Editor’s note: This is Moms For Marijuana’s Lindsey Rinehart, in her own words, relating her experience of going to New York City and appearing on The View with Cheryl Shuman. Shuman’s side of the story is told every day, extensively, on the Moms For Marijuana International Facebook page. It’s important that the other side be aired, as well. Thanks to Lindsey for sharing her experience with us. ~ Steve Elliott
Let me begin with my intent in sharing this so that it may be clear from the start. I want to see Moms For Marijuana have a comeback without Cheryl Shuman involved in it, or Serra Frank for that matter. It has been too corrupted and tarnished by this duo’s corruption.
This article is about my trip to New York City to appear on The View with Cheryl Shuman and Simmi Dhillon back in June 2013. Then I will explain why that trip matters right now. I was very intimidated by Cheryl’s presence in the movement to begin with. I apologize now for not speaking up sooner. I’m going to address some recent slander that has and hasn’t made headlines yet.
It began with a text message from Cheryl asking me if I wanted to appear with her on The View to discuss my case with the children being stolen as a consequence of being a patient/activist in ID. I said yes. It was about a week out from the date of the show and I was excited! I didn’t know that it wasn’t confirmed and I said that I was going to be on The View on Facebook, with Cheryl.
I thought my saying yes was the confirmation that I was going since I had been invited. I didn’t know at that time that she had already offered the slot to both Tonya Davis and Serra Frank in addition to me. She was angry with me that I had made that post.
She then informed me that Serra couldn’t appear with us because she refused to appear using her real name, Jennifer Bennett. In a recent release she said that Serra had insisted I go instead of her. That isn’t true — it’s that she wouldn’t use her name to represent an international organization in a time that it would have made a huge impact. She didn’t mention Tonya until we were In New York.
She continued to get angry over small things until we appeared on the show. I’m not in “The Business” so there are just things that I don’t know about. The View had asked for a biography, to me, in an email directly. I wrote a great bio pretty quickly and shot it back to them and they were pleased with the quality and promptness.
Cheryl was displeased that I “went over her head” by responding to them without having her look it over first. I did cc her in the e-mail. Again, small things, but I was lectured like a little child.
Please don’t get me wrong! I was so grateful for this wonderful opportunity! I thought I was going to get to tell our story of how the state of Idaho had stolen our children for cannabis paraphernalia. I thought the nation would hear, maybe I could mention Compassionate Idaho if I was lucky — Moms too! It was going to be great!
I am still grateful that I was able to reach those that I did. That’s a huge audience and we did get in their living rooms and make them think. Ultimately, that is what matters most. I never spoke of this stuff until now except to close, trusted friends. I didn’t want to even discuss it. It was irrelevant. Now that we are talking about Cheryl’s character so much though, it has become relevant.
Upon arrival in New York I was greeted warmly by Cheryl, who arrived at the hotel at the same time as me. We met up and had some discussion and what I thought/hoped was bonding. I really wanted her to like me and I was grateful to be there.
She had been annoyed by my “green” mistakes and I was relieved to hear her not be that way in person. But I was wrong! The discussion went all over the place that day, with her talking behind a lot of very well respected people’s backs.
I was livid and lost. I didn’t know what to do.
Before I continue, please know I called both January Thomas and Tonya Davis before I wrote about them. I also have Simmi’s and Brandon Krenzler’s permission to discuss them. This isn’t blindsiding the involved parties.
I don’t think that I heard her talk in a positive way about anyone in all my interaction with her on that trip, or prior. We haven’t had a conversation since.
First, she brought up Tonya Davis, an Ohio patient/activist that I love and respect greatly. I was stunned.
Tonya is like the sweetheart of cannabis reform for many, and I didn’t understand how anyone could have a single problem with her. There wasn’t a real problem… she just wanted to be mean?
She proceeded to tell me that Tonya had been up for the spot that I was getting the following day! When asked why she wasn’t chosen, since A) she’s terminally ill; B) she’d been fighting to address the President of our country for a few months prior; and C) she was geographically closer than me, the answer was that she was “An ineffective activist.”
My jaw dropped. I didn’t repeat it except to my husband and closest girlfriends because I was upset by it. And I didn’t tell Tonya or anyone else.
