Long time civil rights activist and former political prisoner Dana Beal speaks! His analysis of the current epidemic is below along with source links. This was forwarded to me to share by his publicist. Please share and get educated!
Almost everyone has a nickname. My first name is Elizabeth, so depending on how you know me I am Liz or Beth. I had wanted to incorporate my real name into my wrestling persona, and that’s how a brainstorming session with an old friend led to me being called “Liz Savage”, who is my “Manager of Champions” alter ego. But if you know how to use Google, I am sure you can figure out my real name and a lot more about me. As someone involved in activism, especially being a mainly independent journalist in those situations, I knew a search of my face could come up with plenty of data, so I was never too worried about hiding who I was.
I got involved in cannabis activism around 18 and started writing a few times a year to our congresspeople, both local and federal. I wrote a couple of letters to the editor of the local paper on cannabis, and was published once when I asked, “Why do people do less time in jail for molesting children then selling cannabis?” I never got a response. I grew up in a state that the helicopters we saw were usually looking for grow ops, not “pursuing suspects”. Most of the people I knew in legalization work, or who were in the very illegal industry on the east coast, went by their real names, except those shady street corner dealers you had to wave over and take for a ride to get your herbs.
Now fast forward, I moved to California 7 years ago and got active right away. I qualified for a Medical Cannabis Recommendation from the doctor and got one within a couple of weeks of moving here. In a year of moving here, I began to help promote CCHI (The Jack Herer Initiative) after meeting folks working on the campaign in late 2011. I began producing a weekly live cannabis show in 2013, that ran through 2014 until our venue closed, and since then worked as a cannabis writer, reviewer, and radio show host. To say I have met a lot of people “In the industry” is an understatement.
I recently noticed a trend, that seems to be extremely common amongst the green rush types, who just got into the industry in the past few years, of using fake names (personally) to do business. And this isn’t in reference to the folks who do it as entertainment gimmicks, it’s in reference to those who believe they need to package themselves. In pro wrestling, making up a name is pretty common, as its part of the show. In the cannabis industry, it makes me a little concerned as more often than not these are the folks who pushed for this new criminalization packaged as “legalization” but instead was just a regulatory and enforcement bill. These folks pushed so hard for this misleading nonsense, and they don’t even go by their real names. Isn’t that a little concerning to you? If it’s so “legal” what do they have to be afraid of?
I had to get this off my chest, as far too many newcomers to the industry are re-naming and re-packaging themselves, and you really need to question why that is. Is this what these “business consultants” are telling people to do? Is this only a problem here in Los Angeles, or are other cities with “legalization” or medical facing this same influx? What is the legality of using a fake name to do business, if your business is supposedly legitimate? Too many questions. But hey, it will be fun to find answers.
And remember folks, cannabis isn’t legal until no one can go to prison for a plant!
This was my first time attending the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo, but I am not unfamiliar with the event as I co-interviewed the owner on the podcast we had last year called “Fired Up” on DFZ Radio.
I knew going in, the focus of this conference is business, not cannabis. What really astonished me is how these “businessmen” act as if they actually hate the industry they are so desperately attempting to profit off of. More often or not, THC was referred to as “drugs” by some of the vendors who were very willing to yell things at me such as “I DON’T SMOKE POT” and “We don’t support drug use”. Yet these people are very interested in investing in these multilevel marketing schemes with these “CBD Products”.
If you know me, you know I love CBD. I usually have a stash of high CBD strains, and to be honest I have a pipe full of Cannatonic right now. What irks me about many of the companies I attempted to ask questions of, was the lack of knowledge of what exactly the product is that they are selling, where it came from, how it was extracted, etc. I also noticed quite a few of these “CBD Products” have other additives that aren’t exactly “non-active ingredients, but the sellers were not giving that information up front. These items that have melatonin or kratom, for instance, will make you feel effects from those additives. I thought it was interesting that so few of these product spokespeople wanted to give up any information about their CBD products, other than some flashy, yet uninformative promotional materials, and seemed to despise real cannabis products. I did learn THC is a bad word at this Expo. I also learned respectability politics were more important than actually working in, and having extensive knowledge of the cannabis industry.
I wore three very different outfits, the first day I wore a nice top, with space leggings, and my chucks. I got treated like the plague by the suits. The only people who would talk to me were the ones who either knew me or recognized that I was 420 friendly promoter. The second day I wore a hemp business outfit, and all the suits were friendly and seemed interested in interacting with me and having real conversations. Thursday was one of the best days for information. Yesterdays outfit was my third and final test, I wore nice hemp pants, chucks, and a nice top that showed a bit of cleavage. Dudes spent more time looking at my boobs than trying to sell me products. But they were also more interested in demoing thier products for me.
I wasn’t shocked to learn many of those at this event had been involved for less than a year. Many did not comprehend that the whole cannabis industry is in jeopardy with Jeff Sessions wanting to crack down on legal and medical states. Many people seemed to just know “talking points” but nothing more, and frankly, it got me very angry to hear all day, “CBD is legal in all 50 states”. I guess these business expo people need to give their talking points to the DEA, because they do not agree, and have made an addendum to last Decembers release about CBD also being a Schedule 1 controlled substance.
But hey, it’s all semantics, right? I mean who cares if your CBD comes from Chinese industrial hemp, and is extracted via chemical processing via dangerous chemicals. Who cares if you sign your life away on a multi-level marketing scheme. Who cares if you end up in prison for shipping a controlled substance across state lines… Some people with no background in the cannabis industry, or law for that matter, told you its “legal in all 50 states” so it must be true…
Another thing that really irks me is these groups who thought it made them look radical or something to protest Roger Stone, yet they were perfectly content with poverty pimp Al Sharpton speaking. Personally I don’t think half the speakers at the expo should have been speaking, because they don’t seem to care that they are misleading people, especially during a time where our state laws aren’t even out of the draft stages, yet the CA Legislation has already passed a bill to combine medical use, with adult use. But hey, who cares about details right?
