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”.