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.
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.
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.
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.
This is an open letter I sent out to all media channels on October 2nd 2007, just days after the Feds kicked in our doors and decided to try me as a criminal for porviding food-based cannabis medicines to patients in need. Please read it and know that this fight is far from over…. and then get ready for the new battles to come. Selah.
MY DEAR FELLOW COMPASSIONATE MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY,
I write this letter in a state of deep sorrow, as I have just learned that I am a fugitive from a Drug Enforcement Administration press release while on vacation with my wife Elinor and two sons, Tyler (3) and Lucas (5 months). I am now a wanted man for charges relating to providing medical marijuana to sick and dying patients in the State of California and it pains me that a government agency would attempt to justify their allegations by misinforming the public on so many levels.
There is a grave injustice happening in this country regarding medical cannabis and in the words of the great Dr. King, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” A decade since California voters passed the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, allowing for the use of medical cannabis by qualified patients upon the recommendation of a licensed physician, we have continued to unnecessarily waste taxpayer dollars on the arrest and prosecution of law abiding citizens due to misguided federal laws that conflict with the laws of California and 12 other states. How many people’s lives will we continue to see ripped apart for the use of cannabis as medicine before we as a society stand up and say ENOUGH?
My awareness of medical cannabis and its benefits began in the early nineties when my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer and I lived in New York City with him painfully watching as the early stages of his cancer began to erode his physical and spiritual being. He was in tremendous pain constantly and always very ill from the number of medications that he was using for his condition. An elder friend of mine that also had cancer told me of the tremendous relief that he found from a small amount of cannabis. I encouraged my father to try cannabis but he blatantly refused due to its legal status under federal law. This hot-button topic created a divide between my father and I that ended with me moving away, as I could not stand to see him suffer any longer. My father lived ten years in horrific pain and discomfort and lost his life to the disease in 2002.
In September of 1995 I moved to the Bay Area and began living in the Berkeley Area. At this time petitions were being circulated to get Proposition 215 on the ballot and I took a part-time job helping gather signatures. I felt as if I was doing God’s work, as I had seen firsthand the degradation of my father’s life due to the horrible sickness his cancer medication caused, and the withering away of his body, as eating became a difficult chore for him. I would have gathered the signatures for free, as I truly believe that cannabis is a beneficial medicine that has been demonized for political purposes for decades, and a medicine that could have comforted my father in his decade long battle with cancer.
I began studying more about cannabis as a medicine over the years and began to realize that there was an unjust harm being done in this country by jailing and persecuting people who use cannabis for relief. There are countless stories of medical cannabis political prisoners whom have been persecuted for providing relief to the sick and dying. I became politically involved with the progressive movement, attending rallies and protests, working with Americans for Safe Access, and being a vocal member of the community regarding the atrocities that were happening with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s violent raids on cannabis providers, and the tearing apart of families occurring as a result of arrests and convictions of cannabis patients and providers.
I learned of the struggles that these people faced in their persecution, as they were unable to present any evidence of the medical benefits of cannabis at their federal trials, and forced to be labeled as drug dealers or traffickers for simply trying to implement the will of the voters of California by providing safe access to cannabis as an alternative and organic form of relief for pain, nausea, and a multitude of other symptoms or conditions. I was outraged by the injustices being perpetrated by the federal government, which I see as a direct assault on the U.S. Constitution and its clear intent to allow each State its due dignity and independence.
To be prohibited from speaking freely about the medical benefits of cannabis in a federal courtroom is an absurd violation of free speech. Furthermore, such a rule evinces disrespect and condescension toward the intelligent citizenry, who should have the right to make decisions based on factual evidence and sound research before voting to convict over unfounded rhetoric. For a state to face forceful and violent intervention from the government over the implementation of laws within its own borders is not what our founding fathers had in mind when writing the Tenth Amendment to the Bill of Rights. The absurdity of this struggle has left me a changed man. Once a naive child who believed in the Government and the freedoms of America, I have come to realize that laws can be bought and funded by big business and that the war on cannabis was simply a result of many other factions and powerful lobbying committees that have demonized this medicine for their own wealth and gain.
I myself use cannabis for medicinal reasons. I spent much of my youth forced to take Ritalin for behavioral issues and when I was old enough I found cannabis to be a much more manageable way of dealing with anxiety and hyperactivity that resulted from what doctors refer to as a “chemical imbalance.”
In 2002 I suffered a serious fall and shattered my left calcaneous bone, which is more commonly referred to as the heel. It was surgically repaired with seven screws and a steel plate that are to remain in my body for the rest of my life. This, combined with degenerative cartilage in my right knee, I was unable to walk without discomfort and consistent pain. I became addicted to Vicodin and painkillers during my recovery and always felt very toxic when using opiate derived pain medication. I found that cannabis relieved the pain and allowed me to function more freely and I began to live a fuller life without the burden of being subjected to the adverse side effects of prescription medication.
Realizing the vast improvements in my own life that cannabis has provided, I have continued to be a vocal member of the community and a proponent of medical cannabis. I have poured my heart and soul into fighting for the rights of medical cannabis users everywhere. Maybe that is the reason that I am being targeted now. Not because I have done anything wrong, but because I have given my lifeblood to advocating the use of medical cannabis and have spoken out strongly against the tyranny of our government surrounding this issue. It never ceases to amaze me. How can we live in a society that chooses to jail its own people over using a natural form of medication that is harmless in many forms and provides relief for so many?
I sit here in mourning with my family as we watch lies and sensationalist rhetoric about us streaming across every media outlet in the Country, just horrified by the possibilities that surround our future. I know I must turn myself in and confront these horrific allegations and I sincerely ask for the support of the community in these matters.
I believe truly in my heart that I have committed no crime. With all of the domestic and global issues our country faces, it is sad that our taxpayer dollars and law enforcement resources are being expended in an entrenched battle over a plant.
It is time for the American people to let Washington, D.C. know that we are sick of the nonsense and charades that are being played with the lives of our citizens. We must learn to show compassion and good sense and begin to understand that we are creating more problems than we are fixing by jailing and prosecuting non-violent users of medical cannabis. I will continue to hold my head high, as I know I have done nothing wrong. I look to great leaders of the past for wisdom in dealing with the injustices of society and once again think about the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King in his letter from Birmingham Jail. He states, “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.” I believe that the federal laws against medical cannabis are way out of harmony with the moral law of a person’s right to seek relief from suffering, and that history will show that we, as a society, have made a horrible mistake by unjustly prosecuting and incarcerating many innocent people to support our failed “War on Drugs.”
If our society is to evolve, we must begin to shed our past mistakes and begin to use common sense when enforcing laws that shatter lives and leave children without parents. I am deeply saddened that the Drug Enforcement Administration continues to needlessly and violently pursue law-abiding citizens with archaic interpretations of the law. I even find some forgiveness knowing that the men who invaded my home in the name of an immoral law must have families of their own. I only hope that they stop to consider how deeply they have already hurt my family in order to feed theirs.
I sleep well knowing that I do the right thing everyday to the best of my ability, and although I am far from perfect I am a good man with good intentions. I will turn myself in voluntarily and begin to settle this matter in a system, which although flawed, is the one we have. I am obviously frightened, but also confident that the truth will be brought to light and we, as a society, will learn a valuable lesson somewhere in all of this madness. We must put a stop to this travesty and, as a community, speak up and defend a patient’s right to use safer alternatives of medication as they and their doctors see fit. We must no longer allow the federal government to viciously intimidate its citizens by misinforming and blatantly lying to the public about the benefits of cannabis as a safe and effective medicine.
I encourage community leaders, government officials, patriotic citizens, and anyone who has the common sense to realize the failed policies of this war on medical cannabis, to rise up and be heard. Let your elected officials know that we demand a stop to these senseless acts of violence and the needless wasting of resources in states where citizens support the use of medical cannabis. The choice to use medical cannabis is a decision that should be made by a patient and a doctor. Bureaucrats should never be allowed to turn decisions about a person’s health into a political issue that can be influenced by big business lobbying groups in Washington D.C. It is a fundamental right of the sick and dying to find relief for their pain and suffering through sound research and advice from their personal physician. The issue here is not a matter of whether a law has been broken. The issue is whether those laws are just and moral.
