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KUSH GOD: A Pioneering Entrepreneur Runs Afoul of the Sketchy Cannabis Laws in the Nation’s Capital and Pays the Price

KUSH GOD: A Pioneering Entrepreneur Runs Afoul of the Sketchy Cannabis Laws in the Nation’s Capital and Pays the Price

All Nicholas Cunningham wanted to do was run an innovative business giving away marijuana in downtown D.C. and maybe use that business model in other cities that had legalized recreational marijuana.

Some called him an innovator, a visionary, a man ahead of his time.

Now he is inmate 352734 sitting in the D.C. jail.

The D.C. police had a different viewpoint of his business operations. They believed that he was just a guy selling pot by attempting to skirt D.C.’s odd legalization law, which states you can have up to two ounces of marijuana in your possession but can’t sell or buy recreational marijuana.

Instead, recreational users have to grow it themselves, or have it given to them – as a gift perhaps – by someone who grew it in their home.

So what Nicholas Cunningham, aka Kush God, was doing seemed appropriate under the terms of the law. He would accept donations, then gift those donors with an amount of marijuana.

He felt this was legit. He didn’t hide what he was doing. He explained it on local D.C. TV news, in the Washington Post and other media outlets.

He had three very obvious cars cruising the district – a Mercedes and two Lexus’ – completely wrapped in marijuana signage.

Kush God had an app. You would go to the app, ask where one of his cars would be, he would text the location, you would go to the location, give him your donation and get your packet of gifted marijuana.

Was it lawful? Yes and no, because, well, the D.C. recreational cannabis law was still being interpreted…and is still being interpreted.

He started early in 2015, the year recreational cannabis was legalized in D.C. In December, 2015, D.C. police worked a sting operation against him. They charged the 30-year-old with two counts of selling marijuana to undercover police officers and put him on a year of probation.

But Cunningham never shut down his business. After his court date, he was back on the streets, adjusting his business model where someone would give their donation, then be sent to another location to pick up their packet of pot. No hand-to-hand money-for-marijuana, therefore, he thought, problem solved. But police harassments continued.

Now he’s doing time in the D.C. county jail – 60 days for violating his probation. The violation came about as a result of Tweets, Facebook posts, pictures with him in front of his cars and a story about his case in the Washington Post. “I am still kind of confused, because there was no sign of marijuana in the story,” Cunningham said.

“Right now, I am just dealing with the incarceration. And I have never done time like this before. I got three young children, one just two months old, so I got a lot to lose. It’s not worth the time they have taken away from me.”

“They gave me very wild terms and stipulations on my probation,” Cunningham said. “They weren’t normal at all. A lot of guys with rape cases and murder cases didn’t have the stipulations I had attached to my probation, which would be almost impossible not to violate.”

He said that he is officially done now with the marijuana business, concentrating instead on other ideas like exotic hemp juices and a new music app for stoners. “They treated me like I was some guy on the corner selling crack,” he said. “We could have campaigned to get K2 off the streets. But they never really told me what they wanted from me. It was just investigation, boom boom get him up out of there. They just basically wanted to make an example out of me.

“Right now, I am just dealing with the incarceration. And I have never done time like this before. I got three young children, one just two months old, so I got a lot to lose. It’s not worth the time they have taken away from me.”

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