When I went to go interview Ian Smith the other day I had no idea of what I was really in for, but I went in with an open mind and open heart to see what I’d find. My first memories of seeing Ian, were when the lockdowns began, and he became an overnight hero of the far right for refusing to close his business, Atillis Gym, to what he felt were unwarranted shut down orders. I was sitting in my business in Philadelphia, which was Pennsylvania’s first legal cannabis lounge, a place where medical marijuana patients could legally smoke and vaporize their herbs and waxes, as well as get certified to become a medical cannabis patient.
Opening a cannabis lounge in Philadelphia was something I had dreamed about for years, and even though it was finally here, so was Covid-19, and with that, came the shut down orders. I tried to stay for almost a year, awaiting the all clear, but it seemed like it would never come, and I ended up closing down in mid 2021.
As a person who fancies himself as a critical thinker, I just couldn’t help wonder why Costco and Walmart were allowed to stay open, yet I was not.
That’s why I think Ian Smith caught the attention of so many people when he and his partner decided to stand up to Phil Murphy and refuse to shut down, including myself, but the way he was being portrayed on the media was being played by the bias of both parties. He was lovable to the far right, and hatable to the far left, but since the media wouldn’t provide me with an unbiased picture of the man on either side, I was forced to seek out an interview to find out his history, his thoughts on policy, and who just who he is as a person.
To be quite honest, his answers and willingness to respond openly, was not what I had expected, but that’s exactly what I got.
Below is a 15 minute segment of an interview I did with Ian, where Ian tells us about the five and a half years he spent in prison, it is part 3 of a six part video series entitled, “Who is Ian Smith”.