People thought dot-com...was crazy. Dot-bong is going to be awesome
October 24, 2014 8:21 AM   Subscribe

"The next day, over breakfast, he said: 'At the peak in my account, I was at $640,000, but now I'm at $381,000. But I've taken out five times what I've put in along the way, so now it's like Monopoly money. I'm still buying more shares, though, because of my followers. I'm sticking with it for them. I'm like the Jesus of trading. I'm, like, letting myself get nailed to the cross just because I don't want them to suffer. I mean, I'm not really upset about losing all that money, which is shocking to me sometimes.'"
Meet the Wolf of Weed Street, (@WolfOfWeedST, natch) the man who's introducing stoners to the world of penny stock scams.
posted by Diablevert (32 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
From the recent tweets: "I want some #pancakes"
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:33 AM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


#pancakes

Aren't those called waffles?
posted by uncleozzy at 8:34 AM on October 24, 2014 [37 favorites]


And from the article: "Accept it, motherfucker. You are a face. You're a Twitter handle face."

I don't know if my fragile brain can handle reading the entire article today...
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:35 AM on October 24, 2014


I read most of this and I still dont understand what these stocks are... in? They're not growers, or even weed-related industries like security really. Are they just shell companies with pot names?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:46 AM on October 24, 2014


Pretty much, like any penny stocks. But hey, it only takes one!
posted by vogon_poet at 8:49 AM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, Mister Magazine Writer Guy, but if I'm up nearly $30k in a week with unknown volatility ahead, I am cashing the fuck out, not waiting for it to crash so I can write an article about it.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:53 AM on October 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Buy low, Sell high, that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know
posted by gwint at 8:55 AM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I read bitcoinmarkets a lot because I'm a masochist, and the language there is the same. It's everyone fault but their own that they're losing money. "Whales" are manipulating the markets, etc.
posted by empath at 9:02 AM on October 24, 2014


And all this time I thought "sell high" referred to the stock, not to the buyer.

Man I have been doing it all wrong.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:02 AM on October 24, 2014 [17 favorites]


There were, so, so many amazing quotes in this article.

To your point, Potomoc, I think most of the stocks are pure scams. What's fascinating to me is that the Wolf seems to have found a virgin furrow to plot in marketing his advice to stoners. The way the scam works is the same way these things always work, and the author's account of his experience is so prototypical it's nearly an allegory, like Pilgrim's Progress or Pinoccio and the wolves. It's just that here you have this group of people with no interest in/acumen for stocks in particular, but when you use the magic word --- pot, in this case --- that they know in their bones is gonna be a big deal, and here they are getting in on the ground floor...it's just fascinating to see the legend in action. Like coming upon an actual 3-card monte game on a corner.
posted by Diablevert at 9:06 AM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm really starting to resent the fact that I only hear about the shady, fringe-riding, marginally-ethical means of getting rich once they hit the mainstream press. Am I just hanging out in the wrong bars?

I'll sell out my personal morality and fuck over strangers just as fast as the next guy; I just want to get out of debt and pick up a hobby, maybe retire someday before the whole world descends into a swampy, violent, miserable new Dark Ages.
posted by penduluum at 9:07 AM on October 24, 2014 [18 favorites]


Finally, a story in which every character, from author to subject to entourage, is equally loathsome. It's a feel-good story from a magazine known for its insightful takes on investment journalism.
posted by Mayor West at 9:11 AM on October 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


before the whole world descends into a swampy, violent, miserable new Dark Ages.

Jesus, happy Friday dude.
posted by repoman at 9:11 AM on October 24, 2014 [13 favorites]


From the article:
Many of the 250 or so companies involved in the pot industry had nothing whatsoever to do with high times in previous incarnations. Instead, they were involved with the airplane industry (AvWorks Aviation, now known as Vapor Group) or the coffee business (Hemp Inc.) or oil (PetroTech Oil and Gas) or mining (Next Gen Metals), and apparently failing at those enterprises big-time.
If I recall correctly, during the first dot-com boom in the 1990s, we saw very similar stuff on that former wretched hive of scum and villainy, the Vancouver Stock Exchange. Lots of shady penny-stock, gold-mining companies suddenly and magically became hot dot-com properties. If the VSE were still around, no doubt people would be pumping and dumping this nonsense once again.
posted by mhum at 9:15 AM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've been wondering if I should launch an Etsy store selling ashtrays engraved with pot leaves, or something. Didn't the most successful Gold Rush people just sell jeans and pans?
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:17 AM on October 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


So, Affinity Fraud?
posted by rustcrumb at 9:20 AM on October 24, 2014


Didn't the most successful Gold Rush people just sell jeans and pans?

Yep, like my great great grandfather. Or the railroads. Actually probably the biggest gold rush successes were the people selling worthless plots of land to suckers. Buy low sell high.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:21 AM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


We're still 2 years out from legit weed companies going public. Wall St money is teetering at the brink ready to invest in it. If you really want to get rich off weed, move to CO and buy a headshop (or invest in one).

This is my opinion. #FF @marktwainofWeedRush
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:23 AM on October 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


I shot the photos for this piece and to say both of these guys are interesting characters is an understatement.
posted by photoslob at 9:24 AM on October 24, 2014 [23 favorites]


So what's the New Weed Economy version of the worthless plots of land that we should be buying low, now, to later sell high? Shares in co-managed energy companies? Home glass blowing rigs?

It's ... it's literal plots of land again, isn't it. God dammit, all the rich people already bought all those!
posted by penduluum at 9:26 AM on October 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


> Actually probably the biggest gold rush successes were the people selling worthless plots of land to suckers.

