Maximum Yield Cannabis USA October/November 2018 | Page 56

Online Scammers Undermine Rick Simpson’s Efforts by Kent Gruetzmacher After his own amazing recovery from cancer, Rick Simpson has spent much of his life helping others recover from the disease by sharing his Rick Simpson Oil recipe. Unfortunately, much of Simpson’s efforts to make Rick Simpson the world a better place have been undermined by online scammers taking advantage of the very people he is trying to help. C anadian icon Rick Simpson has become a global symbol for cancer patients advocating for governmental and medical recognition of cannabis. Simpson’s miraculous cannabis oil-induced recovery from skin cancer not only shed light on the potential of marijuana as medicine, but his grassroots campaign spread knowledge about the herb and inspired thousands of people. Since then, Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) has gained international notoriety as a high-quality, THC-based oil concentrate with robust curative effects. Simpson, like other medical marijuana freedom fighters, sees more value in cannabis than just monetary gain. As such, he says he literally feels that “God’s Law” has directed humankind to use this plant. What’s more, Simpson has never monetized RSO or his fame, even though it is believed that he has helped cure cancer in more than 5,000 people. At a time when everyone knows somebody who has died from cancer, take a minute to reflect on the magnitude and impact of Simpson’s undertaking. After Hydrolife Magazine included Simpson in “Five People Who Changed the Cannabis Landscape” (Hydrolife December/January 2017), Danijela Smiljanic Simpson, Simpson’s wife, noted that her husband’s efforts to improve people’s lives is being undermined by online scammers. 54 Maximum Yield According to Smiljanic Simpson, people have been hijacking her husband’s name and image in the sale of subpar, fake, and non-existent RSO products online and in cannabis dispensaries. Some of these people have even posed as Simpson himself. It goes without saying, taking advantage of sick people and selling fake medicine goes against the very grain of Simpson’s existence. He says he feels that “high-quality cannabis extracts should be made available at very reasonable costs since this is a very cheap medication to produce.” Similarly, Simpson abides by the notion that “the knowledge surrounding the medicinal value of this plant is something we should all have.” RSO Scams Online and on Social Media Due to his unflinching efforts to promote cannabis oil medicine, Simpson has achieved a high level of credibility within the circles of marijuana advocacy. His involvement in the medical marijuana field is a mix of personal experience, altruistic intent, medical critic, and government skeptic. As such, he has literally taken it upon himself to circumvent the “misguided” ethos of Western medicine and directly supply cancer patients with cannabis medicines and data. People have come to trust Simpson’s opinion concern- ing marijuana, largely because medical authorities and governments continue to refute the legitimacy of the medi- cine. It is this trust that is being exploited by RSO scam- mers. According to Simpson, these medical marijuana patients “have nowhere to turn” for medicine and are being preyed upon by internet criminals. Using fake social media accounts and websites, these imposters are reportedly scamming cancer patients out of tens of thousands of dollars. While researching this article, I came across several social media pages using Simpson’s name and image, some guiding users to another website for financial transactions. In one of the most appalling cases, an elderly cancer patient reported to Simpson that she sent an imposter $20,000, only to be delivered a fake RSO product which he described as “garbage.” Similarly, RSO scammers often prompt cancer patients to “wire” them money with no intentions of ever fulfilling the orders.