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Activism Should Come Before Profit In The Marijuana Movement


marijuana and moneyPassion Is Better Than Profit In The Marijuana Movement

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.


About Author

Johnny Green


  1. Always remember, there’s nothing wrong with profits.  Feeding your family and paying off your mortgage is nothing to begrudge another person from being able to do.  The problems are associated with nothing more than simple GREED.

    If we were to have a system which supplied the medicinal user with their cannabis for FREE, using normally-collected sales taxes on “casual sales only”, this would probably be the best model.

    In Canada, and specifically in Ontario, the current sales tax rate is 13%, so this would mean that , since it is estimated that 80-90% of cannabis smokers are “recreational”, this would easily supply the needs of all medicinal users without any cost to them whatsoever.

    Keep out the big, greedy multinational corporations, and we can easily see a proper use and legitimization of the dispensary/boutique model.

  2. Actually, the model (if we’re going to use any model) should be tomatoes.  There is always a market for tomatoes, and there is always a market for connoisseur products.  There is no competition between farm operations and home growers at all, since most of the farmers sell to industrial processors, so they are essentually selling to different markets.

    The only real difference, using this model, is that you won’t be seeing roadside cannabis stands that operate on the honour system.

  3. One of the benefits of REPEALING prohibition would be the ability to grow outdoors, or in a backyard greenhouse, without fear or being attacked by OUR EMPLOYEES.  If this were to occur, those who wanted to grow could grow, and without all of the added costs associated with indoor growing like lighting, air conditioning, etc., and that would lower their costs.

    If the cost to grow a plant is lower, the price to purchase the results would also be lower.

    I’ve heard a lot of people say “no limits”, but I think Jack’s original idea of 200 plants per person is pretty fair, considering most people won’t grow that many, that keeps about 99% of people out of harm’s way.  I think that the largest licensed grow in Canada (outside of the government run one) is 174 plants, so the largest legal grower in Canada would then never need to even bother with paying any third party a license fee at all.  They’d simply be left alone.

    I also agree 100% with the idea that only flowering plants should be calculated.  Males will never produce a bud, so are automatically disqualified.  Seedlings, mothers, rooted cuttings…those shouldn’t count either.

    It makes more sense that a fair minimum would be setting things up so that you’ve always got, for example, 12-24 plants in each state of growth, so that you could be assured of a regular supply, based on your actual needs, allowing a regular rotation and harvesting schedule.  When males are not needed for future seed production, they could then be disposed of, and new plants rotated into the next developmental phase to maintain a consistent level of supply.  If you were growing indoors, then you could always take one of those males and one of the females outside and let that provide seeds for next year, as well, without disrupting a sinsemilla production plan, giving both seeds for the future, and providing strong, medicinal herb at the same time.

    I suppose that the only real benefit to the “dispensary model” is what I noted earlier; the “specialty boutique” concept, where you could get professionally grown, conoisseur strains, and have a far wider variety available than you could grow on your own, or trade with a few friends who also grow for themselves.  Of course, this is neccessarily more expensive, as it’s a business.  Anything grown at home is massively less expensive…so with repeal, only the truly good dispensaries would survive.

    I also would like to see the complete removal of the distinction between strains, as if a farmer can grow any strain he wished (as was once the case, globally) the farmers would be able to produce far more cannabis than “boutique growers” could, and while they were repairing and enhancing their fields for their next crop, they would have a single crop with multiple markets.

    Their seed could go to medicinal growers, or the food supply, while the bud could be used for medicinal purposes, and the stalks could be a raw material for cellulose, paper, building materials, etc.  The pure sativas would be best for fiber/textile uses, and the indicas would be best for seed and oil production.

    And let’s face it, if there was a hundred farms nearby all growing medicinally viable strains, the “novelty factor” would quickly disappear to what it was 50-60 years back, when most people were wondering why there was police trucks all over the place, cleaning up all the “ditchweed.”  My grandmother told me a story that, in the late 50’s/early 60’s, there were hordes of police vans and trucks showing up all over the place, chopping down vacant fields, pulling plants out of the ditches, and she simply couldn’t understand why…although most of the people in the neighbourhood appreciated having their yards cleaned by the police for free…that was the extent of it.

