What the Fuck Are We Thinking?

Head in Hands

What an odd time in cannabis history. No one ever said evolution was painless. In fact, it is quite awkward.

Watching the industry evolve from days of outlaw diplomacy to corporate douchebaggery is a major struggle for me. On one hand there is nothing romantic about people getting locked up in prison for decades for growing weed that is sold at inflated prices due to black market principles. It is just not a workable model for a civilized society. At the same time, the limited and guarded acceptance of cannabis has resulted in programs that are unworkable and expensive that benefit the few, and which are often designed to fail.

Nothing we see now is a level playing field. Until we see a truly free market work in cannabis there will be an odd dance of those who believe in freedom being pushed out by those who believe in limited freedom and who are willing to throw us all under the bus to serve their own agenda. Don’t cannabrand me, bro.

I am not an idealist. I saw this coming a mile away and have done my best to bring caution to the wolves in wook’s clothing. I understand the situation clearly and know it will likely get worse before it gets better. This strange era of positioning and lobbying for our own unworkable limitations will not last forever, but it will go on for some time. It is the monkeys fucking the football for real, as no one on any side of the argument can seem to find the right answer. the answer is simple… It is cannabis freedom.

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Instead what we see are people working to undermine freedom by promoting limited models that promote their business models. The easiest to spot are the CBD oil hucksters out in force to convince the word that their magic CBD potion is totally legal and won’t even get you high. Some of these pricks, like the Hempmeds/Cannvest/Kannaway crews, are shipping their hemp sludge derived “medicines” that were created from industrial machine byproducts to all 50 states touting their legality as nutritional supplements. Their lies are misleading, as routinely their products test far above the allowable THC limits for hemp derived products, and often their refined sludge carries dangerous heavy metals and contaminants. These groups have used slick marketing campaigns to sell their Frankenstein medicines, and have worked to convince the public and government officials that their bullshit magic paste is the answer; and that real cannabis derived products, often containing THC, are somehow dangerous. They have scammed stock investors on the pink sheets enough to afford lobbyists who have worked to pass CBD only legislation in several states.

Do you mind putting a shirt on while you harvest my "medicine?" Thanks.
Do you mind putting a shirt on while you harvest my “medicine?” Thanks.

But you cannot mention CBD only without looking at the Stanley Brothers and their “Realm of Caring.” Talk about a group of Stepford Wives and Children of the Corn. Bajeezus. This sad band of brothers have parlayed their 15 minutes of fame on CNN with Dr. Sanjay Gupta into a full blown international circus of fraud and deception. After throwing “lazy hipies and potheads ” under the bus in their media appearances, they went out of their way to make promises to thousands of families dealing with health issues for their children that they would be able to ship their miracle drug “Charlotte’s Web” to all 50 states this month because they had simply renamed the strain as hemp. Okay… so it was medical marijuana a couple months ago, but now Charolette’s Web is just hemp. Gotcha. Tell me more.

Well they were forced to eat their words after months of teasing families desperate to try their miracle that Gupta told them would save their kid’s lives. They retracted their nationwide offerings stating:

Unfortunately, despite the fact that the U.S. imports more hemp foods than any other country, the common association of CBD with high THC cannabis has caused more scrutiny for these hemp products than expected. For example a Minnesota mother may be facing charges for possessing a CBD product which she obtained for her son. Such tragic events, combined with the ever changing legal landscape of hemp/CBD products, have forced us to reconsider all potential ramifications of our previous distribution plans. Simply put: the last thing we want to do is put the families we serve in jeopardy.

As a result, at the strong advice of our legal counsel, we have decided it is in the best interest of both present and future clients, as well as the longevity of the ROC program as a whole, that we hold our distribution plan to higher standards than the conventional hemp industry.

So your legal counsel didn’t tell you that what you were planning on doing is actually quite illegal until after you made promises to thousands of desperate families? Super. Sounds like a real winner. Let me guess…. these are the same legal geniuses you have writing the CBD only legislation that resulted in the Minnesota mother being charged? Or in other states? Did you guys even write a strategy plan on this model? Or did you just see a window of opportunity after Gupta gave you some legitimacy and try to exploit it for your own gain by cementing in CBD only legislation that serves your model (even though it really does not) and leaves most patients out in the cold?

Maybe everyone should just move to Colorado to get your miracle drug hemp deal. But wait… last report is that the Charlotte’s Web that was planted outdoors as “hemp” is much different that the CW that they had been distributing to families. The cannabinoid profiles are extremely different and do not have the same results for many parents.

The Stanley’s tried to tell parents that the difference came from growing conditions outdoors under natural sun, but that is just not a valid assumption. What is more likely is that what was planted outdoors was not Charlotte’s Web at all, and was instead a modified varietal or completely different strain that was developed to meet the requirements of hemp production…. likely under advice of their crack legal team over there.

Now many parents are forced to perform their own alchemy to adjust cannabinoid levels themselves. More likely even is that this program was put in place to meet the even stricter hemp/CBD requirements that their own lobbyists have helped create in other states. They hoped that this would serve as a model, but unfortunately has resulted in anything but. Now their own efforts will come back to bite them in the ass, as well as the rest of the cannabis community.

The problem with the CBD revolution is that it is based on the premise of not getting high. Those who began this effort were motivated by their inherent fear of the perception that the opposition was concerned with people getting stoned. There are certain conditions where CBD is an undeniable benefit, but the industry has overblown this not in an effort of medical progress, but in an effort to say, “see… we are not even trying to get high.”

It has always been based in an effort to “legitimize” the cannabis industry by downplaying the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Can someone tell me when feeling good and feelings of euphoria became such bad things? Why are we conceding that a safe and enjoyable experience is somehow evil and intolerable in a society where most wake up with the drug of coffee and go to sleep with the drug of booze? Why are we, as cannabis users and supporters, denying our right to use cannabis to enhance our experiences? It all makes no sense to me.

What the fuck are we thinking…?

