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Ep.180: JP Holyoak, Arizona Ballot Intiative & Jeremy Unruh, PharmaCannis

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.180: JP Holyoak, Arizona Ballot Intiative & Jeremy Unruh, PharmaCannis

Ep.180: JP Holyoak, Arizona Ballot Intiative & Jeremy Unruh, PharmaCannis

With better news than expected, JP Holyoke, the executive chairman of the ballot initiative in Arizona takes us through what’s happening on our way to election day in the copper state. Jeremy Unruh of PharmaCannis operating in both Illinois and New York then shares an update from his perspective on each market. He discusses why his partners all of whom come from traditional industry’s are all in on the promise of the currently nascent programs. Our man in Arizona, JP Holyoak followed by Jeremy Unruh of the land of lincoln and empire state.

Transcript:

Speaker 3: All right, so we've got jp Holyoke, uh, you know, Arizona. You're the man to talk to in Arizona. Is that about right?

Speaker 4: I think, I think I am as the chairman of the campaign, I think I, I'm probably, this is directly the horse's mouth.

Speaker 3: All right, so, uh, this is where you want to get the info as far as when I'm speaking to you. It's a, let's call it late August. Um, and let's just dive in right on the, uh, initiative. How are we polling well, what does it look like today?

Speaker 4: Well, we don't necessarily release our polling results. We do that as part of our campaign strategy, but I can say that if the election were to be held tomorrow, I would be very happy with the outcome.

Speaker 3: Oh, you would. This is much different than what I've been hearing along the way I've been hearing. Just, you know, I'm allowed to share with you what I think, which is what I've been hearing is it's about 50 slash 50. It sounds like a, maybe it's a little bit more bullish than, than that. Um, has, has anything changed over the last six weeks, over the last month and a half, three months?

Speaker 4: No, nothing has changed. The opposition, the Prohibition of South there, they've released what we know to be absolutely bogus polling for political reasons, political reasons is to try to generate some momentum of thinking that to the public perception that hey, maybe you know, there isn't this strong support that's out there and frankly as an attempt to dry up the campaign contributions that are coming in because who wants to contribute financially to a campaign that isn't likely to succeed? So there's been political strategies employed there, but we know what the real data is and frankly our opposition knows what the real polling data is as well because we've seen their polls too.

Speaker 3: What can you tell us about the nuts and bolts of the, uh, of the initiative? Get into it. You know,

Speaker 4: this is relatively simple. We want to take marijuana away from the criminal black market, put it into a taxed and regulated system here in Arizona, and then the tax proceeds from that will go to fund education. Beyond that, when we start looking at some of the nuts and bolts and some of the details of it, there would be about 150 medical, or I'm sorry, not medical, but adult use dispensaries statewide. Indeed, individuals could purchase individuals over the age of 21 could purchase up to an ounce of cannabis or five grams of concentrate, and then they would be able to grow up to six plants on their own at home for personal consult.

Speaker 3: Okay. So we've got home grow, we've got a kind of limits on, on purchase and everything. Um, what has been the positive feedback from the community? In other words, you're preaching to the converted here. Um, but as far as folks that you're, where you are changing minds and hearts and minds as they say. Uh, what has the feedback been?

Speaker 4: It's been, it's been overwhelmingly positive. The positivity or the positive responses that we've received from some unusual sources. When we look at this and we're out there talking to voters, which, which is what I'm doing every single day, I get a lot of feedback of people saying to me, hey, look, I don't like marijuana personally. I personally choose not to use it, but they'll still say that this is a freedom issue, that individuals should be able to choose to consume something objectively safer than alcohol, even if they don't do it themselves, and they're looking at, at prohibition as being an abject failure. So, so there's a, you know, what prohibition didn't work. I think that there's a freedom aspect here and let's go ahead and tax and regulate it instead and send the money to our schools for the sole reason that prohibition has been an abject failure. We're far better off taxing and regulating it.

Speaker 3: All right, so we've got jp Holyoke, uh, you know, Arizona. You're the man to talk to in Arizona. Is that about right?

Speaker 4: I think, I think I am as the chairman of the campaign, I think I, I'm probably, this is directly the horse's mouth.

Speaker 3: All right, so, uh, this is where you want to get the info as far as when I'm speaking to you. It's a, let's call it late August. Um, and let's just dive in right on the, uh, initiative. How are we polling well, what does it look like today?

Speaker 4: Well, we don't necessarily release our polling results. We do that as part of our campaign strategy, but I can say that if the election were to be held tomorrow, I would be very happy with the outcome.

Speaker 3: Oh, you would. This is much different than what I've been hearing along the way I've been hearing. Just, you know, I'm allowed to share with you what I think, which is what I've been hearing is it's about 50 slash 50. It sounds like a, maybe it's a little bit more bullish than, than that. Um, has, has anything changed over the last six weeks, over the last month and a half, three months?

Speaker 4: No, nothing has changed. The opposition, the Prohibition of South there, they've released what we know to be absolutely bogus polling for political reasons, political reasons is to try to generate some momentum of thinking that to the public perception that hey, maybe you know, there isn't this strong support that's out there and frankly as an attempt to dry up the campaign contributions that are coming in because who wants to contribute financially to a campaign that isn't likely to succeed? So there's been political strategies employed there, but we know what the real data is and frankly our opposition knows what the real polling data is as well because we've seen their polls too.

Speaker 3: What can you tell us about the nuts and bolts of the, uh, of the initiative? Get into it. You know,

Speaker 4: this is relatively simple. We want to take marijuana away from the criminal black market, put it into a taxed and regulated system here in Arizona, and then the tax proceeds from that will go to fund education. Beyond that, when we start looking at some of the nuts and bolts and some of the details of it, there would be about 150 medical, or I'm sorry, not medical, but adult use dispensaries statewide. Indeed, individuals could purchase individuals over the age of 21 could purchase up to an ounce of cannabis or five grams of concentrate, and then they would be able to grow up to six plants on their own at home for personal consult.

Speaker 3: Okay. So we've got home grow, we've got a kind of limits on, on purchase and everything. Um, what has been the positive feedback from the community? In other words, you're preaching to the converted here. Um, but as far as folks that you're, where you are changing minds and hearts and minds as they say. Uh, what has the feedback been?

Speaker 4: It's been, it's been overwhelmingly positive. The positivity or the positive responses that we've received from some unusual sources. When we look at this and we're out there talking to voters, which, which is what I'm doing every single day, I get a lot of feedback of people saying to me, hey, look, I don't like marijuana personally. I personally choose not to use it, but they'll still say that this is a freedom issue, that individuals should be able to choose to consume something objectively safer than alcohol, even if they don't do it themselves, and they're looking at, at prohibition as being an abject failure. So, so there's a, you know, what prohibition didn't work. I think that there's a freedom aspect here and let's go ahead and tax and regulate it instead and send the money to our schools for the sole reason that prohibition has been an abject failure. We're far better off taxing and regulating it.

Speaker 3: You do have a successful medical cannabis economy be in a quiet cannabis culture in Arizona. Um, share how that is providing the foundation for what you're doing.

Speaker 4: The medical marijuana industry here in Arizona has, was implemented in a very responsible manner. It's been, it's been administered by the Arizona Department of Health Services. They've done a very responsible job of implementing it. The operators have been responsible, so it's actually, it's there, it exists. There are approximately 100,000 existing patients in Arizona right now and they are being served or being served quite well, but it's very quiet. It's not the marijuana's a sign spinners on every other corner. It's not over advertising. It's really not push and it's not in your face, but it's there and, and it, and people can receive medical marijuana in a safe, quiet, comfortable environment. So it really hasn't had any type of a splashy impact on the state

Speaker 3: other than nefarious practices with polling. What is the, uh, what is the other side, uh, providing to you in the way of, um, you know, um, hurdles, what are we a having to get over as far as messaging as far as anything else?

