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Ep.153: Dina Rollman, Rollman & Dahlin

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.153: Dina Rollman, Rollman & Dahlin

Ep.153: Dina Rollman, Rollman & Dahlin

Dina Rollman takes us through the current the medical program in Illinois.  We discuss the sunset provision, patient counts, the relationship between the legislature and the governor, how the governor sees the program, the list of qualifying conditions, the controversial thumb printing rule, and everything in between.  Last week Illinois lawmakers passed SB 10 which adds PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions and extends the program through July 2020. This interview was recorded prior to SB 10 passing. Special thanks to Mark Passerini for putting us in touch with Dina.  Enjoy the conversation.  Feel free to send an email to engage@canneconomy.com.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Here we are. We've got Dina rollman and Edina. You are a not from a traditional cannabis community, not from a traditional cannabis culture. Right?

Speaker 3: I guess that's right. Uh, this is a brand new program for Illinois. There is no history of having a legalized medical cannabis until January one of 2014.

Speaker 1: Okay. And we really want to know what the Hell is going on in Illinois. So, uh, knowing that it's the second quarter of 2016, uh, we understand that you do have a medical program that is in effect, there have been some recent changes. What have been the recent changes?

Speaker 3: Uh, well, I, I guess I would say there really haven't been recent changes since it was a, the program went into effect. I don't know if there's something more specific you're thinking of.

Speaker 1: Well, it didn't. They put a sunset in for the program.

Speaker 3: Oh yes. But that was baked into, no pun intended, baked into the statute when it was passed. So when the, when the statute went into effect on January one, 2014, it already had a sunset provision providing that the program will expire on January one, 2018, unless the legislature extends it or makes it permanent. But if nothing happens, just good old, you know, governmental inaction, then it will automatically expire.

Speaker 1: And as far as the legislature is concerned, we've spoken to others who have said that, uh, you know, we keep trying to pass things through. We keep trying to add conditions, we keep trying to do, um, you know, um, and we just keep trying to make improvements and uh, uh, the governor doesn't seem too interested in, in making those changes happen. Is that fair?

Speaker 3: I think that's fair. The, there had been a lot of attempts by people in the industry and by the legislature to give comfort, not just to the operators of these businesses, but more importantly to the patients. If you're somebody who has been waiting a long time to finally be able to legally access medical cannabis, now you're a regular purchaser and user and you're having great health effects. The last thing you want to hear is that, you know, some politicians can decide to take that away from you and make you either return to the black market or you know, go back to your prescription medications or whatnot. So there's a lot of concern from a lot of different constituents and a lot of push to give everybody some comfort and lets, you know, either extend the program or make it permanent. So far, governor Rauner, who was not the governor who signed this program into law, he just inherited it.

Speaker 3: His mantra has been, it's too soon. I need more data, so he hasn't closed the door on extending the program or making it permanent, but he claims that he really needs to see how successful it is. A what, how many patients are being served, what are their revenues, what's the benefit to the state? And I think to be honest, what he's more interested in is what are the negative stories that are going to come out of this? Are we going to see an increase in teen access to cannabis or increased drug driving, etc. And so the hope on the part of everybody participating as, you know, keep, keep the data good and helpful and let's make sure that the data getting to the governor is all going to work in support of extending this program.

Speaker 1: Uh, Any, um, you know, effort in getting all of that, a negative data coming out of Colorado for the past couple of years, uh, to, to him so that he sees that,

Speaker 3: right, that mountain of negative data. Uh, uh, right, uh, you know, unfortunately this, this is a governor who hasn't expressed much interest or care about what is happening in the lovely state of Colorado, you know, the rest of us in Illinois. We love to love to see it and love to see what a good story it's become, but he's definitely focused on Illinois and Illinois has its own brand of, of dysfunction. Um, you know, our medical cannabis program was passed legislatively by some miracle with bipartisan support, but very slim bipartisan support and as I said, he signed into law by a democratic governor. Now we have a republican governor. This, this law wasn't a done by voter referendum and it wasn't done by this governor, so he just wants to focus on Illinois and uh, see what, what our program looks like here.

Speaker 1: Okay. Well, so then that is a nice kind of a picture for us, a good understanding of exactly what's happening on the ground. I guess we should find out why we're talking to you. Deena rollman, right.

Speaker 3: I think everyone else you asked was busy, so

Speaker 1: yeah, that's exactly right. Well, no, I mean, you know, I asked mark, pastor reedy, who should I talk to and your name is the first name that came up a, what do you do in the space? So we're well aware of it.

