It’s not just that they ruined his million-dollar cannabis industry Super Bowl party.
“The way government officials handled this is symbolic of the discrimination the marijuana community faces every day,” says Michael “BigMike” Straumietis, founder of marijuana hydroponics nutrients company Advanced Nutrients.
Straumietis says he’s planning to sue the City of Los Angeles because officials sabotaged his 2017 Marijuana Mansion Super Bowl party.
Straumietis hosts a handful of cannabis industry mega-parties each year at his Hollywood Hills mansion, overlooking Los Angeles.
BigMike’s Mansion parties are as lavish as celebrity parties hosted by Madonna, Beyoncé, and Kanye.
But BigMike’s Mansion parties aren’t drunken, meaningless events like many LA mansion parties are.
He throws parties to provide unparalleled networking opportunities for stellar cannabis growers, scientists, processors, investors, retailers, and activists.
Once a year, he gives out achievement awards—The Marijuana Maverick Award—highlighting marijuana heroes, entrepreneurs, and innovators.
Planning for his 2017 Super Bowl bash started nearly a year ago.
Straumietis says his company executives paid all permitting fees and cooperated with bureaucrats who monitor large parties on private property.
Los Angeles is famous for “mansion parties.”
Entire websites are devoted to advertising them.
“Our parties cause little if any disruption, especially when you compare them to typical mansion parties,” Straumietis says.
He points to a birthday party thrown by the Kardashian family that included a massive fireworks display.
“City officials and Kardashian’s neighbors weren’t notified. They were terrified. They thought they were hearing gunfire, or explosions from a terrorist attack,” Straumietis recalls.
A 2017 Super Bowl party hosted by “the Mad Diva” at Primera Mansion in Los Angeles charged admission, and reportedly featured hookahs, gambling, loud music, and general commotion.
“None of these parties were harassed or shut down,” Straumietis says.
Straumietis says city officials gave his team a green light for the party but showed up the day before Super Bowl Sunday and issued a “stop work order.”
They threatened to have Advanced Nutrients executives arrested, as they’d done at BigMike’s previous parties.
“We had all the permits. Paid the fees. Kept city officials informed every step of the way. They made a ridiculous last-minute decision that cost us a huge amount of money and trouble. They sabotaged a private party on private property that hundreds of people were looking forward to,” Straumietis said.
Straumietis is no stranger to government harassment.
He’s dedicated his adult life to growing marijuana and making horticultural products that increase marijuana plants’ yield, growth rate, potency, and value.
He grew marijuana in corn fields when he was just a kid, and had to run for miles to get away from police trying to bust him for cultivation.
A few years later, he grew cannabis in custom-built 5,000 square foot sealed gardens.
When he realized marijuana plants would be more profitable if he fed them marijuana-specific nutritional elements and supplements, he hired scientists and created a new generation of hydroponics nutrients.
He’s the only founder of a hydroponics company to publicly praise and defend the cannabis plant and its growers and users, and the only one who understands professional marijuana cultivation.
When his Advanced Nutrients hydroponics company came on the scene, rival hydroponics companies were making tomato fertilizers and selling them to marijuana growers, he recalls.
He went public with his marijuana fertilizer research, and some of his Canadian hydroponics industry competitors complained to police.
In 2001, police raided the Vancouver, Canada headquarters of his hydroponics company.
They put guns to the heads of his secretaries.
Trashed the company offices.
Seized all assets of the company and its leaders.
They threw Straumietis in prison for five months and then exiled him from Canada.
Straumietis rebounded by turning Advanced Nutrients into the only international company making scientifically-designed nutrients for cannabis plants.
He started his @BigMike Instagram account that has nearly a million followers.
But he’s still fighting blatant discrimination against the marijuana community.
Straumietis explains that cannabis was criminalized in 1937, when drug warriors called marijuana “demon weed” that caused “reefer madness” that led to rape and murder.
“For 80 years they’ve lied about marijuana, its growers, and users,” Straumietis explained. “They encourage people to nark on us. They run an actual domestic war against us— a war that kills people, breaks up families, and costs billions of dollars a year.”
Defying the war, tens of thousands of cannabis growers risk injury and prison to provide consumers with marijuana, he says.
In 1996, Dennis Peron and his cadre of sick and dying medical marijuana patients convinced Californians to approve Prop. 215, the first medical marijuana legalization in America, Straumietis notes.
“Dennis started a tidal wave of real legalization. But prejudice, discrimination, and bullying against our marijuana community still exists, especially among police agencies and government bureaucrats,” Straumietis says.
He notes that legal marijuana businesses face discrimination in banking, zoning, and in marketing legal marijuana.
Local police and government officials ban or harass marijuana growers and businesses, even in legalized states, he says.
“Prop. 64 puts stranglehold restrictions and regulatory hurdles on our marijuana community,” Straumietis says. “Lots of limitations on pot growers, hardly any on people who home-brew or sell alcohol, even though alcohol harms people, while marijuana is the safest medicine known to man.”
As his team of attorneys prepare a lawsuit against the city and individual officials, Straumietis continues his work as an activist and philanthropist.
In Europe, he’s known for his Holiday Heroes program that donates food, housing assistance, and cash grants to disadvantaged people.
Holiday Heroes opened its Los Angeles chapter last year, focusing on helping homeless and otherwise disadvantaged people.
After government officials ruined his 2017 BigMike’s Mansion Super Bowl Party, Straumietis donated the $250,000 worth of chef-prepared party food to the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition.
“The only silver lining to the cloud the city created by unfairly stopping my party is that homeless people got to eat the filet mignon prime rib, whole pigs, crab legs, jumbo shrimp, veggies, and other gourmet food we’d prepared for our guests,” Straumietis says.