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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

#FUCKMICKEY AWARDS 2017- EVERYBODY GETS A TROPHY

The #FUCKMICKEY Awards are a place where I give awards to: THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE UGLY of the cannabis movement and industry. Some call it mean-spirited; and others appreciate the willingness to keep it real and have the tough conversations about the mosaic of weirdos, freaks, and chumps that are a part of the community. It has become a fun tradition that, at the very least, gives people something to talk about heading into the New Year. Whether you love or hate the #FUCKMICKEY Awards there is no denying the real and meaningful impact they have had.

The whole awards show started out as a big joke to poke fun at the dozens of unnecessary and stupid awards shows that some weak-ass organizations put on to pat each other on the back; and award the undeserving for menial efforts that are more of a circle jerk than any sort of real award. But I do not have to tell you that. There are nearly 800 yearly cannabis cups and competitions that have watered down the meaning of awards to the point that by now everyone has gotten a stupid trophy for one thing or another… but I digress. In addition to the “I won a cup at blah-blah-blah event” deal, there are also another couple hundred “awards shows” where some nameless committee of losers give out the old reach-around awards to their buddies to give “recognition” to some asshole for doing their fucking job, and usually not even doing it well. Super. Yawn.

So, three years ago, I decided that I would do my own awards based on 3 categories- THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE UGLY. The individual awards were bizarre by design to illicit humor and to make people think. There was everything from “Best Stupid Selfies” to “Neediest Attention Whore” to “Person Who Should Most Likely Just Die.” You can see how these hard-hitting realities caused a lot of drama and made hundreds of people butthurt. It is funny because it is literally just me sitting at a computer posting meme-based awards regarding my opinion of the many public figures and hucksters that create the cannabis landscape. I spent 137 days in Facebook jail this year, and 97 of those were directly related to last year’s #FUCKMICKEY Awards. Good times.

It is also a hell of a lot of work to pull off. Developing the categories and researching who is the worthiest for each one is exhausting. Then having to write lengthy descriptions for each of the awards and posting them for everyone to read and share takes a lot of time and energy. Add to that the fallout from the barrage of emails, messages, texts, and comments I receive, and it gets to be a lot to manage…. Remember. it is just me. A giant asshole sitting here throwing bombs and watching the chickenheads scatter. It has become quite the undertaking.

So, after the long and trying year that was 2016 it became more difficult to single people out for their fucking problems. We all failed this year when you look at it. There is not a person in this movement and industry that deserves a real pat on the back, or award for anything.

Sure. I could put a bunch of assholes on blast for their crimes against humanity and greed, but why? What purpose would that serve when the reality is that we are all guilty. Guilty of not doing enough. Guilty of being selfish. Guilty of not putting forth the effort needed to change the world. Who the fuck am I to tell this person that they sucked more than me this year? I just do not see the point anymore. I too failed as a human, an activist, and as a protector of cannabis. 

It is funny to listen to people bitch and moan because I did not drop the normal #FUCKMICKEY Awards this year. You blood-thirsty bitches should be ashamed of yourselves. Maybe if you grew a sack of nuts and spoke up every once in a while, there wouldn’t even be a need for me to have these stupid awards. But most of you are cowards. Most of the people who expect me to do the work for them wouldn’t know courage if it bit them in the ass. Fuck you guys the most. 

But moving on… I am not going to waste my time and energy this year calling out all of these individual fuckheads for their atrocities. I will leave that chore to those who really give a fuck. If 2016 taught me one thing it is that I give a fuck too much. That I let my emotions get the better of me, and I waste valuable time and energy focusing on what is wrong with the world instead of what is right.

I have decided to try and change that. I am trying to figure out how to move forward and to quit looking back so much. No one said that would be an easy task, but it is necessary if I am to grow as a person.

So, the big winner of the #FUCKMICKEY Awards this year is YOU. That is right. Each and every one of you have sucked this year. There is nothing for you to be proud of. We are watching our society fall off a cliff, and instead of trying to save it everyone just wants to film it to put on their Instagram feed. It is pathetic and I am ashamed to call myself a part of humanity. We all need to do a lot of soul searching and figure out what kind of world we want to live in; and then we need to figure out what we are going to do to get there.

