Sac News and Review piece on the Montel drama and BS…

Below is a decent piece by Nick Miller of the Sac News and Review detailing the Montel soap opera in a little more detail. I was contacted this morning by two senior women who told me Montel Wellness owes them $8,500 and refused to pay them. It was heartbreaking to have ladies my mother’s age who live of of fixed incomes and depend on their harvest to supplement their income telling me how this has affected their lives. I was appalled to think that this group spent probably a undred thousand dollars on renovations and upgrades and “celebrity consulting” and they have made no effort to manage the debt of the organization. These women have gone without, as this organization has spared no expense on their “message.” Their “everyone else is doing it wrong and I am here to save you” BS is unbecoming. I just cannot fathom how these snakes sleep at night. Ugh…

Montel Williams’ fight

The former talk-show host opens a new medical-cannabis dispensary in Midtown to fanfare, controversy

By Nick Miller

“There won’t be a cure for MS in my lifetime. Period. It’s not happening.”

Montel Williams, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999, accepts this. He accepts it when he gets up each morning and is in too much pain to lift his feet out of bed. Or when his body can’t regulate its temperature and he’s the only guy in an air-conditioned room sweating uncontrollably.

He says these words on a recent Thursday morning at downtown Sacramento’s Hyatt Regency hotel amid sips of a warm espresso drink. The former talk-show host, whose Montel Williams Show ended in 2008 after 17 years, says he’s on a single-minded mission to mitigate, abate and assuage his MS symptoms. And share what he’s learned with patients worldwide.

“Everything I’m working on is a spoke in the wheel,” he says.

CW: I guess the history of the organization and its obligations are like the playing card stuck in that spoke getting whacked every time it passes by until it withers and is no more….

Williams’ latest spoke, however, is a divisive one: Abatin Wellness Cooperative, a medical-cannabis dispensary he launched this past Monday in Midtown Sacramento. A long-standing advocate, Williams has spoken at city halls across the country on behalf of medical pot. But this is his first medical-marijuana business endeavor. He hopes to take what he learns over the next six months here in Sacramento and expand nationwide.

Critics, including many local pot-club owners, say Williams is merely cashing in on California’s marijuana boom. They cite his commercials shilling for cash-advance loans and penchant for hosting psychics on his old TV show as grounds to doubt his compassion.

CW: It is hard to think how compassionate people would bully and intimidate senior citizens and hard working people to get out of paying their debts. They are your goons…

Many also question whether he should be allowed to operate a dispensary in the city, which has a moratorium on new clubs and an ordinance disallowing transfer of ownership. Williams says he is simply “consulting” at Abatin, and that Aundre Speciale—who owned the club that also previously operated at 2100 29th Street as Capitol Wellness Collective—remains on as “executive director.”

CW: Manager. Check the payroll differential from 2009 and now….

A contingent of vendors arrived at the new dispensary on Monday to complain that they were unpaid by Speciale for cannabis and services provided at her old collective, which shut down months ago, only to be remodeled into the existing Abatin club. One disgruntled contractor, Mickey Martin, who owns medical-cannabis consulting firm T-Comp in the Bay Area, argued he’s owed $20,000 from Capitol Wellness and also that Abatin is in violation of Sacramento’s ordinance, which states that any dispensary that closes for more than 30 days will have its permit revoked.

CW: That is correct….

Capitol Wellness says it’s working with vendors to resolve any payment issues.

I have made several calls, sent emails, and have mailed letters in an effort to get a response to no avail. This has been going on since January. Where is the resolution I wonder? Glad they spent everyone else’s collective income on renovations while leaving contractors and suppliers out in the cold.

Williams rebuffs all detractors. “Anyone who would say [I’m doing this for the money] clearly is thinking of how they position themselves, because they’re not thinking about me. I’ve been doing this for the last 10 years. It’s not like I’m doing this because I’m trying to make a buck. …

CW: So…I could care less your motivation. Just pay your bills, dude….and try and play by the rules. Unsavory business practice sucks, but KARMA sucks more…..

For the rest of this story visit the SN&R site HERE

Montel OWES money….Pay your bills, dude…

So in 2009 my companies began doing work for Capital Wellness Collective is Sacramento. We worked for several months to help develop business systems, renovate facilities, and help open the new 29th Street location. As the organization expanded to its sister location in Berkeley, we took on the construction job of building ALL of the walls, painting, laying floors and helping to open that facility. At the end of the job we were promised that we would be paid the $20,000 owed to us “as soon as Berkeley got up an running.” That was June of 2009…here we are, two whole years later and I have still not been paid.