But don’t stop there. Let’s look at the edibles situation in Colorado more deeply. What we have is a basic unfounded hysteria resulting in backlash and red tape that very well could shut down the edibles market, or at the very least make it unworkable for many. The reports of a kid jumping off a balcony and dying after eating too much weed food and the guy who killed his wife after apparently ingesting edibles are the rallying cry where the prohibitionists have pointed to the “dangers” of marijuana. They have gone out of their way this Halloween to scare the shit our of parents by putting up billboards showing that THC infused candies look a lot like real candies. Yeah… well Jack Daniels looks a lot like apple juice when it is just sitting in a glass, but we do not see the drunken weed haters making this comparison. Vicodin looks a lot like a Tic-Tac too, but where is the outrage there? There is none.

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What we are seeing is a result of our industry’s representatives conceding these perceived dangers and allowing for regulators to take that ball and run with it. Instead of demanding equality and freedom where cannabis is concerned, it is our own industry’s lobbyists who have given ground on this issue to a point where it is becoming problematic. Look…. I feel for the kid who jumped off the balcony, but this type of stuff happens much more frequently under the influence of booze and we do not see a call for booze to be sold in single serving containers heavily labeled and packaged in tamper resistant packaging. In fact, anyone over 21 (and many times not 21 with a fake ID) can walk in and buy enough booze to kill a grown adult any day of the week they want.

But people like Michael Elliott of the Marijuana Industry Group have used their political muscle to empower regulators on this issue over the years, and now is watching his chickens come home to roost. The funny part is watching guys like him scramble when they figure out that in an effort to promote the interests of the few businesses he serves as a paid lobbyist, he actually ended up screwing them too…. then comes the effort to roll back the stupid shit you said just a few months ago. Yes… Let’s concede some strange danger about edibles because Maureen Dowd ate too much weed food and had an out of body experience in a Colorado hotel room. Super.

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But in an effort to win favor with lawmakers and regulators, what we see is these so called industry experts and their lobbyists willing to bend over and let the edibles industry be raped by those who oppose cannabis as some real danger. Look…. weed food can get you super high, but at what point does personal responsibility come into play? Why are we allowing people like Michael Elliott to make the opposition’s case for them, and then are surprised when the opposition seizes that concession to make the entire industry look like a bunch of irresponsible child molesters in need of severe oversight and regulation.

Let me know when they want to start “regulating cannabis like alcohol” as was promised in the historic 2012 election. Last I checked booze were everywhere and there were no burdensome regulations on how they are packaged and the quantity per bottle. Call me weird, but it would seem that a drug like booze that actually kills over 85,000 people a year might be regulated a little more tightly than weed food, but what do I know?

I do know that us willing to agree that somehow cannabis food poses some real verifiable danger to our society in respect to the many dangerous and legal options we already have is stupid.

What the fuck are we thinking?

Which brings me to my next issue, which is home cultivation and caregiver access. Why are there folks who are supposedly on the side of cannabis willing to take the rights of people to grow their own, or to access their medicine through a private caregiver who cultivates for them, away? People like Michael Elliott have conceded that there are dangers in these types of systems that are being abused to “illegally sell marijuana.”

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When he says “illegally” what he means is outside of the tightly regulated tax burdened system that his group has worked to develop. These positions have resulted in states like Massachusetts severely limiting the ability of caregivers to cultivate for patients or for patients to cultivate their own. Most states take statements like these and turn them into unworkable legislation that leaves people unable to legally cultivate plants for themselves or those in need. It is a pay to play scenario that will result in more limitation and knee jerk reactions that stifle personal freedom.

Not a day goes by that an article does not come out from those who oppose cannabis touting some poorly worded statement by some jackass in the cannabis industry about how dangerous these situations are to public safety. The fear of the cannabis community to actually stand up for their rights is embarrassing and at times devastating to our efforts.

What the fuck are we thinking?

The truth is that we are not. We are allowing those who favor prohibition to drive the conversation and when we help do their work for them by compromising the truth for hysteria, we all lose. When these assholes try to work the system to favor their own business models, only to have the whole rug pulled out from under them because they really do not understand politics as much as they led you to believe, the progress we all have worked hard to realize is instantly diminished.

It is sad enough that we have to deal with the Kevin Sabets and Patrick Kennedys of the world, but to have our message of cannabis freedom undermined by those who supposedly are on our side is ludicrous. I for one am tired of having to clean up these messes and work to convince people that these myths being put forth and supported by would be industry “experts” are simple fallacy.

This is not that difficult… cannabis is incredibly safe in comparison to most everything. Should there be limitations and regulations? Sure. But they must be reasonable and they must be founded in reality. We can no longer afford to have our own people making our lives more difficult by trying to give an inch to the crazies, which always results in a mile.

No we do not need CBD only laws to make sure people are not getting high. No we do not need to go out of our way to make a Scarlet letter for cannabis foods and ensure they are packaged in bulletproof containers. No we do not need to keep people from cultivating their own cannabis to avoid some perception of a dangerous diversion scenario. It is all stupid drama contrived to make issues where there are none. I will say it again… in the name of Jack Herer “SHOW ME THE BODIES.”

We must be cautious moving forward to not negotiate the freedom we are working to achieve. It makes no sense to help those who would be just as happy locking up people for weed create a market where weed is so severely limited that it leaves most people criminals and keeps the market inflated to black market pricing.

The reality is that a free cannabis market regulated sensibly with allowances for innovation and without so many impossible barriers to entry will result in higher quality and more affordable cannabis available to those who love and need weed. The rest of this window dressing is for the birds. The sooner we pull our heads out of our ass and begin asking for what we really want, the sooner we can get past all of this unnecessary drama and bullshit.

Selah.

Wolves in Wook Clothing. Why ASA continues to want YOUR cake and wants to eat it too. The SB 1262 DEBACLE.

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I have been here since nearly the beginning. I unfortunately know the story all too well. I have seen the California cannabis landscape evolve at every step and have been knee deep in politics and activism across the state for many years. Which gives me a unique perspective on the proposed regulatory bill making its way through the CA Legislature known as SB-1262.

I wrote a piece detailing my issues with SB 1262 entitled “You are all criminals. Welcome to the new California. SB 1262 must die.” In this article I went over many points of major issue in the proposal that will make more criminals out of CA patients and providers, and create a liability for physicians that will ensure many less people qualify as patients. Since then most reform groups have pulled their support for this effort, but not Americans for Safe Access. They continue to cheer lead for the end of the CA cannabis community and the making criminals out of thousands of people. It is bizarre to say the least.

In May, Americans for Safe Access put out a piece encouraging its supporters to blindly follow this Bill that would make it more difficult to get their medicine and would likely make most of them out to be criminals. The article was entitled “Support SB 1262 in California.” In this article they state the following:

ASA recognized the potential in SB 1262 early in the process. We worked with the Sen. Correa and other sponsors to significantly improve the bill, and ASA was the first in the medical cannabis field to endorse it. SB 1262 is a milestone in the medical cannabis debate in the state legislature. This is the first time that the California Police Chiefs Association and the League of California Cities have not opposed medical cannabis regulations. Having these two powerful lobby organizations standing beside patients and behind a regulatory bill is unprecedented. ASA regards this broad and influential coalition as a key strength of SB 1262, and we call on advocates and lawmakers to join us in supporting SB 1262.

NOTE: This endorsement has since been removed from their article. What remains is the following:

Contact your California State Senator and ask him or her to vote yes on SB 1262 this week. SB 1262 is a bill by Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) that would regulate commercial medical cannabis activity in the state. In its newly amended form, the bill places state regulatory control and licensing in the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and sets common-sense standards for cultivation and distribution. ASA supports SB 1262 because our research and experience show that sensible regulations preserve safe and dignified access to medical cannabis for patients, while reducing crime and complaints in neighborhoods.

It is funny when cowards run from themselves, but the bottom line is that Americans for Safe Access is still supporting this effort as detailed in David Downs’ article entitled “Do or Die for Mystery Pot Law.” In this article Down’s details how all other group’s of notable mention have pulled their support, while ASA remains steadfast in their undying love for this debacle:

“It’s a little unsettling given how important this is and how little time we have,” said Don Duncan, California coordinator for the 30,000-strong advocacy group Americans for Safe Access.

But ASA is staying on-board with SB 1262, which is sponsored by state Senator Lou Correa, a Democrat from Southern California. The bill is scheduled to be taken up by the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee in August, and has to be approved by the entire Assembly by the end of the August, or it’s over for this legislative session.

Now to hear Don Duncan say it is unsettling because of how little time we have is simply disingenuous. Americans for Safe Access have worked fr years to block the work of Tom Ammiano’s efforts to provide a regulatory framework that makes sense because they did not like the licensing agency, which was the Alcoholic Beverage Control,” as this would erode their position of “medical only access.” They understand like we all do that cannabis will be legal for adult use very soon and decided to retard that move by ensuring ABC could not regulate cannabis and easily make the transition to adult use.

Down’s article goes on to state:

As of press time, the most recent version of the bill is still supported by the police chiefs, the league, and ASA. But California NORML, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition oppose it unless it’s amended.

The DPA argues that the current version of the bill would make things worse for Californians. For one, anybody with a past drug felony would be disqualified from getting an industry license. That provision would place additional burdens upon many Californians — particularly African-American and Latino residents — who’ve already paid their debt to society.

In addition, many of the industry’s biggest and best actors wouldn’t qualify for a license, for technical reasons, such as an outstanding federal case (Harborside Health Center in Oakland) or the lack of official city permission to grow (which is pretty much every urban farmer in California). The bill also provides statewide approval of controversial new city bans on medical pot dispensaries.

“The issues are extremely glaring, and, frankly, I’m not sure they can be resolved,” said Amanda Reiman, DPA’s California policy manager. “The police chiefs think medical marijuana is a sham and look at this as an opportunity to stifle the progression of medical marijuana policy. The rules are worse than what we have now and would completely disable the program.”

It is good to see that at least some reform organizations have the courage to make statements that tell the truth.  Amanda is 100% right in stating, “The rules are worse than what we have now and would completely disable the program.” Furthermore it would make criminals out of thousands of law abiding citizens, create mass confusion at the local level of government, and ensure less people were able to access their medicine. Why the fuck any organization who was supposedly on the side of patients and providers would support this debacle is beyond me, but then I have long suspected Americans for Safe Access was indeed the Wolves in Wook clothing.

For a little historical perspective on my position on Americans for Safe Access, just know at one time I was their biggest supporter.

In 2007, our company donated tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise and literature to the organization when they were in the midst of their rebranding. I worked closely with the organization, even housing and distributing their merchandise in our own company offices in Oakland. I traveled throughout the state on their behalf soliciting dispensaries for donations to support their mission. I still respect Steph Sherer and Don Duncan for what I learned about activism and organizing while we worked together. I also appreciate the work Americans for Safe Access did when we were raided by Federal agents in 2007, and I owe them a debt of gratitude for helping me organize a response to the charges and allegations that were made against me and my company during that most difficult time. Their timely and organized response likely resulted in my not going to prison, and I will always be grateful for that.

But 2007 was  long long time ago, and Americans for Safe Access was a much much different organization. Besides the powerhouse figureheads of the organization, Sherer and Duncan, there is little remaining of what was at that time. In those days ASA got the lion’s share of their donations from medical cannabis providers like myself and many dispensaries throughout CA. They had just established their Washington D.C. office and were working to expand their political horizons to serve the folks who paid their bills. As they rebranded the organization and began to work towards doing more political lobbying and fundraising work over grassroots on the ground activism, they began to solicit money from more of the big name donors who were known to fund major projects in the cannabis reform movement. It was obvious they were shifting focus to encourage more large money donors, as it was difficult depending on dispensaries and medical providers who were under constant attack and being forced to shut their doors.

The initial shift was subtle, as a lot of the same names and faces were still in their roles with the organization. But over time their was an obvious sea change in who the organization was serving and what they wanted their image to look like.