I am not willing to accept that what will be will be. We are all better than this and none of us deserve any fucking award. If you can’t see the writing on the wall then you must be blind. This year was one tiny  step forward and three gigantic steps back for all of us.

So excuse me if I did not take the time and energy to entertain you with my witty banter and absolutely fabulous awards shit-show this year. I just didn’t see the point of it all when it is not any one person or group of people who are good, bad, or ugly… It is all of us. You, me, and the whole fucking world. We are all fucked up people with a lot of work to do. There is no getting around that.

My reality is that this year EVERYONE GETS A TROPHY. Congratulations. You earned it, you miserable fuck. Maybe next year will be different, but as for this year I do not have a lot to celebrate and I am disappointed with everyone. Take it for what it is, and shove it up your ass if you think I owe you something more. I don’t.

You are the fucking problem; and until you figure that out we are all fucking doomed. Selah.

 

 

 

Not Dead Yet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selah. Wooooooooooooosh!

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

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We have been through so much together.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Compassion Edibles CEO Mickey Martin Resigns

I am both happy and saddened by this development, but truly believe it is the right decision for me, my family, the company, and the patients we serve…. selah.

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For Immediate Release: March 20, 2015

Compassion Edibles CEO Mickey Martin steps down to allow for new leadership. Board of Directors to name new CEO in coming weeks.

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Oakland, CA – Compassion Edibles Chief Executive Mickey Martin resigned his position on Thursday in order to take on larger political projects on the cannabis industry horizon. His long tenure with the company he helped found ended among concerns that his current ambitions did not allow for him to commit the time and energy needed to effectively operate Compassion Edible’s growing business model. Martin will remain as an advisor to the company, consulting on regulatory matters and helping to develop sound best practices for the organization.

“There comes a time when an organization needs new leadership and direction to continue to grow. I enjoy my position in the cannabis industry as a political advocate and outspoken activist. That, at times, can create for difficult issues in operating a business whose mission is to reach as many patients as possible with their safe, effective, and delicious products,” said Martin. “I can no longer allow my personal limitations stand in the way of progress, and the company has grown to a point where it truly needs more than I am able to give. I will always be grateful for the opportunity Compassion Edibles provided for me, but time has come to turn over my position to someone who can give the attention to detail it takes to compete in today’s blossoming edibles market. I look forward to continuing to work with Compassion on fundraising efforts and in a part-time advisory role in the future. I am confident the values I instilled in the company will continue to guide it for years to come.”

The company is set to launch several new products in coming months, and has an exciting calendar of events planned for the year. Compassion Edibles recently took on new distribution partners that will allow for the products to reach new areas of the state that were previously limited by logistical matters. They are also exploring launching in other states in the near future. This, coupled with a renewed commitment to quality assurance and dosage management, positions the company for amazing growth potential moving forward. The market for food-based cannabis medicines has exploded in recent months, and Compassion Edibles looks forward to continuing to lead the market in providing the best value to patients who enjoy our products. We will continue to develop self-regulatory protocols to ensure consistency and quality at every level of the production process; and will continue to invest in perfecting our formulations to ensure proper and accurate dosages.

Our new CEO will certainly have their hands full, but the company is proud to announce that some amazing candidates are being considered for this position. They will be announcing their new selection after the next scheduled Board meeting at the beginning of April. The new CEO will be responsible for implementing organizational standards and helping the company transition into regulatory models set forth by the state in coming months and years. Given the focus of edibles in the media, and concerns expressed by public officials across the nation, the demand for consistent and professional edible products continues to grow at an incredible rate. Providing the organization with a solid foundation is imperative to achieve our objectives.

