Weed Activist

Bought and Paid For: Cannabis media in the era of fraud and deception

April 14, 2014 in ACTION ALERTS, Ethics and Morality, Fuck You, I Like Weed, Inspire, Messaging, Weed Business

sellout

Who can you trust? The answer is probably no one. Everyone seems to have a price these days.

It is becoming commonplace to see well-known one-time activists cross the line to bought and paid for shills. It is disheartening and to be honest, it continues to sadden my existence in the cannabis landscape. I am so exhausted at trying to keep up with who is on whose team now, and who bought which activist for what sell-out scammer project to legitimize their efforts. It is becoming more folks than not, and I can no longer let my respect or affections for folks cloud my judgement.

If you are a sell-out fuck working for people whose intentions are to whore out this industry for their own personal gain then we are no longer friends, associates, or whatever the fuck it was that kept me from telling you to go blow a goat years ago. I don’t care who you are. If your moral, ethics, and your ability to influence people are for sale to the 1% of the cannabis industry, then you too can go take a walk down Go Fuck Yourself Street.

But the way these frauds are getting to you is what you may not even notice. On top of enlisting well-known activists to huck their bullshit scam at events and directly in person, what you see are these fraud savvy assholes infiltrating cannabis media sources to get them to push their messaging in a way that just seems like normal everyday reporting. They attempt to tie in the product to a storyline, or gloss it over in a manner that makes an obvious fraud seem palatable.

It is affinity fraud. I have discussed this before, but here is that definition one more time for review:

From the SEC:

What is an Affinity Fraud?

Affinity fraud refers to investment scams that prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, the elderly, or professional groups. The fraudsters who promote affinity scams frequently are – or pretend to be – members of the group. They often enlist respected community or religious leaders from within the group to spread the word about the scheme by convincing those people that a fraudulent investment is legitimate and worthwhile.These scams exploit the trust and friendship that exist in groups of people who have something in common. Because of the tight-knit structure of many groups, it can be difficult for regulators or law enforcement officials to detect an affinity scam.

The “spread the word” part is where media becomes so handy. It used to be cannabis media would just shill out over someone’s fancy new grow product or stupid grinder. The company would buy a bunch of advertising and give a bunch of free gear to the magazine, and one of the well-known writers for the mag would throw them a bone in the form of a positive review of their deal. It was fairly transparent and people understood that relationship. To be fair, publications would often reject doing these pieces too if the products really were inferior.

Fast forward to now, and what you see is a much different playing field. The scams we see being put forth, and paid for in our cannabis media, are large scale corporate frauds that are using these outlets to push their ruse. I was reminded of this after discovering a series of article on Kannaway/Hempmeds products in Cannabis Now Magazine by a well-known activist named Angela Bacca. (DISCLOSURE: Angela Bacca worked for me last year for a couple of months, and it did not work out due to differences in work ethic and responsibility issues)

Angela has worked hard to make herself a known commodity in the cannabis industry. She worked with Ed Rosenthal for a long time, claiming she basically wrote his book for $12 per hour and she made a lot of contacts at that position. She also worked with Ladybud Magazine for some time, to which she made a lot of contacts with cannabis writers and activists. She has used these relationships and positions to create credibility and she is generally well-liked in most circles. I generally think Angela is a good person, who has been put in a tough place by the folks at Cannabis Now, who are making the money for her work.

Which is why I was ultimately shocked to see her writing fluffy push pieces singing the praises of the Kannaway/MJNA/RSHO/Hempmeds bullshit scammers. Medical Marijuana Inc./Cannvest are at the forefront of scamming folks in the name of cannabis. Their CEO was brought up on fraud charges, and their entire operation is slimey. Their latest ruse is Kannaway, a multi-level marketing scam that preys on the goodwill of others by claiming their CBD rich products derived from hemp are legal in all 50 states. They are taking this one step further and encouraging people with needs for cannabis medicines to “don’t move,” offering their hemp alternative as a legal substance. The truth is it is not. CBD is very much an illegal schedule 1 drug still according to the DEA. For more details on this ruse check my Snake Oil story.

But here are the three pieces done by Angela Bacca and Cannabis Now Magazine that make zero mention of possible conflicts or lies; but instead, use their content and trust with their audience to basically push press releases from these folks as if they were legitimate and worthy opportunities. WTF?

hempmeds.bacca.1

I bring this up as an example of what I know to be a direct payola scheme, where money from a company is going to a publication to push their scam. I have friends who operate publications who have been approached by these folks offering a lot of silver coins for their willingness to sell out Jesus. It is obvious that Cannabis Now magazine, and their bona fide activist Angela Bacca, have taken the bait and have been obliged to run these push pieces to further the legitimacy of these known scam artists. It is sad.

What is sadder is that I know a lot of people who write for that publication, whose names are being tarnished in association with this bullshit. Cannabis Now is certainly not alone, but it is such a blatant example of cannabis media selling out morals and ethics for money, that it is impossible to ignore. Yeah… that is a nice advertisement they took out in your magazine. Bet that cost them a pretty penny. But the reward of having a person who has won over the hearts and minds of the community out there shilling your scam products is worth it. You see…the fraud cannot happen without the affinity.

The truth is that it is becoming more and more difficult to tell who still has their morals and ethics in tact. The circle of trust is shrinking considerably, and it will likely only get worse as we go.

Circle-Of-Trust

We are surrounded by people who are willing to offer their morals up for a few lousy bucks to get by. It is a sad reality, but reality nonetheless. It is nice to think we would all stand on ethical principle and be trustworthy people, but human nature tells us this is not the case. Those with the ability to use their influence to penetrate the affections of cannabis users and activists will be heavily targeted for their support. When the money is on the table and no one else is looking it is interesting to see who is willing to cough up some affinity to help sell the frauds.

There are lots of people willing to use their voice to convince you that the devil is just an old friend. As cannabis media continues to grow, those who control these messages will be courted for their allegiances, and unfortunately, many will sell you and your affection for their publication right down the river for some shiny trinkets. You can choose not to believe it if you want. The fact is that it is happening, and it is happening A LOT.

So as you glance over the latest piece from your favorite weed magazine, ask yourself, is this a real piece of journalism or is it a cleverly disguised advertisement for someone or something? Look deeper into what you read to try and find the real motivation behind the piece. Look beyond the glossy headline and the introductory paragraph that makes you want to believe this is a real story, and see if by the end you have not been influenced to support a product or organization. Use a critical eye to more deeply examine the purpose of a story, and do not blindly read shit believing it is legit because the person who wrote it is a trusted source. There is no such thing when big money enters the equation. People will sell-out.

Even my shit you can question if you like. Notice I carry no advertising on this site. It is by design to ensure the views here are not influenced by any other interests than my own bad attitude and desire to make weed legal. I can promise you I will never sell-out to the highest bidder and use my influence to huck some bullshit scam…but who the fuck am I? Question everyone.

A lot of what passes for journalism in the cannabis world is simply not. It is well-crafted pieces of bullshit that were bought and paid for by the subject. If you cannot see it for yourself, there is only so much I can do to point it out to you. I am asking you to use your awareness and intellect to look past the distraction, overcome your trust of this person or that magazine, and ask the hard hitting question of “what is this piece pushing?”

You can be sure a lot of what you are reading are bought and paid for pieces meant to sucker you out of your money.

Culture Magazine is literally one long advertisement made into a magazine of “reviews.” When is the last time anyone saw a negative review of anything in that piece of shit rag? LOL. The fact that they allow Carol Sherman a monthly column should make it pretty clear that their goal is to help their advertisers take your money. Nothing more. Nothing less. There is no education or real news in there. Just one fluff piece pushing some bullshit after another. Culture magazine is the worst. At least Cannabis Now has the courtesy to try and cleverly hide their sell-out pieces under the guise of real stories. Culture is basically one whore piece followed by another with very little qualms about it. I am not sure which is worse.

What I do know is that there is a lot of bullshit floating around that is being pushed off as media and journalism. It is up to you as a reader and consumer of media to look for the scam and decide if you want to keep patronizing publications that are nothing more than sell-outs and cheap hookers for big companies trying to win over the cannabis community. I will keep my weed media radar set to “highly skeptical.” You should too….

Weed Activist

Go Fuck Ourselves

April 6, 2014 in End the Drug War, Ethics and Morality, Fuck You, I Like Weed, Inspire, Messaging, Weed Activism, Weed Business, Weed Freedom, Weed Politics

fuckyourself.1

Are we our own worst enemies? The answer is “PROBABLY.”

The cannabis industry is in a bizarre state of bullshit and egotistical positioning. As we emerge from prohibition there is no shortage of people within our own ranks willing to literally fuck over our entire mission of cannabis freedom to meet some financial objective, or to realize some competitive advantage. It is no longer the prohibitionists and drug warrior who are gunning against our fight for freedom….It is us.

