As we close in on the upcoming State of Marijuana, arguably the most impactful cannabis event of the year, we’re talking to some of the most influential personalities in the cannabis community. Adam Orenstein, whom many of you may better know by his pen name, Kyle Kushman, has earned awards for his cultivation, specialized in organic and veganic techniques. In his time, he’s won Cannabis Cups, invented famous strains like Strawberry Cough, among many other achievements. Here’s what the author, activist, and educator had to say.
Meet Kyle Kushman
I know you get referred to a lot by your pen name, but which do you prefer? Adam or Kyle?
You know, it’s funny. I think you are the first person to ever ask me that for an interview. Thank you. Honestly, I respond to both now, even on my podcasts. They’re both me.
The difference between legal and commercial
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- What do you want to convey about the upcoming vote on legalization this November?
The main thing that I want to talk about is it’s a simple fact that this is not legalization. This is commercialization. How can it be legalization when we are mandating … people open football field size warehouses and make tens of millions of dollars in profit? In fact, that’s their only reason for being. But if I grow more than X number of plants you’re going to throw me in jail?
That’s not legalization.The absolute truth of the matter is that personal cannabis needs to not be regulated.
I know this is an extremely hard pill to swallow. If I want to spray poison on my tomatoes to kill the bugs and I want to eat those tomatoes I’m allowed to do that. If I want to go and buy an ounce every day from the club and smoke it everyday I can do that. But why can’t I grow 20 pounds of weed in my basement and put it in my freezer and not have to worry about it for the next 3 years? How is that harmful to anybody’s economic system? How is that harmful to the public?
It’s not. It’s blowback and it’s a symptom of the fact that recreational drug users are the last segment of society that it’s legal to [oppress and limit the freedoms of].
Civil rights & big business
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Do you think that Proposition 64 isn’t going far enough? A lot of people agree with that sentiment. Where do you stand? Does it do enough to protect the little guys?
Unfortunately, I don’t believe there is any way to save the mom and pop farmers. I’m not talking about economics here. I’m talking about personal rights and civil rights. The day that somebody invented the refrigerator nobody was out picketing saying ‘nobody buy refrigerators the icemen will all go out of business!’ It was just f*cking evolution.There are thousands of human beings in America that don’t grow it because they’re sick or even smoke marijuana. They grow it because they know someone who’s sick. They grow it to help someone in their family.
So now you’re going to tell me that because there’s some factory down the street growing some product, that I can no longer derive than nutrition that I derive in my soul from helping my family? I have to go out and spend money that I have to earn when I could help my family all by myself? That’s not even close to legalization. That is straight-up giving in to commercialization.
There’s definitely some blowback from legalization by people don’t want it legalized but it’s also mixed in there with just plain ignorant people that are not from the culture that are trying to make laws and don’t know any better. Then you throw in the fact that there’s so much money involved it’s like the Dotcom movement. So sure there will be dark Forces at play.
I want to say very clear that I am not against the commercialization of marijuana at all. I am 100% for it, in all of its forms. Pharmaceutical, recreational, medicinal and of course manufacturing of innumerous products are all valid. I’m just following my heart. I’m always going to be here for the individual farmer. There will be millions of individual farmers coming online with [the eventual] Federal legalization and I want to be there for them one garden at a time.
Losing an aspect of the heritage
Yeah, I can agree that as a society we have lost a lot of what humanity took thousands of years to develop as far as self-sufficiency…
Oh my God you just brought up a very important point! This plant has been carried around for thousands of years by humans who revered it, who honor it and pass it down… generation to generation… on down the line. Now the only people that are going to to be legally allowed to grow enough to breed and research it are people who are going to grow it for millions of dollars. Guys like me who just want to grow it for the love of it are going to still be treated like criminals?
The evolution of this plant has been in the hands of people who Revere it for thousands of years and now the evolution of this plant is getting turned over to corporate greed. That’s what I’m afraid of; that’s what I fear.
Embracing the future
That’s a fine balance between support and detraction. But in the end, you want people to vote for AUMA. You feel that it is the best course of action for the community at the moment?
I am totally for AUMA. I am voting for it. I have a dream and that is that marijuana will be the first product in human society not to be completely co-opted by corporations. We are community, almost a religion. We’re a culture. We’re not counterculture anymore, I believe we’re Middle America.
So my dream is that the legalization of cannabis is the beginning of the end of the Drug War and I believe that it is a step towards World Peace.
State of Marijuana
Kyle Kushman is one of the keynote speakers at the State of Marijuana on the Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA, this September 26th – 27th.
Check out the State of Marijuana for more information about the event and to view their full agenda and speaker list.
Want the full networking experience? Then book a room on the Queen Mary. Click here for full details.