Speaker 4: Well, there, there's several of them, frankly. They tend to make things up. It's straight out of reefer madness and sometimes it's absolutely comical the things that they'll come up with and it makes you wonder, do they actually believe this stuff because it's been debunked so many times over by science, uh, repeatedly and surveys and studies repeatedly that many of their arguments just don't hold up, but here are some of the other bigger hurdles that they've thrown at us. About three weeks ago, maybe four weeks ago now, they filed a lawsuit to prevent our ballot measure from appearing on, on the ballot and giving voters the option even vote on it. So we had our hearing on that last week. We're still awaiting the outcome of it. Frankly, I expected any day. It wouldn't be surprised if it came today, but essentially this was a frivolous lawsuit that was a desperate and pathetic event, a attempt to keep voters from being able to even vote on this important issue. And it might opinion that's really not a marijuana issue. This is, this is an issue of our foundation of our democracy.

Speaker 3: That was good because we need cannabis might as well beat democracy, right? Geez.

Speaker 4: Exactly. And, and the people that are leading this charge happened to be the county attorneys to have the highest law enforcement officers or officials in this state are saying, hey, voters, we don't trust you, therefore you shouldn't be allowed to vote on this issue,

Speaker 3: which does kind of lend credence to what you had said about, uh, you know, what you're seeing in the polls that, that, uh, those are, it sounds like a somewhat desperate acts type of thing.

Speaker 4: No, there was no question about it. Yeah. We're what we are well on our way to winning this thing.

Speaker 3: Alright. Well, um, thank you for the work. We're gonna name, check the website where we can go to donate right now and then we'll come back to it again. But where, where am I going if I want to help out?

Speaker 4: Let me actually double check on that because we're updating our website right now. We're making some changes there. So I need to make sure that I get it correct before I provide that.

Speaker 3: That's fine. All right. And as you're doing that, then let's talk about your background. Um, you're one of those, a left wing Hippie, nutjobs, right?

Speaker 4: I've been accused of a lot of things, but I've never been accused of that one. I am an unapologetic conservative Republican.

Speaker 3: Okay. And so there are more than a few of you guys with us here. You know what I mean? So tell us your story. How'd you get in?

Speaker 5: Well, it, uh, it, it was, it was accidental. Uh, you know, I grew up believing that marijuana was horrible. It was evil. I believe the lies that I was told and I thought that if you smoke marijuana, that your life was basically over. And I didn't even try marijuana through high school or even college. Now mind you, I, I went to Arizona State University. I lived in a fraternity house there and I still hadn't tried marijuana.

Speaker 3: And just for folks a reference point, uh, Asu traditionally the sun devils traditionally, uh, the place that is the highest rated party school, or at least in the top five all the time. Is that about right?

Speaker 4: At least according to Playboy magazine. That's true. As a student that went there, I would tend to agree with it, but at the same time, Asu as more national merit scholars than any university in this country and they just do a phenomenal job on the education side. You know, it's, it's work hard. Play hard when you're at Asu.

Speaker 3: I gotcha. But what I'm saying is as far as the partying, it's not like it wasn't there for you. I mean you're there for the taking. Absolutely. Right. So you didn't even, you didn't partake.

Speaker 4: Okay. No, no, not at all. And it wasn't about eight years ago. It was 2008. My first daughter was born and she was born as a special needs child. So when she was about three months old, she started having seizures and she was having between 25 and 35 seizures a day as a parent, as a first time parent, new parent. This was, it was frightening as can be. It was scary. It and frankly it was horrible. We lived with these seizures for years. We had the best medical care available. We had the best doctors available and they're all very good people that were doing the best job that they knew how to do, but we were stuck on this pharmaceutical merry go round. We were trying drug after drug after drug. None of them were working, all of them at horrible side effects and then in 2010 Arizona passed the medical marijuana law.

Speaker 4: One of the qualifying conditions in Arizona was seizures. While there's somebody that was, that was dealing with these seizures literally every single day. This is. This was something that caught my attention. So I started doing some homework and some research and went back to the physicians at my daughter's hospital said, hey, what do you think of this? As a couple of them said, hey, we really don't know much about it. Another one wanted to tell me about his time at Harvard, which was entertaining but not terribly valuable. And, and, and then really the head of pediatric neurology said, you know, with we think that there's some potential here and frankly we've got everything to gain and nothing to lose. And cannabis would be the least risky drug that would be administered your daughter yet.

Speaker 3: That's the head guy.

Speaker 4: Yes.

Speaker 3: And what, what, what foundation did he provide, uh, in, in stating that this would be the least risky option as a physician, as an md?

Speaker 4: Well, he didn't provide a lot of justification beyond that. He simply got, he just cut to the chase and you can cut to the chase very quickly when you read the warning labels and the side effects of any and all of these anticonvulsant drugs that she was being administered. So then I said, okay, well let's try this. Uh, I was nothing more than a desperate parent, you know, I've got this beautiful little girl. She's about two and a half, three years old at the time, uh, I spent all day everyday holding or if she's convulsing in my arms and it was just a living hell. So then I started my quest trying to find cannabis for her. I was unable to find the type of marijuana that I wanted for that which was high in cbd and lower in thc. That does, that doesn't mean no thc at all. THC is proven to be a critical and vitally important component of this medicine entourage effect. Absolutely. So, uh, I was unable to find this and procured for her. So I said I'll do it myself. And at that point in time I went to the state I applied for, for a dispensary license, which also includes cultivation and an extraction and infusion and product manufacturing.

Speaker 3: You, you said you'll do it yourself and by that you mean a build a business around your daughter's needs? That is, that's been a pretty, pretty decent dad there. Jp.

Speaker 4: I don't know any parent that wouldn't do the same for their child. When you have a child in this situation, you'll do anything for them. And I thought this was the best route to go. So I built a business to help one person, my daughter. And

Speaker 5: in that process, the end result has been nothing short of amazing. Number one, she's not having seizures anymore. Congratulate. She went from 25 to 35 a day, essentially being nonresponsive in a wheelchair and not developing it all to today. She's out of a wheelchair, she's walking, she's, she's damn near running, she's laughing, she's smiling, she's getting into things, she's interactive, she's bright and she's vibrant. And she, she's living a very high quality of life. And the single and sold differential between her as this beautiful bright child that's running and playing. And a child that is virtually nonresponsive, convulsing in a reclining wheelchair on a feeding tube is marijuana. That's the difference.

Speaker 3: I mean, every time it's amazing. It's every time I hear it, it's amazing. I mean, so I'm so happy for you and your daughter and your family and for everybody else that you're helping. It's, it's remarkable what, um, you know, take us through maybe some other patient stories that you've, that you. I'm a little choked up. So I'm trying to get through the question here that Jake, that you've got, uh, with the, with the business

Speaker 4: in the process of providing this and creating this for my daughter. There's other people of need out there too. And when you have a special needs child, you, you kind of become involved with the special needs community, you know, call it a support network of parents. And so we started providing this to other children with similar conditions and having seizures and we have seen the same result time and time again. We hear about these stories in the media and you say, Oh wow, look at this story. That's, that's so inspiring and fantastic, but I get to live this every single day of the week because I am in communication and I get the phone calls from the parents every day of the week. I cry in my office every day, but it's tears of joys because I'll get a parent that'll call me up and they'll say, you know, my son who's autistic and was very sensory sensitive, meaning he didn't like to be touched or held or hug this.

Speaker 4: This child now is receiving this cannabis and dad comes home from work and the sun greets them at the door and gives him a hug for the first time effort and dad calls me up the next day and he's crying about it because it's, it's the best day of his life, yet I get that every day of the week. It's fantastic. So to say that this is a on limited scale would would be a gross misrepresentation of the impact that it's having and that's just on the child side and that's near and dear to me only because of my personal situation, but when we look at what this is doing on the adult side as well, it's equally impactful. How do we just don't give as much attention to the adults as we do the kids?

