Dear Cannabis Community,
Serra Frank, the founder of Moms for Marijuana International, recently released a statement to the public about what she calls a failed “hostile takeover” of her organization. This mostly fictional and blatant cover-up story of how her Board of Directors “betrayed and disappointed” her in a hostile takeover attempt is ridiculous.
Regardless of my anger and grief over the dysfunction — and in my opinion, the destruction — of an organization I put my heart and soul into for years, I have sincerely tried to stay out of the lies, hate, bashing, trashing and mud-slinging that this whole debacle created.
But with Serra’s public statement so full of outright lies and manipulation tactics I feel I have to comment.
~ Candace R. Junkin
In response to the blog posts:
You all know the history. Many of the Moms for Marijuana ex-board members have told it. And we’ve told the truth.
We are housewives and moms who were trying to do something good. Maybe we were in over our heads and god knows, we were naïve and too trusting for sure. But we LOVED Moms for Marijuana! We thought Serra Frank had everything under control. And we thought that because she said so.
We BELIEVED her without question for a long time and that was stupid. I tried to hang in there with Serra through it all, for Moms. I truly did. But in the end, it was impossible.
Yes, as Serra says, she had had some problems getting all the directors to do what she wanted them to do. That is true. Some of them didn’t have a lot of time; some of them thought her demands were secondary to the things we NEEDED to be doing.
Some of them didn’t know what to do because Serra had control of everything and hadn’t told them what she wanted or HOW she expected it done.
But regardless of the reasons, board members cannot just be fired. And there was never any talk of disbanding the current board or that none of us were “REALLY” directors anymore.
Still, through all the growing concerns, the doubts, the frustrations, I was not only Moms for Marijuana’s Assistant Director, I was Serra’s friend and I REALLY TRIED to stay by her side and help her.
So she fired Diane-Marie Jensen, the Director of Administration, just like that. No board vote, no nothing. Claiming she was not doing her job. That’s just not true.
Let me tell you, this woman worked tirelessly for Moms. She was the only one with experience in building and being on the board of a nonprofit, she wrote our Moms Manual and our Code of Conduct. She handled all the new chapters coming in, built their pages, and guided them through the beginning of leading their chapter. She ran Canada Moms almost singlehandedly and spent hours working for Moms — more than ANY other board member we had.
Why, until this all hit, even I didn’t know all the work she was doing, and it was a LOT! She tried to counsel Serra several times about following certain guidelines and how to do things right as a nonprofit. She asked questions. She had concerns. FOR MONTHS! She was starting to DEMAND answers.And then suddenly she was fired. Shut out of everything completely. Serra even told me she was dead to her! Well, this wasn’t right! The other board members weren’t doing the things Serra “wanted” them to be doing either, but she didn’t fire them! Of course, they weren’t asking any questions either. Hmmm?
So, rightfully angry at being shut out, the fired board member went public. I even got angry at her for it at the time. (I have since apologized for that). I was not prepared for it to go public — to go so nuts! This was crazy! Her concerns were valid, oh yes. But still I tried to stick beside Serra. FOR MOMS!
We were going to fix this, right? Right?
The other board members were floored by the concerns; they didn’t realize a lot of the things that were going on or had gone on. We had a sudden scandal!Other members were asking questions of all of us, and Serra was…. gone. She wouldn’t answer messages or texts. She says she had no internet access or computer.
Well, she had a smart phone and could have found internet, couldn’t she?! This was IMPORTANT!
While all this was going down, I was out of town, at a long-planned family function in a rural area. But I immediately took all the time I could away from my family function; to try to address all of these concerns from all of these panicked people.
Yet, Serra, who lives in a state with a Starbucks on every corner (20 miles away or not), could not be online? I begged her to find a way! Why could she could be online to FIRE and block a board member and be downright nasty to the rest us, but was leaving me to flounder alone over things I did not KNOW how to address on my own?
Serra wants to paint it like we waited for her to not have internet to “stage this hostile take-over.” But see, the thing is, Serra only ever had internet on and off. She moved around so much she was always gone here and there.
No one WAITED to catch her unawares and launch a surprise attack and hostile takeover on her. It just wasn’t like that at all. SHE chose that time to FIRE a board member and act like that. NOT US. For Moon’s sakes, I wasn’t even IN TOWN and it was a SATURDAY! How does this make sense, even to HER?
So through all this, the other board members (including Cheryl Shuman) started a private chat on Facebook. What with Serra ignoring everyone, they were confused and getting angrier and had to talk somewhere. Financials weren’t adding up. No one understood how our incorporation had already lapsed when Serra said we had until Nov. 14, (though we found out it had actually lapsed, even AFTER a 60-day grace period).
Why were their concerns to Serra being ignored? Why wouldn’t Serra find a way during this mess to explain? What was going on?People were canceling their rallies and press conferences. This was a mess! What did we do? They looked to me for answers. I had none. Just Serra’s word. And that was getting harder and harder to take.
Everyone agreed at this point, this was enough! The last straw. Serra needed to do what was right, present the financials, and step back as executive director (not AWAY from Moms!) She is the founder and will ALWAYS BE, but she really should not also be executive director, controlling everything and making a mess of it.
