Although the cannabis industry has fought tooth and nail for the past few weeks to prevent Roger Stone from being accepted into its protectionist community, the long time Capitol Hill hell raiser says “partisan shitheads” will not deter his mission “to preserve access to legal medicinal marijuana.”
Earlier this week, a Republican-dominated House committee flexed some muscle, blocking a popular federal budget amendment that has protected people and businesses participating in state medical marijuana programs from being prosecuted by the Department of Justice. If the Senate does not salvage the measure known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which has been in effect since 2014, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions would have free rein, starting next year, to impose a vicious crackdown on everything that is cannabis medicine.The outcome of this debacle is in the hands of Congressional leadership; meaning anything could happen, but the odds are in favor of Republican control.
However, in a series of recent Twitter posts, longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone, who was officially blackballed this week from a cannabis industry event in Los Angeles, indicates that he is currently in the trenches of the medical marijuana protections issue, working with both sides in order to hash out a plan to keep the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment alive and well.
“I am working overtime to reverse this error by House Republicans,” Stone said in a recent post.
It is no secret that Stone, while not an official appendage of the federal government, has influence in the nation’s capital. After all, he is largely responsible for the blue-collar targeted campaign that clinched the presidential victory last year for Republican Donald Trump. The self-proclaimed “agent provocateur” was also once a partner in one of the most influential lobbying firms in Washington D.C. (Black, Manafort and Stone) and, according to the Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone, he is one of those responsible for the kind of shady politics that are now status quo, including his influence on creating the system that gave American corporations the power to legally bribe (otherwise known as lobbying) federal lawmakers for legislative influence.
It could also be suggested that Stone is a large part of the reason that the cannabis plant continues to remain an outlaw substance under federal law, as we have known for decades that the alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical industries have lobbied against the legalization of marijuana.
But Stone, a man who claims to have “marched and rallied against for drug law reform for 20 years,” recently launched a new marijuana-lobbying group called the United States Cannabis Coalition, which was assembled to persuade President Trump to initiate the descheduling of the cannabis plant from the DEA’s Controlled Substances Act.
“It is our intention to press the Trump Administration from the top down to recognize the medicinal value and economic potential of cannabis,” Stone said in an August press release. “We have an innovative, outside the box strategy to win this important fight and I am confident that with our support, the president will ultimately keep his word and do the right thing.”
It is this kind of influential activism that originally got Stone booked as the keynote speaker at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo (CWCBExpo) in Los Angeles next week. Despite the Minority Cannabis Business Association’s call for a boycott over Stone’s previous “racist and “misogynistic” comments,” event organizers originally maintained that they would not remove Stone from his speaking role because he “is an asset to this movement. He has raised a lot of money. He is pushing Jeff Sessions really hard and he’s got Donald Trump’s ear.”
Still the cannabis industry continued to insist that the marijuana movement, a cause that has been somewhat stagnant in the gears of American politics for decades, did not “want” or “need” the help of a man like Stone.
Organizers with the CWCBExpo eventually caved, announcing this week that Stone would no longer be a part of the event.
While this controversy stirred, Congress was hard at work trying to disassemble the only relevant marijuana reform to take place in D.C in over forty years – the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment – a situation that could, once again, give the Justice Department the clout to investigate, raid, and prosecute anyone connected to medical marijuana.
On Thursday, Stone lashed out against the cannabis industry for its lack of attention to the big picture.
Stone also used the social media platform to criticize the CWCBExpo for replacing him with Reverend Al Sharpton, a public figure that Stone says has a “long history of anti-semitic comments.”
“Hey Minority Cannabis Business Alliance - Al Sharpton has a long history of anti-semitic comments Are you boycotting his #CWBCExpo speech?” he wrote.
It wasn’t long after the boycott picked up traction within the cannabis community that Stone’s partner in the United States Cannabis Coalition, Orlando attorney and possible gubernatorial candidate John Morgan, called the push to prevent the political prodigy from taking the lead on legal marijuana a “mistake.”
“It’s a mistake. Roger has the president's ear. Politics is not pretty. Sometimes politics makes strange bedfellows. This is such a time,” Morgan told Politico. “With the stroke of a pen Trump could make MJ schedule 2. And it would be right and his ratings would soar.”
Although the sentiment reverberating throughout the halls of Congress seems to be that a War on Marijuana 2.0 is something our elected officials are prepared to get behind, Stone, who subscribes to the policy of “morality is weakness,” believes this mission can be thwarted with a unified effort involving a push from both political parties.
But there is little doubt that the unwillingness of the cannabis industry to embrace Stone’s political savoir-faire has gotten under his skin.
In one of his latest Twitter posts, Stone suggests that while the cannabis industry does nothing to further its cause, he is still hard at work.
“While partisan shitheads carp I am working with Republicans and Democrats 2 pass an amendment to protect state legalized medicinal marijuana,” he wrote.
Although the cannabis industry would rather Roger Stone stay away from the cannabis legalization movement, after decades of marijuana prohibition, countless protests, marches, speeches given and articles written in favor of legalization, pot prohibition is still jamming up hundreds of thousands of people in the criminal justice system every year.
Perhaps the movement could use all the help it can get?