Weed Activist

Enjoy 4/20… Then Get To Work

April 19, 2015 in Cannabis Freedom, Ethics and Morality, I Like Weed, Legalization, Weed Activism, Weed Love

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You kids are adorable.

It has been quite the adventure watching 4/20 become mainstream and the weed game become cliche. As folks gather at their weed themed galas and events this weekend to celebrate cannabis, I hope they understand that a lot of what they see is a mirage. The sanctioned and tolerated existence of cannabis freedom for these events does not represent the real world we live in where every day people are losing their freedom, their kids, their jobs, and their standing in the community because of their choice to use cannabis. So live it up for the weekend, but do me a favor… when the party is over commit to also doing the work.

It is easy to enjoy the good times.

There is a lack of reality in the current cannabis landscape. Right now there is a lot of easy and unfettered money running around. All of this false bravado and ego is hard to deal with on most days because I can see the writing on the wall. What kills me though are how many folks have bought into to the “we are winning” mantra that has become the current cannabis industry. Yes. On a macro level we are gaining ground and acceptance. But as an industry and/or movement we are getting our nuts squeezed in a vice; and everyone is too busy patting themselves on the back or chasing the money to give a fuck that they are living in a fantasy land propped up by the “quasi-legal prohibition lite” that is cannabis nowadays.

Anybody with half a brain could understand that where we are at right now is nowhere near where we will end up. 99% of businesses we see in today’s falsified marketplace will cease to exist over the next five years. Yeah… that is right. I said 99%; and that is probably generous. The 4/20 holiday is a great time for people to showcase their “next big thing” and where we see people lining up for their shot at the title. It is a circus of assholes who believe they are God’s gift to weed. I love seeing these cats throw their money at the wall promoting the silliest shit. For me 420 is a time to examine closely the players and the game, and for me to understand clearly the ignorance I am up against. So to all the hucksters and wannabe moguls, I thank you.

I am sorry if i do not get more excited for the big events and the camaraderie of the holiday. While I appreciate all of the people who love cannabis on 4/20, I am often left wondering where the fuck all of these folks are on 4/21 when it is back to the struggle?

Where are all of these weedheads at when it is time to do the work? Nowhere to be found usually. Once the weed oasis is gone, so are they. They are not here to be a vocal advocate for cannabis reform, and a fair and level playing field for the emerging industry. I never see any of these assholes at the City Council meetings or protests. Not one letter is written to public officials and there will be no phone calls made. Most will not put one dime towards efforts to reform cannabis laws, or to help those who continue to suffer at the hands of prohibition.

It is easy to show up for the party, but where are you at the rest of the year?

I made the commitment many years ago to dedicate my life to ending this madness. Why? Because I love weed and I am not a fucking criminal. The entire deal makes no sense to me, so I have vowed to fight this shit with every ounce of my existence. I do not expect for everyone to have the same level of commitment as I do, but I do expect for them to stand up and be accounted for… and not just for the parties.

We are at a pivotal junction in cannabis history; and it will be our voices that will, or will not, shape the future of how cannabis is allowed in our society. Are you gonna stand back and let big money interests fuck you over so they can make a bunch more money while you are still a criminal for growing plants? Are you going to let legislators and policy makers decide who are the haves and who are the have nots? Are you going to continue to only look out for you and yours while the game is rigged?

It is easy to be a weed rockstar. What is hard is sacrificing your time, energy, and resources to make the world a better place for people who like weed. So this weekend while you are celebrating with your three gram dabs and ginormous joints, just remember there are a lot of people in prison right now for less weed than you smoked on 4/20. There are parents whose kids are sitting in foster care right now because they got caught with less weed. There are patients all over who do not have access to life changing cannabis medicines. There are a lot of folks who lost their good paying jobs because they pissed dirty. There are a bunch of people being railroaded by a system gone bad, and we still have a hell of a lot of work to do to right these wrongs.

It is not about your party or how awesome you are. It is about social responsibility, and a call for real and meaningful change.

So when you wake up still baked from the 2,000 mg in edibles you ate on Tuesday, make a commitment to get to work. Find a way to make a difference and to fight the good fight for cannabis freedom. We need you to do your part, as the final battle for cannabis freedom is here now. Enjoy the party, but do not forget about the struggle. There is too much at stake to leave it to chance.

Be a cannabis hero every day of the year; and hopefully what we create here will be a world where cannabis is allowed to be used by responsible adults for whatever they please, a world where people do not go to jail for weed, and an industry that is fair and affordable for us all to be a part of.

Do the work and the rest will come.

Weed Activist

But… But I thought we were all good?

