SHOW ME THE MONEY!!! Why Weed Revenues Pale in Comparisson to Drug War Revenues

You weedheads are adorable with your darling little tax payments and your modest revenue streams. But don’t get it twisted. Your money is nothing compared to the taxes and economic “benefits” created by industries getting rich off prohibition and the drug war.

As we enter a new era of Federal enforcement with the changing of the guards from an Obama administration that chose to limit their enforcement into the cannabis industry with some vague and legally meaningless “memos” instructing enforcement agencies to chill out if the States say it is cool onward to a Trump administration where all bets are off and conservatives are chomping at the bit to return us all to the golden era of the Reagan “revolution” and Nixon’s “war on drugs.” It is anyone’s guess what will happen… not just with cannabis but literally everything. Good or bad, one thing is certain. Things are going to be very different under a Trump regime. From the way his cabinet is lining up and his thin-skinned responses to every petty argument, it is certain to be a wild ride.

I wish I were more optimistic; but I am not. Frankly, I am a little scared for us all.

The appointment of Jeff Sessions is troubling to say the least, as he has been a vocal critic of Obama’s stand-offish policy on cannabis laws, stating in his confirmation hearing this week, “The U.S. Congress made the possession of marijuana in every state—and the distribution—an illegal act,” Sessions said last week. “If that’s something that’s not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule.” The glass half full person might say, “Look. Sessions is calling for legalization.” That is cute. What I hear pretty loud and clear is, “The law is the law and I will enforce it unless someone decides to change it.” Remember… Trump declared himself “the law and order candidate” on the campaign trail and this is the head of the law and order branch of the United States government.

To believe Trump, and even more so Sessions, is going to allow for Obama’s laissez-faire approach to cannabis to continue is naive. It was just last April, less than a year ago, when Jefferson Beauregard “Jeff” Sessions III stood on the floor of the United States Senate and declared, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” and that it was a “very real danger” that is “not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.” He calls the effort to reform cannabis laws a “tragic mistake.” He has been incredibly critical of both of Obama’s Attorney Generals (Holder and Lynch) for not enforcing federal law where marijuana is concerned. In his tirade on the Senate floor last year he also stated, “You can’t have the President of the United States of America talking about marijuana like it is no different than taking a drink… It is different….It is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal.”

Does that sound like a guy who is going to just look the other way? The AG has no obligation to uphold the random thoughts and ideas of the President. He does not serve at the President’s pleasure. The entire point of the Attorney General is to have an independent legal force to uphold the laws of the United States; and as Sessions clearly stated in his confirmation hearing he intends to do just that. He is a “by the book” motherfucker if there ever was one. So, forgive me if I lack optimism, but I have seen this shitshow before.

The argument I keep hearing from folks is, “NO WAY, MICKEY. THERE IS TOO MUCH MONEY BEING MADE FOR THEM TO SHUT US DOWN NOW.” Have you bumped your fucking head?

Do not fool yourself. It is incredibly profitable to arrest non-violent weedheads and weed farmers and take all their stuff. Drug task force budgets alone are more lucrative than legal weed sales. Do you have any idea how much revenue is created by funding drug enforcement agencies? From buying the latest and greatest tactical gear, surveillance equipment, and weaponry to hiring and paying tens of thousands of agents to enforce these laws, there is a hell of a lot of money just in the investigation and arrest aspects of the war on cannabis. The nation’s failed drug policies have resulted in the militarization we see of our police forces and society has spent over a trillion dollars working to enforce drug laws with zero results. Addiction rates have remained constant and access to drugs is greater now than ever before. It is a racket, and one that ensured a pretty penny for law enforcement agencies to rid our communities of these evil drugs. Yawn. Are we still falling for that tired story? Yup. The drug war rages on at the expense of all of us. But I am sure the taxes from your eighth of Jack Herer will be the straw that broke the financial back of the drug war (rolls eyes).

