The Cannabis Consumers Union’s commitment is to protecting marijuana consumers, and this includes protecting consumers from businesses who may not have the best in mind for the whole industry. We believe that big business has got too much power over all industries and has become too involved in politics that protect their interests, and not the consumers, and have even hijacked the democratic process itself. Rulings like Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission have given more power to businesses than to the individual resulting in the biggest flow of money from business into politics that effectively stole our voices. Couple that with businesses such as Koch Industries and Monsanto and its subsidiaries poisoning us by dumping cancer causing chemicals and genetically modifying food with chemicals, and it is just a recipe for disaster.
What happens when one of our own decides to partner up with a former executive connected to one of these horrible companies? Well, at minimum it needs to be exposed, analyzed, and boycotted. It is not worth the risk. People and organizations rarely change their behavior. The company in question is United Cannabis Corporation and its recent announcement that it is bringing onto their board former Monsanto Executive, John C. Hunter III as an advisor. This should alarm everyone in the cannabis community, hemp included. His history is pure evil, and directly tied to those who have kept marijuana prohibited all these years.
Let’s start by looking at the obvious. A quick search shows that John C. Hunter III is akin to Dr. Evil in the disasters that he has caused for some human beings. He ran Solutia, Inc., a chemical spin-off of Monsanto that is responsible for poisoning Anniston, AL with so many cancer causing PCBs that it has been named the most poisonous place in America. Residents can’t grow vegetables, eat food, shew gum or, scarily, kick up dirt in their own yard. Hunter knew the chemicals were poisonous and yet he kept it a secret and if it wasn’t for a soil company called Soil Conservation Service discovering it and Hunter having to pay $700 million in damages and fines, no one would have ever known.
John C. Hunter III is also connected to DuPont through his previous company Hercules, which was DuPont owned gunpowder business that was forced to branch off from its parent company in 1912 due to federal antitrust violations. **Record scratch – yes you read that right.** Hunter is connected to DuPont, the very industry that was behind marijuana prohibition in the first place. It is bad enough that he has presided over companies that have caused the cancer that people use marijuana for, but having worked for a company that was founded by those responsible for the loss of millions of lives through death or imprisonment due to cannabis prohibition is simply reprehensible. This would be like hiring Hitler to work at a hospital.
It probably won’t be surprising that United Cannabis, Tony Verzura and team will try to paint a picture of a repented Hunter who is coming to the cannabis industry to make up for his evil deeds. Cry us a river. Millions of people are dead because of corporate greed and he is coming back to feed at the trough. It is so just completely unethical that it almost seems to be a joke.
Don’t be fooled cannabis consumers. There is a pathology to greed and power. John C. Hunter III saw an opportunity in the America’s fastest growing industry and Tony Verzura, owner of River Rock just let him in. Thanks a lot bro for throwing the whole industry under the bus for your own selfish gain. Verzura even wrote a statement on Facebook defending United Cannabis Corporation’s actions by saying that ultimately this was to stop Monsanto from coming in. So, basically he is stopping Monsanto by becoming just like Monsanto. He is already trying to secure licensing on patents for genetically engineered strains, so it is not out of the realm of possibility that United Cannabis Corporation is trying to become the next Monsanto with of their former minions, he calls him coach, now advising them. He must really think the cannabis community is stupid.
In his statement, Verzura goes on to talk about the possibility of the government rescheduling marijuana to a schedule II on the CSA and that all of this may just be irrelevant and that he already has a pharmaceutical grade laboratory built in Canada to run to in case that happens. Yet, with the direction the company is going, they are actually positioning themselves to do well in case marijuana does become a schedule 2. The press releases and appointments to the board give a glimpse into the company’s strategy, so he is hiding something. Plus, River Rock and their allegiance to the Marijuana Industry Group have resulted in protectionist lobbying before. Remember, they supported the monopolizing vertical integration rule (also known as 70/30) and they were recently wanted to ban home growers from being caregivers. It is not outside the realm of possibility that Verzura, River Rock, United Cannabis aren’t also lobbying for schedule II behind closed doors. What better ay than to corner a market. (Read the statement in its entirety below).
