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STEVE ELLIOTT

Your source for uncut, uncensored, no holds barred, non-corporate controlled cannabis news

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Self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” Roger Stone
[420 Magazine]

A boycott of the next month’s, Cannabis World Congress in L.A. for booking the controversial Roger Stone as keynote speaker, is gaining momentum.

At least 17 speakers and seven sponsors of the Expo have announced they plan to boycott the event if Stone isn’t removed as keynote speaker, reports Dennis Romero at the LA Weekly.

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Birds of a feather: Donald Trump and advisor Roger Stone
[WPLG]

‘Dirty Trickster’ Had Role In Trump’s Election

Stone, a self-proclaimed political dirty trickster, is a longtime adviser to Donald Trump. He is considered to have had a significant role in Trump’s surprise victory last year. He has a long history of “ugly racial incidents” in his past, reports Bruce Barcott at LeaflyStone is, however, also a marijuana legalization advocate, which is why he was invited to CWCB Expo.

It’s quite arguable that Stone is partially responsible for today’s toxic and racially charged political climate. And that is a problem for many people, including the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA). Last week, the group put up a Facebook post announcing its withdrawal from the Expo due to Stone’s presence.

“As a result of CWC choosing this guy as their keynote speaker, MCBA has decided to withdraw from attendance and speaking roles at this conference. CWC, you know better so there’s no excuse not to do better.

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Roger Stone:
“Try to impeach him, just try it. You will have a spasm of violence in this country, and insurrection, like you’ve never seen”
[Afflictor.com]

Stone Threatens Civil War If Trump Impeached

Stone said on Wednesday that the U.S. would break out in violence reminiscent of the Civil War if Trump were impeached, reports Charlie May at Salon.

“Try to impeach him, just try it. You will have a spasm of violence in this country, and insurrection, like you’ve never seen.

“A politician who votes for it [impeachment] would be endangering their own life.”

Stone claimed he isn’t advocating for violence, but rather “predicting it.”

Cannabis Industry Journal Joins Boycott

Later the same day, the Cannabis Industry Journal announced it would “no longer be a media partner of any CWCBExpo events, unless they remove Roger Stone from the keynote slot.”

“In choosing Roger Stone to keynote, the CWCBExpo is making a Faustian bargain and we don’t believe this is right. We need to stand by our morals; the ends don’t justify the means. The cannabis industry is no place for racism and we would like to see Roger Stone removed from the keynote position at CWCBExpo.”

Aunt Zelda’s cofounder Mara Gordon, as well as former Drug Policy Alliance California policy manager Amanda Reiman, now president for community relations at Flow Kana, also voiced support for MCBA’s boycott and withdrew from the conference.

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Scott Giannotti, CWCB Expo:
“But we’re racists ok lol I’ll put our show guide up against NCIA’s any day you want and show you how dumb you people are”
[Newswire]

CWCB Has Bad Response To Boycott

Scott Giannotti, managing partner of the CWCB Expo didn’t react well to the announced boycott. Rather than going for a conciliatory tone, he went full Trump in his response:

“How convenient MCBA is promoting CWCBExpo’s biggest competitor NCIA, who hosts ALL WHITE CONFERENCES. Meanwhile CWCBExpo works hard at producing the most politically and culturally diverse conference program in the cannabis industry. But we’re racists ok lol I’ll put our show guide up against NCIA’s any day you want and show you how dumb you people are.”

Maybe using a term like “you people” to address a group of black business owners wasn’t the best idea. In any event, Giannotti’s insensitive retort was akin to pouring gasoline onto a flame. The boycott immediately gained new adherents due to his asshole-like response.

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Aaron Smith, National Cannabis Industry Association:
“Anyone with access to the Internet can see we don’t host ‘all white’ conferences”
[Westword]

And Giannotti Also Pissed Off The NCIA

National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) Executive Director Aaron Smith had this to say:

“I don’t really see the need to reply on [Giannotti’s] social media post when I can simply allow him to continue to dig his own hole with boldfaced lies about NCIA. Anyone with access to the Internet can see we don’t host ‘all white’ conferences.

Rather than feeding the trolls of social media, I prefer to keep focused on the work of reforming our nation’s cannabis laws, which is what NCIA is really about.”

Jesce Horton Minority Cannabis Business Association MCBA
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Jesce Horton, Minority Cannabis Business Association:
“The unprofessionalism of this guy [Giannotti] is unbelievable. I’ll never attend one of his conferences again and I suggest the same to my cannabis colleagues”
[MCBA]

‘He Just Lashed Out’

“The head of CWCBE just said he wants to show ‘how dumb you people are’ for backing out of the conference in which he chose a known racist and misogynist as a keynote speaker,” responded Jesce Horton, chairman at the MCBA.

