Author’s note: After writing a four-part series about the cartel-like cannabis takeover happening in Florida, I had many people reach out to me suggesting I look into what was happening in Ohio. I received a small research grant from the Ohio-based Cannabis Museum (owned by Don E. Wirtshafter) to visit the state, conduct interviews and take the needed research time to get it right. The Cannabis Museum grant was accepted on the condition that Wirtshafter would have no influence over the content in any way, especially because he is a key player in this narrative.
At first, I thought I could write this and move on in a couple weeks, but what is happening in Ohio is so important, historic and complicated that it merited a much deeper dive. What you are about to read summarizes a complex web of infighting and greed that turned lifelong friends and advocates into bitter enemies and laid the groundwork for a corporate takeover of this industry before a seed ever legally goes into the ground.
What has happened in Ohio is happening everywhere in the United States right now. This same pervasive strain of greed has contributed to an economy leaving many Americans behind and fueling other deeper tensions, and now all but the wealthiest are about to be shut out of one of the nation’s largest growth industries. These articles are just scratching the surface; there are plenty more wormholes yet untraveled, and I hope other journalists who are willing to sort through all the muck will be supported to continue the research and documentation needed as this multi-billion industry moves above board.
Read the 4-Part Series at Huffington Post