Speaker 3: Okay. Well thank you for that. Um, I got involved in this industry back in the, I guess may of 2014. Uh, when I, uh, I should say my background is as a litigation lawyer. Um, I spent about 15 years as a business litigator meeting. I either a represented companies that were suing or being sued for various business disputes like breach of contract or fraud and uh, was sort of, well in my little litigator world, made partner at a law firm, all of that kind of stuff. Um, but when Illinois legalized medical cannabis, I really, a, it just sparked a passion in me to get involved. So by hook or by crook, I wound up getting connected with a group that was applying for licenses here in Illinois was a very competitive process, very intense and worked closely with them. And then when they were successful and received cultivation and dispensary license, they were sort of an even greater need of legal help to get their operations up and running in a compliant manner.

Speaker 1: Here we are. We've got Dina rollman and Edina. You are a not from a traditional cannabis community, not from a traditional cannabis culture. Right?

Speaker 3: I guess that's right. Uh, this is a brand new program for Illinois. There is no history of having a legalized medical cannabis until January one of 2014.

Speaker 1: Okay. And we really want to know what the Hell is going on in Illinois. So, uh, knowing that it's the second quarter of 2016, uh, we understand that you do have a medical program that is in effect, there have been some recent changes. What have been the recent changes?

Speaker 3: Uh, well, I, I guess I would say there really haven't been recent changes since it was a, the program went into effect. I don't know if there's something more specific you're thinking of.

Speaker 1: Well, it didn't. They put a sunset in for the program.

Speaker 3: Oh yes. But that was baked into, no pun intended, baked into the statute when it was passed. So when the, when the statute went into effect on January one, 2014, it already had a sunset provision providing that the program will expire on January one, 2018, unless the legislature extends it or makes it permanent. But if nothing happens, just good old, you know, governmental inaction, then it will automatically expire.

Speaker 1: And as far as the legislature is concerned, we've spoken to others who have said that, uh, you know, we keep trying to pass things through. We keep trying to add conditions, we keep trying to do, um, you know, um, and we just keep trying to make improvements and uh, uh, the governor doesn't seem too interested in, in making those changes happen. Is that fair?

Speaker 3: I think that's fair. The, there had been a lot of attempts by people in the industry and by the legislature to give comfort, not just to the operators of these businesses, but more importantly to the patients. If you're somebody who has been waiting a long time to finally be able to legally access medical cannabis, now you're a regular purchaser and user and you're having great health effects. The last thing you want to hear is that, you know, some politicians can decide to take that away from you and make you either return to the black market or you know, go back to your prescription medications or whatnot. So there's a lot of concern from a lot of different constituents and a lot of push to give everybody some comfort and lets, you know, either extend the program or make it permanent. So far, governor Rauner, who was not the governor who signed this program into law, he just inherited it.

Speaker 3: His mantra has been, it's too soon. I need more data, so he hasn't closed the door on extending the program or making it permanent, but he claims that he really needs to see how successful it is. A what, how many patients are being served, what are their revenues, what's the benefit to the state? And I think to be honest, what he's more interested in is what are the negative stories that are going to come out of this? Are we going to see an increase in teen access to cannabis or increased drug driving, etc. And so the hope on the part of everybody participating as, you know, keep, keep the data good and helpful and let's make sure that the data getting to the governor is all going to work in support of extending this program.

Speaker 1: Uh, Any, um, you know, effort in getting all of that, a negative data coming out of Colorado for the past couple of years, uh, to, to him so that he sees that,

Speaker 3: right, that mountain of negative data. Uh, uh, right, uh, you know, unfortunately this, this is a governor who hasn't expressed much interest or care about what is happening in the lovely state of Colorado, you know, the rest of us in Illinois. We love to love to see it and love to see what a good story it's become, but he's definitely focused on Illinois and Illinois has its own brand of, of dysfunction. Um, you know, our medical cannabis program was passed legislatively by some miracle with bipartisan support, but very slim bipartisan support and as I said, he signed into law by a democratic governor. Now we have a republican governor. This, this law wasn't a done by voter referendum and it wasn't done by this governor, so he just wants to focus on Illinois and uh, see what, what our program looks like here.

Speaker 1: Okay. Well, so then that is a nice kind of a picture for us, a good understanding of exactly what's happening on the ground. I guess we should find out why we're talking to you. Deena rollman, right.

