For the past six years, former professional skier Will Stolk has been a driving force for cannabis legalization as part of his "Who Are We Hurting?" collective. His unwavering commitment and determination have enabled him to make progress in an often challenging environment where opponents are eager to block reform efforts every step of the way.
Will's Advocacy for cannabis and the "Who Are We Hurting" collective, have pushed him to the front of the Australian cannabis industry and even abroad. Will and his fellow advocate and friend Alec "Craze" Zammitt's most recent act of civil disobedience was to project cannabis art and the words "Who Are We Hurting?" onto Sydney’s iconic landmarks - including The Opera House and Harbor Bridge on 4/20 of this last year. They were later arrested for their actions but will be attending court in late August to face charges against them.
Will's advocacy has been going on for much longer, it goes as far back as the first time he tried this miracle plant. When Will was 15 he attended a ski training camp in Canada and had his first experience with cannabis. He fell in love immediately and remembers enjoying how cannabis made everything he did seem "better." Not only did cannabis improve his daily activities it also led to him meeting many "wonderful and important people" in his life. People who also share his passion for the plant and its many benefits both medically and recreationally as much as he does.
Will goes on to say, " I think I wouldn't have this incredible life or the supportive people around me if the plant never existed."
Alec "Craze" Zammitt's story is a little different from Will's, in 2020 entrepreneur Zammitt's hard-fought success was toppled by a roadside test conducted by law enforcement. After taking a positive roadside test that found traces of cannabis in his system, the former owner and operator of a private security firm had to face its consequences - with authorities revoking his license and leaving him unable to continue operating the business.
Zammitt and his attorney Mark Davis of Sydney City Crime have challenged the NSW Government's mobile drug testing program results claiming that any positive test for drugs was likely due to cross-contamination from a medicinal cannabis patient - namely, his partner.
An expert doctor in the field has concluded that cannabis found in a Zammitt's system after being tested, could have been transferred from an innocent kiss shortly before driving. Consequently, Zammitt was given two no-convictions and permitted to keep his license. Yet NSW Police have still revoked his business license leaving Zammitt, a high-profile activist, a reason to believe he was a target due to his protests.
Davis, Zammitt's attorney, stated "This has become a de facto means of drug testing all citizens, and they’re doing it through licensing.”
The NSW Government's mobile drug testing program has been placed under the microscope following a study conducted by the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at University of Sydney revealing drastically differing timeframes between cannabis impairment and how long its traces can remain in one’s system. Researchers found that an individual could be impaired from consuming marijuana for three to ten hours, yet it still may show in their body weeks later.
I had the opportunity to speak with Craze and ask him a few questions about his life and how he ended up where he is today.
Chronic: How were you first introduced to cannabis activism?
Craze: I have always loved making noise and getting attention, my history was full of graffiti as a youngster. As I grew up I found a more productive way to channel that energy by means of executing experimental and guerrilla marketing campaigns. The older I got the more I had to lose to silly cannabis legislation, I couldn't just sit on my hands so I took what I knew and applied it.
Chronic: Why do you think the government won't legalize (adult-use) cannabis?
Craze: I can't grow my own but I can get an abundance through the prescription system for a competitive price, right now the biggest issue we face is the driving legislation, we're working with the politicians to have this fixed and then we can move to fixing(removing) the flawed prescription system.
Chronic: Do you have any advice for someone starting to become more active in cannabis reform?
Craze: Have a look at what is already happening in your local area and see if you can help. If you're going to take our path of pulling stunts, we like to make sure we're not inconveniencing the general public and when speaking with the media we like to reference studies by reputable sources.
Chronic: Did you or Will have any concerns that you might be arrested for the laser show?
Craze: I did my due diligence and all advice I received stated that our actions would only constitute an offense if they were commercial, the police agree our actions were not commercial however they're continuing anyway. It's an interesting case in my opinion.
