It's nearing the end of the year, and so it's time to start reflecting back on what has happened in the marijuana world over the past year. I have been looking at articles I've published over the last year, been talking to friends, and been asking questions on social media to get fans' input on who should win an award for various categories. This is the third year that I have done these content-based awards. The Weed Blog awards are a no frills, 'street cred only' type of awards because it's basically me just putting your name in the content below.
There's no banquets, no open bars, no trophies. But with that being said, past award winners have always expressed their gratitude for winning an award, even if the award is just content-based. These award winners (and categories) were selected by me after getting input from a lot of sources, so if you think I missed someone, or a category, or just flat out think that the pick is ridiculous, feel free to e-mail me and I'm more than willing to have a discussion about it as time and life allow. So with no further delay, below are the 2015 Weed Blog award winners:
Online Activist of the Year - Tom Angell and Russ Belville. I think these guys have won this award the last two years too. They are on the internet daily. I swear neither of them sleep. Tom 'The One Man Marijuana Prohibition Wrecking Crew' Angell is in just about every major marijuana article I read online. He also writes for Marijuana.Com, and I quote his articles quite often. Russ 'The Hardest Working Man In Marijuana' Belville is relentless. If you follow him on Twitter, you will see that he never shies away from a meaningful debate, and is quick to challenge a prohibitionist which is something that I have always admired. Both of these men are very deserving of this award, and very deserving of support ($!) from anyone that can help as far as I'm concerned.
Courage Award - I also have two award winners for this category. The first is Shona Banda, who is facing some very serious criminal charges after her son spoke up at school against anti-medical marijuana propaganda, and she was targeted by law enforcement. Shona Banda is a medical marijuana patient who is living in a non-medical marijuana state. Despite the fact that the relief she experiences from consuming medical marijuana would be the same regardless of what state she was in, she is facing a battle. But, she is facing it with courage. If you are able, please contribute to her crowdfunding legal defense campaign. You can also find out more about her story at that link. The second award winner is Dan Riffle, formerly of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). Dan Riffle left MPP recently in a public way, citing that he didn't like the growing influence of the emerging marijuana industry on reform efforts. Dan Riffle fought for reform because it was the right thing to do, and not because it was profitable. It's not easy walking away from something, especially when you are good at it like Dan Riffle was at what he did for MPP, but I admire his unwillingness to compromise his beliefs. I tip my hat to you Mr. Riffle, and wish you nothing but the best and will always reserve the right to stalk you on social media channels in an attempt to soak up your geniusness.
Facebook Page of the Year - Tommy Chong. There was a death hoax the other day. I'm happy to say that Tommy is still very much alive, and still very much entertaining.
Infused Product Maker of the Year - Drip Ice Cream. I once stated that I would bathe in their ice cream. I stand by that statement.
Marijuana Podcast of the Year - Marijuana Today. The podcast features an allstar team of activists, the conversations are always on point, and the people that run it are people that I admire very much. If you haven't checked them out yet, please do, and make sure to leave a review!
Twitter Feed of the Year - Marijuana Majority. If you see it come across the MM Twitter feed, you know it's a big deal.
Celebrity of the Year - Melissa Etheridge. When the Marijuana Majority started a petition calling on the Obama Administration to fire DEA head Chuck Rosenberg, Melissa Etheridge was quick to sign it. She also recently wrote an article about why she supports marijuana reform, which can be read at this link here. I'm a HUGE fan of Melissa, and I hope to meet her someday to shake her hand, and potentially ask for guitar lessons. Not only is she a medical marijuana patient, a cancer survivor, a talented musician, and an activist, but she also went on BReal TV to 'The Smokebox' so she is a down as they come.
Event of the Year - This was easy. The Marijuana Business Conference and Expo that Marijuana Business Daily put on in Las Vegas was so ridiculously awesome that it's hard to even describe accurately. It was the biggest marijuana industry event of all time, with even former NBA player Cliff Robinson coming out to attend (he was on my flight, I wasn't brave enough to ask for an autograph). I went to the first conference in 2012, and to see the event grow to where it is now is nuts. I'm assuming next year will be that much grander. Kudos to the organizers!
