes the very talented, fun group of people I’ve come to work with.

How do you advocate for cannabis?

I don’t consider myself an advocate, at least, not in the way it’s generally interpreted within the cannabis community or industry. And it’s kind of what I was just struggling to describe. What I “do” is pretty much just who I am and how I enjoy living. It’s a lifestyle. I just try to be genuine and open about the fact that I live a very cannabis-focused lifestyle; I’m not ashamed of it and I don’t think anyone else should feel that way, either. So the best way to describe my “advocacy” is that I’m trying to normalize it and hopefully help shift the negative stigma it has carried for so long.

What is your favorite strain or cannabis product?

Ill OG by Los Angeles Kush, of course! But there are so many great flavors that I don’t really have an ultimate “favorite.” It really depends on the day, time, and what I’m in the mood for.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just a shoutout to all the growers. I don’t care if you have one plant or 1,000. Without them, none of us would be here or getting to enjoy cannabis the way we do—especially the way they’ve evolved and developed techniques to give us a better-quality product than ever before. And, as always… get higher!

Photography by Dylan Bartolini-Volk.

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