As medical marijuana growers, we need to feel safe with hydroponics retailers, hydroponics manufacturers, and hydroponics media. Because even though what we do is legal according to state laws, people can still mess with you if you grow marijuana. So trust is everything. You gotta know somebody is 100% on your side. You gotta know people are totally chill with you growing marijuana, that they are not dissing marijuana growers, that they are not ashamed to be part of the marijuana community.
When the Maximum Yield Indoor Gardening Expo happened in San Francisco in 2009 and again with the latest Maximum Yield San Francisco event on the weekend of July 16-17, 2011, it ignited a debate about trust and honesty in the hydroponics community.
Let's face it, Maximum Yield hydroponics expos are huge. These events could be a time of celebration and coming together for the entire hydroponics industry, except for the way that Maximum Yield handles the issue of medical marijuana cultivation, which everyone acknowledges is the backbone of the hydroponics industry.
The heart of the matter is that Maximum Yield and their allies such as Sunlight Supply only exist because they make tons of money off of marijuana growers and companies that manufacture products for hydroponics marijuana growers.
But yet…Maximum Yield treats the marijuana community like ****. In fact, you are not even allowed at one of their expos if you openly making hydroponics products that maximize marijuana's yield. You can't even talk about medical marijuana at these expos.
I went to a Maximum Yield Indoor Gardening Expo and asked Maximum Yield publisher Jim Jesson and his lovely wife Linda why Maximum Yield only has articles about growing lettuce and tomatoes, rather than medical marijuana.
Linda got so red in the face that I thought she would explode. Jim clenched his fists and squinted his eyes like he was preparing to stomp me, and then had his ugly goon security people throw me out on my ***.
Before I had gotten thrown out, I wandered around the boring expo and put a simple question to employees of General Hydroponics, Botanicare, Fox Farm, Technaflora, Hydrofarm, Sunlight Supply and other companies that make huge $$$$$ off of our marijuana growing community.
I asked a simple, straightforward question: Are you on the side of medical marijuana growers?
Their answers were rude but revealing: “Marijuana is illegal. Don’t ask me that. Who the **** are you? You’re at the wrong Expo. We don’t cater to criminals. You are some kind of idiot. I am sorry, I can’t talk about cannabis. ”
But of course behind closed doors these people admit marijuana growers are what keeps the hydroponics industry going. But they’re soooo afraid of marijuana. The say they’re frightened about a repeat of a one-time federal raid of a few hydroponics retail stores in 1989, called Operation Green Merchant.
Time for a reality check...it's nearly a quarter century later, and people are still worried about hydroponics stores getting raided for selling legal hydroponics gardening products to legal medical marijuana growers?
Sure, marijuana laws are in flux nationwide, but we all see more societal acceptance of marijuana growing (most of it hydroponics gourmet medical marijuana) as a legitimate enterprise that helps the economy and improves people's health and quality of life too.
And yes we're all troubled that the US federal government actively opposes medical marijuana in states where voters or legislators have approved it. But let's get real: there's absolutely no evidence the feds are going to bust a hydroponics store owner, Maximum Yield magazine, or an indoor gardening expo if medical marijuana growers are treated with respect and transparency in those venues.
Maximum Yield's anti-marijuana policies arbitrarily limit hydroponics innovation and information, putting a cloak of falsehood on the hydroponics community. Their policies block some of the best and brightest hydroponics entrepreneurs and pioneers who want to participate in the Maximum Yield Indoor Gardening Expo.
Everyone agrees that Maximum Yield expos are a valuable way for the public and hydroponics manufacturers to network. But more and more members of our hydroponics community are balking at having to submit to a medical marijuana "code of silence" if they want access to the indoor gardening expo's benefits.
And many of us realize that silence is complicity with the drug war. It's easy to see that a hydroponics event where the topic of marijuana is forbidden is an event guided by hypocrisy and discrimination towards all of us who love and grow the healing medical herb.
“What I noticed talking to Maximum Yield is that they use the exact same language as drug warriors,” a frustrated hydroponics businessman told me. “They say things like ‘zero tolerance,’ and ‘we’ll have plainclothes people in the expo to make sure you’re not talking about marijuana.’ They won’t let me hand out my brochures, because my brochures talk about growing marijuana, which is what this whole damn industry is about!”
At least one major hydroponics company- Advanced Nutrients- is doing something about the anti-marijuana policies of Maximum Yield. On mid-day Saturday July 16, the hydroponics manufacturer flew an aerial banner above the Maximum Yield expo in San Francisco for several hours.
The banner said: “Want Big, Sugary Buds?” Advanced Nutrients flew the same banner over the Maximum Yield San Fran expo two years ago, according to Advanced Nutrients co-founder Michael Straumietis.
“The hydroponics community is tired of the Maximum Yield censorship and hypocrisy,” Straumietis says, explaining his high-flying protest. “We’re seeing more marijuana-specific hydroponics indoor expos, and that trend will grow until Maximum Yield is totally irrelevant for the high value hydroponics community. Our hydroponics community is no longer willing to be told what it can and can't say.”
Article by Steve Davis, on Jul. 16th 2011