Mel Frank, the pen name of James J. Goodwin, was born in Lynn, MA, 1944. Goodwin served as a shipboard electronics technician in the US navy, 1963-1967. Upon completion of service, he moved to New York City, where he began growing marijuana in 1968.
The Mel Frank pen name first appeared in 1971 in the New York Flyer of Rolling Stone, where he authored a two-part series on marijuana growing under fluorescent lights. After reading this series, Ed Rosenthal contacted Frank, convincing him to collaborate on a marijuana growing book, culminating in the 1974 publication of the Marijuana Growers’ Indoor/Outdoor Guide, by Level Press, San Francisco.
When High Times magazine began in 1974, Frank was the first to answer readers’ questions, and he followed by contributing dozens of articles and photographs that helped establish High Times as the leading resource magazine for growers. As home-grown marijuana, notably sinsemilla (seedless racemes, popularly known as buds) earned its deserved reputation as superior to imported marijuana, “growing your own” rapidly gained in popularity. New magazines to serve home growers and consumers soon appeared, and Frank’s numerous articles and cover photos graced High Times, Hi Life, Head, Marijuana Papers and Skunk in the United States, and Red Eye magazine in the United Kingdom. Head magazine called Frank the “Godfather of marijuana growers.”