People ask why I stand up to Big Marijuana. “Aren’t you scared these guys will bury you,” they say, “with their billions of dollars and roided-out legal teams?”
Let me tell you a little story…
When I was growing up in Illinois, my dad owned his own film processing business called American Film Company.
To collect leads, he’d set up booths at fairgrounds where people would drop their names and phone numbers into his jar in hopes of winning a prize. To entice me to join him, he’d bribe me with the promise of ice cream, a strategy that worked like a charm. Ice cream dripping down my chin, I was happy to be his wingman.
I’d also catch some extra work with the carnies, handing out darts for dart games and serving hamburgers, Italian sausages, coffee, and pie. At ten years old I was ringing up orders on the cash register.
I had a blast working those fairs and the experience opened my eyes to sides of human nature I didn’t know existed. But it also placed me in some bizarre predicaments.
One time, when I was twelve or thirteen, I sat on a john in the public restroom going number two and thumbing through an issue of Field & Stream. Suddenly the stall door flew open and this old dude with a trembling hand forced himself inside and grabbed for my private parts. I slapped his paw away, kicked him as hard as I could and then booted the stall door shut.
Pissed off and terrified, I yanked my pants up, ran outside, seized a two-by-four I found lying on the ground and took to hunting the sonofabitch down. It all happened so fast, the only thing I could remember about him were his shoes. In full vigilante mode, I scoured the carnival for his ass, spying everyone’s shoes, intent on bashing the pervert’s brains in.
I didn’t care how much bigger or older he was. There was no way I wasn’t going to stand up for myself. No. Fucking. Way.
He’s lucky I never found him.
Growing up, I dealt with a lot of bullies.
When I was twelve there was a sixteen-year-old who would pick on me constantly. He delivered newspapers and the apartment where I lived with my family was on his route. I knew that if I didn’t put an end to it the bullying would continue.
So one afternoon I hunkered down by my front window with a baseball bat, waiting for him to ride by. As soon as I saw him, I flew out the door and charged after him with the bat. Just as I’m about to bash his head in, he began crying and begging, “No, no, please don’t hit me. Please. Don’t hit me.”
I never had any trouble from him again.
As an outlaw grower I experienced crop failures, arrests, and rip-offs that amounted to millions of dollars. I had dozens of indoor and outdoor grows seized by the police, was kidnapped, exiled from a country where I was living with my wife and child, and had a dear friend and grow partner fall from the sky in my ultralight and die in my arms just yards from the wreckage.
Since going legit, I’ve been sued, had partnerships sour, and had government agencies try to shut me down because of my outlaw past.
And because I was the first in the industry—and the only one for a number of years—to not just admit, but also advertise, that my products were for growing marijuana, I had a half-dozen of the largest distributors in the industry try to get my products blacklisted from stores.
These distributors, with a combined annual revenue of $300,000,000, did everything in their power to put me out of business. All because I was honest about what I sold and knew a hell of a lot more about the nutrients and nutrient ratios that marijuana thrives on than they did.
I didn’t fall in line with the status quo and bullshit my way around the truth by saying my products were for orchids, roses, and tomatoes like all the other companies did.
I yelled from the highest mountain top I could find, at the top of my goddamn lungs, that my nutrients were for growing the big, stinky, tasty, sugary, potent buds.
And because of that honesty—which differentiated me from every other company on the planet and gave me a Unique Selling Proposition—along with superior products and customer service, I was grabbing a large piece of the pie they’d been sharing amongst themselves for years. So they played dirty to get me locked out of the industry.
They threatened store owners that they wouldn’t do business with them if they carried my products. They spread rumors that I was a biker, murderer, and DEA agent. They even had their lawyers send out an opinion letter that warned: IF YOU BUY FROM ADVANCED NUTRIENTS YOU COULD BE ARRESTED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.
Did it suck going through it?
Did I let it bury me?
I used it to my advantage and shared videos with our community, explaining how I was being persecuted for telling the truth about who I was and what my products were designed for.
What grower wants to purchase from a company who won’t stand up for them, won’t admit its products are used for marijuana, and doesn’t want to be associated with our community beyond leeching millions of dollars off us?
Growers don’t want that. They want to buy from a fellow grower who understands their problems, has their back, designs products specifically to meet their needs, and not only isn’t ashamed to do business with them but is PROUD to do business with them.
They want nutrients for pot, not tomatoes. And they want the business to be all in, not pretending their products are one thing when they’re really another.
Like many of us, I’ve been through so much shit—much of which I put myself through—it would take an entire library to describe. And for my flaws and shortcomings they’d have to build out a second floor.
And yet, with a stadium full of problems and challenges working against me—including my own mind a lot of the time—I’ve managed to far surpass almost every goal I set out for myself.
Life and business will try to kick your ass. Take your punches like a man (or badass woman) but don’t let them win. Fight back like a motherfucker and use the strength and wisdom you’ve gained from the challenges you’ve conquered as fuel.