I hope and pray that a solution will emerge and that we, as a nation, can begin to undo the harm that these laws have already caused. Many families have been destroyed over this senseless conflict between state and federal laws and many good and honest citizens are incarcerated at this very moment for choosing to help ease the suffering of medical cannabis patients. I am aware of the charges that have been brought against me and fear that I will also end up a political prisoner in my own country.
I am extremely proud of the work that has been done in California and across the nation to begin combating the lies and misinformation that has been a part of this culture for too long. Reasonable citizens everywhere are seeing through the falsehoods about medical cannabis –advanced by a deceitful policy that chooses to ignore sound scientific research and the needs of patients everywhere. Please do not allow my family and I to be the next victims of this blatant policy of disrespect for personal freedom and human rights.
We will continue to fight for patients’ rights to use cannabis and I ask that citizens everywhere join me in this battle for personal freedom. Contact your law makers, educate your friends and neighbors, question law enforcement practices, and become an active part of taking this country back from errant political influence and failed policy.
According to polls, at least 80% of the American public stand behind me on this issue. It is critical that we take the next step in standing up for our personal freedoms before they are all gone.
I thank everyone who has given support to my family and I in these trying times, and look forward to the day when patients abiding by state law no longer have to fear violent persecution and spiteful slander by the federal government for using an all- natural, alternative medicine that is approved by their doctor. One can only hope that this day will come before anyone else is forced to suffer the needless pain I feel today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have avoided writing this story because the last time I wrote a piece about Aundre and her partners in crime in 2012 I was mysteriously attacked and my family was threatened right afterwards. It was 2012, in the thick of the Oakland permitting process, and I wrote a piece about her and her buddy Montel Williams scamming people who she owed money to and lying to Oakland officials to get the open permit there. The piece was called “Why Montel Williams is Bad for Weed.” It was one of the last pieces I wrote on my old blog Cannabis Warrior, which I shut down after these fucks followed my wife and took pictures of her dropping my kids off at school, complete with a poorly worded threat to my family that was mailed to me fro Juarez, Mexico under the guise of a Mexican cartel.
This letter was the third attack on me for my story. First I came out one morning to my tires being slashed. Shortly after that happened, Aundre called one of my good friends because she “wanted to talk before things got any uglier.” It was an odd message to receive from the person who delivered it, as there was no connection beyond him just being my friend. We had never discussed this person or had any dialogue about one another over the years. It was just out of the blue… a phone call. “Aundre Speciale called me. She said she wanted to talk to you before things got any uglier.” I told him to tell her to go fuck herself because she was a thief and unethical lying bitch. We will get into those details shortly.
About a week after that I was leaving a dispensary I frequent in Sacramento when an older white biker looking guy walked right up to the window of my car on a hot summer day and sprayed me point blank with pepper spray. The fuck nailed me right as I was lighting a cigarette and filled my face and the rest of my car up with his toxic spray. Hardly able to see, I took off into the middle of a busy street and was able to pull off on a side road before I got into a major accident. I then crept down the side roads to a nearby hotel and got them to give me a bunch of milk to wash my face and called some local friends to come help me. I had been physically assaulted in public over this shit. It all began to make sense now.
About 10 days later is when I received the letters above threatening my family. My wife was incredibly spooked and she begged me to take my blog down… so I did. CannabisWarrior.com disappeared, I removed myself from Facebook and other social media, and I laid low for several months. I eventually found the courage to start this blog, but you will notice to this day my name is still not directly on it. That was by design. Of course people figured out my writing style and that it was me, and I eventually came out of hiding. It was an incredibly traumatic time for my family, and I am still incredibly angry about it to this day.
So how did it all begin?
Flashback to 2009 after I was sentenced by the Feds for operating Tainted Inc. Aundre was operating Capitol Wellness in Sacramento, and decided she wanted to “help” me out. She donated $2,500 to me when I was struggling, which she would later expect me to give her free bounce houses and snow-cone machines for her lavish parties, as I operated a party rental company at the time. She is a manipulative bitch who tried to hold her lousy donation over my head, as she loves to pretend how altruistic she is and will donate money to people and causes to win their friendship and loyalty. She still does this to this day, and it is a ruse at best. Her sole reason for doing these types of things is to say “See what a good person I am.” Don’t believe the hype.
She then hired me to do some work for her new facility in Sacramento. We remodeled and furnished her new location and I began to help her develop sound business practices, as she accused all of her staff of stealing from her and that she was losing money. So we developed inventory control protocols and cash tracking systems to help manage the business side of the matter. At the time, she was only paying me half of what she owed, with the big promise that she would repay me everything after she was able to open her Berkeley location CBCB, which she had gotten a permit to operate by conning the cash strapped previous owners. I appreciated the work, and was happy to be able to at least pay some bills with the promise of getting paid the rest down the road.
Her and her partner at the time operated Capitol Wellness with reckless abandon. They took advantage of people who brought in weed, taking out loan after loan from these hard working growers and producers in the form of consignment. She racked up literally HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS in debt from people who were willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and leave product with her. She consistently took money out of the business to fund her lavish lifestyle, pay for her house, and to travel partying from one festival to the next party, claiming her madness was all one big business expense.
Now Aundre on the face is a likable person. She can act very kind and sweet when she wants to, and is amazing at manipulating people. She can turn on the crying any moment she wants to elicit an emotional response. She continued to rob Peter to pay Paul and gave sob stories to the many people she had taken advantage of, while she spent their money on molley and partying like a rockstar. There were literally so many people, including her staff, who she owed money too that it became impossible to give her the benefit of the doubt any longer.
We began working at the Berkeley facility doing the build out there… unpermitted of course. We built the walls, painted the place and installed the flooring that you see there today. At this time Aundre began to really be spread thin, and was running out of lies to tell people about why she didn’t have their money. She continued to beg, borrow, and steal from anyone and everyone to continue her party and try to open the Berkeley spot. At this time she began to not even pay us half of what she owed. She expected us to work for free on promises of being paid after it opened. I pulled out of the project halfway through the floor installation, and a couple of the guys I was working with ended up finishing it off and never getting paid for their work. She then hired another contractor to do a bunch of work, who she never paid either. At the time I left we were owed well over $20k. I know the other contractor did a bunch of HVAC work and other major configuration which he is still owed about $50k to this day.
We had written off the money, knowing she was no good for it; but then entered Montel Williams.
Now after Montel decided to go all over the press bragging about his facelift to the organization and his role as a “consultant” I was contacted by these two little old ladies who were owed $8,500 from Aundre. They said they had contacted Montel directly and he replied to them they better delete his phone number or he will sick the police on them. Nice guy, right? These were two seniors on a fixed income who desperately needed that money, as they counted on it to supplement their incomes. I agreed to help them organize a protest, and wrote a damning press release and began rallying the troops. The night before the protest the word got out to them and Abatin contacted the ladies and agreed to pay them what was owed in exchange for them signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement. We decided to do the protest anyway without them, as there were many people owed money by her that needed a voice.
Below is the Press Release that went out:
For Immediate Release:
Montel Williams medical cannabis dispensary owes tens of thousands of dollars to member providers and contractors and refuses to pay their past debts. A protest has been organized by outraged vendors, including two senior citizens who live on fixed incomes and have been greatly affected by their unwillingness to pay their bills.
(Patients and concerned citizens will gather in protest on Friday, June 17 at noon at Abatin Wellness (29th & U) to express their frustrations.)
By: Concerned citizens and hard-working people that Abatin Wellness (formerly Capitol Wellness) have defaulted payment to for goods and services provided. We will be joined by some who question the integrity of an organization that would spend tens of thousands of dollars on facility upgrades, when they owe hundreds of people in the community for their hard work, and have seemingly circumvented the Sacramento ordinance that regulates medical cannabis dispensaries.
• On Monday, June 13th Montel Williams held a press conference declaring his leading role in the newly renovated and renamed Abatin Wellness Center, stating he would be “involved at every level of the cooperative, from the philosophical direction, down to the blueprints.” He apparently does not think that financials are included in “everything,” as his management group has failed to do the right thing.
• Capitol Wellness Center (CWC) is Sacramento’s oldest remaining dispensary and over the past couple of years have mounted hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt due to mismanagement.
• When the new partnership was formed with the “Abatin” group there has been an effort to intimidate and mislead people that are owed money by CWC, using bankruptcy laws and threats of disclosure to discourage people from demanding payment. These underhanded tactics have left many in the community questioning the validity and decency of the new “ownership.”