You see… marijuana has always been an easy target. It is large in comparison to other drugs, and is easy to detect because of its distinct looks, coloring, and of course, smell. Do you know how much money cops are losing just by not being able to search your car and house because it smells like weed? That was free money for them. They search for the weed they say they smell and eventually come up with something illegal that allows them to take all of your stuff. Oh… Did I not mention “asset forfeiture” yet? Yeah. That is a lot of money that drug cops take from people every year. If a cop can prove you used your car or your property to grow, sell, or “conspire” to sell weed or any other drug then they can essentially confiscate that property. It is fucked up really. Sometimes they do not even have to convict you of a crime to strong arm you out of your property. Dafuck?

Then there is the money made after the arrests… The court systems. The lawyers. The jails and then the prisons. The treatment centers. Etc. Etc. Etc. The list goes on of ways that arresting people for weed is a money-making machine. Drug enforcement, and the subsequent fallout from arresting hundreds and thousands of people every year for weed, are no doubt a big business. Fortunes have been made from arresting people for weed, jailing them, and then “treating” them for their weed addiction problems. LOL.

There is a reason that every effort to legalize cannabis at the ballot box has been opposed by most all law enforcement communities. That is real money out of their pockets and budgets. Less drug arrests means less of a need for drug cops, and less need for prisons to house drug criminals. The prison industrial complex is a giant machine that locks up 25% of the world’s prison population… even though we only have 5% of the actual world population. Let that soak in. We love locking people up in America, and the drug war has been good for the economy. Sure… We are trillions in debt and no better off, but fuck it…. Let’s double down.

There is also the X factor…. We allow private companies access to cheap labor of prison inmates. Does it sound a lot like slavery? That is because it essentially is, and prisoners manufacture anything from lingerie to weapons of war. Fun, right? And you were mad about undocumented immigrants taking your job. Nope. Your job was outsourced to a steady stream of cheap prison labor through companies like Unicor. If it sounds crazy that is because it is. There are more black people in prison now than were ever enslaved during slavery. It is no coincidence that prisons are filled with poor and disenfranchised mostly minorities. The drug war and mass incarceration has been good for business. I am not even mentioning hemp alternatives, though many agree that hemp is also a primary driver of prohibition from those invested in timber, textiles fuel and more. That is all big bucks we are talking.

Of course, we can’t forget about the cost of drug detection and monitoring. Drug testing is a big business. Just the industry of selling weird products to mask and hide drug use is a big business. Because weed stays in your system so much longer than other drugs, it has also been an easy target for the drug treatment industry. Just think of every high school kid whose parents have them tested because they come home smelling like weed one day, or the cost of drug testing that employers pay for in the hiring process alone. That is a lot of cheddar. But I am sure the taxes from your edible line are going to save the economy, bro. Funny stuff.

Believe that the taxes realized from legal weed sales would come at a perceived cost of other tax paying industries, as well… particularly big pharma and the booze industry. Theoretically, if people are spending money on weed they might in turn be spending less money on booze. If people can find relief from cannabis without having to see a doctor and get a prescription, then that could severely dent the budget of the pharmaceutical industry. So it is not like the taxes that will come from the weed game just appear out of nowhere. There will be certain trade-offs no doubt. Hell… Even drug cartels are pissed because their market is shrinking rapidly.

The ultimate reality is also that if cannabis were legalized globally today there would be an initial shortage, but over time supply would catch up with demand and prices would continue to fall… meaning your tax revenue would also shrink thus. There will come a day when a good ounce of weed is about $50 and even if they slap a 50% tax on that baby it will still only be $75. We have already begun to see process drop in states where legalization has taken hold. It will likely shape up to look like the wine industry in a lot of ways when it is all said and done… Some Two-Buck-Chuck or some Opus One, and a bunch of specialty items at all price points in between. But there will be some good weed for good prices for sure. The tax revenue projections off of $50 eighths and $300 ounces will be irrelevant one day, so there is that.

So you keep telling yourself that the new regime of ultra-right-wing conservatives who take money by the barrel from these industries have no interest in coming after you because you pay taxes. I wish I could live in that fairytale land of optimism and hope. The cynic in me will not let me be fooled by some meaningless rhetoric about states’ rights and whatnot. I don’t believe you.