“Compassion Edibles was founded by Mickey Martin and we will always be grateful for the years of dedication he was able to provide us. The company has been through many difficult and trying days in our nearly 15 years of existence, and Mickey provided strong and unwavering leadership through those times. His decision to move on did not come lightly, nor was it a decision made in haste,” said current Board member and cancer survivor Jason Anderson. “But there comes a time in every organization’s evolution where we must all stand back and take stock of the situation, and make the best decision for the company, our staff, and the patients we serve. The values that Mickey stands for will always be an intricate part of our business model, but the company is at a place where it requires a Chief Executive that can be hands on and who can guide the organization to achieve our mission.”

Martin’s resignation is effective immediately. Jason Anderson will serve as the company’s interim CEO until a successor is selected. For questions or concerns feel free to call us at (510) 502-0419 or email us at compassionedibles@gmail.com. Contact us directly to receive a sample box of our great products. For more information on our organization and products visit us online at www.compassionedibles.com.

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BLOOD MONEY: Business moguls and hucksters making money while giving nothing to the fight to end prohibition

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I am a business person by nature. I graduated in business with honors from St. Mary’s College in California. I understand the need for business and corporate infrastructure in our world. I know it will take some business know-how to develop the industry into a thriving marketplace of quality weed products that can meet the demand of the world. I am not anti-business by any means.

But the current wannabe business moguls and cannabis hucksters are not the business folks that we want or need to take the industry to the next level. What you have now are a bunch of ex-mortgage fraudsters and dot-com hustlers who made a few bucks off of their get rich quick scammer bullshit who are now looking for the next big thing.

They look at the cannabis industry as another opportunity for easy picking and are throwing their pathetic investment money at the wall to see what sticks. They are working to undermine the industry by offering incredible dreams to hard-working cannabis businesses and promising them shiny trinkets to give up control of their companies. To date, most of these “big deals” have failed miserably, and it is usually the unsuspecting cannabis producer who is left holding the bag. There is a sucker born every minute, and in the cannabis industry that rate could be far greater.

People make their own decisions though, and as much as I can try to let them know that they are being taken for a ride, it is ultimately their decision to do so. Just know when the so-called capital investor fucks you over that I told you it was going to happen.

I will make this clear one more time for you… THE REAL MONEY IS NOT EVEN HERE YET. THESE PEOPLE ARE JOKES AND WILL SCAM YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE TO GET AHEAD. That is how they made their pathetic measly millions to begin with. Duh.

I talked to a lot of cannabis activists and hard-working entrepreneurs who attended the recent Marijuana Business Expo in Las Vegas. Most all of them shared a common message… the place was full of slimy sharks and investment losers in suits who knew NOTHING about cannabis and even less about the fight we have had to endure to get to where we are. None of these fucks could probably tell you who Jack Herer or Dennis Peron were. Most all of them did not even smoke weed, but were happy to buy the “pretty ladies” drinks by the dozen. These shallow pricks are arrogant enough to think they can waltz right in to a movement and industry with so much history of pain and suffering and sucker us all with their delusions of grandeur because they happen to have a couple of million bucks laying around that they scammed from some old ladies on bad mortgage deals before the crash of 2008. Their willingness to lie, cheat, and steal to get ahead are duly noted, and I am amazed that most of them even know that cannabis is a fucking plant.

As a person who had his home and businesses raided for providing cannabis medicines to sick people in California in 2007, I for one am deeply offended. It takes everything in my power to not just walk up and start punching these dickheads in their throats, and screaming “PEOPLE ARE STILL SITTING IN JAIL FOR DECADES FOR THIS PLANT, YOU FUCK!!!!” Which is why I probably am not invited to speak at any of these business huckster deals. God forbid a real weed activist was allowed to look these dirty fucks in the eye and tell them that I wished they would die. But I digress….

I read an article recently in the LA Times entitled “Marijuana legalization backers anxious as costs mount, donors waver.” In the article it goes into how there are all these so-called millionaires looking to break into this business, but very few, if any, are willing to kick down for the political and activism causes that it will take to really end prohibition.

Ethan Nadelmann, who I greatly respect, is disillusioned with the entire deal also. The article states:

At the Las Vegas conference, Nadelmann chastised the pot entrepreneurs, sounding like an exasperated high school principal scolding truants, except that he swore a lot.