• The City of Sacramento has laid out a clear ordinance regulating the operations and application process for dispensaries, and it seems this group is circumventing the process in several ways, including being closed for more than 30 days and transferring ownership through back door deals.
WHAT: A peaceful protest of Motel William’s and his new “partnership” at Abatin Wellness Center for their lack of integrity, honesty, transparency, and decency. An action to bring awareness to the unsavory business practice happening with the new “ownership” of Abatin, formerly Capitol Wellness Center. A demonstration to demand that the City look deeper into the apparent takeover of a once humble and independently operated dispensing collective by an apparent investment group associated with Mr. Williams, who now is paid a consulting fee for his endorsement of this dispensary; we question how they cannot afford to pay what is owed by the collective but they can afford to pay Montel Williams.
WHO: A group of patients, providers and contractors who are concerned about the business practices of Abatin Wellness Center and their inability to pay their debts to honest and hard-working people, including two senior citizens who live on fixed income and have been greatly affected by Capitol Wellness’ defaulting on what they are owed. People directly affected by the apparent take-over and failure to pay by a group associated with TV celebrity Montel Williams. Other concerned citizens that question the legal ability of this group to circumvent local laws, and use a paid celebrity to gain competitive advantage.
WHERE: Abatin Wellness Center (formerly CWC) – 2900 U St., Sacramento CA
WHEN: Friday, June 17th at 12:00 p.m. (Noon)
WHY: To confront the new “ownership” and question their reasoning for not assuming the debt of the corporation upon ownership transfer. Because patients, providers and those who are owed money by this organization deserve to be paid in full BEFORE hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on renovations, upgrades, and celebrity spokespeople. To bring awareness to a situation that has been handled poorly by the new management group, including attorney Gary Hiller. To let the community know that this group is not worthy of their income and collective resources, as they have defaulted on paying hundreds of hard working people in an already tough economy and to encourage them to go elsewhere in Sacramento for their medical cannabis services.
After the protest I was contacted by many people who Aundre owed money. While most were just story after story about people who had once trusted Aundre only to be burned by her and never paid, there was this one email that provided a lot of insight into the current takeover by Montel and his group of investors. Here is that email in its entirety:
Thanks for getting back to me. I will definitely be there for the next one. One of the people i was speaking of is filing small claims on monday. I have contacted the city attorney here as well as the city clerk that oversee’s medical cannabis. The city attorney didn’t respond but he forwarded my email to the city clerk. She emailed me all CBCB applications and operational standards agreements made with the city. The commission hasn’t met at all this year but her email tonight says that they are meeting in a couple of weeks and as far as i can tell from the paper work she sent…the name on the zoning permit is still aundre’s. I will forward to you in case you are interested…most of it not relevant material. I may have personal evidence that information was falsified for that permit application here in Berkeley that might be compelling enough to revoke the permit. I also know that for sac….i was touring with montel, andre, and jim (they were trying to hire me…thank GOD i made the right decision.) the first week they took controlling interest….they were in a mad dash scramble to make that 27th street location appear to be open as aundre was saying something about being in violation of the permit because the doors had been closed for months…as the employee’s looted the place because they were not being paid. Andre was a friend, and on some level i feel bad for her but you can only say sorry and blame your previous partners so much….. I wish nothing bad for her personally. I witnessed her pulling cash from the tills to pay her mortgage on her personal residence, I witnessed it again when she was dolling out cash to pay an attorney to represent her suit against the FED’s for the farm bust. The employee’s claimed to have had an open tab at starry plough on her business credit card. Meanwhile she was partying at the white house with cheech & chong and the playboy mansion on our dime!!
I don’t know if you have had any contact with Shawn Sedaghat or Jim Zaun…they are the management company and Shawn calls all the shots…I met with them last Saturday before montel flew in…this was after a compelling letter i sent to shawn…he replied that he was confident we could reach an amicable solution so i went up and wasted 6 hours of my day…they were 1 hour late…gave me the same bull shit…then claimed that in order to be fair to everyone they wanted to offer us all 1/3 of our outstanding invoices and also go back and 1099 everyone for everything they ever brought in. 3 days before my meeting another friend they owe was called in to meet jim. jim led him to believe he wanted to meet to settle up the money owed…instead he gave BS excuses and tried to extrapulate genetic breeding info. for his CBD strain. classy eh? As i skimmed the paper work from the city of berkeley…which also shows that kris hermes was a partner at some point…anyway i believe i understood that there were not any tax laws in place for vendors as it was a transfer of goods and services within a collective…only tax liability were on the resale/retail side of things.
Shawn is an Iranian multi millionaire investor and he and Montel are close personal friends from the MS foundation and Montel is more than just the face guy. Montel is heavily involved behind closed doors with shawn. They have a 2-1 controlling interest on the internal board of directors. It’s amazing how many scams follow montel’s name…exercise equipment, toaster, juicers, fake coins, and loans…just in a five minute search last night. I am starting to think he is a puppet for the feds. What medicinal cannabis patient on this planet would open a dispensary that only appeals to people who would never use cannabis??? those services they claim to offer are already available at many dispensaries…the difference is patients sign up or chose them. Shawn told me saturday that every patient is overdosing themselves on cannabis and they are going to change that. my response was that he was overdosing daily on nicotine and coffee which have way more harmfulll effects!! Hard to prove maybe….but Shawn had never smoke cannabis until i showed him how to use a bong…i am sure he just obtained a card so that he could make millions. I am more concerned as a patient about the public slander of our doctors (the ones that pur their careers and reputations on the line so patients like him could even have access to the medicine) and the way they have all refered to everyone of us as drug dealers and criminals. His right hand guy Jim boasts about being a great drug dealer in his past!!! Montel has known the details of the outstanding debt since… like 2-3 months before they even came on board with aundre…this consulting shit they are saying is smoke and mirrors. They are preparing to side step liability. Shawn keeps saying they are meeting with Eric Holder and that he and montel have had this plan to roll out a nation wide model (that the feds will except) that they can then take global. Shawn own a packaging company in Italy that is closely associated with Revlon…they also own a medical packaging business on top of many other business.
This is alot of info…if you ever have the free time we should meet up for coffee. I am in downtown berkeley. FYI…i sent my official demand letter to shawn at his email address 48 hours ago… and have heard no response, which was expected. I will do almost anything to get my money and help others get theirs. I want both their operating permits revoked!! I spoke with James Anothony about the debt 2 days ago…he didn’t want the case…but when i emailed him back asking if he was interested if i my goal was to revoke their permit….oddly enough he responded and wants me to call him asap about by goals? Fucking attorneys… Anyway, i will send over the info. and check with the 2 people i am in contact to get their ok to share their personal info.
This firsthand account of what was going on was too much to ignore. We began planning more protests. I was soon contacted by Aundre on Facebook in hopes of finding resolution. Here are some of those messages:
??? im seriously not in control over there anymore. shit got soooo bad i had to hand it over just to keep the doors open. i would love to talk face to face but the short version is from the time you and bill and kimberly and everyone left cw and he took over, not a single thing was handled and by the time i got my head outta my ass and looked at what was goin on over there, we were in sum deep shit. im so fucked myself, swear to jah i didnt get a penny outta the deal, i gotta job for now, but im lookin at filing for bankrupcy. you know me, im a fuck up but i never fucked anyone over, shit got sooo crazy i dint know how to get outta it.
Actually, what it is said that she got out of the deal was her house mortgage paid, her new VW SUV paid off, and a well-paid position as their symbolic “Executive Director.” Meanwhile the investment group had taken over operations of both Sacramento and Berkeley.
I was offered a settlement for $12,500 of what was owed to my companies, as that was what was owed to me in wages for services provided. The other folks I worked with on the project were left high and dry. I was also forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement under duress to get my money, which is completely illegal. I continued to speak out on the group and their unsavory business practices. I know of dozens of people to this day who have never been paid. The group was offering to pay people but they would have to agree to sign a 1099 and report EVERYTHING they ever brought into the dispensary, often leaving more of a tax burden than what was still owed. They used their attorneys to muscle many people into just walking away and writing off the loss as an experience in trusting shady bitches like Aundre.
Then came the Oakland RFP process for four new medical cannabis dispensaries and sure enough Montel Williams himself was the sole applicant for Abatin Wellness. I did a lot of investigative reporting on the Oakland process, getting all of the applications through a public records request and running some background checks on many questionable individuals. I was incredibly surprised by Montel’s application, as it was literally 27 pages compared to other applications ranging from 200-300 pages each. Like I said, Montel was the ONLY name listed on the application when it was submitted. It was like he truly believed he had it in the bag or something, so much he didn’t even have to really file a thorough application.