It is true that none of us know what is going to happen in coming months and years as Trump and his band of scary pranksters take control of our Nation’s government and start calling the shots on who does and does not go to jail for what. I guess we can hope that they are so busy rounding up Mexicans and Muslims that they forget about us weedheads; but I am not going to hold my breath.

I am committed to staying vigilant and ready for the fight. Regardless of what happens I can assure you one thing… I am not going nowhere. But before you decide to report your weed sales to a government agency of any sort just ask yourself if you may or may not be incriminating yourself and then call me when you need some compliance documentation done to help you sleep better at night.

It will not be the money that keeps weed illegal and drug warriors fat for years to come. Our only real hope is social change. That we have squeezed enough toothpaste out of the tube that it will never go back in. Some may have a hard time imagining their communities going back to a time before medical and/or adult use cannabis were legal, but it can happen. And it can happen pretty quick. Remember that hundreds of cannabis businesses were abruptly closed in California in 2011 and 2012 with nothing more than a form letter and a stamp threatening enforcement. If the new AG decides that the Cole Memo is no longer USDOJ policy, then it would be quite easy for the Feds to ramp up the war on weed again. Can they arrest us all? Probably not, but they can certainly arrest a bunch of us if they want to. That is just a fact. Marinate on that for a while and then let me know if you still want to be so flippant about the coming changes in policy not just for weed, but for everything. Gonna be an interesting few years.

May the Big Magnet in the Sky help us all. Selah.

 

Not Dead Yet

What a fucking year. I would be lying if I did not say that 2016 thus far has kicked my lily-white ass up one side and down the other… but I promise you one thing- I am NOT DEAD YET.

It is going to take more than this to kill a soldier like me off, but there is no doubt that we all have a hell of a lot of work to do, as the world is changing before our eyes; and in the opinion of this bleeding-heart liberal, not for the better. But if there is one thing I can appreciate it is a good fight, so fuck you, Universe. Bring that shit. Let’s dance motherfucker.

It is funny how things can go from order to chaos in what seems like moments. How is it that one day it seems like everything is moving right a long according to plan and then out of nowhere a bus runs right over your hopes, dreams, and what seems like everything you have worked for? It is ugly out here these days, but luckily for this giant asshole I thrive in moments of ugly chaos. So here we go, and I can promise you… NOT DEAD YET.

I have faced several personal struggles this year, as I have worked to figure out who and what I need to be in this ever-changing landscape with the earth moving underneath my feet at a pace I can barely keep up with. A lot of pain I have brought upon myself, and we will talk about that one day soon. But for now, it is the bigger picture that has me panicked. My own struggles are insignificant in the scheme of things. My demons are small in comparison to those that seem to be swirling about these days threatening all of our very existence.

There is no doubting that the election this year was incredibly brutal. Just watching it all unfold made me sad to be a part of this society. How we have chosen to be led by an ass-clown who lies 80% of the time, who beat out yesterday’s news and an unfortunate choice for what probably should have been “the first woman President” is beyond me. Is this the best our Nation has to be considered for the most powerful position on earth? This is who we elected? Really? These were our choices? Fucked of fuckderer; and we chose fuckeder? Unfuckingbelievable.

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But alas, I must digress. The people have spoken; or whatever the fuck you call it when the majority of people say one thing, but the “Electoral College” of people says otherwise. The bottom line is that we are at a very dangerous point in our history as humans… and we have had some pretty fucked up and dangerous histories. The new Dark Ages is upon us. I do not know what to think any more, but I do know one thing. NOT DEAD YET!

As a cannabis activist, advocate, supporter, or provider, you should probably be pretty fucking worried right now. Why? Because you have a brutal prohibitionist prick nominated to lead the United States Justice Department, and the only thing saving your ass right now is a fairly weak worded memo that I assure you will be torn up and burned the day after Jeff Sessions is nominated Attorney General. Welcome to the show, bitches.

