For years, the March for the Liberation of Hemp was an incredibly important event for the Polish hemp community and for all lovers of the plant who wanted to express their dissatisfaction with what its legal status is in our country and around the world. For years it was a kind of celebration of hemp. Unfortunately, for several years the event's significance has been marginal and virtually nonexistent. Recent years have seen the regular destruction of the event and its ideas by successive organizers. Unfortunately, this year's march fits into this trend by being the most poorly prepared edition ever. By the way, the main organizer committed fraud by sending out an offer to potential sponsors of the event, which had nothing to do with reality, but made the event much more interesting for potential sponsors. Here is more information.
Cannabis Liberation March 2022 - an organizational disaster with organizer scams in the background
Matthew Zbojna of Open Our Eyes was responsible for organizing this year's march. Why exactly Matthew? Most simply, there was no one willing to take on the task. The so-called board of Free Hemp has had no desire to organize further editions of the event for several years. Why? About that a little later.
The 2022 March for the Liberation of Hemp, whose main organizer was Matthew Zbojna, gathered about 800 people during the march and about 2,000 people at the main stop. This was the lowest turnout in a dozen years. This situation is due to the fact that Matthew Zbojna most simply has no idea about organizing demonstrations / demonstrations. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, not everyone has the aptitude to be an organizer. Recall that Matthew has more than once organized demonstrations in defense of medical marijuana patients. Demonstrations that were so poorly organized that only their organizers showed up. What's more, it happened that the patients, in whose defense the events were organized, wrote to me (although we never met) messages that these activities are so organized that they can do more harm than help.
Matthew Zbojna me powerful ego and zero organizing skills, this sie could not end well. Matthew had no chance of drawing crowds because he is a terrible organizer, as he has shown many times. A march can attract thousands of people, but you have to know how to reach them, and make the event interesting for them. Matthew Zbojna, unfortunately, can do neither of these things.
A good turnout for an event depends to a large extent on properly conducted promotion of the event. The key word in this case is RESPONSIBLY, as different events require different promotional approaches. Mateusz and his team decided to drape posters made of flour and water glue over... renovated tenements in Warsaw's New Town! Another of Matthew's "good" ideas was to write "plant, burn, legalize" with markers on elements of the city's infrastructure and brag about it on his social media. That's how you do the promotion of until recently the most important hemp event in the country. Great promotion of the march and hemp itself.
After all, why pay a poster and outdoor promotion company and do it right.
Many people believe that such a poor turnout was due to the weather. In part, it probably was. However, there have already been marches in average weather where thousands of people were present.
Not only that, in the years when the MWK was most successful in terms of turnout - people were afraid to show up at such manifests. Why? Very often I encountered the fear that the police were recording the marchers in order to track them later. Interestingly, about 10 years ago such fears were not at all unfounded although I consider them a bit paranoid. In any case, despite such, and not other, surroundings of the march and the regular numerous detentions and beatings with batons - fat thousands of people turned up at the site. Even when the temperature was low and it was sprinkling.
When, in a conversation with Andrzej Dolecki, president of the Free Hemp Association, I asked what he thought of the organization of this year's March, I heard that "for a person who organized something for the first time in his life, it was not bad."
My first thought was, of course - how can you entrust such an important event to a person who has never organized anything in his life? The second thought, on the other hand, was that after all, as I mentioned earlier, Matthew Zbojna has organized several demonstrations in defense of patients... to which no one ever came except the organizers.
And now we don't know what is worse - entrusting such an important event as the March for the Liberation of Cannabis to a person who has never organized anything in his life, or entrusting it to a person who has already tried to organize something many times, but never succeeded.
The fact that the March was organized on a Saturday in almost evening hours and on the day of the Champions League finals show what kind of idea Zbojna and his team have about organizing anything.
Unfortunately, while organizing the March, there was also a major fraud. It consisted in the fact that after sending a sponsorship offer to potential sponsors, the main organizer Matthew Zbojna, sent a second offer, already very significantly changed. The change was the addition of a point to the offer that said Mata would appear at the Cannabis Liberation March.
