Roger Stone will no longer speak at a major cannabis conference in Los Angeles following significant pushback from the polarizing Donald Trump ally. In an announcement Wednesday, Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo (CWCBExpo) organizers made the decision to cancel Stone’s keynote speech “following collaborative discussions with numerous partners, participants, and interested parties who support the legalization of cannabis in an inclusive manner.”
Criticism of Stone’s inclusion stems from a number of since-deleted tweets considered lewd and racist. As Buzzfeed first reported, a number of significant members of the cannabis community made known they’d boycott the event if Stone stayed on as speaker.
The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA)—who represents minority business owners and workers within the industry—catalyzed the boycott movement in a Facebook post announcing the organization had withdrawn attendance and speakers in protest of Stone. A Change.org petition also began, accruing more than 800 signees.
“Before this was an industry, it was a movement — a movement born in opposition to marginalization, criminalization and discrimination,” the petition states. “Through his language and actions, Mr. Stone perpetuates and perpetrates the very marginalization and discrimination that we are fighting against.”
The CWCBExpo underscored the event’s importance to the “growth and legalization of the cannabis industry.” Those goals, as the organization emphasized, “supersede the distractions that have surrounded the events,” leading to Stone’s removal from the event. In addition, the CWCBExpo stated they are “wholly committed to promoting diverse business and economic opportunities.”
Stone is a major supporter and informal advisor to Trump. He is also an avid supporter of marijuana legalization and was a previous CWCBExpo keynote speaker at the New York City conference. There he announced the United States Cannabis Coalition, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to influencing federal level decision makers, including the president, so they honor state’s rights and state mandated marijuana laws as well as reform our antiquated and failed federal drug laws.”
However, he was not happy with his removal from the Los Angeles CWCBExpo. He told Buzzfeed he plans to sue the organizers $1 million, adding that his “many supporters” will attend the CWCBExpo and “will fuck them up.”
“Hope they are well heeled. See their sorry asses in court,” Stone said to BuzzFeed. “I will not be deterred from my efforts to persuade the President to preserve access to legal medicinal marijuana consistent with his pledge to the American people.”