We are in the middle of trying to raise fund for the Parents 4 Pot Cannabis Community and POW Holiday Drive, and as I look to those who have helped us to bring a holiday to these families in need it is clear that things have seriously changed in the cannabis community. Over half of the major donors that made the last couple of years happen have either told me they have nothing to contribute this year, or they have contributed about 5% of what they did last year. It has been demoralizing to say the least, and to be honest… It makes me sort of sick to my stomach. Between the threat of a new aggressive enforcement administrator taking over the DEA, and a myriad of new regulatory costs and worries, it seems like a lot of the folks who have been incredibly generous in the past have decided to bury their money under the woodpile this year.

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The really funny part is that now more than ever is the time you should be contributing all you can to those affected by cannabis prohibition because if things play out the way they look like they might then you are going to need all of the good karma you can muster. It might be you and your family on the list next year… if there even is a list. Developing Parents 4 Pot as a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting for cannabis freedom for those with parents or children in prison for weed; those who have had to uproot their families to move where cannabis is for health reasons; and those who have lost their jobs, homes, children, standing in the community, and/or freedom because of cannabis has been an incredibly rewarding experience. It has also been very challenging.

I am lucky enough to have a Board of Directors willing to commit their time, energy, and often resources to making the organization work. For the love of the game we have been able to grow #P4P into something we can all be very proud of. We have been able to educate many, and support a lot of those who have been forgotten, as our “movement” based on this sacred plant has evolved into an “industry” populated by the good, the bad, and the ugly looking to hit it big on the next big thing.

I have fought for cannabis freedom the majority of my life now, and it has become my lifeblood. I have been incredibly lucky to bear witness firsthand to what has become the fastest growing industry in the world and also the most exciting political movement since the Civil Rights movement. But I have also seen the “next big thing” come and go more times than I can really stomach.

But I am still here, fuckers. NOT DEAD YET.

I have two weeks to make a Christmas miracle happen for 40 amazing families who have lost everything due to cannabis prohibition, and I will be damned if I am going to let them down. I will make the Parents 4 Pot Holiday Drive a success if I have to take hostages to get it done. I am not above anything at this point. I could give a fuck. We promised Christmas to 40 families in need, and one way or another we are going to deliver. Even if I have to put all of their gifts on my own credit card and extort everyone in this godforsaken industry that I have a pile of dirt on for every penny they have made from this beloved plant. #FUNNYNOTFUNNY

Yeah. It is like that. Sorry-Not-Sorry.

“Breathe, Mickey. It is going to be okay. I said BREATHE, motherfucker! Step back and realize that you are NOT DEAD YET. The Big Magnet in the Sky will make things right with the world and that things will work out.”

You just gotta believe, and I still do. I will not let the system get me down. I will continue to fight the good fight every day until they either lock the door behind be or cremate my phat-ass. It is what I do. It is who I am. #NOTDEADYET

So as I sit here with the reality that Donald Fucking Trump is going to be our Commander in Chief, and his posse of weed-hating fuckfaces will probably take our entire movement/industry (or whatever the fuck you want to call this deal we have going) back to Nancy Reagan’s Just Say No 1980’s bullshit, I have to wonder what tomorrow will bring. What is next? How can the humans fuck up our society any worse than we already have?

I am not sure; but what I am sure of is that if they can then they will.

Most days it seems like I live in an alternate universe and that this whole deal is a dreamish nightmare that I will awaken from at any moment. Yet every day I wake up and look myself in the mirror and say, “Fuck you. Fuck your hopes and dreams. Let’s go the fuck out here and try to change the world for the better… again.” I have to. I put one foot in front of the other, and regardless of the challenges we face, I move forward. It is all I know. It is who I have become.

That might seem like a dark reality, but have you looked around this motherfucker lately? Is it just me, or is there something very spooky happening out here as of late? Am I crazy?

I guess we all are a little crazy in one way or another; but lately it has seemed more difficult to be comfortable in my own aura. But again… NOT DEAD YET.

