Rob Ruckus, of A&E reality show, Bad Ink fame, has parlayed the notoriety he gained on the small screen, to star in the ultimate reality show—a life of spreading awareness of the benefits of cannabis. Whereas Bad Ink’s premise was to cover regrettable tattoos with beautiful, meaningful artwork, Ruckus’ new calling aims to replace deadly, addictive pharmaceutical drugs with healing cannabis oil. With a deep, rumbling voice, inked exterior and punk rock personality, Ruckus isn’t the stereotypical cannabis advocate, which may be exactly what the movement needs. That low register laugh quickly changes to an introspective, sensitive tone as the subject shifts from music, his passion, to cannabis, his life’s calling.
Did A&E know you were a cannabis advocate? Were you able to medicate while filming?
I medicated daily, but I was under a morality contract with A&E, so I wasn’t allowed to advocate in any way, shape or form. But, I’ve always stood up for what is right. While I was doing the show, I was still making Rick Simpson Oil. I started doing it because I lost a couple of very close friends to stage 4 lymphoma. I come from the punk rock world; they don’t call me Ruckus for nothing. A friend’s daughter was born with bladder cancer. Her mother chose cannabis oil. She’s nine years old now, and cancer-free. She never had chemo or radiation, just the oil and a good healthy diet. Seeing an entire family change because of something you gave to one child, is the most rewarding thing I have ever had in my entire life. That’s when I decided that this is my life’s calling.
How has your notoriety from Bad Ink helped you to spread the word about the benefits of cannabis? Would you consider doing another reality style show?
With the show, I got to go into the homes of 12 million people. Being on TV, people trust you. When my contract ended, that’s when I started posting about cannabis again, and going to every medical event I could. I’d love to do a show explaining cannabis to people. Seeing the changes in people’s lives makes me know that this is what I’m supposed to be doing.
Why do you personally use cannabis as medicine?
I used to jump off stages. I worked construction; I was run over by a limo . . . my body has been through a lot. I was addicted to painkillers. For going-on seven years, I’ve done nothing but cannabis oil. I haven’t touched so as much as an aspirin. I wake up hurting a bit, but a couple squirts of cannabis oil, and I’m good to go!
On a much more trivial note, you must have seen a lot of awful tattoos while filming Bad Ink. What was the worst?
The ones that didn’t make it onto the show. The prison tattoos, the gang tattoos on people whose lives have completely changed. The guy who had a huge swastika on his back, and now has two beautiful little black daughters.
Are you content with how the Las Vegas medical cannabis scene is going? Is there anything you’d like to change?
It’s just getting started, it’s nowhere near where it needs to be. Not one dispensary in the state has Rick Simpson Oil, which is the most helpful use of the plant for some patients. A lot of people do care, but a lot of people don’t. If they did, RSO would be in the dispensaries.
You also host a radio show—what should listeners expect when they tune into Ruckus on the Radio?
I’m a vinyl addict, a record junkie. I play everything from ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll, to punk rock, jazz, country, bluegrass . . . I love finding forgotten records. I love music so much; I don’t want it to die.
Any last words for CULTURE readers?
Keep up the good fight. We’re nowhere close to being done.