The editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer has apologized and resigned after running a front-page headline that mocked Black Lives Matter. (Editors, not reporters, are responsible for headlines.)


Project CBD ran an even more offensive lame-pun headline, which I protested at the time.

It was 2018 —long after the murder of Trayvon Martin had inspired the Black Lives Matter movement. Many marijuana activists knew that I had created Project CBD and assumed I was still involved with the website, so in addition to being outraged by the jive-ass pun, I was personally embarrassed. I objected in an email: “Please replace the headline that makes light of Black Lives Matter. One situation is life and death. The other is profit-and-loss.”  I got a heartless reply from Tiffany Devitt (who used to go by Devitt-Lee, but dropped the hyphenate, effectively maintaining the image of her husband, Martin Lee, as an independent journalist). My protest was ignored and the offensive pun was still on the Project CBD website as of June 3, 2020, as millions of Americans honored George Floyd and restated, as loud as we could, “Black lives matter!”

Since 2015 the Devitt-Lees have drawn salaries from and had an ownership stake in Cannacraft, a company reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Tiffany is secretary of the corporation and has a 10% interest. (California is a community-property state.) Martin trademarked Project CBD (unbeknownst to me), dropped the links to O’Shaughnessy’s, and used what I had created to promote his company’s products —Care By Design, AbsolutXtracts and Satori— as well as his book, speaking engagements, and the Cannacraft-affiliated dispensary in Hopland. Project CBD posts invariably praised Cannacraft’s approach to the production and marketing of cannabis products, and often put down alternative approaches (such as extracting CBD from hemp plants in the years before Cannacraft start doing it, too). “Black Markets Matter” to Project CBD  because they reduce the profits of companies that had the capital to get fully permitted.  

As a major “player” in the Cannabis industry, Cannacraft had “a seat at the table” and supported the tax-and-regulate scheme created by the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (which imposes an unprecedented 15% excise tax on medical users). Tiffany, the “director of government and consumer affairs,” represented Cannacraft at a key meeting of the AUMA honchos in Southern California and pledged financial support for the ballot initiative. I was still visiting Cannacraft HQ at the time —still blind to Martin’s takeover of Project CBD— and asked Tiffany why she hadn’t objected to taxing cannabis at double the rate of ordinary commodities? I reminded her that no prescribed medications are taxed in California, and over-the-counter drugs are taxed at 7%; the implication of AUMA’s excise tax on physician-authorized medical users is that the whole “medical marijuana” thing was a shuck.) Tiffany’s  reply was a non-sequitur. She said she had found Sean Parker, the billionaire backer, “a little Ausbergery.” It was a word I had never heard, and it stuck in my mind. Like “Black Markets Matter” did in 2018. 

I held off blowing the whistle till now because I figured, “What good would it do the movement?” But today it’s crucial that we, the people, distinguish our real friends from the opportunists and phonies who smoothly talk the talk.

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