Juicy Fields Arrests: The Silence of The Cannapress

In the last week since an international police operation began arresting suspects, the mainstream press has had a field day – yet the cannapress has largely stayed quiet. Why?

For the last week, the international news media has had a field day reporting on the Juicy Fields case – in most cases for the first time. In marked contrast, however, the cannapress, with one notable exception in Europe anyway, has stayed remarkably silent.

This is far from surprising.

Generally, the cannabis media is not investigative, curious, and generally reliant on sponsors who do not want investors, or anyone else, to get a real sense of what is actually going on under the covers.

This is one of the reasons, in fact, that the Juicy Fields scam was able to perpetuate its air of legitimacy for so long. The press did not ask questions, but rather went along for the ride if not accepted the basic premise of the entire operation without too many questions.

Intriguing Offshoots

While it is also clear that most of the leadership of the scam, starting with Alan Glanse, who misspelled his supposed Wall Street employer on his Linked In profile, to the rest of the team (who subsequently scrubbed their social media profiles) made up their professional histories, one person involved in the scam stands out. Namely, Sergey Berezin (aka Paul Berholtz). His Linked In profile lists tenures at both Cannabis Business Times (a large US-based cannabis magazine and conference company) and Curaleaf.

So far, no comment from Cannabis Business Times after reaching out to them last week.

Regardless, it is very clear that this entire development has caught most in the cannabis industry by surprise. Nobody thought there would be any arrests.

Now that there have been, and beyond this, not just of those directly employed by the company but the first facilitator, there is a kind of shocked silence emanating from the cannapress – especially in Europe.

In the meantime, the mainstream media is having a field day. What is not to like about this story? Cannabis, corruption, Russian mafia.

Why Juicy Fields Is Different

There have been multiple excuses and justifications for the entire Juicy Fields mess over the last few years. For example at last year’s ICBC cannabis conference, the favorite excuse was that “Juicy Fields was just like the other major players in the cannabis industry.”

No. It never was. No matter how much money the large public Canadian cannabis companies have lost, and no matter how badly they have been managed, they at least grew and traded certified cannabis.

Juicy Fields was always a scam, no matter how much legitimacy they tried to create for themselves.

The Need For An Indie Cannabiz Media

If there is one thing that this entire experience has underlined is the need for an independent cannabis press that is not beholden to sponsors. The reality is that most of the cannabis media has stayed silent during this entire affair. Coverage has been led by the mainstream media.

That needs to change.

If this industry is going to continue to legalize, then reform must also come from the industry itself. Not everyone in the cannabis industry is a saint. And the dichotomy between consumers and profit is far from solved.