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Author: Michael John Westerman

Repo & Revenge: The Continued Adventures of Mr. Jackerman

Secured Transactions in Cannabis on Prohibition and Non-Prohibition Territory

Lacking federal oversight, industry players in the cannabiz would have the capacity to leverage cash influxes with on-hand inventory, to expand assets like equipment and land through secured loans, and generally operate not unlike many other businesses in our economy. A secured loan is basically receiving a cash front from a lender, with a specific item/s of your inventory identified as the leverage, which is repossessed if you default on the payments for your fronted cash.

In legitimate secured transactions there is no vig, so the cost of operations also goes down. This however isn’t possible, and the continued federal prohibition of cannabis has resulted in a lack of clarity surrounding how exactly financial transactions are to be conducted around the particular type of green that contains THC.

This reality also impacts our fictional composite dealer-stealer antihero Mr. Jackerman, and his continued efforts to build upon the stacks and bands in his safe, all the while evading the watchful eye of Big Brother and the crosshairs of his adversaries.

Having recently chomped a few duffel bags worth of Benjamin Franklin-stamped blubber off an industry whale, he is now the one being hunted. Mr. Jackerman is stressed out, man, he’s on edge, his business is volatile, and as a result so has been the mood of many of the players in his game. The fact that he’s robbed quite a few of them already, some repeatedly, doesn’t help to defray his sense of crackle, the quiet rumble, the heat.

Are clips sliding in and bullets being racked? Is the pleasant ringing of a machete’s steel sliding across a whetstone accenting the dewy, dusky air of a distant farmhouse? Do we have a crew of gentlemen in black skinny suits atop black Air Force 1’s under maroon ski-masks with white grinning demonic toothy grins drawn on, black minivan outside, waiting for a text containing the address of a certain Mr. Jackerman? These are questions businesspeople should not have to ask themselves.

The Notorious BIG’s 10th Crack Commandment & Business Development

Consignment according to the Notorious BIG, the “Black Frank White”, a reference to the classic Christopher Walken film King of New York, is “strictly for live men, not for freshmen”, and if “you ain’t got the clientele, say hell no”. This is because the higher ups in the crack game, BIG asserts, will want their money whether it is snowing, sleeting, hailing, or even, you guessed it, raining. The same is true for any other business, when products are provided on net terms with payment pending at some point in the future, payment is to be received or consequences are to be experienced.

A puddle of water is parted like the Red Sea by the tire of a blacked out Mercedes G-Wagon. Four pairs of black Air Force 1s connect with the concrete, a nondescript warehouse in a nondescript dead manufacturing district lies ahead. Curiously, a pair of parallel strings of hanging lights dance erratically down an alleyway into the darkness. Steel slides across leather, unholstered our hit team is on the move, oddly enough beneath the eerily incandescent string of lights the entire way towards their target.

Essentially consignment is giving product to another retailer without receiving full payment up-front, in the hopes that they eventually pay-up. Fronts are often more expensive than cash deals, but in the black market the risk is greater. The fronter may end up without their cash as the frontee has been arrested, or otherwise indisposed of.

When it comes to cannabis, ongoing federal prohibition precludes the free exercise of secured transactions in cannabis. I believe in secured transactions from a lender’s perspective, as the terms of traditional loans can be a bit too esoteric and imaginative for my liking. Securing a loan to a tangible asset with real value is the surest way to maintain your value and to mitigate risk.

Example: Lend a construction company $50,000 to buy a $50,000 truck, with the actual physical possession and title to the truck the security on the loan. The construction company pays $30,000, defaults, and the lender takes back the $50,000 truck, keeping the $30,000 in payments. Sounds almost illegal, yeah? No stick-ups involved, and if necessary ultimately an officer of the court, often a Sheriff, can be sent to take back what’s yours. Secured transactions are snazzy, but they are irrelevant when a product is illegal.

