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Ep.154: Betty Aldworth, SSDP Part II

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.154: Betty Aldworth, SSDP Part II

Ep.154: Betty Aldworth, SSDP Part II

Betty Aldworth of course of SSDP gives us an update from UNGASS- the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem- as they call it. Betty also shares feedback from the SSDP event as well as what folks should be doing in gearing up for the ballot measures this fall. As a bonus, we’ve got a piece from Episode 36, Betty’s first appearance where she takes us through what it was like on the ground with Amendment 64.  And if you’re in Oakland Sunday, June 19th come on down for the Sensible Celebration: ssdp.org/events/sensible-celebration.  Either way, we’d love your feedback, please feel free to send an email to engage@canneconomy.com.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: The latest from worth, but first we're going to go ahead and go all the way back to episode 36 and, uh, give you a taste of that episode with betty sharing with us exactly what happened on the ground in the lead up to amendment 64 and, uh, other states on the ballot this year. Please take heed. Here's Betty Aldworth.

Speaker 2: We had, you know, the mayor and the governor hosting press conferences with the business community and the travel. It can be. I'm talking about what an absolute devastation amendment 64 would be on our state. Um, and so we had to do a lot of work in order to combat, um, the misperceptions and ridiculousness that was coming from the opposition. One of the tough things about running one of these campaigns from a messaging perspective is that prohibitionists you get to call upon these ingrained ideas that people have about drugs and drug users, in this case, marijuana and marijuana users. Um, you know, we've all been subjected to so much, um, you know, public education and the dare program and the rest of it that tell, that evokes these emotional reactions. And us, and it's very difficult to overcome that with facts and data to say, well, okay, I know that you think that you, you know, all of these things are true, but look at this evidence over here, that's not how people tend to to thing.

Speaker 2: So we had to do a ton of work around, um, you know, just reinforcing these notions that in fact, uh, no, we can regulate marijuana safely, we can create a better Colorado through amendment 64 and here are the ways that we're going to do it all the while we have, you know, these elected officials and members of the treatment community and so many others screaming at the top of their lungs about how, you know, Colorado is going to fall apart and you know, employers will leave and nobody's ever going to come to Colorado. Now, of course, at this point, we know much better than that. Tourism is up that new businesses are starting. Colorado is doing exceptionally well economically and socially anyway. Uh, so, you know, we worked really hard to reinforce those ideas. Um, and we've had an amazing group of volunteers on the ground who were out there talking to folks who they knew, and this is a really interesting thing, you know, in Colorado we encouraged a campaign, supporters talk it up.

Speaker 2: That was the name of the campaign to talk it up campaign. So we released videos, we sent out emails, we communicated with people over and over and over again. Hey, it's fourth of July, you're going to a barbecue. People are, you know, this is a great opportunity for you to talk about marijuana, you know, inject this idea into the conversation about marijuana being safer than alcohol. Hey, it's Thanksgiving or maybe that thanksgiving, but a mother's day for Mother's Day and father's Day. We released videos where we had, you know, the image was a, a young woman saying, mom, I want to talk to you about marijuana and why I prefer it over alcohol. So it was really about this idea of identifying marijuana users in communities and saying, listen, these are people you know, does, do you think that they should be locked up for it or should they be.

Speaker 2: Should we enact some laws that will help benefit our state? Um, you know, when it comes to how people go about getting their cannabis. So should we continue to put them in danger, uh, and, and that shift in thinking, I think was, was tremendously important to the enforced amazing. Uh, so we knocked on a lot of doors. We put out a bunch of ads. Mason's avert is an absolute genius when it comes to earned media and those kinds of scents. And watching a mason and Steve worked together on those pieces a lot with Brian was always a lot of fun.

Speaker 3: Uh, no it, it does. I mean, it sounds like it was an amazing time and we know that it, uh, it, it absolutely was. And uh, to be on the ground and, and then to have the success. It sounds like you guys counted as it, as a success, uh, even before, uh, you did win and no one counted on winning until, you know, after it was announced that, uh, that it had passed. Is that right? Is that about right?

Speaker 2: You know, I think towards the end of the campaign we were really helpful. We thought, of course you can never ever, I don't care how far it had you in the polls. He can never tell on the idea that you're going to wait and you have to keep up that pace. And, uh, up until the, the polls close and on election day at 7:00 PM, we hung up our, our very last calls. I remember sitting in a, in, in the peace room as we called it the war room. Uh, and uh, you know, working on actually making phone calls up until like 6:55 practically. Um, and, and we had volunteers in all day. We were out there waving signs, but you know, and there was never a moment until the polls close that you can relax when it comes to an election. But in the last handful of weeks of the campaign, I think, you know, for the most part we were feeling like there was a really good chance that we were going to win thing.

