Pubdate: Thu, 23 Jun 2016
Source: Portland Mercury (OR)
Column: Cannabuzz
Copyright: 2016 The Portland Mercury
Author: Josh Jardine


Not Everyone in the Cannabis World Is Chill

"That's the thing about people who smoke weed," said a friend to me 
recently. "They are some of the most laid-back, easygoing people I've 
ever met."

We were talking about how people who have just consumed cannabis 
behave compared to those who have consumed alcohol. And within the 
context of that particular comparison, I absolutely agreed.

But recently, I've found the exact opposite to be true. And after 
conversations with others in the cannabis industry, I'm beginning to 
rethink my position. Because there is some truly fucked-up behavior 
going on, and it's not helping anyone.

It wasn't always like this-and by "always," I mean prior to July 1, 
2015, when Measure 91 went into effect. Sure, up until then, there 
were the normal squabbles and ego fits you might expect, but they 
remained pretty low-key. ("Bro, I grow weed waaaay danker than that 
trash, bro.") ("Bro, that pound was light by eight grams. Eight 
grams, bro.") ("I think his weed has bug feces all over it.")

I started to notice a strong uptick in trash talk once dispensaries 
started selling to adult recreational buyers. No great shock-where 
there is money to be made, people don't always behave at their best.

But then I started seeing some truly vitriolic postings on social 
media. People began attacking groups and individuals, in strings of 
increasingly hate-filled diatribes. The blocking of other profiles 
started to rise.

A wholesaler I know was asked by a potential client if the trim they 
carried had been blasted with butane prior to sale, explaining he'd 
heard from three individuals in Southern Oregon that was the case. 
The individuals in question had a beef with one of the wholesalers, 
and had taken to spreading false rumors about their products.

And some other people I've spoken to had experiences so hateful and 
disturbing that they asked I not share what they endured.

I've been immune, thankfully, until two weekends ago. I was 
responsible for booking speakers for the main stage at a local hemp 
conference-"main stage" being a terribly grand way to overstate the 
14-inch-high platform pushed into a corner of an Expo Center hall, so 
near the concessions window that I could hear every order called out. 
I booked seven speakers for that main stage, with additional speakers 
booked into the various breakout rooms upstairs.

A "History of Hemp" expert I'd booked contacted me, ranting at some 
length that she had been mistakenly "relegated" to one of the 
breakout rooms, and that she demanded to be placed onto the main 
stage. I explained we wouldn't be able to accommodate her request, as 
the speakers had all been booked a month ago, but the breakout rooms 
at past hemp conventions had been standing-room-only events, and I 
was sure she would be speaking to a packed crowd.

The day before the convention started, I received a text. "I will 
absolutely be speaking on the main stage," she informed me. "I will 
do this even if I have to remove whoever is on the stage at 12:30 in 
order for me to get on the stage. There is no changing my time, and I 
trump Josh. Josh, that's how it is, and all you need to do now is 
retreat and say 'Yes ma'am' or not, but it's over. I'm on the main 
stage, do not fuck any further with me."

The emails that followed were even more profane and unhinged, and 
again, this was all about a 30-minute talk about hemp. We 
accommodated her request out of pity, only to have her hit the stage 
15 minutes late to speak to a grand total of four people.

I get that the canna industry is taking a toll, with long hours, 
obscenely high fees, and ill-informed decisions being made by 
regulators with no real love for the plant. These are stressful days. 
And while I don't believe we will all be kumbaya cuddle buddies, we 
have to do better. Threatening each other and trying to destroy each 
other's businesses doesn't serve anyone's best interests. In case 
you've forgotten, weed is the ultimate chill-out tool. If we're 
finding we can't all get along, then let's all get a bong and take a time out.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom