The “crabs in a bucket” mentality is playing out in the medical marijuana dispensary realm, with web designer Winston Welborn naming Green Aloha — the entity that won the Kauai license — in his lawsuit against former Hawaii Life Real Estate partner Justin Britt.
Welborn is claiming Britt took $375,000 more than he should have from a legal settlement. Britt owns Hawaii Life and is the principal of Green Aloha, with numerous investors raising some $3 million for the Kauai dispensary venture.
Though Welborn's lawsuit was filed in February, it only today made headlines in Civil Beat. Why? Because it's in Welborn's interest to have negative publicity surface now, and his friend, CB reporter Anita Hofschneider, was only too happy to oblige. Her article implies the disputed money is part of the $1.2 million that license hopefuls were required to have on hand when they filed their application.
The timing is clearly intended to push Britt into a quick settlement so the lawsuit doesn't derail the dispensary license. Of course, Welborn has already made piles of money pimping high-end Hawaii Life real estate. But I guess he wants more, even if he has to take down the Kauai dispensary license to get it.
I must say, I never expected Britt would beat out Charles Kawakami, with all of his connections. Still, it wouldn't have been good for Rep. Derek Kawakami, who is now running for Council, to have his dad in that particular biz. On a side note, Wally Rezentes Jr. has been tapped to serve as the mayor's administrative assistant when Nadine Nakamura leaves the post in her bid for Derek's House seat. Wally reportedly wants to be kept on when Derek aces the mayoral run in 2018.
Civil Beat, meanwhile, has an editorial advocating the Lege pass an industrial hemp bill, in part because about 4,500 petition signers want the crop grown on A&B's sugar lands on Maui. Really? This is how agricultural decisions are supposed to be made now in Hawaii? By petition? A&B's desires and economic viability are apparently rendered irrelevant. Since 4,500 non-farmers know how to sign their names, they get a say in a private company's crop production plans. Crazy.
If the Lege wants to approve hemp, fine. But don't try to shove it down A&B's throat.
Returning to medical marijuana, a farmer friend was disappointed that Richard Ha, the Big Island grower who recently announced he was shutting down his tomato and banana production, is the only farmer to be awarded a dispensary license. The state finally comes up with a way that farmers can make some serious dough, and the venture is instead co-opted by businessmen. But since the state required folks to have $1.2 million cash to even enter the game, that automatically excluded most farmers.
Another friend wondered how the state legally can create a monopoly, which will be the situation on Kauai, where only Green Aloha will be allowed to grow medical cannabis and open a dispensary. Good point.
One selling point of Justin's dispensary application was the promise of an all-organic product.
Which brought to mind a post I saw documenting the shift in several popular food products when they became “organic” and Non-GMO Project verified:
Watch vitamins disappear! While size drops! It's magic!
Of course, some of it enters the realm of the downright silly, especially when these products aren't genetically modified to begin with:
As the post notes:
Hey, if you want to pay more for less, that's your call. But don't force it on others.
Unfortunately, that's what's happening. As the Iowa Meets Maui blog previously noted, Costco is carrying more organic inventory, while jettisoning lower-priced conventional and GMO products from its shelves.
End result: Cash-strapped consumers have fewer choices, and are forced to pay more, as retailers cash in on the lucrative organic market that has been thrust upon us by anti-GMO activists who, ironically, claim to be all about choice.