Follow me down the rabbit hole of false promises of payment from an illuminati-tier perspective. Through many years of experience I have sadly come to know most, if not all, of these scams on a personal level, and today I’m passing those lessons on to you. Buckle up to see what it feels like to be a financial crash-test dummy in this “emerging market.” I hope to raise awareness to these in an effort to force these scamming losers to get a real job.
The other night, a friend said to me “I just followed your page.” I didn’t see that she had followed so I asked, “What page are you talking about?” and she proceeded to tell me the name of a page with one letter off from my current page. I replied, “That is not me. Please unfollow that page.” It’s always crazy to me to see these blatantly fake pages with an extra underscore, or period, (or two of the same letter, or one letter off from the main page) with every single post that the real page has been posting to look identical to the original. Looking down at the mutual followers you can see people I know that have no idea they are following a scam page. It is wild. Even I have followed some of these pages, unknowingly. The Waterboyz have a whole episode about this exact topic called Dabfish.
The one thing these scam pages all share is a link to their telegram page. When you click on the link, all you see is pictures of products. If you are dumb enough to order, needless to say your order will never arrive. I can’t tell you how many times I hear about people getting scammed off of these telegram trap pages. Sadly, if you live in a non-legal state, you might think this is your only option to get a product, but I have to tell you this: no one should be placing orders with someone they don’t know on the internet. If you or a loved one has been scammed by a fake Instagram or telegram page, you may be entitled to compensation, but good luck getting it.
The Bot Guru
One of the biggest scams are those pretending to be cannabis marketing gurus, who in reality are just in control of a bot farm. There is a certain individual in the Los Angeles area that I will refrain from mentioning by name because I don’t want my Instagram page deleted again, who has scammed literally every single cannabis brand that has given him money for his so-called companies’ “cannabis marketing.” That is to say, services like Instagram account growth, SEO optimization, memes and advertising, among other bogus opportunities they claim to offer. He gains the trust of clients by inviting them to a rented West Hollywood condo, ordering them the “trust me” bento box from Sugarfish, all while gassing them up off the prescription amphetamines he takes daily. I’m talking fyre festival level scams. Putting together make believe parties during MjBizCon and scamming unsuspecting and hard working individuals into paying for participation. And when the participants arrive at said party destination… guess what? There is no party, and these event planners are nowhere to be found.
These narcissistic sociopaths will stop at nothing to finesse you. Don’t believe everything you see online. The followers and likes are bots and not earned (pun intended). Bottom line if your cannabis needs a lame marketing guru for you to sell your product, it’s time to reevaluate your growing SOP and strain list because real fire sells itself.
The next scam involves our favorite people in the entire industry: the influencers. They collect free products from people who feel invisible in the sea of brands, and are just hoping that a post from some schmuck will make it relevant, as if that is really something that happens. Some influencers charge exuberant prices and insist on locking you into a monthly commitment so you can see the results of their hard work (a.k.a. posting pictures of your mid level product that nobody really wants). Like the Bot Guru, they pretend a pretty marketing campaign will morph that low-end into something flashy, but that’s not how it works.
Brand owners seem to think that social media drives sales when it’s really the opposite. When the product is impeccable and introduced to the right circle in an organic manner, this motion actually drives social media. It’s not the other way around.
I like to call this one the net Nevuary payment plan. I can remember being in high school and fronting eighths to my friends. It’s crazy to think that this many years later the entire industry has reverted to this game plan, but it is what it is. Distros and dispensaries that are swirling the toilet love to place orders with absolutely zero intention of paying the agreed-upon purchase price, or any price for that matter. I am well aware that real businesses operate in a similar fashion, but that’s not the cannabis industry. We’re special. These people will run orders up and simply refuse to pay, knowing there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it. If you don’t want to get bent over the barrel, miss me with the IOU‘s!
The Hash Grab
Do you ever wonder what happens to the rest of the 2 ounces of hash required to compete at an event that doesn’t get smoked that day, or the exuberant fee to even enter in the first place? Do you ever wonder why judges kits from said events are listed for sale on select Instagram trappers menus even after the event is over? Do you ever think to yourself “Oh wow, those same people won again!” These popularity contests are getting out of hand. Last year an event organizer straight up just kept all the products from sponsors for resale, and pocketed their money for sponsorship while he was at it. When confronted about his actions he threatened to scorch the earth, but really just ran and hid behind his lawyer father. As a community we need to be more thorough about who we choose to support because the people who introduced, endorsed, and promoted this scammer took less than zero responsibility for anything, and that is not legendary behavior.
The Great Opportunity
Finally, if a so-called friend that happens to own a cannabis brand asks you for money in any way: run! These guys will disguise their true motive as an “investment opportunity” a.k.a. take your money, and give you absolutely zero in return for it in many forms, such as selling a percentage of the brand, some sort of fictitious lab share partnership, or a flat out loan.
These are basic con man tactics. They will target anyone in their phonebook and usually start down the line of real hustlers with disposable income, or baby Chads with daddy’s money to throw around. More emphasis on the first option because they know most of those guys don’t want to take things to court, whereas guys playing with real money have lawyers and contracts. But that doesn’t matter to them. What matters to them is keeping the lights on and keeping the appearance of success in hopes someone might actually be dumb enough to believe their clown shoe company valuation. Online and via text message they will say whatever to keep things cool so they don’t get outed as thieves. When confronted in person they will squirm and scurry like little rats when they get startled by a loud sound near the dumpster. It amazes me to see people that act like they’re so legacy that they practically wrote Prop 215 pulling chadly scams on people that were in the trenches just like them for so many years. Opportunivores do come in all forms, yet all seem to share the same weak moral fabric, weak hairline, and always seem to have the sniffles.
After reading this, if you continue to fall for any of the above scams, at least you can’t say I didn’t warn you. In fact, you’d better brace yourselves for the next level. Imagine when these Instagram / Telegram scammers learn how to use AI to deep fake the plug and offer you terps for the low. Will you fall for it? Stay vigilant and protect your energy, and also your wallet because the future is getting weird.