The internet is a wonderful place where we can create our own image, I know; but when you’re a business association one would think fair and right business practices would be enforced amongst the members.
There are many things that will not be covered by major media or even by popular stoner media but Toke Signals is a place that has given me a voice and sometimes that’s the only payment one needs. When I started blogging/writing of course I wanted to eventually make money as a writer but that never happened.
Instead something better happened: I became an activist. I don’t encourage this word, but somehow the life I’ve lived has given me a pretty solid past on marijuana legalization and the culture on a whole. The marijuana world is a beautiful one to me, and that’s because the internet has shown people that they’re not alone and has encouraged them to rethink what marijuana is.
After I got out of the military I sought out ways to utilize my love of writing with my passion for marijuana justice, and the guys at www.TheWeedBlog.com gave me that chance. Finally a place for my voice to be heard, but I couldn’t write as Miguel, because I worked for the D.O.D. at the time, and activism doesn’t pay the bills. So in 2010, Miggy420 was born as my nom de plume; before that it was my gamer tag.
Now fast forward to 2016, and since I’ve volunteered at various festivals helping P.O.W.’s, been published in various websites and one magazine, and have been to two of the three Cannabis Cups in Washington State; not bad for a fake name with a true voice. I give credit for the ability to have been taken seriously by marijuana activists I admire to The Weed Blog. The two guys behind the website are the true activists, two guys, one the brain, the other the heart: One does the code, the other does the writing.
When the guys started the site Jay Smoker knew he was on to something with his code because every interaction we had was about something technical that I understood, I just didn’t understand the ramifications like a million unique hits on a website in a month, my friends did this and I helped because they gave me a soapbox that turned into a podium.
Sometime during the rise of The Weed Blog the guys became business entangled with Travis Maurer and Leah Maurer, both “marijuana activists” who are actually hurting the people that are activists. From my perspective early on, there was much hope in Jay Smoker with this business deal, because the guys knew one thing: They weren’t businessmen, and here’s this guy that has made some noise in his home state and was looking at the bigger picture — one that included The Weed Blog.
Everyone that is internet savvy knows websites of the news or that produce “free” services make their money from advertisements. Facebook isn’t worth a billion dollars because of your foot at the pool photos. Travis Maurer was able to produce enough to lead the guys on with false hope. Presently he’s the one able to pay his bills, while my friends are scraping by.
I’m not here to talk too much about the semantics of the lawsuit or what was done. My main purpose here is to call to task an organization that has grown in the cannabis circles exponentially, one that Leah Maurer belongs to, known as Women Grow.
To give you an idea about the kind of people behind The Weed Blog; when I first became aware of the lawsuit and about who it’s against and what’s it about, I was enraged. Jay Smoker is a personal friend that does not live the life of luxury, so I reached out to him mad that Women Grow should do something, and his first response is “Don’t; we like Women Grow!” And I do too, just not so much right now, though.
Besides the fact my friend puts no accountability towards an organization his website has helped promote, his integrity lies in the fact that he kept Travis Maurer’s identity from me until this recent lawsuit.
I have always had The Weed Blog’s best interest and contributed many opinion pieces and interviews, helping to build the websites credibility, all for free because the message the blog promotes is greater than any interview or personal piece I could add, the guys stand by their activism and never made the kind of income one could quit their day job for.
This was always a frustrating contention with Jay Smoker every time we met because at a million unique hits a month one should be able to afford a car and house payment with a staff; this never happened for them. Instead, a virtual carrot has been held over their head until the day a straw broke the camel’s back and Travis Maurer’s personal moral code came into question by casting pedophilia accusations towards a good man named Randy Quast. This, to me, is also inexcusable; accusations of such things are reprehensible and have no place in the cannabis industry.
Women Grow is an organization full of you guessed it, women, with a dash of men considered as supporters. Women Grow is an organization meant for business networking. According to their website they’re meant To Connect, To Inspire, To Educate, and To Empower. Their mission statement is “Women Grow is a for-profit entity that serves as a catalyst for women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry as the end of marijuana prohibition occurs on a national scale.”
My question is how can you do that when you don’t hold your members to a moral integrity, not only moral but the Maurers have hijacked The Weed Blog, squashing an altruistic voice that has brought the message to so many people and has made a difference in our American culture and attitude towards marijuana but yet somehow they feel entitled to ownership of the blog as can be seen in e-mails from Leah Maurer.
How can an organization say it wants the cannabis industry to succeed when one of its members is in the middle of her own damage control because they seem to have lied and cheated? The honorable and right thing to do is to give the The Weed Blog, a powerful tool against prohibition, back to its rightful altruistic owners.
This poisonous pen and animosity does not come with unwarranted cause. I tried reaching out and looking for a civil response through Tweets but instead I have been blocked by Jane West and Leah Maurer, blocked with unanswered questions – so here we are.
What is happening to The Weed Blog, to my friends is an atrocity to the cause, to no shit real activist, two guys that have given a fuck.
Johnny Green, the heart of the site, presently works diligently to present the same quality and heart it has from the beginning, the selfless heart of an activist not making money and working a full-time job to feed a family, to have a living while pursuing his heartfelt passion. Johnny is like Prince was when he was signed to a record company, a slave. He is being taken advantage simply because he does give an intelligent fuck and won’t stop. As many times as I’ve thought of stepping away from marijuana activism I’m reminded what we do now effects our children and will never stop until they’re safe; Johnny feels this way too.
Look, I did not intend to go after Women Grow but Ms. Jane West, you cannot block and delete the truth, no matter how you feel about Leah Maurer personally or how much money you get from her, you’re bringing yourself and your association down too. Women Grow, like all the other hundreds of associations out there has great possibilities, but if you don’t keep yourself in check the public will.
Remember, its bad enough marijuana is taboo, illegal, and looked down upon, but we don’t need people shooting themselves, hence the cause, in the foot. Please, and I only have asked nicely: Make your people accountable if you claim to want to be part of the marijuana/cannabis/weed/CBD/THC/420/dagga culture. I await your answer.
Jay and Johnny have done so much good for marijuana, almost more than any activist in their past simply because they figured out how to harness the power of the internet . When it comes to activism we are strong, we are one, we are the many — we are the anonymous fighting against a senseless Drug War for a better America, and a better world.