Marketing Mendonesia – the Emerging Marijuana Industry

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.DSCN0189

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.

One response to “Marketing Mendonesia – the Emerging Marijuana Industry”

  1. Medical Marijuana Inc. (MJNA) is truly a forward looking company.

    Looking back, it began in 2003 as Berkshire Collection, Inc. (BKCL) of Ontario, Canada. According to a complaint filed 12 Jun 09 by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) against Blackout Media (BKMP) and its principal Sandy Winick of Toronto, Berkshire Collection was one of 59 subsidiaries spun off from Blackout Media Corporation, formerly known as First Canadian American Holding Corporation, (FCDH).

    The SEC complaint alleges these 59 subsidiaries had no legitimate business purpose and were just “public company shells”, and that Winick profited at least $3.2 million from selling shares in these “shells” from 2004 through 2007.

    On 23 May 05 Berkshire Collection changed its jurisdiction to Oregon, at the same time issuing a 1 for 1,000 reverse split.

    I have never before in my life seen a 1 for 1,000 reverse split. A reverse split is typically a last ditch effort to prevent a company from being delisted on an exchange. According to MSN Money, “reverse splits are like a message from management that the underlying business trends are so rotten, they won’t be enough to get the stock price up to snuff.” Small shareholders, those holding less than 1 share after the reverse split, are cashed out. They’re lucky if they get a penny on the dollar.

    On 31 Jan 2007 Berkshire Collection changed its name to My Newpedia Corp (MYNW). This incarnation lasted until June of 2008 when it issued 211,926,840 shares of common stock, realizing $100,000. Then My Newpedia changed it’s name to Club Vivanet, exchanging 12 shares of MYNW for 1 share of CVIV. Then the merged entities, now named Club Vivanet (CVIV), “took back” 210,117,998 shares in a 1 for 20 reverse split and posted a stunning net profit of $26,040 for 2008.

    The Statement of Operations found on page 16 of the Annual Report for Club Vivanet for 31 Dec 08 states that it spent $751,359 on sales and marketing in order to post a profit of $26,040 on revenue of $818,992. While this was more than double the net profit of $12,624 for the previous year, it doesn’t seem particularly forthcoming to term the growth “meteoric” as Perlowin does repeatedly.

    In April of 2009 Club Vivanet (CVIV) became Medical Marijuana Inc. (MJNA):

    We thought at first we’d call our corporation Marijuana Inc. But when you say to someone … you’re in the Marijuana Business, you do get that weird, kinda strange look. But when you say ‘We’re in the Medical Marijuana Business’ …I don’t care where I am, everyone’s interested. Not only are they interested, sometimes they’re passionately interested because they’ve heard the stories and they think people should have the freedom to choose the medicine that really does help them.

    On 25 Mar 09, the day the name change was filed, the stock was worth 4 cents. The name change and 10 for 1 forward split occurred on 28 Apr 09. The day before the split and name change CVIV closed at 22 cents. The day after, MJNA closed at 62 cents. It has trended downward since.

    Perlowin explains it like this, pointing out he got out of prison 19 years ago:

    I was the largest marijuana smuggler in West Coast history. The media dubbed me the King of Pot. As the newspapers said, I had a fleet of boats larger than most country’s navies, and that was probably true. Made $100 million bucks by the time I was thirty. And then I went to jail for nine years and got out and made some huge businesses in the phone card and international telecom business. We’ve always had meteorically growing businesses after I got out of prison. Well, before I got out of prison too…

    Just look at what happened to our stock from day one and you can see we sort of know know what we’re doing in this industry.

    He explains that he is “monetizing” the public’s desire to legalize marijuana and that buying stock in his company is casting a vote for the legalization of marijuana.

    When Obama and the attorney general Holder said that they’d no longer interfere with state laws on marijuana issues, all of a sudden dispensaries and collectives and co-ops started popping up like weeds all over California … and, all of a sudden, legitimate business people started getting involved and wanting to get involved. And then “we” come along…

    This is one of those statements were you don’t really know where to begin.

    What is this “all of a sudden” legitimate business people are getting involved? Is he saying those dispensaries and co-operatives that have been doing it for years and who built the industry he finds so exciting are not “legitimate business people”? What does this say about The Green Cross – in business in San Francisco for five years and featured in June as an example of how medical marijuana had become mainstream? And, by the way, they’ve all been using plastic cards of all kinds for years: debit, credit, stored value, ID, and so forth. A manager of one dispensary told me 5 years ago, “Bank of America loves us.”

    Are we also supposed to believe that the “legitimate business people” who have been waiting for Obama to start the green rush before they got involved will not have the wherewithal to set up a business account with, oh, Bank of America or Wells Fargo, but instead will be “cash based”?