Go fuck ourselves….

Was anyone surprised to see that the indictment of CA State Senator Leland Yee included charges that, as a lawmaker, he was taking bribe money from the FBI to create legislation in California that was favorable to a particular medical marijuana business model, so said company could have an advantage in the marketplace? You shouldn’t be….This shit is happening ALL OF THE TIME in our industry and the results are becoming disastrous.

Here is a look at that indictment:

yee.indictment.1

The reality that you need to look at is that A LOT of the new investor type folks, and many of the “old guard” who have done pretty well for themselves in the industry, are conspiring to make money…not cannabis freedom. Their goal is to set things up so that they, and they alone, can make a lot of money through limiting freedom and allowing what I like to call “prohibition light” to take place.

“Prohibition light” is a reference to the over-regulated market we see being developed mostly by who?……people who are supposedly a part of this “movement.” To be clear, there is no fucking movement anymore. I am not even sure there ever was. But what is masquerading as a movement for social change is really anything but. What you have now is a bunch of money hungry pricks pretending to give a shit so they can secure their piece of the pie; and they are totally willing to fuck over your rights and freedoms to do so.

It amazes me when I hear the call for “unity” in this movement. What is funny is it is usually the most scandalous and shady motherfuckers who want to unify their imagined movement. “Unity” is a code word for shut the fuck up and get in line because we are about to fuck you over real good like.

Take the Americans for Safe Access “Unity Conference” happening in Washington D.C. I know of several high-profile dispensary groups and producers of cannabis medicines who were not even given the courtesy of notice that there was a conference going on. Granted these are folks that quit donating money to ASA, but since when does unity cost money? If we really wanted to unify the industry, aren’t the folks who produce and dispense medicine ultra-important in that equation?

Not really. The position being taken is one that “cash rules everything around me.” The money folks could give a shit about your freedom and hard work. They can afford to replace you or buy you out. You are irrelevant. So what becomes “Unity” is getting a bunch of token activists and industry “moguls” to attend a conference to give the impression of relevance to the big money losers who are driving the direction of reform and pushing the industry to a place where only they can compete.

Many within our own ranks are suckers….There is no getting around that.

Which is why it is not surprising to see those who we have respected and fought in the trenches with for years being lured away by shiny beads and nifty trinkets. It is like the Native Americans struggle all over again. It is bizarre to watch really because the funny part is that the real money has not even arrived. The bullshit money people are selling their souls for now will be irrelevant when the whole thing plays out.

You know you’re being used…..but it’s okay if you like the abuse.

I am so tired of seeing people I once respected disregard their principles and morals for a shot at some quick coin. It is like I cannot even look at half the people in this movement any more. You bunch of sell-out pricks know who you are.

So how is it going to play out? What is the end game?

Simple….People are working to fuck you over as we speak. They are working on corrupting public officials to pass overly-burdensome regulations that all but ensure that you will not be allowed to compete in the market.

Don’t believe me?

Who do you think keeps making sure that rigorous lab testing is included in every regulatory model and ordinance? If you guessed people who provide lab services and/or folks whose models are focused around the marketing scheme of lab testing, you would be correct.

Who is lobbying to limit licensing and to have the industry operated through departments where they have more control and influence? If you guessed organizations which are already established in areas who have the resources to keep the playing field un-level then you too would be correct.

Ready for another? Who wants to make sure that cannabis production is regulated to a few large homogeneous entities that produce all of the cannabis for the masses instead of a small farmer/producer environment based on free market principles? You guessed it….Big money assholes who think they can hire minimum wage workers to tend the plants and make the products who could give a shit about your dedication to the craft.

One more. Who is working to ensure further “medicalization” of the movement? Doctors and medical focused groups. You guessed it. Regardless if the best thing that could ever happened to medical cannabis was adult use legalization. That is never good for the bottom line. It becomes money over morals.

So who is the enemy?

It is us….or at least people who are pretending to be us that are buying and selling cannabis activists like they were baseball cards to display on their fancy ruse to take over the industry. They are using their money and influence to limit competition and to sucker people out of their hard work and intellectual property. Their mirrors all have smoke in them, and the reality is that most of the petty bartering and trading for souls we see now will become irrelevant and real business principles take over. What will be left is a bunch of poor saps who sold out their morals, principles, and reputation for a few lousy bucks and some lofty promises.

If you believe all of the bullshit promises being made right now then I have a bridge to sell you made of cannabis brownies. It only will cost you a billion…with a “b.”

It is sad but true. We are fucking ourselves in way that lawmakers and regulators could not even imagine.

Most of the efforts we see that are limiting cannabis freedom and which are morphing into barriers to entry for the industry are created by people who we entrusted to carry our message. The cannabis reform game is filled with snakes who are willing to barter and compromise our values to get ahead. Some of it is so blatantly transparent that it is easy to spot. But most of this is some backroom hand-shake shit that is happening right under our noses.

Check out this email from lawmakers in Wisconsin talking about getting a “template” for CBD-only legislation for the State that was provided by who? Realm of Caring

realm.010

With friends like these who the fuck needs drug warriors any more?

It is us. Our enemies are within. They are here…. They are sitting at the conference with you hitting their vape pen and pretending to give a fuck about your life at this very moment. Welcome to the show.

So before you go getting all high-horse on a player and disparaging me for my skepticisms and unwillingness to comply with the fake calls for unity, just know that unity is also another word for collusion. Many in the game right now have one goal and one goal only….It is money. Surprise!!!

Not really….Humans suck.

Maybe it is too much to ask to have the right for adults to use cannabis however they would like without fear of jail or arrest be the focus of our “movement.” Maybe the human experience is lined with greed and corruption and it is too idealistic of me to expect cannabis to be anything but another shitshow on the blip of history that we are now experiencing. Maybe it is impossible to avoid the bullshit that is coming. Maybe it is all inevitable….

But maybe not.

It is possible that we are at an apex in history and that we have the ability to shape the future. Maybe we have learned enough as a society to reject the frauds and hucksters for once. Just maybe we can influence the emerging market and work to ensure a level of consciousness in the future of corporate cannabis. It takes discipline and the willingness to speak truth to power.

But we must find our voice before it is too late. We must drive the frauds and sell-outs from the industry, and demand that hard-working ethical providers of cannabis have a fair and honest seat at the table. We can no longer sit idly by and just hope things are going to be okay. Without us they most certainly are not.

Kick a fraud in their proverbial nuts, and do not fall for the sweat shop cannabis get rich quick bullshit that is passing off as a movement these days. The movement is within you, or it is not. It is not a tagline for people to solicit their donations and fuck us out of our rights any more.

It is going to take a lot of heart to beat it back. Are you ready? Because the battle has already begun. Selah.

Weed Activist

The Wolves of Weed Street. Weed stock scams for dummies.

March 30, 2014 in ACTION ALERTS, Ethics and Morality, Fuck You, Weed Business, Weed Politics

wolfofwallst.1

A sucker is born every minute and in the newly emerging and quasi-legal cannabis market I am pretty sure that number is much higher (pun intended). I just finished watching Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street last night. Beyond the shock value of a lot of it was a sad and true story about the way “Wolfie” Jordan Belfort was able to fleece millions of dollars from hard working people by selling shitty pink sheet stocks that have little to no real company value behind them.

I was starkly reminded that ALL of the cannabis stocks we see floating around right now are traded on these same pink sheets to avoid regulation and oversight. The stock market is hard to pin down with its constantly moving targets, and most of the fraudsters who are putting on these scams to profit off of people’s love for weed are about as shifty and unethical as they come. They are the lowest of low; and it is their goal to separate you, the stupid small time hard-working investor, from your hard earned money selling you shit stocks from companies with little to show for their promises of fame and fortune.

The Wolf of Wall Street did a great job of showing how the pink sheet traders are indeed the lowest scum of the investment world, comparing them to the dirtiest and most disgusting low budget prostitutes:

“The three of us exchanged glances but said nothing. After all, what was there to say? The truth was that hookers did take credit cards—or at least ours did! In fact, hookers were so much a part of the Stratton subculture that we classified them like publicly traded stocks: Blue Chips were considered the top-of-the-line hooker, zee crème de la crème. They were usually struggling young models or exceptionally beautiful college girls in desperate need of tuition or designer clothing, and for a few thousand dollars they would do almost anything imaginable, either to you or to each other. Next came the NASDAQs, who were one step down from the Blue Chips. They were priced between three and five hundred dollars and made you wear a condom unless you gave them a hefty tip, which I always did. Then came the Pink Sheet hookers, who were the lowest form of all, usually a streetwalker or the sort of low-class hooker who showed up in response to a desperate late-night phone call to a number in Screw magazine or the yellow pages. They usually cost a hundred dollars or less, and if you didn’t wear a condom, you’d get a penicillin shot the next day and then pray that your dick didn’t fall off.