Not only that, but she obviously had too much going on in her own life to do the right things. She had created a mess and couldn’t see it! She needed to get us the financials, step back into that of a founder’s position, and let the Board try to fix all this.No one ever wanted to “put her in her place.” We wanted her to take her rightful place and let us fix her mess. No one wanted to “push her out of her life’s work.” We wanted to work together and fix the mess SHE created.
Well, she didn’t like that, and accused us of wanting to take her baby away. She said we “weren’t loyal.” She reacted in very unprofessional anger. She blocked the Board from everything and told us all that since our incorporation had lapsed, we weren’t her Board anymore and we could either behave and be loyal or we could go for good.
She was mad. She was reacting in anger. She can try to spin that any way she likes, but it was not as she portrays it at all. She wasn’t answering any questions; she wasn’t addressing any of the MOUNTING concerns.
She just basically said, “Shut up and quit asking questions or get out.” (And she found internet to do it, too!) Cheryl Shuman and her were “in talks.” Cheryl was going to “save it all.”And that was the last straw for me. It had gone on long enough. No one would listen to me. At this point I knew I didn’t want to work like this anymore and that I had to resign.
I need to address Cheryl Shuman really quick. Cheryl came into Moms for Marijuana in April of this year on Serra’s introduction. (Some have said she was there much earlier, but I did not know her.)
We all had Cheryl Shuman stars in our eyes. She promised to do so much for Moms, made so many empty promises and bragged about so many things I can’t keep them all straight. And yes, of course, by May, still with our Cheryl “Starry Eyes” we all voted her right in as director of PR.
But, it didn’t take long for some of the Board members to have concerns. People were coming forward to warn us about things she had done. Some were even saying they wouldn’t work with Moms if Cheryl was involved.
Being the admitted Bleeding Heart that I am, I tried to forgive Cheryl her past (everyone has a past, right?) And I always tried to placate her “ever the princess” attitude, her emails and complaints about all her haters and the fact that I “wasn’t doing anything to help her.”
Her constant insecurities and demands were eye-roll worthy (and, yes, I did roll my eyes, several times). But, oh yes, as embarrassing as it is, I tried to keep her happy too.
“Oh please, please Cheryl, just relax Cheryl, it’s OK Cheryl. Ignore the haters Cheryl. It’ll be fine Cheryl. Hang in there Cheryl. Rah Rah Cheryl.”I am ashamed of myself now for falling for her BS, but I am always nice and kind and I don’t know how to be anything else. I really try to understand that people are flawed and many are insecure and have “issues.”
I try not to judge and I love everyone! So I did what I do: I was loving and KIND. Sue me. (Heh!)
In the meantime, at a subsequent Moms Board meeting, Cheryl suddenly told us all that we should change our name, that she had tried to register our 501c3 (another lie? and oh really?) and the IRS turned us down flat because we had the word “marijuana” in our name. (Wait… why was Cheryl trying to do this again? Did we vote on this? No. What’s going on?)
She said she had reserved the name MomsReLeaf for us instead. (HUH?) We were all leery, said no thanks, we’d been Moms for Marijuana for 8 years and we’d figure it out. Of course, she also told us MJNA was going to give us $20,000 a month if we wanted it, and that she was going to fly us all out to L.A.for meetings, and all kinds of ridiculous things (Riiiiiiiight).All of this we either turned down, or took with a grain of salt and pretty much ignored with an “Oh that’s great, Cheryl. Rah rah, Cheryl.” *eye roll*
Then, in a conversation in mid-September, Cheryl told me she was going to walk away from Moms. She said that Serra and the rest of us were too inexperienced and Serra was too immature to know anything about making money or the media.
She told me she would do it all differently if Moms were hers. How she would really use the “Moms army!” I laughed it off and told her Moms was the epitome of grass roots and we didn’t care about making money or being on TV shows. We’d rather make the news. Haha!
She was miffed because I “would not get the Moms Army behind her.” I told her I would promote THE HELL out of Moms for Marijuana, but I would never promote Cheryl Shuman, and that since we needed a PR director who had time to devote to Moms alone, maybe this was not the best fit for her and she should go.
Alas. She did not.But I got so busy helping Serra with all her stuff she couldn’t do because she had never had any internet (I did not mind), in the middle of her Fight for Lilly and her CPS rallies, (which I thought were more important!) and I didn’t really bother with Cheryl Shuman anymore. I was just too busy working for Moms.
OK, so back to my resignation.
After I resigned, it didn’t take long for me to see how Cheryl Shuman was destroying Moms for Marijuana under the guise of “helping.”
Suddenly, Serra had new toys! Cheryl was even paying to set Moms up “right,” (Why had she never offered this before this all blew up? She knew we were in danger of lapsing then too). Cheryl was even paying Serra’s recurring phone, internet and cable bills, and all the other things that have come out in this mess.The next day, and after being called a sellout, suddenly the spin was that Serra had “won some contest” (first it was “Queen For A Day,” then it was “Bud Princess” or something), I opined it was to cover up their blatantly corrupt actions.