April 15, 2015 in Activist Tips, Cannabis Freedom, I Like Weed, Legalization, Medical Cannabis, Reform Groups, Washington, Weed Activism, Weed Business, Weed Politics

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Complacency and arrogance will be the death of us.

I have been watching the cannabis industry march around high-fiving each other and acting like adult use legalization was inevitable for the last couple of years. I have done my best to sound the alarm that this thing was far from over, and that the wolves were in the hen house. A lot of my pointed and volatile critique of an industry with its cart in front of its horse has fallen on deaf ears; and that is fine.

The blowhards and wannabe moguls have continued to disregard the battle at hand in an effort to lay the groundwork for their “next big thing” approach to cannabis reform. Even long time reform advocates have turned the page before they were done reading, and many once vocal and great activists have hung up their protest signs and bullhorns for some great business opportunities or jobs. Many have completely forgotten that we are long from out of the woods; and that we have really only just begun to fight. Folks have chosen to roll over and take what is given to them, and there is very little housekeeping being done within the cannabis reform movement. Everyone is so busy glad-handing one another about how great things will be that any progress we see is being undermined by politicians and those who see weed as simply a means to an end of great fortune. It is pretty sad.

Across the nation we are beginning to see increased and unnecessary limitations and enforcement of the cannabis industry. While organizations and individuals hosted awards galas and parties to celebrate their pyrrhic victories, those who oppose cannabis, and those who love nothing more than cannabis money, have conspired to throttle the progress we have seen.

Look around you. A lot of the progression has become regression, and many state programs are under attack. You have the passage of SB 5052 in WA State that will completely decimate the medical cannabis program there. Passed by the legislature and awaiting the Governor’s inevitable signature, this bill will close all of the medical cannabis dispensaries in the state and force patients into the highly regulated industry established by I-502. It is a nightmare that many should have seen coming. Why? Because the authors of 502 put no real protections in place, and the medical cannabis program in the state was not clearly defined from the outset. Since there were no meaningful laws on the books that defined medical cannabis dispensaries and the many products that make up the industry, the entire thing was left to chance and not afforded any real legal protections.

ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION CALIFORNIA? We are virtually in the same boat, with the entire industry being one weird “collective or cooperative” with no real protections or definitions.

It is imperative that we ensure that the language put on the ballot for 2016 clearly defines the medical and adult use industries, their functions, the products they encompass, the standard business practices of the industry, and the individual rights of patients and weedheads. This is not a game to be left to chance or interpretation. This is reality. The language we put on the ballot must include clear and concise direction as to what protections we are afforded as a community.

You can also look at what is happening in Colorado for more insight as to areas we need to better define going forward. They are working to further limit the industry there and have begin to impose more and more restrictions on cannabis in the state program. Edible cannabis products have come greatly under attack in recent months, as the state pushed for regulations on the products potency and marketing. There is also the controversy of the newly imposed testing requirements that have proven to be anything but reliable. Do not forget the restrictions on licensed businesses participating in the Cannabis Cup too! And then of course there is the development of limitations for the state’s caregiver program and crack down on doctors that is more intense than what we have seen for pill mills that actually kill a lot of people. Awesome, right? When they said “Regulate Like Alcohol” they did not mean “exactly” like alcohol; or maybe not even sort of.

Rhode Island is also fighting the passage of a bill that would decimate the state’s successful caregiver program and force patients into the homogenous and cost prohibitive dispensary model to access their medicines. While there has been a lot of great success with the program, a couple of would be business moguls hired some lobbyists to highlight some isolated incidents and wrote legislation being proposed that would completely destroy the caregiver programs there. Progress….

Don’t forget Massachusetts, where the law was written so poorly in 2012 that it will be nearly THREE full years before any dispensary opens its doors to provide cannabis medicines to patients. Patients continue to demand access, but the state has largely bungled the process and retarded the program’s progress at every point. There is hope that the new administration of Charlie Baker will do a better job given recent statements, but it is a sad day when a Republican Governor of a largely liberal blue state of Massachusetts is more committed to their medical cannabis program than the former Democratic standard bearer Deval Patrick. Maybe his new job at Bain Capital influenced his willingness to botch the program and leave the good people of the Commonwealth suffering unnecessarily. Maybe Bain Capital will own all of the dispensaries in New England sooner than later. It would not surprise me at this point.