Speaker 1: The latest from worth, but first we're going to go ahead and go all the way back to episode 36 and, uh, give you a taste of that episode with betty sharing with us exactly what happened on the ground in the lead up to amendment 64 and, uh, other states on the ballot this year. Please take heed. Here's Betty Aldworth.

Speaker 2: We had, you know, the mayor and the governor hosting press conferences with the business community and the travel. It can be. I'm talking about what an absolute devastation amendment 64 would be on our state. Um, and so we had to do a lot of work in order to combat, um, the misperceptions and ridiculousness that was coming from the opposition. One of the tough things about running one of these campaigns from a messaging perspective is that prohibitionists you get to call upon these ingrained ideas that people have about drugs and drug users, in this case, marijuana and marijuana users. Um, you know, we've all been subjected to so much, um, you know, public education and the dare program and the rest of it that tell, that evokes these emotional reactions. And us, and it's very difficult to overcome that with facts and data to say, well, okay, I know that you think that you, you know, all of these things are true, but look at this evidence over here, that's not how people tend to to thing.

Speaker 2: So we had to do a ton of work around, um, you know, just reinforcing these notions that in fact, uh, no, we can regulate marijuana safely, we can create a better Colorado through amendment 64 and here are the ways that we're going to do it all the while we have, you know, these elected officials and members of the treatment community and so many others screaming at the top of their lungs about how, you know, Colorado is going to fall apart and you know, employers will leave and nobody's ever going to come to Colorado. Now, of course, at this point, we know much better than that. Tourism is up that new businesses are starting. Colorado is doing exceptionally well economically and socially anyway. Uh, so, you know, we worked really hard to reinforce those ideas. Um, and we've had an amazing group of volunteers on the ground who were out there talking to folks who they knew, and this is a really interesting thing, you know, in Colorado we encouraged a campaign, supporters talk it up.

Speaker 2: That was the name of the campaign to talk it up campaign. So we released videos, we sent out emails, we communicated with people over and over and over again. Hey, it's fourth of July, you're going to a barbecue. People are, you know, this is a great opportunity for you to talk about marijuana, you know, inject this idea into the conversation about marijuana being safer than alcohol. Hey, it's Thanksgiving or maybe that thanksgiving, but a mother's day for Mother's Day and father's Day. We released videos where we had, you know, the image was a, a young woman saying, mom, I want to talk to you about marijuana and why I prefer it over alcohol. So it was really about this idea of identifying marijuana users in communities and saying, listen, these are people you know, does, do you think that they should be locked up for it or should they be.

Speaker 2: Should we enact some laws that will help benefit our state? Um, you know, when it comes to how people go about getting their cannabis. So should we continue to put them in danger, uh, and, and that shift in thinking, I think was, was tremendously important to the enforced amazing. Uh, so we knocked on a lot of doors. We put out a bunch of ads. Mason's avert is an absolute genius when it comes to earned media and those kinds of scents. And watching a mason and Steve worked together on those pieces a lot with Brian was always a lot of fun.

Speaker 3: Uh, no it, it does. I mean, it sounds like it was an amazing time and we know that it, uh, it, it absolutely was. And uh, to be on the ground and, and then to have the success. It sounds like you guys counted as it, as a success, uh, even before, uh, you did win and no one counted on winning until, you know, after it was announced that, uh, that it had passed. Is that right? Is that about right?

Speaker 2: You know, I think towards the end of the campaign we were really helpful. We thought, of course you can never ever, I don't care how far it had you in the polls. He can never tell on the idea that you're going to wait and you have to keep up that pace. And, uh, up until the, the polls close and on election day at 7:00 PM, we hung up our, our very last calls. I remember sitting in a, in, in the peace room as we called it the war room. Uh, and uh, you know, working on actually making phone calls up until like 6:55 practically. Um, and, and we had volunteers in all day. We were out there waving signs, but you know, and there was never a moment until the polls close that you can relax when it comes to an election. But in the last handful of weeks of the campaign, I think, you know, for the most part we were feeling like there was a really good chance that we were going to win thing.

