October 25th, 2009 – Old-timers in Mendocino County may remember Bruce Perlowin – a guy who got busted in the 1980s at his compound-like home on Robinson Creek Road.
Appearing in CNBC’s “Marijuana, Inc.” documentary, Perlowin described his journey from Floridian hippie to marijuana kingpin – the mastermind of one of the most successful drug-smuggling enterprises in history.
Perlowin did his time, got out of jail, took up network marketing and was at the right spot during the birth of prepaid phone cards, saying his company, GlobalCom 2000, became “wildly successful.”
He was intrigued about changes in California’s marijuana laws. “I said jokingly to a colleague, if they legalize, I will network market marijuana.'” He did some homework and decided it was time to buy back his former Ukiah home.
The former super smuggler and his business partner decided, in Perlowin’s words, “to position ourselves in the marijuana industry.”
They changed their corporate name from Club VivaNet to Medical Marijuana, Inc., or MMI, and in March launched what he calls “the first publicly traded company based on the medical marijuana industry.” The Pink Sheet stock split 10 to 1 shortly after its initial offering; 1.3 million shares were traded on Wednesday, with the price climbing a dime to 37 cents per share. Perlowin estimates there are currently about 3,000 shareholders.
“MMI will provide turnkey solutions for an emerging industry,” says Perlowin.
Conceptual graphics feature a satellite-tracked supply chain network – with closed-loop systems incorporating seed suppliers, cannabis kitchens, a testing facility, home delivery and more.
Perlowin’s brainchild is the tax remittance card patients would use to purchase medicine from collectives. State, local and federal taxes would be funneled directly to the government. “We have signed on 28 collectives,” states Perlowin. The system platform is being beta tested, but MMI literature clearly states real-time implementation requires governmental technology upgrades to accommodate “a very high level of daily transaction volume.”
Collectives working with MMI seem excited by the possibilities, but on a few cannabis websites, individuals urge a closer look at the structure and history of MMI. Perlowin invites the inspection. “We’re building the rails for the industry to ride on. We must be transparent.” To that end, Perlowin is holding free informational seminars Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 until 9 p.m. in the Discovery Inn’s corporate room.
Are Perlowin’s proposals right for Mendocino County? Matt Cohen, Cooperative Director of Northstone Organics, also seeks ways to regulate medical marijuana production, but unlike Perlowin, Cohen’s puts the county at the center of the structural circle.
“My organization has standards in place,” notes Cohen, who feels grower and product accountability will be created when marijuana production regulations close the industry loop. He is committed to a structure that will help the marijuana community to enact positive change and operate freely – like any business.
Northstone incorporated as a Community Supported Agriculture model, providing patients with medical marijuana, and if desired, organic produce and free-range eggs. His years working with dispensaries, he says, taught him the importance of consumers’ rights to safe, quality medicine.
Cohen is not daunted by working within the system. He and other cannabis colleagues converse regularly with government and law enforcement.
He feels county Supervisor John McCowen’s proposed changes to the county’s medical marijuana ordinance are best suited to the needs of Northstone and the county – in contrast with the Mendocino Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, which endorses Supervisor John Pinches’ proposal. “MMMAB has been the voice of the cannabis community. It’s good for people to realize there are other views,” says Cohen.
Cohen wants to “take the Wild West and bring it through a regulatory scheme.”
Perlowin says, “MMI will create a compliance committee to bridge the gap between government, dispensaries and growers.” Cohen feels that Mendocino to cannabis is like Kentucky to whiskey.
“We could be positioned for a boutique industry before tobacco moves in.” Perlowin says, “It’s either us, giant agribusiness or tobacco.”
“The war’s over,” says the former kingpin. “Grow plants, pay your taxes and be part of the system.” Cohen says, “In the future, I hope people look to Mendocino County as the standard bearer for sustainable industry.” By CAROLE BRODSKY. Source.