To clarify - whether Mata would appear at the march or not is of colossal importance for potential sponsors, it is a strong "game changer." This is due, of course, to the fact that the young Mata pulls fat thousands of people in a given place in an hour, it is enough to release a post or a report with information on where he will appear and it is known that there will be large crowds.
What matters to sponsors is the attendance of the event and what kind of an echo it will have. It is on this basis that the sponsor decides whether or not to step in to fund the event. It is also crucial when setting rates.
Adding Mata's participation in the March to the bid automatically made this point the most important for potential sponsors and advertisers. The point made the bid at least 300% more interesting to potential sponsors.
However, the point was a premeditated fraud because Mata was never a confirmed guest. Not only that, people who took part in the organization of the march (Open Our Eyes) claim that no one attached any importance to Mata's presence. An article by OO's Viktor Brzezinski about the situation reads:
"Another example is the Cannabis Liberation March. One of the ideas was the presence of Mata on it, although we never attached too much importance to the concept. I personally said many times that it was a bad idea. I believed, and still do, that its level of visibility would overshadow the event. The media would discuss Mata's event, not the Cannabis Liberation March. A few days earlier there was a concert on the steps, during which people jumped into the Vistula to be closer to their idol. And we're talking about a spontaneous evening concert on a boat. What if Mata had announced his presence at the March a few days earlier? Or even spontaneously on the same day? Wouldn't the mass of his fans have paralyzed the March? What would have been the approach of the police then? Would it have been safe to drive cars in such a crowd? Of course, the March on his presence would also promote itself, it would be loud about it. However, I can't shake the feeling that the balance of profits and losses would be on the downside. Another issue, however, is the lack of any support in social media. A serious institution working on cannabis decriminalization should not ignore one of the most important events in the cannabis calendar."
We read in an article that looks more like a twisted explanation by kids than a serious approach to the topic, the whole text you will find T U T A J.
These few sentences show that these people should not organize anything. If anyone thinks that Mata would overshadow the March then seriously he doesn't have the slightest idea what he is talking about. Every portal would write about the fact that Mata's support of the March drew thousands of people to it, they would write about what he said there, on the other hand, they could already speak up smarter than Matczak and let the world know the right hemp message. The organizers outright admitted that too large a turnout due to Matczak's participation would be a problem, no words because the larger the turnout the better the effect of the event.
Interestingly, the organizers are ranting in fear of crowds at the march (although crowds are what it's all about) without seeing the real problem that could exist if Mata were to drop by the march, namely the age of Mata's fans, but on the other hand this could be used for an interesting social debate - after all, young Mata fans can easily get their hands on any legally banned substances including weed.
Either way, adding such an important point to an offer that turned out to be untrue is a serious deception. From a conversation with Wiktor Brzezinski of Otwramy Oczy, I learned that Jakub Gajewski of the board of Free Hemp also knew about the "na Mata" scam. At least, that's what the Open Eyes representatives claim.
Both Open Eyes and Free Hemp see no problem with anything. Viktor Brzezinski directly confessed that he was indeed cheated by Matthew Zbojna, but as he says, "life goes on," and of course everyone pretends that nothing happened. These people claim that including false information in an offer is not fraud, according to them. This is one of the biggest pathologies in our hemp yard.
Unfortunately, the presence of Mata is not the only point in the offer that was untrue, just look at what artists were supposed to play at the march, and what artists actually played.
Cannabis Liberation March - what's next?
Will next year's March also be organized by Gajewski and Zbojna after committing blatant fraud this year? What about the future of the event? I asked the president of the Free Hemp Association, Andrzej Dolecki, about this:
"One thing is how I see it, relative to how I would like others to see it (the March - ed. note). The situations described, but also other reasons, are now a reason to discuss what's next, what's next for the March and whether it makes sense to continue it. And this is part of a broader discussion of what to do next with the JC because after the recent situations (not only on the occasion of the March - editor's note) I am at such a stage that either it needs to be thoroughly rebuilt or the organization needs to be closed down."
-said Andrzej Dolecki and added:
"I would like to see a broad discussion later this year about how we do the next March, who we do it with, whether we do it, and why we do the event at all."