Speaker 3: It's. Okay. So you're talking about medicine. Yes. I thought you were going to adult use. That's, that's a totally fair. No, I've got a friend with bronze said now is within the New York program and seeing results and he's, he's stunned by it personally. You know, as the patient, he's stunned. Um, you know, uh, it, it's, uh, every time I have a conversation like this, uh, I'm repeating myself, but it is amazing. It's awe inspiring and it's, uh, it's wonderful what you're, again, a guy that had nothing to do with cannabis before you need it to have something to do with cannabis. Um, do, do you mind taking us through a little bit more of your background? How'd you wind up at Asu? Anyway,

Speaker 5: I'm an Arizona local and native Arizona State University is the local university that's here in the Phoenix area. Uh, I, I, I paid my way through college fighting forest fires, so I was on a hot shot crew for four years and so I naturally needed to go to whatever university that I could that, that was the lowest cost for me and being home and being local certainly provided me that outlet. So that's how I ended up at Asu. I went, I went through the Barrett Honors College, got a degree in economics after I, after I graduated from Asu and went into finance, I worked for ups or Union Bank of Switzerland in their private client group. Then I started up a, then I went to a smaller broker dealer firm as a partner, and then started my own firm, holyoke wealth management, which, which still exists today. So my background has always been finance, economics, uh, and essentially publicly traded marketplaces.

Speaker 3: Yeah. So that's how you were able to make the debits and credits work on the a cannabis business, right?

Speaker 5: Yes. Well, it's been a huge, huge learning curve for me. You know, when I went into this thing, I really didn't know anything about cannabis. I certainly didn't know anything about the cultivation aspect of it and I knew even less about the retail market place. Uh, so it, it's, it's a learning curve, but I was able to do it. That doesn't mean that I'm necessarily exceptional in any way, shape or form. I think there's a lot of people that can simply learn it because no one is born knowing how to do any of these things. You can only learn them by doing that. So I've made it a heck of a lot of mistakes along the way. No, no question about that. But I think at the end do I did more things right than I did wrong.

Speaker 3: Sally Vanderveer from medicine, man says you don't even have to be that good. All you gotta do is hustle.

Speaker 5: Well if, if, if you hustle, you can't help but learn and what you need is you need strong motivation. My motivation was sitting at home and so I had that and it was, it was not difficult for me to have to find that motivation. But I think if somebody wants to get into this business because they look at it at it as a money making opportunity, they are sorely mistaken and they will fail and it will be a miserable experience in the process of failure.

Speaker 3: Alright, so you're a money guy. That's an interesting perspective to, from

Speaker 6: your, you know, from the type of brain that you have a share more. What do you mean?

Speaker 5: This is a tough business. The upfront startup costs on it are tremendous to do it. Well. Uh, that's both on cultivation extraction and I'm on retail. So all of those things take tremendous startup capital. You can't go to a bank and get financing for any of these things. Then you're growing a plant manager as a botanical plant. It's subject to the laws of nature and you can have crop failure in there for a multitude of reasons. Um, then, then you've got the competition. You've got competitors out there that are doing the same things you are. They may have more experience, they may have a deeper pockets to be capitalized better so they can wait, wait out the marketplace. And we're always competing with the black market. And that's what was so striking for me when I got into this was I didn't really didn't understand the black market either, but when I got into the medical cannabis business, I realized and learned very quickly that the black market is huge.

Speaker 5: It is an immense. It's almost unfathomable how large the black market on this, which simply demonstrated to me the abject failure of prohibition. But as a, as a taxed and regulated business on the medical marijuana side, I'm looking at this, I've got to compete against the black market because even for a medical marijuana patient, they can buy high quality, great product on the black market. It's easily and readily available to all of them just because it's in a store, it's in a fancy display case and you're paying your taxes on. It doesn't necessarily mean that it's better than the black market stuff. The black market out there is damn good and we have to compete with them, but they don't have the overhead costs. We do. They don't pay taxes, they don't pay CPA's. They're not paying landlords for rent at tenant improvements, city and state licensing fees.

Speaker 5: They're not paying employment taxes. They're not paying any taxes at all. You know, if they have. Employees are simply paying them in cash in a way it goes. So the overhead burden of running a legal business is significantly higher than that of somebody that's running an illegal business. And that creates an unfair competitive advantage for those, for those that are operating illegally. Now we've done an awfully good job of competing with them simply because frankly we're better or what we do than they are at what they do. So when you look at this from a pure economic perspective, being in this business at the forefront of it like I am now, you have tremendous competitive business disadvantages because you're competing against the black market. I'm not competing against the dispensary down the street. I'm competing against the guy that's in the circle k parking lot.

Speaker 3: Yeah. So you know, when to add all that up, I can certainly see where your stances on, on medical. Why is a guy like you? Certainly not originally a cannabis enthusiast. Um, you know, uh, and you know, fully, fully throated in the, in the medical market. Uh, why are you the guy, if you don't mind me asking that way? Um, who is the horse, you know, on the, on adult use.

Speaker 5: That's a good question frankly is an interesting one. And I think there's a couple of parts to it. The first part of it was that being on the medical side of things, I saw the abject failure of prohibition and you look this, he just can't, can't wrap your head around the the idiocy of the policies of prohibition. I mean, once he actually understand it, you say this makes no sense whatsoever from a public policy perspective. It's an abject failure of public policy that's not based on any idea of good public policy, but rather based on an ideology of fear, so you have to have that understanding first. But then beyond that it became actually quite personal for me. We had the same opponents that are, that are fighting me now on adult use are the same opponents that fought me on the medical marijuana law. The same county attorneys have tried to thwart the medical marijuana law at every single turn. So much so that in fact, as we sit here today, right now, the county attorneys have a lawsuit pending and the Arizona Appellate Courts and an effort to overturn the medical marijuana law that was passed by voters six years ago.

Speaker 3: Amazing.

Speaker 5: So these are the people that by attacking the medical marijuana law, they attacked me, they attacked my daughter, and they've tried to deprive my daughter of having the access to the only medicine that works for her. I take great offense to that. So when these people then said we're going to fight on every single front, whether it's the medical side or the adult use side, I looked at this and I said, I'm, I'm up for that challenge. Let's go. I will gladly fight you for all of it because it's that same ideology that says no to an adult use that says no to medical use as well. It's the same people behind both of them, so I will fight them at every step of the way to maintain access of this medicine for my daughter and others like her.

Speaker 3: I love it and we're absolutely behind you. Do you have that website by any chance or should we check back with you later? That's fine. Either way.

Speaker 5: Regulate marijuana in Arizona.org.

Speaker 3: Excellent. One more time just for good measure.

Speaker 5: Regulate marijuana in Arizona.org

Speaker 3: and it is a Arizona spelled out all the way. Yes. I don't know why you guys with your ballot initiatives have these ridiculously long a website.

Speaker 5: Well, that's, that's actually one of my questions because that's going to change over here pretty quick. We actually just had some decisions on this. We were assigned our proposition number, uh, just in the last couple of days, which will be two. Oh, five. So we're changing the website over to be a yes onto [inaudible] dot org coming up shortly.

Speaker 3: All right. But we'll use the, you use the initial one, which will be, I'm sure directed, uh, uh, to, uh, to wherever we're going with it. You know, JP, keep fighting, man. I feel like, um, you know, you and I don't know each other yet a really. But, uh, I feel like we got the right guy here in Arizona. So I've got three final questions for you. Okay. I'm going to tell you what they are and uh, and then ask you them in order. First one is what has most surprised you in cannabis? Second one is what has most surprised you in life, and the third question is on the soundtrack of your life. Name one track one song that's got to be on there, but first things first, a JP, what has most surprised you in in cannabis? You might've already answered this.

Speaker 5: What is surprise me? So much in canvas has been the the unreasonable on rational and disproportionate opposition to something that's a Jack dively safer than alcohol. The levels of hypocrisy that we see within our society and frankly we see within ourselves regarding cannabis compared to alcohol is surprising and I'll just use myself as an example. I see somebody sitting down and having a glass of wine or a beer. I don't think anything of it. I mean this is common place that we see throughout society. You can't go to a baseball game or a fundraiser or a dinner function without seeing this. It's just extremely commonplace and it's promoted and almost celebrate it and I don't think anything of it. When I see somebody smoking some marijuana though, I doubled. I take a double take. I look and say, wow, that guy over there smoking marijuana and, and there's a subconscious, you know, wow, maybe he's doing something wrong, but we know that that guy that's sitting there smoking a joint is doing something that's objective Lee safer then than me drinking a beer and I've had this realization where I'm sitting there with a glass of beer in my hand and I see a guy smoking a joint and I think of it being different and subconsciously I think he might be doing something wrong.

