Cheryl Shuman has suddenly become the most controversial figure in the world of marijuana. And I may have been the first person to criticize her when I wrote a blog last summer called Suits versus Stoners: Hippie Bigotry Lives, in which I called her out for dumping on anyone with dreads, tattoos or piercings. When Cheryl made her play to be a part of the movement, she began by dumping on the vanguard that had created and fostered that movement for decades. And people wonder why she suddenly started developing a bad rap with people inside the counterculture? According to Cheryl, it was time for the hippies to step aside so real professionals like her could take over. Only problem was, the hippies had all the best strains, and all Cheryl had to offer was crummy outdoor schwag.
Meanwhile, Cheryl was polishing and projecting a Hollywood-insider image, but if you looked a bit closer at the picture, it sure seemed like some of that sheen was entirely in her own imagination. Her self-promotion campaign seemed forced and the campaigns didn’t seem that well thought-out, not to mention she was over-eager to pick up any product endorsement and was instantly calling herself “the Martha Stewart of Marijuana.” It’s always better to wait for the media to put a crown on you rather than attempt to seize it for yourself.
It would have been so much cooler if Cheryl had actually been a longtime head and follower of the counterculture or at least supportive of individual freedoms, someone with real wisdom in their brain and a little less knee-jerk genuflect to the dollar sign. But that’s where we are in the history of marijuana right now. There’s a stampede to cash-in, and everyone is frantic trying to figure out how to turn the biggest, quickest buck. And the newcomers want to elbow anyone in front out of the way.
One of Cheryl’s stanchest supporters wrote a blog about how the New York Times is writing a piece about her, and how it’s going to attack her attackers? I guess the main attackers are Steve Elliott and Mickey Martin, the Weed Activist? Most of the recent trouble started when Cheryl hooked up with Serra Frank (Jennifer Bennett), who founded a group called Moms For Marijuana.
Like many parents, Serra lost a child to CPS over marijuana, and spent over a year fighting in court to get the child back. And she won. This story is played out every day in America, only most of the time, the family loses. And there’s no worse trauma for any family than removing a child from the home, and when this is done because someone is a legitimate medical marijuana patient, that tragedy is compounded. Fighting for the return of these kids to their homes is one of the most noble quests of our time and Serra did a great thing by inventing her organization to help others. Unfortunately, she never filed the proper documents and reportedly has the IRS on her tail.
Meanwhile, Cheryl has been accused of exploiting tragedies to do product placement ads and work her personal brand. And one of the harshest accusations came from a family that had turned to Cheryl for advice, even though others had warned them to avoid her. Meanwhile, most of the organizations and business ventures previously begun by Cheryl seem to have crashed and burned. Serra is bailing her out by turning the crumbling Moms for Marijuana over to her. So now it’s time for Cheryl to put up or shut up.
My advice: Stop trying to cash in on cannabis so hard and start putting your efforts into getting kids back into their homes and into the arms of their parents. This should be your primary mission, and if you pursue this path, and not the almighty dollar, you just might become the Martha Stewart of Marijuana, or at least become a respected figure in the marijuana movement, instead of the pariah some of us view you as of right now.