Speaker 3: I think everyone else you asked was busy, so

Speaker 1: yeah, that's exactly right. Well, no, I mean, you know, I asked mark, pastor reedy, who should I talk to and your name is the first name that came up a, what do you do in the space? So we're well aware of it.

Speaker 3: Okay. Well thank you for that. Um, I got involved in this industry back in the, I guess may of 2014. Uh, when I, uh, I should say my background is as a litigation lawyer. Um, I spent about 15 years as a business litigator meeting. I either a represented companies that were suing or being sued for various business disputes like breach of contract or fraud and uh, was sort of, well in my little litigator world, made partner at a law firm, all of that kind of stuff. Um, but when Illinois legalized medical cannabis, I really, a, it just sparked a passion in me to get involved. So by hook or by crook, I wound up getting connected with a group that was applying for licenses here in Illinois was a very competitive process, very intense and worked closely with them. And then when they were successful and received cultivation and dispensary license, they were sort of an even greater need of legal help to get their operations up and running in a compliant manner.

Speaker 3: Um, we have a very heavy, heavily regulated program here in Illinois, hundreds of pages of rules. And so having a sort of lawyer nerd like me who's willing to, you know, read the regulations and digest them and explain them to everybody and put them into place, came in handy for them I think so that I've sort of had an ongoing compliance officer role for one of the operators here in Illinois. Um, but also back in fall of 2014 when I knew that the industry was coming to Illinois, it became very important to me to make sure that women would have leadership roles in this industry. from the start, I did not want to see women playing a game of catch up. So back then in august or september of 2014, I founded a not for profit called Illinois women in cannabis. I know a lot of the listeners would be familiar with women grow.

Speaker 3: this is a very similar organization, uh, in a lot of ways in terms of the mission. Um, so it's sort of connecting women, not just with other women but with men as well, so that, uh, you know, good connections are made, good opportunities can be uncovered. Um, and we really have had great success over the last couple years. A holding quarterly networking events, educational events, things like that that bring men and women together and, you know, have gotten great feedback that, uh, women are finding these very helpful because it's helping them find roles in the industry. And some of the best feedback I've received has actually been from the men that attend these events and they find they also make great connections. So that's one of my other roles. And then luckily by meeting the wonderful mark pasolini, um, I was asked to be on the board of the Illinois cannabis industry association, which is the Illinois affiliate of ncia.

Speaker 3: And so last april I joined their board and had been working with what we call, we call it lcfs with lcfs to really get the Illinois advocacy efforts up and running, um, legislative policy, education, all of that. And then, because I know I was bored, I guess not really, but, um, I saw that in a lot of other states, uh, lawyers had gotten, the cannabis lawyers had gotten together and formed bar associations so that lawyers could sort of speak, are geeky lawyer, speak to each other about legislative and legal issues. So I helped organize an Illinois cannabis bar association and we meet regularly and have identified the priorities that we're going to take on to help the program succeed.

Speaker 1: You mentioned, you know, you're governor, you mentioned how, uh, you know, the, the program came to be in Illinois. Um, uh, you, uh, and I think it's interesting that the cannabis industry is, uh, is, is very, um, kind of a friendly with lawyers. A lot of the first, uh, activists, you know, um, we're lawyers themselves. So, uh, so, you know, cannabis loves lawyers I think is the t shirt there as far as the first one ever. Yeah, exactly. Just first industry ever. That's exactly right. Yeah. So I mean, you know, as you're looking at it from a legal perspective, what, what are those priorities you, you do have, you know, a very long list of conditions, qualifying conditions for your program. however, uh, even though there are so many, they are extremely specific and so that's why you have, you know, a patient count issue along with the fact that folks need to get fingerprinted and all of that. There's, you know, the issues are endless. Dina, I'm sure I don't need to tell you that. Uh, and, and being that the issues are and listened that you have it on friendly governor, um, and something that is going to end, what are your priorities?

Speaker 3: Well, you've identified a lot of them just in your question. So obvioUsly I'm getting the program extended or made permanent huge priority and there are many groups working on that. You know, the cannabis bar association. yes. But also ilsa is working on that also other associations as well. That's everybody's priority,

Speaker 1: right? Let me, let me stop you there. Let's take these one by one as far as getting it extended, uh, at least, uh, what means or are we taking. What argument are we making?

