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What an odd time in cannabis history. No one ever said evolution was painless. In fact, it is quite awkward.
Watching the industry evolve from days of outlaw diplomacy to corporate douchebaggery is a major struggle for me. On one hand there is nothing romantic about people getting locked up in prison for decades for growing weed that is sold at inflated prices due to black market principles. It is just not a workable model for a civilized society. At the same time, the limited and guarded acceptance of cannabis has resulted in programs that are unworkable and expensive that benefit the few, and which are often designed to fail.
Nothing we see now is a level playing field. Until we see a truly free market work in cannabis there will be an odd dance of those who believe in freedom being pushed out by those who believe in limited freedom and who are willing to throw us all under the bus to serve their own agenda. Don’t cannabrand me, bro.
I am not an idealist. I saw this coming a mile away and have done my best to bring caution to the wolves in wook’s clothing. I understand the situation clearly and know it will likely get worse before it gets better. This strange era of positioning and lobbying for our own unworkable limitations will not last forever, but it will go on for some time. It is the monkeys fucking the football for real, as no one on any side of the argument can seem to find the right answer. the answer is simple… It is cannabis freedom.
Instead what we see are people working to undermine freedom by promoting limited models that promote their business models. The easiest to spot are the CBD oil hucksters out in force to convince the word that their magic CBD potion is totally legal and won’t even get you high. Some of these pricks, like the Hempmeds/Cannvest/Kannaway crews, are shipping their hemp sludge derived “medicines” that were created from industrial machine byproducts to all 50 states touting their legality as nutritional supplements. Their lies are misleading, as routinely their products test far above the allowable THC limits for hemp derived products, and often their refined sludge carries dangerous heavy metals and contaminants. These groups have used slick marketing campaigns to sell their Frankenstein medicines, and have worked to convince the public and government officials that their bullshit magic paste is the answer; and that real cannabis derived products, often containing THC, are somehow dangerous. They have scammed stock investors on the pink sheets enough to afford lobbyists who have worked to pass CBD only legislation in several states.
But you cannot mention CBD only without looking at the Stanley Brothers and their “Realm of Caring.” Talk about a group of Stepford Wives and Children of the Corn. Bajeezus. This sad band of brothers have parlayed their 15 minutes of fame on CNN with Dr. Sanjay Gupta into a full blown international circus of fraud and deception. After throwing “lazy hipies and potheads ” under the bus in their media appearances, they went out of their way to make promises to thousands of families dealing with health issues for their children that they would be able to ship their miracle drug “Charlotte’s Web” to all 50 states this month because they had simply renamed the strain as hemp. Okay… so it was medical marijuana a couple months ago, but now Charolette’s Web is just hemp. Gotcha. Tell me more.
Well they were forced to eat their words after months of teasing families desperate to try their miracle that Gupta told them would save their kid’s lives. They retracted their nationwide offerings stating:
Unfortunately, despite the fact that the U.S. imports more hemp foods than any other country, the common association of CBD with high THC cannabis has caused more scrutiny for these hemp products than expected. For example a Minnesota mother may be facing charges for possessing a CBD product which she obtained for her son. Such tragic events, combined with the ever changing legal landscape of hemp/CBD products, have forced us to reconsider all potential ramifications of our previous distribution plans. Simply put: the last thing we want to do is put the families we serve in jeopardy.
As a result, at the strong advice of our legal counsel, we have decided it is in the best interest of both present and future clients, as well as the longevity of the ROC program as a whole, that we hold our distribution plan to higher standards than the conventional hemp industry.
So your legal counsel didn’t tell you that what you were planning on doing is actually quite illegal until after you made promises to thousands of desperate families? Super. Sounds like a real winner. Let me guess…. these are the same legal geniuses you have writing the CBD only legislation that resulted in the Minnesota mother being charged? Or in other states? Did you guys even write a strategy plan on this model? Or did you just see a window of opportunity after Gupta gave you some legitimacy and try to exploit it for your own gain by cementing in CBD only legislation that serves your model (even though it really does not) and leaves most patients out in the cold?
Maybe everyone should just move to Colorado to get your miracle drug hemp deal. But wait… last report is that the Charlotte’s Web that was planted outdoors as “hemp” is much different that the CW that they had been distributing to families. The cannabinoid profiles are extremely different and do not have the same results for many parents.
The Stanley’s tried to tell parents that the difference came from growing conditions outdoors under natural sun, but that is just not a valid assumption. What is more likely is that what was planted outdoors was not Charlotte’s Web at all, and was instead a modified varietal or completely different strain that was developed to meet the requirements of hemp production…. likely under advice of their crack legal team over there.
Now many parents are forced to perform their own alchemy to adjust cannabinoid levels themselves. More likely even is that this program was put in place to meet the even stricter hemp/CBD requirements that their own lobbyists have helped create in other states. They hoped that this would serve as a model, but unfortunately has resulted in anything but. Now their own efforts will come back to bite them in the ass, as well as the rest of the cannabis community.
The problem with the CBD revolution is that it is based on the premise of not getting high. Those who began this effort were motivated by their inherent fear of the perception that the opposition was concerned with people getting stoned. There are certain conditions where CBD is an undeniable benefit, but the industry has overblown this not in an effort of medical progress, but in an effort to say, “see… we are not even trying to get high.”
It has always been based in an effort to “legitimize” the cannabis industry by downplaying the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Can someone tell me when feeling good and feelings of euphoria became such bad things? Why are we conceding that a safe and enjoyable experience is somehow evil and intolerable in a society where most wake up with the drug of coffee and go to sleep with the drug of booze? Why are we, as cannabis users and supporters, denying our right to use cannabis to enhance our experiences? It all makes no sense to me.
What the fuck are we thinking…?