An End to Federal Prohibition is the Only Pathway to Peace

Mr. Jackerman understands that he has a certain knack for business, an innate hustle that he could apply to other industries, industries with lesser risk. However, Mr. Jackerman would rather own his schedule, sleep until whenever, go to the gym whenever, drink exclusively out of vintage Irish-mined Waterford Lismore crystal, and have more cash than he has ideas on how to spend it, with enough time to get into whatever. Barring one’s birthing with a silver spoon and a forthcoming payout on a trust fund, this simply is not possible without great ingenuity, and/or great risk. Mr. Jackerman is wise enough to know he is not ingenious enough, and so he’s accepted that his road to riches is the great reward through great risk pathway.

The Bootleggers of the 21st Century: for as long as cannabis is federally illegal, there will be businesspeople taking such an informed risk in pursuit of profit.

Wood splintering at the hinges, a door that should have been better secured swings open with ease. Black skinny suits are coated in dust as the four filter through the door, spilling across the room towards doors and hallways, whispers of the word “clear” dropping like pins in the silence. Our entry room is empty, as is the entire structure…

The light-blue hue of a black-and-white screen flickers through crystal, prisming across Mr. Jackerman’s face, the screen showing empty rooms and gentlemen with devilish grins on their maroon ski masks searching in vain for nothing. Flicking off the screen, BIG’s 5th Crack Commandment rings in his head, “never sell no crack where you rest at”.

It is wise to maintain a separate, secret residence if one is a player with assets in the black market. The best I’ve seen in fiction is probably Pietro Savastano’s in the exceptionally fine Italian crime drama “Gomorrah”. Gustavo Fring on “Breaking Bad” had a similar setup you might recall.

Will House Bill 1937 Pass and End Texan Prohibition on Cannabis?

A recently proposed bill could result in fewer black market whales for Mr. Jackerman to harpoon when he’s feeling hungry. New Bedford, Massachusetts was once known as the “City that Lit the World” given their possession of the whaling industry at a time when whale blubber-sourced oil lit homes via lamps. As the whaling industry waned and flickered out, and much of the manufacturing in the area alongside it, the Captain Ahabs of the coastline found new occupations, but the town itself was slow to recover.

Locally the town was known to have become salty, scrappy, populated by the descendants of whalers, while the officers and captains made new lives for themselves across the bridge in Fairhaven. The foundation was set for a fine American novel, a tale of lustrous success and devolution to something else, a widening gap in wealth between members of a close-knit yet caste-like community, until Massachusetts woke up and legalized recreational cannabis.

New Bedford is now lit in an entirely different way, and is presently an on-the-rise coastal town with craft cocktails, trendy boutiques, and recreational cannabis. With cannabis comes community, and capital. Texas has recently stepped back into the dark ages in terms of women’s rights, it would be noteworthy if we simultaneously leapt into the future by establishing a recreational cannabis market.

Until next time,

Michael John Westerman, Esq.

Representing Cannabis: Failed Insights from a Supposedly Pro-Cannabis U.S. House of Representatives Candidate

Running for office in a democratic nation is one means through which you can throw in your lot and take a shot at effectuating change. However, achieving success in such an endeavor often requires the exchanging of one’s ideals for cash and capital, as we explored in my previous article about lobbying.

If a candidate needs a certain amount of cash to achieve their objectives, and the only way to access that cash is by making concessions and promises, well then, a candidate isn’t really running on their own platform are they?

Candidates’ platforms are built atop the stacks of cash, or bands if they’re lucky, that are provided by donors, and that capital comes with caveats. (For those not in the know concerning street terms applied to cold hard cash, a “stack” is a thousand dollars, while a “band” is ten thousand dollars.)

To explore how lobby money and the pro-cannabis position of a candidate interplay, I made an attempt to present you with an interview featuring an individual running for the U.S. House of Representatives, to represent a Congressional District of Texas.

Will Texas come around before Washington when it comes to cannabis?

When they had an opportunity to receive a gratis consultation from me on how cannabis can help their campaign, they were motivated to schedule the taking of my time. When I presented them with an opportunity to explain how they will help cannabis if their campaign is successful, they did not give us any of their time to explain why.