Speaker 2: I didn't write a speech at that address. The possibility that we were going to lose because I didn't, I didn't think that I would need to, and our friend Barry Rosenstein, who came out to work on the campaign with us from California, he had been working on prop 19 and really active in helping with a developing our online assets. I'm Harry looked at me one day. He said, you know, we're going to win by 55 percent. Right? It was like, Perry, you're out of your mind. Well, he was right. He won by 55 percent and he told me that a couple of weeks before the election ended,

Speaker 3: Betty Aldworth returns.

Speaker 1: Betty Aldworth, of course, of SSDP, gives us an update from the gas, the UN General Assembly special session on the world drug problem, as they call it. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on twitter, instagram, youtube, and such. With the handle can economy. That's two ends of the world economy. And if you were doing more direct communication, please feel free to send me an email@engageatCanaeconomy.com. I'd love your feedback on, you know, on the ship, but he also shares feedback from the SSDP event feedback as well as what folks should be doing in gearing up for the ballot measures. This one, Betty Aldworth SSDP. I get the chance to talk to him.

Speaker 3: Betty Aldworth. Uh, you know, whenever I kind of can, you are so busy, but thank you for giving us a few minutes here. How are you?

Speaker 4: Oh, I'm fantastic. Thank you. And it is my pleasure. I'm so glad that we have the chance to chat every once in a while.

Speaker 3: Indeed. Okay. So there's a couple things that we definitely want to cover. We want to make sure to get your take on what happened at the UN session on gas. We want to make sure to get your take on what we need to be focused on and doing in advance of November and then coming back to the kind of international treaty type stuff after November. What should we be focused on and all that. Does that make sense as far as uh, you know, schedule of events for our conversation? Absolutely. I think that the big

Speaker 4: political events, uh, are, you know, that we need to be looking to right now are the November election of course, and then what's going to happen between now and 2019?

Speaker 3: Yeah. All right. Well first things first. So you, you went to, to on gas. I mean, my take from talking to folks and listening to folks talk is that kind of not much really happened in the way of action. Um, you know, for industry players, for operators, uh, give us a little bit maybe of the nuance that you experienced.

Speaker 4: Well, first I just to tell you, we went to on gas. Um, we hosted our annual SSDP conference the weekends before in Washington DC with a 550 attendees and we were able to bus about 150 people from DC to New York to host a demonstration a on Monday the 18th, which was such a riot. It was great. It was really great. Um, and then we had about 30 young people from either SSDP, uh, through our global network, um, or um, you know, in addition, there were many young people from our allies around the globe, so Canadian students for sensible drug policy students for sensible drug policy uk. Um, youth rise, uh, the youth organizations for drug action of all had representatives. And then SSDP had folks there from Costa Rica and Mexico and Ghana and Nigeria and all over the globe. So it was such an exciting week for SSDP to be there.

Speaker 4: But of course like, oh, it was, it was, it was. I can't even describe the energy of like getting 30 young people into those spaces and having, giving them the opportunity to like see it working, but also to participate in, in many ways. So, uh, we went to on gas and like many people from civil society, we were locked out of the various rooms. The, uh, the controls on spaces were, um, very strange. There was a lot of trouble with passes. And right now, in fact, we're seeing the same kinds of problems, but perhaps even worse at the Un aids event where 22 ngos have actually been barred from attending by those same countries that we struggle with. Um, when it comes to, you know, making some progress on drug policy reform. Um, so, you know, civil society access to these meetings is, is oftentimes a difficult thing to manage apparently.

Speaker 4: Um, but we were able to be in a lot of the rooms and what we saw while we were there is that while there is no movement toward actual treaty reform, which is what we need to be able to move forward without being in violation of the treaties. And there was a great deal of shift in the way the dialogue was happening. Right? So, sure, they're confiscating the drug policy alliance of materials out at security and like, you know, impeding on free speech all over the place in the UN. But when people were talking, they were talking about things like human rights, harm reduction, you know, creating responsible cannabis industries. Um, you know, moving drug policy forward. And really, a lot of the focus was on those sorts of, um, uh, issues. Yes, of course, we're still facing a lot of energy, a lot of pushback from no country delegations as well as a UN organs like the UN ODC or others that are the INDC p, um, that are, are insisting on, um, uh, you know, holding onto this prohibitionist rhetoric and who insists that the drug war hasn't been one because we're not fighting it hard enough.

Speaker 4: But what, well, that's obvious betty.