I continued to pry into the situation, and was not surprised to find out he had been warming up to Oakland City Council persons, including Rebecca Kaplan. The scores came out, and as Oakland’s process was highly suspect, four groups with close ties to Oakland public officials were initially awarded the permits. Montel’s group came in a paltry 8th out of 10 applicants.
But notice the amazing 94 points they received on their “TEST.” You know why? Because Americans for Safe Access California Director Don Duncan took it for them. Now mind you that ONLY Montel’s name was on the application. So technically he was supposed to be the only one allowed to take the test. But his team of lawyers made the following compelling argument on why Duncan was indeed on the Board of Directors for Abatin Wellness:
This clearly establishes that the Abatin Group, led by Montel Williams at the time and directed by Aundre Speciale, hired Don Duncan of Americans for Safe Access to be on their Board of Directors and not only take their test for them, but also lobby the City on their behalf.
Months later it was revealed that this same investment group had bought out Don Duncan’s interest in his West Hollywood dispensary LAPCG, and Don moved to Sacramento full time to lobby for Americans for Safe Access. It should be noted that many of the policies ASA has lobbied for recently would seem to favor the dispensaries operated by the group through restrictive permitting and barriers to entry. You can decide if that is a coincidence or not.
While the organization came in 8th place, notice that they currently hold a license in Oakland for Phytologie. This is where it got interesting and I got attacked. One of the groups, AMCD Inc. was disqualified around the public hearing phase after it was revealed they had lied on their application.
Shortly thereafter another group, G8 Medical Alliance Inc., was disqualified for their involvement with Dhar Mann who was indicted on 13 felony counts for defrauding the City of Oakland on properties he owned and received grants for. This left one license available and open to go to the remaining group of applicants.
At this time Montel’s group hired a local Oakland attorney who had close ties to City officials to lobby on their behalf because they had a building they had purchased ready to go. They began to try to discredit other applicants through false reports of their operations and tried to undermine the other applicants to get the one available remaining permit in Oakland. It was enraging to hear about their efforts, as Aundre literally screwed over half of the industry and sold her soul to get Sacramento and Berkeley open and operating. Now she was spreading false rumors that other folks were shady? No way…
So I began to compile evidence and submitted it to the Oakland City Administrators office. I was aware that the Abatin group was filing public information requests for my communications and the City gave me the option of not submitting the evidence, as it could not be kept confidential. I submitted it anyways, as it was the right thing to do. Several other folks who she owed money to also contacted the City to tell them about her immoral business practices.
This was when my friend received the ominous phone call that Aundre wanted to talk to me before things got ugly. Shortly after all of my tires were slashed, followed by me being pepper sprayed while leaving a dispensary in Sacramento. Then I received the threats to my family pictured above. It changed my life. I was forced to remove my Cannabis Warrior blog and I lived in virtual hiding for several months. It still traumatizes my wife to this day and I have little doubt about who was behind it.
And after all that, another applicant dropped out of the race and they were awarded the permit anyways as the only remaining viable option.
I later found out that Aundre had an ex-boyfriend pull a similar stunt on her threatening her in the name of a Mexican drug cartel. This was just too much to ignore given the timing of it all, and the demand that I stay off of the internet in the letter that threatened my family.
It took me a long time to reconcile the situation and I have mostly remained quiet. My wife begged me to let it go, and for the most part I have. It was not an easy task as these fucking people actually followed my wife and kids around taking pictures of them and threatened their well-being. I wake up angry about it every day, and I have lost plenty of sleep over the last two and a half years since it happened. I live under guarded security at this time, with security systems and cameras in place at all times.
To add insult to injury, I shared these photos once on Facebook and was contacted by the FBI regarding the matter. That is right. The FBI. They were concerned for my safety. Go figure. What an interesting discussion that was.
So why bring it up now you may ask? Why put these accusations out publicly after all of this time? Why risk mine and my family’s personal safety again? What do I gain from it all? Is it worth it?
To be honest I do not fucking know. I know I have been carrying this around for the last two and a half years and very few people in my inner circle are aware of the situation. I do not think anyone is aware of it in its entirety as spelled out here. For me, it is cathartic to put it out there for the community to absorb. I would rather die with my boots on. I can no longer allow the fear for my family paralyze me. I know in my heart what happened and can no longer sit idly by without saying anything. It is not in my nature. It was only a matter of time. My reality is that I either had to write this piece or I would probably end up enacting some repressed revenge one day that would get me in a lot of trouble. I do not need that; so I decided to spell it out here in the open for all to see and let it go. This community can decide if they want to continue to allow people like this to prance around like they are some Debby Do-gooder when in all reality they are immoral fucks who have burned a lot of people and who will continue to burn more to achieve their objectives.
So as you sit there tomorrow at the International Business Conference in San Francisco watching this fraud speak on the Dispensary 5000 panel like some sort of expert, know that she a.) has no idea how to operate a dispensary; b.) fucked over innumerable people and then sold them out to fund her ventures; and c.) is a terrible person willing to be a part of unspeakable acts to further her efforts. If that is who you want to stand behind and hold up as some sort of expert, then I guess we have a different opinion of what this industry should be about. There is no room for these types of folks to have a seat at the table, no matter how innocent and sweet their manipulative ass makes them sound.
Aundre is one of several snakes that have used their connections in the community to work their way into the inner circles of the cannabis community. She is now merely a puppet like so many others who make appearances and work to bullshit their way to the top on behalf of their overlords. It disgusts me to see her wander around at events like she never ripped everyone off and everything is okay. For a lot of people out tens of thousands of dollars it is not okay. She often portrays herself as a victim, blaming anyone and everyone for the damage she caused…. and a lot of folks have bought this bullshit story hook, line, and sinker- often attached to a favor or fancy donation. It must suck to have to buy friends.
At one time I considered Aundre a good friend. I always knew she was a troubled human from the days when she tried to open a dispensary in Venice while whacked out on dope, and her strong arm maneuvers to gain total control of Capitol Wellness from her former partner; but I too bought the story for a period of time and chose to ignore the telltale signs of her fraud. That was my bad.
My hopes of retelling this tale is to create an understanding of what type of beast we are dealing with here, and the types of underhanded and aggressive tactics that are taken to silence people like myself. This is a person who cannot be trusted, and who is using her smiley face, and standing in the community, to fuck over people to benefit her investors.
If I am harmed again for speaking out then so be it. That is a chance I would have to take. The officer that responded to the threats when we initially received them told me “I know you are a convicted felon, but sometimes a person has to do what they have to do to protect their family. I am not telling you to get a firearm. I couldn’t do that, but…”; and he left it at that. He agreed that this was not the work of a cartel because they generally do not send letters. What he did say was, “Whoever you pissed off, you got very close to something.” I agreed…. and I knew who and what I had gotten close to.
I have since received even more damning evidence from upper level management that used to work for them. The whole deal is incredibly shady…. and these are the people we are advancing as experts and representatives of ethical business practices at our events? Spare me. I am over the whole fucking deal and am glad to finally have it off of my chest. Now I do not have to explain it, or sit in silence about it. It is done.
I am sure Aundre will deny every word of this, and that is okay. She has spent her entire life lying, so why would I expect any different now? I don’t. But everyone of you who know her know you have been lied to at one time or another. You have heard the stories and the tall tales. You have forgiven them as irresponsible and childish behavior. I for one disagree. I cannot forgive and forget. I will not. I can’t…. and now you know why.
California is a strange deal where medical cannabis is concerned. Proposition 215 is over 18 years old, and was an extraordinary law that spawned the modern cannabis revolution. It was simple and to the point, and allowed for the proliferation of the cannabis market we see today. It laid the foundation for people to not to be treated as criminals for their choice to use cannabis as a medicine.
In 2003 the Californian State Legislature begrudgingly passes SB420, which laid out some basic framework for how the medical cannabis program here works. It set some boundaries in place, some of which have been challenged and overturned in the CA Supreme Court. This law established the current “collective” and “cooperative” loose framework that currently governs the entire billion dollar cannabis industry in the State. To make a long story short every cannabis business in California is classified as a cooperative or collective, all assumingly operating as not-for-profit businesses. It is nuts. I wrote more in depth about it in a piece entitled, “What the hell is a medical cannabis collective anyway?”