Speaker 5: The stigma, the, the stigma lives on and it's, there, it exists even for myself, but there is no reasonable or rational basis for that because that guy that's smoking that joint is engaging in far less risky behavior than I am as I enjoy my beer. Yeah.

Speaker 3: I guess the first step is acknowledgment maybe.

Speaker 5: Yes, I think so. I think that we all need to acknowledge that level of hypocrisy that's built into us by decades and decades of propaganda,

Speaker 3: roughly 80 years. Absolutely. What has most surprised you in life, jp?

Speaker 5: Oh boy. Uh, I hope I keep getting surprised throughout life. Um, but what surprised me throughout life is the level of compassion and understanding that human beings have for each other. There are some just unbelievably fantastic people that are out there and you look at the trials and tribulations that they've been through, all the reasons why they could be jaded and just say to heck with it all, I'm going to go do my own thing and I don't give a damn what happens to anybody else. That's a reasonable expectation from somebody based on their experiences, but they don't do it. Instead they become more compassionate, they become more caring and they tried to do more to help out their fellow man. That surprises me in life. Every time I see it, I shouldn't be surprised by it. I should be thankful for it. But I still am.

Speaker 3: I feel like you have a really good understanding of self, jp, you, uh, you're, you're pointing out your own weaknesses and uh, appreciating them for what they are.

Speaker 5: Well, I've got plenty of flaws. Just ask my wife.

Speaker 3: Sure, sure. And if you want to talk about my flaws will be here all day. So, uh, last question on the soundtrack of your life, one track one song that's got to be on there. This is either the toughest one or the easiest one.

Speaker 5: Oh Geez. I, this one's impossible. But. So two nights ago I went to the guns and roses concert. Get outta here. It was here in Phoenix. Absolutely fantastic. They put on a show that was unbelievable, but it hearkened back to the day that perhaps it was maybe the most important and best day of my life. Certainly one of them, which was the day that I married my wife and at the end of the, after the ceremony, and then the bride and the groom, they go walking back down the aisle and there's always the traditional marriage music that plays doing it. We didn't go for that. Instead we played the introduction to guns and roses. Sweet child of mine with slashes introduction.

Speaker 3: Amazing. I thought that was a possibility that you were going to go with patients there, but, uh, no sweet child of mine in the intro and part of your wedding. Uh, that's, that's pretty fantastic. That does probably make us write about the same age by the way, because uh, there was a, that was not a band. You could avoid a at a certain point in time. I'm 40 years old. Yeah, we're exactly the same age.

Speaker 5: I was slightly too young to go to their concerts back in their hands,

Speaker 3: right. Couldn't go. Exactly

Speaker 5: good to go. Parents weren't going to let it happen and frankly I couldn't have afforded if I, if even if I could get my parents to look the other direction, but now as an adult I got to go. And it was absolutely fantastic.

Speaker 3: I am noticing on the streets that there are many people that can't be more than 25 wearing guns and roses shirts and uh, I think that it must be some sort of a, uh, I don't know, fashion type situation that's going on because they don't look like they would be a guns and roses fans. But then again, I shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

Speaker 5: I'm 40 years old and I think that guns and roses was the led Zeppelin of my generation.

Speaker 3: It was, you're right.

Speaker 5: And you look today led Zepplin still has a tremendous following of people that had nothing to do with that era and, and weren't even born when, when, when led Zeppelin was popular. We're seeing the same thing with, with guns and roses because fantastic music lives on forever.

Speaker 3: There you go. Uh, and so does good policy. Um, so, uh, thank you for fighting the fight in, in Arizona. Jp. Let's do the website one more time.

Speaker 5: Regulate marijuana in Arizona.org.

Speaker 3: Keep going, man. We're behind you. Thank you so much. Appreciate your time. You have a great one.

Speaker 1: This episode is also supported by Bova. Bova takes the pain out of people's passions, maintaining a human or guitar or cannabis flowers. A painful time consuming mystery Bova makes it all very simple so you have more time to enjoy your passion. Both of they use this two way humidity control, adding and slash or removing moisture to maintain ideal relative humidity or moisture content in the flower experience. Better color, aroma, flavor and efficacy. While eliminating money lost to evaporation. Top cannabis businesses are using Bova to cure store and merchandise flour. And you should too, go to [inaudible] dot com for more information. All right, so Jeremy Unruh, I mean your in Chicago, you also operate New York. You're one of these people that we've been looking forward to talking to. How are you? I'm well, thank you very much. I really appreciate you having me on and, and, uh, given us the opportunity to, to, uh, to tell people how things are in, in the east.

Speaker 3: Yeah, exactly. East of the Mississippi, you know, you've got a, you've got the operation in Illinois, you've got the operation in New York, why don't you just quickly take us through both brands and then we'll obviously investigate.

Speaker 1: Sure. So, um, so I'm the general counsel and chief compliance officer of a company called Pharma can, uh, and we were, you know, we've only been around for I guess less than two years now. Uh, and we operate in the more highly rigid, uh,

Speaker 7: markets of Illinois and New York. We were fortunate enough to have been awarded a more licenses than any of the other groups who applied in Illinois. And we were also fortunate enough to have been the, the, the top score in the New York application process, and we received a, the very first of the five licenses issued in that state. And so in Illinois we run to cultivation centers. Each is about, I don't know, 65 or 70,000 square feet, uh, and we run four dispensaries that are located roughly around the Chicago Land Metropolitan area. And then in New York we have one, we call it a manufacturing facility there because of the differences in how we process and produce. And that's about 135,000 square feet of production space in greenhouse in the Hudson valley. And we also have four dispensary's, uh, uh, located across the state in Buffalo and Syracuse and Albany and soon to be opening in the Bronx.

Speaker 3: Okay. So three out of four are open. Let's, let's start in Illinois as you did. Um, there was a tremendous kind of move forward, uh, with, um, you know, what was it? Sb Ten, I believe. Sending. Yeah. And uh, you know, decrim and all that. You've got a kind of everything moving here. You've got ptsd now, a recognized condition. So how much have things changed in your operations over the past month really is all it's been.

Speaker 8: Well, that's an interesting question. I think there's a couple layers there. Nothing. I, I wouldn't say a lot has changed as a result of the passage of Senate bill 10 or of, of our recent effort to decriminalize very small amounts of cannabis, but I think we're going to see that very, very shortly because, uh, after the governor signed Senate bill 10, which extended our current pilot program for about 30 months, it add an posttraumatic stress disorder and added terminal illness to our lists of conditions. And it also, it also did a few more tweaks, uh, one of which was to make physicians a little more comfortable with, with, uh, with getting on board with the program instead of, instead of recommending that the use of medical cannabis would have a palliative or therapeutic effect, it changed what a doctor will do to a mere certification that the patient has, one of the eligible conditions. And so that, that in a doctor's eyes, um, it is, is a little bit safer and a little gift to them, a little bit more security. So, um, the, the conditions were the governor signed Senate bill 10 about 30 days ago and it's taken 30 days for the Department of Public Health Who Giveth and taketh away our, our medical cannabis cards to issue its emergency regulations and, and to prepare the documentation necessary to, um, to get a posttraumatic stress disorder, um, certain recommendation, certification and cart. So we'll see that. I think we'll see that here in the next month or so.

Speaker 6: That makes sense. And, uh, we're talking in August of 2016 just to give folks a frame of reference as far as the physician, uh, you know, a component there. Uh, how important is that in a, in a tightly regulated market, uh, to have the physicians be at ease with medical cannabis?