Let me just say right now, Tonya is an effective activist! I first met her at Seattle Hempfest in 2011 and again 2012 and she inspired me from the minute I met her. If anyone thinks that Tonya is ineffective, maybe they should utilize her more! We come into this movement as patients, not as experts in activism, but Tonya has applied herself and is a huge asset to anyone that will help her fight in Ohio!
Then Shuman started attacking Brandon Krenzler and Erin Purchase, Brave Mykayla’s parents! They had appeared on Ricki Lake with her a short time before, and Cheryl was upset for several reasons that all sounded like insignificant crap, such as Brandon’s record (which for these purposes isn’t relevant; his kid has cancer and is winning!), that Erin was with him, his “Convicted” tattoo on his forearm, etc. He addressed all of those allegations recently with this article: Cannabis Patient Brave Mykayla’s Dad: Just Avoid Cheryl Shuman
She had even said more, but we aren’t playing that game. As with Tonya, I happen to really respect this family! I was livid that I was hearing her say these things.
I went ahead and told her I don’t have a record; my husband does, but that’s certainly no secret. I felt pressured to divulge that information, because she didn’t want anymore “surprises” from the guests she was taking on the shows. Everything out of her is an exaggeration loosely based on the truth, was what I concluded.
I didn’t sightsee or really leave the block of the hotel much. It was a long flight to New York from Idaho, and I was tired and in pain. She was tired and in pain. I went to unpack and found out Oh No, I forgot my pants! Only I would do that. They were out of my luggage to hem them.
I hung my head and went back to Cheryl for my next “green” mistake. I had other clothes with me that would have been suitable but she didn’t want me to wear them. She gave me $100 (I have since heard rumors that she gave me $2,000!!! That did NOT happen!) to get an outfit to go on The View, nothing more, nothing less. I’m not the only person she has done that for either.
I thought it was extremely kind and generous so I accepted and went shopping across the street! But hey, I was shopping in New York for a dress to go on The View! I didn’t want to fight or argue about it, I just wanted to discuss the case and Compassionate Idaho. When I got back she was happy with what I had gotten and we continued on with our day.
We were expecting Simmi soon and I was excited! I had met Simmi before, at Seattle Hempfest, and we had hit it off. Much to my dismay, Cheryl started in on Simmi, who she claimed was her “assistant.” (The thing is, Simmi says she has never even been Cheryl’s assistant; she was her friend!)
Cheryl claimed that Simmi wouldn’t “keep up her appearances.” See, Cheryl explained, she doesn’t really have a lot of money. She doesn’t really own that Ferrari and it’s a lot of appearances- I’m not going into detail in what Cheryl confided in me about her finances, other than that it’s not what it seems.
I confided to her that I am not doing well financially and need dental work replaced that was destroyed when I bit the intubation tube during my surgery in December. It’s embarrassing for me that I can’t get it fixed right now but that’s what happened. I bit out a bridge while knocked out, intubated. God only knows what she’s told people about me since she says so much about others, but I am willing to bet there is a story about my dental work.
She went on to explain that Simmi was “trashing things, ruining them” by not keeping up appearances that she had money. Cheryl had made the claim that Simmi was her assistant to a producer of Weed Country and Simmi had shot back “You couldn’t afford me.” It wasn’t meant to cause problems; it was a joke to her friend. That didn’t stop me from having to listen ALL about it for at least an hour.
Then she moved on to what I was “allowed and not allowed” to say while on air. She then went to no talking of “smoking cannabis” as she was promoting her vape pen. I was expected to discuss only vaping if the discussion went there, not smoking. I was not informed of this detail prior to to my arrival in New York.
Cheryl then went into how horrible she thinks January Thomas is (comedian and Henry Hemp’s wife; I wasn’t familiar with her yet). She proceeded to show me footage of a segment that she did with January where she was convinced that January intentionally stole the segment and sabotaged it.It was almost immediately apparent that it was likely some sort of weird mistake as to why these pieces were together in the same segment other than perhaps they were both about cannabis? She was convinced that January stole the segment and used a bong on it to intentionally discredit her. I doubted it. She shouldn’t have even thought it; she should have known better. The media twist things and group weird things together ALL of the time.
Knowing all she knows about reporting, she should know that they manipulate things regularly. It was like she wanted to make it bigger than it was.