Maybe Tony Vezsura and the United Cannabis Corporation didn’t do their due diligence. However, that seems really unlikely because the whole board was obviously put together strategically, so they definitely knew his past. Tony admits it himself in his statement. The statement is really a shallow disguise for what seems to be more nefarious intentions in monopolizing the industry. What a shame, because it is the goal for the marijuana movement to also create a better world, not own it. And that is what it looks like United Cannabis wants to do, monopolize the industry for its own benefits.
The cannabis industry has the opportunity to show the world what a new ethical market based on the principles of conscious capitalism. One that empowers other players, not disempowers them. Big business has done a lot to undermine the people and the democratic process. If it truly comes down to lack of oversight and due diligence on part Tony Versura and the United Cannabis Corporation, then the right thing to do will be to dismiss John C. Hunter III, because regardless of the change of heart he may have had (we will find out soon what the “story” is), based on his past he most certainly does not deserve a seat at the table. If United Cannabis does not keep integrity with the marijuana movement, and keeps Hunter on board, then it is only the duty of cannabis consumers to boycott all related companies, including River Rock and all of the businesses that are associated with the United Cannabis Corporation.
Statement from River Rock owner Tony Verzura:
Attention Patients & Patrons
This message is being brought to you by Tony Verzura, founder and owner at RiverRock & United Cannabis, to expand upon the rumors flying around that we have some how “joined” with Monsantos. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, and I would like to explain the reasons behind the newly appointed financial advisor at United Cannabis John Hunter, and the interim CEO of Earnest Blackmon.
First, since the DEA is about to officially lose their financial support from the DOJ, the FDA is strongly considering rescheduling cannabis from a Class 1 to a Class 2. If that happens it is quit possibly the worse thing in the US for medical patients. Why? Because that will require all cultivation and distribution of cannabis based products used for “medical purposes” to be distributed thru outlets like Walgreens pharmacy. Every major pharmaceutical company and distributor outside the US is suiting up and getting into the industry. In fact, they are trying to control the industry to make it very very hard to even exist. United Cannabis has a bi-lateral partner in Canada with a state of the art facility already built to pharmaceutical specifications. You can tour this facility on UCANNTV (YouTube) to see the types of efforts we are making to not lose the opportunity to continue to help patients world wide with our natural product lines (non-gmo) cannabinoid based therapeutics developed for prevention, management, and regenerative medicine. These products are developed to help patients with chronic disease and cancer.
Secondly, Monsantos has already genome mapped 4 strains, filing patents on the plant, and implementing these strains into countries where medical cannabis is legal. GW has filed for inactive cannabinoid patents with all ratio’s of CBD:THC and pushing to control many forms of cannabis based medicine with their patents in the US as of last week. If the FDA reschedule cannabis this would mean these companies would be in control of your medicine.
United Cannabis has formed a company with myself, the master grower at RiverRock, the guys who discovered stem cells currently running research and trials on natural based products at universities to fight chronic diseases and cancer. We formed a power horse of management, science, and processors from the industry to stand up against this movement so companies like Monsanto’s will NOT have control. In order to give United Cannabis, and the team, and patients a fighting chance, United Cannabis took on John Hunter who retired from what was Monsanto’s 10 years ago. He came to us to help United Cannabis fight back, and not get run over like 95% of our industry if this should happen. He was appointed as a financial advisor to help us form strategy against Monsanto’s. Earnie Blackmon was appointed to interim CEO with John Hunter advising him on how to structure a public company for success against his former team mates. Essentially, we have hired on their X coach until we figure out the next moves being made at the government level. If any of you know RiverRock, United Cannabis, Rare Dankness, or myself you would certainly know we are the opposite of that company, but we will not allow them to force our industry to exile. We do not even release feminized seeds so you should already know where we stand. These are the facts, and I do hope this sheds some light on the subject. Many articles will be released thru familiar sources on this subject to help ensure we are fighting as hard as a company can fight for patients rights to access their medicine.
