Roger Stone pulled as cannabis conference’s keynote speaker

Roger Stone’s appearance as a keynote speaker at an upcoming marijuana conference has been canceled, Marijuana Business Daily has confirmed.

Citing a commitment to “inclusion” and “growth” of the marijuana industry, the Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) announced Wednesday that Stone – a longtime adviser to Donald Trump who has been accused of making racist statements – will no longer be a featured speaker at its conferences in Los Angeles on Sept. 13-15 or in Boston on Oct. 4-6.

According to a news release from CWCBExpo, the conference’s “forums … are crucial to the growth and legalization of the cannabis industry and they supersede the distractions that have surrounded the events.”

Those distractions apparently include a boycott of CWCBExpo by numerous speakers and exhibitors over what they described as racist and misogynist rhetoric by Stone. Critics pointed to Stone’s remarks about another speaker scheduled for the conference, Rev. Al Sharpton, as a prime example of what they didn’t condone.

When Stone’s appearance at the L.A. conference came to light, the Minority Cannabis Business Association was one of the loudest voices against his inclusion and its members withdrew from the conference.

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7 comments on “Roger Stone pulled as cannabis conference’s keynote speaker
  1. Marc shepard on

    Interesting side note to this story is MJBiz’s decision to cover it. As they are producers of a competing conference (MJBizcon) at the minimum, this piece should include a disclosure of that fact. MJBiz has done an exemplary job of maintaining their job of editorial integrity while also producing successeful industry conventions, resisting the temptation of “pay to play” from businesses admirably. With this story however, they have established an editorial precedent: news about other cannabis conferences is relevant to their model, and should be included in their edit. If you are truly committed to 100% journalistic integrity, This would have to include positive news about competing conferences as well as negative. Not a new quandary of course; I spend 20 years as an Associate Publisher and watched newspaper edit teams struggle with pressure from ownerships to publish huge headlines when competing papers make staff cuts and spike any story about competitors’ expansion or growth. In the end, there’s really no way for a news outlet to only cover negative news about their competition AND claim 100% journalistic integrity. Here’s hoping that MJBiz will follow their decision to publish this piece with the (rightful) decision to cover ALL relevant news in the cannabis convention industry, both good and bad.
    (Disclosure: I left the world of newspaper publishing in 2014 to co-found NECANN, a company which produces Cannabis Industry Conventions.)

    PS- Please forgive the typos, my phone is about to die and I don’t have time to proof-read!

    • Eli Harrington on

      Very well said, Marc – I think that at the least, a disclosure of running a competing conference would be appropriate in terms of ethics of journalism.

      That said, appreciate the coverage and scoop that CWCBExpo is responding to the boycotts from numerous industry leaders.
      For many of us, the toothpaste is already out of the tube in terms of the CWCBExpo organizers’ decision to invite Roger Stone as a keynote speaker.

      Disclosure: I am a cofounder of Heady Vermont, an independent cannabis media outlet; a co-founder and co-organizer of the Vermont HempFest, and an advisory board member of NECANN. I’m also a huge fan of MJBizDaily coverage and appreciate the difficulty of maintaining editorial independence while also running a publishing business. I’d agree with Marc that MJBizDaily has done an exemplary job and look forward to more great coverage in the future.

  2. Roger Christie on


    Aloha. I say let the man speak and support his strong, public efforts to influence Pres. Trump.

    I believe Roger Stone apologized for his inappropriate remarks. If that’s the case he should be forgiven as we would like to be.

    All the best to everyone,

    Roger Christie

    THC Ministry
    Hilo, Hawai’i


  3. Cactus Bill on

    Eli and Marc –

    I am continually fascinated as the ever expanding primary and associated MJ industries morph into the norml (pun intended) fabric of the USA.

    I did not expect to observe this in my lifetime.

    That stated, and as you both pointed out – there must be a commitment to integrity in every realm of this business for progress to continue.

  4. Joe Hemp on

    Shame on them for dropping Mr Stone, it appears money is more important than human or civil rights, you all can go fail miserably in your business endeavors, the people will decide to grow their own, and all you investors will lose your investments and go down in flames for being greedy and putting profit over patients…shame on you, curses on your financial houses. ! Mr Stone is NOT an evil person or an Anti Semite, maybe a bit sarcastic….his personality should never be used to smear his lifelong effort to fight the wrongs of the Cannabis Drug War…we must see past the quirks of each others personality, and push forward our first amendment right to speak freely for those interests we are passionate about, even if our character or personality is flawed in some way, let’s be clear let those of us without sin cast the first stone.

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