Oregon is having some growing pains in its coming program. Alaska continues to drag its feet and even raided their former TV news personality turned cannabis entrepreneur, Charlo Green. Arizona is trying to make it more difficult to get cannabis medicines. Maine hired Sheriffs to inspect their caregivers. Ohio has a battle on their hands, as groups set to try and make monopolies part of the state constitution and groups battle for funding. All across the country there seems to be solutions to what are hardly real problems which threaten cannabis freedom at its core, and could continue to confuse and confound what is legal and what is not. The dangers lie in the fact that one bad law from one state often becomes another bad law in another state, as lawmakers and regulators are generally lazy. The cannabis reform movement’s own lack of engagement in a lot of the programs and politics has resulted in knee-jerk reactions resulting in less freedom… not more.

To further complicate the mess, look at the big raid of a large cannabis lab in Southern California, The Werc Shop, last week as clear evidence of complacency and arrogance. So here is a third party lab that is supposed to be providing verification for cannabis products for safety and potency. While at the same time the lab is producing and selling its own cannabis products, and is in bed with other producers of cannabis products. So the people doing the testing of your product are directly competing with you in the cannabis marketplace. Add to that the sheer stupidity of operating in the not-so-liberal Pasadena and lurking in a building where your neighbors didn’t really know you, and you get the recipe for disaster that happened there. Realize that third party labs in California are really anything but, and that the labs themselves are operating in a quasi-legal environment also apparently as some strange “collective or cooperative” as required under CA law, and you can see the complexities of developing the legal framework of the industry here moving forward. What can we do to protect businesses deeply invested who believe they are doing the right thing, but really have no legal protections at all? How can we write a law here that encompasses the vast majority of our industry, while realizing the ultimate goal of ending prohibition and allowing adults access to high quality and affordable cannabis for whatever they please?

But there is no real sense of urgency in a lot of the cannabis circles these days. People are so caught up in their own little get rich quick schemes that they have disregarded the fight completely. People are ether so sure of themselves, or so fucking jaded, that they have allowed complacency to overtake their identities. Their false sense of hope and inevitability is dangerous and fails to understand reality. The battle is far from over…. In fact it has really just begun.

In a recent article by Bloomberg entitled “Marijuana Legalization Across U.S. May Hinge on 2016 California Vote”, we are clearly reminded that this thing is anything but in the bag. The words that go into the law we put on the ballot here matter. It will be a delicate balance of what we need and what will pass the voters. We cannot afford to fuck this one up. What is written here will define the industry for decades to come and should not be taken lightly. There are a lot of important issues to consider, including medical access, cannabis production methods, and public safety matters. To help move the conversation along I have developed a discussion page  at reformca.org which highlights a lot of the major points that I believe could use input as people begin to draft and submit their language for initiatives. I would encourage you to use this tool and to be a vocal participant in this process. Too much is at stake to not have our voices heard on this one.

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We have a lot of work to do. Coalitions and organizations are developing to take us on this wild ride through the election in 2016, and marijuana will be a hot button topic all across the United States. We must be prepared to stand up and be accounted for, or we should prepare for defeat and deception. Nothing is a given, and what we have seen is that some of our biggest enemies are within. There are no do-overs. We must find a way to rise up and meet the challenges of tomorrow today.

But don’t take my word for it….Look around:

“A state with so much influence and size is very important,” said Kevin Sabet, co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a San Diego-based nonprofit group that opposes legalization. “We expect a long, drawn-out battle in California — and an expensive one.”

or this tidbit here….

“I don’t think it’s a slam dunk to pass,” said Rob Stutzman, a Republican political consultant who worked for former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “There’s a lot of opposition to it. There will be a lot of concern about unintended consequences.”

Supporters will have the more difficult burden of persuading voters to change the law, while opponents can stir doubt and concern to secure ‘no’ votes, Stutzman said.

The game is ours to lose, but given some of the early fumbling I have seen, coupled with the losses we are experiencing in current programs, I am certainly concerned. Do not think this is over by a longshot. It is the fight of our lives and we need be prepared. While there is certainly momentum in the cannabis reform efforts, there is still the realization that we are one bad election away from losing all of the ground we have gained. Just yesterday NJ Governor and 2016 Presidential hopeful, Chris Christie stated that if elected he would shut down the industry and return pot to the dark ages…

If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) becomes president of the United States, he said on “The Hugh Hewitt Show” Tuesday, he will “crack down” on those states that have ended prohibitions on marijuana.

When asked by Hewitt if he would enforce federal drug laws in those states that have legalized and regulated cannabis, Christie responded unequivocally.

“Absolutely,” Christie said. “I will crack down and not permit it.”

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So as you sit there planning your next “let’s give each other a reach around for how great we are and celebrate” event, just know that you are still at war. Assholes like Sheldon Adelson, who sunk Florida’s efforts to pass a medical marijuana law last year, are a couple of large donation checks away from sinking your battleship. Are we stupid to think that we have this thing in the bag? We don’t. Not even a little bit.