There is NO State licensing for any type of cannabis businesses. The ONLY licensing in the State are for cannabis dispensaries, and those are all licensed by local authority. The evolution of cannabis laws stems from a groundbreaking ordinance passed in the City of Oakland in 2005 that first regulated cannabis dispensaries, as the City was overrun with weed stores and felt the need to bring them under control. It was an interesting time as the industry took a very “every man for themselves” attitude and groups began to position themselves to be one of the lucky four out of dozens to receive the first licensing for a cannabis business in the state. Because dispensaries are retail businesses open to the public they garnered a lot of attention, and were the focal point of regulation by cities and towns looking to control the situation.
Cities and counties watched as Oakland licensed cannabis businesses. Shortly after liberal strongholds of San Francisco and Berkeley followed suit, passing regulatory ordinance for cannabis dispensaries that were operating in their town. At the same time you saw jurisdictions rushing to ban these types of businesses as they began to spring up around the state. In Los Angeles you saw the epitome of a shit show as hundreds of businesses opened up with no regulation; and the city still struggles to this day to find order in the chaos.
Dispensary laws have evolved throughout the state in many different ways, with regulations varying from municipality to municipality. There is no rhyme or reason to the laws and no uniformity of implementation.
But here is the real kicker…. there are NO real laws governing the production of cannabis and cannabis products. People who provide cannabis medicines to dispensaries have ZERO protections through licensing anywhere in the state. It is as if the cannabis is supposed to magically just appear.
Cannabis is a hot button topic, and most places have passed either dispensary regulations or prohibition laws out of necessity. They have not come willingly to the table on most occasions to address the issue. None have really had the courage to confront the issue of cannabis production. Some have tried and failed, like Oakland’s famed four huge grows program that is blamed for the Federal crackdown of 2011; and Mendocino’s attempt at a zip tie program that allowed for 99 plant collective gardens, which was also attacked by the Feds and shut down. But there is no license to grow weed, to make hash, or to produce edibles and other finished products anywhere in the state. Producers of medicine like myself are largely left to fend for ourselves. We are forced to operate under the radar and do our best to remain undetected in our communities. It is very much a don’t ask, don’t tell situation.
What has resulted is a lot of power given to the retail sector of the market….. the weed stores. They have become the gatekeepers in the industry and have gained a lot of political advantage due to their ability to be out in the open under the protection of their licensing. This has given them the ability to play kingmaker and use their power to control vast parts of the industry. They currently have this advantage due to an unlevel playing field that greatly favors their business model; but you can be sure it will not stay this way forever.
Think of your normal marketplace for any commodity. In the normal world retailers are usually just facilitators of goods. Very few dominant retailers control their markets. You have Best Buy in electronics. Staples in the office sector. Macy’s in the fashion sector. Wal-Mart is an obvious powerhouse. But in general, most retailers are regional outfits that serve certain communities and provide an outlet for desired goods. In most markets the companies that produce the goods hold a lot of power.
For instance… take booze. A liquor store cannot exist if it does not have Budweiser and Jack Daniels on the shelf. Sure… major retailers like BevMo can command better pricing through large volume purchasing, but for the most part in that industry producers of beer dominate the landscape. You never see a “Jim’s Liquor Store” Nascar. You see a Budweiser one. The companies who produce high demand products dictate the marketplace. Small batch producers of beer with less demand have to compete more rigorously for their place in the market, but the craft brew and small batch wine industries continues to explode, garnering more and more of the market from traditional behemoths like Anheuser-Busch. The point is that the average booze store does not have a hell of a lot of power.
Or could you imagine an electronics store without Sony products? Impossible. No Playstation? Please.
The development of world class products that consumers want is what drives the market. Innovation creates demand, and demand forces retailers to carry certain products. Every store that has electronics for sale has to offer Playstation, or they sacrifice a large base of potential customers. The larger the store the better the pricing they can get, which is where retailers can control the market. But believe Sony would get by without Best Buy, yet best Buy could never survive without Sony. The demand for their products is too high. People seek them out because they make great products. Have you played a PS4 lately? Holy shit that is a lot of fun.
The cannabis market in California is currently flipped upside down. Due to political necessity the dispensaries have been afforded with licensing and legitimacy. I know a lot of good people who operate dispensaries that understand how lucky they are. They have also risked a lot to get their businesses open and to maintain success in an extremely murky environment. There is no doubt that dispensaries have paved the way for medical cannabis in California through being on the front lines of an often heated debate. They have been the public face of this industry for a long time now, and often under the most scrutiny. But they also are the ONLY groups who have actual licensing to operate their cannabis business under clear regulatory framework.
Producers of medicine are forced to self-regulate and hope for the best. There is no real safety provided through having legal guidelines that govern a business. It is crazy if you actually sit back and think about it. With all the billions of dollars in weed grown, hash made, edibles produced, and don’t forget the lube, it is nuts to think this all happens under the undefined premise that we are all a bunch of collectives. This collective makes the weed. This collective produces finished products from the weed. This other collective distributes it to another collective that sells it. It is mind boggling. On most days I am not sure how we made it this far. It is both beautiful in its lack of definition and mind numbing all at the same time. But the bottom line is that the entire production sector has no licensing to legitimize their efforts.
So here is the rub…. A lot of the conversation being had about the upcoming ballot initiative being developed for 2016 is aimed at protecting the interests of people who have licensed businesses. These groups believe they deserve a two year window after legalization where only they can compete in the marketplace. They want to adopt the same principle that we saw happen in Colorado where only medical licensed businesses could operate for the first two years. You know how that worked out there? Recreational weed prices have stayed relatively inflated and most of these businesses who got the head start have sold out to the highest bidder and no longer even operate the businesses.
The distinctly unlevel playing field has done nothing to help the end user realize higher quality or better value. It has simply enabled a select few to manipulate the market and has given way to unsavory business practices where competitors work to undermine one another. It has been anything but a free market. Now that the two year mark was passed at the end of last year we will see more businesses compete for market share, and an increase supply will result in lower prices and higher quality offerings. It will be good for everyone who smokes weed.
If the influential dispensaries have their way, we will see a repeat of this mistake here in California. But because they are the only one’s who will be licensed, they will also attempt to control the production sector through increased vertical integration, while locking out many growers and manufacturers of cannabis products. It would be a swift kick in the nuts to people who have risked everything to provide high quality medicines through the collective scheme over the years with no real protection. It will give further advantage to the lucky few who happen to open in areas that have decided to allow for their use, while shunning those in less tolerant parts of the state. It will pigeonhole a lot of the industry into a very few pockets, and will create a more defined oligopoly than we see right now. It is unacceptable.
In all reality, fuck your weed store.
If you truly love cannabis and freedom the only obvious answer is a truly level playing field. No one deserves an advantage cemented into a law through barriers for others. Your advantage is that you have been operating in the marketplace for a number of years. You do not deserve special treatment. What you deserve is the right to exist and compete in an open and free market where you provide great products and services at a good value, and customers go to you because you are the best. Not because you are their only option due to restrictive licensing and permitting schemes.
You are not going to use your good fortune to lock us out of the market. Miss me on that shit. If you are so great then consumers will reward you with their business. But the days of the retailers having a stranglehold on this industry are coming to an end. People who produce great weed and desirable products will command their share of the market, and begin to dictate what supply and demand is. Your subpar weed for too much money will no longer even be on the menu. You will either have to step your game up or get trampled by better offerings at greater values. It is free market principles that will decide who succeeds and who fails.
It is funny to see those who have claimed to fight for prohibition for many years now begin to circle the wagons and lobby for prohibitive barriers in the process to protect their interests. What is even sadder is that they do not have the courage and confidence to believe they can be successful in a truly free market. But it is the only answer. We cannot continue to believe that further limitation will somehow protect our romantic views of what the industry should look like. What the industry should look like is yet to be determined, and strangling that process through delays and restrictions is not going to work.
I hope that the individuals crafting any language here in California or other states consider the realities, and do not cater to these well-funded interests from within our industry. Everyone deserves the right to compete for the exploding weed market. No one deserves the right to segment and control certain parts of the market just because they have been standing around the longest and happened to be at the right place at the right time.
What will benefit the cannabis user and create the real legalization principles we have all fought so diligently for is an absolute free market. At some point we must look beyond our small world and understand how large a global cannabis market is, and allow the industry to begin to meet those demands through innovation and competition. Anything less is just uncivilized.
