Apr 262022
 

The Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association (MCMA), the “Big Weed” monopoly gang that is working to crush the medical marijuana industry in our state, has announced their new big lobbyist who will be working to realize their industry takeover.

After Steve “Dr. Evil” Linder was kicked to the curb (even though he is being kept in a nominal position in order escape public disgrace and humiliation), he has been replaced with Mark Fisk, a journalist turned political operative and communications expert. His firm, Byrum & Fisk, has handled communications for the MCMA for quite some time. Fisk will be taking an expanded role in the MCMA day-to-day operations after Linder failed. Essentially, Linder will be sat in the corner and emasculated in shame while Fisk really runs the show.

As I have frequently noted, Linder was the dark money pimp tugging at the strings of the corrupt Republican Party establishment for many years. Linder was wheeling and dealing with the likes of incest-accused scoundrel Lee “Coke and Hookers” Chatfield, helping Chatfield and his GOP partners make it rain nightly at various gentleman’s clubs on the 8 Mile strip. Fisk represents the other side of the political sewer in Lansing, serving at the pleasure of various Democrats.

Fisk was communication director for U.S. Senator Gary Peters when he served in the state senate during the early 2000s. He also served as press secretary for former Congressman David Bonior and was the political director for the majority caucus when the Democrats ran the state house after the 2006 midterm elections. He is renowned for his connections and his pull within state Democrat politics. He served as a spokesman for Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer as recently as last year. He will no doubt be leveraging his deep connections in his attempt to crush the caregivers.

>You see, the MCMA thought that Linder and his avalanche of dark money could grease the wheels and get the legislation destroying the caregiver through while we were all sleeping. This did not work. We rose up. We brought the pain to lawmakers who were dancing with the devil known as Linder, and scared them off from supporting the gangster monopoly legislation. Now, they are trying a softer and gentler approach. They are going to work Democrat lawmakers and try to pull the wool over their eyes. There will be a new song and dance from this Fisk character, but we will not fall for it.

“We look forward to continuing our work with Stephen and the MCMA over the coming months to help ensure all Michigan patients and adult-use customers have access to safe, tested and high-quality cannabis products,” Fisk said in the MCMA press release announcing his hire. “Working together, we will continue to advocate in a bipartisan way for consumer and product safety and entrepreneurship in Michigan’s burgeoning regulated cannabis industry.”

Fisk is attempting to leverage his former work as a communications consultant for Proposal 1 in 2008, which was approved in an overwhelming margin by the voters to enact the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act and create the compassionate caregiver system, to dupe the public. Fisk may have done the right thing then, but then he sold his soul and went over to the dark side. He has been working with the MCMA for many months as they have worked to destroy everything that is good about the medical marijuana industry, pushing dishonest messaging in an attempt to enact a large-scale power grab. Fisk is a bad actor and cannot be trusted.

Do not trust any of the public relations spin doctoring that will come out of the MCMA in the days and weeks to come. Do not accept any half measures. If there are Democrats connected to Fisk who suddenly start spewing the MCMA talking points, they must receive an immense amount of pressure in order to make it clear to them that they have no alternative but to stand strong on behalf of the medical marijuana industry and the caregivers. Fisk will no doubt be working his Democrat connections to rally support on behalf of Big Weed bills HB5300-02, and we must stop his deceptions and his tricks before they take root.

Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum (Republican, Democrat or anything between), Fisk is not a man worthy of respect or admiration. He is the mirror image of Linder, even though he hides his dastardly deeds under a smoother veneer. Fisk led the infamous Committee to Keep Pot out of Neighborhoods and Schools, an anti-legalization campaign that spread propaganda to the public in order to keep prohibition intact back in 2018. He called for Republicans to legalize marijuana as a ploy to keep the question off the ballot, which would have allowed the legislature to come back and rescind their measure at a later date. Fisk pushed this sneaky plot, which was ultimately rejected by Republicans, as a pretense to deny the people their voice in order to satisfy his lobbyist backers.

Fisk is especially dangerous because of his continued involvement with Governor Gretchen Whitmer. He has not only served as her spokesman, but also as a front man of her affiliated dark money groups. Fisk served as spokesman for the Progressive Advocacy Trust, which spent $2 million to help Whitmer get into the governor’s office. Another dark money group, Build a Better Michigan, was cited for major campaign finance violations back in 2018. It has since been rebranded and reformatted as “Road to Michigan’s Future” for the upcoming election cycle, and Fisk is once again involved in these efforts. It should therefore be assumed that Fisk will be using his influence with Whitmer to harm the rights of caregivers.