“But… But I thought we were all good?”

No, asshole. You are pretty fucking far from all good. You are looking down the barrel of a gun and you don’t even know it. You have let the shroud of complacency take over your existence,  and our enemy knows it. We are completely vulnerable.

We have to be ready to fight. Nothing will be perfect, but we must ensure that any efforts we make going forward are focused on cannabis freedom and a level playing field for all. Continuing to appease the opposition is obviously not working, and I for one am tired of being sold out by some of our own for their shot at the title. You can be certain that in the near future the industry and cannabis regulations we see will not be like tomatoes, so you can just stop that romanticism right now. What we need to do is understand WHAT WE NEED, and use our collective voices to ensure that at the minimum that is what we get. We can work on what we want from there.

Wake the fuck up and get off your ass already. Tomorrow is here today, and you are already two steps back. Time to get moving. No better time than the present.

Weed Activist

Still Just About A Plant and Some Freedom

December 27, 2014 in End the Drug War, Ethics and Morality, I Like Weed, Legalization, Weed Activism, Weed Business, Weed Freedom

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Don’t get it twisted. Weed ain’t even close to legal yet.

While it is nice to look at the progress we have made with adult use legalization happening in 4 states and DC, and with new states implementing medical cannabis laws every day, don’t forget that cannabis is still very much an illegal and dangerous deal for a hell of a lot of people.

There are still hundreds of thousands of people in jail right now for growing, selling, and even just smoking some weed. Thousands of parents have lost their children over weed. Millions of people have lost a job because they smoke weed. Even those lucky enough to escape the harsh punishments of the drug war philosophy on weed have experienced diminished standing in the community, or they have had to hide their choice to use weed from everyone.

After everything, weed is still very much discriminated against and met with fierce opposition and punishment.

Weed is a plant… A safe, enjoyable, and very helpful plant. There is nothing about the cannabis plant that makes it dangerous or even remotely scary. They hysteria and propaganda of Drug Warriors have succeeded in making a beautiful plant into the boogie man. It is nonsensical at its core and one of the biggest scams ever pulled on people. It is a fucking plant.

The plant makes a lot of people feel better. It has healing and therapeutic effects that continue to be documented. It wasn’t even until 1992 that the Endocannabinoid System was even discovered…. nearly 20 years after Nixon began the war on drugs that included the hippies beloved cannabis.

Scientists began to look for receptor sites to explain the action of other drugs and toxins in a similar way. In 1988, specific receptors were discovered for THC (tetrahydrocannibol, the active ingredient in marijuana).

THC isn’t found naturally in the body. The existence of a specific ‘bliss receptor’ for THC implied that it was actually just a forgery of a hitherto unknown natural molecular key. The key was isolated by Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam in 1992: arachidonyl ethanolamide, later called ‘anandamide’ (a Sanskrit word for “internal bliss”):

So THC has the ability to mimic the naturally occurring effect of anandamide, often associated with the feeling of bliss. Why ever would we outlaw a safe plant that has the ability to help a person find bliss? The basics of cannabis prohibition defy logic in every way and have resulted in an absolute failure of our society that has been catastrophic. Side effects…. Euphoria. Yeah. Sue me.

We have denied people the FREEDOM to choose to use weed. Why?

We have locked up and punished millions and millions of people’s whose only crime is weed. Have we lost our fucking collective minds? People are rotting away in the bloated prison industrial complex because of cannabis, and somehow our society has become immune to these injustices. There are so many folks out there who have taken the lies of prohibition hook, line, and sinker. People continue to make a mockery of civilization with this absurd lack of freedom to use a useful plant. Who do these folks think they are?

So there you have the bottom line basics…. “It is still just about a plant and some freedom.”

Yet as we see the tide turning there are so many jackasses who see greed, fame, and fortune; and who simply do not care about the plant or the freedom. They just care about the money. It is such bullshit.

I happened to put on Pot Barons of Colorado, a hyperbole filled television series on MSNBC starring apparently gigantic assholes who are all hoping to sell the fuck out to some big money corporations one day, and wander off with their enormous bag of cash. I could only stomach to watch it for about a half an hour before literally wanting to punch Trip Keber in his throat, so I turned it off.