Speaker 3: Well, there's sort of several fronts of attack. Not that it's an attack, but there are industry operators who have lobbyists of course, and uh, those lobbyists have been sent to springfield to not only work with the governor, but also the republican legislators who voted against this medical cannabis pilot program in the first place and trying to educate them so that they understand that in their own legislative districts, they have a lot of happy patients now. And those were their constituents and that, you know, that the tide has turned, you know, when this law got passed, you know, the whole Colorado program didn't exist. So there were still a lot of fear in people's minds about what this would look like. And we've seen a lot of, uh, people who originally voted against this program now getting a lot more comfortable with extending it or making it permanent because they have, you know, people in their district who are now speaking to them in support of it or more likely they probably have a relative who has cancer or glaucoma or some other qualifying condition who is now benefiting from access to this.

Speaker 1: So basically, uh, identifying cannabis as medicine and proving that through people who it turns out our voters.

Speaker 3: Correct. Correct. And if there's one thing, Illinois legislators care about 365 days a year, it is getting reelected. So you can just got to, you know, go to where were they? A pressure point.

Speaker 1: That's exactly. Go to the we go to where they are, which is caring about people voting for them. Fantastic. Okay. So you're making some headway there. um, you know that. Let's just keep that as, as, uh, the answer to priority number one, which is getting the program extended or made permanent priority number two. And I believe in no necessary order, but I'm sure that priority one is priority one. But what would be another priority,

Speaker 3: another clear priority is expanding the list of qualifying Conditions is you said it's a very strict list in Illinois, they put it into the statute, uh, approximately 39 conditions and what they refer to as diagnosable conditions. You either have it or you don't. So it's cancer, it's glaucoma, it's crohn's disease, it's hepatitis. A doctor can give a test and give a yes, no answer. um, so what they did not include was any form of pain, chronic pain, severe pain, you know, pain resulting from these conditions. So there's been a big push to add that as well as ptsd, which there have been attempts to introduce that legislatively. And I'll give a quick summary of how we can work on getting conditions added. In Illinois, the statute does provide a mechanism for adding conditions, at least the legislators did understand that is the science and research evolves.

Speaker 3: There would be a basis to add additional conditions. So in the statute itself, they created a medical cannabis and advisory board, which is, I think a 10 member board, bipartisan, it has representatives on it, uh, that are practicing physicians that are patients, uh, that are government employees, etc. And the notion is that once every six months, this advisory board will hear petitions for adding new conditions. A patient has to file the petition and be willing to testify and support and provide whatever medical literature exists to support the addition of that condition. So that has whole process has played out twice already where multiple petitions were submitted to add pain, ptsd as well as other conditions. Uh, the petitions, you know, had all the required paperwork, uh, patients showed up and testified at a public hearing in support of the petition. And then it was really fascinating because the medical cannabis advisory board considers the petitions in public, so they, you get to listen to their discussion of the pros and cons of adding this condition.

Speaker 3: And then they vote right then and there as to whether they should add a condition or not. So both times the advisory board voted yes. Let's add, you know, severe pain, let's add ptsd and they make their recommendations and by the way, they did not sort of rubber stamp every petition that was submitted, some they rejected it and felt that it was, it was sort of too soon and not medically justified yet to add the condition. So this was not like a rubber stamp committee. It was very thoughtful and well done. I'm very, very credible process. So then the yeses, what happens then? So they make their recommendation to the director of the department of public health and he both times, uh, his name is director shah, severely declined to add any of the recommended conditions. No explanation, no, no feedback of, you know, here's, you know, we, we didn't like the study you cited or the patient wasn't convincing or nothing.

Speaker 3: I'm jUst no justification whatsoever. And at the same time on the last round that those petitions were pending, uh, there had been a legislative bill that was passed and went to governor rauner to add ptsd as a condition and sort of in the same fell swoop. Governor rauner vetoed that bill. Right? So really what we have here is, you know, again, you know, the will of the people and a broad based constituency saying there are certain conditions that should be added and the governor inexplicably and unjustifiably just disagreeing and saying no. So there's actually been a lawsuit filed in an, in an administrative proceeding saying that director shaw's action in just summarily denying these conditions was against the manifest fest weight of the evidence because there was a lot of evidence to support adding these conditions and absolutely no, but nothing submitted against it. So if you know that. Right. So he, he right in, he added. No, no evidence himself to justify the denial. So it's a, it's a mess. Um, and we'll see, you know,

Speaker 1: we'll see if we could. Yeah, we could, we could track this loss of, where is that lawsuit now as far as a,

Speaker 3: you know, it's an administrative proceeding and um, I have not heard of any progress happening in that proceeding as of yet. Um, I will try to get an update.