Last Friday, June 27th, Denver police raided Maryjane Social Club, which resulted in three citations and one person having their dab rig confiscated for evidence. The story is still being fleshed out with Maryjane Social Club, and it is possible that there may have been a violation in terms of checking IDs, but the overall incident puts forth a major question: where can cannabis consumers consume safely and “legally?” It depends on where they live, and if they live in Denver, they are not welcome, as Friday night’s event showed.
Apparently, the only place that cannabis consumers can partake is in their homes, or in the few lucky areas in the state where local officials are much more respectful of the will of majority. Pueblo, CO is permitting cannabis clubs, and iBake Denver, technically in unincorporated Adams County, has been able to operate free of hassle. At places like iBake Denver, people sign up as members for the freedom to use marijuana in a social setting with other people with similar interests, not hiding in a home like some kind of freak, which is apparently what Denver is pushing for.
What would be best for Colorado and Denver are marijuana cafes, but with the current leadership in the Denver City Council, it will be an uphill if not impossible battle. Social clubs, which require membership fees and members disclosing personal information, are a good stop gap measure, but are not the best sustainable model for robust economic growth. Allowing for cafes, which would be similar to alcohol bars, would create a new revenue stream, create new jobs, new education and certification opportunities for marijuana trade schools, and new licensing opportunities to generate money for the city and state.
However, with the lack of support from the state’s capital city, it is urgent that Denver be called out on anti-marijuana actions when 66% of voters in Denver alone voted for Amendment 64. Voters need to show their disapproval during Denver’s mayoral and city council election in May 2015. Mayor Hancock is up for re-election and he has been very anti-marijuana, which is very concerning considering the 66% of voters who voted for marijuana legalization
Some of the city council members are so against marijuana that last year they proposed a draconian ordinance violating voters’ will that would have made it illegal for someone to smoke inside their home or on their porch if someone walking on the public sidewalk could see the consumption taking place. They would have literally violated property rights had there not been so much passionate testimony in their persecution of marijuana that helped amend the ordinance. To remind cannabis consumers, here are the councilmembers who voted in favor of violating property rights: Jeanne Robb, Judy Montero, Jeanne Faatz, Debbie Ortega, Chris Herndon, Peggy Lehmann and Albus Brooks. Well, the time has come for some of them, along with Mayor Hancock, to answer for their deeds.
A few of the Councilmembers are facing term limits, some of them marijuana legalization opponents, so it is critical to fill their seats with candidates that support marijuana. Charlie Brown in district 6, who has been the most active councilmember in opposition to marijuana laws, term limits in 2015. It is critical that his seat get filled by a candidate who supports marijuana. Other councilmembers term limiting are Jeanne Fatz from district 2, Peggy Lehmann from district 4, Judy Montero from district 9, Jeanne Robb from district 10, and Chris Nevitt from district 7, who is not term limited and is running for city auditor. All of the councilmembers mentioned except for Nevitt do not view marijuana favorable and once out, it will be critical to fill their seats with marijuana friendly candidates.
The Cannabis Consumers Union provides its members and the general public with information on how political candidates stand on cannabis issues. So far there are two candidates that have shown solid support for the new marijuana industry. Susan Shepherd is running for reelection in district 1 in 2015 and has been one of the most vocal supporters of marijuana in Denver. Jose Silva who will be running as an at-large candidate has a long history in the cannabis movement and will probably win the vote just for that reason.
It will be refreshing to have candidates who will see the value of upholding voters while also doing proactive things for the new industry, such as economic development projects and of course, fighting for the right to consume marijuana in safe places. Cannabis consumers have a right to be able to consume in safe places while socializing, and it should be similar to cafes that people can walk into at will and pay as they use. Denver voters can help by writing current and future councilmembers and the mayor’s office to voice their concerns, and to perhaps politely remind them that this is a defining issue for a positive vote.
Stay tuned for more information on candidates as it becomes available.