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Having An Ego Is No Longer An Asset In The Marijuana Movement

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Can't We All Just Get A BongOnce Helpful, Egos Are Now A Hindrance To The Marijuana Movement

We have always tried to give people an even shot at using The Weed Blog to help get their word out. After all, the main reason we created The Weed Blog was to make a megaphone that the mj movement could use without the filters that come with traditional outlets. This is proven by the fact that we let any initiative put up a press release, whether it conflicts with another one or not. We feel it is good to get the info out, and if supporters like it they will say so, if they don’t, they will also let readers know so via their comments. We have NEVER told someone they couldn’t syndicate our stories. We feel that the information that is being put out there is more important than TWB, and we only ask for a link and ‘by’ line so that others can continue to come to us for important marijuana news and information.

There have been many initiatives, organizations, people, etc that seemed to be on the up and up at the surface level, just to have a lot of controversial comments posted in the articles I write about them. TWB has always supported free speech, and unless the comments are obviously libelous or defamatory (only happened a couple times!) we leave them up there to further the conversation.

I was having a conversation about this with cannabis activist Steve DeAngelo at the Denver SSDP Conference. If anyone knows about dealing with egos, it’s Stevie D. He has been accused of having a large ego (among other things) by some people that I have talked to, and I’m sure he deals with people with big heads on a daily basis in the industry. For what it’s worth to readers, Steve was a very nice guy, very personable, and I saw first hand how much time he takes out of his very busy schedule to help the movement. Steve DeAngelo was at the conference all weekend, and shook more hands and answered more questions than some presidential candidates I’ve seen! Very nice guy.

Steve was explaining to me that in the 70’s and 80’s, if you were a cannabis activist without an ego, you didn’t do very well because the movement was so new and unorganized. The only real way to make a name for yourself, and therefore the cause you were pitching, was to be outspoken and promote yourself. For some people, this went to their heads. They got so caught up with promoting themselves that they lost sight of the real goal they were promoting, which was the freedom of the plant itself.

I once wrote an article ‘When Will Marijuana be Legal?’ People from the mmj community were very upset that I was stating that if medical marijuana can pass in a state, that state will be more likely to support full legalization because they would have some experience with marijuana reform. That then led into a follow up article, ‘Should Medical Cannabis Patients Fight For Recreational Legalization?’ There wasn’t as much kickback in that article. I suspect it’s because I stated that I’m a medical marijuana patient, so I’m not just speaking from recreational experience, but as someone who has been a cardholder in Oregon since 2006. I understand that patients don’t like legalization being piggybacked off of their efforts, but the reality is it took a lot of recreational marijuana votes to pass medical marijuana in the states that had successful initiatives…

legalize marijuanaThroughout this adventure that has been The Weed Blog, I have had the privilege (not always applicable!) of meeting a lot of activists and industry leaders from around the nation. Some of them are noble, some of them have hidden agendas. I can always tell the difference between the two by how long the list is of people that they refuse to work with. I can understand that there are some people on everyone’s list that they won’t work or collaborate with. But when the list of people they won’t work with is longer than the people they will work with, that rubs me the wrong way.

There are a lot of people out there that want their dispensary to succeed at the expense of others. Or they protect their organization’s budgets at all costs, even if it means refusing to collaborate with other organizations for purely profitless events and ventures that would clearly benefit the larger movement. I have met campaign creators that never get off the ground because they refuse to share the credit with anyone else. I have met people in the movement that claim to care a lot about the plant, yet if there is no dollars behind the request, they never respond.

There was one campaign director that contacted me many times to edit an article I wrote about their campaign’s fundraising efforts. When I asked the same person face to face to send me press releases that had more to the article than asking for money, not only did they act like they didn’t know who I was, but I have yet to receive any correspondence from their campaign. It makes me wonder if they really want the campaign to succeed, or just enjoy the title and salary that goes with being a ‘campaign director.’

