By Miggy 420
My wife once asked me, “How do I know who are the good ones?” I replied, “You don’t, You just wait and watch.” I don’t agree with every marijuana activist, but I do agree with every marijuana.
I believe in doing things, but not just for personal credit, which is why I always have issues with self-evaluations in employment. As much as I hate tooting my own horn, I have to lay out some unpleasant things in the upcoming paragraphs concerning the present state of the cannabis industry and activism.
I don’t agree with pushing product over the message … like selling vape pens and saying they are the preferred method of ingestion, or calling others pedophile with no evidence or effort to save the child in question (this happened twice in the cannabis industry). I don’t agree with condemning people in trouble for marijuana, regardless if they were following State law at the time of arrest. And, finally, I don’t believe anything marijuana-related is a crime.
It’s hard to tell who’s making money from prohibition or prohibition ignorance. There are those making a name for themselves by being a part of reform, and there are those making money off of American complacency. Not everything is a George Soros conspiracy. However, some people use their platform for marketing sales regardless of the message or business practices. Those are the ones I frown upon, people not making a difference. The worst of these scams are offering a cure while putting others health and freedom at risk.
Let’s get real folks … whether you live in a “legal” state or not, you are at risk to go to jail if you are involved with cannabis. There has not been enough Federal precedent for one not to fear incarceration. The only time I know Federal Justice can’t touch the consumer has been the 8 Federal patients, the rest of America is still screwed.
Yes, cannabis cures. But no, it’s still not legal federally regardless of any bullshit spiel someone will tell you on how they found a “clause.” If this were true, there wouldn’t be people growing old and dying behind bars today.
The Greed Rush: Tiered Marketing and CBD
Let’s be clear, there’s still a shit-ton of money to be made off marijuana. The cannabis industry has its own bitcoin dilemma, where the industry has taken off with .com speeds and has yet to peak because it still has to be destigmatized nationally.
Anyone who has been enjoying marijuana, and cares about it’s state of legalization, is aware of the term Green Rush. This can be seen in recreational and medical states where people have millionaire dreams from being involved in the marijuana industry.
The Greed Rush doesn’t just pertain to people trying to sell you pot online or people trying to push “CBD” only products–preying off parents hoping to help their child. It also pertains to the message and the messenger.
People have confused me for being a reporter (I accept accidental journalist), but what I do is write. I write about people and things in the marijuana world, but I am also part of the non-profit sector. It’s a role that doesn’t exist in most industries–nobody has to rally to free the apple farmer.
Today I want to encourage you to do your due diligence when consuming cannabis related content. Check the author’s credibility. See what they have done in their personal life, not just online. Before the rise of the internet and present forms of legalization, one had to trust the word of the person. We’re in a time now where there are enough trusted sources and individuals out there to get accurate information, even if their pen name seems unprofessional because it ends with 420.
Be interested in all things cannabis because I can tell you first hand, mainstream media only covers what pulls at heartstrings or plays off ignorant fears of legalization. Now that the FDA has approved a form of extract called CBD oil, it reinforces that cannabis is medicine. This is no longer an experiment, despite what the politicians and paid for doctors want you to believe.
Do your due diligence. Research things like entourage effect, terpenes, and cannabinoids. Familiarize yourself with names like Dr. David Russo, Raphael Mechoulam, and Lester Grinspoon.
When researching credibility look up articles, and perhaps Facebook and Reddit posts, on and by these individuals. There are many out there who collect money in the name of a disease with promises of sending you oil (or maybe their story moved you to help them). Always be aware. Ask around before you click that like button, share that story, or worse, send money.
Activism: It’s Not One Big Happy Drum Circle
People in their respective States with marijuana legalization dreams can’t all agree how to get there. Some believe different laws hurt the end legalization cause. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you who’s right or wrong, but what I can tell you is what I’ve seen.
To me the message is simple, show the world that cannabis/marijuana is not the drug they teach in school and that many innocent lives are being or have been ruined due to a bad law. You might say, “But Miguel, this is America, we don’t have bad laws.” It wasn’t long ago African-American folks had separate drinking fountains, and interracial marriages were illegal (I believe they still are, technically, in Arizona), and women who were incarcerated were sterilized as recently as 1974. How about the mandatory minimum sentences, where drug offenders, where there is no victim, serve life sentences, but rapist, pedophiles, and murders can get probation. Justice is not just, its just us vs. them.
I am somebody because I am nobody which makes me like everyone … like you. I’m just another American doing their version of adulting. I’ll never make any significant discoveries in my line of work. I’m just a smart worker bee and I am okay with that.
What I’m not okay with is how, in America, we accept the lowest bidder mentality and call that “smart” business. For six years I previously worked in the third-party calibration industry, the industry of checks and balances … a means for the consumer to know they’re receiving a quality product … a means for the Producer to know they’re making a consistent product. But, the thing is … it’s a lie.
There are industries out there being run by “sober” people, sober because they only drink or do their cocaine behind closed doors but these people turn a blind eye and, in fact, expect you to push product through regardless of what you’re capable of because they believe in the bottom dollar and not the actual quality of work. People will blow the word “quality” up your ass all day, but the truth is they’re relying on their worker bee to help support the lie or create a reason why something wasn’t correctly done. This is not quality nor calibration, this is a scam. It’s something I wrestled with internally with for 6 years.
I eventually left the third party male whoring business. The only thing that separated me from a prostitute was I got to keep my pants on. I’m tired of seeing people who are able to manipulate contracts, or the media, succeed while good people are being hurt by their false success.
Politicians, business people, and other forms of evil rely on Americans having a short-term memory with forgiveness of taking advantage of others for their success. America lately stands for convenient truths and lobbied justice … that is the American way.