Speaker 1: Yeah, no, please do that. Uh, that'll help. And if you can get it, um, you know, between now and when we post this, I'll just add it onto the end. That would be great actually. Okay. So, all right. Uh, so we've, we've got, uh, we've identified a couple of key figures here, the governor who we knew and then now there's this Mr. Shaw who's certainly not helping things. Um, but nor is he, you know, kind of playing the game at all, uh, you know, just saying no with, with no with no reasoning. Um, for some reason when you were telling me about Mr. Shaw, I saw him at his desk eating egg salad out of the container that you get from the deli. I don't know why, but uh,

Speaker 3: yeah, it's that bureaucrat image I think that you're, you're having. But yeah,

Speaker 1: we'll certainly check in with his office and see if he's interested in talking. All right, so that's another priority. Let's, let's keep going here. what, uh, what else is on the list of things that you guys are focused on?

Speaker 3: Uh, what else is on the list are we hate? Everybody hates the fingerprint requirements.

Speaker 1: Really treating cancer patients like criminals with that,

Speaker 3: you know, it's funny, I'm one of the women who is involved in Illinois, women in cannabis organization, uh, she and her husband own a finger printing business and they have told me, dina, whenever you need a letter in support to object to this fingerprint requirement, we're there for you, you know, so they're the ones who actually make money off this thing and they think it's ridiculous and stupid. So

Speaker 1: the finger printers against fingerprinting, you know, right. It doesn't happen often, but yeah. So what, what is the way a in a there. Does that have to go through the governor? Is there another. Does this have to go through Mr. Shaw? Is there another office that uh, uh, you know, that we can appeal to as far as a fingerprinting.

Speaker 3: This is also statutory and because our statute is a statute passed by law, there are also administrative rule procedures. So, you know, you passed the statute and then the agencies go ahead and enact their own regulations to implement this law. So there is a whole sort of law making procedure that goes along with our program, but the fingerprinting is in the statute itself, which means these administrative agencies can't just get rid of it, even if they would like to. This is something that has to go through the legislature and get signed into law by the governor. So, uh, there are bills that get introduced to get rid of this, but also, you know, this is Illinois and you know, politics is sort of in the water and so there's always negotiations going on, as I said, sort of between the lobbyists, but you know, with people contacting the governor's people, I think there's a lot of awareness that this really just isn't a justifiable requirement. And so, uh, there, there is hope that in the next go round of legislative changes that this is something that could go away. And I'm melissa.

Speaker 1: Well, I mean, you're, you're seeing that that is feasible.

Speaker 3: It is, yeah. Because you know, this isn't, it's not like every other state has, has done this. I think Illinois is a, is an outlier in requiring this. It hadn't been a part of the bill and my understanding is at the 11th hour, in order to get the bipartisan support needed in order to get this law passed, it just, it became sort of a deal breaker and had to be included. But as I said, you know, sentiments have changed. A lot of the legislators have come around and seeing the benefit of this. So, uh, I don't think you'll hear the loud voices in favor of this requirement anymore, but you know, I'm a glass half full.

Speaker 1: Absolutely. Let's take the tangent though, because you did know, uh, Illinois storied history of politics. I'm putting you on the spot, but, uh, do you want to just give us an overview of, uh, you know, the fun things that have happened in Illinois, uh, over the many, many years? Uh, in terms of, in terms of political history.

Speaker 3: Wow. Well I. Does that mean, you know, talking about how I think four out of our last five governors wound up in jail.

Speaker 1: That is exactly what I'm talking about. Yes.

Speaker 3: Yeah. So, you know, we have a, we have a little bit of a problem there, you know, just yesterday, uh, dennis hastert hastert who was, uh, an Illinois representative in dc for many years. He was the speaker of the house, uh, you know, he got convicted and sentenced to or pled guilty and sentenced yesterday, uh, to a present term for child molestation. Um, you know, so there's a lot of really sorted and unfortunate things in our Illinois political history, but honestly, a lot of that right now isn't a, what is making Illinois a such a sort of painful place to live and do business. It's that we are experiencing probably the worst legislative gridlock or political gridlock in anybody's memory. Um, as I said, we have this, a republican governor, uh, he came in and on a platform he beat the inCumbent, the democratic in common and came in at a platform that he was going to clean up state governments, finances and you know, sort of too much money to the unions and too much money for everybody's pet constituencies.