The holidays are upon us, and while it is supposed to be a “joyous” and “merry” time of the year, it is also incredibly stressful and draining for a lot of us. The world has always been fucked up, so it is not like this is a new phenomenon… but it is a new era of fucked up that none of us can be sure of what is to come.

Maybe I am over-reacting. Maybe Trump will be the greatest President we have ever had. Maybe cannabis will be truly legalized for everyone on earth. Maybe the rapture will happen and take all of the good people to live in heaven with the good Lord Jesus, or Muhammad, or Jah, or at least Johnny Cash… Or maybe we are entirely fucked in a way that we have even yet to imagine as a society.

Who the fuck knows? Who the fuck cares? When it is all said and done, does any of it really matter? Does our existence make a difference in the grand scheme of a Universe so massive and vast that none of us can even imagine, and a long and storied history that our lives are but a spec of? I am not sure that it does; and frankly, I don’t really give a shit.

I am going to continue to work towards making the world a better place and to be the best person I possibly can. I am going to continue to smoke, grow, and provide weed regardless of what the government says. I can be an outlaw or an entrepreneur, and be just as happy either way. I am pretty good at both. I have lived such a full and meaningful life in my first 42 years on this planet, that anything from here on is gravy. Not much they can do to me that has not been done already. I probably won’t laugh or love harder than I already have and I will likely continue to be a gigantic asshole with a tremendous heart. I will always be #FUCKMICKEY. No one can take that away from me.

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Many have tried and failed, and fuck each and everyone of them. Most of those who I have gone to battle with are miserable people not deserving of the air they breathe… there are plenty of those walking around for certain. Fuck ’em all. I got your “award” right here, pal. No you cocksuckers… Everyone does not get a fucking trophy.

How the fuck we came to this moment in history boggles one’s mind. But regardless, we are here…. we are NOT DEAD YET. Not even close, bitches.

None of us can know what tomorrow will bring, and yesterday is for suckers. All we can do is live for right now and do everything we can in this moment to ensure that what we leave behind for our children, families, friends, and fellow beings is more spectacular than what we found when we crawled out of our mother’s womb. Yup… What a long strange trip it has been, and will continue to be- at least until we die.

But you might have heard this before, but I am going to say it one more time just to make sure you caught it…. I am NOT DEAD YET.

Selah. Wooooooooooooosh!

Shit Is Always Funny Until It Isn't Anymore….

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We have been through so much together.

I have given the better part of my life to fighting for cannabis freedom. I have learned to use my voice as a powerful voice for change. My sacrifice has been my choice, and I am humbled by the people who have joined me on this journey. It has been a wild ride indeed.

As a community, a movement, and now an industry we have learned to evolve and have pushed cannabis to the point of acceptance and honor. I look around me and know I have made a difference. I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish and will always cherish the impact I have been able to create through my writing and education of the masses. I like to think that my raw and uncut commentary has helped us to all grow as individuals and collectively. I have done my best to keep it real, even if the real often hit too close to home for many. I have tried to keep things funny, because if we can’t laugh at ourselves we are lost. I have also tried to make people understand, and more so feel. It is so important for us to cut through the fake and insincere bullshit and get to the core of the human experience to really get it. That is never easy, but it is always a worthwhile journey.

Many people have observed me over the years and have wondered what it is that drives me. It is simple. Justice, morality, and the truth. I began my journey in cannabis reform because for one I really like weed. It makes me feel good. But even more, I began to fight for this cause because I saw it as a huge injustice that was so clearly immoral and which lacked any real truth. How could we be locking up good people for using a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant? None of it made sense to me.

I have been incredibly lucky to have come up in the middle of a watershed moment in history. I really began to understand the fight when I moved to California in 1995. I moved here with a girlfriend whose mother hated me, and spent my first few months in town mostly homeless unless my girl’s mom was out of town. I lived on the street in the Haight, and then Berkeley, and then onto Santa Cruz for a couple of months. While in Santa Cruz I was offered a position gathering signatures for Prop 215 for $50 a day. At that time it was more the $50 a day that drove me than the fight for cannabis freedom, but I began to understand the politics of it all and saw firsthand the challenges faced. People either loved or hated the idea of weed. Most of the people who sneered at me when I asked for their signature were uneducated and simply did not understand that weed was not the evil thing they had been told it was. The overt ignorance was amazing.