― Jordan Belfort, The Wolf Of Wall Street

I have been trying to warn people about the pink sheet fraud that is happening in the world of cannabis stocks for a long time. I called this shit in 2009, when the King of Fraud himself, Bruce Perlowin, began pushing Medical Marijuana Inc. and trying to recruit people from the industry to manifest their scam. The problem is that stock fraud is difficult to nail down, and the way these companies evolve are through smoke and mirrors tactics that play on the affinity of the investor, while shifting the liability of the scam among veiled stakeholders and other fake shell companies to enhance the books and create the illusion of short term success.

In simple terms, most of the marijuana stock companies are participating in plain and simple affinity fraud. Here is a little information from the SEC on what affinity fraud is:

What is an Affinity Fraud?

Affinity fraud refers to investment scams that prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, the elderly, or professional groups (or cannabis lovers). The fraudsters who promote affinity scams frequently are – or pretend to be – members of the group (or activists for a cause). They often enlist respected community leaders from within the group to spread the word about the scheme by convincing those people that a fraudulent investment is legitimate and worthwhile (a lot of this going around). Many times, those leaders become unwitting victims of the fraudster’s ruse (or willing participants).

These scams exploit the trust and friendship that exist in groups of people who have something in common. Because of the tight-knit structure of many groups, it can be difficult for regulators or law enforcement officials to detect an affinity scam. Victims often fail to notify authorities or pursue their legal remedies and instead try to work things out within the group. This is particularly true where the fraudsters have used respected community leaders to convince others to join the investment. (Or in a movement where people are scared to go to authorities in fear of prosecution for weed)

Many affinity scams involve “Ponzi” or pyramid schemes, where new investor money is used to make payments to earlier investors to give the false illusion that the investment is successful (A LOT OF THIS HAPPENING). This ploy is used to trick new investors to invest in the scheme and to lull existing investors into believing their investments are safe and secure. In reality, the fraudster almost always steals investor money for personal use. Both types of schemes depend on an unending supply of new investors – when the inevitable occurs, and the supply of investors dries up, the whole scheme collapses and investors discover that most or all of their money is gone. (Any minute now)

But do not take my word for it. This week the well-respected Forbes Magazine did a piece entitled, Inside the Pot Stock Bubble where they examine the real time fraud happening with stocks in the cannabis sector. It is an eerie resemblance to the scams portrayed in the Wolf of Wall Street movie. These guys are driving up the value of a bullshit stock through false hope and media propaganda to sucker you, and whoever else is interested, out of their hard-earned cash. They are not preying on rich folks, but those who work hard and are hoping to invest their savings in “the next big thing.” It is shameful and disgusting. The cannabis industry should be outraged that these charlatans are working to fleece the public through using our good name and reputation.

wolfofwallst.2

Here are some highlights from the Forbes piece:

…Who needs the heavily regulated casino industry when there’s far more cash on the table in the penny stock market, with nary a protection for investors, save a warning from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority last August to be on guard for “con artists behind marijuana stock scams”?

…The perfect window on a huge, emerging red flag for mom-and-pop investors looking for a way to cash in on the legalization of marijuana. A multibillion-dollar industry run for decades by criminals and now traded on the vehicle of choice for financially savvy swindlers and hucksters! What could possibly go wrong?

Perhaps the most incredible part of the pot stock boom: Even though the Obama Administration says it will not enforce the Controlled Substances Act in states with a robust regulatory regime, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. “You can’t have an industry where they say, ‘We can put you in jail for the rest of your life, but we probably won’t today,’?” says Sam Kamin, a University of Denver law professor. “Who would invest in that? Who would put their money in that in terms of raising capital?”

In Colorado, for example, recreational and medical marijuana businesses have to grow and sell their product in the state. That is why Medical Marijuana carefully structured its joint venture with Dixie so that it does not actually do anything connected with marijuana. It is also a big reason that hemp–a variety of pot plants that has only trace amounts of THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient–has become the buzzword with the pot stock crowd.

You can read more about the details of who these fraudsters are specifically in the Forbes article. There has also been some good pieces done over at Seeking Alpha that have tried to follow these scams and expose their fraudulent activities. There are also many articles working to “pump” these scams too on there, but an article entitled “Medical Marijuana, Inc.: Definitely a Dope Opera”  and others are good insightful reporting on what is often a complex and woven web of bullshit that is the stock game.

The reality is that there is very little legitimate stock investment opportunity in the cannabis sector right now. Why? Because of it being federally illegal.

Real investment folks are not at the table yet. What you see now are a lot of ex-mortgage fraudsters and tech bubble vultures circling looking for easy prey. They are taking the “sizzle” of the surging popularity of marijuana and are using that to sucker good folks out of their good money based on bullshit lies and false promises.

So how does it work?

I am glad you asked. The racket these companies are engaged in is most commonly called the “Pump and Dump.” Below is an explanation of what that is more clearly in context of the wolf of Wall Street:

PUMP AND DUMP

A pump and dump scheme consists of artificially inflating or ‘pumping’ the price of a stock to benefit those that own it. Once the price has been pumped up, owners quickly sell off the stock or ‘dump’ it at a huge profit causing the price to plummet. Jordan Belfort would often buy large amounts of worthless stock and then, using his army of stockbrokers at Stratton Oakmont, spread rumors and positive statements about the company. This caused the price of the stock to spike exponentially. Once the stock reached record highs, he and his associates would sell it off, causing the price to reach record lows.

So the most obvious example of “The Pump” is the Martha Stewart of Marijuana herself, Cheryl Shuman. I began writing about her fraud in a piece entitled “Cheryl Shuman is Full of Shit” last year. Her “pump” of a company called Rapid Fire Marketing (RFMK) and their crappy product the Cannacig put her on my radar. What she did was create this false persona through the “Martha Stewart” rip-off deal. The woman cannot cook, so where Martha became relevant is beyond me. She sells herself as some Beverly Hills socialite, when she really does not live in Beverly Hills at all.

the-wolf-of-wall-street-paramount-pictures

To pump her company Rapid Fire she needed a hook to attract television producers. She latched on to a hot button topic, being kids who use cannabis, and conned the parents of a girl named Mykayla who is battling cancer, to take their story public with her on the Ricki Lake show. The company promised the family a generous donation based on sales from the show if they helped pump their company on their website and social media channels. The family trusted this woman and her pump scam, only to find out they were used and tossed away after the company made a bunch of money by pumping their stock based on the story of their family’s struggle. A detailed account of this experience can be found at the father’s blog entitled “Sly Generosity: Cheryl Shuman Meets Brave Mykayla.”

RFMK sent the family less than $50 for their efforts, dumped a bunch of overvalued stock, and wandered off into the night with their riches.

Shuman also began to pump for Medical Marijuana, Inc. (MJNA) last year, right before she was exposed for her bullshit. She was selling “Hempmeds Px” products at every stop. She used her experience with the Ohio Rights Group to pump her bullshit snake oil on her propaganda “media tour.” She even convinced some of the Board to invest in the company and had their logos plastered all over the campaign website. In September she went on social media to claim she suffered a “mini-stroke” and was miraculously cured by using Hempmeds Px CBD products LESS THAN A WEEK LATER. Amazing, right?

After pressure from people who would no longer tolerate Shuman’s shameless pump scheme, MJNA released Shuman from being their brand manager. Now the company has put together and elaborate multi-level marketing pyramid scheme called Kannaway to continue the pump. Shuman is off pumping other bullshit, and talking about taking her own company public for the pump and dump ride. Should be exciting.

Other forms of “the pump” are overzealous press releases pushed out claiming untrue and manipulated facts to increase the value of the stock. You see this happen all of the time. It was more prevalent, nearly daily, before it was found out the SEC was investigating MJNA.

wolf.fbi

It is unclear when the Wolf of Wall Street scenario will fully play out. Remember, in the movie based on real life, Jordan Belfort was allowed to scam people for years while the FBI investigated him before any charges were filed. Who knows if, and when, anyone will get around to investigating and cracking down on these crazy scams. It is exhausting to have these folks stealing money based on bullshit promises about weed because they know people love weed and will want to invest.

The penny stock scams going around now are disgusting and incredibly immoral. Or maybe scumbags like Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street, were right…

 See, money doesn’t just buy a better life, better food, better cars, better pussy. It also makes you a better person. You can give generously to the church or a political party of your choice.

It is up to you if you want to give your hard earned cash to the Jordan Belfort’s of cannabis or not. We can have the “I told you so” conversation later.