There are many people in the movement that will never, ever support full legalization because they would benefit more financially from maintaining the status quo. Of course, these people will never admit it, but it’s pretty obvious. It makes me sad when I see someone that could be doing a lot of good for the movement, but they won’t let their ego or greed allow it. I wrote an article, ‘Will Infighting Doom The Marijuana Movement‘ which talks all about this. The purpose of that article was to try to generate some constructive conversation and possibly result in some unity in areas of the movement where there might not be. Sadly, the constructive comments were far outweighed by comments from people stating they would never, ever work with so and so or ‘fill in the blank’ campaign. I’m not demanding people do so, but it would at least be nice to take a more open minded approach.

What do TWB readers think? Are you tired of seeing egos get in the way of progress? Or do you think this is all nonsense and I’m over-blowing things? I look forward to your comments.

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25 Comments

  1. I’m kind of new to the movement. Are people of different political views welcome I fully support the prohibition on cannabis be lifted. But I come from a libertarian/conservative point of view. Based in constitutional frame that all prohibitions are unconstitutional. Which was the view before the 18th amendment. Some were between the repeal of the 18th amendment in 1933 a and 1937 we forget that. I personally feel that the Federal Government had the had got a taste of the power of the Volstead act and needed to fill the vacuum that the repeal of the 18th amendment left. That’s my view while I know I’m probably a minority here. But I know a lot of people who think similar to me. Not exactly that would be weird. I’m not afraid of name calling the state I live in is bluer than blue. So you have my support if you’ll have it.

  2. I am a dispensary owner in Cali and honestly, I find the greed point hard to take sometimes. Yes, it gets hurled at us all the time, and mostly by garage growers with a few plants and a light or two. I would like to point out that a truly professional business using extremely high quality organic nutrients and top-notch, properly sealed and outfitted rooms does not come cheap. Next – we pay our employees 17-20 bucks an hour, on average. The local organic food store pays 9, god only knows what McDonalds pays….Next, the products I do buy, I ONLY buy from local vendors who have extremely high quality, that being the case, I pay top dollar for it. I also run a business and pay full CA state retail sales taxes (which most dispensaries, including my own, do not even pass on to the customer, although thats what we are supposed to be doing – instead we pay it) along with all other tax requirements at the local, state and federal levels. Ever paid CA state employee tax? I doubt it, but believe me when I tell you it’s outrageously high! These idiots TAX me for every employee I have – how does that generate jobs? Finally, I would like to point out that we also run a compassion donation program for sick people in our community and we organize and donate large amounts of medicine for compassionate use for those who are desperately in need, such as cancer patients. My husband and I work our butts off because this is something we are passionate about, love and BELIEVE in, not for greed – I can promise you that!
    So, if you don’t believe in supporting any of that, than I think you should continue to buy on the black market from the dude down the road growing in his garage and selling for 30 bucks a quarter. And, for the record, we are absolutely, 100% in favor of full legalization :-)

  3. “It makes me wonder if they really want the campaign to succeed, or just
    enjoy the title and salary that goes with being a ‘campaign director.’”

    Johnny, while some may enjoy the title I can promise you that they have not enjoyed the salary except for possibly Rob Kampia but I don’t think he’s one you’re talking about. He’s the only well-paid, sexual predator, egotistical prick I can think of. All the others are regional and have been fighting for support and campaign dollars for years. Some of those are now flipping-out over the presence of big money entering their state to engage in cannabis commerce. What the hell did they expect would happen? This is capitalist pig ‘Merica! The same type of entrepreneur that launched Standard Oil, the steel industry, the coal industry and now WalMart are the the people now getting in on the green rush. Better get your union boots on. They will have no mercy.

  4. I would love to get into the field of being a dispenser, not for money, but to have a career knowing I’ve potentially made someone’s day easier. ( be it a true medical need or they just need to unwind). Unfortunately though KY isn’t making much progress towards med legalization. Thinking about moving west to get experience then bring my knowledge back to ky when the time is right. I just enjoy helping people, while the ego thing is a 50/50. I’d probably have the ego that I have the best bud in town, I definitely wouldn’t be afraid to work with others to see it become successful. Not my business but there’s and anyone else’s. There is always strength in numbers, everyone in the cannibis community needs to know this. Y’all have a good day and remember, we’re all in this together in some way shape or form. Don’t be snooty, and work with your fellow buds.

