On Saturday, April 27th, my live streaming show, “The Young Jurks” will mark our 5th Anniversary with a Gala and Awards from Down the Road Beer Company in Everett, Massachusetts.
Honoring our friend, Michael L. Malta AKA The King of Pot (KOP). At the Awards show, members of Malta’s family, his wife, Valerie and two daughters, Kristin and Jaclyn; and friends, WAAF’s Carmelita, Bobby Nuggz, and others will speak of KOP’s heart and activism before presenting the winner with the first ever Michael L. Malta activism award.
We hope to see you there.
What follows is my 2013 DigBoston & Greenleaf Magazine eulogy of the K.O.P.
On Sunday Night, October 6th, Michael L. Malta, The King of Pot (KOP) suffered a fatal heart attack.
He is survived by his wife, Valerie Malta; his two daughters, Jacyln Marie Malta and Kristin Imhof; his father, Michael C. Malta, also known as Daddio; and his son in law, Peter Imhof.
For Malta his activism started back at home, Arlington, MA, in the early 1990’s, becoming an activist after discovering that medical marijuana helped his OCD and depression. He soon took on the moniker, The King of Pot inspired by one of his early activism hero’s, Marc Emery who is often called The Prince of Pot.
Vera Malta, KOP’s mother, battling the same OCD condition, refused to use marijuana because it was illegal, even though it had helped her relax the few times she tried it. In 2005, she passed and The King of Pot vowed to double down on his activism.
The King of Pot started out with a simple plan to educate the masses on medical marijuana with his unique brand of entertainment.
He started a website, KOPProductions.com and was soon a fixture at rallies, protests, state house hearings while also producing professional video and live streaming broadcasts. He also produced a series of popular, King of Pot t-shirts. He later launched a second companion website, TheKingofPot.com.
Lighting up his 80 year father, Daddio to thunderous applause at the 2009 Boston Freedom Rally was a memorable moment that exhibited his brilliance.
“I’m not political, I’m an entertainer. Mike Cann does the politics, I learn from him.”.
KOP may have started out as “the loveable goof ball” he often described himself as but he was more recently becoming much more sharply, politically focused. He and I had recently teamed up to galvanize patients to protest DPH over strict medical marijuana regulations and moved Mass Patients Advocacy Alliance to lobby for our cause.
We had even more recently announced our campaign, in KOP’s own words, “Mike Cann & The King of Pot 2016 to legalize grow your own marijuana once and for all in Massachusetts.”
The King and his co-host wife, Valerie, had become bonafide marijuana reform leaders with his show, “Live With the King of Pot”.
A campaign insider for Congressman Mike Capuano, noted The King of Pot for his pro-Capuano campaign video, “Genuine, funny, and persuasive.”
Cammy Dee, a local rapper jailed and later cleared by Methuen Police over much ado about nothing facebook lyrics credited The King of Pot’s videos for his release.
Maine State Rep. Diane Russell, “The world lost another gentle soul, and my world will have less light. Michael L. Malta, you were a dear friend. I gave you a big hug when I saw you a couple of weeks ago. Had I known it would be our last, I would not have let go.”
KOP’s legacy will carry on through the videos that he spoke out in and those many souls he touched along the way.
KOP’s activism was considerable and will be missed but for many of us, it’s the warm, giving man that we miss the most.
“It’s not the he was just a Brother to me, but that he was a Brother to all he met, many of us Brothers out here today hurting from this loss.” said Scott Gacek.
With tears in her eyes, Brooke Andrade added, “He knew me for three days and helped me with a difficult medical condition, his family opened their home to me for an extended time.”
Several hundred people attended KOP’s services in Arlington, MA.
He was laid to rest wearing his signature sunglasses and his Marc Emery shirt, with a copy of his Dig Boston “Blunt Truth” feature, while holding a rosary and some marijuana joints.
The Saturday funeral procession from Arlington to Malden’s was 80 plus cars long and ended with some final respects from friends, family and myself.
“I want the Malta family to know, how many of us here, a show of hands, were touched by Michael Malta, The King of Pot, did he give you a ride, money for your project, advice, or encouragement? He did that for me often, Did he do that for you, too?” I asked the assembled, 100+ hands went up.
Outside the mausoleum, we gathered to watch the workers hoist the King’s casket to it’s final resting place and then finish the name plate. As the name plate “Michael Malta” was sealed on and revealed, the assembled, cheered, “KOP, KOP, KOP!” while lighting up King-sized portions of cannabis.
On Sunday, a group of activists, friends, and family gathered on Boston Common to a place where The King of Pot had often practiced civil disobedience, the hill that the local marijuana reform community had called, Mt. Mary Jane to rename it, Mt. Michael Malta. More than 100 gathered to tell stories, give speeches, to smoke up and cheer for the King at 4:20pm.
His daughters and wife thanked the attendees for the love they have received over the past days.
The King of Pot legacy lives on.
The Russ Belville show of Portland, Oregon and WAAF’s Bay State Rock with Carmelita produced heartfelt King of Pot tributes. Carmelita noted on her broadcast that she will continue to feature the work and audio of The King of Pot on her highly rated Boston show.
Andrew Hutcheson of Zandrak Productions reported that he will be pursuing a follow-up to their 2009 King of Pot documentary short, “Becoming His Highness”.
Myster DL recently shot some King of Pot scenes for his eagerly anticipated “A Sea of Green” movie. “I’m dedicating the movie to The King of Pot”.
You can expect many more future tributes and some more possible movie releases featuring The King of Pot, his family has much unreleased material to sort through over the coming months.
Massachusetts passed a marijuana decrim law in 2008, a medical marijuana law in 2012, and is currently gearing up for full legalization via a 2016 ballot initiative, Michael Malta, The King of Pot was a big reason why that is happening.
We will never forget you, Brother Michael Malta, The King of Pot.