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Ep.167: Tjalling Erkelens, Bedrocan “Introview” with Jorge Cervantes

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.167: Tjalling Erkelens, Bedrocan

Ep.167: Tjalling Erkelens, Bedrocan “Introview” with Jorge Cervantes

Tjalling Erkelens. The CEO of Bedrocan joins us and does an excellent job of giving us a history of the Netherland’s cannabis economy.  He shares how Bedrocan found, in his words,  what the cannabis plant was capable of by working with Holland’s federal government. He gets into expansion into Canada and subsequently other global markets.  But Jorge Cervantes first joins us to give us a 20 year background on the Cannabis Culture of Barcelona. Both guests on this episode are on the CannAwards advisory board. A digital interview with Tjalling Erkelens of Bedroan preceded by Jorge Cervantes.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Tjalling Ekerlens proceeded by Jorge Cervantes, but first some supporters to thank and thank you for listening. This episode is supported by twister. The general consensus is that tripping sucks, but it doesn't have to. If you're interested in supplementing your hand trimming or even replacing it entirely, checkout twister, tremors. UPTIME is crucial for your harvest and twisters. Got Your back with over a decade leading the industry. They've got the knowledge, experience, and technology to keep you running smoothly. Twister trimmers are designed for continuous flow runtime, minimizing, handling. Why Tumbler Churn for 20 minutes when 30 seconds, we'll do go to twister, tremors.com for more information. This episode is also supported by Focus. Focus is working on independent and international standards while offering third party certification for cannabis businesses. The foundation of cannabis unified standards helps build your business into the best it can be. Focused is not a regulatory agency so they don't engage in enforcement.

Speaker 1: Rather, the organization is in place to help improve operational efficiencies, decrease operating expenses, and ultimately increased profit focus will help you build your business in a sustainable way of guarding against risk and liability. All while protecting your ip go to focus standards.org, channeling IRC islands, the CEO of bedrock, and joins us and does an excellent job of giving us a history of Netherlands cannabis economy. He shares how better can found in his words what the cannabis plant was capable of by working with Hollins, federal government. He gets into expansion into Canada and subsequently other global markets, but we're. He served vantis first joint us to give us a 20 year background on the cannabis culture of Barcelona. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends of the world economy. While early bird nominations are closed, you still can send in traditional nominations for the third annual can have warts. Interestingly, both guests on this episode or on the candlewoods advisory board, a digital interview with Charlie Cullen's of can proceeded by A.

Speaker 2: Yeah, no, absolutely. We're here with Jorge Servantez. Author is really what we're going with. Yeah. Yeah. That's what I do and I do also do a lot of stuff on youtube or good, incredible about. I've got a hundred and 75 videos now on cultivation on youtube. So I mean, you know, uh, things. Uh, here we are in 2016, uh, making our way into the second half. Um, how have things if the author of the cannabis encyclopedia, what say you about where we are with the plan? Well, right now in California to real interesting year because, um, I've just been in the United States for about two and a half months now and I went straight up to Humboldt County of, in Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Calaveras County, and uh, also in the bay area several places. And let me tell you, they're growing big this year. They're growing a heck of a lot of dope.

Speaker 2: I mean, I, I can't believe how much cannabis is being grown. And I talked to one of the fairs. I went to a small one over in Santa Rosa. That was interesting because there was about a dozen vendors there. And I, we always talk shop, you know, and ask how everybody's doing. They all said they're going crazy. Everybody's just selling more than ever. Smart pots is already sold more than they did in the entire previous year. So I'd say this year we're going to have a huge fear, a huge crop. It's amazing. Let's then go all the way back, you know, if, uh, you've now been in the US for a few months. Wow. Where did you begin your journey? Oh, I, I live in Spain part of the year and uh, I lived there for, Gosh, almost 20 years now. And I go about half the time in his Spain and a hang out there.

Speaker 2: I'll go back in the winter after the elections here in California. Okay. And as far as pain is concerned, what's happening in that cannabis economy, that cannabis culture, what can you report A. Actually, it's really interesting. I live in Barcelona, the, they've got a great football team, number one date, and then after that have, they've also got the private social clubs. That's where you can become a member of a social club and you just sign up and give a little, uh, uh, entry fee or not. Maybe they waived that. They always wave mine. And uh, then you're a member of that club and it's a nonprofit, it's a nonprofit organization and what happens is you give the club donations usually in the form of 10, 20 or 50 euros, and they give you a token of their appreciation that usually comes in a one, three or five grand package and everybody's happy.

Speaker 1: Tjalling Ekerlens proceeded by Jorge Cervantes, but first some supporters to thank and thank you for listening. This episode is supported by twister. The general consensus is that tripping sucks, but it doesn't have to. If you're interested in supplementing your hand trimming or even replacing it entirely, checkout twister, tremors. UPTIME is crucial for your harvest and twisters. Got Your back with over a decade leading the industry. They've got the knowledge, experience, and technology to keep you running smoothly. Twister trimmers are designed for continuous flow runtime, minimizing, handling. Why Tumbler Churn for 20 minutes when 30 seconds, we'll do go to twister, tremors.com for more information. This episode is also supported by Focus. Focus is working on independent and international standards while offering third party certification for cannabis businesses. The foundation of cannabis unified standards helps build your business into the best it can be. Focused is not a regulatory agency so they don't engage in enforcement.

Speaker 1: Rather, the organization is in place to help improve operational efficiencies, decrease operating expenses, and ultimately increased profit focus will help you build your business in a sustainable way of guarding against risk and liability. All while protecting your ip go to focus standards.org, channeling IRC islands, the CEO of bedrock, and joins us and does an excellent job of giving us a history of Netherlands cannabis economy. He shares how better can found in his words what the cannabis plant was capable of by working with Hollins, federal government. He gets into expansion into Canada and subsequently other global markets, but we're. He served vantis first joint us to give us a 20 year background on the cannabis culture of Barcelona. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends of the world economy. While early bird nominations are closed, you still can send in traditional nominations for the third annual can have warts. Interestingly, both guests on this episode or on the candlewoods advisory board, a digital interview with Charlie Cullen's of can proceeded by A.