Fast forward to late 2011, when I began to notice the most drastic of the change that I now clearly see as impeding cannabis freedom. When the Federal government announced their “crackdown” on the medical cannabis and began targeting high profile providers who donated to them regularly, the sky literally fell over there. Panic ensued and there was a call to circle the wagons to avoid losing everything. You could see it in Steph Sherer’s eyes, as she was on the ground in California a lot working to organize one response or another to what they viewed as an assault on not only patients and providers, but also their revenue. Purse strings were pulled quick by every organization in the state, as no one knew if that day may be their last. DEA raids were happening, including the high profile raid of Oaksterdam University and their dispensary. Letters were being sent to the biggest names in the game, including Harborside, BPG, Vapor Room, and many more, forcing them to close their doors and/or fight Federal charges. The IRS began a systematic crackdown charging incredible tax rates based on decades old drug kingpin tax laws. It was a highly volatile time for sure.

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As the calendar of 2012 began to pass, there were several efforts to put an initiative on the CA ballot to legalize cannabis for adult use on the heels of a narrow loss in a non-Presidential election year by Proposition 19. Three campaigns were working to secure funding for language that would have made cannabis legal for adults over 21. Money was being thrown at campaigns in Colorado and Washington to do just that, and it was obvious CA would have had a chance at also making history if funding groups came to the table.

Enter Americans for Safe Access with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in tow stating that they had the funding to put a medical cannabis regulatory initiative on the ballot and intended to do so. The  California Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act was filed by Don Duncan of ASA and Ron Lind of UFCW in January 2012 that would have created erroneous regulations for the industry and cemented UFCW’s place at the table as the only union allowed for the industry. It would have drastically reduced who could afford to pay to play in the industry and would have made a nightmare web of bullshit that probably wouldn’t have even passed if it did make the ballot. It literally LIMITED ACCESS across the state.

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But I do not believe there ever was funding for the initiative and the entire thing was a smoke screen to run out the clock on the other efforts towards legalization for adult use.  For the price of a shitty website and a few lofty press releases, they created enough doubt in potential donors to definitely not back any of the adult use efforts, thus ensuring cannabis would only be medical in CA for the foreseeable political future. California has 1/10th of the population of the nation and by far produces the most cannabis. When a lot of the interests you serve make their money on the status quo, it is easy to see how this could influence organizational decision making.

Mysteriously during this time Don Duncan also gave up his controlling interest in his West Hollywood dispensary to a well-funded group fronted at one time by TV star Montel Williams and funded by people with deep deep pockets who had also bought the controlling interests to dispensaries in Sacramento and Berkeley, and were applying for a dispensary in Oakland for which Duncan sat on the Board and even took their required regulations test for them. So is it a coincidence that this happens and ASA begins serving the interests of the few more prominently? I think not. There is collusion happening behind these closed doors at a level any honest person simply cannot comprehend.

Here is communication from Abatin’s attorney stating so:

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Don’t believe me about their initiative efforts? That is fine…. Let’s talk Los Angeles and Measure D. Here is what weed journalist David Downs said about Measure D the day after it passed:

Los Angeles voters chose to drastically reduce the number of storefronts selling medical marijuana yesterday, passing Measure D…. Measure D supporters – including the City Council, advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, and a dispensary union the UFCW Local 770 — celebrated the win for regulations in the biggest medical marijuana city on the planet.

So here we have ASA nd UFCW celebrating “drastically reducing” the number of places for people to get their cannabis. They put an effort on the ballot behind closed doors that was aimed at shutting down the majority of dispensaries besides a select few who were operating before an arbitrary and illegal deadline was placed by the LA City Council. These groups worked in conjunction with hostile lawmakers and the chosen few dispensing groups to put their competition out of business and again LIMIT ACCESS.

I wrote a piece about this seemingly bullshit move in 2013 called “More IS Better.” In it I detail my opposition the the ASA/UFCW’s coalition to LIMIT ACCESS in LA. I wrote:

The first is Measure D. This is the MOST restrictive and MOST expensive measure. It limits the number of collectives to an arbitrary 135 that were listed in 2007 on the City’s illegal moratorium and Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) and raises the tax rate for weed by 20%.

It was crafted by the ultra-corrupt City Council who has recently voted to ban dispensaries altogether and was written by cannabis enemy LA City Attorney Carmen Trutanich. The LA Times has suggested that instead of opposing all three, that Measure D is the closest thing to accomplishing NO medical marijuana. Here is their quote on that:

It would be easy enough to urge a no vote on all three, and to call on the city to impose a full-scale ban instead. After all, The Times opposed Proposition 215 from the outset, partly because it was sloppily written and partly because it set up an inevitable conflict with the federal government, which continues to classify marijuana as illegal and dangerous….

Measure D will come the closest to accomplishing that goal, or at least will put us on the right road.

Most important, it would impose limits on the number of marijuana businesses in the city, allowing about 135 dispensaries to remain open — those that were operating and registered under city laws in 2007 and that sought to re-register in 2011.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/endorsements/la-ed-end-marijuana-measure-d-e-f-20130510,0,448078.story

So get that…the super conservative LA Times who thinks dispensaries should be outright BANNED, and the City Council, who also thinks dispensaries should be BANNED, agree that the closest thing to an outright ban they can get passed is Measure D, and they are supporting this effort to severely limit and cripple the local market.

This is and was a glaring reason to assume that the goals of expanding access for patients was no longer the focus of Americans for Safe Access, and instead a shift to focus on providing a competitive advantage for a select few who can compete is their new objective. What they did in LA was unnecessary and counter productive to cannabis freedom. Did I mention that the current version of CA SB 1262 mentions several times Measure D directly, ensuring it’s ability to limit access? Yeah. It is like that.

But let’s get back to where we are now with CA SB 1262.

Tomorrow ASA is organizing a lobbying day at the CA State Capitol. They are calling on medical cannabis supporters to come out and let lawmakers know how they feel about the proposed regulations. They have walked back their full-throated support for the bill, now even calling it “controversial.” As noted earlier they are still publicly supporting the bill and encouraging lawmakers to do so.

Here is their statement on their Lobbying Day scheduled for tomorrow (Monday Aug. 4):

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It is clear that they have gotten a lot of feedback, as they make sure to state “It does not matter if you support or oppose, or are undecided….” They are hedging their bets wherever possible, while continuing to support an effort that will literally shut most every aspect of the current cannabis system in CA down and turn it over to only a very few who can afford to play the game and meet the slim requirements of the bill.

