Marijuana companies under fire for meat-covered model at party

A pair of edibles companies that do business together are facing a public relations backlash after a photo from a Las Vegas party held last week sparked outrage on social media.

The photo shows a nearly naked model who was lying on her back and adorned with slices of cold cuts for guests to snack on.

Indignation erupted on Facebook over the weekend.

Some cannabis professionals are now calling for a boycott of both California-based Altai Brands, which hosted the party, and Colorado-based Dixie Brands, which has a professional affiliation with Altai and was listed as a sponsor of the event.

“Women of the industry will not stand for this,” Debby Goldsberry, a longtime California cannabis insider, wrote on Facebook. “Guess what, #boycott. Pull Altai from your dispensary shelves, and demand an apology.”

Others began hashtags such as #BoycottAltai and #BoycottDixie.

The gathering was held while nearly 11,000 cannabis executives, entrepreneurs and investors were in town for the Marijuana Business Conference & Expo last week. The party was an after-hours event and wasn’t affiliated with the larger marijuana business conference.

“This experience has been humbling and eye opening and I personally take full responsibility and apologize to all attendees, customers, the cannabis community and the females in my life,” Robert Weakley, CEO of Altai Brands, said in a statement Monday. “I could try to explain what we were thinking but that would be pointless as there is no excuse – it was a bad choice and it was offensive.”

Dixie Brands Chief Marketing Officer Joe Hodas said his company had almost nothing to do with the party. No one at Dixie sanctioned the decision, he said, adding that the company was one of a half-dozen “minor sponsors” that did not support the party financially.

However, the Dixie logo was part of the party, and social media posts called out the company.

“We’re deeply sorry for the situation. I know that there are many who were really upset by it, and it’s not something we (at Dixie) would ever have done,” Hodas said Monday.

Cassandra Farrington, the CEO and co-founder of Marijuana Business Daily, which hosted MJBizCon, denounced the episode.

Marijuana Business Daily does not support or condone any of these actions nor was involved with these events in any way,” Farrington said Monday. “We are a woman-owned business, have written numerous articles decrying sexism in the cannabis industry, called out other events that behaved poorly with respect to women … and have set and enforced clear policies for our events that do not allow for objectification of women or men in exhibitor booths or on the show floor.”

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38 comments on “Marijuana companies under fire for meat-covered model at party
  1. Michael on

    Honest question, would the outrage be as strong f it was a woman-owned company using a male model as a cold-cut platter? Shall we boycott any company that uses sex to sell products? Are we overreacting to this when Altai has done nothing else to imply sexist tendencies and has apologized profusely for the incident?

    • Nancy on

      No one is overreacting. Your understanding of the issues women face every day is painfully ignorant. We live a misogynistic world where a male model as a cold-platter does not reinforce the reality women face in treatment every day. Clearly, you are missing the huge point here because you as a man can. It’s too bad you didn’t publish your full name. You are just another bad example of why sexism can and does persist.

  2. jim on

    Gosh, a bit reactionary dont we think? Perhaps God should be sued as well? After all it is She who has encoded humankind with certain sexual triggers. I prescribe another incarnation or 2 for all parties; the added perspective will clearly be beneficial

  3. Ean Seeb on

    Thanks for drawing attention to this. My facebook feed has been full of this discussion the past 48 hours and Altai needed to be called out! My hope is that they have learned from this and will not objectify women in the future, be it to sell products or anything else related to their brand. However, I’d like to see them go further than simply apologize. This is an opportunity for Altai to be proactive. Perhaps creating a internal program, a community engagement plan helping women in particular or a significant donation is a good start.
    In MY opinion, Dixie was an innocent bystander. They decried it the moment they learned about it and attempted to disassociate themselves. The executives there are all fathers of young children, seek to be good role models and have said quite clearly that they denounced this the minute the became aware it took place. To the best of my knowledge no one from Dixie was even at the party.
    I would also like to point out that I did not see anyone in bikinis, pasties, hot pants or anything remotely close at the MJ Business Conference. One of the lead sponsors of the conference did have women walking around in tank tops handing out brochures. They only stood out because most people were in business attire. Again, in MY opinion it was not distasteful and I did not associate that with misogyny or objectification.
    I believe our industry still has a way to go when it comes to treating women as equals and I applaud those (both men and women) who drew attention to this issue. Sadly, I fear it will continue so long as people do not speak up and draw attention to companies and brands that are doing themselves and the cannabis industry as a whole a great disservice.

  4. Jilean on

    Holy s#@$ people are uptight these days. Seems no matter what is done someone or some bloody group gets their nickers in a knot. Chill or you will Die of stress induced heart failure. Well that may not be so bad after all maybe you can enjoy life on the other side.

    • Johnathan Aluitious Hempseed Da lll on

      Jilean ,being a vegetarian I would have gotten my boxers in a twist myself.Unless placated by Cannabis confections.Maybe they garnished the model with some Kale!

    • Adam Mintz on

      No one is saying this behavior is reprehensible, everyone has the right to do what they want to do with their body. What is wrong is that this took place at a cannabis industry event, an industry that was started by fighting Draconian laws and the war on drugs. This type of behavior and objectification will not be stood for in the cannabis community. We have come too far to turn a blind to misogyny, or any other injustice that we may come across!

      • ty oil on

        What a JOKE this is another industry what is already Mob fed, Cartel Run and you dont have enough money to keep corporate america out of it.. Adam.. grow up all you Namby Pambys.. soon.. when the real money is flowing. you will all not have a say bout anything involved.. get out your safety pins and stick yourself..