“He didn’t want to discuss it, he just lashed out because we chose not to attend. He said we made this choice because we are in cahoots with his main competitor and not simply because it was a poor decision on his part to prop up someone who is trying to take advantage of our industry, after spending so many years supporting the exact policies that put so many of our people in prison.

“The unprofessionalism of this guy is unbelievable. I’ll never attend one of his conferences again and I suggest the same to my cannabis colleagues. We WILL make this a better industry, not another industry. Believe it.”

“This isn’t about NCIA conference vs yours,” Horton responded on Giannotti’s Facebook post. “If NCIA ever chose to prop up someone with the racist history of Roger Stone as keynote speaker, we would not attend or speak there either.”

Roger Stone:
“Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack”
[RogerEbert.com]

Stone Makes Activists Uneasy

Roger Stone’s checkered past and inflammatory statements make many cannabis activists uneasy. That situation, of course, has been exponentially exacerbated by Trump’s own words and actions of the past week.

For many in the community, inviting (and keynoting) a close Trump advisor like Stone to a cannabis event at this particular time was spectacularly unwise.

“What was once seen as a good-faith instance of reaching across the political aisle became a show of tacit support for Trump’s toxic views on race and violence,” ~ Leafly

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Kaliko Castille, Weed News:
“There are plenty of well-intentioned conservatives that are coming around on our issue who don’t flirt with racism to make their point”
[Oregon Cannabis Connection]

‘Using People’s Racism’

Kaliko Castille at Weed News summed up what many in the cannabis community feel about Stone as keynote speaker for the expo:

“Maybe Roger Stone isn’t a racist, but you know what’s just as bad as being a racist? Using other people’s racism as a means to achieve your own political ends. There are plenty of well-intentioned conservatives that are coming around on our issue who don’t flirt with racism to make their point. If you want a principled conservative with political connections to speak at your events, invite Grover Norquist.

I don’t care how connected Stone is to Jeff Sessions or Donald Trump, if our industry decides to buddy up to people who have blood on their hands, there is no way for us to come out clean.”

There’s A Change.org Petition, Too

Several minority leaders have launched an online petition with the hashtag #DisownStone. The petition calls for the Expo to drop Stone’s planned appearance, reports Oscar Pascual at the SF Gate.

“Inviting Mr. Stone to speak to the crowd, especially as we see the rise of overt racism and anti-Semitism, is an affront to the very movement you purport to promote,” reads the Change.org petition.

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Roger Stone claims it’s all liberal billionaire investor George Soros’ fault
[Sean Gallup]

Stone Dismisses Boycott; Blames Soros

Roger Stone dismissed the boycott out of hand, reports Marc Caputo at Politico.

“Totally a Media Matters for America hit campaign … funded by George Soros,” Stone claimed. Soros, a billionaire liberal philanthropist, is a popular target among right-wing nut jobs.

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Dan Humiston, CWCB Expo:
“I think [Roger Stone] is an asset to this movement. He has raised a lot of money”
[Ganjapreneur]

Does Stone Have Trump’s Ear? Do We Care?

CWCB Expo partner Dan Humiston said Stone will speak as scheduled. Humiston said he believes “we have to be as inclusionary as we can possibly be. It is nothing more than that.”

I think there are some real benefits to the cannabis movement that will be gained by getting as many people under our tent as we can. … The more dialogue and more opportunities to speak with people we can’t agree on any other topic with, the better. 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.”

Morgan Defends Stone

John Morgan is a major Democratic donor and possible Florida gubernatorial candidate who wrote and largely funded that state’s successful 2016 medical marijuana initiative. Morgan recently launched the United States Cannabis Coalition, a bipartisan advocacy organization, with Stone. He defended his new political partner, reports Zach Harris at Merry Jane:

“It’s a mistake. Roger has the president’s ear. Politics is not pretty. Sometimes politics makes strange bedfellows. This is such a time. With the stroke of a pen Trump could make MJ schedule 2. And it would be right and his ratings would soar.”

‘No Place For Him’

But according to many in the business, Stone’s help isn’t the kind needed for a young industry in search of respectability, which is still defining itself.

“We don’t want Stone’s help. There is no place for someone like him in the cannabis industry,” wrote the Cannabis Industry Journal.

“In choosing Roger Stone to keynote, the CWCBExpo is making a Faustian bargain and we don’t believe this is right. We need to stand by our morals; the ends don’t justify the means. The cannabis industry is no place for racism and we would like to see Roger Stone removed from the keynote position at CWCBExpo.”

 

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