Jul 132022
 

Another week has passed, and there is more good news for the caregivers.

Lume announced earlier this week that they are shuttering four of their storefronts. Lume is one of the largest dispensary networks in the state, and they abruptly announced they would be closing their shops.

Lume made the announcement on Monday through its public relations firm Byrum & Fisk. Remember, it is Mark Fisk who supplanted Steve Linder as the head of the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association. This is the monopoly group at war with the caregivers trying to mandate total control of the state’s cannabis industry through onerous legislation.

Lume is owned by Bob and Don Barnes, who are the owners of Belle Tire. They could be nice well-intentioned guys for all that I know, but their lack of understanding of the cannabis industry has caused them some hardships. They came into the industry looking to make money, looking to maximize profits, and trying to corner the market. At some level, I can respect the hustle, but overambition and lack of understanding of the cannabis community has hurt them.

The storefronts offered by Lume are clean, well-maintained, professional and impressive. The supply, however, is lacking. The prices are often exorbitant. In an industry that is experiencing massive deflation, the model pushed by the Barnes boys is completely nonviable. Why would a consumer who can buy some nugs from his local dealer cheaper than ever waste his time on overpriced nugs that do not compare in quality to what is offered through the black or grey markets? It just doesn’t make sense.

Cannabis consumers were used to buying from their dealer for years as they heroically used civil disobedience to undermine prohibition. They have no problem going back to that model, which has proven to be effective and built the cannabis industry into America’s top cash crop, rather than pay exorbitant costs. The caregiver model replaced the black market in Michigan and was effective because it did not overregulate the market. People could grow in their homes, and the overages could end up in medical marijuana dispensaries. This system worked for everyone, except of course for the tax man.

During the golden age of medical marijuana dispensaries in the early years after medical marijuana was legalized, there was immense innovation. The prices were low, the consumer was happy, but plenty of entrepreneurs were making money during a time of recession and tremendous economic uncertainty. And contrary to the propaganda spread by cops and other reefer haters, there were no problems that were being caused in communities. An industry was booming, and it would have kept booming, except for the regulations that came in.

The marijuana industry is fueled by a core of people who have great loyalty to growers who they know provide the best product. They would never buy corporate weed in a million years. There is also the problem of unlimited Class C licenses. Myself and my former lobbying group, EverGreen Management, argued to cap these Class C licenses. We were ignored by the lawmakers. They spit in our faces. They listened to the Big Money Bastards, and now we are all suffering as a result.

The problem with giving the government regulatory authority over an industry is they do not stop at sensible regulation. They will use whatever initial sensible regulations to get a foothold in on an industry, and before long, they and the interests who own them dominate it. There are many other industries (think Energy, Beer & Wine, etc.) that operate under this sort of monopoly. But cannabis will never be one of them. Too many lessons have been learned during prohibition. Too much sacrifice has been made for it to be swallowed up.

This is why the corporations find themselves at an unexpected impasse right now, and they are finding their economic power is rapidly waning in Lansing when lawmakers see the industry hemorrhaging cash Those of us involved with the Michigan Caregivers Association (and all similar-minded activists who have been in the trenches fighting the takeover) helped put a chink in the armor of the bad guys. We put up the road block that caused them to stumble. And stumble, they have. The national recession has not helped them, but it is their own greed that was ultimately their undoing.

As much as we would like to take absolute and total credit for their failure, they have been their own worst enemies. They saw the cannabis industry as nothing more than cash cow that they could corner and milk endlessly for their own delught. The corporate villains came into Michigan looking to gang rape another industry. Instead, they have realized that there are limits to their ambition. We saw it with Terrapin, and now we are seeing it with Lume. This industry will always belong to this people, and the corporate raiders are finding it out about the consequences of trying to overthrow it.

At Cannabash over the weekend, we heard that the booths for High Life and Skymint were eerily dead. These firms have taken massive reputational hits for selling out the caregivers and being part of the corporate takeover of the Michigan cannabis industry. The rebel spirit within the cannabis industry is still alive, and educated consumers can make a big difference. From the chatter to the boycotts to the legislative fights to our aggressive media campaign to expose the monopolists, it is all coming together to have an amazing impact.