Now is not the time for us to become the prohibitionists. I believe in myself and my products, and know I can compete with anyone. I am not scared of the future. I welcome it with open arms and you should too.
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.
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.
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.
So in April this adorable and seemingly awesome Instagram account popped up that began testing edibles and publicly posting results #FORTHEPATIENTS. This no name anonymous Instagrammer would have you believe that they are just a patient who happens to spend thousands of dollars to get edibles tested so that patents know what they are getting. They go to random dispensaries and purchase products, and out of their own pockets and good heart, spend money for the edible and then to get it tested so that they can bring you “the real results.”
Here is their Instagram:
So get this… this whole deal popped up in April, right? Here is a screenshot of their first posting being from April:
But here is a post that was soon deleted from FEBRUARY from the kids at Korova Edibles:
Notice the eerie similarity? Crazy right? Three months before this Dudley Do-Right @lab_tested_edibles Instagram page popped up this highly competitive edible company who is close friends with the owner of CW Analytical labs; and who is in a close knit group of other edible makers looking to gain competitive advantages in the marketplace, Korova edibles had almost an identical comparison model posted on their social media that was removed shortly thereafter? WOW!!!!! What are the chances?
So here is the ruse. Korova Edibles, in conjunction with CW Analytical labs have created this Instagram count to provide a clear competitive advantage for their clients and people who they are in bed with. They can anonymously post skewed results that discredit some of their bigger competitors and support that the people who are doing business with CW and Korova themselves are the only ones being “truthful” with patients. But it is all bullshit.
Here is a look at some of the edible companies who use CW labs according to the scrolling logos on their own website:
I know it is shocking, but the companies who happen to test with CW as clients edibles were all reported very favorably on the @lab_tested_edibles site, while other companies such as Cheeba Chews and Auntie Dolores (and my own Compassion Edibles) all came in well below listed cannabinoid levels. Hard to believe, right?
So here is how I confirmed my suspicions. Most all of the results on the site are done by CW, with the exception of a few done by Steep Hill. I have a good relationship with the Steep Hill kids, as their co-founder is publicly known as on of my good friends. I notices the results for the Actibliss Syzurup product were done by Steep Hill. Knowing about the Korova posting from February, I took a wild stab in the dark and went on @lab_tested_edibles Instagram page accusing Korova of dropping those samples off at Steep Hill. I never contacted Steep Hill once. Believe it or not, those guys never give me any information because they know the conflict of interest. They actually go out of their way to keep secrets from me because they have a business to run. But I figured if I made an accusation that someone would contact Steep Hill blaming them for telling me who dropped off the samples.
Sure as shit I was right! I get an angry text message from Steep Hill on why their lab was being accused of this shit in public when they had not done anything. The owner of Korova contacted them stating “Is there no confidentiality between lab and client?!?!…. Only employees at Steep Hill lab would know I dropped off these edible samples.” Yes…. I pissed off my friend to elicit a response, and it worked. Luckily my friend is understanding and knows what an asshole I am.
The Instagram account is complete bullshit and is no more valid than other anonymous websites that attempt to malign other companies to promote their own. These sloppy losers should be ashamed of themselves. If you want to pull this off you need to be less obvious whose interests you are serving. It is a pathetic attempt at catfishing and should not be thought of as a credible source.
A truly credible source would post WHO they are making these claims and investing in this grand experiment. They should post TRANSPARENT AND COMPLETE results that can be verified with the labs. They SHOULD NOT be another edible maker and lab that serves edible makers.
The entire overlap between lab companies and the clients they serve is gross and does nothing to serve the end user. CW is not alone in their intermingling with their clients and working to provide advantages for them, but this is a clear and gross misrepresentation of the service that quality assurance testing is supposed to be.
It is deceitful and wrong and the folks at Korova should be ashamed. It is bad enough that your products taste like dogshit. If I wanted to taste that much plant material I would just suck on a tube of RSO. But this is just sad and pathetic.
They should shut down the Instagram page and come up with a better ruse that does not unravel so easily on them. You guys are funny. Not really… but sort of. You are terrible at fraud. Maybe just try making better products?
It is even sadder that CW Analytical is still pulling bullshit schemes like this with losers this late in the game. They do not deserve to be anyone’s lab in the cannabis industry. They are the epitome of what is wrong with lab testing in cannabis and probably one of the reasons that lab testing will be turned over to state authorities sooner or later.
Way to go fellas… way to go.
We will take a closer look at what the issue is with edible testing in the near future. For now, let this unsavory business practice and absolute fraud disgust you. There is no place in the cannabis community for overt shady underhanded bullshit like this.
It happens to the best of us. One minute you are just kicking it with this seemingly cool person, and the next minute you realize they are really a snake. It is a tough pill to swallow.
First there is a sense of disbelief. You can’t believe your one time friend could actually be a down and dirty low-life snake in the grass. It can’t be, can it? Could this person, or group of people, who you trusted and admired sold you out for some financial compensation and fancy trinkets? Have you been lied to this whole time? Do ethics and morality mean nothing?
Do not worry. We have all been there. It is difficult to admit that we were wrong about people and supposed goodwill organizations. We often deny the truth because we do not want to have to admit that we were so incredibly wrong; but generally in the end we have to come to grips with the fact that our one time friends are snakes.
Like with any dangerous and poisonous snake working to destroy everything that is right and just, the best solution is to cut the head off.
It might sound harsh and be difficult to imagine, as you have probably grown sorta fond over your snake friend over time. But a snake is a snake, and will do what snakes do. Snakes do not care about you, and in fact prey upon your seeming affection for them.
There is the parable of the old woman and the snake to reflect upon:
An old woman was walking down the road when she saw a gang of thugs beating a poisonous snake. She rescued the snake and carried it back to her home, where she nursed it back to health. They became friends and lived together for many months. One day they were going into town, and the old woman picked him up and the snake bit her. Repeatedly. “O God,” she screamed, “I am dying! Why? I was your friend. I saved your life! I trusted you! Why did you bite me?”
The snake looked up at her and said, “Lady, you knew I was a snake when you first picked me up.”
Do not be naive where snakes are concerned. There is no room for error. You cannot afford to risk everything you have worked for to foster some perceived affection for a snake. We have come too far to allow a bunch of snakes to wander in and destroy the fabric of this community.
Make no mistake… divide and conquer is happening. Big money and wannabe big shots are infiltrating every sector of this community and exploiting as many as they can to help them in their snake missions.
Do not be fooled. Your gut is right.
Yes… it is true. That person has lost all integrity and joined the legion of snakes working to control and manipulate the market through fraud and corruption. they will try to ease your fears and tell you that this is “just business.” It is anything but. It is fraud. It is unsavory business practice. It is evil. Do not be a sucker.
Demand ethics and morality in every person you deal with. There are many great people woven into the fabric of this community that will stand with you. The snakes are not your friends. They never were and they never will be.
They are snakes.
The human experience is full of disappointment, and none are so difficult as the feelings of betrayal and mistrust. I am sorry this is happening to you, but understand that it is better for you to find out now before the snakes could do their damage.
It is a sad day in cannabis history when groups and organizations charged to protect patients and providers sell us down the river; but that is exactly what has been happening in Sacramento over the past few months. Americans for Safe Access, in conjunction with other supposed cannabis reform groups, lobbyists, and powerful union muscle, have been negotiating away cannabis freedom in the California capitol for months working on a bill called SB 1262 that will destroy the current cannabis industry and make criminals out of damn near everyone who doesn’t have a few hundred thousand dollars laying around to comply. It is true. everything you know and love about the California cannabis scene is about to be uprooted and replaced by a bill that will ensure only the big money backers have a seat at the table.
Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself. Here is the current working mock up with the proposed amendments.
And here is Americans for Safe Access Executive director Steph Sherer’s ringing endorsement and admission of their undying support for this load of shit here:
ASA recognized the potential in SB 1262 early in the process. We worked with the Sen. Correa and other sponsors to significantly improve the bill, and ASA was the first in the medical cannabis field to endorse it. SB 1262 is a milestone in the medical cannabis debate in the state legislature. This is the first time that the California Police Chiefs Association and the League of California Cities have not opposed medical cannabis regulations. Having these two powerful lobby organizations standing beside patients and behind a regulatory bill is unprecedented. ASA regards this broad and influential coalition as a key strength of SB 1262, and we call on advocates and lawmakers to join us in supporting SB 1262.