We cannot take our success and momentum for granted. Yes, we got Steve Linder removed after exposing him, sullying his reputation, and now his balls have been cut off and he has to get coffee for his replacement after losing so hard. But the monopolists will never stop. That is why the Michigan Caregivers Association is establishing a permanent presence in Lansing, and we will be expanding greatly next year. We know nothing short of eternal vigilance will preserve our rights. Fisk will be working the Democrat angle in a similar manner as Linder worked the Republican angle. But these lobbyists, once exposed, cannot stop the people once we are activated. We will fight, we will succeed, and we will go on the offense against this attempted siege of our sacred freedoms.

Sincerely,
Your Friend
George Brikho

Apr 212022
 


Friends,

I have some great news that should give hope to every activist in the state who cares about freedom, liberty, democracy and accountability in government.

The Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association (MCMA), the “Big Weed” lobbying firm that is working to destroy the medical marijuana caregivers system in order to seize a monopoly, has fired Steve Linder, the dark money kingpin who had been working behind the scenes to coerce lawmakers into passing HB 5300-02.

The Michigan Caregivers Association (MCA), a group which I founded to protect the rights of the caregivers, put Linder at the forefront of the policy debate – considered a controversial move at the time. We plastered his greasy mug all over ads, billboards, and made him the focus of the debate, comparing him to Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers flicks. Our heavy-handed tactics changed the debate from being centered around Linder’s phony talking points on “patient safety” to the Big Weed takeover that was actually taking place. We made a lot of noise, and it paid off.

Rats like Linder do not like when the light is shined directly upon them. They prefer to work in the shadows and make their dirty dealings without scrutiny. It’s called “dark money” for a reason. These lowlifes want their money and influence hidden from the public. We took the battle to the public. Linder cracked under the pressure. He made a fool of himself repeatedly. Lawmakers no longer wanted to be associated with him. His legacy is permanently tarnished as a result of our due diligence. The age of gangsters like Linder controlling the legislature are coming to an end.

The Michigan Caregivers Association claims the proverbial scalp of Linder. This is just the beginning. This is not an aberration. We are growing rapidly and building the infrastructure to expose the bad guys like never before. We put all other Linder wannabes on notice: You will be next. You will be pissed out of Lansing in disgrace just like Linder. You will be exposed, you will be righteously vilified, the public will view you as the pariah that you are, and then your Big Money backers will toss you out unceremoniously like a used condom from a strip club backroom session with Matt Hall, Lee Chatfield and taxpayer-funded escorts. 

We know that the MCMA and the wannabe cannabis monopolists are not throwing in the towel just because Linder is history. They will continue to agitate against small home growers, medicine providers, cancer patients, small business owners, and others who stand in the way of swelling their bottom line. MCMA board chair Shelly Edgerton is expected to take a more substantial role in the organization after Linder’s ouster. Edgerton, while certainly a less odious and grotesque figure than Linder, has the same establishment Republican and Lansing bureaucratic ties as Linder and is pushing for the same agenda. She wants to crush the little guy and pave the way for a monopoly. She will be thwarted as well.

It has been proven that the current testing regime is a joke and potentially-contaminated weed will always make its way on the shelves when the big players want to make profits. State regulators have focused on restricting caregiver product, and this has caused tremendous damage to the cannabis industry in Michigan already. Now, tons of inferior product are being flooded onto the streets, including contaminated flower, and the industry is in shambles. If this continues, the compassionate caregiver system that produces life-saving medicine for thousands of patients across the state will be crushed forever. This is economic terrorism by the corporate machine. It will not be tolerated. 

The Michigan Caregivers Association will enjoy this victory and this momentum we have built, but we will not take our success for granted. We know this is a never-ending fight to sustain our freedoms. If we take our eyes off the ball, that will allow the MCMA and their new henchwoman, Edgerton, to come closer to achieving their marijuana monopoly. Cannabis cannot become corporatized and corrupt like every other industry. This is the final frontier where the little guy can thrive in a free and fair market based on their ability to grow the best product. We demand a broad and shared prosperity. Nothing else is acceptable.

Be on the lookout for legislation that is in the works in Lansing that will prevent municipalities from adopting ready-made ordinances created by the MCMA and their cronies to destroy the caregivers at the local level, now that their monopoly bills have stalled in Lansing. We are going on the offense and beginning to roll out our Caregivers’ Bill of Rights that will give additional opportunities for superior caregiver product to be enjoyed by Michigan residents. Cannabis is now an unstoppable powerhouse, the nation’s #1 cash crop, and the individuals who put their lives on the line to create this essential industry ought to reap the full rewards of their blood, sweat and tears.

Keep fighting!