I like the way Rocky says it in the speech to his son. Heed this timeless advice:
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.
But it ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward… It’s how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.
Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not point fingers and blame other people. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!”
When you’re tossed to the ground, you have an opportunity to become the kind person, grower, or business owner it takes to reach the goals others tell you are impossible. Seizing this opportunity is how you get back up.
All the obstacles, hurdles, and ass beatings you face now are to prepare you for what’s ahead. Because as your weed business grows, so will your problems. They’ll become larger and grow fucking fangs. And you won’t be able to overcome them unless you prepare yourself by tackling the challenges in front of you today, next week, next month, and next year.
Look at it as training. It’s pushups, squats, deadlifts, and pull-ups. It’s batting practice and running drills. The only difference is that the game has already started. And it all leads up to the World Series. IF you can make it. So don’t fuck around. Get busy and get serious.
Now, do you see why I’m not about to roll over and be trampled on by a bunch of corporate raiders like Scotts Miracle-Gro as they try to steal our community’s achievements and destroy as many of us as they can?
If you’re unfamiliar with the Scott’s situation, through a front company and via other methods, Scotts Miracle-Gro has purchased General Hydroponics (the #2 brand in the USA), Botanicare (the #5 brand in the USA) and Gavita Lights (the #1 lighting brand).
And Scotts is using its massive distribution channels at Home Depot to sell Black Magic.
This should be of great concern to every single grower, equipment manufacturer, and store owner in our community.
In fact, Scotts Miracle-Gro CEO, elite 1% millionaire Jim Hagedorn with his hundreds of millions of dollars to burn, announced he’s planning a Scotts Miracle-Gro marijuana takeover by investing $500 MILLION to commandeer the marijuana hydroponics nutrients, equipment, and retailing industries.
And make no mistake, Hagedorn aims to put small grow shops out of business completely.
A recent Forbes article said he compares the lawn and garden business to warfare. He’s quoted as saying:
“Today the way wars happen, you don’t get to keep all the stuff. To me this is one where in commercial combat you kind of rape and pillage, and you keep all of the stuff.”
Rape and pillage—his words, not mine.
Now is Scotts advertising that Black Magic is designed for marijuana? Of course not. They’re not part of our community, nor will they proudly stand up for you and the cannabis you grow.
So instead, with a wink wink and a nudge nudge, Scotts sells Black Magic for “tomato growers.”
The people who built the marijuana industry and showed the world marijuana is good medicine are the home growers, companies like Advanced Nutrients, seed breeders, cannabis retailers, hydroponics stores, and activists.
We’ve all put in years of hard work on the front lines.
Monsanto and Scotts Miracle-Gro have not.
There’s no way I want these convicted corporate criminals—with long histories of abuses that harm people, animals, and the environment—bullying the community I love so much.
The Environmental Protection Agency had to step in when Scotts Miracle-Gro was selling extremely dangerous products and bypassing laws designed to protect us from their poisons.
In another case, Scotts KNOWINGLY sold poisoned bird food that killed tens of thousands of birds, and got off with a small fine.
Monsanto and Scotts Miracle-Gro are longtime business partners and allies of the US military and drug war, producing and distributing deadly poisons sprayed by American drug warriors on people, animals, coca and marijuana plants, and forests in foreign countries such as Columbia.
The company sells its deadly poisons under the Ortho brand and now controls more than half of the consumer pesticides, fertilizers, soils, and grass seeds market.
And because Scotts Miracle-Gro has such a close business affiliation with Monsanto, one of the world’s leading GMO corporations, many analysts suspect that Scotts and Monsanto will team up to create GMO marijuana strains and seeds.
These of the kinds of motherfuckers muscling into our industry.
Right now, the giants are hiding in the shadows, gathering their troops, sharpening their weapons, and planning their assault.
And when the federal government legalizes marijuana, make no mistake, they will attack.
Just like Big Tobacco did to tobacco farmers, Big Marijuana will “rape and pillage” our community and squeeze out the bulk of the commercial growers.
How many mom and pop tobacco farmers you know of who make a good living today?
Not many. They’ve been squeezed out. Big Tobacco now owns that industry.
And with deep pockets, the right connections, and unlimited resources at their disposal, Big Marijuana will soon own ours.
They have an army of lobbyists to ensure their weed is what goes to market, not yours.
They will use their immense resources to push for laws that would make it hard, if not impossible, for the average Joe to receive a license allowing them to grow for commercial purposes.
They will do everything in their power to make it so that every marijuana user in the world has to rely on THEM for their marijuana.
And, at least in America, their loyal allies—the United States Government, as well as state governments across the country—will help make sure of it.
Unfortunately, most members of our community are going to get their asses kicked.
I, however, refuse to go down. In fact, I’m going to get smarter, stronger, and more focused. I’m going to rise above and flip the bird to Big Marijuana—to the men and women who care ONLY about the money and not our community—every step of the way.