“All of you came that close to seeing this thing blow up in our faces,” he told them, referring to the near-crisis in Oregon. “I am looking for you guys to step up and step up soon.

“You wait for some goody-two-shoes who is interested in civil rights to say, ‘Let’s legalize,’ then we will come in and hire our lobbyist for our own interests. It is shortsighted. It is narrow-minded.”

I couldn’t agree more. The short-sighted and narrow minded wannabe moguls we see circling the industry like buzzards have no interest in the social change aspect of it all. They are just waiting for everyone else to do the hard work of ending prohibition so they can position themselves to make some cash off of the endgame. These fucking losers could give a shit about the thousands of people rotting behind bars for selling some weed, while they try to figure out how to capitalize off of the legal weed selling game. They could care less about the fact that the war on drugs has decimated mostly poor and minority communities and has left millions of people to be criminals, to lose their jobs, to have their kids taken away, or to be treated as lesser people for their right to enjoy weed. They just see dollar signs and think us stupid stoner hippy types are easy to bull over with their limited fortunes. Fuck those people.

Those who are just here for the fame and fortune, while shitting on the fight to end prohibition and the drug war, will never be welcome in my community. You will be lucky if we never cross paths and I don’t make you look like a complete asshole in public. I have nothing to lose… you have everything.

Let this be fair warning that you better either start investing in helping us end this thing, or be prepared to have me spend my every waking moment trying to sabotage your “Google of marijuana” or “Costco of marijuana” game plans.

What you are trying to make is BLOOD MONEY. Plain and simple.

You are happy to sit back and watch more and more people go to jail for this plant while you lobby and position your company to make millions. You are gross and disgusting and I hate you. I hope that bad things happen to you. In fact, I pray for it daily. If there is anything I can do to make sure it does, believe that I will.

It is hard to keep up with all of the Blood Money Millionaires coming into the game these days, but I do my best. It is disheartening in many ways and makes me often wonder why I continue to fight, only to have some outdated Ferrari driving son of a bitch come in and claim to be some expert who is taking over the industry…. and people wonder why I am the way I am.

I will not give up though. I will be here fighting this fight until every last one of my cannabis brothers and sisters are let out of prison, and my friends and neighbors no longer have to worry about being a weedhead. I will fight the uphill battle myself if I have to and make sure that kids with medical conditions have the right medicine they need to get better. I will succeed. I have no choice.

But know I will not sit idly by and let you piss away my work on your quest for an easy fortune. Know I am here, lurking close by just waiting for that moment when I can sink your battleship. Enjoy your blood money while you can because I will eventually get to you and make sure that every dime you made was not worth it in the long run. Most of you are just lucky that murder is still illegal. You bastards make me sick.

Plan on seeing me more frequently at these “Cannabis Business” events so that I can put a face with your name and add you to my shit list. Keep trying to make a quick buck off of cannabis while giving nothing to freedom. Try to have your cake and eat it too… but do not be surprised when I creep up from behind and force feed you that fucking cake until you can’t breathe anymore. That day is coming. I’m your huckleberry.

Like I said in the beginning… it is not business I think is bad or evil. Business is a necessary part of the society we live. But you can be corporate and still be conscious. You can still do your part for cannabis freedom while making a decent living. You can still get on the right side of history and put your lousy chump change into the hat that will help us to end this failure of prohibition. But I know most of you won’t… and that is fine by me. I love a good war.

Welcome to the show, you BLOOD MONEY LOVING BITCHES. Shit just got real for you.

The Game Needs Me and I Need the Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Victory or Valhalla: Our day at Montel Wellness in Sac.

Photo by Vanessa Nelson

On Wednesday I received a call from two lovely senior citizen ladies from Mendo who were planning to “picket” Montel Wellness (Abatin…formerly Capitol Wellness) with a small group of supporters and friends who were upset that the collective had owed them several thousand dollars from months past. They had read my article on the situation and asked if I would like to join their action. They told me of the hardship this default of payment had caused them, as they are on SSI and live on fixed incomes. I felt more enraged than I had about my own debts not being paid and decided to help bring attention to this cause.

