It was an interesting month, May. Had some fakes show some true colors. Had some real show some true colors. In New York, when your born and raised here you learn fast-there ain't no time for lames. This is concrete jungle ladies and gentleman. It's not just a cliché, it's real out here. The strong survive, the quick, nimble, and sharp of mind rise and the weak fall fast. The cream rises to the top here, there is no faking success here, you will be sniffed out, snuffed out, and stepped on.
That said, I think this week the CHA really had our mettle tested with more than a few people bristled with comments that I made about Empire State NORML. I was criticized for walking in the cannabis parade (apparently it's only for certain people) and for capitalizing off the parade by throwing an after party, which means (to some fools) that I have forgone my American right to free speech and opinion. My favorite accusation of egregious crimes against cannabis are my interests profiting off this industry, that I am some evil, bald headed, hand wringing, eye-ball rolling fat cat capitalist. Well your honor, I plead guilty on all counts.
You know I'm not a peaceful hippie, not really good at being something I'm not. My roots are in the counterculture of New York Hardcore and hip hop. There is love in my heart for things in this world that have a chance to help other things, but if I don't see you doing that, I just don't respect you. The CHA is not here to be the biggest, the best, the only thing it is, is a reflection of me. This is my company, I didn't build it for you. It's for cannabis. If you like the lane the CHA is in, jump in, and help us provide a space for cannabis to dominate the Earth. If you don't like it, get the fuck out. It's really that simple. This is NYC shit, this ain't Kansas. I grew up in a hardcore Italian and Jewish NY family where we didn't accept mediocrity. I don't accept it in my personal life, I won't accept it in my professional life. I believe in fight or flight. There's a time for war and a time for peace, there's war when someone gets in the way of cannabis, there's peace when they acquiesce.
I criticized NORML for putting all the money they receive from donations into their marketing budget and their founders pockets, then this came out on MMJBusinessdaily.com a few days later...
I received a TON of email in support of my comments about NORML, I wasn't surprised. I knew my comments were legit and the support that rallied around me actually moved me to dab. So I dabbed and thought, thought and then I dabbed. Wondered if our 2nd Annual CHA Memorial Day Poetry and Picnic would be a success, if the community was behind me or if they had turned on me due to my unconventional and passionately negative opinion of this advocacy group. Well I would soon have my answer as a Memorial Day approached!
When I arrived to the Island I was met by one of the NYC Parks and Recreational security officer's, a man who introduced himself as an NYPD Detective named Dave. He rolled up slowly in a golf cart as I walked in his direction and it had the eerie feeling of a gun fight, the law enforcement officer rolling up, the non-violent offender minding his business about to get harassed....here's how the conversation went:
Dave: "You the marijuana guy?"
Me: "Nope, I'm involved with cannabis. Marijuana is a schedule 1 drug, cannabis is a natural plant."
Dave: "Your the guy from the newspaper, right?
Me: "Yes that's me, I don't want any problems, we have a right to picnic, and I called Governor's Island. They're expecting me. We do this every year."
Dave: "What's gonna happen here today."
Me: "We're going to find a place away from kids and families and have a picnic. I didn't bring any alcohol, I just have some food and sodas."
Dave: "You know, this medical marijuana thing, I believe in it. I think it really works."
Me: "It sure does. Look I have to set up, I'm not sure where we are going to be, but I'll make sure its out of everyone's face."
With a handshake, I was ready to roll. And I couldn't help say to myself, "I guess not all cops are bad." Actually first time I smoked cannabis was with a cop, but he didn't become an officer for years after, we were 15 at the time!
This year Memorial Day felt special, not just because it was a holiday, but it was our 1 year anniversary as a company! I look back at the last year and I become encouraged by the growth we've had and support from the community. In addition to completing our first year of operations, I was excited due to the news about the advancement of the bi-partisan Senate bill to end prohibition of medical cannabis for Veterans. If this $77Billion bill does pass, which I think it will, should end Federal prohibition against veterans, allowing Doctors to recommend medical cannabis to all vets of the armed forces. For veterans like the ones that noted researcher Sue Sisley is attempting to help, such as those depicted in the documentary "WEED 3" by CNN and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, this provision is a major step in the right direction if and when it passes.
We had 70-80 good people show up and the feedback we got on the event was amazing. We had over 35 sign up on the mailing list and had over $260 in donations which we are rolling into our June event (to be announced shortly). Also we had the honor of introducing Rob and Eileen from Anotherwaytofight.com to the community. Rob, a bladder cancer survivor told his story of beating bladder cancer using RSO (Rick Simpson Oil). AWTF and CHA are currently discussing opening up a CHA Chapter in Long Island with AWTF as the hosts. We are very excited at the opportunity to discuss more about this with the community at our June event to be announced shortly!
We brought cannabis, in full force to the Governor's Island park, and the reason I do it every year is to remind New Yorkers that freedom ain't free. When I bring the people down to Governor's Island we pay tribute to our fallen heroes as we gazed out into the Hudson River and saw her, Lady Liberty in all her grandeur to the left, and to the right, the Freedom tower. In this business freedom and liberty have been oppressed for far too long. With each year our picnic will grow and eventually cannabis will legalize, could be 2017, could be 2020, the point is, we will be there when it happens, on Governor's Island. We will be there, Memorial Day 20-- to put one in the air for the troops who've been forced to take synthetic drugs by the law, held back by PTSD, and other anxiety disorders. And on that day we will be in a very large contingent, it will be one of the greatest days of our lives...
See ya next year.