The Weirdos’ Essential Cannabis Industry Bullshitter Guide
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Every December I like to take stock of the cannabis experts that have moved on because they didn’t have a clue what they were talking about.
And it’s important to remember people are bullshitting at every level of the industry, from the budtender telling you those mids are first to the CEO who is also trying to convince you those mids are fire, or even scarier, a promise you’ll get to keep a piece of your company. Most cannabis industry dirtbags fall between those two spots on the totem pole.
It gets worse though. Sometimes you spend your whole life dedicated to cannabis only to find out your heroes are dicks.
Let’s look at some of our favorite categories of bullshitting cannabis experts. We’ll start with the least harmful to society
Legacy Fake Experts: Participation Trophy OGs
As the OGs that helped move the chains get further and further from their glory years, they want to have a hand in what’s to come. But a lot of the time they barely dipped their toes in the water in the first place. Much of the time, the loudest voices have the most minimal experiences. With the sound of their voices filling the void as people seek guidance in the world’s most rapidly emerging agricultural commodity, I mean it’s no Artificial Intelligence, but things are pretty popping on the weed front no?
As much as we appreciate people’s time gathering signatures and helping change minds, I want the actual experts writing the policy. Letting people with participation trophies and not felonies write the policy had been an issue in the past. Yes, your time was valuable, no it doesn’t give you the right to weigh in on every aspect of policymaking.
Policy Fake Experts: Advocacy Gone Haywire
These people didn’t realize they were bullshitting us. There were a bunch of nice people who spent a lot of time on legalization and got in on the policy formulation after it passed in a variety of places. Their original ethos for finding their way to reform was getting people out of cages. The gap between advocacy and execution was too far for them to cross. A lot of those people contributed to epic delays all over the country. We don’t hold it against them the way we do the real bullshitters because for better or worse, they were well-intentioned.
The Bullshitter Panelist Fake Experts
Where do those issues of letting randoms write policy come from?
Remember, back in the dark ages, the experts had to keep their heads down. In California, Prop 19 in 2010 was a bit more insulated from the fake experts because everyone taking part had hands-on experience from Richard Lee’s Oaksterdam. But it proved costly. The feds came for Lee a year later. He divided his empire amongst his core staff and supporters.
This terrified the experts. Who would want to go into a community meeting and bitch about commercial cultivation policy? In proving you know, you’re essentially proving you’ve committed the crime. What if a fed or someone from a less than favorable law enforcement agency is sitting in the crowd? This was a very par-for-the-course conspiracy for mid-2010s cultivators in California. And they were probably right, given the feds’ history of infiltrating organizers and how easy it would have been to slide into these rooms.
But this fear left a void of expertise. And who filled the void? Exactly. The not-experts. From the hill, from the city, suddenly people who weren’t associated with the fire would be writing the rules for the people who are.
A few years ago, I broke down how the conference scene is accidentally turning into a fake mill, churning out new shitheads annually. What happens is a conference programmer will get one or two experts to anchor a panel or workshop. Those anchors usually provide value to whoever is in the audience, if you pay attention to those folks you’ll probably learn something.
But what about those other seats on the panels? Well, let us just say the official theme song for those seats is The Wu-Tang Clan’s C.R.E.A.M.. Much of the time, it is pay to play for those seats. Some fools from some startup that believe it’s groundbreaking but is probably something that has been done before. Those people attempt to attach themselves to the experts sitting with them while they attempt to sell you the idea they are one too.
Eventually, suckers drink the Kool-Aid. That person becomes the fake anchor, and they just parrot the stuff they heard from the actual expert. There is a chance you can get this fake expert title for south of $10k if you play your card rights. If you’re a real demon you can try and get your boss to pay for it.
Other times the fake expertise is based on pure exaggeration. I know this one guy who just pretends he didn’t sell health insurance for five years after college before moving to California. It’s hilarious.
The Former Dispensary Owner Fake Expert
Some of the most ultra-bullshitters of the moment are dispensary owners that got bought out or failed in general heading to other states to see if they can catch lightning in a bottle twice. I remember this equity company in NYC hit me up to ask if a former California dispensary owner was sketchy, all I could think to say back was, “Get out of there!” As more and more markets, this will continue to be a thing. Just look at how many people who failed in California ended up in Oklahoma. The trend will continue.
Allegedly a former dispensary owner was the one who convinced California to allow people to stack permits. This created mega farms five years early and devastated anyone in California’s legacy market attempting to enter the rec market.