They continue to call for their legion of blind supporters to make their voice heard, while literally selling us out to the interests of the few, the connected, and the opposition. It is an amazingly underhanded effort at the core, and one I can only relate to absolute treason. There is no reason any person who supports cannabis freedom should ever give a dime of their money, any resources, or energy to supporting. It is clear that the new name of the organization should be Americans for Limited Medical Only Access (ALMOA).

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I strongly encourage anyone who cares about cannabis freedom to come out and voice their opposition to this crap. If you can make the ASA Citizen Lobby Day event super. If you cannot, contact your state legislators by phone and email immediately. Let’s organize direct action responses to this Bill while we still have time. Things will move rapidly. It is up to us to ensure we do not have to live under a homogenized rich person’s vision of what the industry should look like.

We must ensure any regulations being put forth take into consideration the current network of small batch producers and friendly patient services that exist everywhere in the state. 

We cannot let the only voice being heard is those who are in bed with the CA Police Chief’s Association and the CA League of Cities, who have openly opposed any sensibility in the CA legal process year after year. ASA should be treated with the same disdain and opposition with these groups as long as they are supporting this effort to LIMIT ACCESS and MAKE CRIMINALS out of thousands of people for doing what they do this very minute. The time to act is NOW, or do not be surprised when this piece of shit is your reality in a few days.

I hate to say it, but our biggest enemies these days are within. The people we need to worry about are right here, pretending to be your friend while selling you down the fucking river for thirty lousy pieces of silver. I just do not get it. But regardless, BEWARE OF THE WOLVES IN WOOK’S CLOTHING. They are everywhere.

Unrivaled Bullshit: @Lab_Tested_Edibles is a Fraud. Korova and CW Analytical Hack Job.

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So in April this adorable and seemingly awesome Instagram account popped up that began testing edibles and publicly posting results #FORTHEPATIENTS. This no name anonymous Instagrammer would have you believe that they are just a patient who happens to spend thousands of dollars to get edibles tested so that patents know what they are getting. They go to random dispensaries and purchase products, and out of their own pockets and good heart, spend money for the edible and then to get it tested so that they can bring you “the real results.”

Here is their Instagram:

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So get this… this whole deal popped up in April, right? Here is a screenshot of their first posting being from April:

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But here is a post that was soon deleted from FEBRUARY from the kids at Korova Edibles:

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Notice the eerie similarity? Crazy right? Three months before this Dudley Do-Right @lab_tested_edibles Instagram page popped up this highly competitive edible company who is close friends with the owner of CW Analytical labs; and who is in a close knit group of other edible makers looking to gain competitive advantages in the marketplace, Korova edibles had almost an identical comparison model posted on their social media that was removed shortly thereafter? WOW!!!!! What are the chances?

So here is the ruse. Korova Edibles, in conjunction with CW Analytical labs have created this Instagram count to provide a clear competitive advantage for their clients and people who they are in bed with.  They can anonymously post skewed results that discredit some of their bigger competitors and support that the people who are doing business with CW and Korova themselves are the only ones being “truthful” with patients. But it is all bullshit.

Here is a look at some of the edible companies who use CW labs according to the scrolling logos on their own website:

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I know it is shocking, but the companies who happen to test with CW as clients edibles were all reported very favorably on the @lab_tested_edibles site, while other companies such as Cheeba Chews and Auntie Dolores (and my own Compassion Edibles) all came in well below listed cannabinoid levels. Hard to believe, right?

So here is how I confirmed my suspicions. Most all of the results on the site are done by CW, with the exception of a few done by Steep Hill. I have a good relationship with the Steep Hill kids, as their co-founder is publicly known as on of my good friends. I notices the results for the Actibliss Syzurup product were done by Steep Hill. Knowing about the Korova posting from February, I took a wild stab in the dark and went on @lab_tested_edibles Instagram page accusing Korova of dropping those samples off at Steep Hill. I never contacted Steep Hill once. Believe it or not, those guys never give me any information because they know the conflict of interest. They actually go out of their way to keep secrets from me because they have a business to run. But I figured if I made an accusation that someone would contact Steep Hill blaming them for telling me who dropped off the samples.

Sure as shit I was right! I get an angry text message from Steep Hill on why their lab was being accused of this shit in public when they had not done anything. The owner of Korova contacted them stating “Is there no confidentiality between lab and client?!?!…. Only employees at Steep Hill lab would know I dropped off these edible samples.” Yes…. I pissed off my friend to elicit a response, and it worked. Luckily my friend is understanding and knows what an asshole I am.

So there is a clear admission that Korova is indeed the one sending edible samples and anonymously posting them under the name @lab_tested_edibles. I never said that they did work at CW. I said they were in bed with CW, the same way Bhang and other edible makers have had relationships with CW that are more than third party verification relationships.

The Instagram account is complete bullshit and is no more valid than other anonymous websites that attempt to malign other companies to promote their own. These sloppy losers should be ashamed of themselves. If you want to pull this off you need to be less obvious whose interests you are serving. It is a pathetic attempt at catfishing and should not be thought of as a credible source.

A truly credible source would post WHO they are making these claims and investing in this grand experiment. They should post TRANSPARENT AND COMPLETE results that can be verified with the labs. They SHOULD NOT be another edible maker and lab that serves edible makers.

The entire overlap between lab companies and the clients they serve is gross and does nothing to serve the end user. CW is not alone in their intermingling with their clients and working to provide advantages for them, but this is a clear and gross misrepresentation of the service that quality assurance testing is supposed to be.

It is deceitful and wrong and the folks at Korova should be ashamed. It is bad enough that your products taste like dogshit. If I wanted to taste that much plant material I would just suck on a tube of RSO. But this is just sad and pathetic.

They should shut down the Instagram page and come up with a better ruse that does not unravel so easily on them. You guys are funny. Not really… but sort of. You are terrible at fraud. Maybe just try making better products?

It is even sadder that CW Analytical is still pulling bullshit schemes like this with losers this late in the game. They do not deserve to be anyone’s lab in the cannabis industry. They are the epitome of what is wrong with lab testing in cannabis and probably one of the reasons that lab testing will be turned over to state authorities sooner or later.

Way to go fellas… way to go.

