"I will do everything in my power to personally hurt you."
It was spoken with enough anger that I did one of those movie-scene things and took the phone from my ear to look at it before pressing it, nervously, back to my cheek.
"I promise you, Scott--and you talk to anyone who knows me--I am not going to take kindly to this. I will ruin you and ruin Inc."
No, it was definitely not the kind of call one gets every day, and its intensity, turning from initially cordial to quickly, existentially threatening, brought a chill to an otherwise warm spring day.
The man on the other end, who shall remain nameless, had learned that Inc.'s editors and journalist Scott Eden were working on a story about the murder of a cannabis entrepreneur. Even now, I wouldn't put money on how serious the caller was or might be, but the fact that he was so adamant that we not pursue the story suggested it was one we needed to tell.
And so writer Eden, our deputy editor, Ty Wenger, and our director of research, Karen Smith-Janssen, devoted the past 10 months to piecing it together. Through court hearings and numerous reporting trips across the country to hundreds of hours of interviews, what emerged is something all entrepreneurs who smell money in the pungent odor of a glowing joint should stop and consider: That even as governments make way for legal weed, convoluted regulations and fees and taxes allow--actually, really, invite--the illegal to thrive. That for every THC gummy bought in a clean, well-lighted place, a dozen more deals happen in a dark alley. That good people, dealing in a cash business and competing with gangs and even cartels that have no interest in following the law, can end up broke and hurt, or much, much worse.
I'd be obliged if you read the story and take its message to heart, and, as a founder, who almost by necessity survives by disruption, see with wide-open eyes the peril disruption can sometimes cause.
Across six decades now, Inc. has unwaveringly supported the American entrepreneur. And certainly, we prefer to do that by showcasing your innovations, achievements, and accomplishments, such as those found in the 2022 Inc. Regionals or those of the very brave founders who are--oh, boy--married to their business partners. But sometimes there are tougher stories to tell. Stories that are equally important to people, startup culture, and the economy.
And I promise you--and you can ask anyone who knows us here at Inc.--we're not going to be scared of them. We'll do anything in our power to personally help you. You, and what you do to change the world, are just too important.