Speaker 3: And this was time for fiscal responsibility and all that. So he's isn't a, you know, sort of hedge fund guy background and um, we have a speaker of the house who's a democrat down in springfield who is wielded enormous power for the last 30 years or so, and uh, they're just In a, uh, you know, uh, uh, match, uh, it's like a boxing match, uh, where it just keeps going round after round with, with no winter and no movement. So we've been without a budget budget since this governor took office, which is starting to have all sorts of horrible effects in terms of there being a lack of funding for all kinds of social services education. Um, and, and aside from the bad effects for day to day living for Illinois residents, uh, this has had an impact on cannabis because, you knoW, when we don't even have a budget that's been passed, which means schools are growing up without funding and social services agencies are going without their spending. It gets hard to get anybody's attention down in springfield about cannabis issues. You know, it becomes, you know, it's viewed as something that's sort of less urgent, less of an emergency. And it gets back burnered. So that's just one other consequence.

Speaker 1: Yeah. If we can't do anything, how can we do that? Uh, I'm trying to think of legislative gridlock with no budget. Where else have I heard that? I'm trying to think. Besides Illinois. Oh, it's the federal government also having their own issues. So. Okay. But, you know, it's, it's kinda nice that gridlock is the issue as opposed to corruption. Uh, you know, it's a nice change of pace. Yeah, exactly. Four out of five governors going to jet, literally going to jail. It's like how, how is that possible? But whatever. Um, okay. So, so do we have a sense, I think we do have a sense of what your priorities are from, you know, from the bar association, what's your priorities are from a, you know, just the cannabis industry on the whole and how, you know, um, you guys are literally trying to simply improve the lives of, uh, of the patients that you do have in the patients that you should have a in Illinois. Uh, did we miss anything or a big priority of any.

Speaker 3: We did. We did, we missed the big priority, which is increasing dr participation. Great. I'm in Illinois. Only doctors can certify patients for participation in the program. And uh, we have a few real big problems right now. um, one is just an overall complete and utter lack of education for physicians about this program. Many don't know it exists. Uh, a vast majority seem to be under the impression which is wrong, that they are writing a prescription for marijuana, that they are going to be asked to identify what strains or what quantities, how many, you know, how many milligrams of thc, I mean wildly off, but shockingly common misconception.

Speaker 3: There is just a real lack of understanding of sort of the process of, you know, how to help a patient and participate, et cetera. So a lot of the organizations in Illinois, I mean just about everyone, you know, operators, patient advocacy groups, elseyeah, etc. Are all trying to do patient education and physician education events. Really to take it to like, you know, beginning of the cannabis one on one level of just, you know, this is the support. This is, you know, what you're being asked to do. Here's the form. This is what it actually says, not what you think it says, you know, and trying to get doctor's comfortable. Um, but the other thing is just the form itself is that the doctors have to sign is really not. It's pretty intimidating for doctors. They're not just being asked to certify, yes, this patient does or does not have thIs qualifying condition. It goes further than that. They have to swear under penalty of perjury that in their professional opinion the patient would benefit from the use of medical cannabis. So again, you know, they've had, you know, many have had really no exposure to any cannabIs research. You, this is not something they study in medical school so they're pretty unfamiliar and this is new to them and yet they're, you know, they feel like they're being asked to put their license on the line, you know, by signing this form.

Speaker 1: So like they are being asked to put their license on the line.

Speaker 3: Well, you know, it's true actually there. I mean, on some level there have been some enforcement proceedings against a few physicians in the state, there were a few physicians that have certified a whole, a large number of patients and the state has come after them, the licensing authority and said, you know, you're sort of doing it wrong and not following the guidelines. So there's been really nothing done by the state to give doctors any comfort. um, you know, in terms of participating. So there is a, there are efforts being made, as I said, by a lot of our groups to change this form, you know, just whatever

Speaker 1: simplify it was going to be. That was my next qUestion. How can we get that foreign change? So we're working on, right, is what you're saying,

Speaker 3: working on that.

Speaker 1: Okay. Uh, and basically it's like let's not have these guys have to swear of blood, uh, in regards to their cannabis recommendation, right? yeah. A good. Okay. And then how far along are you on the potential of getting that, getting a changed on there

Speaker 3: too soon to say,

Speaker 1: too soon to say, okay, fair enough. So, so that's, that's where we are. I'm dina, uh, you sound like a competent person. You sound like a knowledgeable lawyer. Did you always want to be, you know, a legal eagle? Did you always want to do this? Do you, not necessarily in cannabis, but did you like when little, you know, five-year-old dina was, were you walking around with a legal pad?

