Weedmaps WM Technology Inc (NASDAQ:MAPS) and hip hop star Killer Mike announced the launch of their new media project Tumbleweeds. The show will follow Killer Mike, real name Michael Render, exploring what show creators call "a new era of cannabis in America."
What To Expect On Tumbleweeds
Render will tour four U.S. cities, including the California Bay Area, New York City, Chicago and Las Vegas where he'll will stop and chat with local personalities and comedy legends linked to the pot community. Along the way, he’ll be joined by notable entertainers:
- Comedian, Ngaio Bealum
- Comedian, Jeff Horste
- Comedian, Kabir Singh
Comedian, Mat Edgar
- Comedian, DJ Sandhu
- Comedian, Jozalyn Sharp
- Comedian, Mu Johnson
New York City:
Comedian, Napoleon Emill
- Comedian, Jocelyn Chia
- Comedian, Brendan Sagalow
- Comedian, Chris Higgins
- Comedian, Jarrell Barnes
- Comedian, Just Nesh
- Comedian, Abi Sanchez
He will also tour dispensaries, infused cafes and other emerging pot destinations to showcase the pulse of America’s cannabis culture.
Render, who spoke with Benzinga while filming at Manhattan’s Café Canal in January, appeared thrilled about the project. He emphasized how the show plans to tackle pressing cannabis issues while also highlighting the communal aspect through comedy.
"I get to hang out with incredibly joy-filled people, smoke marijuana and talk about cannabis," said Render, co-creator and co-star of the hip-hop group Run the Jewels.
Overall, he said the goal is to help further normalize cannabis.
Changing Of The Guard Needed In D.C.
Normalizing cannabis has its remaining hurdles. While the public has largely come around on the issue, stalled action on Capitol Hill and in certain state houses leave Render supporting a change in leadership.
He pulled no punches with his assessment, saying “I think the remaining hurdles are to get the old fucking politicians that are in charge now the fuck out the way.”
Render said opposing lawmakers "know that legalization is imminent and coming," proposing rules he considers "dumbass hurdles" that obstruct the process.
He cited his home state of Georgia as an example, citing its strict medical cannabis program.
Under state law, patients are only permitted access to 20 ounces or less of low-THC oil. Medical cannabis oil is not available for purchase at this time, according to the state Medical Cannabis Commission.
Render called Georgia’s current state cannabis rules “senseless.”
Fighting Drug Stigmas, Calling For Improved Licensing Access
Render, a long-time activist, is well-educated on the history of drug war propaganda. He was quick to highlight the race-based attacks starting in the 1920s all the way through the Nixon administration’s ramping up of the drug war, with its effects ongoing.
"We know that Nixon propagated the drug war to be weaponized against hippies or freethinking white folks and black folks,” he said, adding, “I think it's time to end.”
Advocating for equal ownership, Render supports licensing opportunities for drug war victims and their communities, believing that industry ownership should reflect state demographics.
While traveling the world, Render identified Amsterdam as having an amazing cannabis culture, and Denver for its cannabis tax system and efforts to increase black ownership.
In January 2022, Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division announced that minority ownership surpassed a 16.8% goal, with officials calling for increased ownership over time.
Render called for improved licensing access across the country.
"It's something to be said that the brothers that are offering to sell me weed right here on the corner do not have the ability to open a small store," he said. "It needs to be easier for them to open a small storefront."
Since this interview was conducted, New York State officials have announced that drug war victims and hemp growers will receive adult-use licensing priority when applications are accepted.
Render also was happy to see friends and advocates succeeding in the space. He highlighted Berner, hip hop artist, founder and CEO of the Cookies brand. He called the artist turned entrepreneur “a great ambassador,” for the cannabis community.
Haven’t Smoked Pot With Bernie Sanders Or Grandma
Like most, Render is eager about the possibilities cannabis can present.
He used his grandmother as an example. An arthritis sufferer who doesn’t smoke pot, she’s reportedly found relief in CBD topicals and cannabis edibles.
"My grandmother would never smoke a joint with me, even though I'm still trying to convince her," Render laughed.
Another senior citizen Render is close to is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The two linked up during Sanders' 2016 Democratic primary run.
Like his grandmother, Render said he has not gotten Sanders to smoke despite his support of legalization.
“I haven't gotten him to smoke with me yet, but I'm still trying,” said Render, flashing a smile to end the interview.
Photo credit: Weedmaps/Wheelhouse