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We will take a closer look at what the issue is with edible testing in the near future. For now, let this unsavory business practice and absolute fraud disgust you. There is no place in the cannabis community for overt shady underhanded bullshit like this.

You are all criminals. Welcome to the new California. SB 1262 must die.

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California is the new black…

It is a sad day in cannabis history when groups and organizations charged to protect patients and providers sell us down the river; but that is exactly what has been happening in Sacramento over the past few months. Americans for Safe Access, in conjunction with other supposed cannabis reform groups, lobbyists, and powerful union muscle, have been negotiating away cannabis freedom in the California capitol for months working on a bill called SB 1262 that will destroy the current cannabis industry and make criminals out of damn near everyone who doesn’t have a few hundred thousand dollars laying around to comply. It is true. everything you know and love about the California cannabis scene is about to be uprooted and replaced by a bill that will ensure only the big money backers have a seat at the table.

Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself. Here is the current working mock up with the proposed amendments.

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And here is Americans for Safe Access Executive director Steph Sherer’s ringing endorsement and admission of their undying support for this load of shit here:

ASA recognized the potential in SB 1262 early in the process. We worked with the Sen. Correa and other sponsors to significantly improve the bill, and ASA was the first in the medical cannabis field to endorse it. SB 1262 is a milestone in the medical cannabis debate in the state legislature. This is the first time that the California Police Chiefs Association and the League of California Cities have not opposed medical cannabis regulations. Having these two powerful lobby organizations standing beside patients and behind a regulatory bill is unprecedented. ASA regards this broad and influential coalition as a key strength of SB 1262, and we call on advocates and lawmakers to join us in supporting SB 1262.

To put it in simple terms, the reason you see ASA, UFCW, and other groups supporting this piece of shit is because they have LOST THE BATTLE. After years of having their collective asses handed to them in the California legislature by real lobbyists for the CA Police Chiefs Association and the California League of Cities, they have conceded the game. You don’t think ASA lead man Don Duncan sold his interests in his dispensary group to Aundre Speciale and Montel’s big business dispensary group and moved to Sacramento for nothing do you?

In doing so, they have literally conceded the rights and current recognized freedoms of every medical cannabis patient in California. If you don’t believe me, let’s go over the mock up in detail and show you how….

This proposed bill is an overwhelming disappointment in many ways and should be either edited greatly, or denied completely. It provides a very loose and dangerous framework for an industry that has organically developed over time do to inaction on the part of the California Legislature. To try and rewind history is not a fair or ethical way to implement sound regulations that provide for public safety and allow for reasonable access to cannabis.

In the declarations section it sums it up in the phrase “minimum statewide standards.” What is necessary is a comprehensive statewide licensing program that allows for the many small batch producers to exist who currently are invested as providers in the current system. The way the regulations are set forth in SB-1262 will be ripe for corruption at the local level, and force small businesses out of the industry to appease the lobbying interests of the few. It makes no sense to create a bill that will make criminals out of the current activities of tens of thousands of Californians.

The biggest issue this program will face is on the production side. The bill requires that all cultivation centers register with the program by January 1, 2015 and prove they were lawfully cultivating through support of local authorities. There are ZERO licenses for the production and manufacturing of cannabis and related products ANYWHERE in California. This means virtually none of the current providers will be eligible, and dispensaries will have no supply to meet a well-established demand. All this will do is create more black market issues, as those who are providing medicine will look for alternative methods of distribution. It takes many months for local agencies to create ordinances for medical cannabis related businesses, as has been evident in nearly every licensing process in cities all over the state. It is not reasonable to expect growers and people who make products to have local support by January 1, when most operate in a fairly clandestine manner due to a lack of licensing and protection for these types of businesses. This is a direct result of no statewide direction or framework for almost 18 years of the existence of the medical cannabis program in California.

In addition, the language that attempts to severely limit who qualifies for the program is baseless, and violates key principles of the doctor patient relationship. There is very little real harm that opposition can show to justify this need for such invasive principles of patient rights where cannabis is concerned, when we allow doctors to prescribe much more dangerous medicines with lees intrusion.

Below are detailed areas I see that need to be addressed in order to make this bill even workable, though I would assume scrap it in its entirety in current form:

2525.2- the definition of “Attending Physician” limits the patient doctor relationship and does not serve the interest of the medical profession, or the patients it serves. For example, a person using cannabis for issues recommended by a Psychiatrist would not need a physical examination.

18100 (d) and (e)- The definition for dispensary is too loose. It should include the term “retail.” As it is currently determined even a person “providing” a hit of a joint to a patient is considered a dispensary

18100 (f)- under “licensed processing facility” it seems to imply that a processing facility can distribute directly “to a patient with a medical marijuana recommendation” which would technically make it a dispensary too.

18101 (a)- It seems worrisome to have one executive officer appointed by the governor vs. a committee of people. Too much power makes the position ripe for corruption.

18101.1.-  making state authority subject to local control is backwards, and will create many litigation issues between cities who have established programs that make them revenue as is, and a program that is fairly implemented at the state level.

18101.1 (a)- establishing “minimum” standards falls short of what is necessary by the state on this program. In 1996, Californians voted for Prop 215, which included “To encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.” The way this program is being set up will neither be safe, due to its lack of real authority and vision at the state level and the willingness to allow smaller corruptible local forces to set the rules, nor affordable, due to it cumbersome cost structure and intolerance of small batch producers.

18101.1 (d)- once again, making the entire program “subject to local ordinances” will prove to be the downfall of the medical cannabis program envisioned in SB 1262

18101.1 (l)- redundant.

18101.2 (a)- The word “provide” is EXTEMELY PROBLEMATIC here, as the way it is worded, “a person shall not sell or provide marijuana other than at a licensed dispensing facility” literally makes sharing your medicine with a fellow patient a crime. One of the healing properties of cannabis is also the psycho-social therapy of building a community and support network. It is common for patients to share cannabis medicines with one another, and it makes no sense to outlaw any transfer of medicine between qualified patients, thus creating criminal behaviors unintended by these regulations.

18101.2 (b)- The licensed cultivation site will be problematic upon start up and will leave most of the established industry without any product to dispense until local ordinances and authorities can create new programs for those. There are no licensed production facilities in the state to this date in any local jurisdiction anywhere.