Speaker 2: Yeah, no, absolutely. We're here with Jorge Servantez. Author is really what we're going with. Yeah. Yeah. That's what I do and I do also do a lot of stuff on youtube or good, incredible about. I've got a hundred and 75 videos now on cultivation on youtube. So I mean, you know, uh, things. Uh, here we are in 2016, uh, making our way into the second half. Um, how have things if the author of the cannabis encyclopedia, what say you about where we are with the plan? Well, right now in California to real interesting year because, um, I've just been in the United States for about two and a half months now and I went straight up to Humboldt County of, in Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Calaveras County, and uh, also in the bay area several places. And let me tell you, they're growing big this year. They're growing a heck of a lot of dope.

Speaker 2: I mean, I, I can't believe how much cannabis is being grown. And I talked to one of the fairs. I went to a small one over in Santa Rosa. That was interesting because there was about a dozen vendors there. And I, we always talk shop, you know, and ask how everybody's doing. They all said they're going crazy. Everybody's just selling more than ever. Smart pots is already sold more than they did in the entire previous year. So I'd say this year we're going to have a huge fear, a huge crop. It's amazing. Let's then go all the way back, you know, if, uh, you've now been in the US for a few months. Wow. Where did you begin your journey? Oh, I, I live in Spain part of the year and uh, I lived there for, Gosh, almost 20 years now. And I go about half the time in his Spain and a hang out there.

Speaker 2: I'll go back in the winter after the elections here in California. Okay. And as far as pain is concerned, what's happening in that cannabis economy, that cannabis culture, what can you report A. Actually, it's really interesting. I live in Barcelona, the, they've got a great football team, number one date, and then after that have, they've also got the private social clubs. That's where you can become a member of a social club and you just sign up and give a little, uh, uh, entry fee or not. Maybe they waived that. They always wave mine. And uh, then you're a member of that club and it's a nonprofit, it's a nonprofit organization and what happens is you give the club donations usually in the form of 10, 20 or 50 euros, and they give you a token of their appreciation that usually comes in a one, three or five grand package and everybody's happy.

Speaker 2: The problem is they've had them grow really big. Some of them are getting to be 20, 30,000 members and they got shut down and they don't know how to collect tax from anybody. So they're all getting real worried about that, but they don't know what to do. But the, uh, uh, like the mayor of Barcelona approved the clubs for a year, said they could operate without any hassles because there is about 200 of them in just in the city a couple of years ago, a bunch of them got shot down. Many of them reopened, I guess is what you're saying. Yeah. They've had all kinds of problems. You know, my friend, if may, that was just here, uh, he owns one of the residence club that's over by his son since duct sealant in Barcelona and that's the real big one. And they've had troubles. They've been rated, they got the, there a garden rated.

Speaker 2: We were growing pretty big over there, but they just, they rated clones and so when they went down to test them, they tested as you like him. They weren't very strong, so have, they didn't have a charge against them interest at all kinds of code violations. They had to very expensive, but they're really working through things and we don't know what's going to happen. And then two is Spain's real different because Barcelona, Catalonia and they don't get along with the politicians and Madrid. So maybe they decide something cut the moon yet and then. And Madrid, they say, no, you guys can't do that. Then they start fighting and then meantime it puts all of us as part of the cuddle on a liberation movement. We're now in with those guys and we didn't really sign up for that. You didn't, you weren't looking for a fight.

Speaker 2: Yeah, it just goes and there you are. There. Was that a supreme court decision in Madrid now this is now more than a few months ago and, and is that Kinda what you're talking about? Is that going to fact Barcelona? Is it not know those? Yeah, I mean see it, it affects Barcelona until the end of the year. It's only for 12 months. That's the whole deal. So 12 months, 12 months and everybody's doing well, but you cannot advertise the club. It's a private club. It's word of mouth. People were standing out on the Ramblas in Barcelona. Uh, the main street. They're the main drag. They have always said this guy. So the last, last time I saw you had roller skates on so we'd get out, run the cops.

Speaker 2: Yeah. But it's really a bad idea because they remember who you are. Exactly. You can only run so long on, on wheels. Sunny. Yeah. I don't know. He was. Yeah, it was just funny. Take us back 20 years ago you said you'd been there for about 20 years. How different is it now than it wasn't? Man, I remember I was at a Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam and all these Spanish guys showed up and we started talking and they said, Oh yeah, we're just about ready to start a magazine magazine magazine. And I said, Oh God, that's great. You know, and, and see, I knew tons. God. I mean I got, I talked Spanish, Si. So it's very easy for me. So anyway, we started talking. I go down to Barcelona and visit and I go, Jesus, this place I want to be. Because the whole movement was right in Barcelona.

Speaker 2: It always is. And uh, God, Filippo Berio was there, uh, with, with my cookie, you know. And uh, uh, let's see. Our sec onset, which is a legalization society and God shall. Then we had the labeija floor. The, it was, we had the first cannabis cup in Spain, the old old one. We're in the south. It was in, uh, outside of a quarter. The bomb. What year was this? This was Jesus. This was, it wasn't that long ago. It was 90, 99, 88. Some people think that that's a long time ago. I personally don't. Yeah, yeah. Well it, it was there for the what was going on and there's about 200 people showed up. It was at a squatted nunnery, a squatted nunnery. Right. That was a 100 meters from that, which isn't too far a 100 yards from the, the, the provincial. A police station.

Speaker 2: You know what, what are these Seville? Which is like paramilitary police on my hand. The only thing, the only, the only requirement you had to have, they'd asked you at the front door. They go, are you a cop? And you go, no. And they go, okay, you can come in. That was your medical card. Yeah. If you weren't a cop country come in. Otherwise they'd already slotted as there was no water. The toilets were. Oh man, they didn't have Porta potties. But I'd say that's great. It sounds like it. And, and here we are, you know, kind of back in the US making our way to the election. You mentioned you're staying through the election. What do you expect? Oh yeah. California's going to legalize. We're going to see other actions in other states. I haven't been following that stuff just blows, but we're going to see a California legalized and every time stuff like this happens.

Speaker 2: See, I've jumped around. I lived in DC, I lived in Amsterdam. I've been all over Europe, Switzerland. They were growing big a long time ago, 10 years ago, and then now in Spain. That's the best place in Europe now in America. I've seen this pattern that goes on and as soon as anybody, as soon as there's, you can smell legalization in the air. People plant the plant, lots of seeds and the plant and there's more of. You're not speaking figuratively, you're saying literally, literally tons. Tons. So we're looking for a big harvest. That's fantastic. Uh, we traditionally ask these final three questions, or hey, if you're ready for them, I'll tell you what they are and then ask you them in order. What has most surprised you in cannabis? What has most surprised you in life? Which is a big question. And then on the soundtrack of your life named one track, one song that's got to be on there.