Weed Activist

Be Strong and Powerful

March 27, 2014 in ACTION ALERTS, Ethics and Morality, Inspire, Messaging

strong.powerful.1

I recently came across and old friend on Facebook. It is amazing how reflecting on our own journey can help us to realize how we got to where we are. It is humbling to remember what an idiot we used to be. It is empowering to understand what we have overcome. It is bewildering to dream of what we might have missed. It makes us stronger to put our lives in context and to be okay with who we have become.

Believe it or not, I used to be an idiot.

I suppose it is the classic coming of age story about a wayward kid with a chip on his shoulder living every day as if it is his last who comes to the realization that there is more to the word than his personal wants and desires. I cannot remember the day I decided to pull my head out of my ass and quit being a total idiot, but I know I was a late bloomer…somewhere after the age of 30.

I spent many years trying to find myself. I searched in the bottom of booze bottles and in an array of drug binges. I pressed boundaries wherever I could find them, and would seek out trouble to justify my existence. I often sacrificed who I was for who I believed the world wanted me to be. I lacked confidence and in turn, sold myself short on a lot of days.

As we wander through our own memory, we are often confronted with areas in our life where we have failed. It is easy for us to push these memories aside, but they are always there lurking.

There is a certain fear in all of us, even on our best day, that we could somehow return to that person we were on our worst day. It is this fear that drives the human experience, and either makes one reach for the stars or tumble down the hill of life.

We are our experiences. Like it or not, who we are has been shaped by the events that have made up our lives and the people who have been a part of those events. We cannot relive the past, nor should we.

Yesterday is gone, but tomorrow is forever.

Yet in order to fulfill our lives and find our potential we must be strong and we must be powerful. The world is going to keep spinning and difficult days will lie ahead. But it is up to us to rise up and meet the challenges of another day, and to do our part to make the world a better place. We have to look inside of ourselves to find the necessary strength to overcome. It is our own power that will move the mountain.

Too often we sacrifice our strength and give up our power. We allow our lack of confidence or unfamiliarity to get the better of us. The fear of failure and loss can be too much to bear. The world becomes a very small place when life becomes overwhelming. Our doubt can consume us.

Where we find our strength and power is when we rise above our own fears and accept our fate. Fate is seldom wrong.

No one ever said that life was going to be easy. There are too many variables and unpredictable outcomes to ever assume anything. What seems inevitable today can be completely questionable tomorrow. Nothing is written in stone; and if it is, stone can easily be broken. Life is a constantly evolving battle between our mind, our body, and the worlds of order and chaos.

More times than not our path has already been chosen for us, and the decisions we make are irrelevant to where the universe will direct us. We can never take back yesterday, but we can always find strength that there is a tomorrow.

It is our duty to ourselves to be strong and powerful. It is up to us to make our presence on planet earth known and to ensure the world is a better place than where we found it. Our lives are like masterpieces that we paint with our daily actions. This is our gift to the world.

I challenge you to be strong and powerful. You are amazing. You were put here for a reason. Your life is important. The things you do make a difference. You are incredibly strong and powerful, and I am better for knowing you…So thanks.

Whatever tomorrow may bring, our strength will not waiver and our power will be known. Selah.

Weed Activist

Because Fuck You

March 23, 2014 in ACTION ALERTS, Ethics and Morality, Fuck You

fuckyou.1

I will not be silenced.

My reality is that I face a lot of attacks for my writing, and for my ability to transcribe the crazy shit that happens in the cannabis movement into understandable and digestible pieces that people seem to enjoy. My writing is not exceptional by any means, but it is real. People read what they do here because they know that, like it or not, I am going to tell the fucking truth.

The truth is a scary proposition for many, especially when it can be told by a person who has the ability to express themselves. The truth becomes dangerous when people knowing it can cause others to lose money and/or face. This, in turn, angers many and forces them to lash out in bizarre, and sometimes violent, ways.

Because of my writing I have had tracking devices put on my car, and have been threatened and followed. I have had all of my tires slashed. I was violently pepper-sprayed as I left a dispensary one day. My wife and kids have been followed, and pictures of them were sent to me with a letter stating if I cared about them I would “stay off of the internet.”  I am threatened by some chump who is mad about something I posted or wrote on social media at least weekly.

I am no stranger to being attacked and threatened. It has become par for the course. When people listen to what you have to say and value your opinion, those who you say it about cower in fear.

yoda_fear

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

-MASTER YODA

There are plenty of hate-filled people in the cannabis movement. Because of the current “quasi-legal but not really” scenario that is the cannabis industry these days, the environment is ripe for fraud and abuse. We have a far higher percentage of con-men and shysters running around due to the perception of easy money by people who can basically do nothing about it when they get fucked.

Which is why the call for unity always makes me laugh. Who the fuck would want to unify with this band of crooks for real? No thanks. I will pass.

Save your unity for the folks who deserve it, and not just any jackass who gets off the boat spewing bullshit about how awesome they think weed is so they can sell their fancy “next big thing” weed product. Gag. They are getting off the boat faster than I can keep up these days, most with some money to buy off this group or that influential individual to get their foot in the door.

It is a sad reality.

There are a lot of fucked up people and organizations running around the game right now. There are a lot of great ones too. My point in writing about this industry has been to examine the trends and which way the political winds are blowing, and try to educate people on what is happening, and what needs to happen, for this movement to be successful. I am not perfect, but I do my homework. Most of the pieces I write are on target and accurate.

I pull no punches. I have never found that beating around the bush was a good angle for me. I am terrible at masking my feelings and thoughts to make them more palatable for the world. Generally what you get from me is pure unadulterated reality. I know that if I lay out the absolute truth, no matter what that might be, that I have the ability to make sense of complex issues.

truthhurts.1

In telling these truths there are often those who become angry. Not like a little angry. Like super angry. Like shaking angry. Like cannot even speak clearly anymore angry. Like I think I will do some crazy revenge shit angry.

Which is why I was not surprised to learn that Cheryl Shuman and her lapdog Kevin Saunders, in conjunction with Attorney Matthew Pappas, had begun spreading the godawful lie that I was a pedophile. Now I am generally all for some good old-fashioned name calling; but this shit crosses a line.

I am a hard-working father of two kids whose wife is lucky enough to not have to work and can raise our children. Our family is about as vanilla as it comes besides my activity in the world of cannabis. We try to raise our two sons the best we can in a world that is often a pretty fucked up place. It is certainly not easy and we know the dangers of the world we live in.

Both myself and my wife were molested when we were younger. Needless to say, these were life-changing events for both her and I. Nothing is more vile than destroying a child’s innocence and affecting the trajectory of their life forever. These incidents have certainly altered who my wife and I are as people, and how we view the world.

We do not take these falsified charges of me being a pedophile in some sort of twisted act of revenge lightly. It is disgusting and incredibly sad. I must be getting pretty close to sinking a person’s battleship if they are willing to stoop this low.

I have two sons. I worry daily about them being manipulated and attacked by sexual predators. My sons are not allowed to spend the night at people’s houses that we have not known for a long long time. If there is a sleep over event happening with their school my wife has to attend with them. There is no exceptions there. Because of my experiences I refuse to leave my kids in any sort of vulnerable situation until they are old enough to understand and do something about it.

So for me to be called a pedophile by some people who are so desperate for revenge that they will literally do anything to silence me is absurd. It is so transparent and pathetic that many have told me to “just let it go” or to “get over it.” Easier said than done. I am terrible at letting things go.

Things affect me deeply and I have a tendency to work to destroy things I perceive as threats. I rarely just walk away and let things be….especially when people want to accuse me of raping children. So you can be sure that not only will I not be silenced, but that I will be more vocal and willing to crush these folks by any means necessary. Game on, bitches.

What is hilarious really is the website they put up to try and scare me. I will not link to it here because I do not want to give it traffic, but there is a screenshot below:

mickeymartin.pedophile.1

Nice, right? What a bunch of losers. Yes…I am a convicted felon. This is true…FOR PROVIDING MEDICAL CANNABIS EDIBLES. It is always nice when folks who claim to be in the movement want to kick a person for being convicted for providing cannabis. Especially when the people making the accusations have been convicted of fraudulent activities and are admitted heroin junkies. But alas, I digress.

What I though was hilarious is here is a site charging me with being a pedophile complete with a “VICTIMS” tab; but when you click on the VICTIMS tab not only is there not one child who I supposedly molested on there, it reads like a Who’s Who list of fraudsters and charlatans. Check it out:

SUPPOSED VICTIMS

  • Rick Simpson
  • Phoenix Tears
  • Steve DeAngelo
  • Harborside Health Centers
  • Rob Kampia
  • MPP
  • ​Serra Frank
  • Moms for Marijuana
  • The Stanley Brothers
  • Josh Stanley
  • Realm of Caring
  • Incredibles Edibles
  • Bob Eschino
  • Cheryl Shuman
  • Aimee Shuman
  • Shari Peterson
  • Dragonfly Lyoness
  • Med Men
  • Charles Vest
  • Michael Llamas
  • HempMeds PX
  • ​MJNA

Yes….I have written negative pieces about each and every one of these folks at one time or another because of their nefarious activities and willingness to defraud our community. They forgot a few chumps like Russ Belville and Allen St. Pierre; but I guess #bitchface only listed the folks she had in her coalition of the willing to fuck you out of your money. But I stand wholeheartedly behind my “attacks” on “some of the most beloved and successful leaders in the cannabis community,” as the site puts it.