18101.2 (c)- The same goes for “licensed processing facilities.” It is unclear if any jurisdiction will even authorize this at this point.

18101.2 (e)- The requirement of a “certified testing facility” is a neat idea, but there are none licensed at the state level for cannabis, and standards and processes have not been developed. The bill charges for those standards to be developed, but until they are, it leaves a donut hole in which places will be able to get certified.

18101.2 (f) (8)(A)- “moral turpitude” should be defined here.

18101.2 (f) (11)- This is an area that needs MUCH MORE definition. It is unclear what “drug trafficking” means in this context. Is a person caught with a few ounces in college considered a drug trafficker? It says the Bureau “MAY” deny a license based on past criminal conviction if the crime was substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business…” In this context, where does that leave a person who was arrested for cultivating or producing cannabis? Technically it is what the license is being given for, so wouldn’t that make the person potentially an expert that was caught in a time of unclear and unjust laws, which are now the actual business being licensed?

18101.2 (h)- THIS IS A BIG ONE. Why would they limit the ability of a company that dispenses or processes medicine to provide a more closed-loop system by cultivating their own medicine? Why would they force a company that is concerned with processing different types of medicine be beholden to outside cultivators who may not produce the type of medicine in the correct conditions that are needed for a certain product? It also limits supply greatly, and will result in a homogenized market of licensed production medicine for patients to use, thus resulting in them going elsewhere (black market) for medicines that used to be readily available.

18101.3- January 1, 2015 will be way too fast for any cultivation or production provisional licenses, thus shutting down the entire program.

18101.3 (a)(1)- “limited immunity under local law” should be spelled out and referencing Measure D is unnecessary and reeks of union and ASA corruption charges to me.

18101.3 (2)- the part about “during that six month prior to January 1, 2015 the applicant was regularly cultivating or distributing medical marijuana collectively or cooperatively in full compliance…” is a deal breaker and will result in a nightmare of law enforcement and clashes with local city government in absence of a robust cultivation licensing system with the state.

18101.3 (b)- $8,000 is a lot per applicant. I would like to see how the “actual cost” is determined from processing some paperwork, as there are no real life state inspections listed here anywhere. The limited testing done by the bureau would never reach these numbers over a year.

18101.35 (a)- It is unclear if the program is actually valid during the “provisional” or “standard” licensing process. When is it that dispensaries can only get medicine from licensed cultivators and processors? Jan. 1, 2015 or July 1, 2016? If the first, it is too soon, and if it is the latter, then it the provisional licenses seem irrelevant.

18102(b)- Why did they remove “through the cultivation.” It makes no sense to keep all licensing separate. What other industry requires that?

18106(a)(5)- The development and implementation of standards will take a while and will be challenged in litigation for sure.

18106(c)(7)- “tend to create a law enforcement problem” is vague and too open for interpretation. The entire process for determining high crime areas is subject to major scrutiny, and also may conflict with most local zoning ordinances, as they have zoned most to the higher crime areas.

18108.8- Does this say that testing can only be done by processing or cultivation licensees and not dispensaries?

18113(a)- This passage cements that a person sharing cannabis with another patient is indeed a criminal now

18113(b)- In what other field re caregivers limited to 5? Hospice? No…

11658(e)- Representative Sample is convoluted. Is it each batch or each shipment? And this would insinuate testing at the dispensary level, which was not allowed previously

111662- “unadulterated food product” is not correct. It should be treated as a medicinal food or supplement.

111662(a)- many drug products require refrigeration. It is unclear what problem this tries to solve, and certainly limits a patient’s choice in what might work for them. If it is not required to be refrigerated, can it anyway?

111662(d)- What is a single serving size? Every patient is relatively different in consumption needs. Each product is different in how they affect a patient. This is very slippery language that should either be defined clearly, or dealt with differently

111662(e)- “maximum potency standards” is defined by who? What scientific studies will back up these claims? Hot button topic and ripe for litigation I am sure.

111662(f)(1)- “attractive to children” needs to be defined. What does that mean exactly? What is not attractive to children?

111662(g)- Photos of any kind? Pictures of any food, even in a logo?

111662(h)- the Snickerdoodle reference is actually the craziest part of this, as Snickerdoodles are an actual specific recipe of cookie that contain cream of tar tar in addition to cinnamon. Silly deal here.

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Feel free to print out the mock up version and reference the sections for more clarity on what I see as major problems with this bill.

So how did we get here? Why would a group like ASA who has claimed to have the interest of patients and providers at the core of their mission, absolutely sell us all out for this bullshit bill? The answer is obvious…. Money.

To be clear, ASA shitcanned and sabotaged a much more reasonable effort put up by Tom Ammiano called AB1894 because they did not want the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to write and enforce regulations for commercial medical cannabis activity statewide.

Why? Because that obviously pushes the industry rapidly in the direction of adult use legalization, and that is terrible for the bottom line of an organization that gains most of their revenue selling the world a bag of medical bullshit. It is not that there is not a true and moral mission for medical cannabis. It is that a lot of the industry in its current form does not reflect the true medical aspects of our society. ASA wants their cake and they would like to eat it too. They have spent years taking money from patients and dispensaries to supposedly defend their rights, but a couple years back it seems their major funding sources changed and they have been working to limit access…not improve it. They should change their name to Americans for Less Access because that is exactly what they have been fighting for. Well…not fighting. Bending over and making major concessions to bolster their political connections is more like it.

The entire deal reeks of fraud and corruption. It was not surprising to hear that Senator Leland Yee was arrested on corruption charges from an investigation put forth by the FBI where Lee took money to create more cumbersome regulations that benefited the people he was taking the money from. Those folks just happened to be undercover FBI agents. Here is an exerpt to get a better idea:

An undercover FBI agent posing as a medical marijuana supplier met with state Sen. Leland Yee in Sacramento in June and, according to the FBI’s transcript of a secret tape recording, said he was willing to make campaign contributions in exchange for support of legislation.