The caregivers are suffering right now, but ultimately will win because they provide the best product. Through the compassionate relationship between caregivers and their patients, they know how to tailor the product to the unique needs of the individual. The recreational system cannot compete with that. The love behind the caregivers system is something to behold, and educated consumers will continue to appreciate that and reward that proven system as the corporations fall.

There is a place for dispensaries but only if they operate under honest principles within the marketplace and work alongside caregivers. There is enough demand for dispensaries to give convenient options to casual cannabis users while caregivers provide the best quality product to true connoisseurs and medical patients who need it. But there is no room for the corporate kingpins who hate competition and hate liberty. They will be snuffed out, and this is just the beginning of their end.

Jun 202022
 

Last week, it was announced that Rep. Jim Lilly would be retiring from the State House of Representatives.

It was an abrupt announcement that took everybody by surprise. As of July 1, Lilly will be out of Lansing and working as a lobbyist for supermarket giant SpartanNash, serving as their vice president for government affairs.

“This is a great opportunity to help move this entire country forward on issues related to labor shortages and supply chain challenges,” Lilly said.

Lilly said he is leaving office because “this is the right time to make the transition to work on these issues in the private sector,” but everyone knows this is a lie. Lilly was likely tipped off that he was photographed snorting a line at a lobbyist-funded party next to Lee Chatfield, the incestuous party boy who once ran the show for the GOP in Lansing, or saw video of himself balls deep in one of Detroit’s finest strippers, a time-honored tradition for Republican lawmakers on the take.

Nevertheless, for whatever reason that Lilly is gone, it is great news for the registered caregivers and medical marijuana patients throughout the state. The Michigan Caregivers Association, a group of which I am proud to serve as President, would always go out of our way to take a big fat shit on Lilly. Not because he was noteworthy, talented, intelligent, charismatic or otherwise worthwhile, but it was because Lilly was the personal champion of the legislative package, HB5300-02, bills designed to annihilate the medical marijuana industry in Michigan.

Lilly has fallen victim to the Brikho Curse. This is what happens when karma bites the ass of these losers who thought that they could steamroll over the medical marijuana industry. I am proud to be part of the most righteous industry in the state of Michigan.  The forces of the universe are definitely on our side, even if the money and the power is not. When you fight against medical cannabis that sustains thousands of patients and allows them to live with dignity through the use of a cheap, bountiful, highly-effective medicine, there will be severe karmic repercussions against you in this life and the next.

No doubt the dirt about Lilly will be coming out in the near future, and he will join his buddy Chatfield in the Hall of Disgrace of reviled Republican predators hated by the people and live his life in permanent shame forevermore. But Lilly is far from the only man who has suffered from the Brikho Curse. Take my favorite punching bag, Steve Linder, as another example. Linder, through his immense arrogance, thought he could come in and muscle through the “Big Weed” monopoly legislation while everyone was sleeping. Instead, he was greeted with a massive spectacle that put him and his seedy reputation in the limelight.

Linder’s clients thought they were hiring a smooth professional who could quietly and effectively grease the wheels of the legislature in order to enact their sinister cannabis monopoly with little fanfare. However, what they got was a man way past his prime, an individual who peaked decades ago. They got a man tarred with scandal, who molded Lansing into a den of iniquity. What the Michigan Caregivers Association did was transform the debate from being about patient safety from being about a massive lobbyist power-grab. Our narrative resonates with the people. The public knows about the orgy of Dark Money that runs in our state Capitol. They are not naïve. They may not have known Linder by name but they know there are villains out there regularly undermining our democracy for profit and payouts.

But after the Michigan Caregivers Association’s successful education and outreach efforts, more people knew of Linder’s name than ever before. A messy battle behind the scenes and in front of the cameras resulted in a stalemate, with “Big Weed” monopoly legislation HB5300-02 stalled. Too many lawmakers knew what the underlying agenda was going into these bills, or they feared retribution from the organized and effective and ruthless cannabis community that were out to prevent yet another corporate gangbang, this time at the expense of the caregivers.