Now as we take this deal to the next level and really begin to heat up the nail of life on this matter, I wonder how many of the folks on this list are ready for another dose of reality and for me focus on their bullshit again?

As far as I am concerned, while I am 100% positive this site was created by Cheryl Shuman herself, every person who is on this list at a site that accuses me of raping children is guilty by association. Anyone on this list who is not working to have this site shut down and removed are part of the fucking problem and will be dealt with accordingly.

Why? Because FUCK YOU is why.

I will never sit down and/or shut up. You fucking losers should know that by now.

Shit like this just makes me grow louder and stronger. i will work 10x as hard to make sure you never work in cannabis again. There are no bounds as to what I am capable of when I am falsely accused of such heinous bullshit.

Some people may notice that I have removed them from my FB feed. Below is an explanation about that in case you were wondering WTF?

Hey there….Sorry you got caught up in a mess. I have been falsely accused of being a pedophile by Cheryl Shuman, Kevin Saunders, Attorney Matthew Pappas, and a profile named Jennifer Brown Johnson (which is also Cheryl Shuman). In order to insulate myself from these folks I am not accepting any friends who have mutual contact with these folks. These threats have put myself, and my family in danger. I am more than happy to be your friend and I am glad you value my input. But I have to draw a line here somewhere and begin to move past what has become extremely messy…and now dangerous. Below is a list of the pages I have deleted, and will continue to delete mutual friends from:

https://www.facebook.com/CherylShumanInc
https://www.facebook.com/CherylShuman
https://www.facebook.com/Coasterdam
https://www.facebook.com/matthew.pappas.73
https://www.facebook.com/matthewpappaslbcityattorney
https://www.facebook.com/DesireeBrownJohnson
https://www.facebook.com/BeverlyHillsCC
https://www.facebook.com/shaman.therapeutics
https://www.facebook.com/Cannalebrity.Magazine
https://www.facebook.com/Beverly.Hills.Society
https://www.facebook.com/PotWives

If you go through and remove these folks and or no longer “like” their pages, I am more than happy to add you back on. Once again, I apologize for the inconvenience and have simply drawn a line in the sand for myself on this issue to protect myself. I appreciate your understanding. I can assure you it was nothing personal. I even deleted some very close friends and even one of my staff. It is just how it is, and has to be, for me right now. No exceptions will be made.

Be Well,
Mickey Martin

So I have begun to take necessary steps in my life to shield myself from this bullshit. It is a defensive strategy to circle the wagons and eliminate areas where these issues lie.

Then will come the offensive attack. We will take this shit to the next level. I can assure you that. For those of you who just wish it would all go away because you hate conflict, I apologize in advance. This is likely going to get even more messy.

I am not completely innocent. I admit that since Cheryl Shuman went on Huffington Post Live and originally made these veiled attacks on me I have been on a mission to destroy any and all credibility she may have left. In this battle, names have been called and memes have been posted. While some of the things I might say seem mean spirited and uncalled for, just remember this bitch went on a national media outlet and accused me of luring school-aged girls in with my weed candy, doing meth, being an armed robber, and stating that I went to prison for these crimes. All absolute fabrications. But these losers have doubled-down and have begin to directly attack my dignity with louder and more prominent bullshit accusations of pedophilia.

vigilante.2

Believe that my first reaction was to pack a van of motherfuckers and to go turn out a good old fashioned ass whooping on each and every one of these coward fucks. But that is probably what they want. Cheryl Shuman, Kevin Saunders, and Matthew Pappas are all miserable people who would probably thank a person for putting them out of their misery and taking them away from their pathetic existence. I am not one to do them any favors.

But what I can assure them is that at every corner they turn, and at every point they try to make, myself and my associates will be there to meet them. They will no longer be able to con people and make a living off of their bullshit. Our foot will be on their neck for the rest of their time on this planet, making sure that whatever they want to do they are challenged and exposed.

Cheryl wants to be famous more than anything. Notice she has not done a major media appearance in over 6 months. People will be sure to encourage producers that she never sees the other side of a TV camera again. Anyone who hires this #bitchface will be a target and i will make sure their business loses money.

Kevin Saunders wants to operate a cannabis collective. He is facing charges for selling a pound to undercover cops in the Monterey area and is facing over 20 charges of harassment from a school he used to attend for threatening staff and students. As one goes before the court, they generally look for support from the community. What is the opposite of court support? That is what Saunders has coming.

Matthew Pappas is running for Long beach City Attorney. I have been working to outreach people in Long Beach through media channels and friends in the area to ensure I lose him at least 10 votes a day. Pappas is the asshole whose arrogance and bullshit legal strategy nearly shut down the entire industry in the Pack case, in case you were wondering. He claims to be supported by this community, but the reality is he has done more harm than our opposition in his self-centered work.

pappas.bitch.1

Each of these fucking people are scumbags who are actively telling people I rape children. It is beyond bullshit, and I will not be just letting anything go. These fucks have no idea of the Pandora’s Box of bullshit they have opened with their pathetic smear campaign against me and my family.

jesus.whoopingmoneychangerass.1

So before folks get all holier-than-thou with their tales of “being the bigger person” and “turning the other cheek” just put yourself in my shoes. Not only is it gross and disgusting, it is very damaging to my work and my reputation. It is not something I am going to walk away from, and you can be sure all bets are off going forward.

Because FUCK YOU.

Weed Activist

Bhang Goes Big Marijuana

March 16, 2014 in Ethics and Morality, I Like Weed, Medical Cannabis, Weed Business

Let the games begin….

bhang.1

I was somewhat puzzled and a little excited by the announcement of Mentor Capital’s purchasing of 60% of Bhang Chocolates for a WHOPPING $39 Million. The announcement came last week in a press release by the company. Mentor Capital’s CEO Chet Billingsley was quoted in the release saying:

“By a wide margin, five time cannabis cup winner, Bhang Chocolate is recognized as the world’s singular leading cannabis brand. We feel privileged to be working with the Bhang management team lead by founder Scott Van Rixel. In the explosively growing and sometimes chaotic environment accompanying marijuana legalization, they provide a bulwark of business professionalism and integrity in the delivery of Bhang’s gourmet medicinal chocolates and growing infused edible selections.”

-Chet Billingsley, Mentor Capitial CEO

The release goes on to explain the venture capital agreement to make the Bhang brand into the first behemoth cannabis brand by “providing large amounts of early public market financing” to enable them to heavily expand their operations and “dominate their respective new marijuana markets.” The era of Big Marijuana has begun and Bhang seems positioned to take that next step.

Looking at a number of $39 million is an eye-opener for a lot of people.

A lot of folks around the table have been getting their groove on with this stock company and that big investment. We all know about the Dixie and Medical Marijuana Inc. fiasco that is currently playing out in court that was publicized in the piece entitled Medical Marijuana Inc.: Definitely A Dope Opera. So the Bhang deal is certainly not the first move for the “big marijuana” game.

There is also the Diego Pellicer fiasco that rolled out their “BIG MARIJUANA” pitch, only to have their game rolled back and their lofty ambitions brought back down to earth. They have made moves to acquire dispensing outlets and other sectors of the cannabis market. The tale is told in the piece from seattle Weekly entitled “How Jamen Shively’s Big Marijuana Boast Went South.”

Don’t get me wrong. Scotty Van Rixel is no Tripp Keber or Jamen Shively by any means. Scott is a shrewd business person who knows when to mind his own business and when he needs to be proactive. His company’s success speaks for itself and he is not one out to make a quick buck off of some shitty publicity stunt.

I did find odd though that news of this magnitude would not be touted, or even discussed by Bhang Chocolate at all. To this date, the press release was issued by Mentor Capital on March 11, and the company has not posted a single thing on their Twitter feed or website about this evolution.

I chose not to reach out to Scott before doing this piece because I honestly like the guy. I do not always agree with him or his approach, but there is no denying his ability and courage. I respect that. I did not want a conversation with him to cloud my thoughts on the issue because Scott is also one hell of a salesman.