I have sent letters to the “new management,” being Montel’s group out of LA to no avail. They have not even had the courtesy to respond to my letter of inquiry or multiple phone calls. They spent over $35,000 renovating their new “high-end” collective, which is a real slap in the face considering that is MY money they are virtually spending. In addition, several people who I am close with are also owed tens of thousands of dollars by this group for medicine and services, and they have been nothing but shady in their dealings with them. They are saying that a person must sign of on a 1099 for EVERYTHING they ever brought into the facility for the past 5 years, leaving them holding the bag for all of those taxes from collective group cultivation sites, thus meaning they would owe more than they are owed. WTF? You cannot change history. Pay the fucking bills and start clean or be prepared for a major backlash. I for one am tired of playing nice and am prepared to make this a major media issue if they do not rectify the situation. It is cowardice and inconsiderate to continue to fuck people who supported the CWC/CBCB effort for years and were fucked over when the organization could not control its spending and pay its bills.

So below are my smart ass comments on this lame ass attempt to woo over our community with some B-Star power….

Sacto: TV’s Montel Williams Comes to Sacramento to Open Marijuana Dispensary

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 1:58 PM

By Miles Bennett-Smith
Published: Tuesday, Jun. 14, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 1B


Montel Williams has been the face of many things – host of a nationally syndicated television talk show and pitchman for prescription drug assistance products and a fruit-and-vegetable emulsifier.

CW: Funny how Montel wants to be the front man on this project, considering his work to prop up Big Pharma over the years…

On Monday, Williams appeared in Sacramento to announce a partnership with a new enterprise, a medical marijuana dispensary.

CW: It is not a “new enterprise.” It is Sacramento’s oldest enterprise and with that he should take on the responsibility of their debts, as well as their assets…

In a news conference at the newly renovated offices of the former Capital Wellness Center, Williams spoke about his own battle with multiple sclerosis and why he turned to marijuana to alleviate near-constant neurological pain.

CW: You can call it what you want to, but it does not mean they do not owe the money they are responsible for…

“Prescription drugs nearly shut down my kidneys. Then a doctor suggested I try medical marijuana,” said Williams, who credits pot for improving his health and well-being.

Williams   a recent guest host of “Good Day Sacramento” on Channel 31 (KMAX)   led a tour of the new Albatin Wellness Cooperative at 29th and U streets in the Newton Booth neighborhood of midtown. He was accompanied by a Harvard-trained physician, Dr. Alan Shackelford, who specializes in medical marijuana.

CW: Any chances that the Doctor has some cash you can borrow?

“We’ve been caught up in culture surrounding medical marijuana that’s 20 years old,” Williams said. “While adhering to every single state law, we want to provide safe access for patients and really medicalize this. Patients should be put first.”

CW: I love it when a newbie…famous or not…walks into the movement as if they are a savior with all new ideas and makes it seem like they are a revolutionary….Pay your bills and we can talk about that.

He decided to partner with the marijuana cooperative’s director, Aundre Speciale, a friend he met two years ago and with whom he shares a philosophy of making medical marijuana available along with patient counseling and a standardized product.

CW: Unfortunately Aundre was a good friend and knows first hand that the collective owes me and many others money. It would be nice if, as a “partner,” she used her influence to do the right thing. As a “partner” it would seem in her best interest to make sure the folks who took care of her for so long were taken care of by the new bosses….Saying “I am sorry” is nice, but paying my bills would be nicer….

The host of “The Montel Williams Show,” which aired from 1991 to 2008, said he would be “involved at every level of the cooperative, from the philosophical direction down to the blueprints.”

CW: Good…get involved with the BOOKKEEPING, and get the bills PAID, dude….you want our community to accept you, then you must do right by the community….anything less is bullshit…..So get your calculator out and start writing some checks Mr. Involvement….

His influence certainly shines through in the decor and appearance of the dispensary, which is a far cry from at least some other facilities that advertise their product in windows and display it openly in glass cases. The building is as nondescript as its dull-blue hue, at least on the outside.

CW: It used to be YELLOW, so that paint job was essentially paid for by me and many others you guys are shafting…so I guess you are welcome….

Once visitors walk through the door, they are in a mosaic-tile lobby with flat-panel televisions playing various slides concerning the history of medicinal marijuana in addition to testimonials from Williams and others in the field.

CW: Flat panel TVs? Those would look nice in my house. Would be nice if I had the money for flat panel TVs…..Mosaic Tiles? Those would have went well in my bathroom or entryway..but I am BROKE….so must be nice…

After having their permits and paperwork vetted by a receptionist, the patients are buzzed in to a larger room to meet with a “counselor.” This happens every time they come in to discuss their medical needs, before any of what the center calls medicine is distributed.

