My biggest pet peeve in the marijuana movement is people that have become wealthy off the movement, yet have never given back. Or at the very least, they haven’t given back enough. If someone donates less than 1 percent of the income they made from the marijuana movement back to the marijuana movement, I think that is unacceptable. In the last three months I have met dozens of people that have become rich from the marijuana industry. However, I can count the number of them that have donated significant amounts to campaigns using just three of my fingers.
The rest of these people claim to be ‘activists.’ They claim to love the movement, and they even claim that they are big supporters of marijuana reform. It’s funny because I see so many people accepting their claims at face value, without any investigation. Sadly, the claims of these rich people are void of any fact, and I can prove it. All anyone has to do is look at public records for campaign contributions and note who’s on the list, and more importantly, who’s not on the list. Anytime you see a wealthy cannabusiness owner talking about how much they support activism, ask them which campaign they have donated to, and follow up on it.
I’m not saying all of this to try to ruin cannabis business owners, which is why I’m not naming names. The reason I’m saying all of this is to get cannabis consumers to put more pressure on the companies that they give their dollars to. If I had a dollar for every time I heard a dispensary owner claim to make little to nothing, yet they obviously make a lot of money off of the pounds they sell each day, I would have enough money to fully fund at least two campaigns.
Unlike some people in the marijuana movement, I am not impressed by people’s wealth off of the marijuana industry. I have met several ‘marijuana millionaires’ in this movement that have donated little to nothing to campaigns. My respect for them is far lower than it is for an activist that has gathered five signatures and spread awareness. When I am at events, and everyone is clamoring to pitch their idea to the marijuana millionaires, you will always find me at the panels and non-profit booths, because at the end of the day, they are the ones that really matter.
I feel it necessary to say that the small amount of cannabis business owners that are genuine are very important to the movement, and I don’t want to diminish their efforts by clumping all of them into one group. If someone has a lot of money, they can get more things done than the activist that only has the resources to gather five signatures. However, this is only possible if they actually donate, which most of them don’t. So what are these people really good for?
Cannabis business owners are always blown away by my lack of respect for their inactions. You can tell that all day everyday people bow to them because they are rich. Well I don’t bow to money. I never have, never will. What I bow to is people like Carl Olsen in Iowa, who fight so hard for the movement that all the money in the world couldn’t buy the results that they produce. If Carl Olsen had a million dollars, marijuana would be legal in America, plain and simple. Unfortunately, there are a lot of marijuana millionaires now, yet prohibition continues because of their selfishness and greed.
There’s few things funner to me than seeing a marijuana millionaire squirm after I interrupt them when they are listing off the things they own. In the middle of them telling me about their cars and homes, I cut them off, and ask them to make a sizable donation to their local campaign. The look on their face is always priceless. You can tell that they want to say something like, ‘How dare you interrupt me when I’m bragging.’ But they don’t because they know better, and because they know their comments will be on Google News as fast as Johnny’s fingers can type :)
What these business owners fail to realize is that marijuana activism and the marijuana industry are inseparable. One of my favorite activists of all time is Troy Dayton. I sat in on a panel he was leading, and he explained that despite his success in the cannabis industry, he always reminds himself to never let it go to his head. ‘The only reason why the marijuana industry exists is because of the pursuits of activists, and if you don’t realize that, you have no place in the marijuana industry.’ You can see why I like Troy so much.
I challenge all readers to make a pledge this 4/20. I urge you to pledge to not support any cannabis business that doesn’t give back to the movement. I guarantee once cannabis business owners realize that they need to put their money where their mouth is, they will, and the movement will be better off for it. Can you imagine if every successful headshop, grow store, dispensary, online outlet, and other cannabis business donated their fair share to cannabis reform? How long do you think it would take for marijuana prohibition to end? Think about it.