I created a press release on Thursday and that afternoon began circulating it to the local press. I did not begin broadcasting it until the community until that night, as I had hoped to keep it somewhat of a surprise. I received a call Thursday evening from the collective’s “director” (and the cause of most of these debts), Aundre Speciale letting me know that the word had gotten out. Maybe a reporter called to investigate or maybe someone leaked it. Either way, it was out, so I posted it to the Warrior in the evening and some email lists. I did not expect a big response on such late notice, so there was not a lot of organizing done ahead of time.

An hour before the action was to begin I received a phone call from a mutual friend of the two women who were organizing the protest, that indeed, the collective had contacted them the prior evening and told them to come down early in the morning to be paid in full! YAY! The pressure of the press release, coupled with pressures from other local activists had prompted them to admit their debt (finally) and pay these women what they were owed. VICTORY!

One of the conditions of their settlement was to sign a non-disclosure and not attend the protest that they had planned. So…they and their supporters were unable to attend the protest, and there I was faced with the press at 5 ’til noon, with not a lot of demonstrators. I gave statements to the press that “While we were satisfied that the pressure of the threatened action caused the collective to honor their obligation to the senior women, we hoped that they would see to paying the dozens of other folks that were also owed money.” I did some on camera interviews and shortly after noon about a dozen folks joined me, some with signs and snacks (thanks!), and we continued on with the planned demonstration.

As I walked up to the spot the collective had 4 armed guards and a PR jackass (above) waiting for our arrival. As I began to give my interview the PR weasel that the collective hired from Lucid Public Relations was there to try and give some sort of rebuttal. His first response was, “You have no idea what happened in our meeting with those women this morning.” I assured Jackass (Jonathan Franks) that I did indeed have first-hand knowledge of the situation from someone who was in the room when the deal was made.

So then wanders out Aundre Speciale, attempting to hand out free waters to folks in an effort to show she was not freaked out and was a nice person. Super. Thanks. We did some interviews and tried to create awareness of the unsavory business practices of the collective. Jackass tried to interject a couple of times, but had nothing relevant to say. I sure hope they did not pay that guy a lot of money because HE SUCKED at his job. He tried to dismiss people’s claims and act as if people were mistaken about the great amount of debt Montel Wellness owed people. Aundre and him attempted to spin the story and act as if they were innocent and that we were just there to capitalize off of Montel’s celebrity. Really? Montel is a B-star at best…maybe B-. Dude hucks juicers and 35% money market loans. He may as well be one of the bullshit psychics that he used to promote on his weak-ass borderline Maury/Springer wannabe Donahue show. He went on to bitch about my online “hyperbole” and stated we were having “amateur hour.” One of the people there took him to task on his lies and ended up getting in an argument with Aundre over her misleading statements to the press. It was classic.

At this time Gary Hiller, the snake in the grass attorney that has been working to undermine all vendors owed money and has threatened several of them personally appeared. Funny. He emailed me earlier in the week informing me he would not be in Sac until the following week. I guess his busy schedule got freed up to handle this situation and make sure the seniors got paid and to control the situation. He was whispering in Jackass’ ear when another vendor who is owed thousands of dollars came up and admonished both of them for their underhanded tactics and threats. This gentleman was a Buddhist monk for twenty years and spoke softly, but his words were powerful because after he spoke them Mr. Hiller and Jackass immediately turned and went back in the facility. They looked like their father had just told them how disappointed he was with them. I could not help but chuckle.

So about a dozen of us demonstrated with signs and had a great time laughing at the joke of an organization that was Capital Wellness and was now Abatin. I held up my sign for everyone passing by that stated “Does “Abatin” mean RIP-OFF? Pay Your Bills. Integrity Matters!” After about a half an hour the assholes in the collective turned the sprinklers on in an effort to get us to disperse. Who turns the sprinklers on at 1:30 pm? It is illegal in Sacramento to water between 10 am and 6 pm, so it was obvious this was an attempt to oppress our actions. But it was a hot day out and the sprinklers ended up feeling really nice actually and many of us enjoyed the opportunity to cool off, so thanks, Jackass.