Where does one go if they want to be informed about marijuana news and politics? The only time marijuana is in the mainstream media is when there’s a law change, or raid. Even really large protest don’t garner the media attention that it should, like what happened in DC.
Besides my work, I encourage you to subscribe to the efforts of Tom Angell and his team of cannabis journalists at The Marijuana Moment. I also have to give props to Leafly and Weedmaps for stepping up their educational game, the more we know, the better off we all are.
My distaste for bad corporate practices and ignorance helps drive my activism. A long time ago High Times magazine was the only place for marijuana news, and even then it could only cover so much as a monthly publication, But, with the rise of the internet, there many places the consumer can look for information.
Two friends of mine started one of the first websites dedicated to cannabis. One was the brains who developed the webpage with his understanding of code, and the other was the heart with his poignant blogging. These two gentlemen created a website when, at its peak, had more visitors than High Times. A million plus unique hits a month and with the help of me, and many others, we help spread the word of the site and the word that weed is good and it’s the law that is bad.
Online I see complaints about ethics amongst cannabis industry people, but these same people accept the fucked up actions of people who have money, only because they hope some of it will trickle down to them, regardless of the price to your soul or the public misinformation. When one accepts shitty business practices, one accepts shitty weed.
I speak from the perspective of someone who witnessed the hijacking of said website by a former partner of theirs, because the guys knew weed but they didn’t know business and placed their bets with a husband and wife team who manipulated them. The former partners did this by fucking with their email account access (and mine that I was using to contact pot prisoners at the time) and access to their own website and Facebook page, which they had created. In the end, my friends were tired of the investors bullshit … tired of wanting to try and influence the politics with a price and empty promises of their partners “future investors,” instead of being a policy influencer with the greater good of cannabis in mind.
When I jumped on to contribute writes to “The Blog That We Shall Not Name,” there was no contract, just passion. It was just a bunch of guys trying to get a lot of news and stories to the rest of the world so people would know they were not alone in their efforts. Sometimes, as a marijuana activist, that’s how you feel.
My friends were two bleeding hearts with no business skills and were lured with promises of revenue, and dreams of quitting their day job, to do what they love to do, advocate for cannabis. It didn’t seem unreasonable since they were able to generate so much website traffic to the site they had established and built up. The insanity I witnessed by Travis and Leah Maurer–the husband and wife team I previously spoke of–is what’s wrong with America and what hurts the momentum of legalization by coddling these kinds of bad actors. Chasing the dollars through manipulation, not through skill or trade, is how many succeed. Be very wary of these snakes in the grass. I’ve always said there’s no money in activism, but there is money involved in being an administrator of large Facebook groups and pages for product placement.
It’s not infighting, It’s highlighting
Many people are upset with me because whenever two people who want legalization don’t like each other, it’s called “infighting,” but I don’t think there’s a fight, I’m just here to lay out how I see it.
I’ve seen two times people who have made a difference make horrible accusations to deflect from themselves. The first time was when Cheryl Shuman called Mickey Martin (R.I.P) a pedophile on a live Huffington Post interview while also bashing an organization that helps kids who are victims of the war on pot. The other time was when the Maurers called Randy Quast a pedophile to tarnish his reputation. In both cases there was no evidence nor efforts to save the children at risk. That, to me, is the infuriating part. It was complete bullshit. Pedophilia accusations are perhaps the lowest thing a person could do, especially when there are actual horrible actors out there, as with the case of glassblower Kenny Hashmouf who was arrested as part of a child pornography sting.
Besides the false accusations, which make a person petty, there are the assholes of cannabis such as the cases of the owner of the Owner Of OG Analytical in Oregon who turned out to be a Nazi sympathizer, or in more recent national news Permit Patti, a.k.a Alison Ettell of Treatwell Health, who threatened a little girl with police for simply selling water.
You Can Do It
You don’t have to be a policy maker or fundraiser to make a difference. When the “Site We Shall Not Name” (It’s The Weed Blog) was going through its transition, and I tried to fight for access to an email account through them which I was using for closet activism, Travis Maurer said “I don’t even know who you are.”
Well let me tell you who I am.
I write. I write to tell people’s stories and share my opinions. In the process of writing, I’ve helped people by sharing their stories. I’ve helped sway opinions by using my voice as an American citizen for Americans. But, the most important thing I think I’ve done has been to give hope.
Pot prisoner of war and activist Eugene Fischer (R.I.P) put it best. He said hope is the greatest weapon … from the prisoner to the cannabis farmer in a prohibition State, hope is what keeps us going. I’ve used my position as a citizen, a veteran, and a one time lab manager to write letters to judges and attorneys in support of strangers because no one belongs in jail for a plant. I stand for my neighbor.
I even helped get charges dropped as in the case of Joy Graves. Patient, activist and spiritualist, Joy Graves was facing prosecution for her choice of medicine, spirituality, and lifestyle. I went online to look up the prosecutor, in hopes that I could appeal to his human side in a letter. Instead, I found a photo of the prosecuting attorney giving peace signs in front of a pot leaf in Africa while on a mission.
Joy made a T-Shirt with this image and strutted in on her court date. The prosecutor was aghast and soon the charges were dropped due to some legal mumbo-jumbo. I’ve helped some people, and, in the end, that’s all that marijuana activism is and should be. Its educating and standing up for common sense.
Soon there won’t be a need for marijuana activism, and I’m okay with that. To Travis, I say this … In the end, all you have is a shitty website, and no one will ever trust you, while people thank me for helping spread their word. So yes I’ve done a thing or two.
“Activism (cannabis) may cause headaches and ulcers due to stress and worry.” This is the warning label that should be placed on dime bags. I’m not a journalist … I’m a blogger, a writer, an American citizen who actually gives a fuck. We are God damn Americans, and that should count for something. Make Americans Proud Again.