Speaker 2: So first things first, what has most surprised you in cannabis? So it's been awhile. It is legalization and, and how it's really changed and uh, because really the turning point was the medicinal part. When a Sanjay Gupta from a CNN, the CNN network said, hey, this actually does work. And then there was the little girl, Charlotte, Charlotte, and we've had her mother on pay page, piggy absolute cbd. See, these are things that I knew guy for the last 20 years. I mean, I, I'd seen these changes and it was just not until the testing, that's the big thing to the testing has been so amazing because it used to only be forensic testing, like you know, cops that tell you how strong your dope was when they busted you. Right? And now you test it to see what the cannabinoid profile. That's a huge step. So those two things I think that they go together though. That's the biggest surprise for me. There you go. Well, well, well stated as far as life. What is the thing that is most surprised you? I'm getting older. Dammit. It's happening, isn't it? Yeah, it's a surprise.

Speaker 2: We'll leave it at that. How about that? Alright. Soundtrack one song, one track that's got to be on the soundtrack of your life. Oh boy. Um, let's see. I want to, I want to say street fighting, man. Rolling Stones there, man. I've been out there fighting on the street for years. It's not until, until just recently it got better. I had to wear a disguise until the last five years, you know, in America and that gets old. It gets old. So California to BC to Spain and everywhere in between. Jorge, thank you so much. Hey, sure thing. I'm going to South America next. I'll be there this winter. Yeah. I know a lot of people down there, so we'll keep in touch. We'll do talk to you soon.

Speaker 1: Finally, this episode is supported by the MPG. The marijuana policy group is a Denver based economic and policy consulting firm nationally recognized for its role in shaping the Colorado regulated cannabis. Market. MPG regularly provides actionable research and analysis that empowers businesses, investors, and institutions to make informed decisions within the regulated cannabis industry. The MPG mission is to apply research methods rooted in economic theory and statistical application to inform business and government decisions in the rapidly growing, legal, medical, and recreational marijuana markets. Go to Mj policy group.com. Okay. It is a quite a pleasure to be here with charlene IRC islands. Gentlemen, thank you so much for being with us. You run bedroom. Can you are the largest producer of legal cannabis in the world. Is that fair to say?

Speaker 3: Maybe in a way, yes. At least I am the longest.

Speaker 4: Uh Huh. And so you, you are the longest. Let's just get into, you know, how long have you been working with the plant?

Speaker 3: How long you've been a Christian? My working with a plan started in 1992 already, so that's almost 25 years ago when we were running a small company, a specialized in indoor cultivation of basically a prevention of Poles in Holland. At that time it was legal to produce a have seat also and it was a small endeavor we took off in 1992. I'm actually producing for a small company that was selling seats to other seed cannabis seed companies in those years.

Speaker 4: Give us a sense of the Netherlands, the cannabis economy, if you will, where even the cannabis culture, uh, in the early nineties. Why would a businessman get in a, get into the space?

Speaker 3: Hold on what we call semi legal cannabis in Holland. It's pretty old in the late eighties. The coffee shop system was, um, an allowed system in the Netherlands or the. Yeah, the where they allow people to buy a kind of is a and the most actually for health purposes. So, um, uh, before that time, kind of based offered on the street together without a quite dangerous drugs, especially heroin. Uh, we had a large heroin problem in Amsterdam in those days and the government was, was actually fighting this by basically separating from, um, from those heart, what we call hard drugs in those years, uh, to avoid that, especially young children, uh, would get in touch with heroin at a very early age, which was a huge program at that time. So that separation led to basically the coffee shop system in Holland, uh, and at that time nobody had any knowledge basically on what being now called medicinal cannabis and the medicinal properties of cannabis. Actually, there wasn't a lot of knowledge, but nobody was thinking about it

Speaker 4: or talking about it for that matter.

Speaker 3: We're talking about it in those days. No, there was nothing known specifically in those years. Yeah.

Speaker 4: Yeah. When you say separation and then into the coffee shops, what was the structure before the coffee shops? I understand what you're saying. No structure.

Speaker 3: No, that was not a real structured. Their economies at that time was very small. Um, I was very intrigued last week when I found a copy of lifetime magazine from, I think it was September of [inaudible], 69 in which, uh, an article was the only American Cij ration with regard to cannabis and a dead time met of course, an estimated number of users in the use of 12 million people. Um, interesting number. I guess if I compared it to nowadays, but uh, as you can see those were the years that kind of came up as a, um, as a recreational drug basically. And it, it, it, it got into mainstream already in those she is kind of. Yeah.

Speaker 4: Okay. So, uh, there was, uh, you know, we harken back to the late sixties here in the US, uh, we take ourselves to, to the early nineties in, uh, the Netherlands where there was a structure. No, the, this is wonderful. A conversation where there was a structure though, uh, in the coffee shops and um, get into if you would a little bit about the company that you were a running at the time, um, and how the cannabis economy actually did a layout, what, who were the players, and you say it was small, but how did it all work?

Speaker 3: And in the early nineties few mainly there were things in Harlem that was one part of the business. And the other part was actually the coffee shop business and small scale. So there was a small group of what we call home growers that were providing coffee shops in those years and that was important from Africa and the Middle East basically. So the, the, the, the, the, uh, she's a, as we call it, the green stuff to the kind of base flowers, dried cannabis flowers was a, was a minority in the coffee shops in those years. Um, mostly, mostly. Mostly has changed. I would say she is 70, 80 percent was, has she's, um, in those years kind of visuals also cheaper than the head, which is totally the eod all the way around to nowadays, of course. But that was the case. Um, um, coffee shops were in onward, actually left quite ease, although production of cannabis, uh, and production of cannabis was not an issue.