When I asked January about this incident it became clear that there was an error in the network and photo shoots were used in the piece that were from a separate piece she had done. This is when it became 100 percent clear that we were going to have some fundamental issues as she was insisting that bongs are dirty, the smoking of cannabis in general is dirty and is bad for you, and that vaping is the only way to go.I have read Dr. Tashkin’s studies on cannabis in the lungs that he did for our government with the hypothesis that smoked cannabis caused cancer. After 25 years our government stopped paying for that study because it was proving the opposite, that smoked cannabis does not cause cancer. A few years later Dr. Tashkin stated that it was beneficial to our health; shortly later he came out in support of full legalization of cannabis.
I argued with Cheryl. I couldn’t help it. She’s new to the activist realm, relatively, and clearly wasn’t aware that she was spewing propaganda, or so I thought. She insisted that vaping was better for her, and everyone has a preferred method, so I conceded that for her: Sure, vaping may be better.
However, I encouraged her not to say that “smoking cannabis is dangerous,” as that’s not good for our message to have that coming out of such a prominent activist’s mouth. She should know better. We’ll discuss this more in a minute, because she did it on the air! I was shocked no one called her out on it but me!
Lets move to the evening, though, and I’ll spare you the details of dinner. Fast forward a few hours, and we have decided to obtain a small amount of alcohol to drink in our rooms while we “prep some more for the show,” i.e., Cheryl grilling me so I don’t become next on her shit (talk) list.
When we returned Simmi was finally there in the bar, so we went and had drinks with her instead. I had two drinks and was a little bit tipsy! Cheryl was more intoxicated but I thought that maybe she would lighten up. I was wrong. We went to “prepare” further and she became aggressive, “pretending” to be Barbara Walters, intimidating me to prepare me for Barbara, as I was nervous. True to form she took it too far, and we ended the evening.The next morning I was sent for coffee for all of us before leaving for The View. When we got there her bad behavior got worse!
It was so incredibly neat to be in a dressing room and getting hair and make-up. We could see comedian Jesse Tyler Ferguson kinda, from our door of our room to his, so she set up her camera and started to gather footage of him without his knowledge, even though it was expressed to us not to run video.
I didn’t like that she did it and put my drink in the way. Right when she went to move it (she got mad at me, again), a producer walked in the room and told her to turn it off. As soon as the producer walked away she resumed recording. The producer then returned and told her to turn it off and keep it off. It was rude, and disrespectful, and embarrassing to be part of that by association. I was able to move on because Whoopi Goldberg is an amazing woman and she hung out with us all the rest of the time!
Then we got more company in the dressing room, a person to go over a statement from the government with us they insisted they must read, lo and behold, it’s a statement from the government about cannabis, a quote, from Dr. Donald Tashkin’s previous work! I think they were trying to figure out who to direct the question/statement to, and out came my outrage. I explained that I thought it was wrong for them to read that because it was lies. They chose me to address on the stage.
There is a huge problem! When it was presented onstage Cheryl took the question! Barbara Walters read the outdated statement from Dr. Tashkin, rather than his current position, and instead of just letting me answer, Cheryl swoops in and says “Actually, I agree with that statement…”
I was livid in that moment, and then she goes on to promote her Vape Pen! I couldn’t believe she had just agreed with all of that propaganda on national TV — to promote her Vape Pen!
We were all so grateful that the movement was on daytime TV that I think people let it slide. They shouldn’t have, in my opinion, but I was done dealing with Cheryl as soon as it happened. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised but I was.
Now, of course, I went to find this video but The View only has the first 5 minutes up-ish. I’m going to have to get the DVD back from my lawyer so that I can upload my copy, but it has to come from Boise to my new home here in Oregon. Please let me know if you have a copy!
After we got back to the hotel, I got away from her and went and hung out with Simmi for lunch before we all flew out.
The whole experience was a whirlwind that I will forever be grateful for, and also one I will no longer sit in silence for either. We don’t need someone damaging our movement the way Cheryl did with her personal attack on Huffington Post Live the day before yesterday about Parents For Pot, and the way she agrees with propaganda for profit.
She’s just not a good fit for this movement overall. The most important thing that Moms For Marijuana International does is to educate the public on all things cannabis. How can we trust her to do that when she’s already shown that she won’t focus on doing just that when she was given the opportunity?
There are several reasons that I don’t believe she’s a good fit for Moms ethics-wise, including buying Serra Frank expensive gifts to try and smooth over a scandal.
She needs to resign from Moms For Marijuana International before she tarnishes it further, or anything else, in it’s name.