Speaker 8: Well, it's, we are learning that the physician community is, is everything. We call it the medical federation because it's more than just individual doctors. It's, it's the, the medical societies and it's the, uh, the, the practice colleges perhaps you know, you, you are aware that recently, literally in the last week, the American College of clinical oncologists just re work their pain management pain management guidelines and they placed medical cannabis actually above the use of opioids in its guidelines to oncologists. And so we think that engaging those communities is really key to opening physicians up to the, to these programs, particularly in the more tightly regulated industries. Where are certain markets where you, you, these conditions are, are, are not. Um, they're not subjective. They're very, they're very objectively diagnosable. You either have cancer or you don't, you have HIV or you don't, you, you have epilepsy or you don't. And so the physicians play a very, very important, uh, currently gatekeeping function here. Uh, and so the, the, the science as you well know is really developing and, and it's, it's about a developing that science and be educating physicians on the development of that science and getting them comfortable with what they're doing. It's so key to what we do in Illinois and in New York. And in, and as I look around particularly those places, I say you said east of the Mississippi, I say east of the Rockies, uh, to, to, to really open these programs because they are true medical platforms at least as they currently as they currently stand.

Speaker 6: Yeah. Just staying in Illinois as far as the patients are concerned. Um, what, what kind of feedback are you starting to hear

Speaker 8: in terms of what?

Speaker 6: Well, the medicine that they're receiving for the conditions

Speaker 8: I have. Yeah. Well the feedback is, I can't say universal, but it is, it is outstandingly positive. Uh, you know, I go into our dispensary's and, and there's a different dynamic that you see in the east that you don't necessarily see in the west, that people that come into our dispensary's are crushed in their wheeled in. They come in on their walkers and they all may, not many of them looking at them, you can tell that they have some very serious medical malady. And so these people are, are, are truly seeking relief or their first night sleep and many months or relief from nausea. So they can take calories in and, and it's just a very, very different dynamic in our dispensary is watching the people come into our dispensaries than one might see in, in, in the Californias of the world or the Colorado's of the world, which is kind of traditionally where we view, you know, when we see Sanjay Gupta, cnn piece, he shows a lot of Colorado, you know, and, and so that becomes our sort of mindset for what it looks like, but it really, it doesn't look like that in, in, in our world.

Speaker 8: And the patients there I think are ever more grateful for what we're doing as a result.

Speaker 6: Yeah, no, absolutely. And if you could kind of now a distinguish between New York and Illinois because Illinois, you do have a, a few months if you will, a few more than a few months on the New York program. Right. So, so how are, how do they differentiate?

Speaker 8: Well, it's interesting you ask, we are, we are new to this industry too and that, that is it. It cuts both ways. If we don't have a lot of the, the, you know, decades of have experienced that, that many of our colleagues in, in the West have, but by the same token, we also bring our own a mainstream experiences to, to this world. Um, and, you know, to me, to me, I'm seeing and we're learning that Illinois is, is just farther ahead in the marketplace. Um, we started in Illinois in July of Twenty 15, so we literally have been war. I mean, our anniversary was effectively this week and if I were incarcerated, thank you very much. It, if I recall, it's also the anniversary of us receiving our license in New York. And so we, if I recall, we had 2,600 registered patients on July, first of 2015.

Speaker 8: Um, and now we're at about 8,000 patients here in the state of Illinois. Uh, and hopefully if these trend curves continue, which we have every reason to believe that they will and perhaps even bumped because of the addition of posttraumatic stress disorder to our list of conditions, you know, we're, we're looking at 10 to 12,000 patients in Illinois by the end of the year. New York was a little bit of a different dynamic. There's a different philosophy there. Um, you know, there's nothing that you can smoke and there's nothing that you can eat in, in New York and we have pharmacists who are by, by regulation required to be at our dispensers. There are general managers and the program is run by the New York Department of Health and that's. And so there's, there's a much more pharmaceutical approach to, uh, to what we do in New York. And, and so the patient count is lower there and it's behind the curve a little bit compared to Illinois because of a, it hasn't been going for quite for quite so long. And B, we were really encouraged by the state to get open on date certain and they didn't. There wasn't a lot of effort made to develop a patient community prior to the time our doors open, whereas in Illinois it was, it was meager, but present they did, they took applications and people were allowed to sign up before the program really started. And so I think Illinois started a little bit ahead, uh, then that did New York and so now, yeah.

Speaker 6: Well, so as far as, you know, New York wanting you to get open, um, I want to come back to that because we haven't had someone take us through the application process and, and you know, getting the license in New York in the industry, folks have talked about it. Uh, you know, and it's, it's been mostly smoke and mirrors. So I wanted to kind of unpack that with you, if you don't mind, you know, um, speaking of anniversaries, July 2014 is when the Compassionate Care Act, uh, you know, kind of was signed into law. So how soon after that did your group kind of start putting stuff together?

Speaker 8: Uh, that's a good, that's a good question. I'm kind of trying to think back in my mind, uh, so I know that we, so we, I remember it was, it was January or July 29th last year, so two July 29th, 20 15 that we received our license. Uh, and so I, I don't remember how long it was that we waited for those licenses, but I suspect it was the better part of A. Gosh, we were building out our current Illinois facilities when that application process to place. So I, I'm just guessing off the top of my head, you know, if we waited for three or four months for those licenses, then maybe we submitted our application and in June, uh, or there abouts June second, I'm being reminded here, a buy in June second. And so, yeah, the application process there was extremely, I'll say cumbersome. Uh, our, our final product, uh, was, I don't know, 44,000 pages in 40 banker's boxes in a u haul truck. Uh, you know, whereas other states that are currently accepting applications, Maryland being one of them, uh, you know, it's, it's the equivalent of a three ring binder or two. And so they're just, they're just, they're just much different beast.

Speaker 6: So I mean, was a describe the group that kind of put that together. That's a tremendous amount of paperwork, you know, how you just share however much you want to share as far as who you worked with and you know, how many of your partners kind of were involved in, in that ridiculous application process. And uh, that's my word, not yours.

Speaker 8: No, no, no. Uh, so we, we, we at Pharma, can we really pride ourselves? We are, we are founded by a, a, our CEO is one of my former law partners, so I was a prosecuting attorney for many years here in Chicago and then I went into private practice in a, in a large law firm for about a decade or thereabouts. And uh, one of the, one of the folks that I practiced with, Teddy Scott, who's our CEO, is a, in addition to being a tremendous ip attorney, he is also a phd in molecular biophysics. He was a biotech guy and he worked with groups like the National Institute of Health and the abbots of the world. And the baxters of the world to really develop biotechnology, um, iep and um, and so when the opportunity came in Illinois to apply for licenses, uh, he got with one of our other law partners and uh, they put their heads together and they raised some money and they sat down and they wrote that Illinois application themselves.

Speaker 8: They, they didn't call, they didn't call people, you know, from Colorado to come out and give them a security plan and give us a cultivation plan and, and, and give us an inventory control plan. They wrote them theirselves themselves and New York was ever so much more the same. And so when that opportunity came and we really prided ourselves on doing this work ourselves, and I think that when you do it from scratch, you learn that you really tailor your responses in this application process to what the regulators are asking for a versus cutting and pasting the word New York in for the word Colorado. Uh, and I think that, I think that people that score those applications, I think they get that and they sense that. And so for us, our team was a group of lawyers here that we, that you know, that the founders of, of this company, along with some other people in house and, and obviously we had lawyers in New York that, that helped us and we had some public affairs of lobbyists, folks that helped us. Um, but, but by and large, our effort in, in the states that we apply is, is organic. It's done in house.

Speaker 6: Yeah. A further to your point about New New York and giving the regulators what they were looking for, what, what in your sensor, you know, in, in recap, uh, do you feel they were looking for what, what exactly was it in the application process that they were asking for most? What did they want to know most? Well, I think they'll tell you,

Speaker 8: you know, they're, they're looking for, they're looking for. That's a good question and I'm not sure they know what they're looking for a, I think they have certain priorities. I think security is a priority. I think that a consumer protections are a priority. Uh, I think they want to know where these plants and products are. I think those are priorities, but I don't really know that they, that they have any preconceived expectations other than what they see other states do because that's largely as these states come online, you know, they are cobbling together their, their experience from other states that are now going before them. As far as looking at other states or other operations, you, you've of course mentioned that you are coming from outside of this industry, bringing that intellectual property in. But as far as cannabis itself, was there anywhere that you looked for a precedent?