  5. I agree. Although money is nice and needed to live, the overall movement is more important. I think it was Spok from Star Trek that said, “The needs of the many far outweight the needs of the few, or the one.” We should all work together for EVERYONES benefit!!

  6. The real challenge of egos and ulterior motives will come as markets open and taxation and regulation begins. But this plant ultimately succeeds at inspiring balance, even if it’s in lozenges at Walmart

  7. I promise to try harder to interact in the comments!  I have no fear of political hazards, because as I’ve said before, I’d rather be wrong and facilitate conversation than be right and have the conversation go no where :)  Thanks for reading TWB, and thanks for the suggestions.

  8. This is great stuff, Johnny. Always glad to see articles like this coming from TWB, which generate thoughtful and important discussions that reach below the surface of cannabis activism. 

    As the Executive Director for the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of NORML, I’ve made a conscious effort to leave my ego at the door since day one. I approach every conversation as humbly and sincerely as possible – even with those that disagree with me. The result has been overwhelmingly positive. 

    Personally, I’d like to see that same humility from more of the cannabis thought leaders out there, but it seems like lately – everyone would rather bitch about each other instead of trying to work together. 

    We’re all on the same team and should really start acting like it. Herbs the word.

    Shaun McAlister
    Executive Director @ DFW NORML

  9. After two years in Sensible Washington, I could not agree with you more! I hope the Cannabis Child Protection Act will work more toward empowering people then SW did. I do not see I-502 as progress.

  10. Thanks for the kind words and I really appreciate the feed back. We keep telling ourselves to answer more comments, but between road trips and other marijuana reform projects, our time is soooo stretched. If it’s any consolation, we read them all and try to get in a few replays when we can but man, it has been hectic. Also, I’ve been working on a new featured post slider the last couple days and we will be rolling it out this weekend (maybe). I never liked that one much anyway lol. Absolutely appreciate the feedback fo sho tho.

  11. No on I-502!

    In all seriousness this was a goo article. I get tired of people bashing medical patients. I’m a medical patient but I still support legal recreational cannabis.

  12. I have seen similar in Potland,Oregon. I have a Med Cannibas card and my specified grower. So knowing cost of crop the pricing seems a litlle much. Quality is tops.

  13. Greta Carter on

    This is a thoughtful article. Well written. I hope our paths cross. I look forward to meeting you and share many of your observations. My experience with Steve is very similar and I share your concerns about the movement being so divided. Divided the feds win. With one voice no one could touch us!

  14. “Egos?  I’d say the biggest problem is greed, based on my experiences
    with dispensaries all over Boulder, Fort Collins, and Denver.”

     I agree, this is also what I see from the MMJ crowd. They get their
    cards, and think everythings legal and fine and nothing else matters. I also read of many
    involved in the MMJ industry not caring about ‘legalization’ because of
    the greed factor.  Which makes me realize how much all this “medical”
    nonsense is hurting the movement to legalize/declassify cannabis. As
    I’ve seen others mention, its now just a grey market instead of a black
    market, with the same result.  And now the ‘full’ legalization crowd not
    only is fighting the prohibitionists but also the ‘medical’ crowd. 
    America, the Greedy.  Its such a disappointment realizing how disgusting
    greed really is, weather it within our own movement, or by the
    opposition (DEA, big pharma, alcohol, timber, cotton, oil, politicians,
    etc).
     

  15. eating_sunshine on

    I’m a Weed Blog fan because Johnny and Ninja have, come together politics. That and it just seems more intellectual than any other site I have come across.  They borrow from many resources, but what great mind’s haven’t? (Newton, Einstein…)
    It would be nice if they answered more comments.  I know commenting can be politically hazardous at times, but sometimes thats what it takes to get the creative juices flowing.
    While i’m complaining I may as well get it all out.
    The new automatic scroll thing is really annoying.  And the popular now section should have a couple more stories, and they should stay up a little longer.  

  16. Egos?  I’d say the biggest problem is greed, based on my experiences with dispensaries all over Boulder, Fort Collins, and Denver.