Speaker 4: We haven't, we haven't caused enough pain and misery. Apparently we haven't violated in a few people's human rights at this point. Um, so, so yes, loads and loads of pushback, but, um, in terms of country delegations and ngos representing a, you know, a reformed voice where we're grounding drug policy in human rights and public health and safety, like that voice was louder than it has ever been in those halls as far as I can tell. And that in and of itself is a real piece of progress. We also had, you know, uh, Justin Trudeau come and make an address, you know, reiterating Canada's, uh, um, uh, oh, actually, maybe it wasn't Justin Trudeau. Anyway, yeah, heads of state coming and reiterating their country's commitment to Mexico harm reduction, um, and Pena Nieto came and addressed, uh, the, the general assembly. I'm reiterating Mexico's commitment to a new approach to the war on drugs. So it was just a very, um, you know, in terms of the rhetoric and the dialogue, a very encouraging, um, conversation even though we're not there yet. It looks it's progress.

Speaker 3: Got It. The, the, the, the tone, uh, it seems, was in the right direction. Precisely. Okay. All right, well, let's not miss the beat that you had mentioned, which is, you know, your annual conference. Uh, it sounds like you all got on a bus and went up to New York from DC before that, um, what must have been very interesting bus trip. What were the kind of key takeaways that we should know about from the SSTP meeting?

Speaker 4: Um, we had, so we had 36 sessions over the course of two days with 100 speakers. And presenters, um, and we, you know, it, it's, it is a student run organization, SSDP. And so it was a student run conference so all of the sessions were proposed by students. We had students vote on the sessions that they were going to see and really, you know, students are interested right now. SSDP students are primarily in disarray now in a handful of things, you know, really looking at, um, how we are treating drug users in the context of treatment. How we think about things like addiction and dependence. Really, um, you know, changing the conversation there and how do we reach out and meaningfully engage with, uh, you know, intersecting movements like black lives matter, which is so concerned about police brutality as are we, um, you know, and, and, uh, criminal justice reform. I'm looking at opportunities to empty prisons and create economic opportunities within the cannabis industry for people most impacted by the drug war. So, you know, if we, if we say that, you know,

Speaker 4: well, I, I have said that and I really think it's true that, you know, drug policy in general is looking to a brighter future. You know, handful of years down the road, but when it comes to the conversations that we're having, SSDP is like five years ahead of that is what our students are concerned about, are a little more advanced, uh, in terms of timeline, um, you know, because they, they expect to be able to create a world, um, you know, where we are changing everything we think about drugs and drug users and that's the kinds of approach seems to be a holistic approach as opposed to let's accomplish this one thing right now. Now let's accomplish the next thing. This, that approach that you're just describing is a holistic kind of let's look at everything all at the same time and kind of solve the big picture.

Speaker 4: Yeah. And, and, but they understand, you know, I think the movement as a whole has been taking an incrementalist approach for a long time. It works, uh, know, because you can't change everybody's mind all at once and just, you know, like by magic wake up one day with good drug policy. If that were the case, then we would have done it. Um, you know, so they're prepared to work in that, in that realm and they know that we need to be having these dialogues now about what the world is going to look like in 20 years. Um, we, we did a cool number, cool thing where we had students give talks on their vision for a post prohibition world, um, and they were lightening talks, so, you know, five to seven minutes from the main stage of really interesting stuff coming from, from there. Um, really interesting stuff about what they want out of the marijuana industry of key thought that came from, from one of those talks that you remember well from the marijuana industry, what our students are really looking for is responsibility, accountability, transparency, and a recognition that the industry is, um, you know, born of suffering, right? Like low lots and lots of people have suffered tremendously under the war on drugs and marijuana policies of the past and they strongly believe, um, you know, many of them that uh, the industry needs to account for that, that before people are getting rich, people need to get equal and I don't disagree.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Good. Okay, all right, so, so that's the focus. I'm getting the flavor there. Thank you very much for that. We understand what happened, uh, uh, the in those couple of weeks now, in the next few months, uh, from your perspective as the executive director of students for sensible drug policy, what, you know, are you expecting from operators, what are you expecting from the industry in terms of their focus? You know, maybe even, um, you know, their resources in working our way to November, you know, this is a big year with the ballot. What are you expecting from the industry?

Speaker 4: Well, I think that there's, you know, we've been talking for a long time about how the philanthropists who funded the early work in marijuana policy reform are no longer interested in funding that work. They see the industry taking shape a, they understand that there are profits, although they are of course greatly exaggerated by the media and many people are not seeing the kinds of profits that people assume.