Whats also amusing is Roger Stone did speak at a nearby venue, shout out to them for keeping it classy and letting both sides have space, even if they don’t agree politically! The groups that got him removed from CWCBE had the opportunity to come in and confront and question him in this space but did not. In fact, the loudest of the opponents, have proven to be the most cowardly. To be clear, I don’t give a fuck about Roger Stone and think the people he’s uplifted in the past suck too, but if I cared that much about someone not speaking, I would show up and speak out. I wonder how many of those folks realize that he started a cannabis lobby before many of them even entered the industry? Or even know what a lobbying group does?
These groups are movements for people of color in cannabis, yet the people leading these groups, rarely seem to work in, or have a working knowledge of the 20-year cannabis industry. Many of them formed to support Prop 64, and posted blatant lies about what the bill would do if it became law, (like protecting medical cannabis patients, that’s out the window). These folks insist these laws will help POC communities get involved in the cannabis industry, but if you look at states with similar legalization like Colorado, the facts show it actually increased the number of arrests in black and brown communities. But hey who cares about that right?
Most people who voted yes on 64, had no idea that cannabis was already decriminalized in California, and all this bill did was add taxation, and regulation that would create more reasons to arrest cannabis users and growers, and the taxes would supply the law enforcement community with an even bigger budget to crack down on cannabis. Someone, please explain to me how creating more ways to get arrested, made cannabis legal?
My advice to those looking to get involved in the industry is to be realistic. It’s still federally illegal. Even CBD. There are a ton of slimy people attempting to capitalize right now, much like in the early days of prop 215. Many of these business consultants know a lot about business, but nothing about cannabis. I am watching companies sign contracts with investors and distributors when they have no idea if they will actually get a license to operate. Even many who have been in the industry are confused, or extremely concerned about the lack of information when these new laws will go into effect in about 100 days. How many businesses are going to be left in the dust? How many companies will fall after being denied licensing, but still are responsible for these contracts they signed? How many of our friends and loved ones will end up in jail over a plant?
There is an old saying that applies to this situation: “Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched”.
Abolish The 13th!! — Prison Reform Movement’s Weblog- America: Land of the Free, Home of the Incarcerated
Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March on Washington August 19, 2017 to end legalized prison slavery and mass incarceration!! The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place […]
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I’ve always been a huge fan of technology. I’ve been fortunate enough to have semi regular access (regular now) to the internet since 1996. I remember the days when yahoo messenger, and aol gave us our first video chats, with friends, family, and those we never met.
Years ago I hosted an internet show on a site called Stickam, which I could pull other users video feeds in and have a live talk show with guests. It was mildly popular, and included a few guests of infamy, and was hosted live from… my bedroom.
At the time, I also had started a livestream account, but the platform was choppy, ustream coaxed me in and asked me to try their service. Also too choppy during those days in 2008. I kept my account around though.
When Occupy started, I was one of the few people at the Los Angeles camp who had experience with streaming. I helped find guests, (who sadly were not always allowed in the media tent, but that’s another story) and tried to help find relevant content for offline media, but during camp days, until the final weeks we were not offline much.
I had suggested instead of the bizarre ideas the media team had about buy thousands of dollars worth of equipment, we get some decent phones, some battery packs, and hook up streamers, instead of our laptop on a car with converters, and truck batteries. I was shut down.
Then the Skyborg appeared, and other streamers from Oakland, and San Francisco, and people realized, laptops were stupid, and dangerous if you had to run, phones and battery packs work.
I started using my own phone to stream for OLA in April of 2012. Prior to that I spent the prior 7 months mixing our official channel, rebroadcasting streams from across the world, as well as General Assemblies, and other meetings and actions.
I already knew before I even posted my first “I’m going Live” update, that the cops were going to be watching.
I’ve always tried to take that into account, but because of the transparency of Occupy, many times I ended up feeling uncomfortable about what I had streamed, fearful people could be targeted because of my footage. I watched comrades arrested again and again, and by summer of 2012, realized as soon as I left an action, the cops moved in, to either terrorize or harass people at the action.
I had one of my stream supporters listening to scanners hear my voice over the scanner, and I then told the pigs we are watching the watchers. Support heard me say it over the scanner as the channel was open and they were mid convo, which ended with OH SHIT, and no more scanner.
I’ve gone to stream events at consulates, where I normally have full service, to not be able to get online to stream, not from any phone, on any service or portable wifi. We know LAPD has stingrays, and are using them to steal our incoming data, so since they redirect our cell phone, its hard to get data out.
All this, I have seen and experienced, and it took a toll. The amount of state violence I have not only witnessed, but have been personally affected by, even if it is “only PTSD” from a past attack, and minor injuries now.
This is why I was hesitant to stream the LA marches around the Mike Brown shooting. This is why I have tweeted, but not streamed. I don’t want any of the people who end up on my footage to be criminalized because of it.
I don’t want what happened to this kid in Baltimore to happen to ANYONE because of my footage, let alone get paid for that type of thing. Yes, I used to take donations, but I also didn’t work, I streamed full time, and my combined donations from 2.5 years, didn’t even cover one years phone bill. It was just about keeping people connected to what was happening.
But is that connection for others on the outside worth the potential of jail for someone else? No.
I am going to refrain from streaming uprisings, maybe I’ll cover meetings, happy shit, ya know the stuff that no one watches… 🙂 But from here on out, all my riot porn goes to the ACLU Mobile Justice CA App.
And maybe some pics to twitter when I feel like it. Follow me there @lizsavage