Speaker 3: We know she is because most of what was being sold was imported from Morocco living on and those areas basically, um, production of seats. However, it became an interesting business because, uh, there were a few companies in Holland, uh, sending seats basically globally. Uh, not a, not that nobody noticed that these things happened, but through mail it was quite hard for a, especially for them, uh, or governments basically to track that down. That was so dead was, that was, that was a business in those associate. You can compare it a little bit maybe with the CBD in business nowadays, I'll see money flowing around and actually everybody's thinking that cbd is harmless and uh, there's a, there's no issue with it. However, I think the FDA's thinking differently. Um, but it was kind of the case in those years. It was small scale business. However, in the mid nineties, uh, the production of cannabis to really took off in the Netherlands, uh, an export illegal export started to, came to come up, illegal export throughout Europe.

Speaker 3: Basically Germany, Belgium friends, those were countries directly next to haul on deadwood or provided the Kennedys. And at the same time, huge problems started the rising with the quality of candidates in those, a people where many people working in kind of base, uh, just want to enter into buck. And if you add something that makes it more quickly, you earn a lot of money without actually putting a lot of effort they need. So one of the major cases in the late nineties was a case of lead poisoning in the environmental life seats in Germany. I'm 64 or even a bit more, but in the 60, people were hospitalized because of it. And that kind of is came from Holland. And that was a trigger point for, uh, actually, uh, you're being more coordinated European action towards a kind of a production in the Netherlands in 1998. One of the results of that in 1998, the Dutch health minister and the Minister of Justice announced a full prohibition on indoor cultivation of cannabis in general.

Speaker 3: Whatever you grew there, even for seats, uh, everything was prohibited from that moment on. And the immediate next step was that they announced their medicinal program because our minister of health, have you googled a look on the medicinal properties of cannabis already? Uh, and that was because her husband died 10 years earlier because of cancer and his family yet two days, he used Kennedy's as, as, as a treatment for it is, well, let's say for it as well being and being, and actually she has been thinking although she is how to do some to get about a position in that way. Um, and then regarding, it's interesting to, to see and to also uh, um, established the fact that she basically was the only minister in the world that ever, um, made a decision to make cannabis is legal in the country by her own will. She was actually initiating it. And um, maybe the next one initiating something is just no in Canada who's initiating them, the recreational use of cannabis. But everywhere around the world where you see cannabis coming up, it's basically due to pain syndrome as we call it. Patients, uh, who are, uh, pushing governments towards this now.

Speaker 4: Yeah. And you, you speak of 1998. And that minister and the fact that a really it was in response to, um, in her own family, her seeing a positive response to palliative care or where the use of cannabis within palliative care. So you know, that that kind of spins us a very far forward into the conversation. And at that time, where were you in your business? In other words, I want to locate the beginning of bedrock. Can, well, you know, we're, we're, uh, where, where would we find that

Speaker 3: worse? And that's an interesting story because in 1999, um, when, um, the Dutch help ministry was in the face that they were preparing a muddies the introduction of medicinal cannabis, although not really, there was no public debate at that point. We got an infant deviation from a guy working for him, the institutes a in a healthcare institute, devils connected to the Amsterdam University Hospital, a where they have a departments where they were wanting to treat patients with cannabis for pain reduction and well, how do things go in a small country via, via people know each other. And we bought the request. Can you guys grow some kind of base? We heard about the quality of your products because though we were producing seats, uh, the quality of our products was a known fact. One of the customers, uh, indirect customers and associates was a company called SNCC, maybe a known by you.

Speaker 3: Um, they weren't aware of the quality of our products and we had, we had a very defined way of producing it already in those years. Anyway, um, they came to us with, the guy came to us, he said, are you able to do that? I said, it is, will that be illegal egg? And he said, well, you know, it's for a hospital and you will get paid for it or you have to do it for free because we, um, it's just test. And uh, and he was somehow related also already to the, uh, to the government initiative for medicinal cannabis. So I thought, okay, interesting venue to go to. And that is where we produced more or less illegally, a batch of medicinal cannabis for that specific purpose. It was not a clinical trial, it was just a regular test. It was a tryout, let's see what happens.

Speaker 3: People were quite open, still is to uh, to the, to the use of cannabis and the possible harms our arms, but again, treating patients in palliative situations or in very severe medical conditions with a product like kind of his doctors have little or no objection. And so it happened and actually our product, which is still there, it's the veteran can variety with high thc percentage. That product was being used for that specific try out. And it was, well, it was. Well, I'm, you say it as well. I'm perceived the well, well perceived. It was well received. Well received, yes, of course. I was very well received and actually still nowadays we see that that product is still one of the best sold products for pain. Anyway, going back to that situation. So we, we, we had some experience. Yes. And um, but however we were still doubting a and I'm talking to you 2000 now, how to enter into some sort of program there because we wanted to do it.

Speaker 3: But I'm there at that time, there was no real, uh, worked out program yet for providing a kind of patients. So it was October 2001 before the announcement came that the, that the ministry would make kind of available through the pharmaceutical system as an intermediate for patients to get access to cannabinoid products up until the moment a confederal pro, that's how it was described. Comparable products to cannabis would enter the market in a, uh, in a more pharmaceutical way. So that was the moment where I said, okay, this is the time to go because now we're talking about doing something for real, for patients, not only research purposes, which was initially the case, but also being able to do something for real probations and sell product. And at that time we stepped into the APP. We stepped into a tender situation and we, uh, we applied for, we applied for a license and, and, and a production contract because that was set out by, by the government at that time, uh, you could ask for a license for scientific purposes.

Speaker 3: That license would allow you to produce test benches to test that would allow you to show that you were able to produce a stable, a stable product, chemically stable product, and that would then lead probably or possibly to a contract with the government as well. That whole thing took us almost two years. Um, and in March 2003, we actually got our first contract for a delivery to the office of medicinal cannabis, the whimsy in Hololens and the OMC holds the monopoly on the trade of cannabis for legal produce cannabis in Holland at that time. And the way the OMC did it, he had to go home and did it. Here is fully compliant with the EU and regulations. And that fact is also allowing, uh, the, the effect that we can export product.

Speaker 4: I absolutely want to get into export. I do want to discuss the difference or, or the, uh, the evolution of the way that the Dutch government looked at medicinal cannabis from the one minister in 98 to now a, a, a, an office. If five years later, um, can, can you kinda talk, uh, the differences and how the it group

Speaker 3: something needed to happen. She said, I need to be compliant with international launch. Everybody was aware of the effective that are international treaties on, uh, on the production of cannabis. Very comparable to the production of coca and puppies. I'm at those three planted varieties aren't basically controlled substances under the UN treaty six with regard to narcotic drugs. So the minister said, let's take a look there because her, her, her, her staff was actually saying to her ministry, you cannot do this is prohibited by international treaties. You cannot bring cannabis. It's, it's a schedule one product, you cannot do anything, blah, blah blah. And then she said, well, we are allowed internally to reschedule to schedule too, which makes it a product that can be used as a medicine. And actually in, in Holland at that time was already scheduled to a product. So she said there's no problem in stepping into this.

