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!