But not before I got to see more than I needed to see, and realized these pathetic get rich quick losers had no clue about weed, and only care about freedom as far as their business is concerned. They want to cry because they can’t get a bank account, but do very little to fight for people who can’t even get a student loan because of their involvement with cannabis. They bitch and moan because their profit margins are so small, but could give a shit that there are tens of thousands of people who can’t even get a job because of their use of weed. These bastards want to bellyache about their struggle to stay afloat in a marketplace that is unstable and changing, and they never take into consideration the reality that what is really unstable is a home where kids are growing up without parents because of the war on weed.

Yes… Cannabis business is a reality; but it is pretty fucking far from the only reality.

Swing a dead cat around and you are sure to hit some asshole who thinks he is “the next big thing” or “God’s gift to cannabis.” Spare me the rhetoric. I have seen more of these selfish and inconsiderate pricks come and go than I care to admit. Yawn. Tell me again about how your new __________ (insert stupid cannabis product and/or marketing idea here) is the “first” and how everyone in the industry before you has been doing it wrong.

It is certainly sad to see people make their quick buck off of weed and do absolutely nothing to fight to really end cannabis prohibition. It is disheartening to know that these fools have no idea what it is like to not sleep because you know the DEA are kicking the door in any day now. Their smug and insensitive bullshit makes me angry.

But I take comfort in knowing most of these scumbags will fail, and they will fail miserably. They will lose everything in their quest to be the king of weed. They will take their investors down with them. It will be fun to watch. Live it up now fellas because 99% of you will be nowhere to be found in a few years. Your well-documented failures will be a blip in cannabis history.

The whole shit show is sure to get better before it gets worse… and yet it is so simple. It is simply about a plant and some freedom.

It isn’t about you or me, or any of these silly-ass companies trying to make a name for themselves. It isn’t about how to morph your non-profit reform organization into a business model down the road. It is not about who is the most successful or who has the biggest weed dick.

It is about a plant… and some freedom. Get it? It is about the basic decency not to fuck with our fellow man because they want the freedom to use this plant to increase their quality of life.

Those who get it will stand up and fight to end this bullshit… Those who do not will continue to suck up time and energy. Get on the right side of history or get the fuck out of my way. The rest of this busllshit is just window dressing.

Weed Activist

Losers Never Win… Legalization Is No Loser

November 5, 2014 in Cannabis Freedom, Crackdown, I Like Weed, Inspire, Legalization, Medical Cannabis, Uncategorized, Vote Weed, Weed Business, Weed Freedom, Weed Politics

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Election Day 2014 has come and gone. The people have spoken, and despite a somewhat frightening wave of Republican victories that speak more to the cowardly strategies of the Democrats than the strength of right wing positions, the weed vote went incredibly well…. again. Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia all voted to legalize cannabis for adult use rather handily. There was not even a very close result. Alaska won by 4 points- Oregon won by almost 9 points- AND DC WON BY ALMOST 39 POINTS. None of those are nail biters. Any politician in America would take those results in a heartbeat.

The funny-not-funny vote of the night was in Florida where Amendment 2 on MEDICAL marijuana failed to meet the 60% threshold needed to pass. To be fair 57.6% of the people did vote Yes, but in Florida it requires 60% to pass an Amendment, so the effort failed there by a lousy 2.4%. But I think there is a valuable lesson here…. medical cannabis is not necessarily the overwhelmingly popular issue it once was. Initial polling had support for medical marijuana in the state of Florida at nearly 90%… so what happened?

What happened was billionaire Sheldon Adelson put $5.5 million dollars into an effective campaign that told people they were being bullshitted. The narrative was that the law was not truthful and was littered with “loopholes.” The opposition campaign seized on the reality that even though there are still a lot of people who hate weed, there are even more who hate being lied to. They successfully portrayed the Amendment as a front for adult use and effectively demonized the thought of cannabis caregivers actually being drug dealers who would somehow be protected by this ruse. The message was certainly effective enough to stifle enough of the vote that it resulted in failure. Check out the ad below to see how the opposition chose to spin it:

Do you see what they did there? The argument was never against medical cannabis, or cannabis at all. It was to inform people they were being supposedly lied to. They framed the argument so that the average voter would take pause, and they banked that they could create enough doubt to keep the Amendment from passing with that strategy…. and they were right. “It isn’t what is seems.” That is where the political strategists who designed the No on 2 campaign hung their hat. On making voters feel like they were being duped. I do not believe that 42.4% of Florida believes that sick people should not have access to cannabis. I do think that many were willing to believe that the whole medical deal is a sham and that they should vote no to avoid being bullshitted.

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The irony of passing three adult use legalization initiatives, but failing to pass a medical marijuana amendment is too much to ignore. I have long said that it is time for us to move past the medical only debate and to shift our time, energy, and resources towards adult use, which would encompass medical cannabis and take away the never ending questions of “Who is sick enough to smoke pot?” and “Is this really medical, or am I being bullshitted?”

