olitics make strange bedfellows" is a well known quote by the American essayist and author Charles Dudley Warner. It's a succinct way to say that you will work with someone you find horrific if it means it is politically valuable to do so.
For decades, the cannabis industry was solely in the "unregulated marketplace" where it had no political voice or clout because we were all breaking numerous city, state and federal laws. (Banking mad stacks and having a great time, mind you, except for the incarceration thing.)
Thankfully, that has changed, and the industry now pays enough taxes (so, so many taxes) that it's earned a seat at the political table, and has begun the process of navigating how a bill becomes a law.
For many, this means swallowing hard and joining forces with some people and their reprehensible beliefs. And while I want the people of this country to "join hands and sing in the spirit of harmony and peace," at what cost do we make moral compromises when dealing with right wing conservatives?
Not to paint with too broad a brush, but the majority of people involved in cannabis are progressives. And while there have been some Democrats who haven't done cannabis any real favors (Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.), I'm looking at you), many (Drug) War Crimes have come from the GOP.
Not just impotent crapweasel trolls such as Sessions, but human grease fires of hate such as Ann Coulter, who said in late July, "Marijuana makes people retarded, especially when they're young. We've got enough busboys. We're bringing in busboys by the million through our immigration policy. We do not need a country of bus boys. We're destroying the country."
(Bitch, on so many levels... please.)
- He's looking at you Sessions.
hich brings us to an upcoming event in Los Angeles and Boston: the Cannabis World Congress Business Exposition and the mass exodus of sponsors, speakers and vendors due to their booking of Darth Sidious-like Cyst Roger Stone as a Keynote Speaker.
In case all your "All Stars Of The GOP" trading cards aren't handy, Stone has a long career in politics that began with helping elect Richard Nixon (whose face he has tattooed on his back, and no, I'm not kidding), with morally dubious work that continued up through 2015, with Stone working as Trump's longest-serving campaign advisor.
He also got himself banned—banned—from CNN and MSNBC after a series of tweets that attacked correspondents and other members of the media, which included terms such as "fat negro," "tranny," "disgusting lesbian dwarf," and literally more skin-crawling offerings than we have room in this column to reprint.
Then in 2013, he began work to legalize medical cannabis in Florida, and announced earlier this year that he is forming a coalition to make sure Trump honors his campaign promise to let states decide their own policies for recreational and medical programs.
When it was announced Stone would be speaking, the Minority Cannabis Business Association was the first to announce they would be withdrawing in protest, which moved others to start a Change.org petition, and the pressure began to build to have him dropped.
CWCBE Managing Partner Dan Humiston doubled down on his decision, responding to the withdrawals by saying "I think he is an asset to this movement. He has raised a lot of money. He is pushing Jeff Sessions really hard and he's got Donald Trump's ear."
There's a vast difference between being a conservative Republican who sees the prohibition of cannabis for what it is and wants to make things right, and a racist, misogynistic hatemonger who has spewed division for decades. We should embrace inclusiveness and bi-partisanship—as Oregon Congressman Blumenauer has done with the Cannabis Caucus— but not at the cost of colluding with someone like Stone. Have a strong stomach? Check out "Get Me Roger Stone" on Netflix. There is nothing he does or says in that documentary which with the cannabis industry should wish to be associated.
Cannabis conservatives are always welcome, but fear peddling horror shows like Stone are not. The industry doesn't need anyone's ear that much.