Overall, I like the work Bhang has done and I do think their brand is impressive. I am not a big fan of the products myself, as I do not care for the rich cacao flavor and products created with super-critical extractions. But there is no denying a lot of people do because they sell the shit out of them.

bhang-chocolate-bars-assortment

The question I had to ask myself was what was the gamble being made in this current deal by both sides? I mean Bhang gives up 60% of the company for a $39 million investment, so in essence they lose control of the brand. In return, they receive an investment that will enable them to likely expand into a global reach cannabis brand and be the first to mass market as the walls of prohibition crumble?

One has to wonder about timing at this point. What is certain is that the world is changing rapidly and there will be large investment interests coming to the table looking to suck up popular brands and talented people in this industry. But is it easy to compare the current limitations in the market to what a global unencumbered legal market might look like? Is it too early to make a $39 million commitment? Is that number too low for a company, that if built and successful, could grow into a company that is worth a billion or more? It is a gamble for everyone involved, and obviously big business deals always come with plenty of strings attached. But Scott Van Rixel is a smart kid, and if anyone can pull off the transition, I would say it would be him.

Also one must consider how the entire deal tarnishes the brand itself. Does running out of the gate and announcing such a big splash make people recoil? Does it lessen the brand by associating it with big business in a time when people are still in prison for weed and the community fears the future of industrial behemoth corporations? Is it premature for Mentor Capital to roll out this news? I mean, it might help their stock price but does it help the Bhang brand overall? If so, you would think there would be more acknowledgement by Bhang about the deal.

But regardless of how it plays out it is a shot across the bow for people who are making their brands known in the industry. There is big money circling around and looking to make deals. It is a tough call between remaining independent and the ability to compete in a global economy and hit the ground running. As prohibition ends there are sure to be many twists and turns. I will be watching the evolution of Bhang closely as I roll my brand back out and work to rebuild my corner of the market. I always wish Bhang well and hope for the best. I am glad they have taken the leap to attempt to carve a path for the industry.

No whammies! No whammies!….BIG BUCKS.

mayorWhammy

Weed Activist

WEED 2: Getting Somewhere; But Where?

March 13, 2014 in End the Drug War, Ethics and Morality, I Like Weed, Inspire, Mass Incarceration, Medical Cannabis, Messaging, Video, Weed Activism, Weed Business, Weed Freedom, Weed Politics

Weeds2

I woke up at 4:20 a.m. this morning restless and unable to get back to sleep. I decided to watch Sanjay Gupta’s CNN special entitled Weed 2: Cannabis Madness. I had been procrastinating on watching it for a couple of days, in part to see what the general response was from the cannabis community and the media at large. I have listened to the positive points, and also looked more deeply at questions posed to try and make sense of it all.

I believe Gupta to be a strong benchmark for where the current administration and government regulators are on the issue. Sanjay was supposed to be the US Surgeon General under the Obama administration; but my tin-foil hat leads me to believe he stayed on with CNN because he serves a far more valuable role to the administration as a trusted medical spokesmodel on a major news outlet.

Don’t believe me? Think Obamacare. At every point in the poor rollout of Obamacare Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been there to defend the administration positions, even comparing the new healthcare plans to a Ferrari. Not convinced? Check out the gay rights issue. Gupta came out hard for gay bullying when the administration was developing new strategies and policies for DADT and DOMA. He has defended the need for gay marriage. What’s that? Michelle Obama is rolling out a childhood obesity program? Call Gupta. Immigration? Gupta has an excellent immigrant story to share, and does. Wanna talk abortion? Gupta is your man to tell why closing women’s health centers is dangerous to public health.

My point is Dr. Sanjay Gupta shares eerily similar points of views with President Obama and seems to design specials based on politically hot topics that the administration is working on. Coincidence? Maybe. But to me it seems an awful lot like they use this guy to float their trial balloons out to get a read on the pulse of the nation before dropping big news on policy shifts.

So here we are with Gupta bringing his SECOND hour-long documentary on WEED. How convenient.

The episode begins with one of my favorite families and their journey to get their daughter, Vivian, safe cannabis medicine for her rare epileptic condition, Dravet’s Syndrome, which causes her to have many aggressive seizures everyday. Brian and Meghan Wilson are amazing people and some of my personal heroes. I have watched their story evolve in the media and through lurking on Meghan’s Facebook feed.

I became a huge fan of the Wilson’s when I saw Brian Wilson confront New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and say the words heard around the world….”DON’T LET MY DAUGHTER DIE, GOVERNOR.”

 
)

I deal with people and parents every day who are trying to unravel this whole cannabis issue; but Wilson’s ability to convey that message so clearly and speak truth to power hit me like a ton of bricks. It made me angry. It made me upset. It made me want to do something. It also made me want to kick Chris Christie (and all the prohibitionist losers) in the nuts.

I have two healthy sons. I am so lucky to be able to say that. When I understand what parents like the Wilson’s go through just to provide basic qualities of life to Vivian I know how lucky I am, and I understand what a struggle their life must be. Which is why their strength and poise amaze me and I am in awe of what incredible humans they are.

They share their story with the world in hopes if creating understanding and opening doors. CNN did a good job of showing their journey to move from New Jersey to Colorado to have access to safe and effective plant based CBD rich medical cannabis preparations. As I watched it, even though I knew the story, I could see how difficult the entire ordeal must have been- and continues to be. I could not imagine how angry I would be to have to move my entire family across the country just to have access to a medicine that literally has never killed anyone and is safer than water.

The point CNN worked to make was what an injustice this was, and how stupid the entire thing is. They showed the irony that the government owns a patent on cannabis medicines and yet claims there is no medicinal value. They made clear the absurdity of the legal status of cannabis, and even spell out that only 6% of government funded studies have gone toward exploring the benefits of cannabis, while the other 94% of resources have gone toward demonizing this plant and have failed miserably.

They made sure to hit on many points that attempt to make the case for rescheduling; which is exactly what I think this “documentary” is set to do. I think cannabis rescheduling is literally moments away.

But what does that mean?

I am glad you asked. On the surface it seems like a harmless progression. One thing I can assure you of though, rescheduling cannabis without adult use legalization will create MORE prohibition related issues. Not less.

What you will see is a move to discredit and disqualify state programs that allow for the free and open exchange of medical cannabis preparations. You will see a move to end people’s ability to produce their own cannabis at home, in a move to say “the only cannabis medicines that can be considered legitimate are the ones produced by this big pharma outfit, or this specific group.”

We saw that argument being made in the special by none other than Drug Warrior Prince Patrick Kennedy himself. Now here is a jackass who is fighting a losing battle and who is now trying to hedge his bets. Patrick Kennedy, and his buddy Kevin Sabet (the world’s biggest liar about marijuana) have been on their “Project SAM” crusade to try and stop the inevitable legalization of marijuana.  Now he wants to go on Gupta’s special pretending he is some advocate for “medical only” cannabis prepared strictly under FDA regulations and provided only through pharmacies. Sure…right. He continues to backpedal and establish a line in the sand that will pay his money hungry corporate sponsors who want to keep weed as illegal as possible for as long as possible. It is sad. You are better than this shit, Patches.

kennedy.liar.1

The look at the GW Pharmaceuticals close-up. As far as Big Pharma goes, I am not a fan; but GW does a good job of working to represent cannabis in that world, which has obviously not been cheap and they have faced many hurdles. I respect their work.

The message we saw being made in the Gupta Weeds 2 special was twofold. For one, they made it clear that England was ahead of us on this matter, as well as 25 other countries. Nothing gets conservative lawmakers to the table more quickly than American exceptionalism. Secondly, they made the case and showed up-close with their fancy science machinery and football field size garden (complete with a neat little British chap saying “I am not particularly partial to the smell”) to make the case that they CAN turn the marijuana plant into a prescription drug. Perfectly framed to drive even the most staunch opponents around on why rescheduling is necessary and it can be done under the strict protocols of the FDA and DEA.

Did you notice the gratuitous shots of the fancy Rotovapes, both at GW labs and in Colorado? That is not an accident. Make the connection.

rotovape.1

So we can see how the message is moving, and where the focus is going. A clear message about the children suffering and families being torn apart to start the show. A transition to firm discussion on hypocrisy of Schedule 1.They show successful results from early cases in C0lorado with a company who has “hired scientists from major pharmaceutical companies.” Then they show the European-based GW Pharmaceuticals mass producing and beating us to market on 25 other countries in a very professional and scientific medical environment. Throw in a little hippie bashing and some well placed jabs at the current cannabis industry…and there you have it. The case on why the Obama administration will reschedule probably before summer.

Which brings me to where the piece FAILS.

While obviously the tale of Vivian Wilson is gripping (I cried for real), it is one of many stories of families that are suffering from cannabis prohibition in so many ways. There has been a lot of focus on Dravet Syndrome because it is such a stark reminder of just how crazy these policies are. How fucked up are we as a society to make parents like Brian and Meghan uproot their family and move to a different state to save their kid because we decided to outlaw weed many decades ago, and our current political nightmare keeps us from touching any third rail items and addressing injustice? It shows how messed up the situation is beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Dravet Syndrome only affects 1 in 30,000 people on average. The prohibition of cannabis has affected and often ruined the lives of SO MANY MORE.