I have done a great deal of outreach in communities all over the United States, and even the most staunch supporters of cannabis have looked at me point blank and said, “But the whole medical deal is kind of bullshit, right?” I then go into my whole speech about preventive medicine and forcing people to maybe fudge an illness to avoid prison for growing plants; but I shouldn’t have to. The reality is that on some levels they are right. A lot of the activity the cannabis community dubs “medical’ just does not meet that standard in our society, and creates more questions than answers for a lot of people. I think this is what moved the needle in Florida, and what will continue to undermine medical only efforts going forward.

In states where we see new medical programs coming into place, what we see are super burdensome regulations and laws being put forth meant to “ensure this is only accessed by the truly sick and dying.” Limiting patients rights to cultivate, to have caregivers, and to have a free and competitive markets are all hallmarks of people wanting to make sure that they are not being bullshitted by these potheads. If they want medical they will get medical. How is that working out New Jersey? Exactly.

The reality is that people do not hate weed like they used to. What they hate is feeling like they are not having an honest conversation. I believe that our community continues to stretch the medical conversation too far. The results are twofold… 1) It creates a lot of doubt for people who have no skin in the game. Your average voter and citizen is not necessarily opposed to weed, but they do know they have never gone to the doctor at a Cypress Hill concert.; and 2) It does a huge disservice to those patients who do have serious illnesses for which cannabis can be beneficial, as they are lumped in with the perception that what the cannabis community is pushing as medical does not always meet that standard of medicine as defined by our  collective culture.

The lesson learned from last night’s election are simple… People are ready for legal weed.

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I believe that we could have put the nail in the coffin last night had the reform community and their financial sugar daddys had the courage to run an adult use legalization initiative here in California. The state has 10% of the nation’s population and is the leading producer of our nation’s agriculture crops. It is also the American stronghold for the wine industry, as its ideal growing climates are good for both grapes and weed. But the big money and local players decided to let it ride and wait for the sure thing in 2016. I have told them all they were fools, and the good people of Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia also called them fools last night. They will still try to sell you a bag of goods about “youth turnout” and “questionable support,” but I think our neighbors to the north in Oregon proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are just plain wrong. We could be celebrating today California, but instead we sit here being threatened by the USDOJ for not having a statewide regulatory model and watch as our own supposed supporters and their “lobbying efforts” work to shut down most of the industry as we know it. But don’t worry… it is only two more years until 2016.

Those could end up being a very long two years.

As marijuana continues to gain mainstream popularity and more focus is put on the industry, know that the lack of definition in California’s law will continue to haunt us. Empowered by a wave of conservative victories in the midterm, it would not be surprising to see the current administration make knee jerk concessions in an effort to negotiate with the Republican congress.

But who knows? Maybe even the conservatives are getting it now that the people want their weed… and at least the conservatives will have the balls to actually do something about it. How long is it before the right wing looks around and says, “Shit… Everyone seems to want their weed. Maybe we should just give it to them and champion that issue before 2016. Where is all that money going anyway?”

I would not be surprised at all to see another California crackdown in the near future. I think we shot ourselves in the foot by not seizing the moment and capitalizing of the momentum from our victories in CO and WA in 2012. We have left a lot to chance, and it would not be surprising to see the CA Legislature pass a much more restrictive adult use and medical regulatory model before the election in 2016 ever happens. In fact, I almost can guarantee it. It will be a “good enough” model that ensures very few can meet the burden of the barriers to entry, and it will be the death of the current cannabis landscape, as well as the hopes for anything of substance in 2016. Maybe I am wrong… Lord, I hope I am wrong. But I have seen these stars align before.

Who knows what the future holds? I do know that today I raise my bubbler to the great citizens of Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia for standing up for cannabis freedom and moving us that much closer to ending this thing. As a person who has worked a long and hard time on cannabis reform efforts it is inspiring to see us changing the hearts and minds of a Nation… one cannabis-loving state at a time if we have to. While I will never be able to wrap my head around what people who oppose cannabis are thinking, it is comforting to know that more and more of my neighbors and fellow citizens are getting it, and that we are that much closer to winning.

I celebrate the victories and I am sorry for the tens of thousands of people in Florida who are still criminals for their right to use cannabis. We mourn for those who desperately need access to cannabis as a medicine there who were counting Amendment 2 to pass. I do believe that the 57.6% of people voting yes is a powerful message, and it is hopeful that your lawmakers might listen.

