There’s a big dust-up going on around the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo (planned for mid-September in Los Angeles), and it involves Roger Stone, who’s booked as a keynote speaker for the event. Stone is an advocate for cannabis legalization, but the controversy stems from his longtime connection to Donald Trump and Stone’s own history of racism (he was banned from CNN for calling one of their regular contributors “a stupid negro”).
As a result of President Trump’s comments defending white supremacists and neo-Nazis, the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) withdrew from the expo, citing Roger Stone’s presence as the reason. Last week, MCBA posted this on Facebook: “As a result of CWC choosing (Roger Stone) as their keynote speaker, MCBA has decided to withdraw from attendance and speaking roles at this conference. CWC, you know better so there’s no excuse not to do better.”
Following suit, the Cannabis Industry Journal announced that it would “no longer be a media partner of any CWCBExpo events, unless they remove Roger Stone from the keynote slot.” The Journal editors added, “In choosing Roger Stone to keynote, the CWCBExpo is making a Faustian bargain and we don’t believe this is right. We need to stand by our morals; the ends don’t justify the means. The cannabis industry is no place for racism and we would like to see Roger Stone removed from the keynote position at CWCBExpo.”
Then things started to get ugly.
Scott Giannotti, a managing partner at CWCBE replied to the MCBA on Facebook. “How convenient MCBA is promoting CWCBExpo’s biggest competitor NCIA, who hosts ALL WHITE CONFERENCES. Meanwhile CWCBExpo works hard at producing the most politically and culturally diverse conference program in the cannabis industry. But we’re racists ok lol I’ll put our show guide up against NCIA’s any day you want and show you how dumb you people are. In fact, I’ll put the diversity of our conference against ANY trade show in the WORLD and make you look rediculous (sic). Good luck on your crusade and promoting the MOST WHITE trade association in the cannabis industry. Have a nice day.” Ouch.
The back and forth between the parties involved continues, and industry leaders continue to drop out of the CWCBExpo as a result of Stone’s keynote slot.