CW: I would be interested to know who is doing the counseling. LOL….

It feels almost like going to the bank, except instead of money the tellers dole out a different kind of green. Dozens of cameras and at least four security guards monitor every movement.

CW: Chances are I INSTALLED THOSE VIDEO CAMERAS. You are welcome…now pay me!

Unlike most dispensaries, no marijuana is displayed in the facility, anywhere. Patients don’t see the actual product, which is available in edible and smokable form, until the very end, and can’t use it on the property.

CW: You cannot check it out before you purchase it? Maybe that is because the only vendors they have left are CRAPPY ones and they do not want you to see the CRAPPY products….

“I want this to be someplace your mother and father could see themselves walk into,” Williams said. He is using his celebrity status to try to do just that – he brought his parents along for the tour.

CW: How does mom and dad feel about you propping up an organization that is trying to beat a father of two and a medical cannabis political prisoner out of his $20,000? Did you tell them that part or are you ashamed?

But Williams’ high-profile appearance also brought with it some controversy for Albatin even before the system debuted Monday.


A group of five vendors came to the dispensary to inquire about what they claim is thousands of dollars owed for marijuana provided to Speciale’s Capital Wellness Cooperative in recent months.


Gary Hiller, the legal adviser for Capital Wellness Cooperative Inc., said any claims of money owed would be fully investigated.

CW: Investigated? How about fucking PAID, asshole….you partnered with an organization that has spent the last two years robbing Peter to pay Paul and you want to investigate? Look, man….I am owed cash for my blood, sweat, and energy….I got your investigation right here….Does your investigation include returning a fucking call or answering a letter? You are full of shit…

“If a patient-cultivator brings in excess medicine, he or she will be reimbursed the cost of cultivating that medicine in accordance with state law.”

CW: Shit…how about the people who built the walls and helped keep the organization going who were promised to be paid when things “got better.” Not much better than Daddy Warbucks coming in to save the day. Pay your bills, dude….

That seemed to put the issue to bed for the most part, as minutiae and legal wrangling appeared to be at the root of the confusion, leaving Williams to focus on his goal of medical marijuana patient advocacy.

CW: BELIEVE THIS ISSUE IS FAR FROM PUT TO BED. I have been waiting for this bullshit fanfare grand opening press release crap…GAME ON…..GAME ON…..You can be sure you have put NOTHING to rest…..

Williams said he wants to change the stigma surrounding doctor-prescribed pot use.

CW: Try changing the stigma around Capital Wellness first, champ. Thanks.

“It’s absurd. I can go get morphine pumped into my system and nobody’s got a problem,” he said. “But all of a sudden they’re really worried if I smoked a joint.”

CW: I a’int worried about your joint, but I am worried about your disregard for the people who have helped develop Capital Wellness over the years and your inability to pay your bills. I have had it with that shit, so if you think you are taking a victory lap on my dime, you are sadly mistaken. Sorry. If you want to put some skin in the game, then take the responsibility that comes with it. Before we do any more press, let us pay the fucking bills…I do not think that is too much to ask…Thanks.

Story Source:

Bhang Chocolate…The Original? Really? Come on, man?

SO I have bit my tongue for a minute on this one and meant to take it up with the ownership, but today is the day I have to ask, “What the fuck?” Bhang Chocolates makes a decent product, (although I question their dosage level accuracy. 60mg and 120 mg and 180 mg in that small bar? You are killing me, player. Have CW check their process because someone is bullshitting. ) but their up and coming organization should slow their roll on stating that they are “The Original” anything. Tainted was making chocolates many years before you post-memo heroes decided to show up on the scene and bless us with your presence, and even we would NEVER claim to be “The Original.” Cannabis and chocolate have been on planet earth for a very long time. THC laden chocolates have been a part of the human experience long before any of us showed up. Shit…this movement has been around for a minute and plenty of chocolatiers have been serving patients since the passage of 215. So I am publicly calling for you to remove this garbage from the packaging and have some respect. There is no ego (see post below) necessary to sell decent products and do well in the industry. You have a nice professional product so it is unclear what putting this bullshit statement across the top of your product is really meant to achieve (other than pissing me off). It is your call to make. I just think it lacks reality and respect.

Another word of advice: Be careful….I hear that shit can get you in trouble.

This is the owner and his hello to the market. Just another “everyone who came before me sucked” statement.

STFU: Another weGrow FAIL! Moving is not a story!