    While Perlowin wasn’t really sure if New Mexico had passed a medical marijuana law or not and was astonished at what he found when he came to California in February and told his doctor he had insomnia so he could get in a dispensary and see what it was like, he assures us he is the one to tell us all how to do it.

    I actually believe New Mexico is one of the places – don’t quote me on that because my big focus is on marijuana, on California – but I think New Mexico is one of the places where it’s legal. You can look at any of the movement websites like NORML or – that’s a great one, – and they really keep you up-to-date on what’s going on in each state. So I think it is. And in some places you can have co-ops, like in Colorado and California, and some places you’re allowed to grow your own. There’s no standardized laws or rules, which for a public company like us makes it really lucrative, or potentially lucrative. Because we can help come in and standardize the industry and help regulate the industry. Again, from the bottom up. Typically a company like this can move much quicker than the government can.

    It’s all a mish-mash. Every county in California is different from every city. And every state has different rules. And if you standardize it – it will take a few years – but that’s one of the things that we’re here to do, is to help standardize it. And again, starting with the most lucrative of all, the tax remittance.

    And he’s going to begin by re-assembling his old organization, from administering taxes paid by the sick and dying for medicine. When asked if he has any plans to own a dispensary:

    “If Nevada ever legalizes it – it’ll be on the ballot in 2012, November – I would love to have a dispensary inside a casino, growing the marijuana plants…”

    Obviously, Medical Marijuana Inc. CEO and King of Pot Bruce Perlowin didn’t have “medical marijuana” in mind when he said this. When the host points out this has the appearance of exploitation he replies:

    Yeah. So in that case, yeah. In the beginning. no. In the beginning all we want to do is provide all the tools for the dispensaries or the co-ops. In fact, we’re going to be doing seminars on how to open up a dispensary and we want management contracts with the dispensaries, not just for the tax card but for inventory control, for grading and standardizing the marijuana for software, for the doctors to use, and evaluating whether sativa or indica should be used for glaucoma vs. cancer vs. MS vs. headaches…”

    In the meantime, he hopes to buy “homesteads” of 1 to 5 thousand acres all over the country and grow vegetables or something on them until hemp is legalized, and then convert them to hemp farms. All this from administering taxes paid by the sick and dying for medicine.

    It’s an intriguing business model. He states they’ve decided 60% of the profit will go to the company, and 40% to charity.

    My job is to empower people, and specifically (because of another model) empower women. 40% of our profits goes to The Global Family and WE (Women Empowerment) because their job is to make sure this wealth goes all over the world to create a thousand millionaire women, who will create a thousand millionaire women each, and then they take over the world in what’s known as a global coup, but it’s really a coochie coo..

    Again, it’s difficult to figure out where to begin. Seems a bit sexist (not to mention boorish) to me, but what do I know? Besides there are more pressing issues. For instance, just ten minutes previously he stated 40% of “revenues” would be going to the local community: 10% to schools and or the women’s council (because women won’t take bribes and kick-backs, but men will); 10% to another local problem like fire or police (speaking of bribes); 10% to another city in America; and 10% to some international problem.

    Obviously, how much of what goes where isn’t really important. All that’s important is that 40% of the stockholders earnings from administering taxes paid on medicine by the sick and dying will go to some charity somewhere. No doubt medical marijuana patients will get a warm glow knowing their disability stipend is going to increase the supply of female millionaires in third world countries.

    Among a nebulae of disconnects is that it never occurred to Medical Marijuana Inc. that there are medical marijuana patients that can’t afford medicine, that are losing their jobs and their homes, that can’t pay lawyers and court costs. And a lot of them are men.

    Perlowin says he doesn’t smoke marijuana, except rarely.

    My prescription’s for insomnia. And I don’t know if I have insomnia, I’m so excited about what we’re doing I can’t sleep at night so I jump up and email. I go to sleep. I wake up. I email. And so I’m thinking, ‘I really want to go see these dispensaries but you can’t get in without a medical condition and I don’t want to lie about a medical condition. I won’t do that. I’m CEO of a public company, I’ve got to keep everything really straight. So, I’m thinking, ‘wait a minute…’ and if I don’t have my computer I’m sitting there awake all night, just thinking. So that’s clinical insomnia. That’s insomnia. So I got my medical marijuana card for being too excited. But I haven’t used my marijuana medicine yet because if I do I won’t answer my emails all night.

    As for the morality of taxing medicine? As for what happens when The Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act (HR 2835) is passed? As for the fact that you don’t get a “prescription” for medical marijuana, you get a “recommendation”?

    HR 2835 will move marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act’s Schedule I to Schedule II. Among other things this will mean marijuana will meet the legal definition of medicine and that doctors can prescribe it the same as pharmaceuticals. And this means it will not be taxed in states such as California where the people think there’s something sleazy and just plain wrong about taxing medicine.

    Well, maybe by then Perlowin will have his upscale pot emporium in some swanky Las Vegas casino.


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