Following is a script of questions I suggest you present to any politician that tells you they are fighting for cannabis and want to use cannabis to bolster their platform. If they answer, get their permission to send it to me for prospective publication in a future issue of THR. Adjust the terms in brackets as needed for the politician you are presenting the questions to.

1-In 100 words or less, let us know the platform of your campaign, and where cannabis fits in.

2-What is your position on cannabis in Texas?

3-What is your position on cannabis nationally?

4-What can a member of [the U.S. House of Representatives] do to support cannabis?

5-Would the [U.S. Representative from the 21st Congressional District] in Texas have any sway or influence concerning where the TX State Legislature goes with cannabis in 2023?

6-How much money does it cost to mount a campaign for the [U.S. House of Representatives]?

7-If/when you take a few stacks or even a band from a donor, how bound do you feel to their ideology?

8-How does a lobbyist make you understand that the money you are receiving is conditioned on you voting a certain way?

9-If, for example, a “national” cannabis advocacy group founded by a Colorado law firm funded by Colorado cannabis companies were to offer $50,000 towards your campaign on the condition that you oppose micro-grower licenses and support high barriers to entry in the eventual Texan recreational cannabis market, so that the Colorado cannabis companies can wedge their way into then conquer our market, would you accept it? What factors would you consider before deciding?

10-What do you think Texans can do today to advance recreational cannabis tomorrow?

Well reader, there you have it, some data about how lobbying and politics interplay in the cannasphere, and how that might affect where Texas is going in that regard. Keep this in mind as you take the proactive approach. Reach out to your representatives and communicate your desire for recreational cannabis, micro-grower licenses, and the option to self-cultivate. Lounging on leather, seat back on recline watching the world pass by does have its appeal, however, doing so with legal recreational cannabis would be exponentially more appealing. Let’s do this, Texas.

-Michael John Westerman, Esq.

Landlord/Tenant Attorney, Business Consultant

How to Pitch Pot to Conservatives (For Starters, Call it “Cannabis”)

Grassroots and Hemp Seeds: How Traditional Political Action Has Failed TX Cannabis

With the 87th Texas legislature having come and gone without any particularly exciting progress on cannabis, it is clear that efforts on selling the conservative voting bloc on legalizing it have not been as fruitful as we might have hoped. Sessions come and go, and while other states are generating billions of dollars in tax revenue through recreational cannabis markets, funding education and social programs, and generally not being the worst to their voting constituencies, Texas continues to push the bar on careless legislating.

It might be fulfilling, even entertaining, to blame the legislature and the politicians, but keep in mind we vote them in, and remember this when considering whose name to tick off next time. Willie Nelson for governor anyone? He does claim to have begun the “Teapot Party”, but let’s hope he doesn’t take to tossing bales of cannabis into a harbor should Texas ever decide to legalize and tax the agricultural commodity.

Cannabis is Not from California, Nor Will It Turn Texas Into California

marijuana leaves cannabis plants a beautiful background

Texas does not have to become California to make progressive steps towards generating billions of dollars in tax revenue. Instead of hippie weed, why not country wildflower? It’s all about framing and packaging, and given that some of the worst political presents in history were wrapped in the most wonderful cutest little boxes that the nation just could not wait to tear open, why not repackage the cannabis market for the Texan psyche?  

The drastic leaps backwards concerning women’s reproductive rights notwithstanding, the 87th Legislature of Texas denied cancer patients and veterans the ability to purchase cannabis with sufficient levels of THC to do what the entire purpose of medical marijuana is to do: provide adequate levels of THC to impactfully support treatment.

If the government were to limit the amount of alcohol allowed in beer to ineffective levels, or deny sufficient amounts of cheese to populate the space between patties and buns on a Big Mac, the nation would explode like a powder keg into a second civil war, complete with patriotic psychedelic fireworks (more on psychedelics in a future article).