    DEschedule.  REPEAL.  Once that is accomplished, then we can develop a proper, small-scale commercial model, while making absolutely certain that there will NEVER be any GMO cannabis of any kind, and keeping the large corporations from taking over the market, as they have already done with corn, wheat, alfalfa, cotton, et cetera…

    After we get that taken care of, then maybe we can concentrate our efforts on restoring a safe, natural food supply again…if it’s not already too late.

  4. Love that name Don Quixote.  LOL. 

    I’d be interested in hearing what you think of my “thumbnail” solution (above).  The real idea is to give Big Pharma, Dispensaries and other “greedsters” a barrier to monopolization while — at least temporarily (next 100 years) – protecting Cannabis Farmers.  I contend that it is nearly impossible to predict just how many will really want to grow their own.  If everyone did the Marijuana Farmers would be victems of what is really “truly free trade.”  But my geuss is that most will find it too much work and so the Marijuana Farmers might very well not just survive . . . but will continue to live a middle class life.

    Again, please post your impressions of what I’d call MERP 2.0

    Here are some of my other writings:

    The “New Agenda for America”http://www.newagecitizen.com/naa.htm
    New Candidate for 2012 Presidency wants a “Green Economy” Based on Marijuana

  5. The Greedy, Self-serving, Big $$ Dispensary Cartels have DESTROYED, in less than 3 years, Colorado’s successful individual Patient/Caregiver MMJ model that functioned well for 9+ years under Amendment 20 which passed in 2000.

  6. I’m sort of agnostic about dispensaries at the moment.  What we saw in Michigan was not really so surprizing: dispensaries getting ‘overage” at about $250/oz and then selling it for $20/gram (e.g., $560/oz) and then slowly lowering the price they’d pay for overage.  This is classic “behavior of organizatons in which the big guys inevitalbly swallow up the little guys.I’ve given much thought to this.  At this juncture I believe we should have a system of no “taxes, regulation or control” whereby each adult could have between 2-4 1000 Watt lamps, or the same outdoor space, without any government interference.  As with Jack’s initiative this would only be for bloom plants: you could have as many clones, veg and mothers as you wish so long as they are not on a 12 hour cycle (e.g., bloom cycle).  There would also be no restrictions on “seeded” (e.g., polinated plants) Cannabis as this may well serve to sustain us during the coming Global Economic System Collapse.

    My intent here is to preseve what may be millions of jobs for Cannabis Farmers.  Seeded crops would not be under such restrictions.  Frankly this “informal” system has worked with nearly unimaginable efficiency since the 60’s without any commercial advertizing etc.

    In the long run it is impossible to predict how this would effect the market (e.g., will Marijuana costs plummet to the point it would not be profitable to waste time growing).  But one thing this (let us call it MERP 2.0) this model would do is insure that Big Pharma NEVER gets its grubby little hands on a plant that must remain in the “commons.”

  7. There are only TWO THINGS which need to be done in order achieve real-world, long-term resolution to the problems created by prohibition:

    1)  DE-schedule cannabis.
    2)  REPEAL all prohibitionary statutes.

    Note:  If you were to listen to those who want to “RE-schedule” cannabis, there is already talk that this would lead to a COMPLETE BAN FOR EVERYONE “while safety studies were undertaken.”  This could range from estimates of 4-8 years, all the way up to the long-established “We’re still not sure it’s safe…just another ten years…maybe…we’re doing another monkey study…then a turtle study…then a panda study…then a…”

    The Fallacy of the “Legalize & Tax Cannabis” Initiatives

  8. Actually, Bruce, I have no problem with the “dispensary model” as a whole, since it is really just another extention of the “specialty store” concept.  If you can go into a china shop (assuming you’re not a bull), stationery store, pizza place, sub shop, supermarket, auto parts dealer, etc., then why shouldn’t you be able to go into a cannabis shop?

    I also have no trouble with honest, effective, or beneficial regulations to assure quality, purity and safety of the items sold to the public.

    That having been said, regulations should be by the same existing body that regulates food quality.  Food should not be classifed or regulated in the same way, nor by the same agency(ies) as they are today.  There should be no such thing as “food and drug” agencies…”food” is not “drugs.”  (Well, let’s completely sidestep all of the bullshit that Monsanto is pulling…THEY actually DO need a completely separate regulatory body, if not a separate prison where they are force-fed the garbage they tell us is safe to eat!)