Speaker 3: Right? As far as in to that end, as far as operators are concerned, they're just putting any money made back into the business. So the millionaires and billionaires, or as Bernie might say, millionaires and billionaires that everybody expects, it's not, that's not the case, but anyway, go on.

Speaker 4: And it's not exclusively not the case. Exactly either. Like there are people who are doing very, very well. There are investors who have done very well in other spaces who are moving into this space, um, who you know, would be well served to take a look at what's happening, you know, in the world of advocacy. Absolutely would like to expand their businesses outside of states. Third, currently illegal. So, um, you know, so, so there is a funding problem, um, and there has been a funding problem for some time, but there is a real funding problem right now. If you look at Massachusetts, if you look at Ohio, California even with California is going to be an incredibly expensive campaign. We're looking at perhaps seven initiatives on the ballot, um, and we are all strapped in terms of what we're able to put into this election.

Speaker 4: Um, and I think that there's, you know, folks need to take a really good look at the work of, you know, DPA and MPP and the campaigns in those states, um, and uh, as well as the work of SSDP and when we've got staffers on the ground in Arizona and Nevada, Massachusetts and Florida, we were, you know, one in California know, working on these initiatives. We've got folks who are doing, I'm really focused work on turning out the youth vote and um, you know, this is our big opportunity to demonstrate to the entire nation, um, and all of our elected officials that people across the board are fed up with cannabis prohibition and we cannot miss out on this opportunity. You know, there are, there are losses that like, you know, it would be, it would be a damn shame if we lost in any of these states just for the various implications in the state itself.

Speaker 4: The fact that people would still be going to prison. The fact that we would still be operating under prohibitionist system and all of that. But there's also the fact that we need to continue this narrative, right? We need to continue a narrative that people are fed up with cannabis prohibition because they are. And that narrative needs to remain strong. Ohio last year it was a blip and it needs to be perceived as a blip and we need to continue moving forward with these reforms. So, um, make an investment, right? Like that's obviously a big thing. Make an investment in moving these initiatives forward, um, make an investment in making sure that these organizations, uh, you know, all of them, uh, that are engaging appropriately in the campaigns and that are doing good work, are able to continue that. Um, and you know, make an investment in ensuring that your business is an example, right? Like there's the, there's, the time isn't right now. We need to make sure that we are continuing to demonstrate across the nation like we did in Colorado before 2012 and in Washington before 2012, that a regulated industry is superior to prohibition. And like we just have to keep demonstrating that over and over and over and over again.

Speaker 3: Yeah, and you know, we, we've spoken to recently to spoken to Steve Fox and Chris Crane, uh, you know, an SSTP or himself and, and folks have, have shared, you know, go ahead, donate to the campaigns, donate to SSDP, donate to DPA, um, you know, an MPP. What I think might be valuable for anybody listening is to give folks a sense of what actually happens on the ground so they understand what, where that money goes, whether they donate or not to, to understand where the money goes and what I'd love to ask you since you were on the ground in Colorado, you know, give us maybe one anecdote from that campaign and then, you know, you mentioned for instance, um, you know, getting out the young vote, uh, this year. Give us an anecdote of what is happening in real time, uh, you know, this year. So what about an old story from being on the ground and where money goes when you donate to a campaign?

Speaker 4: Um, yeah, just a few days ago. No, no, no. From amendment 64. That's what we're asking. I promise. I promise. Just a few days ago, the, there was a memory that popped up on facebook from 2012, um, with, uh, the billboard, the first billboard that we put up in support of amendment 64 and people who were watching at the time will remember that it was a like forties to 50 ish, a woman, you know, total soccer bomb, definitely drove a minivan. Um, you know, like you take one look at this lady and you're like, oh, that's every woman. Um, and uh, it said I prefer marijuana over alcohol. Does that make me a bad person vote? Yes. On amendment 64. Right? And so it, you know, that billboard sat above this, pardon me, total shit hole of a liquor store, um, on Federal Boulevard in Colorado, right next to it, one five. And we probably got like thousands of impressions on that every day for the two weeks or so that it was up.