The Michigan Cannabis Manufacturing Association (MCMA), the wannabe monopolists, eventually grew tired of Linder and his ineffectiveness. At first, they allowed him to bow out in a manner as to avoid disgrace. The MCMA gave a Democrat-affiliated lobbyist Mark Fisk (learn more about him here) the title of co-Executive Director with Linder, relegating him to subordinate status. Linder was meant to sit down, shut up and know his role. But having already been disgraced in this fight, he could not do so. Linder took his wounded ego to MIRS where he said his final act as a lobbyist would be to defeat medical cannabis. This has clearly become personal for Linder, and his own personal legacy is now tied to destroying the caregivers system. Linder made it clear that this is his hill to die on, and pissing in the faces of medical cannabis patients across the state of Michigan will be his last crusade before retiring.

“When I was asked to do this, it was very strategic. I was the General Consultant for the Senate Republican Campaign Committee…This is the first new industry Michigan has created in 100 years…I needed permission to do this because the general consultant of the caucus couldn’t be on the other side of the issue…I was allowed to do this as long as it was done in a way that would provide cover…We are reverse-engineering the marketplace,” Linder said while appearing on MIRS.

As Linder was blabbing, he was inadvertently revealing how destroying medical cannabis was a top-down mandate from elitist controllers. Linder plotted in secret with Senate Republican leaders and their financial backers to receive the blessing to take over the cannabis industry. It is as bad as it seems, with major Lansing players plotting in backrooms, the same individuals who urged for decades to throw cannabis users in cages, to take control over the industry that they tried to stifle at every turn. It is a naked, egregious example of the worst type of government-corporate collusion imaginable, and Mr. Big-Mouth-Little-Man Linder owned up to it in a public forum.

And apparently Linder’s masters were outraged by his display, because shortly after the MIRS interview, they cucked Linder even further. The MCMA took away his ceremonial title of “Executive Director,” forcing Linder to resign, and demoting him to the title of “senior adviser,” meaning that he’s a little bitch who they can call on to run errands for them every now and again if so needed. This is a damage control mechanism. They are just keeping Linder around for everyone to save face, but the façade is rapidly crumbling.

In actuality, the corporate cannabis industry in Michigan is self-immolating. Their greed has gotten the best of them, as seen with Terrapin’s operations shuttering in the state. They saw cannabis as a cash cow and thought they could come in and gobble up all the profits, but cannabis patients are too smart to allow that. They preferred to grow their own or receive their medicine from a trusted caregiver rather than sell out for an inferior product. The outlaw nature of the industry has taught many lessons to cannabis patients. They know which growers are bringing the fire and reward them accordingly.

The times are tough, but karma is clearly on our side. More will fall to the Brikho Curse, and the last men standing will be the tough, the righteous, the resourceful, and the innovative. We will survive, just like we did through prohibition, and our enemies will be brought to their knees. Watch out, Matt Hall, and others who are standing in line to serve this corrupt system. Justice is coming, and you will be next to circle the drains with other enemies of the caregivers who thought they were untouchable but learned a hard lesson otherwise.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” 

Martin Luther King Jr.

Keep growing, my friends.

Sincerely,

Your Friend
Big George

Jun 142022
 

This weekend, Terrapin, a national marijuana giant, announced that they will be closing all of their operations in Michigan effective immediately.

Terrapin was one of the wannabe cannabis monopolists operating under the umbrella of the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturing Association. They are one of the many big money firms who thought they could waltz in, take over and rake in the cash while putting their competition out of business with government force.

They thought wrong.

Many individuals with business sense (or common sense) who have been in the cannabis industry for longer than a cup of coffee could see this coming a mile away. If the corporate cartel had any foresight, they could have taken simple supply and demand into account. Instead, they were too busy trying to gangrape the industry at warp speed to take a second and think straight.