To put it in simple terms, the reason you see ASA, UFCW, and other groups supporting this piece of shit is because they have LOST THE BATTLE. After years of having their collective asses handed to them in the California legislature by real lobbyists for the CA Police Chiefs Association and the California League of Cities, they have conceded the game. You don’t think ASA lead man Don Duncan sold his interests in his dispensary group to Aundre Speciale and Montel’s big business dispensary group and moved to Sacramento for nothing do you?
In doing so, they have literally conceded the rights and current recognized freedoms of every medical cannabis patient in California. If you don’t believe me, let’s go over the mock up in detail and show you how….
This proposed bill is an overwhelming disappointment in many ways and should be either edited greatly, or denied completely. It provides a very loose and dangerous framework for an industry that has organically developed over time do to inaction on the part of the California Legislature. To try and rewind history is not a fair or ethical way to implement sound regulations that provide for public safety and allow for reasonable access to cannabis.
In the declarations section it sums it up in the phrase “minimum statewide standards.” What is necessary is a comprehensive statewide licensing program that allows for the many small batch producers to exist who currently are invested as providers in the current system. The way the regulations are set forth in SB-1262 will be ripe for corruption at the local level, and force small businesses out of the industry to appease the lobbying interests of the few. It makes no sense to create a bill that will make criminals out of the current activities of tens of thousands of Californians.
The biggest issue this program will face is on the production side. The bill requires that all cultivation centers register with the program by January 1, 2015 and prove they were lawfully cultivating through support of local authorities. There are ZERO licenses for the production and manufacturing of cannabis and related products ANYWHERE in California. This means virtually none of the current providers will be eligible, and dispensaries will have no supply to meet a well-established demand. All this will do is create more black market issues, as those who are providing medicine will look for alternative methods of distribution. It takes many months for local agencies to create ordinances for medical cannabis related businesses, as has been evident in nearly every licensing process in cities all over the state. It is not reasonable to expect growers and people who make products to have local support by January 1, when most operate in a fairly clandestine manner due to a lack of licensing and protection for these types of businesses. This is a direct result of no statewide direction or framework for almost 18 years of the existence of the medical cannabis program in California.
In addition, the language that attempts to severely limit who qualifies for the program is baseless, and violates key principles of the doctor patient relationship. There is very little real harm that opposition can show to justify this need for such invasive principles of patient rights where cannabis is concerned, when we allow doctors to prescribe much more dangerous medicines with lees intrusion.
Below are detailed areas I see that need to be addressed in order to make this bill even workable, though I would assume scrap it in its entirety in current form:
2525.2- the definition of “Attending Physician” limits the patient doctor relationship and does not serve the interest of the medical profession, or the patients it serves. For example, a person using cannabis for issues recommended by a Psychiatrist would not need a physical examination.
18100 (d) and (e)- The definition for dispensary is too loose. It should include the term “retail.” As it is currently determined even a person “providing” a hit of a joint to a patient is considered a dispensary
18100 (f)- under “licensed processing facility” it seems to imply that a processing facility can distribute directly “to a patient with a medical marijuana recommendation” which would technically make it a dispensary too.
18101 (a)- It seems worrisome to have one executive officer appointed by the governor vs. a committee of people. Too much power makes the position ripe for corruption.
18101.1.- making state authority subject to local control is backwards, and will create many litigation issues between cities who have established programs that make them revenue as is, and a program that is fairly implemented at the state level.
18101.1 (a)- establishing “minimum” standards falls short of what is necessary by the state on this program. In 1996, Californians voted for Prop 215, which included “To encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.” The way this program is being set up will neither be safe, due to its lack of real authority and vision at the state level and the willingness to allow smaller corruptible local forces to set the rules, nor affordable, due to it cumbersome cost structure and intolerance of small batch producers.
18101.1 (d)- once again, making the entire program “subject to local ordinances” will prove to be the downfall of the medical cannabis program envisioned in SB 1262
18101.1 (l)- redundant.
18101.2 (a)- The word “provide” is EXTEMELY PROBLEMATIC here, as the way it is worded, “a person shall not sell or provide marijuana other than at a licensed dispensing facility” literally makes sharing your medicine with a fellow patient a crime. One of the healing properties of cannabis is also the psycho-social therapy of building a community and support network. It is common for patients to share cannabis medicines with one another, and it makes no sense to outlaw any transfer of medicine between qualified patients, thus creating criminal behaviors unintended by these regulations.
18101.2 (b)- The licensed cultivation site will be problematic upon start up and will leave most of the established industry without any product to dispense until local ordinances and authorities can create new programs for those. There are no licensed production facilities in the state to this date in any local jurisdiction anywhere.
18101.2 (c)- The same goes for “licensed processing facilities.” It is unclear if any jurisdiction will even authorize this at this point.
18101.2 (e)- The requirement of a “certified testing facility” is a neat idea, but there are none licensed at the state level for cannabis, and standards and processes have not been developed. The bill charges for those standards to be developed, but until they are, it leaves a donut hole in which places will be able to get certified.
18101.2 (f) (8)(A)- “moral turpitude” should be defined here.
18101.2 (f) (11)- This is an area that needs MUCH MORE definition. It is unclear what “drug trafficking” means in this context. Is a person caught with a few ounces in college considered a drug trafficker? It says the Bureau “MAY” deny a license based on past criminal conviction if the crime was substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business…” In this context, where does that leave a person who was arrested for cultivating or producing cannabis? Technically it is what the license is being given for, so wouldn’t that make the person potentially an expert that was caught in a time of unclear and unjust laws, which are now the actual business being licensed?
18101.2 (h)- THIS IS A BIG ONE. Why would they limit the ability of a company that dispenses or processes medicine to provide a more closed-loop system by cultivating their own medicine? Why would they force a company that is concerned with processing different types of medicine be beholden to outside cultivators who may not produce the type of medicine in the correct conditions that are needed for a certain product? It also limits supply greatly, and will result in a homogenized market of licensed production medicine for patients to use, thus resulting in them going elsewhere (black market) for medicines that used to be readily available.
18101.3- January 1, 2015 will be way too fast for any cultivation or production provisional licenses, thus shutting down the entire program.
18101.3 (a)(1)- “limited immunity under local law” should be spelled out and referencing Measure D is unnecessary and reeks of union and ASA corruption charges to me.
18101.3 (2)- the part about “during that six month prior to January 1, 2015 the applicant was regularly cultivating or distributing medical marijuana collectively or cooperatively in full compliance…” is a deal breaker and will result in a nightmare of law enforcement and clashes with local city government in absence of a robust cultivation licensing system with the state.
18101.3 (b)- $8,000 is a lot per applicant. I would like to see how the “actual cost” is determined from processing some paperwork, as there are no real life state inspections listed here anywhere. The limited testing done by the bureau would never reach these numbers over a year.
18101.35 (a)- It is unclear if the program is actually valid during the “provisional” or “standard” licensing process. When is it that dispensaries can only get medicine from licensed cultivators and processors? Jan. 1, 2015 or July 1, 2016? If the first, it is too soon, and if it is the latter, then it the provisional licenses seem irrelevant.
18102(b)- Why did they remove “through the cultivation.” It makes no sense to keep all licensing separate. What other industry requires that?
18106(a)(5)- The development and implementation of standards will take a while and will be challenged in litigation for sure.
18106(c)(7)- “tend to create a law enforcement problem” is vague and too open for interpretation. The entire process for determining high crime areas is subject to major scrutiny, and also may conflict with most local zoning ordinances, as they have zoned most to the higher crime areas.
18108.8- Does this say that testing can only be done by processing or cultivation licensees and not dispensaries?
18113(a)- This passage cements that a person sharing cannabis with another patient is indeed a criminal now
18113(b)- In what other field re caregivers limited to 5? Hospice? No…
11658(e)- Representative Sample is convoluted. Is it each batch or each shipment? And this would insinuate testing at the dispensary level, which was not allowed previously
111662- “unadulterated food product” is not correct. It should be treated as a medicinal food or supplement.
111662(a)- many drug products require refrigeration. It is unclear what problem this tries to solve, and certainly limits a patient’s choice in what might work for them. If it is not required to be refrigerated, can it anyway?