Speaker 3: Not, not at all to be honest. You know, I didn't even think about being a lawyer until after I finished college and when I told my parents I was just thinking about applying the law school. They were shocked. They saw it as pretty out of character and especially then going into litigation, like again, you know, I, that was not, not ever sort of, I was never known as that girl who's destined to be a litigator. Um, and part of what's just been just life changing really good for me the last couple years is I feel like cannabis now that I'm a, you know, cannabis lawyer, everyone I know who's known me since I was, you know, the little five year old dina has felt like this is a great fit because I get to be an advocate, get to use my skills, my training. So, uh, it's this, this way of being a lawyer is, is a great fit and a lot of fun.

Speaker 1: Got it. All right. Then what, you know, let, let's go all the way back. Why, why would five-year-old dina be a good cannabis advocate? Why? What was it about your makeup? What was it about your upbringing? What was it about your interests?

Speaker 3: Well, I guess, you know, I, I feel it's completely corny saying this, but I was definitely one of those, you know, little kids and one of those college applicants who was out to change the world, you know, so, you know, you get sort of hardened and cynical is as you get older. Um, but that, that sort of optimist, um, make the world a better place kind of view that, you know, all children have I think, and then it sort of gets beat out of you by life.

Speaker 1: Your, your tone on that. Uh, that delivery was perfect because that's precisely what happens. But go on.

Speaker 3: Right? So, you know, this, this, this has rekindled that I guess I would say, uh, where, you know, one of the things that's been really, really gratifying is, you know, again, I'm the boring lawyer compliance, you know, I don't sort of get to sort of generally be in the front lines with the patients in, in my role when I love my role, but um, when I do go to the dispensary and you know, chat with the patients and um, when I get involved in advocacy work that involves patients, you know, that's just the never ending testimonials that you received basically in Illinois about how we went from having nothing to having this program that has just been so life changing for people and improve their quality of life so much. It really moves me. It really just reaffirms that I'm sort of doing the right work, just in my own way of trying to help this program succeed, you know, I'm helping these people and um, you know, that just this is a really challenging industry. The obstacles are constant and there, you know, the obstacles on the local level, the state level, the federal level, you know, there's nothing about this industry. You really, that's easy and so you sort of need those positive moments to kind of keep you in the game and, you know, keeping, keep you energized to keep fighting. And I think, you know, the patients really do that.

Speaker 1: Okay, well that, you know, uh, that is well said and you know, I love a, your point of view, which is this really is all about the patients. You know, cannabis is medicine. It can be used as medicine. Let's please have it be used as medicine as easily as possible.

Speaker 3: right. You know, a lot of people had been, you know, really sort of dismissive of the Illinois program because it, you know, it's so small and it is, you know, you've gotten over Colorado has over 100,000 patients, Illinois verse celebrating because we just hit 5,500, right. So uh, it's minuscule compared to Colorado and I get that. but again, when you are having contact with those patients and you're seeing the impact it's having and we're seeing the patient numbers increased by a nice percentage every month, there is this feeling of momentum to it and you know, even if we may not hit 100,000 anytime soon, you know, it's growing and it's making a meaningful impact in this state. And so, uh, you know, I ever made a believer.

Speaker 1: Yeah, there you go. Exactly. And as far as kInd of helping increase that patient count or at least helping the patients that are currently on the roles, I guess it would be a good place to donate money if folks had an interest.

Speaker 3: Yeah, they could really, you know, donate or become a member of elsa and, you know, join us. Help our efforts become a member of Illinois women in cannabis, you know, help me help women, uh, have a great impact on this, which has a, in fact, in may, we are rolling out our first ever cannabis education campaign and I have this amazing group of female volunteers who are going out into communities all over the state in giving, you know, cannabis one on one presentations at their local libraries. And this is a way of just sort of doing those sort of ground game, um, you know, to really drum up awareness and support for the program throughout the whole state. Yeah. Yeah,

Speaker 1: that's huge. That's

Speaker 4: absolutely huge. Because, you know, a doris who's 70 probably isn't aware of the medical benefits of cannabis. Yeah. Um, I don't know why I'm picking on doors. No offense doors. So, um, so I think we're up to the final three questions here. Uh, I will tell you what they are and then I'll ask you them in order. The final two questions are, what has most surprised you in cannabis? What has most surprised you in life? And, uh, on the soundtrack of dina romans life, what is one track, one song that's got to be on there? So first things first, what has surprised you most in cannabis?