So how do we get the conservatives on board and actually make some godforsaken progress this next legislative session? Pitch them not on the lifestyle benefits of pot, but on the economic value of the complete cannabis plant. Hemp is cannabis. Hemp is legal, employing thousands of citizens and generating millions in taxable revenue for good ‘ol Tejas at this very moment.

The mainstream asks, “so how is hemp legal and weed is illegal if it comes from the same plant?” Great question, mainstream, let’s draw a parallel they’ll all understand.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Analogy Pushes the Dials and Doesn’t Just Run the Wheels

Alcohol is to wheat what marijuana is to hemp and nicotine is to tobacco: an agricultural byproduct. All three are intoxicants, all three can alter one’s consciousness, although only two kill hundreds of thousands of Americans annually, the two that are legal. Why again is marijuana illegal?

It’s Already Here, Why Not Tax It and Save on Useless Law Enforcement Efforts?

Cannabis herb and leaves for treatment.Buds. Skunk. cbd, hemp buds and money,Closeup of assorted American banknotes.World economic crisis associated with coronovirus.

The character played by actress Michelle Rodriguez in the film “Machete” by director Robert Rodriguez says something like “We didn’t hop the border, the border hopped us.” The historical and political poignancy of this quote from an otherwise grindhouse feature of ultraviolence and Danny Trejo-driven awesomeness aside, cannabis in a similar manner has already transcended the borders of Texas. We have legal hemp, and if you might be looking for a product of the cannabis plant containing more than the legally allowed .3% THC, you likely know a person, or know a person who knows a person. You dig? It’s around, man, don’t be a square and it just might find you.

Marijuana Enforcement Measures are Exceptionally Discriminatory

As reported by the New York Times, Willie Nelson was caught by canine officers in the West Texas Town of Sierra Blanca with a quarter ounce of “high-grade, domestically grown marijuana”. Way to keep it ‘Merican Willie. The Hudspeth County Attorney on the case, Kit Bramblett, stated to local publication The Big Bend Sentinel, “I’m gonna let him plead, pay a small fine, and he’s gotta sing ‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain’ with his guitar in the courtroom. I ain’t gonna be mean to Willie Nelson.”

Now, substitute out “Willie Nelson” for “a Black teenager in a hooded sweatshirt”, and take a moment to envision what might have happened to our theoretical teenager if caught in West Texas with a quarter ounce of “high-grade, domestically grown marijuana”. I think it is safe to assume the canines and officers would have taken a different approach during the arrest, and the prosecutor would not be asking them to sing ‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain’ in the courtroom then let them go with a small fine.

Making the Effort? Reaching Out to Your Representatives

While you might think that the hemp companies generating hundreds of millions annually and their lobbyists will sway the minds of the Texas Legislature to legalize marijuana, don’t. It hasn’t happened yet, while recreational cannabis has been proving it value across the nation for nearly a decade at this point. While niche progress is made here and there to support commerce and the interests of the companies paying the lobbyists, as with the smokable hemp ban, broad political change takes broad effort on behalf of the body politic. Us.

Reaching out to your local representatives and communicating your position in support of legalizing recreational cannabis might be helpful. Before voting, determine who supports cannabis, and ask them what they plan to do in support of it if they make it into office. Vote with your voice, and inform your choices with hard data not glossy propaganda. Instagram is not news, but do slide into people’s DMs whom you find attractive, that’s what it’s for they tell me.

Money with sheet of marijuana close-up on background of one hundred dollars with an artificial ray of light, high quality image. Thematic photos of hemp and cannabis

Recreational cannabis is not far away from Texas, in fact there’s a market just above us in Colorado, and quite a bit of products diverted from other markets already here. Whether or not Texas decides to do what is best for the citizens of the state depends upon us. Or not. In all likelihood the Fed will legalize cannabis before Texas ever does, so advocate and vote, or don’t, it ultimately might not make any difference in the end. Just do you, live long and prosper, and maybe at some point you can legally buy a joint at a recreational dispensary in Texas to get over the futility of it all while allowing a moment in time to go up in smoke.


Michael John Westerman, Esq.

Central Texas’ Landlord-Tenant Attorney