Obituary: David Adam Kasakove

Passionate, well-known advocate for medical, practical cannabis use, social justice warrior

David Adam Kasakove died peacefully in his sleep on September 24 at his home in Portland, Oregon. He was 58 years old.

He is survived by his brother Evan Dann McKillakove.

David was born in Queens, New York on September 28, 1963, the first son of Carolyn Pearl and Arthur Richard Kasakove.

In the late 1960s he traveled across the United States with his parents and brother for a year and-a-half, attending festivals, peace rallies, and being immersed in the counterculture of that time. “These early experiences helped make him the caring warrior for social justice that characterized him for the rest of his life,” his family shared.

After living in Massachusetts and Baltimore, in 1974 the family moved to Claremont, where he attended Sycamore Elementary School, El Roble Intermediate School, and Claremont High School, and made many lifelong friends.

From 1982 to 1995 he again traveled the country attending festivals and building an extended family of hundreds. He could often be seen at Grateful Dead shows, “dancing to the love of the universe and embodying the positive and caring nature things,” his family added. “If someone fell, he was the first one there to help them up. If he saw someone being overcharged for a ticket, he would give them his and listen to the show from outside, just so a stranger would have a positive experience. He was a protector and would put himself in front of an aggressor to deescalate and steer things back to a positive space.”

In 1987 he helped deliver and raise Cassidy Adam Franklin. Though not related by blood, he treated and loved Cassidy like a son to the end.

Starting in 1995 he became a strong advocate for the medical and practical use of cannabis. To showcase what a diverse useful and environmentally friendly fiber hemp is, he opened Everything’s Hemp in Chico, California, a store that sold clothing and goods made from hemp. With the passing of laws allowing the medical use of cannabis in California, people in the community encouraged him to help make it available to patients.

In 1996 he opened Chico Medical Marijuana Co-op, one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries in California. For the next 20 years — despite numerous challenges and hardships — he fought for proper treatment of medical marijuana patients. He took part in court battles that often set legal precedents, gave speeches, took part in debates, was interviewed by newspapers, and appeared on television. He acted as a consultant for patients, dispensaries, city, county, and state governments, and law enforcement.

He worked on the board of California Harm Reduction Cooperative and was a member of NORMAL, Americans for Safe Access, Medical Cannabis Safety Council, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the Chico, California branch of Caring Vets, and MENSA.

In later years he continued to advocate and give occasional interviews related to cannabis activism. He spent the last several years with his partner Christine Miller Gordon, enjoying music shows and festivals, and dancing to the music of The Cosmos.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, November 5 at the Chico Women’s center; 592 E. 3rd St., Chico. All who loved David are invited.

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