I am not sure what to think about this story, although I should because it is the third fucking time I have had to read it. “The Wal-Mart of weed” is opening. Shut the fuck up already. First off- I told you the first time you opened your big dirt store that it was not a news story. Shame on the lame ass Sac Bee and CBS and anyone else who keeps running this BULLSHIT. You can invite your City Council friends over, lay out a cheese plate, and call every press outlet in the State, but at the end of the day you got a warehouse full of dirt and lights and that is not a story.

So about a year ago Dhar Mann and company did a press release that they were opening “iGrow” and it was to be God’s gift to the cannabis world. Well it wasn’t. And furthermore it wasn’t even a good option for Oakland, nor the medical cannabis industry. Dhar Mann, the young entrepreneur whose family owns every taxicab in Oakland, and the man behind the I/We Grow debacle failed to do any decent planning then and was sued over the name iGrow. Way to do your homework. After a great press release and a bunch of hype “iGrow” could not deliver the goods. Their lack of planning lacked the foresight to imagine the reaction of hydroponic equipment suppliers who have normal operating procedures that include not advertising their products as marijuana products. Hydro suppliers are international companies who stand to lose millions if their product is held up at customs or not able to be sold because it is associated with cannabis. All of the main distributors cut them off. But nobody could see that writing on the wall so in the first 6 months of operating “iGrow” was sued for their name and cut off by their major suppliers. Way to go on the strategic planning.

So then they decided to relaunch the project with another big press release complete with City Councilpersons, cheese plates, and hyperbole about how what was now dubbed “weGrow” would be a major player Nationwide as a franchise and also distributor of equipment (bought straight from China). Blah blah blah…….the organization was going to apply for a permit to operate one of the 4 Oakland MegaGrows, and is currently seeking a permit still. SO you got that…..2 press releases in one year about the Grand Opening of a Dirt Store. Zero success to show for it…..and now this.

So now…after Oakland has been closed because it FAILED the weGrowers launch yet  ANOTHER PRESS RELEASE because they are opening another Dirt Store- this time in Sacramento? Really? Third time the charm? Here is the kicker….the lead on the story is “Dirt Store opening in Sac” (same shit as before), but it should be “Wal-Mart of Weed FAILS in Oakland and moves to Sac to try and sucker a whole new group of people.” I would hope that the word is out WAY ahead of this one and the good patients in the Sac area are smart enough to see that this is just another smoke and mirrors bullshit story meant to grab a couple of headlines, but really it is just a big flashy warehouse store ran by some rookies who never grew a decent bud in their life. That is right, I said it……

I have discussed my former criticisms and BULLSHITTER of the Week Award with Dhar directly over email. He is not a horrible person. (UPDATE: Several former employees, associates, and people he owes money to would like people to k now that he actually IS a horrible person and they have a list of court cases, complaints and evidence to prove it.) He is just a media whore and a bad business person. He is a person who likes to blow the smoke up one’s ass before the actual work has been done or success has been had. It is one thing to make a bunch of lofty statements in the press and try to beat chest with the Silverbacks of the weed world in the media- it is another to do the work, create the satisfaction, and then have people admire your work because it is successful- not because you said a bunch of crazy shit about how it would be successful.

SO do us all a favor. The next time you want to open up a new future failed project, do us all a favor- put the phone list for the press down and put your time and energy into doing the work. Anything less is just crying wolf. People argued to give you credit the first time when I called BULLSHIT on your big ideas with zero substance. I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt. But I for one am sick of having stories about your Dirt Store and some weak ass quote that you regurgitated from Harborside’s Stevie-D about how you are doing something revolutionary in the paper. At least Stevie HAS done something and IS successful instead of just talking about it.

“I just thought it was a statement to have something close to the state Capitol,” said Dhar Mann, who founded the original iGrow in January 2010. “It’s a statement of how progressive the industry has become. We’re all about coming out of the shadows.”

Real fucking original…….geez. Are you gonna make some buttons and flyers with that quote on them?

SO in conclusion, BEEN THERE- DONE THAT- Got the T-Shirt and used it as a dust rag. No matter what you think “The Wal-Mart of Weed” is not a good headline, jackass- so keep it out of my paper. No one should patronize or give a moment’s notice to this THIRD PRESS RELEASE IN ONE YEAR about the opening of this same tired store. There are a lot of great Dirt Stores out there ran by hard working and knowledgeable people. Do not fall for the hype of this bullshit press release and lame story. It is a mirage and is sure to fail. I like 3rd Street Hydroponics in Oakland, but if you cannot make it to “The O,” there are really a large number of good retailers out there in Sacramento and all other areas that deserve your business. Let this guy fail and disappear into the night. Our movement did not need him or his money then and we still do not need it now. Thanks but no thanks, Dhar. We will not be doing that lunch after all. Sorry. I have had enough…..

Let me know when you decide to DO THE WORK…..