That is the core message we are not having enough as a society. I feel deeply for those 10-15,000 people in our country who have Dravet Syndrome….but the millions and millions of people who lose their freedom, their jobs, their kids, and their standing in the community every year because of this war on personal choice and a safer alternative also deserve a voice in this.

People like Josh Stanley and his supposed band of Dudley Do-Right brothers do not help the matters either with their pathetic rhetoric where they go out of their way to make off color remarks stating:

“You can set the whole hippie population of Colorado loose on our plants and all you will have is a bunch of disappointed hippies.”

Yeah, asshole…..those hippies are the one who brought the issue to the forefront of the conversation so you could “get famous” for growing your medical only marijuana and disparaging the “hippie stoner potheads” on national television and in the press. Don’t forget it was “the hippies” who also have brought up some other meaningful issues like ending violent wars, genetically modifying foods, and taking care of the environment…or as you “I play a straight guy on TV” assholes say – climate change.

hippies.stanley.1

Remember all those novel points? Earth Day and shit? So go on with your hippie bashing but do not be surprised if you get a size 11 Birkenstock sandal up your ass one day soon. I am not sure what your constant bashing of a culture that created the space that allows you to exist, but there is an old hippie named Dennis Peron you might want to go talk to about how cool hippies really are before you go off on your next tirade.

The Stanleys are up to something for sure. They are actively providing CBD only templates for legislation to lawmakers in many states that will certainly give them a competitive advantage in the marketplace. they are positioning themselves as the “go-to” saviors, complete with the “we are good Christians so you can trust us” bullshit rhetoric.

There is a lot of strange cloak and dagger movement in that camp. The word on the street is that they are now offering their Charlotte’s Web genetics for a measly $100,000. They also seem to be pretty closely in bed with people well-known in Big Pharma circles.

realm.010

That is an email from Wisconsin showing them getting the “template from Realm of Caring” for the CBD only legislation being proposed there. I think the Stanley’s willingness to throw cannabis users under the bus with their hyperbolic bullshit is disgusting. These clowns just got off the boat, changed their clothes from the parking lot at the dead show, refound Jesus, and now want to position themselves as the leading researchers in cannabis medicines in the United States? Spare me.

You guys are gross. What you are is star struck and money hungry.

The Stanley’s admit they cannot meet demand, yet they will not give the strain to parents in need to grow for themselves….unless they have $100k per plant apparently. They are hoping to capitalize off of their fortunate notoriety and probably sell their operation to one of the big pharma behemoths lurking around the corner (if they haven’t already). \

I did love that their employee had his rasta colored bong and was dabbing on the segment. LOL. So strange. Fucking hippie.

I think the Stanley Brothers are gross and I hope they get fucked over by their new corporate overlords. I think they have done some decent stuff over time, but it is clear they have sold way the fuck out and are not coming back anytime soon.

Beyond the fact that the episode shaped up to be a commercial for the rescheduling of cannabis and the ultimate turnover of the industry to big pharma for the medical side- and the reality that people who think they have “medical cannabis” now are in for a pretty rude awakening- I thought the program made a lot of great points.

I think it made points that are long overdue, and I also think it fell short of the real message…being that cannabis prohibition is evil and immoral, regardless of its intended use.

I believe that the story given by Brian and Meghan Wilson about their daughter was incredible and opened the hearts and minds of millions of people….and I cherish them for that.

I think the rest of the “documentary” sounded a lot like a commercial for upcoming changes in the political, legal, and regulatory policies of cannabis. I think we, as a community, should be very aware of what that means. I think it does not mean what most have been led to believe. I will say it again for you….”MEDICAL IS THE SECOND STRICTEST CLASSIFICATION ON THE PLANET NEXT TO ALL OUT PROHIBITION.

While I am sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that the medical sector of cannabis will be swallowed up by big pharma and eventually what is considered medicine will be prepared only in strict controlled and regulated environments, I fear this transition happening without adult use legalization happening at the same time. You can be sure that what is now considered “medical” programs across the country will be deemed as “too recreational” and “ripe for abuse” and will be challenged and attacked by those who are allowed to produce FDA grade weed products….mark my words.

If the current industry gets caught in that vortex, we either join the dark side or head back to the black market. So we must be careful what we are asking for and what we are not standing up to defeat. I did think Dr. Raphael Mechoulam made a great point about needing the whole plant medicines, including THC; but it was obviously edited down and then led into a “which is why GW Pharmaceuticals is making this product” segment. (rolls eyes)

The CBD only legislation and the “just enough” efforts we see being put forth are aimed at limiting who can use cannabis for what and what ratios they can obtain. It is CANNABIS MADNESS… but not in the way Sanjay would lead you to believe. We are evolving towards a “prohibition light” where we will seem to allow for cannabis, but really can maintain many of the prohibition policies that allow us to jail poor and minority people at alarming rates.

The answer is ending prohibition. That is where we need to be headed.

I think the Weed 2 piece is getting us somewhere for sure. I am just not sure it is where we need to be going in the bigger picture of things. If Sanjay really wants to talk health, talk about the suffering of people in prison for a plant you just went on TV and said was amazing. Quit selling pharmeceutical products and look at the incredible harm prohibitin and the drug war is having on the world we live in. Get back to me with the real health costs of that if you want to have a valid conversation.

So I guess my point is…”Thanks. But no thanks.” Freedom or bust.

Here is the whole episode for you to check out:
)

Weed Activist

For the love of the game…

March 9, 2014 in End the Drug War, Ethics and Morality, I Like Weed, Inspire, Reform Groups, Weed Activism, Weed Business, Weed Freedom, Weed Love, Weed Politics

mickey.pressconference.1

I like to say that cannabis activism is a lot like pissing yourself in a dark pair of pants…..No one really notices but it gives you a nice warm feeling.

I often wonder why I do this every day…Why I wake up constantly in a battle to ensure cannabis legalization happens, and that it happens ethically and morally. It is exhausting, and trying. If it is not some out of line prohibitionist loser drug warrior I am taking to task, it is some shady asshole who wants to take advantage of this emerging industry and shit on the hard work of those who have been here making this thing happen for years.

A lot of issues come across my desk, as I have somehow taken on the role of industry watchdog. Not a day goes by without getting an email or FB message letting me know about people who are gaming the system and/or defrauding folks. It is pretty depressing actually. In order to process and deal with all of this I write. I try to lay out issues we face in plain and understandable conversational pieces that force our community to have a difficult conversation.

I do not do this for money. If you notice, this site has no advertising on it. That is by design. I am not beholden to anyone and am free to say what I want about whoever I want without fear of losing revenue or support. I built this site myself to serve as an informational resource where people could come and take in my perspectives to learn more about the movement for cannabis legalization, and the players that make up the cannabis landscape. We are all adults here, so I like to think that my writings, while sometimes harsh, create the space needed to have a conversation about issues of concern.

Not all is fun and games either. I have been attacked and threatened on several occasions for my writings.

There was the time when all four of my tires were slashed on my car. I have had tracking devices put on my vehicle and have been threatened by people who called me and say shit like “I know where you live. Take down the Bullshitter of the Week or else.”

Once when leaving a dispensary in Sacramento a guy walked up to me and pepper sprayed me in my vehicle point blank, not saying a word. I have had my wife and kids followed and have had threatening letters sent from Mexico that imply their safety was at risk if I did not stay off of the internet.

I get emails on the regular from those pissed off about what I have written, and I am physically threatened on Facebook by assholes at least once a week. I have had people post my wife’s information online in an effort to get me to stop making memes about them, even though she does not smoke weed or is a part of this movement in any way.

So YEAH. It is like that.

So why do I do it? Why do I continue to look these threats in the eye and continue to write the truth, as I see it, regardless of the consequences?

Why? For the love of the game, of course.

I love weed; and even more so, I hate injustice. I am not a person to sit by and just let things be for fear of confrontation. I relish confrontation and think that often volatility is necessary to stir up complacency and stagnant behavior. For me, the game is to get weed legal without being overrun by fraud and corruption in the process.

I know….It is a lot to ask in today’s world where corporations make the rules, and politicians, law enforcement, and those who are in positions of leadership within the cannabis community are as corrupted as they come.

But I will continue to fight for what is right and just. I will never be okay with letting people use our good name to swindle people out of investments and money. I will never be okay with those who blatantly lie and defraud people to get ahead because they think that the quasi-legal status of weed is ripe ground for their scandalous activities.

I will at least be here to rise up and meet them and shine some light on their bullshit. I am not a coward who will sit back and let fools run amok without calling bullshit.

Do not get me wrong. I am scared. My wife is scared.