Ah, but if they held on to those "worthless" Bay Area real estate titles for a mere, oh, 160 years... well, who's laughing now, buddy?
posted by ardgedee at 9:38 AM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


So the Wolf, at least in the story, is represented as a True Believer. I would not have expected that.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 9:40 AM on October 24, 2014


Don't get high off your own supply, man.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:45 AM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'll sell out my personal morality and fuck over strangers just as fast as the next guy; I just want to get out of debt and pick up a hobby, maybe retire someday before the whole world descends into a swampy, violent, miserable new Dark Ages.

Once upon a time, this was called "a career", and most everyone who graduated highschool could have one. It came with regular pay increases, pension contributions that were saved and re-invested in low-risk plans and not raided whenever some CEO or other wanted a corporate jet.

You didn't need to go into debt to afford most of the comforts of modern living, and ideed, it was hard to get into debt. You could ring up a tab at a local merchant, or participate in a layaway plan, or you needed a good relationship with a banker who was smart and involved enough to know whether or not you could afford the bass boat loan. There were no credit cards with 18% APRs. College degrees were within reach of students who had part-time jobs and a good work ethic on a pay-as-you-go basis.

You could afford hobbies - bowling, sailing, electronics, clubs and societies and association memberships, a little cabin out on a lake.

This was a middle class life - Within it, class distinctions were flattened out a lot more: factory workers and office workers could be distinguished by whether they drove a Chevy or an Olds, doctors and lawyers could be picked out by their Buicks and maybe their kid could afford horseback riding lessons or a membership at a ski chalet in New Hampshire.

While not everyone was a member of the middle class, more and more and more and more people were joining it every year, including formerly marginalized ethnic groups like Italians, Portuguese, Lebanese, etc. Those of truly marginalized groups were beginning to demand their fair share, and society was beginning to listen.

I can see where that wave broke, and began to recede: January 20th, 1981.

After that, being in financial trouble was seen as a moral failing, and get-rich-quick investment schemes and easy credit were offered to us as a good replacement for a steady job and a pension.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:09 AM on October 24, 2014 [33 favorites]


God do I long for the old days when running up credit debt was somewhat difficult (being half-serious)
posted by GreyboxHero at 10:18 AM on October 24, 2014


I am aware of no legitimate marijuana investment opportunities on the public market, and for good reason.

Anyone who touches the product, or is meaningfully involved with it enough to say they've got a marijuana-related business per se, is violating federl law, and, as such, the lawyers, accountants, banks and brokers who need to bless being public (to say the least of going public) stay a mile away.

There are funds that are raising money to make private investments in legal marijuana activities, but they are in very distinctly grey zone, and (rightly) permit only very sophisticated high-net-worth investors to come in as limited partners.

Beyond this, there is little reason to believe that the first movers in quasi-legal marijuana are going to have any long-term advantage in a fully-legal marijuana market. Analogies to Prohibition, where there was an entire brand, production, distribution and retail infrastructure to revive, are quite poor. Branding is wide open. Illegal growers have no inherent advantage over agri-business, and a severe disadvantage in raising capital. States that decide to create equivalence with liquor regimes for distribution and retail not only won't favor incubments, but may actually disfavor them, as their past law-breaking could automatically disqualify them from getting marijuana licenses just as law-breaking disqualifies you from getting a liquor license today.
posted by MattD at 10:22 AM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Help me out here," I said to the Wolf one morning. "What fundamentals are you even looking at?"

He blinked several times but didn't miss a beat. "Well, they have a business and a vision," he said, smiling toothily, arms spreading. "In a new marketplace like this, nobody knows how it's going to end up. So we use words like fundamentals to stand for 'They seem like they're not fucking up.' That's pretty much the fundamentals right now."


*facepalm*
posted by tdismukes at 10:42 AM on October 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


> Anyone who touches the product, or is meaningfully involved with it enough to say they've got a marijuana-related business per se, is violating federl law, and, as such, the lawyers, accountants, banks and brokers who need to bless being public (to say the least of going public) stay a mile away.

Tide's turning, my friend
Another measure, sponsored by Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., would allow financial institutions to provide services to legitimate marijuana-related businesses. Currently, processing transactions or investments with money from marijuana sales puts federally insured banks at risk of drug racketeering charges.
posted by morganw at 1:13 PM on October 24, 2014


I'm really starting to resent the fact that I only hear about the shady, fringe-riding, marginally-ethical means of getting rich once they hit the mainstream press. Am I just hanging out in the wrong bars?

I'll sell out my personal morality and fuck over strangers just as fast as the next guy; I just want to get out of debt and pick up a hobby, maybe retire someday before the whole world descends into a swampy, violent, miserable new Dark Ages.


If you figure out what the next scam is, I'll be your lackey. This is not a joke.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:01 PM on October 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


There were no credit cards with 18% APRs

A mortgage was almost 18% in 1980, so credit card rates were certainly higher.
posted by jpe at 5:13 PM on October 24, 2014


A mortgage was almost 18% in 1980, so credit card rates were certainly higher.

Oh, you mean the Nixonian monetary standard turned out to be an unmitigated disaster? That Ford made it worse, and inflation raged unchecked until what? What coooould have happened? Who could take that blame? I wonder?
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:04 PM on October 24, 2014


On Sunday evening, I set up an account on howthemarketworks.com so I could do some pretend Marijuana investing. Bought 1000 shares each of AERO, ATTBF, CANLF, CBIS, EDXC, ENRT, ERBB, FITX, and SPRWF. After a week, I'm up 1.8%. So, take that for what you will.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:51 PM on October 31, 2014


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