Chronic: Do you plan on doing any cannabis activism or stunts before your court date?
Craze: We won't stop until the laws are completely fixed, most recently we ran a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a huge billboard campaign to bring attention to the need to amend drug-driving legislation in Australia. These billboards are up right now and will keep running until NSW state election on March 25th.
Be sure to follow Craze and his journey on Youtube, Craze Co, and his Instagram @thecrazeco for all his latest stunts and more.
Australians are hoping the country's leaders will follow in the footsteps of countries like Germany which are pushing for recreational legalization for its citizens.
Will believes Australia's cannabis laws are "outdated" and "ridiculous" saying, "it is my belief that the vast majority of people in Australia support full recreational cannabis legalization."
Will's involvement in the CBD and cannabis industry isn't limited to just Australia. In 2019, Will invested with long-time friend and former pro skier Cory Zila to open "Tioga Green", the first recreational weed dispensary nestled among California's Sierra mountains, near Yosemite National Park.
Inspired Paws, a hemp company created especially for man’s best friend, is Will's second project. This innovative business stands out as another pioneering venture that seeks to provide pet owners with quality products for mindful caretaking.
Will's most excited about his CBD Health and Wellness Brand Byron Bay CBD which is set to become the first major Australian-based health and wellness brand to break into the US and European markets. This luxury new line of all-natural products will focus on tinctures, balms, and cosmetics infused with pure hemp extracts like Cannabidiol (CBD). The product concept draws inspiration from beautiful Northern NSW's bohemian beach town, renowned for its tranquil lifestyle.
Will's leading inspiration behind the brand comes while he was recovering from yet another ski injury, he said "I came across the product through a friend in California and it helped me sleep better than the pain killers I was prescribed," he went on to say, " (CBD) also helped with the inflammation from the injury."
That was enough to spark the desire for him to create a company that makes "the highest-quality CBD products on earth for consumers." He has spent several years doing research and development before sourcing the best manufacturer for his operation, who Will himself calls "a mastermind of cannabis infusion."
"I personally have a huge belief in the potential health benefits of CBD and all of our products at Byron Bay CBD reflect that." Will stated in our interview.
I asked Will if he had a personal favorite when it came to his line of Byron Bay products and he toted "My personal favorite product is the CDB and lidocaine balm, it relieves pain, inflammation and
actually helps heal cuts and abrasion." One of the brand's favorites among consumers as well.
Will is proud that this leading brand has made a bold commitment to promoting transparency, quality, and sustainability - reflecting both his personal values and representing Byron Bay's thriving health & wellness community.
Byron Bay products will be available in the US and you can find them on their website, they soon will be launching a full spectrum line in California dispensaries and then eventually would like to work on US-wide retail distribution. They will be shipping worldwide to where it is legal for the shipper to purchase CBD and then we will be expanding into the European and Australian markets very soon.
I was able to pull Will away from his busy schedule and ask him a few questions about his upcoming court case, his advocacy, and about cannabis and the reform needed in his beloved country.
Chronic: How were you first introduced to cannabis activism?
Will: I have always been a black sheep, it all derived I think from my love of being anti-establishment
and punk music, I also based a lot of my early identity in freestyle skiing as thats what I ended
up doing professionally for so many years, freestyle skiing was based on a go against the grain
freedom to get away from the mundane world of Alpine ski racing.
Chronic: Was there an individual that helped inspire you?
Will: I was also influenced in my teens by Marc Emery and the NORML movement and numerous ganja heads in ski resorts allthrough the world like Rasta Stevie from Telluride who ended up becoming a member of the local council in Telluride Colorado. Bohemian surf and ski culture were huge influences in my life as a child, my parents are skiers, I surf, I skied professionally for many years, I skate (very
shitty) so action sports were my a huge huge part of my upbringing and still are a massive part
of my adult life, these sports were and are synonymous with outsiders and anti-heroes this
included a lot of individuals smoking pot on a regular basis.