Your friend,

George Brikho

Please consider donating to the cause here.

Nov 172021
 

Friends,

I need to expose a lowlife who has victimized the people of Michigan and been particularly cruel and unfair to members of the Chaldean community. I am talking about the shameless booze jockey and greed mogul, Tom Celani.

For those who are unfamiliar with Celani’s machinations, this is a man who proudly traffics in vice and sin. He is the type of man who will happily sell hooch for alcoholics to go home and beat their wives and neglect their families. He will gleefully fleece the pockets of the ignorant and the destitute as they hand over their life savings at casinos where he exploits Native Americans in order to accumulate his nefarious millions.

Celani once served as chair for the Michigan Responsibility Council to oppose the legalization and mainstreaming of the cannabis plant. It was not because Celani, who revels in depravity and has earned the nickname ‘King of Sodom,’ wanted to protect the community or the children. Nothing could be further from the truth. What Celani was worried about was protecting his profits, seeing cannabis as a competitor to his poisonous alcohol.

It should go without saying the difference between alcohol and cannabis is massive. Cannabis is legitimate medicine, a miracle drug that can successfully cure or treat many illnesses and alleviate symptoms for extreme pain in all cases. This is why the cannabis community defeated the most powerful interests on the planet. This is why we defeated the federal government, the corporate machine, systemic racism, some of the most powerful lobbies in the world, and a multi-trillion dollar propaganda campaign. We defeated the bad guys, we defeated Tom Celani, we defeated prohibition.

Celani grew up in the cutthroat beer wholesaling industry before reinventing his image as an upscale wine merchant. He learned the ins and outs from his father, who gifted him with his business, to ruthlessly snuff out competition by any means necessary.  This is why Celani is now coming to swallow up the entire cannabis industry that he fought to destroy for decades and to shamelessly take money out of the pockets of the small entrepreneurs who put up the initial capital and took the risk in order to thrive. Celani, whose sons run High Life Farms, a monopoly cannabis firm at war with caregivers, is a major proponent of the HB5300-02 bills that will create a “Big Weed” monopoly, squeezing every dime out of the medical patients, turning caregivers into criminals, and making marijuana a monopoly similar to his Beer and Wine Wholesalers monopoly.

Celani has reveled in putting his thumb over Chaldean business owners trying to make a buck. He laughs from his $12 million dollar mansion as he puts Chaldeans out of business and leaves our families broken and destitute. I am not sure if it is a racial superiority thing with Celani, but from all who know the man personally, they will tell you there is hate in this man’s heart. Hate for his fellow man. Hate for others who are doing well. Hate for anyone who wants to make something of themselves. The way Celani sees it, he owns the plantation, and Chaldeans may toil for a pittance while he lords over us and allows us our ability to earn.

We had to pay tribute to the likes of Celani and his Beer and Wine monopoly in order to stay in business owning our stores, our gas stations, our grocery businesses in order put food on our family’s plate for years. Celani was happy to exploit Chaldeans as we came over from Iraq, many of us with little resources. He used his power to squeeze us, forcing us to work those 20-hour days, while looking down on us in contempt. He sees us as less than human, as human chattel he and his minions can toy with to his heart’s content. We will allow him to pull the same scam in the medical marijuana industry.

We came from America to escape indignities. We came from America to enjoy our freedom and to thrive. We have done so, despite the best efforts of connivers like Celani who wish to hold us down. We will kowtow to the likes of Celani no longer. Thousands of Chaldean families are THRIVING because of the medical marijuana industry and the caregivers system, which works so well for the patients. We are organized, we are formidable, we will not be exploited any longer. It is time to give Celani a much-needed reality check that we will not be his doormats and we will not settle for his scraps. I call on all Chaldeans to unite against Celani’s anti-American monopoly tactics that will hurt our community for his own ruthless profit-seeking avarice.

Oct 202021
 

Friends,

I have embarked upon a journey in recent months, through my organization, the Michigan Caregivers Association, fighting corruption in Lansing.

Sadly, there are members of both major political parties that are engaging in this illicit and unlawful process. Certain Republicans and Democrats are in on it and taking money from the bad guys to sell out the industry.

This is why House Bills 5300, 5301 and 5302 are moving at a lightning pace through the process. These monopoly bills have bipartisan support, with Democrats and Republicans down on their knees for reviled lobbyist Steven “Dr. Evil” Linder, the Chamber of Commerce, and other villains out to steal the marijuana industry from the caregivers, medical patients, small businesses, and other entities that have built it into an economic powerhouse.