Speaker 8: Well, I, I mean I think so. I think some states have various components of their regulatory schemes. Existing states have various components of their regulatory schemes that are, that are admirable and that I would encourage the, you know, the, the Pennsylvania's of the world in the Ohio's is the world and the other, the other states that are, that are in the process of developing their, their platforms, you know, that you can look to it in this day and age. You can look to Colorado for edibles and you can look to Illinois for pesticides and, and certainly you can look to California, not their regulatory scheme, but you can certainly look

Speaker 7: to the depth of the market there to understand, to understand a better sort of, big picture of, of how this market will likely develop, you know, to the extent that, that it is, it is deregulated or unrestricted or however you want to, however you want to put it. Branding, branding there. It's very sophisticated. So yeah, I think that there are a lot of other places that, that, that one can look to, to cobble together a picture of what this industry might look like.

Speaker 6: Yeah, it is a, it's nice to hear you say that that kind of, each market has its own, uh, it's own winners, so to speak, in a, in various different, uh, you know, various different ways, um, as we get to the third quarter. So we're in it and we're getting to the fourth quarter. Uh, you mentioned the changes upcoming for Illinois, kind of the reactions to sb 10 and the addition of a ptsd. And of course the decrim. What, what about New York? What, what changes are you anticipate in q four, maybe even q one, 2017 in New York?

Speaker 8: Yeah, New York is a, is a different creature

Speaker 7: and you know, I think, you know, I mentioned it just a different philosophy. You know, Illinois is the cultivation centers are governed by the Department of Agriculture and they are very good at the state fair and an ethanol and pesticides

Speaker 8: and another sort of agricultural based things and, and, and New York is that their program is governed by the pharmacist, the medical community. Um, you know, looking forward, their platform is far more of a true medical platform. And so their session is over already without any, any type of, uh, without any success in expanding their, their currently existing program, which is, which is brand new. And so maybe that, maybe that makes sense. And so I think the, you know, on the horizon, I, I'm looking for various stakeholders in the medical cannabis community, whether that's veteran's groups or whether that's, uh, whether that's the medical community or whether, you know, whether that's other sort of patient groups to, to try to work, to influence the administration to, to open up a consideration for more conditions in New York. The commissioner of the Department of Health, uh, is able to, uh, add conditions to the, to the list.

Speaker 8: And so, uh, I think that that's, that's where I would look in terms of expanding the New York program. But so much of it is, is you know, it's a ground game. It's blocking and tackling and it's getting people opened up to the current program and, and you, you look, look at Washington and look at, at New York, and I'm sorry, Washington and Colorado. It's so important to have as a first step a functioning medical cannabis framework and a functioning medical cannabis market. And, and once you do that, once you demonstrate to people that, that, these, that, these pilot programs work, and that the sky does not fall, then you can start, then you can start working on expanding those programs and expanding those, those, because you're garnering the trust of people who are, who are understandably skeptical of medical cannabis and what it can do and what it can't do.

Speaker 8: Yeah. Well, I mean, the Washington program has its own new, uh, issues. Um, but you know, that that's for a different, a different episode, I guess regarding New York. You did, you mentioned you called it a more of a true medical program. So that's an intriguing grouping of words. What do you mean by that? Well, if you look at their regulatory platform, there is nothing that you can smoke and there's nothing that you can eat. Uh, and so everything comes in, in the form of a, of a metered dose. And that's the sort of delivery system, the, uh, the, the notion of consistency, of product meaning a, this many milligrams of a tincture will deliver me the precise same formulation and dosage every single time. Uh, at those, that's the sort of delivery

Speaker 7: that I think physicians are able to say, listen, I have somebody with epilepsy here, or have somebody with a condition, go try this for 30 days, use it three days a week, uh, at this particular rate, and come back and tell me what, come back and tell me what effects this is having on you versus, you know, the notion of, of a physician telling somebody that it's okay to go and smoke a joint or eat a cookie, that, that, that has a dosage that is far more difficult for that physician to sort of monitor and control. And, and I, and that's why I think the platform lends itself more to what I would call it a true sort of medical approach. Now look at Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania even takes it one step further, uh, in, in their new law, they have a, a, a provision for a formalizing relationships between, uh, the, the licensees and institutions of higher learning and medical institutions. And, and I think that that takes, that takes the, uh, the, the true medical platform even one step further.

Speaker 6: Yeah, no, absolutely. You've mentioned a Pennsylvania and Maryland, uh, you know, is your group, um, you know, active in trying to be in those markets, uh, and again, uh, answer what you want to answer, don't what you don't.

Speaker 7: Yeah, no, we are very, very interested in the emerging jurisdictions. The Maryland, we have a, we have an application pending, uh, and we hope to hear back favorably soon. Uh, and Pennsylvania is, is a market that we're, we're very excited about

Speaker 6: what, what, you know, um, you guys are business guys. What, how do you square the fact that there are only 8,000 patients in Illinois? Only 6,000 patients in New York, you know, kind of as we speak here in the beginning of the third quarter of 2016, how do you report back to, you know, uh, the bottom line, uh, understanding that the program's a while potentially very gargantuan and scope are tiny comparatively.

Speaker 7: Well, I look at the trend, the patient trend counts and as I mentioned earlier, you know, over the last year, Illinois has added 5,500 or 6,000 patients to their roles. And, you know, if this trend continues, there'll be at 10 to 12,000 patients by the end of the year. And I, I think you're seeing very, very similar trends in New York, this upward trend, month after month, these patient counselor growing. And, and so from an economic perspective, uh, I am encouraged, you know, as a company, uh, we are, we, we pride ourself on, on our, uh, on our ability to, to capitalize. And we also pride ourself on not being one of groups out there. And I think there are a whole lot of these groups who are, who are, uh, focused on obtaining licenses and simply kind of holding onto them until, until things open up and, and in, in, in common parlance, things go wreck.

Speaker 7: And that's simply not our approach. We take a much longer approach to how, um, the development of, of, of a, of a medical cannabis industry, auto look and, and it's gonna take a long time and we appreciate that. We understand that and we're prepared for that. And so, you know, this notion of, of an immediate return, while you're not, you're not realizing immediate return. Well, that's okay, I'm not sure that we expected to and I do think that this is, you know, that this is something that you, that needs a little nurturing and a little, you know, cultivation for lack of a better term. Nope, no pun intended. Um, so, so that's kind of how we approach it. Yeah. Alright. Well, speaking of a longer timeframe and timeline, let's go all the way back. Where were you from originally? Originally? I'm from a little town in Kansas, uh, that you've probably never heard of a.

Speaker 7: and I made my way to Chicago because my wife was starting her career at, at the little, uh, ABC television station in Topeka, Kansas, which is where I was going to law school at the time and we met and then I moved as, as many people do. I moved to where my wife was from. What is the town that we've never heard of in Kansas? Newton, Kansas. And where is that? Uh, as far as the state is concerned, Newton is in the, is in the south central part of the state. It's about maybe 25 or 30 miles north of Wichita, Kansas. Wichita has a, that's a fun place. I've been there. It's, it's, it's, it's there. I have had fun in Wichita as well. So the Kansas is literally a, there is a point in Kansas that is the dead center of the United States of America. How far are you from that, where you grew up?

Speaker 7: Well, if that point, I think that point is like at North Central Kansas. I can't remember that. The town, it's near Cocker city, which hosts the world's largest ball of twine, uh, if I recall. So we are probably a two and a half hours due south of there. Okay. Alright. So, so Kansas state, what was the degree that you sought and obtained? So I was a journalism and mass communications major at Kansas State University. Um, yeah. And then I went with, that didn't work out. It was, it was unfortunately at that point in my, in my life, uh, it was a means to an end. I was not a very committed undergraduate student and I had to make up for it with longevity of, of, um, of scholarship that rather than potency. Well, but, and the, the journalism thing though that, that's where you met your wife though, right? Well, I was not a journalist.