When I founded Evergreen Management along with my partners in 2015, we fought the good fight to stabilize the medical marijuana industry. There was an attempt to regulate the caregiver system out of commission, and it was rapidly gaining momentum. We were able to insert ourselves in the process and throw a wrench into it. It’s what we do best. We gummed up the works, and the problematic bills in their initial form were killed.

The legislative process is never perfect, as a matter of fact it is always ugly and muddy. We eventually landed at compromise legislation that enacted some rules and regulations on the medical marijuana industry but none were too onerous and the industry could remain intact. That was a huge victory for us, and one that is often unheralded. We do not like to brag, but we put up the time, money, effort and capital to save the industry. We stepped up when it mattered most.

Another major project for Evergreen was  proposed legislation that would have capped Class C licenses. Some accused us of trying to institute protectionist measures and control the industry. But what we were really doing was trying to save the industry. Too many Class C licenses would allow for an overabundance of product, putting everybody in jeopardy. Without a cap, it would free up every greedy interest to come in and overproduce in an attempt to maximize their profits without taking anything else to concern.

If the proposed Evergreen reforms had gone into place, the caregiver system would have been protected, and there still would have been room for the big money players to come in and make money after legalization as well. Only, they would have had to innovate and provide products and services preferred by the consumers. They preferred the government-granted monopoly route. We remember what lawmakers dropped the ball and folded to the pressure. Shame on you for what your weakness has wrought on a noble industry.

While it would be easy and fun to shit on Terrapin and laugh about their immolation in Michigan, the unfortunate reality is that many people lost their jobs amidst a recession and massive inflation because of their failure. Many more will lose their jobs because of corporate greed and how it is enabled by our reprehensible and soulless elected officials of both parties. Lawmakers in Lansing refuse to pass legislation protecting the caregivers and putting caps on corporate raiders who want to come in and swallow up the industry. It is beyond sickening.

The Michigan Caregivers Association has sent a caregivers’ rights survey to all elected lawmakers and prospective lawmakers during this 2022 election cycle. The MCA wants to make sure that we get individuals into office who care about individual rights and want to save a sustainable industry from being cannibalized by Big Business. The MCA knows the recipe that will get Lansing to break: sustained public pressure and the possibility of losing their cushy jobs in the Capitol.

We learned during the Evergreen Management days that treating lawmakers like they are human beings, talking with them, educating them, supporting them, holding their hands, giving them pleasure rather than pain, is largely a dead end because there is always someone with a bigger checkbook coming in from down the block, and these political whores will get on their knees for whoever has the most money. This is the nature of politics, and every elected official in Lansing, with only exceedingly rare exceptions, falls into this category.

This is why caregivers, medical marijuana patients, and other advocates for this industry need to have the correct mindset. Our lawmakers do not want to learn about the healing nature of the cannabis plant and its transcendent power of the mind. Our lawmakers do not care about the negative aspects of prohibition and why it is a failed public policy that must be stopped in order to save lives. They only care about campaign contributions and getting re-elected. We cannot win the money game, but we can sure as hell make it more difficult for them to get re-elected by lobbying the public with the facts and the hard-hitting information that is being suppressed by the establishment.

The MCA’s tactics have worked at getting monopoly bills HB5300-02 stalled in the State House. The lobbyist agenda was exposed. The issue went from being about “public safety” to being about a crony corporate takeover. No mercy should be given while operating within this den of vultures. Only once we are feared will we be respected. Once we have cultivated that fear, the lawmakers will fall in line, and the caregivers shall be protected. This is the only model of success that is achievable. This is the only path toward victory, and I hope you will walk it alongside me.

Remember: These corporate cannabis kingpins will take down every small grower in their pursuit of the almighty dollar if we let them get away with it. They will blow the whole thing up because their indulgence is limitless. They will not stopped until there is a law in place stopping them, or if the public forcefully says no more. There is absolutely no reason why we should be gentle with these monsters, and the lawmakers who they control. We can sleep soundly at night only knowing that we used every tool at our disposal to win this battle. There is no honor in accepting defeat to the forces of pure evil. The time for war is now. Let’s be smart, let’s be cunning, let’s be ruthless, and victory shall be ours.

 

Viva la revolución,

Big George