Speaker 3: And again, she was advised to advice to not go into it. But she's kept on pushing forward and she had a few people around her who were actually supportive to her, although those people were seeing, yeah, we can do it, but we need stunned that I brought up, we cannot bring just between records, cannabis to the market, it needs to be something really well defined. And of course they started studying the substance and saying, talking about Thc, cbd. But the, the thing they also did was saying, cannabis has way more substances and we need chemically spoken. We need always to have the same product in a chemical way. So we are not only looking at thc and cbd, but we need the whole profile of the plant and debt needs to be on the market. Um, so when we were discussing in those years with the OMC that was, uh, in, in, in being established at that time, and we started our discussions there, they were saying, are you able to deliver products that is chemically, always identical in the same?

Speaker 3: And I said, yeah, I think we can do that because we have a very specific way of multiplying our, our genetics, so to speak. And we are able to maintain those genetics basically for infinitive are almost varieties are from the, which we are still using now germinated in 1995 and they are fully alive and they are, and they are still a chemically spoken. They are identical to what we were producing in those years. Not only connected, but also the turpines and all of the compounds that come along with it. Um, so that was one reason and at that time we were not working with a laboratory, so we just knew what we were doing on the planet on the blended basis speak. We knew what we were capable of doing with lens and what cannabis plants are capable off. Uh, we learned that in the 10 years before that and actually a while coming from horticulture in general, we know a bit more about plants in general than, uh, than many, many of his colleagues nowadays with us.

Speaker 3: So, um, in depth discussion, uh, however we had to prove that we were able to do that. We had to produce different ventures. And we, at that time we did it. Uh, there was one more colleague, uh, growing in a greenhouse who was also allowed into the program, um, and together we, we started together, but those two companies were contracted by the government and the product's actually, each company was allowed to deliver one, a herbal products. Uh, and those two products we're getting to the market in September 2003, we were growing fully indoors, fully, let's say, food fully artificial and our colleague was producing in a greenhouse and he was pretty quickly getting into trouble, not only with regard to the fact that a lot of insect problems and back problems he had ended. The residue of the pesticides was really found back into product.

Speaker 3: Uh, and that was unacceptable. But the other problem he had was that is the, the, the chemical content of the product was variety and so much over in, in the, within the, within one year actually, that, uh, it, it became an unacceptable product from the point of view Tomc had in regards to standardization. Um, so he was, and there was a fight. Those things never happen with a friendly face. So he went out, he went out fighting with the OMC and it left us alone in the program and then you will say, okay, what a nice position you have there being on your own, providing all the whole nation with cannabis while actually the whole nation was not interested so much in our canopies and the whole nation was basically going to the coffee shop in Ireland saying it's way cheaper there and whatever, whatever the state or the government is doing, how can we trust government?

Speaker 3: We know, uh, that will be a lot of troubles. So I can tell you in those first years we basically had very, very little turnover. Actually in 2003 we had, I'm very optimistic order from the OMC for 70 kilos of product, seven, seven, zero kilos of product. However, that was way too much. So that turned down in 2004 or two in an order for 40 kilos of product. Um, and we were looking at each other in the company. There were, we were, that's fee of us. And we were actually saying, okay, how is this going to unfold? Because it was not what we expected it. Um, the actual turnover in the pharmacy in 2004 was about five kilos per month for the whole country, for the entire country in the entire country yet. So there was nothing, um, but we had this on our end. We have strong belief. We sit. This product will at some point will come somewhere it because we see the value of cannabis,

Speaker 5: uh, um,

Speaker 3: from a patient perspective, but we quickly learned that also from a scientific perspective, it was the moment when we got in touch with Leiden University in the hall and there was this one guy, I don't know, how's it going, doing a speech, Don Kennedy's and he, we very quickly got in touch and we started a full blown discussion on what kind of is actually is the chemistry of cannabis and what we should take into consideration, how to standardize, how that works. The whole thing. Um, from that moment on together with the University of light. And that was the first university, uh, we started working with. They have a department of a blended mix of comics and pharmacognosy pharmacognosy actually actual science of plant medicines, and Arno actually was doing his phd in from a courtroom scene and specializing on medicinal cannabis. He actually came with the recipes. How do you make cannabis tea? Is that it is going to be seeing something valid to you to be used. Can you, are there are some interesting commentary if you make the kind of be steep properly a inhaled kind of. It's what does it mean if you smoke it? What, what, what happens when you smoke them is what kind of chemistry are you inhaling into your lungs and how does it compare? For instance, with vaporization?

Speaker 5: Um,

Speaker 3: we were on the basis of the medicalization of a storage and Eagles volcano, the gain, no medic a research to get a, to get a registered as a medical devise was done, uh, through bedroom can enlighten university, uh, all those things we did in those early days. And then you say, but that she'd been a costly affair and well, you know, working with the university and we're working with people that basically are willing to just go for the product and go for the pioneering status you have at that time. And that was a very interesting time, I can tell you, but doing the pioneers were having that feeling of getting somewhere and doing it as slightly different than the rest of the world already. We were quite aware as are no set in Doshi is I expect when I started studying Kennedy's and doing the chemistry, but I, he compared it to a big stadium. He said I expected to enter a stadium full of people with a strong team against me. And he said, I'm actually, when I entered the stadium, there was nobody there and I could do whatever I like and I could kick the ball in every goal on every side. He said there was so much there and there still is so much work to be done, uh, on a scientific basis that, um, to make enemies of valid medicine. That is that. That's the whole point of everything.

Speaker 3: Of course people, patients are telling us and we see the effects, the old patients, but that is what we are doing and what we are better. Can I want to show the world that actually you can do the science, you can prove that what patients are telling you is correct. From a scientific perspective. Also, the only thing is that it takes time. Science takes up a lot of time.