Speaker 7: She, she was, I was in law school. Uh, and um, oh, this was afterwards, right. So, so I, I tried to put the two together, but uh, no, it's, it's two different things now. So I, I, um, I went to undergraduate school, got a degree and then decided to go to law school after, I think I took a year off if I recall, uh, and then I went to law school and met her in my second year, I believe. Got It. And then from Kansas to Illinois. And then, uh, what, uh, you were you practicing law, what were you doing? So I moved up to uh, I took the Kansas Bar in July, uh, after, after Grad, after graduating from law school. You, you waited, you, you study over the summer and then you take the bar at the end of the summer? Uh, because I had a grandfather who had been, I'm a professor of law at the University of Kansas for 30 years, and so it was important to me to take the Kansas bar.

Speaker 7: So I took the Kansas bar and then moved up to Chicago where my wife had gotten a job at, at one of the local television stations up here. Uh, and then I was a $7 an hour law clerk for about, I don't know, eight or 10 months until I can take the bar exam up here in Illinois and get my results. Uh, and then I went to work for the Cook County State's Attorney's office where I started in traffic court, uh, and worked my way up through a misdemeanors to felony review to the children's advocacy center, which is where they investigate and, and charge, um, sex crimes involving victims who are under the age of 12 or who are otherwise developmentally disabled. Uh, and then I went to the big felony criminal courthouse here called, we call it 26 in California here in Chicago where I worked my way up through the grand jury unit.

Speaker 7: And, uh, the, uh, homicide sex crimes unit. And finally I talked out as the first chair prosecutor in the courtroom of the Chief Judge at 26 and cal. And then my wife, uh, I pulled the ripcord and uh, and went into private practice at a, at a, at a large downtown law firm where I work you, yeah, you, you, you really kind of, uh, you know, took a bunch of steps up the ladder, uh, directly. And I guess my question is, knowing the socratic method is used in law school, how did you know your initial, um, well, what was your initial takeaway from, uh, from, from being subjected to that, the socratic method? You know, our teachers were pretty good, good about, about, about not drilling us and it took, it took me awhile to, to really fit into that, to fit into that mode of teaching.

Speaker 7: Um, but I think the takeaway is good because the point of it is to, is to get a young person think critically on one's feet. And that's that, that's the point at. And perhaps that is more suited to, to litigation, which is, you know, which is w w, which is less so now, but you know, which has historically been sort of the, the root of or the discipline of, of legal teaching. Um, and it's, it's far, far less emphasized now as well. It should be, you know, so much of the law is, has to do with, with alternative dispute resolution and transactions and emerging industries and intellectual property and that sort of thing and, and far less to do with, with litigation. But that's, that's where it came from. I mean, that's the old, that's the old master, you know, studying the law, reading the law model.

Speaker 6: Absolutely in a lot of the law now has to do obviously with compliance. But we'll get to that in a minute, you know, as far as your, um, the, the evolution or have of your mindset, you were dealing with some pretty tough stuff. Uh, you know, you kind of just, uh, just mentioned it. Uh, how, how does a young man, uh, you know, get, um, you know, obviously you're, you're, you're, you were awakened to this reality. And how did you deal with that emotionally as far as the subject matter? You were, you were dealing with the people that you were dealing with, the issues that you were dealing with. That's some serious stuff.

Speaker 7: It is, it, it can be serious, that's for sure. And you develop a, you know, I think in any industry where you were, you deal with people who are hurting emotionally or hurting others emotionally and physically and, and actually you, you steel yourself and there is a sense of camaraderie among your colleagues. And there is a gallows humor sometimes that emerges. Um, but I have a very, very loving and wonderful wife who also in her own way is out on the street seeing a lot of, seeing a lot of this too. And so we were able to sort of deal with it together. But, but you also, you know, there isn't an anecdote that, uh, that lawyers sometimes say, uh, that goes something like this client runs up to lawyer and says, oh my gosh, weren't a lot of trouble and I don't know what we're going to do, but we are in so much trouble.

Speaker 7: This happened and this happened and this happened. And lawyer says, Whoa, Whoa, whoa, Whoa, whoa. We are not in trouble. You are in trouble and I am here to help you with that trouble but make no mistake, we are not in trouble. So there's a little bit of that too, that, that goes along with the profession, but you develop that over over years. And that's why, you know, law is, is, is kind of one of the learned professional. It's not the only one, but it is one where your value comes in. Your, in your judgment comes with experience

Speaker 6: as far as that experience. Assistant state's attorney, uh, you know, in, in Cook County, um, what kinds of things did you

Speaker 7: see? What kinds of things did you do? Um, you know, how did that position inform you? Well, you know, you really, there, I think there are two jobs, uh, that, that I have had a in my career that really helped me understand the, the, the, the person dynamic, the people dynamic had it, had, how to successfully interact with, with the people in, in, in my world, and outside of my world. One is bartender and the other is a prosecutor in the misdemeanor courtroom. Uh, I love it, you know, prosecutor in the misdemeanor courtroom in an urban environment like Chicago means that you are, you are literally the city's social worker of, of last resort. Um, you know, you're, you're sorting out disputes that sort of bubble into the, the criminal venue, the misdemeanor criminal venue. Misdemeanor means a offenses for which you can go to jail for, for up to one year, but not more.

Speaker 7: Uh, and, and it's, you know, it's, it's people who have lived next to one another for 25 or 30 years, but just can't get along and slash each other's tires and throw bricks through the window or um, you know, to, to women who are, um, who are fighting with one another. And, and, and act out in that, in that form, and then you learned that they're fighting over the same man, um, and the man is nowhere to be found in, in, in either, you know, either as a, as a witness for the defendant or as a witness for the, for the complaintant, um, you know, a random people who engage one another in a, in a public place with no history beforehand and, and people who are, um, you know, people who are, who are sick and people who are, um, people who were accused and detained for four meaningless infractions.

Speaker 7: And to me that, that kind of brings things back to the cannabis world. And that's that, you know, I don't thankfully have a close family member with a serious medical condition like, like so many other people do in, in, in this space. And that's how they come to this space. I come to it more from a social justice perspective. I, I had seen, um, I've probably handled tens of thousands of, of cannabis and narcotics cases. Um, and uh, you know, to see somebody's arrested, uh, for, for what amounts to three or four or $5 worth of cannabis, there is a tremendous cost and that cost is, you know, one or two police officers to process that person. Now that's three or four hours of that police officer's Day. And then a month later that person has to come back to court, which means they have to call in sick or get out of work that day and sit in a court room and the police officer has to show up.

Speaker 7: And Oh, by the way, if the police officer worked the night before he or she is working on overtime, that next, uh, well maybe that person wants the defendant once a lawyer. And so, well, that means that there's another court date and all of a sudden there's four court dates and you know, three or four appearances for a police officer. Uh, and nothing happens. And then the case gets thrown out. And you've just squandered so much, uh, so much public resource on what amounts to $5 worth of cannabis. That it's just, it's, it's, it's absurd. And many of the people who are arrested or detained, uh, are, are, are, are done for cannabis, are done, so as a, as a pretext. And there are people that, that don't look like me, a white middle class, a person. There are people who, who, who are diverse, people who come from, uh, other poor socioeconomic backgrounds and it's just a, there's kind of a fundamental unfairness. And so I'm very pleased to be working in an industry, um, and supporting causes that, uh, that diminish that.

Speaker 3: That's great. That's fantastic. And uh, you know, uh, you're bringing that experience from the front lines back. So that's, uh, that's wonderful. I think you mentioned bartender. Was that conceptual or did you also tend bar at some point

Speaker 7: did as an undergraduate student? I actually, uh, I spent a year in Colorado, uh, as a young man and, uh, started out as a housekeeper and work my way up to cashier and finally as a bartender in the, a frame at Arapahoe basin up just, just on the other side, I just on the west side of the continental divide there, above the key, I think it's the Eisenhower tunnel there on [inaudible] past denver.