I have sold weed since I was twelve. From hustling in Junior High to swinging sacks in Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park, the weed game has been all I have known since my youth. I grew up a screw up. I learned a lot of hard lessons. I spent time in mental institutions, group homes, and was incarcerated for over a year when I was 13. I got a GED and went to a predominantly black college from jail when I was 14 years old. No one ever said I was stupid. But I always had something to prove. I always pushed boundaries. I took risks with little care about the consequences. I did a lot of stupid shit when I was young that I am not proud of; but in these moments I learned a lot. A lot about me. A lot about people. A lot about the world we live in. I also learned to survive.

I have also been incredibly lucky. The universe has put me in places and positions where I have had more real and meaningful experiences than most. I have always been surrounded by amazing people who I could learn from and who would help me find myself. I spent a lot of days unsure of myself, often letting the world get the better of me because I did not understand the power I possessed. I often had a chip on my shoulder because I believed that I had been dealt a raw deal. As I grew older I learned to embrace and cherish those experiences, and knew that I had been given an incredible gift. Through my many different trials and tribulations I had grown strong; and once I could grasp that the life lessons I was given were a blessing and not a burden, I began to find my voice.

I was raised by a single mom with Multiple Personality Disorder who worked 80 hours a week selling real estate to keep me and my sister in a nice house with nice clothes and in good schools. It was hard for me to comprehend my reality at that time, and I resented how alone I would feel. Ever since I can remember my life has been filled with absolute chaos. It would be impossible to explain in a simple blog posting, but to me, the world has always been one long running joke. I have woken up every day just waiting for the punch line.

As I became more deeply involved in cannabis reform, I felt at home. Nothing has been more unsure and chaotic than the cannabis movement. When Tainted Edibles began to explode it was a very natural progression for me. We woke up every day thinking it would be our last waiting for the Feds to kick the door in. Nearly seven years later they finally did, but not before we were able to help make cannabis a mainstream topic and touched millions with our products. We pushed the boundaries in everything we did, and helped create the industry you see now. We put it all on the line and never looked back. We built an empire on weed chocolate and were a household name in weed circles. I had never been prouder of anything I had done in my life, and in an instant it was all taken from me.

Then came the battle with the Federal Government. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday when I got the call that “the power was out and the basement was flooded.” That was the code that the day had finally come. I was in Bellingham, WA at the time visiting my wife’s family 30 miles from the Canadian border. My youngest son was only 4 months old and I still vividly remember the look of panic on my wife’s face when I told her that my two business facilities, our house, my partner’s house, and one of my employee’s house were being raided by swat teams complete with tanks and helicopters. I had no idea what to do, but my gut told me I had to fight. After contacting my attorneys and local activists to respond, I began to write. I wrote an open letter that laid it all on the line. In that moment I understood the magnitude of this battle and the reality of cannabis prohibition. I was facing a decade in prison for making weed brownies for sick people. It was a traumatizing and humbling experience. I watched as every major media source in the country picked up the story and told incredible lies about me and my company. I lost a lot of faith in humanity and understood clearly that what we were told in the press was anything but the truth.

I thought about fleeing to Canada, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t ask my family to live on the run and I did not want to face this without them by my side. I chose to take the long drive back to the Bay Area and face the music. We organized a press conference before I turned myself in after 7 days as a fugitive where I blasted the Feds for their actions. I looked the world in the eyes and told them “we are good people with good intentions and do not deserve to be treated like criminals for providing safe and effective medicines.” Thus “Likes Weed. Good Person.” was essentially born.