Well, no use going into this… By now, everyone knows what happened, and Serra and Cheryl can spin it anyway they want. It’s still wrong.
And, as heartbreaking as it was for me, I KNEW then I had absolutely made the right decision in leaving. I never wanted to hurt anyone or this movement. But I could not work with Cheryl and Serra any longer. It didn’t feel right.
I never wanted to “take over” Moms. There was never any plan to take over Moms or to push Serra out of Moms. And that’s the honest truth of that. She’s disappointed. I’m devastated.
In response to “The Stolen Chapters“I resigned. I then contacted Serra and told her while she had left me no choice but to resign, I was not going to leave her high and dry. I would like to turn over everything I had access to, to her, so she would have it all. Press contacts, chapter lists, Excel files about chapter leaders, and the chapter Facebook pages that I was the only manager on. I wanted to turn all of it over to her.
The conversation went like this:
I will get everything together that I have. I don’t want to leave you hanging. All the press, the chapters, lists etc. Give me a couple of days. I tried, and I love you, but this isn’t the first time and a transparent organization does not operate this way. I wish you and moms well.
I really did not expect the Steve [Toke Signals] article quite so soon. And I apologize to MOMS for that. But it is what it is.
Whatever you two faced cunt. You gave him a comment. not stupid. Seems like you and Diane and have been planning this. You know the truth and its your soul you have tarnished by stabbing me in the back. You KNOW none of this is true. I thought you were better than this. You died with Diane.
Serra! You know better. You are not doing things right. You could have admitted it and let your board help you. But you chose to go nuts instead. Do you think I would leave this organization I love so much HIS way if this were done right? You left me to flounder. You did all that with Cheryl and dismissed us. Oh yes, I spoke with Cheryl. Did you think I wouldn’t? I am not two faced. I am very open. I tried to talk to you but you basically ignored and tried to run from it. I know youre mad, the name calling and all…. but I do love you. I just loved Moms more. I wish you well Serra. I do. I just cannot be a part of it any longer.
I never got any response. What I got was blocked from all communication.
I never stole any Moms for Marijuana chapter pages, or kicked ANYONE out of any group. By the time that all happened we no longer had access or admin privileges in any group to be able to do that.
Only Serra and Cheryl Shuman had that kind of access and privileges on Moms for Marijuana pages. And they started deleting people out of groups and off of Moms For Marijuana pages IMMEDIATELY! Blaming it on us all the way.
Now, some of the more than 100 chapter pages I was manager on had Serra or someone else as manager on them too, and those that did, I simply let myself out of them. Some of the chapter pages I was on as manager had other “content creators” (usually the chapter leader) so in order to get myself off those pages, I made a Content Creator the Manager of the page and let myself off that page.
But there were some pages that had no other admin on them at all. (Keep in mind that means there were no chapter leaders on that page and the chapter was inactive.) Since Serra would not work with me to take them over, in order to get off those pages, I had to set them for deletion.
I did not, nor would I ever, delete any active chapter page that had another admin on it. And I would never do anything like they are claiming to any of those chapter leaders.
I love those ladies and I want to reiterate, I would NEVER do ANYTHING to purposely take ANYthing away from them. They worked hard to build their chapters and their pages, I know, I was right there with them while they were doing it.
And for Serra to try to cover up what she and Cheryl did in anger and fear by blaming us for it is… cowardly.
In response to “The Jenny Kush Memorial Fund”The only thing I have here is a question I wish Serra would answer:
Serra, About a month after we raised the money for Jenny’s Family, you sent me a text saying you were making the deposit for Rev. Jeremy, but you were having trouble doing it. You asked me to send him a message and tell him you were having trouble. I forgot to send him a message.
I sent you a text the next day telling you I had forgotten, and you told me not to worry about it because it had been taken care of. I believed you. Even TOLD many a person who asked that had been done, because I believed you. Tell me why then her family just got a check? A long time AFTER you told me that was done, and only after people started asking you about it?
I am glad they got the money, but why tell me it had been taken care of already if it hadn’t? Like most of this Moms for Marijuana mess, it just doesn’t make any sense.
℞ ℞ ℞ ℞ ℞ ℞ ℞
In closing, I want the cannabis community to know I am sorry for all this crap that has distracted us from our path. I am sorry that this has affected us all and I’m sorry that it all went down the way it did.
Every day I ask myself when I’m going to wake up from this nightmare and I hate it as much as you do. I even hate that I feel compelled to say any of this today.
I promise you we are moving forward and I hope you understand that NONE of us wanted ANY of this with Moms for Marijuana. None of us expected it to happen like this.
Each and every one of us LOVED Moms for Marijuana and we are devastated at this train wreck. I love this canna-community!
I love each and every one of you. Together we WILL end prohibition.
I just needed to tell my side of the story, and defend a whole lot of good women against a whole lot of bad lies.
It’s time for this to end. Let the hate and lies die. Let the truth speak for itself.
And let’s try to do it with love, peace and kindness.
~ Candace Junkin