But don’t stop there. Let’s look at the edibles situation in Colorado more deeply. What we have is a basic unfounded hysteria resulting in backlash and red tape that very well could shut down the edibles market, or at the very least make it unworkable for many. The reports of a kid jumping off a balcony and dying after eating too much weed food and the guy who killed his wife after apparently ingesting edibles are the rallying cry where the prohibitionists have pointed to the “dangers” of marijuana. They have gone out of their way this Halloween to scare the shit our of parents by putting up billboards showing that THC infused candies look a lot like real candies. Yeah… well Jack Daniels looks a lot like apple juice when it is just sitting in a glass, but we do not see the drunken weed haters making this comparison. Vicodin looks a lot like a Tic-Tac too, but where is the outrage there? There is none.
What we are seeing is a result of our industry’s representatives conceding these perceived dangers and allowing for regulators to take that ball and run with it. Instead of demanding equality and freedom where cannabis is concerned, it is our own industry’s lobbyists who have given ground on this issue to a point where it is becoming problematic. Look…. I feel for the kid who jumped off the balcony, but this type of stuff happens much more frequently under the influence of booze and we do not see a call for booze to be sold in single serving containers heavily labeled and packaged in tamper resistant packaging. In fact, anyone over 21 (and many times not 21 with a fake ID) can walk in and buy enough booze to kill a grown adult any day of the week they want.
But people like Michael Elliott of the Marijuana Industry Group have used their political muscle to empower regulators on this issue over the years, and now is watching his chickens come home to roost. The funny part is watching guys like him scramble when they figure out that in an effort to promote the interests of the few businesses he serves as a paid lobbyist, he actually ended up screwing them too…. then comes the effort to roll back the stupid shit you said just a few months ago. Yes… Let’s concede some strange danger about edibles because Maureen Dowd ate too much weed food and had an out of body experience in a Colorado hotel room. Super.
But in an effort to win favor with lawmakers and regulators, what we see is these so called industry experts and their lobbyists willing to bend over and let the edibles industry be raped by those who oppose cannabis as some real danger. Look…. weed food can get you super high, but at what point does personal responsibility come into play? Why are we allowing people like Michael Elliott to make the opposition’s case for them, and then are surprised when the opposition seizes that concession to make the entire industry look like a bunch of irresponsible child molesters in need of severe oversight and regulation.
Let me know when they want to start “regulating cannabis like alcohol” as was promised in the historic 2012 election. Last I checked booze were everywhere and there were no burdensome regulations on how they are packaged and the quantity per bottle. Call me weird, but it would seem that a drug like booze that actually kills over 85,000 people a year might be regulated a little more tightly than weed food, but what do I know?
I do know that us willing to agree that somehow cannabis food poses some real verifiable danger to our society in respect to the many dangerous and legal options we already have is stupid.
What the fuck are we thinking?
Which brings me to my next issue, which is home cultivation and caregiver access. Why are there folks who are supposedly on the side of cannabis willing to take the rights of people to grow their own, or to access their medicine through a private caregiver who cultivates for them, away? People like Michael Elliott have conceded that there are dangers in these types of systems that are being abused to “illegally sell marijuana.”
When he says “illegally” what he means is outside of the tightly regulated tax burdened system that his group has worked to develop. These positions have resulted in states like Massachusetts severely limiting the ability of caregivers to cultivate for patients or for patients to cultivate their own. Most states take statements like these and turn them into unworkable legislation that leaves people unable to legally cultivate plants for themselves or those in need. It is a pay to play scenario that will result in more limitation and knee jerk reactions that stifle personal freedom.
Not a day goes by that an article does not come out from those who oppose cannabis touting some poorly worded statement by some jackass in the cannabis industry about how dangerous these situations are to public safety. The fear of the cannabis community to actually stand up for their rights is embarrassing and at times devastating to our efforts.
What the fuck are we thinking?
The truth is that we are not. We are allowing those who favor prohibition to drive the conversation and when we help do their work for them by compromising the truth for hysteria, we all lose. When these assholes try to work the system to favor their own business models, only to have the whole rug pulled out from under them because they really do not understand politics as much as they led you to believe, the progress we all have worked hard to realize is instantly diminished.
It is sad enough that we have to deal with the Kevin Sabets and Patrick Kennedys of the world, but to have our message of cannabis freedom undermined by those who supposedly are on our side is ludicrous. I for one am tired of having to clean up these messes and work to convince people that these myths being put forth and supported by would be industry “experts” are simple fallacy.
This is not that difficult… cannabis is incredibly safe in comparison to most everything. Should there be limitations and regulations? Sure. But they must be reasonable and they must be founded in reality. We can no longer afford to have our own people making our lives more difficult by trying to give an inch to the crazies, which always results in a mile.
No we do not need CBD only laws to make sure people are not getting high. No we do not need to go out of our way to make a Scarlet letter for cannabis foods and ensure they are packaged in bulletproof containers. No we do not need to keep people from cultivating their own cannabis to avoid some perception of a dangerous diversion scenario. It is all stupid drama contrived to make issues where there are none. I will say it again… in the name of Jack Herer “SHOW ME THE BODIES.”
We must be cautious moving forward to not negotiate the freedom we are working to achieve. It makes no sense to help those who would be just as happy locking up people for weed create a market where weed is so severely limited that it leaves most people criminals and keeps the market inflated to black market pricing.
The reality is that a free cannabis market regulated sensibly with allowances for innovation and without so many impossible barriers to entry will result in higher quality and more affordable cannabis available to those who love and need weed. The rest of this window dressing is for the birds. The sooner we pull our heads out of our ass and begin asking for what we really want, the sooner we can get past all of this unnecessary drama and bullshit.
Photo Credit: Victor Bezrukov under (CC BY 2.0) via Wikiamedia Commons