Speaker 3: Yeah. You want to do research? Okay. Didn't you have to define your project? You have to define your goals in the project and actually when you had done your study, you are left with 10 or more. Maybe 100 more questions because that is what science is leading to. More questions, but in the meantime you we have found out some things. We were one of the first in 2007 to introduce cbd into medicinal cannabis. Nobody was ever talking about kind of be dial. We had a discussion internally and externally with Yossi team based upon research done in Italy and eight years old rape with cbd varieties in epileptic disorders and there was some ethicacy and we and in the discussion with the omc the firearm versus there, I said if you were able to bring a product that would compare, for instance, something like side effects or which was at that time very shortly on the market, I think Canada was the first one bringing side effects include five.

Speaker 3: And he said, if you can make a cannabis variety with, with, with that, uh, with that profile, they said, that would be awesome. We can, we can, we can bring that, we can bring that to the market here. I said okay. And we started breeding and after two years we had a variety which is now called betty all with approximately six point five percent thc in eight percent cbd. And it was good enough in their eyes to proving it to the market. That was our third variety which came to markets. The CBD thc variety work, which in the beginning to have slowly. But we see now a pretty, a pretty firm turnover on video as, as, as, as a main variety. And after that studies have been starting as the testing part. Of course we'll, if you have stable products you can start doing research because no stable products will always be there and they'll all be available.

Speaker 3: One of the difficult points with Kennedy's and all that kind of is research done in the sixties, seventies and eighties. There was no stable source of economies. So as we said before, you had kind of his Kennedy's and then you have 10 different types of candidates and none of them is the same. So it went into research. You're very hard to do with it until you get to the moment that you can say this is stable and you can get it now you can get it tomorrow and you can get it next year and you can get it in 10 years. How do I know while I'm doing, when you were 13, 14, 15. Actually for more than 20 years old. Right?

Speaker 4: So you have this storied history. You built the, uh, the cannabis market in the Netherlands and then, you know, uh, subsequently somewhat worldwide w, which leads me to my next question. You say you were working on this one. No one else was there was, you know, a research paper here and her research paper there. When did you start noticing other economies popping up? I mean, I know a 2008 slash 2009. We made some noise here in Colorado. Is that something that you noticed a or

Speaker 3: what? In 2009. I was actually in California, not in, in, in Colorado, but actually a few comics of my eight and went to Colorado at that time. There were the things were really taking off there. We noticed that, uh, Obama was just elected and we said a California is now the place to go to for us to see what is going to happen there. And in the meantime we also noticed Colorado. Um, however, when we dive into the situation in the US, we pretty quickly found about that everybody was doing something and trying to prep the rep what they could read for,

Speaker 4: grab a chair. So to speak,

Speaker 3: nobody was actually taking the time and the effort, putting the effort into it to really study things, research things. A except for a few, a government initiative. So I remember are the California and medical marijuana. It was an institute, I think they were, uh, were, were they not in San Diego where they had, they had a day where I have a funded by the, by the California and government, I think with 10 or $12,000,000. And then at some point they went out on money and, and all initiatives stopped. Um, but on the other side, everybody was on the production side of cannabis or serious juicing cannabis, whatever they could produce. A lot of them are a lot of devils happening outdoor, um, um, some were growing in the door. We're going to need houses. There was no consistency in the product and in the availability of product. Um, uh, we started discussing in California at that time already the quality of testing because if you don't test your product properly, you cannot tell what's in it. Um, and testing is not a method of buying a few machines. And getting a few high school boys running those machines after having read the,

Speaker 4: uh, the manuals.

Speaker 3: Yeah, exactly. Which actually we noticed that that happens. So we, uh, one of the things we did there, uh, actually arnold, it was setting up ring texts among the laboratory, so have a symbol of Canada, but it's divided into five equal an homogenized samples and send it to five different levels, for example, between the results. What do they see? Well, those results were quite different. I can tell you some of them we're seeing tax the, where there was bombed, some of them were seeing cbd. Well that was known and the other way around. And um, yeah, those things, those things really were quite shocking, uh, at that time. And as you can see now, uh, in the US also people like to shop, especially Jeff Raven is doing a really good word to my mind in that regard. Showing that there is, there is some improvement did if you really want to do medicinal cannabis and you really want to see this product as a, as a viable product and a viable market also you have will, we'll have to do the math, not only the math, you will have to do the science. Um, and that's a given thing in and when people are shouting of big Pharma and saying it's, it's so costly and products are so expensive. Yeah. You don't want to be killed by your medicines, you know, but at the same actually kind of still applies to cannabis also. Especially when produced not properly, you know, there's a problem.

Speaker 4: Yeah. That is why I kind of focused on Colorado's opposed to California at the time because there was just slightly more infrastructure in place in tandem with the government in, in Colorado. But what, where did you see the next step? Um, you know, while you guys are basically running a with science and with research, uh, was there another step that was taken in your view outside of the Netherlands and any place else? Was it Canada,

Speaker 3: Canada, a country next to the metal ones? They were forced by a court cases. A patient said initiatives. Uh, of course, uh, uh, largely, uh, NBC, um, were where things really took off. Um, and then the government had to make a decision in the early two thousands. I think they can use the program. They started up the program already in 2000, 2001. And one of the things they did was ignored the signs around cannabis. They just ignored it. They said people can grow their own just a year, you'll have a licensed, grow your own and do whatever you like basically. Um, and I don't want to dismiss patients here, but there were, there were a few people that were abusing the system. And my objection always has been to people that abuse the system that is the day behind. Did they hide behind patients? They are using the miserable conditions situation.

Speaker 3: Patients aren't in either physically, but also financially they are abusing it for their own benefit. I've seen too many, too much of that. So that wasn't a very unwanted situation in Canada where they were to go. Also, of course, I'm a appointed estate drawer, pps at that time, prayer plant systems. Um, which was also really, that company was really handcuffed by the government. They were not able or allowed to anything on their own to do any research on varieties or even bring new varieties work on that. A startup, even if it's small breeding program better kind of had to be at a small new reading program from the beginning studying, uh, the chemistry and, and I had to, we had to push very hard, but bringing slowly on, bringing more varieties to the market. Um, I always had to explain to the government's, you know, why do we bring this variety?