    If a normal agricultural plan for assuring quality, purity and safety standards were developed, there would be no need for any new government jobs to be created (which are FAR more expensive than “real world economy” jobs), no “new agencies”, no “new regulatory bodies”, and there would be an assurance of safe supply for medicinal and even the dreaded “recreational smoker.”

    My idea is simple:  Withhold the normal sales taxes collected in EVERY business, on “recreational” cannabis sales, at the local level.  NO TAXES AT ALL for medicinal use.  First, use the collected sales taxes locally, right in the dispensary itself, to provide FREE cannabis for medicinal users.  This helps the most vulnerable in society, who normally have lower incomes, to get what they need to either bring them back to health, or simply make their quality of life a little better…after all, isn’t the combination of reduced income levels and illness bad enough already?

    Once our local medicinal citizens have been assisted by the “casual toker taxes” who also reside in the local community, THEN any remaining sales taxes could be devoted to scientific and medical research, developing better, faster and more accurate ways to assure quality product, growing education to further raise the input quality.

    Whatever we do, we can no longer allow “unapportioned taxation”, as giving the government money “to do with whatever it bloody well pleases” is how this world has gotten into the position it’s in today…and needs to be stopped.

    No new taxes.  No cannabis-specific taxes.  No more perversion of reality to suit the greed of corporations, profiteers and governments who are not looking out for the people, the country, the environment or the world any more, despite their protestations to the contrary.

    “I don’t want to fucking give this United States government one fucking dollar of taxes…”
    — Jack Herer, “The Emperor of Hemp”, September 12th, 2009
    (Portland Hempstalk Festival–his final speech.)

  9. There is also the problem of the activists who SAY they want to see things change, but who flatly and deiberately refuse to use the proper terminology when discussing it.

    They REFUSE to say “REPEAL prohibition”, instead choosing one of the “popular options” that have been putr forth by the rich and the politicians who intend to continue prohibition, just in a slightly more relaxed form, with a different name, so that they can SAY that they gave the people what they have begged for since before I was born, while maintaining their prison profits, poice budgets, etc., and adding new and different cannabis-specific taxes to penalize us all for simply acknowledging the truth for what it is.

    They like to use terms like “decriminalization”, thinking that means it’s over.  It ain’t.

    They say “legalize” and “relegalize” as though they mean that it’s over.  It won’t be.  This merely signifies to the politicians that in order for a bad thing to continue, it only requires that we write more words and make things more complex, more expensive, create more agencies, hire more people…and  the reality is that if we want to see it “legal”, the ONLY way that is ever going to be accomplished is by the ELIMINATION of the statutes which created prohibition itself.

    Then there’s the “tax and regulate” crowd, and the rising-in-public-popularity “regulate like [insert overtaxed example commodity here]” sects.  Doesn’t mean it’s “legal”…it only means that there is a creation of new agencies, paperwork, taxes, regulations, et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum.

    Do you REALLY want to see this moronicism over and done with?  Start with looking up the word “REPEAL” in the dictionary.  Don’t have one?  http://Dictionary.com is right in front of you this very second!

    Now, I have absolutely nothing against someone earning a living in “the cannabis industry” as a whole, because that’s why anybody does anything.  You’ve got to eat, you’ve got to pay the phone bill…it never (*@#ing ends…so why are so many people BEGGING OUR EMPLOYEES to take even more from us?

    Finally, there is the perverse notion in the minds of far too many indoctrinated minds that in order to get back our rights from the governments who have usurped them without our consent or approval, we need to create these new government jobs, agencies, taxes and more, in order to “appese them for their losses.”  Fact is, the ONLY thing that the government would lose is the lies they tell us to justify the 20 BILLION dollars of YOUR MONEY they use against you annually.

    Since when do we “owe the government compensation for not pissing our money away for no good reason?”

    In Canada, we’d save $2,000,000,000.00 annually by doing nothing more than repealing cannabis prohibition.  In the states, the savings would be $2,000,000,000.00.  TWENTY-TWO BILLION SAVED in North America alone, by simply not WASTING money.  Now how, exactly, do we “owe the government” for simply stopping something we all know doesn’t work, and causes far more problems that any and all of their lies tell us it is supposed to fix?

    Problem.  Reaction.  Solution.