Speaker 4: But we got millions and millions of eyeballs on that message by using earned media, by, you know, making sure that we invited all the press and by them, you know, blasting and the story all over the place about the first marijuana billboard. And it really sparked a lot of conversations. Right? So that's one big thing, you know, for SSDP this year. Well that's one way that a lot of these campaigns are going to be investing their resources in making sure that there are staffers ready to have those conversations and that they are empowering stakeholders and having those conversations the right way that they're doing, you know, they're doing the work to bring in, um, uh, what we call grasstops supporters. So community leaders who can use their voices in support of the initiative and making sure that we're using all of the media opportunities that we can and then empowering the field to go out and knock on doors and stand on street corners with signs and you know, have the t shirts and all of that.

Speaker 3: And it's a good example of a little bit going along way, you know. Yes. A billboard is expensive, but in the grand scheme of things, it's really not that expensive and you're able to take a good message, uh, use the money that's donated and then amplify that message because you're a good communicator.

Speaker 4: Yeah, absolutely. And Mason is like the king of this, right? He's the guy, he's like, the guy was able to, um, maximize the media exposure of that billboard and make sure that it was just the right message. Um, and he's. Yeah, I've never seen anybody do earned media like that guy. So, um, you know, you should be pleased to know that he's consulting or advising on a lot of these campaigns.

Speaker 3: Absolutely. I just spoke to him off microphone the other day, so that's a, it's a, it's always good to talk to him. All right. So then now give us a sense of today on the ground, what's happening SSDP, what you're actually doing.

Speaker 4: Yeah, so we've got people, we've got these staffers on the ground in the handful of states, um, because we know for sure that the most effective way to grow our network rapidly, um, is to actually have people in the state on campuses, a recruiting new student leaders and helping those chapters, um, grow, grow bigger and then once those chapters or establish, yeah, I think that we have like 25 in California right now. We'll be adding a few more really big schools there. I'm 10 or 11 and Florida where we're looking to add or strengthen a six or seven chapters there. Massachusetts, same thing. Once we've got those chapters on the ground, then we help them engage with the, uh, the campaign in the ways that whatever various ways they'd like. But we in particular focus on youth, Geo TV and education about the initiative. So, um, you know, we've got, we've got chapters that are hosting events on their campuses that are doing voter registration and um, that are, are doing a signature drives even in places like Ohio.

Speaker 4: A surprisingly, you know, in a lot of places the signature drive, getting the thing on the ballot itself is oftentimes the most expensive part, you know, so that's being able to help support that with volunteer efforts, um, is really critical in making sure that, you know, ssd peers are there, having those conversations, turning their peers out to vote, um, and, and really influencing, um, those youth vote numbers is, it is a really important piece for us. Um, now SSTP certainly can't take all the credit for this, but we can take at least a little bit in Florida in 2014 when we had the medical initiative on the ballot there that, um, you know, failed with 58 percent of the vote.

Speaker 3: See, I was gonna say you only got 58 percent of that vote, but yeah, yeah,

Speaker 4: I'm a Florida. So we've, you know, we've got people that are going to Florida again this year and in 2014, um, young people doubled their stake of the electorate. Now you might not realize this, but millennials actually boomers right now in the US and have the opportunity to change everything about politics. Right?

Speaker 3: Absolutely. They are doing it. We're in the process of seeing that happen.

Speaker 4: Yeah. I suppose that that's true. Um, and certainly when it comes to these issues that young people care about, like not criminalizing themselves or their peers, um, for things like a, you know, drug use or possession, that's a really important piece that young people can have a voice in and taking marijuana out of the prohibitionist system is something that they tend to be pretty committed to. And so if we get them to the polls, we know that they're going to vote the right way and we're very much working on that piece.

Speaker 3: Got It. So get them out there. And so you mentioned boomers, you mentioned millennials, you know, why not have us, you know, gen x get out as well. Right. I would imagine that would be a good idea.

Speaker 4: Yeah. So, uh, so

Speaker 3: folks, I don't, I don't mean to age you by the way, Betty, I option is that your gen x. that's my assumption. I'm solid

Speaker 4: really solidly gen x not offended. Um, uh, so yeah, so, so we are um, we are pretty good on cannabis for the most part, but there are swathes of us that are not. I mean everybody across the board at every age range and with every firm, every ideological perspective is shifting toward supporting ending prohibition. Right? Yeah. Some of us are doing so faster than others.

Speaker 3: It helps to have regulatory frameworks that are for the most part and generally working in the states have devoted that in. I mean it's just, you know, straightforward.