Speaker 3: We had to reason about it and come with scientific data. Um, so Canada was, was, was, was, was, was a venue. And uh, when they, when they saw that there were flaws in the system and they got internationally into trouble, the I and CB send a few warning letters to the government of Canada saying this is growing out of them. You should organize somehow whatever you do, do it the right way, and that was where a candidate actually, um, started the new system, would shave now the MMPR into medical marijuana production or producer regulation, um, with the aim to take away all patient complaints, varieties, high costs. I'm a asa again, basically the two main, the two main things, uh, but also trying to convince the medical community that there was something possible by, uh, creating a parallel system to the pharmaceutical system. And that to me is something which is totally different from what is happening in, in your. And not only Europe. Uh, I just returned from a trip to Australia. I have been talking to several Australia lawmakers and politicians also. They don't see the Canadian nor the US current US systems as a viable system too though.

Speaker 4: So just to kind of plant the stake in the ground here where we've now caught up with the past couple of years, we've got legal cannabis in the US. You're talking about the MMP are the current program in Canada as we make our way to Australia. I just want to quickly go through, when you started to do export to other European nations, why and how

Speaker 3: scale in 2007. Finland and Italy started up. There were two ministers there and they were pushed by patient initiatives to do something they didn't want to produce. They started looking around, they found a Dutch program and they said, can we important that you just went to their colleagues in the Dutch government and they said you have a product. We would like to have some of that culture. We want to, we want to sue some patients here and doctors want to prescribe. So can we import, um, according to the regulation, the UN regulations in three days, this is possible under the right licensing regime a regimen. And um, as the production a fully compliant with the UN treaties, the IMCP had no objection to this small, very small scale export at that time. Um, and that is actually really took off in Italy and Finland first and one year later. Very small scale in Germany. So those were the three initial countries. And it stayed. It stayed a long time that way until Canada came, uh, we started importing to Canada first in 2013 and then after that last year we started producing there. So Canada was actually the fourth country where we started exporting to and nowadays we see taking off more solid. I'm in Europe. Um, so that was 2007, 2008 basically and very small scale up and until I would say 2013, 2014.

Speaker 4: What other countries are you're working with? Where, where else are you exporting? Where, where else is there now becoming a burgeoning cannabis culture, cannabis economy.

Speaker 3: I can see in general, eastern Europe, Poland, Czech, chiggers, milwaukee, or check the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Republic of Macedonia. Uh, Croatia, Slovenia, uh, um, there was harder the main east recently European countries coming up now. Germany is changing the law. Very, very interesting situation we have there, um, Italy, you starting up their own production in the form of military, uh, um, complex from the pharmaceutical department there. Um, so they, um, they are trying to fill up quickly growing gap in, in, in a production there because the Dutch government is not very, I'm stumped, very pleased with a large scale and export of cannabis a while it's still not scientifically fully proven that a product is, is it true medicine, um, however, uh, they are kind of loosening up but there, but there are some limits to export and the limits are physical. Also on our side, of course we can up a, if we have to use 2000 kilos now, we cannot have in two months after that we cannot have 5,000 kilos. We, you know, that's, that's physically impossible. So I'm keeping keeping matters, uh, the right way. Here is what we need. We needed some export, um, basically export quota on products and implemented by the Dutch government. However, we are working hard to, uh, to get up to speed again with production as needed over the last few years, uh, to, to be able to keep up with the men, the, especially in your,

Speaker 6: you mentioned a very interesting situation in Germany. What do you mean

Speaker 3: the German law? Until now, SOS cannabis as a schedule one product in March 2017, that law will change, kind of as will be rescheduled, we will become more mainstream medicine. Um, however, the German government one standardized products to be in the market and they also want derivatives in the market and what they're going to do from next year on a. that's the Nice addition they have, they gone to research the patients that go to the doctor and get kind of is prescribed. They will set up a study among those patients. Every patient that um, uh, will have himself and rolled into a in depth study program will get his cannabis also reimbursed by the government. So, uh, there's a huge incentive for German patients to go to the doctor and get the product prescribed and take part in that study. Um, it's a very interesting situation, um, which will lead to a massive increase in, in, in production. Uh, Germany doesn't allow production yet of a because they have to change their laws. They have no, uh, they still have not a structure in place like an OMC and offers of cannabis which is mandatory by the EU and regulations to all those things have to be taken care of. Guilty and a couple of years there. But then I expect in 2018, 20, 19, the approximate in Germany will take off also.

Speaker 4: Okay. So that brings us back to Australia. This is a trip that you were just on a, you know, maybe your most recent trip you say that they don't like necessarily the Canadian structure. They don't like necessarily the US structure. What don't they like about each of those and what might they like

Speaker 3: both are for them or too much money driven money driven me in a way that science is being ignored. That is one of the major.

Speaker 4: You mean actually it's money versus science is your point.

Speaker 3: It's money for science. Yes. Yes. Okay. One, two, C, b, one eight. Want to see basically is registered to the products on a single day. Well, the next step, what they want to see is clinical trials. Um, and that is where we are getting into the picture right now because we're going to do with, we are about to start a few clinical trials with herbal product itself. I'm stunned the dice, so, uh, that will allow an entrance with herbal product in the Australian market as well. Um, we strongly believe, of course oils and tinctures are, are taking off big time, but inhaled product is still mainstream medicine for most of, especially most of the patients, um, for quick relief, a lot of southern southern thing issues they, they go into, especially in palliative care. So in Australia, uh, our first clinical trial in Australia will take off in the Ingham Institute part of Sydney University. Uh, this summer is palliative care trial focusing on pain and a quality of life and palliative care, uh, in a small group of patients. I think it's just between 20 and 30 patients is the initial study. Uh, when that is successful, they will enroll in a, in a bigger study with a few hundred patients.

Speaker 4: So you have a unique perspective on essentially the entire world as far as cannabis is concerned. You mentioned what your thoughts were as far as Germany specifically. What about the, uh, you know, as far as global cannabis take us through the next couple of years, what do you see happening?

Speaker 3: I see. I see two streams of kind of herbal cannabis itself. I, I, there will be more companies with very qualified people on the board. We'll get to the level that they get their herbal Kennedy standardized that will be. And that will be mainstream in 20 years from now. I'm, I'm pretty sure it's a. people will find out. We found out all those we'll find out as well. So I, I'm, I'm not saying that you know, that we're the only ones in the future. Definitely not. Um, the next thing I see happening is the range of products being and preparations based upon cannabis. Uh, and it's a repeating history basically because when cannabis prohibition came up in the thirties off the last century, there was a whole range of products already available and people were benefiting from it. Nobody understood why, but the benefit, the beneficial effects of cannabis were truly there.