Speaker 3: Do you have a, a favorite anecdote from tending bar? Uh, no, I don't. I see there's, there's plenty, but they're all kind of, they're, they're sort of blue, I would say. Gotcha. But you did mention that that was a good position for you to understand humanity essentially, right? I mean, those are my words, not yours. No, that's absolutely right. You just, you people come in in all states

Speaker 7: of, of, of, of mind, you know, from, from intoxicated to sober as a judge from, you know, family, family, person to, you know, young buck, outlook and for a good time, um, all sorts of motivations, all sorts of interactions. And it's just, and, and doing it with, you know, on race days or game nights doing it with, with a, a lot of, I don't wanna say repetition, but, but just doing it over and over and over and over and over again, and that, those are very, very to me, uh, in my career. Those have been, that has been a very important part of my learning curve in my development personally.

Speaker 3: And just, and how so I, I feel like we're, we're missing that, that law, the final mile of, of understanding why.

Speaker 7: Yeah. Well, I, I just, I just think that given what I do, so I'm a lawyer and a compliance and I was uh, I was uh, uh, a court trial lawyer and, and so the tools of my trade were witnesses and um, rules of evidence and just the ability to, to look at and interact with and understand people from all walks of life who have various motivations is something that oftentimes has to be done fairly rapidly. And you've got to be able to judge character and judge behavior. And having done so in those environments has tremendously helped me. You know, with, with my people skills and I, and I and I, I'm very, you know, I give a lot of weight to that.

Speaker 3: Yeah, no, absolutely. And you mentioned compliance and you know, you're the chief compliance officer for the group and as the industry grows and as the industry gets bigger and as the industry gets more corporate, uh, we're going to have a more folks with your job title as far as this show is concerned. This is the first chief compliance officer we're talking to. So maybe take us through, you know, your day to day and what exactly you're tackling.

Speaker 7: Well, you know, I have learning and this is, this is the compliance world is new to me and so I am learning what traditional compliances and I'm also learning what sort of cannabis compliances or, or what I would call regulatory compliance. And, and I'm no, I'm no expert. I'm learning, uh, but it, it is the ability to effectively a steer an organization, um, in, into complying with the, the unique set of regulations that are imposed upon licensees in the, in the cannabis world. And, and those take a lot of different, um, take a lot of different tax. Uh, there, there's, there's, you know, normal compliance has to do with a employee manuals and a workplace anti harassment policies. And um, and then in the scientific world, maybe it's, it's sanitation and hygiene, Sop, standard operating procedures. Those are, those are traditional compliance, you know, cannabis compliance has to do with, um, you know, the, the, the pixelation or the frame rate of your cameras and um, you know, do you keep 90 days worth of security footage on site and are you able to print a timestamped photo from that security footage that is clear enough to identify somebody's face?

Speaker 7: Um, do you, uh, do you undertake the necessary process for dealing with your cannabis waste streams? Do you render it unusable? And do you compost it? Do you do this, do you mix it with that? Um, those, those, to me are the notions of regulatory compliance. And so, you know, from day to day, I have people that, that, that helped me with this, that, that go through the regulations with our frontline people, meaning our technicians. And our dispensary personnel, we have a patient care representatives who work in our dispensary and we pride ourselves in making sure that those folks all know what the rules are for cultivating, distributing and dispensing medical cannabis, and, and, and, you know, we are subject to inspections literally daily. I mean, they're, they're very rarely is a day that goes by when one of our facilities isn't, isn't visited by the state.

Speaker 7: Uh, and so I work very, very hard to, to make sure that, that our philosophy is not only is the state entitled to be in our facilities, but they're also invited to be in our facilities because we want them to see that we are transparent and we want them to see that we are following the rules. And I worked very hard to make sure that, that our, our newest cultivation technician can stop, would he or she is doing to explain precisely what their activity is. So, uh, we've come time for a, it's come time for the final three questions. So I'll tell you what they are and then I'll ask you them in order. First question is, what has most surprised you in cannabis? Second one is most surprised you in life and on the soundtrack of your life, what does, you know? One track, one song that's got to be on there.

Speaker 7: Uh, first things first of what has most surprised you in cannabis? You're not, uh, you know, you didn't start in cannabis and, um, you've taken us through the fact that, uh, you know, while you're new to cannabis, you take it seriously. So what has most surprised you? Uh, well, I, I guess I'd have to say what has surprised me most about cannabis is, is the speed with which this industry is, is developing. I mean, it is, it is going at light speed and, and I can't tell if it's just because I'm, I'm immersed in it and I'm watching it and everything I do or everybody I interact with has to do with this industry or if it really is evolving as quickly as I, as I think it is, but, you know, I've only been in it for 18 months, maybe, maybe close to two years.

Speaker 7: But, um, the level of development that I have seen and that I see around me is just, is just, it's just warp speed. It's amazing to me. Uh, it really is. It really is. Uh, what, what has most surprised you in life? You, uh, you've seen a lot specifically, you know, earlier on, in your, in your career, and now you've, we, you know, we just went through the fact that, uh, your, your, your inner revolution, if you will. So what has most surprised you in life? Well, I, I guess I have to say that what surprised me most about life is that it's never too late for a second start. And I think that's probably a sentiment that your guests. I'm not the first guest to, to express that sentiment, but, you know, I, I spent almost 10 years at a, at a, at a major law firm, an am law, 100 law firm engaged in, in commercial litigation and products liability defense and that sort of thing.

Speaker 7: And that's a very hard job and it's not a lot of fun, believe it or not, uh, any lawyer that doesn't have an exit strategy is probably not telling you the truth. And so, uh, you know, I, I, there, I was sort of hunkered down in the middle of my career, uh, not very happy with where I was and, and without any real, a route of exit and this opportunity, my, my good friends and, and, and, uh, my boss, Teddy, uh, uh, prevent presented this opportunity to be in it and it gave me an opportunity for a new start. And, and for that, I'm grateful for that. I am surprised.

Speaker 7: Fair enough. And what might be the easiest, what might be the most difficult to, on the soundtrack of your life, Jeremy? What is one track, one song that's got to be on there? Well, I don't know. Um, that's a good question. A soundtrack of my life. I, I guess this, this, this track is not the magic of my life necessarily, nor is it the magic of my experience in the cannabis world. But, uh, it is a track that has so many layers. I find it to be probably the most provocative piece of music I know. And that is, uh, the allman brothers band, the song whipping posts, but not just any track. It's the 22 or 23 minute version that's on live, live, live. Yeah. I'm singing the song in my head right now. And for those that do know the song or don't, Gregg Allman is screaming at you about the whipping post.

Speaker 7: So, you know, it's something to listen to if you haven't heard it before. Is that, is that a fair assessment, Jeremy? Absolutely. You know, there, there it is. One of the kind of, in my mind, the earliest infusions of jazz and classical into southern rock and blues. And then you have this, this underlayer of the notion of the whipping post, which is, which is this horrible relic of our American history. And in Gregg allman is running around and I don't know, 19, 67, 1968 whenever he wrote that song. And he's, he's, you know, maybe in Georgia, Atlanta, wherever they're from, a maybe there were still plantations at hand whipping posts. I don't have any idea but, but to me it just has a lot of layers and I find it to be, um, I find it to be a very said provocative, but it's just, it, it, it just, it gets me every time.

Speaker 7: It gets me every time to. Jeremy, I really appreciate your time. It's good to get to know you a little bit. Thank you for doing the work in Illinois and New York and a kind of leading the way, uh, you know, in those markets. And uh, as we go here, we'll, we'll check back in with you to see how it's all going. How about I appreciate seth. Thank you so much for having me honest as your guest. Uh, I'm a big fan and a and I'm thrilled to be in the, in the company that you've, that you've kept a in terms of your guests. So thank you very much. I love it, Jeremy. Thanks so much. And there you have Jeremy Unruh

Speaker 1: proceeded by JP holyoke. As you know, by now our industry, it takes all kinds and um, you know, we got everybody, so, uh, it does sound like jp is the right guy for the job. They're in Arizona. Very much appreciate his time. Very much appreciate Jeremy unroof time. He's a busy guy in both markets and thank you 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.