Speaker 3: Uh, what has surprised me most? I guess I'm surprised. Strike that. Um,

Speaker 3: I guess what surprised me most is the way that cannabis is a uniter, um, you really in, in being in this industry are dealing with just an incredibly broad spectrum of people from so many different backgrounds. And when I'm say backgrounds, I mean, you know, race, gender, class, you name it. Um, and yet, you know, this, this kind of sparks of passion. It's, it's, it's sort of like such a basic, uh, uh, there's like a sort of a d, a deep love or passion for cannabis that's spreads across a huge spectrum. ANd I guess, you know, maybe maybe that's obvious to think about, but you know, it's been a real surprising experience for me to really feel that and experience it in my day to day.

Speaker 1: Yeah, no, I'm totally with you as far as, you know, when you, when you come in contact with patients, when you actually talk to folks about cannabis easing their pain, uh, that, you know, just does something to you and you can't go back. So as far as, you know, a passion for, uh, you know, for moving this thing forward, um, it really ignites it. Uh, and of couRse you've got the fact that it's a plant, it's a plant, you know. Yeah. So, um, it's, it's, it's interesting that there's, uh, so much aggression. You mentioned aggression earlier, uh, against a plant. Right, right, right. All right. So what has most surprised you in life, dean enrollment?

Speaker 3: Uh, know what has most surprised you in life? Um, you know, you know, life is life. I don't know, it's sort of harder than I would have ever expected and more beautiful than I ever would have expected. How about that?

Speaker 1: Uh, that is,

Speaker 3: oh my god, I think we're, we're printing tee shirts here, uh, for some reason during this conversation and that's certainly one of them. I mean, that's, that's wonderful. That's a beautiful sentiment. Um, and I share your feeling there as well, so there's at least two of us that, that, uh, that feel that way. Um, yeah, I, my guess is that there's at least one or two more. Okay. So on the soundtrack of dina romans life, what is one track, one song that's got to be on there? Well, I can't think about anything other than prince right now. So you're in, in prince mode here?

Speaker 1: Yeah, he just passed away words second quarter 2016. Unfortunately, prince just passed away.

Speaker 3: Yeah, I mean, so it's, it's, it's, it's all prince, you know, uh, in, in my, a soundtrack right now. I'm, I'm not going through a bad breakup. I don't know, but, you know, purple rain, I just keep watching live performances of it, you know, listening to it. Uh, you know, just, I don't know. I don't know if that's the soundtrack of my life, but it's the soundtrack of the moment.

Speaker 1: Yeah, it, it, it totally is a. And I just got my, this'll tell you a little bit about me, my print version of the new yorker, which is a just pure purple and it just has raindrops on the cover. So it's, it's, it's a pretty great cover. I'm sue me for reading the new yorker. dean enrollment.

Speaker 3: I'll, I'll, I'll join you in that one. I'm a reader too.

Speaker 1: Yeah. I'm saying you're a lawyer. So assuming. But uh, yeah, no. As far as purple rain is concerned, if you've, if you've never heard the song, please listen to it. If you have something against slow songs, ctsd is, is what I would say. And, and just listen through a because it does deliver and if you need to know what ctf d is, just uh, you know, hit me up on one of the social networks and I'll let you know because we don't want to use inappropriate language here with dina enrollment. Right, right. You can, you. Can you. Can you venture a guess of what ctf d means?

Speaker 3: It's something the f down. Yeah. So what's the sea? It's calm. Calm. Oh, okay. There you go. Calm the f down.

Speaker 1: Yeah, there you go. Uh, dina roman, no need for you to calm the f down. I very much appreciate talking to you and we will take you up on following up with you about what's going on in Illinois.

Speaker 3: Okay, that'd be great. All right, talk to you soon. Great. Thanks so much for having me.

Speaker 1: And there you have dina roman

Speaker 2: and we wish her all the Illinois businesses the best as you make your way through what you have going on there. So thanks to dina, what a pleasant person and thanks to you for, for listening. Send us align and engage at cat economy.

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Cannabis Economy is a real-time history of legal cannabis. We chronicle how personal and industry histories have combined to provide our current reality.