Speaker 4: Yeah. And listen, I mean sure. Are we over regulating cannabis right now? Of course we are fine though, like that. That is the price that we pay for ending prohibition and like it, it is the thing that makes, you know, women of a certain age, um, or you know, a seniors or boomers or whoever more comfortable with the notion of having cannabis legal and regulated and, you know, so for Gen xers, for looking at this particular demographic, um, you know, particularly parents are somewhat less supportive than non parents and Gen xers are more supportive than boomers have cannabis policy reform, less supportive than millennials. And so really focusing on that millennial vote is terrifically important.

Speaker 3: There you go. All right, so that's what we have to do between now and November. Now, post November, whatever happens, let's kind of end where we started, which was, you know, leading up to the next, uh, UN session in 2019. Uh, what kind of tent poles of progress would you like to see or need to happen?

Speaker 4: So let's start outside the U. S, right? Um, because I think that there are some important things that are going to happen, uh, beyond our borders that are going to signal the need for treaty reform. Um, and of course the two of the biggies are that Canada and Mexico are both looking at, um, revising their cannabis policies. Canada of course, is looking at legalizing for adults. Mexico will likely seriously regulate medical marijuana very soon and we should see a number of other countries come on board with, um, with medical marijuana between now and 2019. We are highly likely to see other countries, especially if Canada is able to push the way forward, um, figure out how to do adult use marijuana legally, um, over the course of the next three years. I think that there are a good number of European countries, um, and uh, uh, south and Central American countries that are going to be looking at the same, right.

Speaker 4: We also might see some interesting movement in Oceana with Australia and New Zealand, uh, taking a look at the way that they're handling, um, you know, certainly a non cannabis drugs, but also probably cannabis in the not too distant future. It's totally global. Without question. There's global activity, there's no question about it. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, I think that there's, like, there's definitely still a question at the United Nations that is unresolved and that people don't want to touch and a lot of ways around like, you know, is the u s in violation of the treaties, you know, many of us would argue no because, uh, states are not signatories to the treaties and are able to. And states are the ones who were doing the regulating. But if we really want to you d schedule cannabis and, you know, allow the, have the federal government explicitly allow, um, you know, uh, regulated model for adult use, adult and medical of course are two very different things here.

Speaker 4: Like we have to come to an answer at the United Nations around to these treaties and how people like how nations are going to handle handle that. So Brazil is one example, or excuse me, Bolivia is a very good example here with a coca. They removed themselves from the treaties and then resigned with, uh, the exemption for at Coco use. Um, and that is one example that might be workable for cannabis for a variety of different countries that are, you know, like Canada for example. Although that being said, uh, that was quite difficult for Bolivia to do and they really put their access to essential medicines on the line, um, when they did that. But fortunately they were able to resign the treaties and they weren't blocked by the various countries that we're trying to block them at the time. So it can be done, it can be done, but much better would be the, we create a dialogue that demands across the board treaty reform between now and 2019 so that when we are approaching 2019 treaty reform is actually on the table for the first time.

Speaker 4: If you look at the drugs treaties, like those are the only treaties that are untouchable, which is absurd. It hearkens back to the same thing that happens from the household to the United Nations and everywhere in between, which is that, you know, we use a rational approach. We try to use science, we try to use evidence when we are approaching all of these other problems in the world, but God forbid that you're honest with your kids about your pot use, right? God forbid that we actually go to the UN and talk about the drugs treaties and reforming them like we talk about reforming all of the other treaties, including the human rights treaties and everything else that, yeah, you know, that we're addressing here. And we have got to start creating a dialogue around the notion or continue this dialogue that's really begun around the notion that the drugs, treaties, um, are superseded by human rights treaties and that everything about the way we measure the drug war needs to be reassess.

Speaker 4: Like, you know, whether or not people are using drugs is not an appropriate measure of how we are handling the drug problem worldwide. Uh, whether it's cannabis or anything else. What we really need to be measuring is, are we improving people's human condition and you know, when we are still continuing to spray, um, you know, cannabis plants in South Africa as well as the vegetables and the children who are playing in the fields when the sprayers come by. We are not improving the quality of life for people when we are still allowing people in the US to be imprisoned. Um, you know, when we are still allowing people in Indonesia, uh, to be murdered by the state through the death penalty that is not improving people's quality of life and it is not focusing. It's not grounding the drug problem in human rights, which is what really needs to happen between now and then. So, you know, as far as what, as far as that dialogue goes, um, it's really a matter of, of placing the pressure in the right places.