We live a different kind of life as a result of threats and my willingness to speak truth to power. But I would rather die standing up for what I believe, than to pass away an old man wishing I would have had the courage to stand up and do something. To me this is about more than just weed. It is about what is right and what is wrong. It is about defending our position and ensuring that the playing field is level.

For me the game is bigger than us all. Bigger than any one person or company. It is bigger than this law or that regulation. It is bigger than the hucksters and charlatans who have made their home on the Board of Directors of this organization or that group. It is bigger than me by a longshot.

The game is still just about a plant and some freedom; and I love the game more than life itself.

Game on, bitches. Game on.

Warrior.LOGO

Weed Activist

Feel Our Pain

March 3, 2014 in End the Drug War, Ethics and Morality, Inspire, Mass Incarceration, Uncategorized, Weed Activism, Weed Freedom, Weed Love

feelpain.1

Sometimes I sit back and try to take it all in. I am knee deep in the Drug war on any given day. I spend a lot of time working to change minds and communicating with those who have been victims of these tyrannical policies. The vast majority of my day is spent working to end cannabis prohibition and to restore the rights and freedoms of those who have been railroaded by a corrupt system gone bad. Most of the time it is depressing and trying. It is hard to find positives when a lot of your interaction in the world is based on injustice.

I become emotionally invested in most everything I do. One of the reasons I keep a tough outer shell up for appearances is because often I am an emotional wreck searching for an answer to the pain I feel.

On most days there is no answer. Just more questions and more stories and emails to read through about people being fucked by this war. I absorb news stories and Facebook postings like a sponge. My curiosity needs to know; and like a kid who still believes in Santa I open my computer every morning hoping to see the end of prohibition and the Drug War announced.

Fortunately, some real and meaningful victories along the way have been enough to keep me going. I do not need much…Just to know that we have a shot. As long as I can convince myself to believe that this is all possible then I can move past the pain and the reality of the massive challenges we face to fight another day…and I am an optimistic person.

But what makes me continue to wage my war against the evils of cannabis prohibition and the Drug War is the sick feeling I wake up with in my stomach every day. I see the big picture. It is my life.

I spend nearly every moment of the day thinking about how to make the world a better place through my direct actions and communications. I know what it feels like to feel powerless and to be persecuted for my choice to be involved with cannabis. I am in constant contact with families who have lost their kids, their jobs, their standing in the community, and their freedom for this cause; and their pain is mine.

It is not an issue of what “THEY” are doing to “THEM.” This is a war that “WE” are waging against “US.” We are better than this. This has spiraled out of control and it is time for it to finally come to an end. We can no longer live in a society where we jail our friends and neighbors for their personal choice freedoms.

But in order for us to end this thing people have to feel that pain.

They feel that pain when we can make them understand the issue and own the responsibility of decades of a failed war on our own citizens. It is up to us to express our outrage with this system and demand it be changed. it is our moral obligation to stand up and shout, “NO MORE.”

This thing ends when enough of us have the courage to say, “Enough.”

So I challenge you as a citizen of planet earth to feel that pain.

I challenge you to allow yourself to absorb the magnitude of this evil ruse on the world, and carry it with you wherever you may go.

I challenge you to make others feel that pain and understand our suffering.

We have already locked up millions of non-violent drug offenders because they were poor and/or a minority. This is a holocaust in slow motion, as was so eloquently stated by David Simon, creator of The Wire. That is blood on your hands. It is up to you if you want to live with that. I cannot.

I will fight until the sick feeling in my stomach is no longer there. To all of the folks who believe in the drug war and who want to continue down this path of absolute failure and destruction, I can only ask you to begin to FEEL OUR PAIN.

When we feel the pain of those these injustices are directly affecting we can find empathy and the passion to put a stop to the madness.

Weed Activist

Legal vs. Ethical

March 2, 2014 in Ethics and Morality, Weed Business

mcdowells

The cannabis industry is in a strange place. On one hand there is a developing industry, where people are working hard to innovate and develop products and brands that are real and meaningful. On the other hand, all cannabis activity is illegal and not able to be legally protected under trademark and copyright laws, so these individuals and companies have no legal protection or recourse for those who would steal their ideas and products and make them their own.

This week I had a strange confrontation at an event in Boston, where the company “Medically Correct aka Incredibles” was giving a rather weak presentation on their product lines from Colorado to folks looking to enter the industry there.  As I was perusing their table one of the owners, Rick Scarpello, confronted me, stating he recognized me from somewhere. (Note to self: Less pictures of myself on FB) I told him my name was Mickey and he says, “Oh yeah. Would you mind not talking shit about us on Facebook.”

After a small giggle and smile I asked him what he was talking about. I had never mentioned him or his company on Facebook. What I had stated on FB was something to the effect of “If your company makes shitty flavored chocolate bars with Merckens waxy chocolate from recipes that sucked 10 years ago then you should just give up.” Was this comment aimed at their company? Maybe…but there was no direct attack on their brand.

What I was referencing is the fact that many of their recipes are based off of my ex-partner’s Bliss Bar recipes, and that they suck. They are waxy and taste like flavored candles. The chocolate is meant for housewives who shop at Michael’s to use for their kid’s birthday party treats, and not for commercial style production. Go to any chocolatier and they will tell you the same thing. It is an inferior and cheap excuse for chocolate. Because I have an ongoing disdain for my ex-partner, I made a snarky and generalized remark on my personal FB account.

So when this prick decides to confront me at this event this week, I called him on it. I asked him why he was using beat recipes from a washed up edible maker whose recipes sucked ten years ago? His defensive and dickish response was telling and says a lot about where our community is. Here is what he said:

If you change a recipe by 1% it is not their recipe anymore. Besides….It is not like anything is patented.

rick.scarpello.medically.correct.1percent

I was shocked. Here was this prick who is making money hand over fist off of other people’s ideas in Colorado openly admitting that he is okay with taking a person’s product and process and altering it slightly so that he could brand it as his own and make a killing off of it. Funny…he didn’t mention that in his presentation.

But put the shitty Bliss bars aside. I could care less if he altered those terrible tasting products enough to make them his own. God bless him because those bars have always sucked. Medically Correct is also the company that teamed up with Sweetstone Candy and was producing their very popular gummy bear products under their licensing for patients in Colorado. Recently the deal went south, and the companies split ways. No big deal, right? Shit happens.

Anyone want to bet that real soon Medically Correct comes out with a new gummy product? Maybe about 1% different of a recipe than the one Sweetstone uses? Or maybe exactly the same since, you know, “these things aren’t patented anyways.” And legally, the company is correct. There is little repercussion that can come legally as a result.

But is it ethical?

We see this conundrum all over the industry. Folks continue to take one person’s idea and alter it by 1% to make money from it. Maybe it is the American way. Maybe we should just all bend over and take it. Maybe this is how the industry will come into its own. But to me, I would not want to buy a product from companies that simply retread other’s ideas and try to make a buck off of them.

I do not buy products from sham rip-off companies in the regular market. I certainly will not in the cannabis market. regardless of where the legal line is drawn, ethics matter. You can drink the Dr. Pibb aka Peppo aka Mr. Pibb stuff if you want. I am good on that. I will stick with real Dr. Pepper. As a person who produces products and ideas, I take it personally when others blatantly rip-off their ideas and work to capitalize off other’s success. I can tell you I will not be buying a fucking Dab Joy e-nail rip-off either.

incredibles.medically.correct.dick.1

Like most other copycat products made by people with no original ideas of their own, Medically Correct’s Incredible products are inferior in taste and quality and leave a lot to be desired. The hilarious part, is even with all of the shitty flavored wax chocolate headache causing products they have sold, they never even changed the molds from Bliss bars, and barely altered the packaging and labeling. Still looks the same as it did 10 years ago when it sucked in California. Let me guess…You want to do “Twisted Truffles” too? LOL. They are not alone either…most of Dixie’s products were adapted from products produced by The Farmacy in California years before they existed.

So legally, sure, these assholes have a leg to stand on. But ethically, it is bullshit. These guys started off making crappy brownies and stole some ideas they had seen work elsewhere to make their signature line. What a joke. It is nice that they are making money hand over fist off of these pretty shitty excuses for cannabis-based foods, but they are about as unethical and unoriginal as can be.

It would be nice to see the community rise up and reject frauds like these, but alas, money talks. I am sure these bullshitters will be here for years to come pushing their copycat candies and ideas.

The good news is that real innovators and quality producers still exist and companies like this usually implode given enough time.

One can only hope that real business protections and morals will come to the cannabis industry sooner than later. Until then, I guess asshole’s like these will have free reign to exploit and get rich off the backs of those who had the courage to produce products and put them on the market to be ripped off. Selah.

Click to listen highlighted text! Powered By GSpeech