Numerous exhibitors and speakers are boycotting an upcoming cannabis conference in Los Angeles because Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to Donald Trump, is a keynote speaker.
The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) is leading the protest against Stone’s appearance at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBE), scheduled for Sept. 13-15, L.A. Weekly reported. (Note: Marijuana Business Daily, parent company of MJBizDaily.com, also organizes marijuana conferences. MJBizCon 2017 is scheduled Nov. 15-17 in the city-owned Las Vegas Convention Center.)
According to the newspaper, marijuana industry professionals who are challenging Stone’s keynote role cite his:
- “History of racist rhetoric.”
- Ties to a Trump administration that’s under fire for its stance on white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.
- Campaigning for President Richard Nixon, who initiated the war on drugs.
The MCBA circulated a petition to remove Stone from the list of speakers, and key players in the industry who have signed it include New Frontier Data, the Marijuana Business Association and the Greenspoon Marder law firm.
One co-signer said 30 speakers and exhibitors have backed out of the conference, L.A. Weekly reported.
Conference officials defended Stone’s inclusion in an open letter on its website, saying, in part:
“…We always have been inclusionary and have provided an open and unbiased, educational and business platform for the diverse voices and opinions in this industry to be heard … Roger Stone is a proponent of cannabis legalization.”
According to Politico, Stone recently announced he would help push forward a bipartisan group to convince the Trump administration to refrain from enforcing federal law in states with medical marijuana legalization. The group would also attempt to persuade the administration to reschedule cannabis at the federal level.
John Morgan, a major MMJ advocate in Florida, is also part of the group, Politico reported.