Chronic: Do you have any advice for someone who is starting to become more active in cannabis
Will: Activism should involve meaningful actions that improve society, but unfortunately, the
term "activist" often has negative connotations these days, with terms like "Social
Justice Warrior" used to mock those who seek to make positive change. However, there
are many ways to get involved in activism, and social media can be a great place to
start. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook can help spread the word and connect with
others who share your passion for a cause, such as legalizing cannabis.
Will notes that social media groups can also be a "breeding ground for trolls" and to not waste time and negative energy responding to their comments, that is better to focus your energy on your efforts.
Will: While taking to the streets is not an easy option, it can be a necessary one. Pro-cannabis rallies and protests are a guaranteed method of raising awareness and informing the public about the benefits of legalizing marijuana.
Will says, "If you're passionate about the cause, don't be afraid to take action – every step, big or small, counts towards making a positive change."
Chronic: Are you able to speak about your upcoming case at the end of August? what would you
like to share?
Will: We just want to put it out there that it’s our right to protest, sure we know we broke the
law but we didn’t damage any property or hurt anyone. Give us a fine and move on the
fact we are facing potential criminal charges and that my bail conditions at the beginning
included the facts that I wasn’t allowed within three kilometers of the Sydney CBD, had to sign in at
my local Police station three times a week for 3 months and the fact that I am still not allowed to (talk)
Alec under the NSW Bikie laws show how much of a nanny state we live in here in
Chronic: Wait, since you and Craze's arrest, because of NSW Bikie Laws in your country, you weren't able to hang out or talk to each other?
Will: That was the case, but we got those bail conditions dropped about two weeks ago, but for almost a year that has been the case."
Will and I spoke more about the events leading up to their arrest and how now looking back maybe it wasn't the best idea to use world wide iconic buildings to display their message but when politicians continually disregard the voices of their citizen's sometimes they speak a little louder to be heard.
That's why their movement is called "Who Are We Hurting.” As Will states,"Really, who are we hurting? NO ONE so stop fucking around and legalize cannabis so we can move onto more pressing things in the world. It’s 2023 cannabis legalization should have happened years ago."
Chronic: Do you plan on doing any cannabis activism or stunts before your court date? if so, can
you talk about what's upcoming?
Will: Alec & I are of the same attitude, We simply wont stop until the laws are completely fixed. We also may have a few other tricks up our sleeves but you’ll have to watch out for that one.
Shout outs to all our followers, fans, haters and every single person who can contribute to furthering the message of cannabis legalization worldwide. We love and respect every single one of you for we stand on the soldiers of giants and all we want is legalized recreational cannabis. It really isn’t that much to ask for in my opinion. Thanks to the Chronic too I love your website and magazine and am more than honored to be featured on your epic platform keep spreading the good word about the good plant AKA:
cannabis. WE won’t stop till this war is won!! & neither should you!
For many years, the 'Who Are We Hurting' collective has been dedicated to spreading cannabis advocacy across Australia. By creating awareness campaigns, they have committed their time to striving for the legalization of recreational cannabis use in the land down under. In a creative bid to draw attention to this initiative and get people thinking differently about how we view marijuana consumption; these passionate individuals are going above and beyond with their efforts—setting up safe stunts all over the country aimed at educating on its potential benefits.
"We aim to be the change or spark the change that legalizes cannabis in Australia and while we have done alot to push this message there are many many other people putting in lots of work to legalize cannabis in Australia & all over the world. As the artist Keith Haring said “I am not a beginning. I am not an end. I am a link in a chain.” We just wanna be able to grow our own cannabis legally and go to a cannabis dispensary and buy a range of products just like you can beer or wine. It’s really not alot to ask for," states Will.
You can follow Will's advocacy and adventures on his Youtube channel, @WillysWorld614, and also find him on his Instagram @willysworld69 and his podcast @willysworldpodcast