Tag: Debby Goldsberry

Cannabis Dispensaries Robbed During Civil Unrest

The United States is experiencing civil unrest as protests against police brutality following the brutal death of George Floyd have spread to cities across the nation. One of the foundations of ending cannabis prohibition has been the need to end racist policing practices against communities of color, who have experienced a disproportionate number of arrests and jailings despite cannabis use being about equal among all races. Unfortunately, armed criminals have taken advantage of the unrest to rob cannabis dispensaries, with the California Bay Area hit the worst. Oregon’s Finest was also targeted.

KCBS Radio reported:

The owner of a downtown Oakland cannabis dispensary said as many as 10 people broke into his business on Friday night and made off with thousands of dollars of products.

The front entryway to the ECO Cannabis store on Telegraph Avenue was shut Friday night, equipped with an elaborate security system to keep track of any activity. Later that evening, owner Kevin Ahaesy said it was broken into. 


He said police investigators told him two people were arrested on Saturday and that several West Oakland dispensaries were also robbed.

This from a Facebook post by my friend Debby Goldsberry, a longtime activist hero and the director of Magnolia Wellness in Oakland:

Friends. As you may know by now, Magnolia Oakland and many other dispensaries in the bay area were hit by armed robbers last night (not looters, not protesters, please be clear about that). We are a small, local, mostly woman operated company, with just this one small shop, and this will hit us hard. We were already barely hanging on with the virus and in survival mode.

They did take nearly everything, as the police did not respond for nearly an hour, giving them time to breach most of our security features. They also just totally trashed the place.

We will need help rebuilding, make no mistake about it. We are not owned by a big company, we have no nest egg, and we are still waiting to find out if our insurance will pay for any losses. We will likely have to lean heavily on this incredible community to help. We’ve already had so many inspirational calls and messages, and we thank you all. We will be back, and better than ever, make no mistake about it. It may take a week or two to get the shop rebuilt, and, then we will have to wait until the protests are calmed down, as it’s not safe to open right now.

NOW COMES THE IMPORTANT PART. This story is not about Magnolia Wellness. It’s about this nation, blistering in pain. It’s bubbled up, and can’t be stopped, no matter how much salve we put on it.


Virtually no one defends the actions of the Minneapolis police that killed George Floyd. Ending cannabis prohibition and the greater Drug War will help decrease the number of racist law enforcement encounters, but more reforms are needed, including mandatory body cameras, the implementation of de-escalation practices, and the ability to fire problematic officers. Let’s all demand justice, that policing reforms are implemented, and that systemic racism gets addressed. And let’s remember to help small businesses rebuild and thrive.

International Women’s Day: Cannabis Activist Edition

International Women’s Day was yesterday, so shout out to all of the women out there making the world a better place. Women don’t get the recognition that they deserve in a lot of aspects of life, and, unfortunately, cannabis activism is one of them. In honor of the day, I wanted to use my little voice to help acknowledge a handful of activists that I have gotten to know during my two-decades of activism.

Kind Leaf’s  Erin Purchase, is one example of a great activist that utilizes her position as director of operations of Eastern Oregon’s preeminent craft cannabis boutique to do good work in her local community and promote sensible regulations that work well for other small business owners and the public at large.

I’m obviously biased, but my wife Sarah Duff has been an unsung hero of the movement. She has been doing great work without much fanfare, going back to helping found the longest continuous running Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter west of the Mississippi (Mizzou!) to nearly gathering enough signatures single-handedly to place a decrim and medical measure on the Columbia, Missouri, ballot back in 2003 to helping gather the initial signatures that started the process to legalize cannabis in Oregon in 2014 to working with local growers to ensure that more than 100 patients receive free medicine every year for the past decade.  Props to our dear friend Amber Langston who helped lead the Columbia campaign to victory in 2004 and has been doing great work in activism across several states and even internationally ever since.

Back in 2007, I first met Debby Goldsberry, who has activist roots roots with the Godfather of the movement, Jack Herer. I was starstruck because she had accomplished so much in the movement. After getting to know her, I have come to understand her as someone who deeply cares about patients and the greater good. Debby helped educate the masses across the nation with great activists like Herer and others and co-founded Berkeley Patients Group in 1999, helping lead one of the nation’s pioneering and influential dispensaries for a decade. She has shared her knowledge in a book and now leads Magnolia Wellness and continues to advocate for sensible policies that can work for small businesses, patients, and the general public at large. There’s a reason High Times named her their 2011 “Activist of the Year.”

Elvy Musikka, a Eugene, Oregon, resident is one of the prophets of the movement. Elvy is one of the two remaining federal medical cannabis patients that receive medicine directly from the United States government. After her 1988 arrest, Elvy won the right to utilize cannabis due to her medicinal use treating her glaucoma. Elvy has traveled the world spreading the truth about cannabis. I’m honored to have gotten to know Elvy, even taking her to a Michael Franti and Spearhead concert in Eugene. She has a bubbly personality that is a joy to be around and she has done as much to educate people about medical cannabis as anyone. High Times named Musikka its activist of the year in 1992.

There are women doing amazing work in the cannabis activist community and industry without much fanfare. It is time that they get the recognition that they deserve. Debby Goldsberry and Elvy Musikka, both long-time pioneers, deserve to be recognized with activist legends Jack Herer and Dennis Person as two of the most important cannabis activists of all-time. Let’s lift up everyone doing good work in the cannabis community and in other important aspects of our lives, on International Women’s Day, and everyday.