When the purported medical marijuana supplier offered to contribute $10,000 to $15,000 to Yee’s secretary of state campaign in May 2013 and sought help with legislation, Yee told a government informant, according to the FBI affidavit, that he played by the rules and couldn’t take money for himself. But he said he would be willing to help those who helped him get elected – a “long-term investment,” as he described it to an aide.

Believe that Yee is not alone and believe that there ARE big money interest manipulating this game from inside and out. While it is illegal for public officials to take this kind of money, it is certainly not illegal for organizations like ASA to take it to do the bidding of the few. They began this shit in 2012 at least, working to undermine any legalization initiative put forth by threatening to put their own medical initiative on the ballot, swearing they had the money to do it, but producing nothing in the end but running the clock out on all other efforts.

They have also worked to undermine Ammiano’s efforts at all costs because they know that the ABC controlling cannabis will remove it from their health bubble and advance the cause of adult use legalization for all, a mission they have continued to not support and side step for years. Here are some pieces I wrote about it about a year ago called Regulate Cali medical Weed like Booze, Learning When to Say Yes, and Out of the Frying Pan. I even called the “much stricter bill coming out of the senate.” you are welcome. Some day you assholes will start listening to me on this stuff.

But make no doubt about it…. ASA is not your friend and neither are their coalition of the willing to fuck you over to save themselves. I am ultimately disappointed to see groups like ASA supporting and promoting a bill that literally makes everyone in California besides a select few criminals again.

I am not even sure where the real problem is? What are we trying to fix here? It would seem that every day tens of thousands of Californians have access to safe and effective medicines in clean and professional environments. If anything, the issue is not enough access in areas that continue to fight it, and SB 1262 cements their rights to keep doing that.

The biggest issue is that this bill requires everyone who produces cannabis, growing or products, must be licensed by the end of the year and in order to do so you must have support from your local city or county. Since there are ZERO production licenses or regulatory models anywhere in the state it will create chaos and a scenario so ripe for corruption that I would say no less than a dozen public officials are brought up on racketeering and pay-to-play charges before it is said and done. Every grower with a few hundred grand buried in the hills will be bribing their local city council person and county supervisor to allow them to continue to exist. This should be a lot of fun to watch unfold.

So what can we do about it? You can start by raising hell with your state legislators.

To make it easy, we will just use ASA’s fancy web portal to contact them directly. Just click HERE to get directed there and follow the easy instructions below. Direct link: http://org.salsalabs.com/o/182/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=13363)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Enter your zip code and address
  2. Call the people who are listed as your representative
  3. Erase the subject line of the message and replace with VOTE NO ON SB 1262
  4. Erase the”your letter” are and replace with something like the following: “I am writing to ask you to oppose bill SB 1262, which will make criminals out of nearly every medical cannabis patient and provider in California. This ill-devised plan does nothing to increase public safety and creates a program that is ripe for political corruption at the local level. It is a pay-to-play devised program that only benefits the wealthy and well-connected and tramples the rights of every patient in the State. A vote in favor of this effort will be a vote for increased criminal actions against qualified patients and providers, and will increase law enforcement budgets across the state by adding further confusion and unnecessary restrictions to a program that has struggled since its inception. While there is a need for some regulatory control by the State of California, this effort does not do that, giving most power to local authorities and disregarding the state’s responsibility to provide a program for safe and affordable access as voted on by the people of California in 1996 when the  Compassionate Use Act passed. Thank you for your time and consideration on this important matter. I would appreciate your vote denying passage of this severely flawed legislative effort.”
  5. Fill out your personal information and click “send this message”

It may be too little too late at this point, as SB 1262 seems to be sailing towards passage at this point. This latest version will be snuck through as amendments and ratified within days, so it is imperative that you act now. I am completely baffled at the people who support this effort and will let each and everyone of them know that they are now officially on my shit list. Welcome to the show. You will notice not many have the courage to admit that they are a part of this shit show, but the list is deep. More to come on each and every one of the snakes who have helped get this piece of shit bill this far.

It is gonna be a fun summer. Selah.

The Game Needs Me and I Need the Game

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A couple of months ago I was not sure I would ever write this blog again. It has been a difficult journey for me lately and I was exhausted. My words did not seem to come as easily as they once had, and I was unsure about if what I wrote actually even mattered any more. I was frustrated, tired, and experiencing massive changes on all fronts in my life. I needed to take some time to gather my thoughts and reassess what it was I was doing here in the weed game any more.

While it was a nice break, it was also very difficult. For me, writing is an outlet where I can express my ideas and put down in words the many thoughts that run through my head constantly. This blog is a place where I write for me… not for any of you.  I dig that people enjoy my work and I can appreciate that my words can touch people. It is awesome to feel like you have helped educate so many by taking the time to share your inner-most thoughts and intimate details with the world. But it really is about me.

Weed Activist, and Cannabis Warrior before it, and Free Tainted before that have all been cathartic exercises in getting out a lot of the chaos in my own head, and putting it onto a page so that it can make sense. It helps me to examine and look more closely at the industry and movement I am so much a part of. The words I write give me guidance and help me to understand myself and my surroundings much more clearly.

So while it has been fun taking the time I spend here and focusing it in other directions, the reality is that the game needs me and I need the game.

I look forward to bringing new and interesting content back to the scene; and making people ask questions they never might have thought to ask. The truth is that there is A LOT happening in cannabis right now, and it is going to take A LOT of work to ensure that at the end of the day it is still just about a plant and some freedom.

There is no shortage of new and exciting developments to look at with a critical eye. From CBD only bullshit laws to new invasive regulatory models being supported by people we once trusted that will likely destroy everything we have built, I certainly have plenty to write about. It seems every day there is a new sellout and huckster to expose, or “next big thing” that is really just another fraud. There are also some great and very exciting things happening that deserve some love and attention.

So I am proud to say my retirement from the weed writing game was short and fruitful and that I am back with a vengeance. Not for you or anyone else, but solely for me… I do hope you will enjoy the show. It is about to get live up in this bitch.

Look for some extremely hard in the paint pieces in the coming months that will blow your mind and make you question reality. It is gonna be that kind of party… I have missed sitting down and letting the world know exactly what is on my mind.

I hope the snakes enjoyed my leave of absence because it is coming and there is not shit they can do about it. I invented the game.

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