Hopefully lawmakers everywhere will listen, and get on the right side of history sooner than later. Cannabis is a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant. There is no more boogie man here. People want their weed. Legalization is winning… Prohibition must end soon.

As a community we need to begin to ask ourselves what we really want and begin to ask for that. It makes no sense to limit ourselves any longer. What we want is weed… and we want you to quit taking us to fucking jail for it. Or taking our kids. Or making us lose our jobs. Or losing student loans. Or our standing in our community. We want a fair and level playing field for the industry where quality, innovation, and value rule the market… not politics. The sooner we get there, the sooner we can end this awkward dance with what is cannabis freedom and who qualifies for it.

Losers never win…. and only a real loser would look at the writing on the wall and not change strategy. Adult use legalization is no loser. Victory or Valhalla.

Weed Activist

Overcoming Adversity in the Age of Long and Preposterous Bullshit

September 28, 2014 in Activist Tips, Art of War, Cannabis Freedom, Ethics and Morality, I Like Weed, Weed Freedom

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Sometimes it feels like the walls are closing in. While I still am very much embattled with the ending of prohibition and the need to fight off the last of the drug warrior bullshit, I am also engaged in trying to fight off the wave of preposterous bullshit coming from within the cannabis ranks. There is no rest for the wicked. I am burning the candles at both ends, and often the fight seems like too much to overcome.

But then there is weed….

At the end of the day, weed is what I gauge my victories and losses by. Did I make the world better for weed and people who love weed today? Did the effort and energy I put forth move the ball down the field for Team Weed?

Most days I can clearly say, “Yes.” But there are some days when the adversity that needs to be overcome is overwhelming, and it wears on a person’s soul. When my one step forward is counteracted by some other person’s two steps back, it is frustrating. I often find myself stressed and angry over things I have very little control over.

For me, it is personal. It exhausts me at my core and makes me question why I continue to fight a battle that, on it’s face, just does not make sense any more.

Prohibition has never made sense to me. That is what is so infuriating about it. How can our society be so fucked up about something that is so black and white? Weed is a safer and more desirable option for many of our friends and neighbors, yet for some reason we want to make it impossible for many to use, thus forcing them to booze it up or look for more legal pills and whatnot to take their edge off. Furthermore, cannabis medicines have the ability to greatly increase the quality of life for many, yet we see politics and ignorance continuing to force people (including thousands of children) to suffer greatly by denying people access and limiting supply greatly. Add to that the fact that we have decided to lock up 25% of the world’s prison population while only having 5% of the actual population, and it is enough to make one’s head explode.

But that is a battle and an argument I am used to having. That is one that, even though progress is often slow, it is a battle we are winning on the daily. More and more people are waking up to the fact that weed prohibition is utter bullshit. I still cannot get a bank account for my trade school because of the word cannabis, so there is inevitably A LOT of work to do, but at least I feel like we are winning a long and drawn out war. I can see the light at the end of that long and dark tunnel. Like I said, this is a battle I have always knew was there and that needed to be fought.

But dealing with the clear sabotage and trickery that has become the cannabis movement these days is something I did not anticipate having to overcome. I did not foresee the level of treachery that has become this movement’s current face. It is a different feeling that I can only describe as a disease that is eating us alive from the inside out. At least in battling drug warriors and prohibitionists the battle lines are clear and the enemy is pronounced.

Because I know clearly that we have been infiltrated by those who have zero respect for how we got here, and who would sell us out at any moment to further their career or products, I am having a hard time finding a comfortable and secure place within the movement that I can depend on. It seems every day there is another person who I once trusted and believed in that has been sucked in by the gimmicks and the promise of great riches. It is demoralizing.

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”

― Winston Churchill

Beyond my very small tribe of dedicated cannabis warriors, I have lost my ability to believe in people.

I no longer trust that there is an army of people who want to make the world a better place for those of us who love weed. I often feel betrayed and hurt by those I once were proud to call my colleagues. People are willing to sell out their morals and ethics quicker than I can keep up with these days, and the entire deal makes my stomach hurt.

Where the fuck is the passion? What happened to you? Why do I feel like the real enemy is within, and that I must walk virtually alone if I want to keep on the path of the righteous? Who are all these hucksters standing around the cannabis water cooler these days, and what have they done with my friends?

But alas, no one ever said it would be easy. No one ever said that life was fair.

Overcoming adversity in the age of long and preposterous bullshit is where we are. It is no longer an “Us vs. Them” scenario. It is an “Us vs. Us and Them.” The calls you hear for “unity” and “togetherness” are normally just a mask for “shut up” and “don’t look at what I am doing.” As I sit back and assess the situation on the regular, what I have come up with is that most of these folks masquerading around as the “cannabis industry” and “activists” are simply the wolves in sheep’s clothing we were all warned about.