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I had been an activist for many years but I tried to stay out of the spotlight to protect our company, so we supported those on the front lines with funding and our presence. Now I was forced to take a leading role in the fight for cannabis freedom, as our case became a very public battle. We organized protests at every court date and I began writing a blog called Free Tainted where I began to share my most intimate thoughts with the community at large. The blog was read by many, including the US Probation officer in charge of doing my sentencing memo who told me he used to read it in his garage. He was moved by our story, as he understood that I believed in what I did, and was caught in the middle of the battle between state and federal laws. This resulted in him downward departing from the Government’s attempt to give me 37 months in a Federal penitentiary and ultimately the judge agreed and gave me no time in prison, but instead one year on house arrest and one year in a halfway house. It was an amazing victory for our community who had seen dozens of providers get sent away for long draconian sentences for providing cannabis medicines. You can read about the day I was sentenced here. For the record, no edible company has been raided by the Feds since we gave them that black eye; so to all the kids out there killing it these days, you are welcome.

After being sentenced I was unable to touch weed, so I began doing consulting. I learned to use the skill I learned from graduating with honors in business from St. Mary’s college and the skills from developing Tainted for 7 years to help other people create sound business plans and navigate the murky waters of the cannabis industry. I helped to develop self-regulatory models to protect organizations and began doing government relations work to help public officials better understand the benefits of the industry. I developed business models for every aspect of the industry, and worked to promote the industry from every angle. I was able to stay deeply involved in the industry through my entire period of federal confinement.

I then began to write my own blog called Cannabis Warrior. I began the blog to get the millions of thoughts I  have out of my head and into a space where I could let them go to be digested by the world. I never wrote for anyone but me. It was a cathartic exercise that helped me to not explode. I never even intended for anyone to read it, or for it to become as popular as it did. I just needed to put it out there and let it go. The idea was to examine and chronicle the industry from the inside out. This was around 2010, right after Obama’s first memo when everyone and their mom was jumping in the game and all of the sudden the industry was one sexy slutty magazine ad after another bikini car wash. I began to write a lot about the people who make up the industry. I understood that if we did not begin to examine ourselves internally that someone else would. It is important to take care of housekeeping. Also we were knee deep in the beginning of the battle for Prop 19 and it was necessary to look closely at the deep and often humorous dialogue that was forming the debate. These were the days of Stevie D’s failed Weed Wars TV show, the beginnings of lab testing, and the evolution from outlaws to entrepreneurs. Everyone had a gimmick. Everyone was the next big thing. All of the old investment hucksters decided to open a dispensary and play the I wanna get rich off weed game. It was a ripe time for writing about the cannabis industry and it has only gotten weirder since. I couldn’t keep up with the bullshit that was going on, but did my best to provide a real and often humorous insight to the happenings of an industry that was exploding.

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Needless to say, my writing has not made me a lot of friends and that was okay. I never really needed a lot of friends. I can hardly make time for the few that I have. But I kept writing and finding ways to make people understand the bullshit that was happening in this godforsaken movement. I wrote tirelessly day and night, and every day more and more dirt would come across my desk. While at times it was exciting, mostly it was difficult and ugly. It was hard to absorb all of the madness on a daily basis and still try to function in my normal life. At some points I became consumed and people began to look to me to police the industry, as if I were some strange belligerent and profane watchdog. People never got that I did not write for them, but that I wrote for me. That the words I put on the page were  only there to keep me from my own insanity.  My blogs have never had one advertisement for anything because I did not need the money for ads, and I wanted the words I wrote to be pure and not influenced by those who paid me.

I wrote Cannabis Warrior until 2102 when I was attacked by someone who took issue with the things I wrote. First I had a tracking device placed on my car and was followed by some people. They called me and told me everywhere I had been that day, where I lived, and they told me I needed to take down my Bullshitter of the Week pieces, so I did. But I still kept writing. About a year later, I came out of my house to all of my tires being slashed on my car one morning. I tried to write it off as some local vandals; but I kept writing. Next I was leaving a dispensary in Sacramento and a man walked right up to my car and pepper sprayed me through the window. I almost wrecked my car trying to escape. But I still kept writing. Finally I got a letter in the mail with pictures of my kids and my wife dropping them at their school, with a threat pretending to be a Mexican drug cartel telling me I needed to stay off of the internet. After talking with the police and the FBI, I took down my blog and most of my social media for a few months.

