Roger Stone, a longtime Republican strategist and frequent advisor to President Donald Trump, is apologizing for racist and misogynistic remarks he made after cannabis activists and executives threatened to boycott his keynote speech at an industry conference in September.
The calls for a boycott initially came from the Minority Cannabis Business Association earlier this month in response to Stone’s praise for Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, as well as Stone’s history of outlandish and offensive statements about minorities, women, and more generally those who disagree with him.
“There is no doubt that some of my tweets are too pungent and politically incorrect for my critics,” Stone wrote in his apology, obtained by The Daily Caller. “In retrospect, I see that this attempt at sarcasm can be seen as a slur therefore I heartfully apologize to all this gentleman.”
Stone was specifically referring to remarks he made calling journalist Roland Martin a “negro” and remarking on NBC host Megyn Kelly’s “nice set of cans,” among other slurs and epithets he’s used for his rivals on his often-offensive Twitter account. Stone called his Twitter feed “lively,” and “not for the faint of heart.”
“This bogus claim I am a racist, anti-Semite or misogynist is based on old tweets that are either taken out of context, twisted or in some cases simply fabricated,” Stone wrote in the letter.
“I don’t expect this apology to appease my critics because, like the President, nothing I say can please them,” Stone wrote. “Like Trump I don’t apologize as a general principle. I am violating one of my own Rules.”
“In this case it’s the right thing to do,” he continued. “I am hopeful some of these gentlemen will accept my apology as it is sincere.”
Stone, who spoke at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo in New York City in June, announced a new initiative he was heading — with a bipartisan group of strategists, including John Morgan, a prominent donor to Hillary Clinton’s campaign — to convince Trump to “uphold states’ rights” to legalize marijuana.
He’s also serving as an expert witness in a lawsuit filed against the federal government to change cannabis’s Schedule 1 status.
Stone is set to keynote the CWB Expo in Los Angeles on September 14. For his part, Morgan told Politico earlier this month that “sometimes politics makes strange bedfellows.”
The controversy around Stone’s speech is indicative of a larger trend in the cannabis community, where prominent libertarians find themselves advocating for a common goal with social justice advocates and Wall Street power players.
A close advisor to Trump during the campaign, Stone believes that he’s the right person to convince the federal government — including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a noted cannabis opponent — that all Americans should have legal access to cannabis.
“You don’t need to agree with me or my politics nor do I need to agree with yours to work together in this vital effort,” Stone wrote in his apology.
“I will not be deterred from my efforts to persuade the President of the folly of launching a new ‘War on Drugs’ considering the expensive and unjust failure of the last one and to keep his promise to protect the access to cannabis by millions of Americans including many veterans who are using it for medicinal purposes,” he continued.
Dan Humiston, the head of the CWB Expo, told the Cannabis Industry Journal in August that Stone’s speech will continue as planned.
The CWB Expo runs from September 13 – 15 in Los Angeles.