Victory of the Year - The release of Jeff Mizanskey. Jeff Mizanskey was serving a life sentence for non-violent, marijuana-only offenses in Missouri. An effort led by Jeff's family, Missouri activists, and activists from all over America culminated in the release of Jeff. I was fortunate enough to meet him and shake his hand at the conference in Vegas, and it's a moment that I will always cherish. Jeff is the man, and everyone that helped free him from prison deserves a pat on the back. Job well done!
Politician of the Year - There are a handful of politicians that fought honorably against prohibition this last year. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) was obviously one of them. I have a feeling that this award will eventually be named after Earl, because he has been one of the greatest assets to the reform movement for quite some time now. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) deserve this award to for introducing the CARERS Act, which is a very historic piece of legislation, even if Grassley sits on his butt and essentially kills it. These Senators did what they could, and I'm hopeful that they will introduce it as many times as they need to until it's passed (or Grassley gets voted out!). I would also offer up Senator (and Presidential candidate) Bernie Sanders who introduced legislation that would remove marijuana from the federal controlled substances list altogether. And finally, Justin Trudeau, who is poised to legalize recreational marijuana nationwide in Canada.
Reform Organization of the Year - The Marijuana Majority, led by the previously mentioned Tom Angell. Marijuana Majority is EVERYWHERE these days in the media, and the petition calling for the removal of DEA head Chuck Rosenberg was outstanding. Donate to this organization as much as you reasonably can, and tell everyone else to do the same.
Woman of the Year - I actually posed this question on my Facebook page. And there were a lot of very great nominations. But my new friend Bethany Moore (NCIA) had the best nomination, and quite possibly the best Facebook question response I've ever seen. She simply said, 'All of us.' YES! Being a woman in the marijuana world has not always been easy, and still isn't to a very large extent. Woman are still treated like objects way too much, and as I remember Betty Aldworth (super kick ass cannabis activist!) tweeting quite a bit, people have to be constantly reminded that 'We are not hot chicks. We are your colleagues.' as Betty would say. Women ended alcohol prohibition, and so too will they end marijuana prohibition. Kudos to any and all women that are helping fight for social justice!
Philanthropist of the Year - John Morgan, again. John Morgan has put up a TON of money for the Florida medical marijuana campaign. For awhile he was matching every dollar donated with 9 of his own dollars. That's serious! Help him out, and donate to the Florida campaign. You will be helping patients finally get legal safe access in Florida in the process.
Citizen activist of the Year - I have three. Rick Thompson, Shaun McAlister, and Adela Falk. All three of you are truly an inspiration, and your tireless efforts motivate so many others to fight for what's right, and I hope you know that. I met Rick Thompson very briefly at a Cannabis Cup, but have never met Shaun or Adela. I hope to some day, and I reserve the right to do the 'We're not worthy!' spiel from Wayne's World when I see you folks, no matter how lame it will look :)
Reefer Madness Supporter - Christine Tatum. Kevin Sabet could easily win this too, as he has, but Christine has been particularly nasty, blaming tragic murders and death on marijuana consumption. It's truly shameful.
CEO of the Year - Leslie Bocskor, CEO of Electrum Partners. Electrum Partners provides business solutions to cannabis companies (very much an oversimplification, but for a more comprehensive explanation, check out this article). Leslie was recently selected as the 'Most Valuable Member' by his peers at ArcView Group, and if you have met him, it's easy to see why. Leslie has one of the most jovial personalities I've ever come across. He has a 'larger than life' image from afar, and after meeting him recently, I can assure you that he blew away my expectations in every measurable way. When I describe Leslie to my friends and family, I tell them he kind of has a kind of 1800's banker/Santa Claus/Mid evil Warlord type of vibe going on, in the absolute coolest way possible. His facial hair is the stuff of legends, and I have no shame in saying that I have a full blown man crush on him. He supports reform in a way that most CEOs in the industry don't, and I respect that a lot.
Product of the Year - I saw a lot of inventions over the last year, and three stood out to me the most. I use all three of them on a daily basis now, and I couldn't imagine life without them. They are the HerbSafe storage container, the Roll-uh-Bowl, and the Dr. Dabber Boost. The HerbSafe stores one of my most prized possessions - my cannabis. It's the best storage container I've ever used, hands down. The Roll-uh-Bowl is a simple, yet revolutionary invention. It's a bong made out of high grade silicon so it's firm enough to stand up on it's own, but pliable enough to fold into the palm of your hand. It makes consuming on the go much, much easier. And finally the Dr. Dabber Boost. I have seen a lot of electronic dabbing devices, and this one is the best. I first saw it in Vegas, got my hands on one, and have been using it ever since. It's cheaper than any other quality one I have ever seen, and I wouldn't be surprised if it caused a lot of its competitors to go the way of the dinosaur. Very, very impressive.