This is a takeover by the interests that have opposed marijuana for decades. They fought for prohibition until they saw dollar signs after the marijuana industry started to take off. A great example of this phenomenon is former Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, a Republican who opposed marijuana until he realized he could enrich himself through the industry. Then he whored himself out to the highest bidder while probably breaking the law while doing so.

Meekhof appointed Rick Johnson as chairman of the Michigan medical marijuana licensing board. As part of what appears to be an evident quid pro quo, Johnson gave three licenses to medical marijuana concerns that had bought off Meekhof. He admitted in emails that were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that he was in communication with Johnson during the licensure process that ultimately favored Meekhof’s clients.

This seems to be in apparent violation of a 2016 law barring representatives of medical marijuana applicants from lobbying licensing board members. Meekhof’s clients, Chesaning Elite, Lapeer Infused and Power Play Sports 2, benefited from paying off Meekhof and his lobbying associates. Their licenses went from being denied to being approved. This is part of the same money-driven agenda of unfairness that is driving support for HB5301, HB5302 and HB5303.

A Detroit News article noted that Meekhof aligned “with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce on 93% of its top issues in 2017 and 2018.” It should come as no surprise that the Chamber, a crony-capitalist institution that lobbies for corporate dominance, was at most recent committee hearing lobbying for the Linder monopoly bills. It is such an incestuous network and they all work together in concert to preserve the corrupt system because they know it benefits them at our expense at the end of the day.

Keep in mind that this is not anything new. These revelations did not come out yesterday. This has been open knowledge for years. It has been widely reported since 2019 that one of the most prominent Republican leaders was involved in an apparent pay-to-play scheme to abuse the rules, in a possibly illegal but certainly immoral act, in order to create a marijuana monopoly. There has been no accountability from the attorney general on this issue as well.

It appears that the powers that be are looking the other way, even though these are Republicans acting in an obvious conflict of interest, in a blatantly corrupt manner, and not even attempting to hide it. Everyone is seemingly lined up at the same trough for the corporate special interests that want to dominate the marijuana industry. This whole incestuous system is incredibly immoral and disgusting, but that is only a reason to fight harder.

There are certainly a handful of Republicans and Democrats who stand for the caregivers against corruption, and God bless them. But there are far too few. This is why the Michigan Caregivers Association does not lobby our lawmakers based on their consciences or their good faith. It usually does not exist. We instead prefer to lobby the people, inform them on what their lawmakers are doing, and then force the legislators to deal with the fallout if they refuse to do what is right.

The Michigan Caregivers Association has set up a web portal making it very easy to oppose monopoly bills HB5301, HB5302 and HB5303 in Lansing. That portal can be accessed at mi-caregivers.com. For additional information, visit our main website where you can make donations to this noble cause and check out our Facebook page where there are daily updates about the fight to prevent a corporate monopoly and stop the Uniparty system from strangling our freedoms and suffocating our livelihoods.

Sincerely,

Your Friend,

George Brikho

Oct 182021
 
The update about the HB5300-02 (“Big Weed” Corporate Monopoly Bills) is that the bad guys are attempting to buy off patients to accept the special interest takeover.
Our sources have told us that lawmakers are going to create a special fund that can be used by certain patients in order to get rebates or stipends for their medicine within the new corporate monopoly marijuana distribution system proposed in Lansing.
Really, this is just another subsidy for the corporations and special interests who want to dominate the industry. All of the money in the special fund will eventually make its way into the pockets of the corporations and special interests who are monopolizing the industry, as patients are forced to settle for substandard medicine and become completely dependent on these seedy profit-driven interests.
This is not acceptable. We will not allow them to paper us over as they destroy the industry, and patients will not be tricked by this disrespectful pittance.
Although the legislation is not on the committee agenda for Tuesday, the committee reserves the right to address “any business properly before this committee,” which means they may try to slip these bills through without making it public beforehand. This is a violation of the spirit of the law, but this may be what they resort to in order to try and slip this through.
I will be in attendance tomorrow at the House Regulatory Reform Committee to have eyes on these interests to make sure that their sinister dirty tricks do not go unexposed. Then, we will continue the fight regardless of what happens in committee. Rick Thompson of NORML MI is providing intel that they are planning to rubber stamp these bills in committee tomorrow morning.
The lobbyists are no doubt making it rain all over the lawmakers. They hope to demoralize us and to satiate us with their concessions. This is not acceptable, and we will push this fight to the bitter end if we have to do so.
We will make sure this bill dies in committee or on the House floor.
In the mean time, contact your lawmakers and urge them to oppose House Bill 5300, 5301 and 5302. Our petitioning tool makes it very easy for you to do so: mi-caregivers.com.