111662(d)- What is a single serving size? Every patient is relatively different in consumption needs. Each product is different in how they affect a patient. This is very slippery language that should either be defined clearly, or dealt with differently
111662(e)- “maximum potency standards” is defined by who? What scientific studies will back up these claims? Hot button topic and ripe for litigation I am sure.
111662(f)(1)- “attractive to children” needs to be defined. What does that mean exactly? What is not attractive to children?
111662(g)- Photos of any kind? Pictures of any food, even in a logo?
111662(h)- the Snickerdoodle reference is actually the craziest part of this, as Snickerdoodles are an actual specific recipe of cookie that contain cream of tar tar in addition to cinnamon. Silly deal here.
So how did we get here? Why would a group like ASA who has claimed to have the interest of patients and providers at the core of their mission, absolutely sell us all out for this bullshit bill? The answer is obvious…. Money.
To be clear, ASA shitcanned and sabotaged a much more reasonable effort put up by Tom Ammiano called AB1894 because they did not want the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to write and enforce regulations for commercial medical cannabis activity statewide.
Why? Because that obviously pushes the industry rapidly in the direction of adult use legalization, and that is terrible for the bottom line of an organization that gains most of their revenue selling the world a bag of medical bullshit. It is not that there is not a true and moral mission for medical cannabis. It is that a lot of the industry in its current form does not reflect the true medical aspects of our society. ASA wants their cake and they would like to eat it too. They have spent years taking money from patients and dispensaries to supposedly defend their rights, but a couple years back it seems their major funding sources changed and they have been working to limit access…not improve it. They should change their name to Americans for Less Access because that is exactly what they have been fighting for. Well…not fighting. Bending over and making major concessions to bolster their political connections is more like it.
An undercover FBI agent posing as a medical marijuana supplier met with state Sen. Leland Yee in Sacramento in June and, according to the FBI’s transcript of a secret tape recording, said he was willing to make campaign contributions in exchange for support of legislation.
When the purported medical marijuana supplier offered to contribute $10,000 to $15,000 to Yee’s secretary of state campaign in May 2013 and sought help with legislation, Yee told a government informant, according to the FBI affidavit, that he played by the rules and couldn’t take money for himself. But he said he would be willing to help those who helped him get elected – a “long-term investment,” as he described it to an aide.
Believe that Yee is not alone and believe that there ARE big money interest manipulating this game from inside and out. While it is illegal for public officials to take this kind of money, it is certainly not illegal for organizations like ASA to take it to do the bidding of the few. They began this shit in 2012 at least, working to undermine any legalization initiative put forth by threatening to put their own medical initiative on the ballot, swearing they had the money to do it, but producing nothing in the end but running the clock out on all other efforts.
They have also worked to undermine Ammiano’s efforts at all costs because they know that the ABC controlling cannabis will remove it from their health bubble and advance the cause of adult use legalization for all, a mission they have continued to not support and side step for years. Here are some pieces I wrote about it about a year ago called Regulate Cali medical Weed like Booze, Learning When to Say Yes, and Out of the Frying Pan. I even called the “much stricter bill coming out of the senate.” you are welcome. Some day you assholes will start listening to me on this stuff.
But make no doubt about it…. ASA is not your friend and neither are their coalition of the willing to fuck you over to save themselves. I am ultimately disappointed to see groups like ASA supporting and promoting a bill that literally makes everyone in California besides a select few criminals again.
I am not even sure where the real problem is? What are we trying to fix here? It would seem that every day tens of thousands of Californians have access to safe and effective medicines in clean and professional environments. If anything, the issue is not enough access in areas that continue to fight it, and SB 1262 cements their rights to keep doing that.
The biggest issue is that this bill requires everyone who produces cannabis, growing or products, must be licensed by the end of the year and in order to do so you must have support from your local city or county. Since there are ZERO production licenses or regulatory models anywhere in the state it will create chaos and a scenario so ripe for corruption that I would say no less than a dozen public officials are brought up on racketeering and pay-to-play charges before it is said and done. Every grower with a few hundred grand buried in the hills will be bribing their local city council person and county supervisor to allow them to continue to exist. This should be a lot of fun to watch unfold.
So what can we do about it? You can start by raising hell with your state legislators.
Call the people who are listed as your representative
Erase the subject line of the message and replace with VOTE NO ON SB 1262
Erase the”your letter” are and replace with something like the following: “I am writing to ask you to oppose bill SB 1262, which will make criminals out of nearly every medical cannabis patient and provider in California. This ill-devised plan does nothing to increase public safety and creates a program that is ripe for political corruption at the local level. It is a pay-to-play devised program that only benefits the wealthy and well-connected and tramples the rights of every patient in the State. A vote in favor of this effort will be a vote for increased criminal actions against qualified patients and providers, and will increase law enforcement budgets across the state by adding further confusion and unnecessary restrictions to a program that has struggled since its inception. While there is a need for some regulatory control by the State of California, this effort does not do that, giving most power to local authorities and disregarding the state’s responsibility to provide a program for safe and affordable access as voted on by the people of California in 1996 when the Compassionate Use Act passed. Thank you for your time and consideration on this important matter. I would appreciate your vote denying passage of this severely flawed legislative effort.”
Fill out your personal information and click “send this message”
It may be too little too late at this point, as SB 1262 seems to be sailing towards passage at this point. This latest version will be snuck through as amendments and ratified within days, so it is imperative that you act now. I am completely baffled at the people who support this effort and will let each and everyone of them know that they are now officially on my shit list. Welcome to the show. You will notice not many have the courage to admit that they are a part of this shit show, but the list is deep. More to come on each and every one of the snakes who have helped get this piece of shit bill this far.
Sometimes I sit back and try to take it all in. I am knee deep in the Drug war on any given day. I spend a lot of time working to change minds and communicating with those who have been victims of these tyrannical policies. The vast majority of my day is spent working to end cannabis prohibition and to restore the rights and freedoms of those who have been railroaded by a corrupt system gone bad. Most of the time it is depressing and trying. It is hard to find positives when a lot of your interaction in the world is based on injustice.
I become emotionally invested in most everything I do. One of the reasons I keep a tough outer shell up for appearances is because often I am an emotional wreck searching for an answer to the pain I feel.
On most days there is no answer. Just more questions and more stories and emails to read through about people being fucked by this war. I absorb news stories and Facebook postings like a sponge. My curiosity needs to know; and like a kid who still believes in Santa I open my computer every morning hoping to see the end of prohibition and the Drug War announced.
Fortunately, some real and meaningful victories along the way have been enough to keep me going. I do not need much…Just to know that we have a shot. As long as I can convince myself to believe that this is all possible then I can move past the pain and the reality of the massive challenges we face to fight another day…and I am an optimistic person.
But what makes me continue to wage my war against the evils of cannabis prohibition and the Drug War is the sick feeling I wake up with in my stomach every day. I see the big picture. It is my life.
I spend nearly every moment of the day thinking about how to make the world a better place through my direct actions and communications. I know what it feels like to feel powerless and to be persecuted for my choice to be involved with cannabis. I am in constant contact with families who have lost their kids, their jobs, their standing in the community, and their freedom for this cause; and their pain is mine.
It is not an issue of what “THEY” are doing to “THEM.” This is a war that “WE” are waging against “US.” We are better than this. This has spiraled out of control and it is time for it to finally come to an end. We can no longer live in a society where we jail our friends and neighbors for their personal choice freedoms.
But in order for us to end this thing people have to feel that pain.
They feel that pain when we can make them understand the issue and own the responsibility of decades of a failed war on our own citizens. It is up to us to express our outrage with this system and demand it be changed. it is our moral obligation to stand up and shout, “NO MORE.”
This thing ends when enough of us have the courage to say, “Enough.”
So I challenge you as a citizen of planet earth to feel that pain.
I challenge you to allow yourself to absorb the magnitude of this evil ruse on the world, and carry it with you wherever you may go.
I challenge you to make others feel that pain and understand our suffering.
We have already locked up millions of non-violent drug offenders because they were poor and/or a minority. This is a holocaust in slow motion, as was so eloquently stated by David Simon, creator of The Wire. That is blood on your hands. It is up to you if you want to live with that. I cannot.
I will fight until the sick feeling in my stomach is no longer there. To all of the folks who believe in the drug war and who want to continue down this path of absolute failure and destruction, I can only ask you to begin to FEEL OUR PAIN.
When we feel the pain of those these injustices are directly affecting we can find empathy and the passion to put a stop to the madness.