Mirage Medicinal is a family business ideated and birthed in Northern California by Malcolm Joshua Weitz and his father, Jerome Weitz, during the heated era of marijuana prohibition of 2012.
A self-confessed latchkey kid, Malcolm grew up as a teen in the ‘90s, doing graffiti in the streets of San Francisco’s Mission District. It was around this time that he recalls watching family and friends suffering from serious medical conditions alleviating pain with cannabis.
Seeing people close to him use cannabis responsibly made him realize that weed was much more than just a vice, contrary to the manner in which media portrayed it at the time. Malcolm’s father, Jerome, a child of the ‘60s, likewise emphasized there was no good reason cannabis should be prohibited.
In 2013, on one of Malcolm’s monthly drives from San Francisco to New York City, he saw a vision in the distance, a mirage in his mind’s eye: Prohibition wouldn’t last forever and California would be legalized soon enough. With over a hundred pounds of Northern California cannabis as cargo, Malcolm spent the rest of the drive laying out plans to start his own legal cannabis dispensary in San Francisco. He shared his epiphany with his father, and with Jerome’s support, established Mirage Medicinal as a registered California cannabis co-operative, started his website, and worked on plans to officially launch in 2015.
Malcolm worked painstaking hours to raise capital and execute his vision, but the dream went up in smoke the day he was arrested in Texas with over 120 pounds of top shelf Cali weed. After making bail, he flew to New York City, hustling tirelessly to recoup his losses by doubling down. In late 2014, Malcolm was arrested again and sentenced to a year in New York City’s notorious Rikers Island Prison for felony transportation of marijuana with intent to sell.
Everything came to a halt for Malcolm as he served time at Rikers Island. It was at this juncture that Mirage became a true family business, as Jerome picked up where Malcolm left off. Jerome was even better at growing the business than his son, but was arrested while doing so in New York City. With Jerome now convicted of conspiracy to distribute cannabis, Malcolm’s sister Nina stepped in to maintain momentum for Mirage while her brother and father were incarcerated.
When Malcolm was released in 2016, he joined Nina in advocating for the San Francisco Cannabis Equity Program. The program was to ensure people of color and cannabis criminals would not be shut out of the opportunity of the emerging legalization movement in California, as they had been in other legal cannabis states. They were successful in their grass roots lobbying effort, playing a major role in crafting the language of what would become the San Francisco Social Equity Program, and Malcolm became one of the earliest applicants to qualify for approval by San Francisco’s Cannabis Equity Program. Tragically, before the SF Equity Program was approved, and shortly after he was released from jail, Jerome unexpectedly passed away.
The sacrifice that has led up to his point—Malcom’s journey from cannabis dealer, to felon, to political activist, to a legal cannabis entrepreneur—is Mirage Medicinal’s driving force. Serving as an inspiration to everyone coming from the black market to legalization, Malcolm and Mirage Medicinal enter this era with the approach that we should all reach for our dreams no matter how impossible they seem.
Malcom Joshua Weitz
CEO & Co-founder