About a month after removing Cannabis Warrior from the internet I started this blog. If you go to the “about” page there is no mention of my name to this day. I started new social media accounts under the name Weed Activist. I posted to email lists under the name Weed Activist. I began writing less controversial stuff under the name Weed Activist here because I still needed to write. I have a somewhat distinct style of writing and posting on social media though, so after a couple of months most had figured out it was me. My wife had calmed down. We sold all of our cars and moved to a different area. I installed security systems and took every precaution I could think of. Feeling a little better, I opened up my social media pages again and began writing more of the hard hitting pieces I had become known for. I had decided not to let the terrorists win.

While I do not write every day like I used to, I do take the time to write about things I know are important. I still try to educate people and help create a sense of understanding about what the fuck we are all fighting for. I still ruffle a lot of feathers with my antics both here on my blog and on social media. I have also made a lot of memes, which I found to be a great medium for both humor and insight. If a picture is worth a thousand words then a picture with words is worth even more. It has become quite the hobby and keeps people both entertained and informed. I have become known for my whimsical banter and willingness to call shit like it is. Through all of this #FUCKMICKEY was born, which has become a mantra for those who both hate me and love me.

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With that comes a lot of responsibility and a lot of hurt feelings. A lot of people really want to kill me. A lot of people just hate my guts. Some people like me, and a few really love me for my work. It has been a fun and funny journey indeed.

But even the funniest shit is only funny until it isn’t anymore. Everything gets stale eventually. It is a natural progression. My partner and brother J7 wisely once told me, “Always leave them wanting more”….. so I will.

This will likely be my last posting on WeedActivist.com. I will be taking some time to reinvent myself and find a new cage to rattle. I am exhausted and my heart is no longer in it. I am no longer interested in pissing in the wind and hoping to make a difference in this industry. Whatever happens will just have to happen. I can no longer give my time, energy, and resources into playing cannabis industry watchdog. It is obvious that the folks who live their lives like scumbags and con artists will continue to do so, regardless of what I write or what funny meme I make about them. This is America and money talks. Altruism and goodwill will only take one so far. The pricks will be pricks regardless, and if they have enough money they will probably figure out how to be successful. That is fine by me. Who gives a shit anymore? Let the monkeys run the zoo and the wolves take over the hen house. Good for them.

For me…. I need to figure out me for a while. I need to focus on my projects and learn to be a killer again. I have to quit being distracted by the politics and the mayhem, and just get back to business. I used to run one of the most successful companies in this industry, and I am going to figure out how to do that again if I have to lie, steal, and cheat like everyone else to do it. I am about $100k in debt and have not a lot to show for it but the respect of some and the hatred of many. While that is super and everything, it doesn’t pay my bills or put my kids through college, and mostly it just doesn’t make me happy anymore.

I have given up a lot of myself to this movement and industry. I have fought tirelessly for what I thought was right. I have put my best effort towards making the world of cannabis a better place, and for now I just cannot do it anymore. I must step back and begin to think about me, my family, and my future. I have realized that I am a big fucking fish in this small fucking pond, and that my talents are being wasted chasing my tail with people who mostly do not even give a fuck. It has been an honor to serve and I will always be an intricate part of the cannabis universe; but I must change. Tomorrow must be different. I must regain my sanity and begin to accomplish bigger and better things.

To all that have followed my blogs and writings over the years, I humbly thank you. To those who have shown me kindness and given me strength, you will always have my loyalty. To those who are dirty rotten scumbag losers who have found themselves looking down the barrel of my gun, you may sleep better tonight.

I am certainly not gone, but I have changed… and not a moment too soon. Selah.

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Enjoy 4/20… Then Get To Work

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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.

But… But I thought we were all good?

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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.

Still Just About A Plant and Some 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.

Losers Never Win… Legalization Is No Loser

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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.

Overcoming Adversity in the Age of Long and Preposterous Bullshit

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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.

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The Sky Has Not Fallen So Get On With It…

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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.

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