  5. John on

    Sex sells… Look at FlavRx. They had 50 taxis throughout Las Vegas and a billboard with their ‘sexxy model leaning backwards in the pool’ ad…. I agree salami on a naked chic is a bit too much but the reality is that sex sells in America and if you are going to boycott one cannabis company that made ONE terrible decision then you should also boycott FlavRx for basing their entire brand on a ‘sexxy model leaning backwards in a pool.’

    I don’t plan on boycotting either

  6. Jose on

    Omg i am SO OFFENDED! It’s sexist! He maybe it’s racist too cause the woman is caucasian! My Offense-O-Meter is just off the scale! I wanna boycott everything! Yeah! That’ll show those evil sexist/racists! I’m gonna go and spend hours of my time blogging about how offended I am now. Peace Out!!

  7. Saul Immanuel on

    Anyone ask the woman covered in cold cuts how she felt? Seems noone did. Denying women a voice is not exploitation, but it is a large, unrecognized component in the spectrum of behaviors contributing to institutional misogyny. A lot of puritanical subjugation of womens’ autonomy takes the guise of protectionist outrage. What kind of clothes should she have been wearing? Maybe a burka-clad model in cold cuts would have been more acceptable?

    Also, doesn’t hold a candle to Jim Belushi dance-raping and sweating all over a bunch of young women at the Arcview after party. Now THAT was disgusting.

  8. Ma Dang on

    I agree with the statements regarding the stupidity with the use of the model and misogyny in general in ALL industries. What about women led businesses in the cannabis arena that use objectified models as part of their marketing ? Where is the outcry and call for a boycott of their products ?
    While Cassandra Farrington, the CEO and co-founder of Marijuana Business Daily, which hosted MJBizCon, denounced the episode, she still accepts their advertising dollars.
    The list of issues goes on and on. What about edible companies use of candy that appeals to children or the names of clones with vulgar references or high times use of Porn Stars at cannabis cups or the use of ‘pretty girls’ manning the booths in the exhibit hall ? As women / mothers / wives where are your voices on these issues ?
    As long as sex sells, marketers will continue to use it !
    All this reminds me of the CSN line, “teach your children well”

  9. Kurt on

    I don’t get the level of uproar honestly. Unless this was some sort of sex slave who was forced to lay down on a table and be covered in meat how is what she chooses to do any of anyone else’s business? She is a strong and powerful woman who chose to do something she clearly appears to be enjoying. Apparently none of the women up in arms would do something like this but why wouldn’t they support the choice this woman made? Would I hire a human to hold meat, man or woman? No, it isn’t my thing. I’ve seen models with sushi on them as well and all I think about is how fast that sushi is going to warm up. We live in a free country where women can choose to be leaders and they can be a model with meat on them. Hell, in our free society they can do both on the same day! I support their career choices. People are taken seriously based on who they are and what they project. If you don’t want to lie on a table with meat on you or think that somehow it makes you lesser than those standing around you eating the meat then don’t.

  10. Steve on

    There used to be a name for people who were so bereft of a life as to be continually outraged by every perceived slight. Boring a$$holes!
    Give it a rest. They were all consenting adults,

  11. Ric Widdifield on

    Well not only was it socially in bad taste but according to the USDA it could have been dangerous.

    The “Danger Zone” (40 °F-140 °F)
    Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures
    between 40 ° and 140 °F, doubling in number in as
    little as 20 minutes. This range of temperatures is often
    called the “Danger Zone.” That’s why the Meat and
    Poultry Hotline advises consumers to never leave food
    out of refrigeration over 2 hours. If the temperature is
    above 90 °F, food should not be left out more than 1

    You can call 1 888 MP HOTLINE…(BTW that MEAT & POULTRY) Hotline. You think I am kidding.. Call the number now 1 888 674 6854

  12. Erik Romero on

    I really do empathise with why women would find this offensive. My daughter would not be laying on a table looking like a meat tray surrounded by people at a party. Tacky. Yet I would respect her decision. As a Christian…I believe outside of marriage…and pretty much all of Las Vegas is an outrage to not just women but the human race. Everything Las Vegas represents is vile. Yes however there are still good people and good companies and good events that happen there. Sexism will always be a problem in the world. Yet man and woman will always be different in so many ways and my two cents is men should always respect women, and if this women who had meat on her model or not chose to portray herself like a beautiful piece of artwork (Metaphorical) or a meat platter (Literal) then we should respect her decision as a human being. Wouldnt that be the ultimate goal? Or do some women activitists simply want to smear a company as sexists because they are still reeling over the loss of their champion Hillary Clinton. Just saying. Why dont we put some of this energy into talking about why we think it is even acceptable to have a “City of Sin” in the first place…

    • Yvonne on

      @Erik Romero; If you ever watched the TV show Sex and the City, one of the women put sushi on her naked body waiting for her boyfriend to come home on Valentine’s Day. I didn’t find it offensive. When reading this article, I wasn’t offended. But then I read your post and imagined my daughter acting as a platter and I realized I would not be okay with that. I don’t understand why I think it is okay others do it or I could do it but not my daughter who is now 27 yrs old. I would not have a problem with a man acting as a platter but if my son did it I would think he is ridiculous or dumb, but I don’t know why I feel it would not be okay for my kids to act this way (they are both good looking so it has nothing to do with esthetics).

  13. Richard on

    I wonder if all the people who are up in arms stuck around Vegas to help all the other women being exploited that evening…Or just the PAID MODELS

  14. Kate on

    Sex sells … to men. Anyone using this as an excuse for these kind of stupid, pointless stunts appears to be willfully ignoring the data about women’s use of cannabis, in this case cannabis edibles. Legalization gives us a chance to create a whole new, inclusive industry that rejects racism and misogyny – I’m glad social media called these guys out – and to those who think that people who object should “chill out,” or “stop crying”: I invite you to switch places for one day with any young woman you know. You’ll quickly learn what the terms “meat market” and “sex object” are all about.

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