Speaker 3: And actually, we are starting to research now again on those things. Very interesting thing, of course is the enhancement of the effect of opioids when used in combination with cannabis. Well, that we're taking visual the market in the third east where they combined obese and enemies for being killing, uh, for the, for the, for the record of payment killing properties. It's very interesting to see how history repeats itself in that regard. Uh, but we do it knowing the scientific way we have modern tools to measure things and um, especially that is needed. The other thing which is really needed and which I see happening also within 10 years from now, is that we get doctors educated on the subject, do ways the endocannabinoid system in humans which needs to be taught on a university's. Doctors are new generations of doctors need to understand how that works.

Speaker 3: And the second stream of science we will see is focusing on the blend itself. So what can we do with her enemies? Which, uh, which, uh, uh, compounds in the product are really beneficial. Which combination of compounds we are all talking about cannabinoids, but when we are talking only thc and cbd and I compare it to a, here you have a pair of hands and start working with it well without body, the arms and the legs and they had a, you cannot work with the sparrow hands, it's just not working. You need the full body for me that the plan as well. So all the components in the plant and many of them are already identified, um, outside the contaminants substances like a Beta carry them. It's a difficult name for me in English, but it's one of the major turpines which has very beneficial, uh, effects with regard to inflammation, suppressing information. Those things. TCA, Tca by the way, has also very, uh, very, uh, profound inflammatory suppressing capacities. All those things. That's one of the things. White, white kind of tea is very beneficial sometimes for MS patients with inflammatory problems in their nerve system. Lots of things we can think about here and a lot of, lot of things we have to research. Um, and, and, and it's only getting more anxiety and debbie combined, it's taking a long time and in the meantime we have to provide patients with the right products

Speaker 4: as you mentioned it, and as you just start to talk about one thing, it is just the tip of the iceberg and like you say, one, one answer in science leads to just many, many, many more questions to quickly, to, to, to kind of wrap up here. Um, were you a scientist on the way into this? Were you a businessman? What, how, how did you come upon this? What's your background?

Speaker 3: My background, I was born in a, in a large family. I was the youngest of nine. My father was a, my father was a theologist, my mum was a nurse, um, after high school I didn't know what to do. I, I ended up in a, in teacher school I was, have you paid it to become a teacher? But I, I had a, I always had a warm feeling been for agriculture. I am, I am born in an agricultural environment. I, I actually was raised partially by, by a farmer whose son was my friend, uh, and I've married Indian. I'm married the farmer's daughter. I actually married into a farmer's family, um, Austin with my education. I became a journalist. Uh, I've done journalism for eight years, uh, until I was 28 and then I went into a agriculture more specifically horticulture together with my brother in law.

Speaker 3: He was, he was in, he was a farmer. Um, I was, I was actually the guy with the connections and I'm not so much a business guy, but just interested in product and creating products and, and, and, and grow plants. It's one of my patients having a big garden, which is still at the time not well maintained because I'm way too busy, but I still love my garden and at someday I hope to return to my garden to be, uh, to be working there. But this is how it all started in 1984. And actually, um, so that's where I started my learning curve as well. And uh, and uh, and my passion for plants in general, growing plants indoor. And I think that many, many other cannabis growers will tell the exact same story when you see kind of when you see plants growing under your hands, done by yourself with a fully artificial in fully artificial circumstances, but still trying to mimic outdoor situations the best possible way that's subluxed. And you achieve something there. It's even more.

Speaker 4: There we go. So we have three final questions that we ask everyone and I will tell you what they are and then I'll ask you them in order. The first one is what has most surprised you in cannabis? The second is what has most surprised you in life? And the third is on the soundtrack of your life. What is a one track? One song that's got to be on your soundtrack. So that's a fun one at the end. But first things first, what has most surprised you in cannabis?

Speaker 3: The fact that it took things, the fact that nobody in and nobody in miss lend understands the principle of standardization issue. And the other thing really next to that is the academies is a real medicine. It and it can act as a real medicine. And making the combination with very old knowledge combined with very modern techniques. Yeah. That is, to me, the most surprising thing which I found in cannabis over the last 20 years. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 4: And uh, you, you stated plainly, cannabis is a real medicine that, that is a plane is dead.

Speaker 3: Got It. This is a real medicine when done the right way, when it's done the right way. Yeah. Medicine one addition to that. Medicine is not something they're by nature. Medicine is just describing the process by which we create something that can be beneficial to people when they're sick. We call it medicine. It's dirty snow. If you see something in nature, there's no word, only medicine, you will find something that can act as a medicine. It just like pharmaceutical. The word pharmaceutical lease. This basically has the same impact because pharmaceuticals is something we invented. It's a system. It's, it's, it's, it's something we applied to product and then we make something. And because the way we do it, we then we call it the medicine. There's then there. This is really, really. Apparently it's this

Speaker 4: cool, but it's something to think about. Yeah, no, absolutely. And speaking of philosophical questions, what has most surprised you in life?

Speaker 3: My wife.

Speaker 4: This of course is the right answer, right? She'll tell you,

Speaker 3: give me an answer. No, no, she is. When she. Without her, I wouldn't have been wearing.

Speaker 4: Excellent. Excellent. Congratulations to you in that relationship then, uh, on the soundtrack of your life. The final question, what is one track? One song got to be on there.

Speaker 3: Yeah, this is show tufts. There is so much usually, but I asked to have to relate to my room and to what I really like in music and then I really need to route 66 from chuck berry. It's not the original one. I ain't. No, but sure. Very route. Sixty six is one of my. Yeah, it's 66. Took very, let's do that,

Speaker 4: you know, as a music fan and an American it. That is a. I'm very happy that you chose that song. Um, Charlie, thank you so much for your time. Thank you so much for your work. It's so much very, very much appreciated a now. And it's about to be much more appreciated as people understand exactly what you're doing.

Speaker 3: Thank you very much.

Speaker 1: And there you have channeling Erica Lynn's preceded by Jorge Savantas. Very much appreciated both of their time. Again, they are both a advisory board members for Cannes awards. So go to [inaudible] dot com. If you'd like to send in some nominations, send in some superstitions, give a chance to an executive or company you know to win a sledgehammer. And if not, or if so, either way. Thanks for listening.

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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.