Sprinklers On. by Vanessa Nelson

We continued to demonstrate and were successful in turning away a few potential patients who did not want to get involved with the situation. We advised them to go elsewhere to find their medicine, as this place was guilty of fraud and evasion of payment. We were there for over two and a half hours and NO patients entered the facility. It was a successful effort and had accomplished the goal of getting the nice ladies paid, so satisfied for now, we dispersed. This peaceful action was a great opportunity to network with others who were in the same boat and had been wronged by the collective. We all vowed to come back regularly until this matter was handled.

Since the report hit the news and the buzz circulated around the movement I have been contacted by several others who want to protest louder, and do everything in their power to ensure folks get paid, or that the organization has all of its permits taken away. So we decided that in two weeks, on Friday, July 1st at noon, we will indeed be back for round 2. Maybe this time we will do a barbecue.

In an effort to gather more information about the “new” program they were trying to implement a friend of mine went to sign up at 5 pm on a Friday. While this is normally the busiest time for collectives, with folks trying to get medicine for the weekend, he informed me there was nobody in the place. He said the entire process took him over an hour and that they had virtually lost their minds. Get this….the program works like this….you pay $45 for a membership (which is refundable if you choose to terminate your membership) and have to fill out about 25 pages of papers. After that, a 24-year-old “counselor” sits you down and goes over the program. She informs you that EVERY time you come in you HAVE TO pay $40 for counseling and $17.50 for 5 grams of medicine. He asked, “What if I am in a hurry and do not want counseling?” The young “counselor” informed him that “It can just be something simple like how you liked your last medicine.” Really? That is what you guys are calling “counselling.” What it sounds like to me is FRAUD. If you want to go further, it could be practicing medicine without a license if you are attempting to “counsel” patients on their illnesses and choice of medicine for their symptoms. See, a collective is only there to “facilitate transactions among its members,” not to provide medical care. She informed him that there was a Doctor on site, and he said “Can I speak to him?” She replied, “Well, he is not here right now. He comes in just a couple of days a week.” So after all of the BS intro stuff he was shown a text menu (no pictures) of the 5 whole strains, no concentrates, and no edibles they carried. You HAVE to take 5 grams. No more. No less. He was able to get two types, which he said were both WEAK and came with about a gram of shake to boot. Thanks. for $57.50 I get 5 grams of B-grade meds with a gram of shake in it? Super.

NOTE: All patients should go in…sign up…get your “$17.50″ for 5 grams, and then return the next day to get refunded your $45 membership fee.” Only so long they could keep that up. LOL.

He left with his purchase, wondering how the fuck they plan on getting that weak ass program to work in a very competitive Sacramento market. The answer? They were using Montel’s star power and were in discussions with Eric Holder to make it so this model would be the only one allowed. Montel’s lunatic rage against the current systems of safe access is based in his belief that he can “clean up the industry and create a model that is more palatable to the Feds, and eventually get everyone else put out of business.” His money men have alluded to such claims with other vendors and people familiar with the new Board structure. Their goal is to use their lobbying power to create a climate that cracks down on the industry and leaves their model as the only one left standing. Then he can make his move on the Nationwide empire he alluded to in his press conference. His partnerships are with powerful folks from Big Pharma and they are attempting to undermine the system through placating law enforcement and others and attempting to demean the works of everyone else to gain competitive advantage.

This is one of the most shameful atempts I can remember, and honestly I think they are pissing in the wind. None-the-less, it is worth being alarmed about and I would hope many others who are concerned would join our movement on JULY 1st to protest this group and their ongoing unsavory business practices. We can continue to put pressure on until they either play nice or go home. They NEED to pay their bills and try to work WITH the community instead of against it, but time will tell. Until then, nothing short of victory will be satisfactory. Victory of Valhalla. I have nothing more to lose, so I am all in.

They can let me know when my check is ready for pick-up or they can continue to be admonished very publicly until they cease to exist. Either way, I will enjoy the journey.

Photo by Vanessa Nelson