Speaker 4: The United States is coming to these conversations with a much more progressive view than we actually see in the states themselves. And oftentimes even with federal policy. But you know, you've got about a cellie and other delegates from the US talking about the importance of harm reduction and human rights when it comes to and if we keep pushing that I'm here at home and continuing the pressure on the next administration to make sure that we aren't letting up, that's going to be terrifically important. And for those people who are listening who are doing work or who are based in any other country, you know, making sure that your government hears that, um, you know, the current situation is untenable and unacceptable and if things need to change in or before 20, 19, that's a really important piece of the work that you're doing.

Speaker 3: Yeah, there you go. So, you know, keep, keep the pressure on. We're not done yet that, that type of thing could on it. We're working on it. I was going to ask you about, uh, your prognostication and in terms of the presidential election, but I am going to stop now that we are here in May of 2016. I'm going to stop asking people about the presidential election because I'm a little depressed based on what I think might happen. So, uh, you take that to me. Whatever's does, right. I W I would have told you that

Speaker 4: six months ago that there was absolutely no way that Donald Trump could have gotten the republican nomination. I'm so, I am not progress prognosticating thing.

Speaker 3: That's it. That's it. So instead, I guess as a final question, betty. Well first before final question, if I wanted to donate to SSDP, which I do, how do I do that?

Speaker 4: Yep. You just go to SSDP.org and you can click on the donate button. That's pretty obvious there. And uh, right around the time that this goes live, we will be, our brand new website will be up. So I hope that everybody will go check it out. I'm so excited. And there you go. Um, and certainly, even if even if, um, you know, one of the things that I think happens for cannabis entrepreneurs often is that they feel like they need to make a grand gesture, right? Um, I've, I've had so many conversations with people who are like, oh well, you know, as soon as I can give $10,000 I'm going to give or whatever it might be. And the point isn't that like getting like, you know, between now and then we still have real work to do and it doesn't need to be a grand gesture. The point of corporate philanthropy is building that philosophy, that ethos into your work every single day.

Speaker 4: And so whether that means making sure that you have an indigent care program or whether that means giving, you know, 25 or 50 or $100 a month to SSDP that, you know, building that corporate philanthropy ethos into your work every single day is going to make you a stronger company. It's going to satisfy your employees. It's going to make them understand that they're working for something bigger. And so I, you know, I encourage people who are listening, who've been waiting for that grand gesture to be possible to stop waiting. Join joined today with a monthly gift. We'd love to have you. And it doesn't matter if it's, you know, $25, you know, or if it's $100 or if it's $500, I mean, it obviously matters, but like, you know, at whatever level works for you, demonstrate that you support the work that we're doing now because now is the time when we have a lot of work to do and we really need your support.

Speaker 4: We are almost doubling, um, you know, what our work this year. So between 2014 when I first came on at SSDP and this year we are at least doubling everything, uh, the number of chapters, the number of students, the number of the number of countries that we're operating in have tripled then that, you know, and is about to quadruple. Um, and, and like, our growth rate is unbelievable, but we can't be sustained without the support of the folks who are engaged in this industry. And so, um, I hope to see loads of people signing up for the sensible society and joining.

Speaker 3: So there we go. And, uh, you know, you'll take the, uh, the popular donation these days of $27, right? Yes, yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Every $27 counts. Alright, so final question. Uh, you know, I hope you know what it is, which is if, uh, there's a song or track on the soundtrack of Betty Aldworth life. What, uh, what song would you like to give us today for that soundtrack?

Speaker 4: Oh, there are so many.

Speaker 3: I know. Oh, hang on a long came betty, what's that? Along came betty. It was actually a song. It's done by a couple of different people. Do. Do you have the artists have preference for you? I don't know that I do. So here's what I'll do in the, in the, uh, the kind of the outro for the episode. I'll suggest I'll suggest one of, uh, one of my favorites. I'll leave it for now and suggested in the outro. How about that? Very good. That sounds perfect. I'll look forward to hearing it. Fantastic. All right, betty, stay busy. We love it. Thank you so much for your time. We'll talk to you soon. Thanks so much, seth. You too. Bye. Bye.

Speaker 1: There you have the Betty Aldworth. Always a pleasure speaking with her as far as along came betty the song. It's a tossup art, blakely, Tito Puente Day. You can't go wrong with either one. Let me know what you're thinking. Engaged at Cannacon [inaudible] dot com. We'd love to hear from you. Thank you so much for listening. Very much. Appreciate your time.

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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.