    First, they create the problem.  At the same time, they design the solution, and plan how to get a wilfully ignorant public to beg them for the solution they designed to “fix” their pre-designed problem.  When the public eventually sees the problem, we start raising a stink about it, demanding it be fixed.  This is when “our saviours in government” suddenly come up with a 1000-page plan, miraculously, overnight, that adresses all of the concerns of the people…and makes things infinitely worse for us all.

    Stop buying the bullshit, people…understand that this is THEIR game, that THEY designed, and believe me when I tell you, the game is rigged tighter than any casino on the planet!

    What is “Overgrow The World” about?

    The Fallacy of the “Legalize & Tax Cannabis” Initiatives


  10. and the weed blog and 4 who liked this cowards comments can rest with the knowledge that they are sheep and ignorant to the truth

    they need false hero’s instead of having guts

    history and the truth shall eventually come out….probably with my book so chock full of emery peccadilloes it will  show all his fans as idiots

    you disgust me with your blind ignorance 

  11. And you obviously use glue

    Prove anything he has done politically here in canada?

    But then I actually know as I was there and use my real name and  not hide cowardly like you

    Its pretty easy to use google even if you are stupid….have a go at it

    Another probable pimp of pot thinking by gouging us to pay for his drugs ….he is an activist hahhahha

    smokin pot is not activism

  12. Actually this link is now at facebook posted by some one

    I responded there with this

    I have spent over… well over …min… $50 to 70 thousand hard earned dollars of my money
    Through 4 political parties …5 federal election fights ….3 provincial elections…. ndp president… bc green leader …convention resolution fights ..so many battles I lose count
    emery stood for….?? only emery 
    and as mayor mostly
    or any party he could own too

    so far in 21 years I have received just over a few hundred dollars from anyone combined
    kelly christie and mark heinrick and a crippled man ….100  dollars each

    and none ever from emery or any comecashin-at club owners

    emery took up to $800,000 a year.. he says.. as he gouged and I am the scourge and him the hero

    I am comforted in and by the truth but some days …I sure do agree..Pot Heads are stupid

    Cheers all 

  13. Yet the For-Profit Big $$ Dispensary Lobby that has hijacked the Marijuana movement in many States does want Government REGULATIONS, RESTRICTIONS and CONTROL written in their favor so they can force consumers to only be allowed to purchase from their Retail Model.

    The Interests — political, financial, legal, etc — of Patients and Private Individual Caregivers are IN DIRECT CONFLICT with those of the Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Cartels.


  14. In Alberta we enjoy the support of some of the local hemp type stores in
    Calgary and some non related businesses also support our communities efforts.
    The businesses with the tell tell cannabis leaf or obvious business name are our
    heavy artillery on the front lines in the drug war. These stores are there 24/7,
    even during closed hours they still send a strong message. Our communities do
    need to pressure the related businesses to step up and strongly support. The
    community needs to actively inform others which business to support and which
    business to let know why the community won’t support them.

  15. Looking at “public records for campaign contributions” does not tell the whole story. People that earn their living in the underground market are reluctant to contribute “publicly”. There are other ways that they can (and some do quite a bit) filter money into the public good. That said, anyone that earns a living in “the industry” to some extent or another has a vested interest in continued prohibition. “Tolerance” without legalization serves the interests of most growers and dealers. Cannabis is a wonderful and very useful plant but the profits generated under the current system are blown way out of proportion. When legalization comes millions of people will need to find “real” jobs. Legalization may in fact become the catalyst for a major economic reorganization and there will be both winners and losers. Thank you for opening up this discussion.

  16. “Can you imagine if every successful headshop, grow store, dispensary,
    online outlet, and other cannabis business donated their fair share to
    cannabis reform?”

    Can you imagine very many of those businesses remaining in operation if cannabis were priced at the $0.10  to $1 per gram (or $2 to $5 per ounce if bought in that quantity)  that it’s actually worth?

  17. re legalize? 3 main stream political parties, your so full of BS. Emery has done more activism from a US prison than you will ever accomplish!!!

  18. like emery with me

    I gave his store thousands and thousands and have now brought re legalize cannabis policy in to three main stream political partys and yet never ever received a cent from that phony flake

  19. johnnygreen

    Thanks for the kind words, hopefully we are here for another 4/20!!!!  May your bong bowl be full today my friend :)

  20. eating_sunshine on

    Happy 4/20 TWB!  You guys have the best weed site on the internet. IMHO
     Love and peace  

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