Book of the Year - The Cannabis Manifesto: A New Paradigm for Wellness by Steve DeAngelo. For a full review of the book, check out this link here. As I've said many times, this is the most significant book about cannabis since The Emperor Wears No Clothes by the late great Jack Herer. The book is timely, has been very well received, and will continue to educate people and change perceptions about the cannabis plant for years to come. If you haven't bought your copy yet, you really need to. You will not be disappointed.
Strain of the Year - I always get asked 'what is the best strain you have consumed in the last year?' This year, I would say it's the Silver Tip strain, which can be found at the Panacea dispensary in NE Portland. I actually consumed the strain back when it was found at a dispensary named Brightside, but hadn't seen it anywhere for a long time. It resurfaced, and it's just as amazing as ever, and it just so happens that it's at my favorite dispensary of all time! Which leads me into the next award...
Dispensary of the Year - If you are a loyal reader of the blog, then you know my favorite dispensary is Panacea, in Northeast Portland, Oregon. I love everything that the dispensary stands for, which is social justice, compassion, and quality medicine. If you are looking for a dispensary that has knowledgeable staff, carries strains that are grown in a sustainable way, and want your dollars to go to honest, hardworking people that are some of the nicest people you will ever meet, go to Panacea! Ask for Melissa, and tell her that Johnny Green says she is the bees knees. Unless she would rather be referred to as the cat's pajamas, which I'm cool with.
Concentrate Maker of the Year - I love my concentrates just as much as the next person, and there were a handful of concentrates that I preferred over all others that I have consumed over the last year. When it comes to CO2 vape pen cartridges, my favorite is True North Extracts. I had a Strawberry Satori (found at Panacea!) cartridge that was outstanding, as were all of the other cartridges I've tried from this company. When it comes to BHO, Eclipse Farm-ecology is my favorite. I have yet to try one of their products that I didn't fall in love with. The flavor, the smell, oh my! I also like concentrates made by a company called Udoxi Scientific, although they are not a brand. Udoxi is a processing company where you can take your cannabis and get it turned into concentrates, and many other things. The guys behind it are geniuses when it comes to all things cannabis, and I always like loitering around their facility picking their brains about stuff. Their products are top quality, and their business model is a real help to people that don't want to process their own stuff (leave it to the experts!).
Lifetime Achievement Award - Jeff Mizanskey, who was previously mentioned. He served over two decades of a life sentence for marijuana, and now he travels around telling his story and fighting for reform. You are the man Jeff, and again, it was an honor to shake your hand!
Most Under-Appreciated Person Award - In years past I gave this award to my buddy and TWB co-founder/co-owner Jay Smoker. He is still very much deserving of this award, as he is one of the most talented humans I've ever met and gets kicked around a lot, people claim credit for his achievements and efforts, and he deserves way more than he gets out of the marijuana world. But this year I'd also like to point out two other people. These two individuals are not necessary under-appreciated, in that anyone who has ever met them knows they are fantastic people. But I list them here because I can't fit my head around why every company, organization, and campaign aren't hiring these guys do do what they do, but on the biggest scale possible. Those two men are Robert Platshorn and Adam Smith. You can Google Robert and learn all about him. Adam Smith has about the most generic name of all time, so he's much tougher to locate. If you are a company, organization, or campaign that is looking for absolute dynamic people to improve what they are doing, let me know and I'll put you in touch with these men. They are total gems, and I'm honored to call them friends. And when they get what they deserve, I will make sure to hit them up for free dinners :)
That's it folks. I no doubt missed people, so if there's something that you feel strongly about, hit me up and we will go from there! That's the beauty of content-based awards and being the Content Manager of this site - I can edit as it becomes appropriate! Thanks for all of your support over the last almost six years. With your continued support, hopefully we around for another six years! 2016 is going to be the biggest year to date in the marijuana world, and I can't wait to see what it has in store. Onward! #LegalizeIt