My reality is that I am not naive enough to sell myself a bag of goods that this is going to be okay. It is going to be hard. It is going to be difficult. It is going to be the battle of a lifetime….. and that is fine. I’m your huckleberry.

The bottom line is simple… You are with weed or you are against weed. If your objective is anything less than cannabis freedom, then you no longer have a seat at my table. If you are willing to concede the mission to line your own pockets you will be treated like an enemy. There is no middle ground here. I do not have time to decide what degree of a sellout these kids are any more. You either are or you are not. You will be dealt with accordingly.

I might be exhausted from fighting the battle on all fronts, but at the end of the day, it is you who is your own worst enemy. It will be you who knows where you stood and what you did to either, make the world a better place, or to destroy it with your corruption and bullshit. You can count on me kicking your ass at every moment you show your pathetic head if you are deemed an enemy within.

So as you plot and scheme to deceive and get rich, just know it is a gamble. It is only a matter of time before it all collapses around you and you are left wondering what happened. Your agenda should be simple…. Cannabis Freedom. Anything else is just a slippery slope to disaster and will be treated as such. See you on the battlefield. Time to storm the castle.

CANNABIS.AGENDA.1.0

Weed Activist

A Great Time at the Boston Freedom Rally

September 19, 2014 in ACTION ALERTS, Activist Tips, Cannabis Freedom, I Like Weed

I was honored to be a part of the Boston Freedom Rally. Here is some footage of my speech. It was a great weekend. The kids at MassCann did an amzing job. I cannot thank them enough.

WAAF-FREEDOMRALLY edits

Weed Activist

The Sky Has Not Fallen So Get On With It…

August 31, 2014 in Cannabis Freedom, End the Drug War, I Like Weed, Law Enforcement, Legalization, Mass Incarceration, Weed Activism, Weed Freedom, Weed Politics

chicken-little-580x303

So close and yet so far…. I am growing tired of fighting for the inevitable.

Weed is going to be legal. Everyone knows it. Even our staunchest opponents agree legalization is inevitable. So what are we waiting for? Why is there this awkward transition into what we all know is much better for our society…. an end to the drug war and the militarized police state it has created.

As we watched Ferguson explode over the unnecessary death of an unarmed black teen, it was a stark reminder that the role of policing in this country has drastically changed over the years, as the drug war has escalated and targeted mostly poor and minority communities. We lock up 25% of the world’s prison population but only have 5% of the actual population. That is a pretty big red flag for a country that calls itself the “Land of the Free.” Maybe it should be the “Land of the Free Unless You Are Poor and/or Brown.”

We see the call for reform and a change in policy from everywhere these days, and there have certainly been efforts by groups to end the draconian methods of enforcing so-called justice that have gotten us into this mess. The US Justice Department has made some efforts to change policy and reform sentencing, but it is a far cry from where we need to be.

An easy start would be to just make weed legal. There is an overwhelming shift in public opinion towards allowing for cannabis to be grown and sold, and the ongoing quasi-legal state mandated programs across the country have proven to be anything but the disaster that law enforcement and drug warriors promised would happen.

For nearly 20 years medical marijuana has been a staple of the California landscape, and many other states have followed suit in one way or another. In Colorado and Washington State we have seen clear benefits of adult use legalization, with very little harm to report. What we have seen instead are good paying jobs, tax revenues, and an increase in public safety as more people shift from booze to weed because they can.

This is not rocket science. This is clear benefit to harm ratio stuff. To simply put it, is there more good than bad happening? The answer is clearly yes.

The sky has not fallen. People have not lost their minds, or given up on life. There has not been an outbreak of dangerous crime surrounding cannabis. Addiction rates are not through the roof. Youth use of weed is not increasing drastically, as predicted.

The lies we have been told for decades about why weed should be kept illegal are falling on deaf ears. The numbers don’t add up.

Those who oppose legalization continue to try and retard the growth of the developing cannabis industry, and clear move for social change in drug and law enforcement policy. There are many who see their meal ticket threatened and are working feverishly to preserve some level of status quo so they can keep making criminals and drug addicts out of your average weedhead. These days are ending and they know it as much as anyone.

We like weed. We are good people. This is bullshit. The sky is not falling, asshole. Let’s wrap this shit up and legalize weed. Then we can talk about all these tanks and other petty drug crimes that we have created a war on our neighbors over.

The time is now. Let’s knock off the bullshit already.

LIKESWEED.GOODPERSON.1

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

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

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