It's not you. It's me…..

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I am not sure what to think anymore.

The weed game has changed, or maybe I have. I have been looking for words to express how I feel since my visit to Denver for 4/20. I keep coming up empty.

On one hand it is amazing to see a cause you have been fighting so long for materialize into a bright and colorful landscape of cannabis business and culture. On the other hand, it is paralyzing to realize that we have passed the point of no return and that I can do very little to control the universe. The game is bigger than us all.

I have been reflecting on where I have been, where I am now, and where I am going…. It has been a daunting and emotional task to say the least. What I am coming to find is that I no longer know where I fit in the landscape, or if I ever did at all. The fight has been exhausting.

I have written more stuff about the cannabis movement than I care to think about. I often find myself writing a piece and it feels like the same words I have been speaking and writing for the last decade. It might be chopped and screwed to meet the newest demand of the day, but underneath it sounds redundant. I have been wondering if I even have anything to say anymore, or if I have written myself out of the game completely?

It is not that I think there is nothing left to say. I can find words for anything. I just wonder if there is anyone listening any more, or if the world has again passed me by. I look around at events these days and feel like an alien. I am not sure where I am or who the fuck all these people are. It is dumbfounding.

But maybe it is not the game that has really changed. Maybe it is me.

Is it possible that my loss of words is is reflective of a change in who I am and what I want? Is it possible that now that the writing is on the wall and prohibition will be ending soon that the magic is gone? Is it my reality that has shifted?

I am just not sure any more. I know that I will always be a part of the cannabis revolution, but is that enough? I question my place in the universe often and must consider the big picture. It will always be about a plant and some freedom to me. But how long can I go on dedicating my time, energy, and resources to fighting a battle that I am not sure is able to be won? What have I sacrificed over the years by allowing my cannabis tunnel vision to consume me?

There is more out there that I want and need. I am unsure that the industry and movement have the power to fulfill me any longer. Do not get me wrong… Weed will always be a part of my life, but how much longer can it be my entire life? At what point must I step back and just let things be?

I have given up a lot of myself to fight this battle for many years. I rarely sleep and have taken it upon myself to be a watchdog for this industry. I have no idea why any more?

While I hope that my words and time spent have helped others to find their voice and understand the world a little better, I must now begin to fight for me.

My sacrifice has taken its toll. It has exhausted me emotionally, compromised me financially, and has put me in harm’s way physically. I am invested in the “movement” so much that I have lost who I am. At some point I have become my writing and my communication. I have become words on a page. I have given up everything to be who I thought the movement needed me to be.

It has left me drained and empty. It has given me anxiety and stress that has made me question the world and my place in it. I have come to a fork in the road.

I must take time to reflect on what is next. Which direction is right for Mickey? What can I do to make my world better? I have spent so much time and energy working on how to make everyone else better that I have left myself behind. I can no longer afford to do that. The cost has been too big.

I appreciate the love for my work that I have experienced. Not a day goes by that I am not thanked for the way my pieces have touched other’s lives. That has been enough to keep me going for a long time. I am not sure why; but it no longer feels like enough.

I must step back and reevaluate things. I have to begin to consider myself in the equation. It can no longer be all about the weed game. I must find more balance. I cannot continue down the path of resistance.

If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was, and always will be yours. If it never returns, it was never yours to begin with.

At some point I have to let go. If there is a place for me at the table I will be gald to take it, but at some point I must stop trying to bang the square peg into the round hole. I owe it to myself to have confidence that what I have given is enough.

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At some point I have to learn to be happy with what is, and stop working on what could be.

It has been a long long journey for me. I am not sure it is coming to an end, but I do know there must be some changes. I have to find a way to be okay again. I cannot continue to fight until I can no longer breathe and the walls have closed in. I must evolve.

As I step back and begin to think more deeply about my place in the universe, I may not be as active in the community. I have given more than I had, and at some point that has to be enough….

#radiosilence

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

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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?

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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.

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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….

Go Fuck Ourselves

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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:

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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

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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.