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Ep.182: Alex Cooley, Solstice Part II

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.182: Alex Cooley, Solstice Part II

Ep.182: Alex Cooley, Solstice Part II

Alex Cooley of Solstice returns to give us not only an update but a history of legislation and regulation around legal cannabis in Washington. We initially go back to Alex’ first visit in episode 56 to give you a sense of who he is- and then come back and dive into how we have what we have in Washington State. Alex goes back to the pre-2012 vote and explains what it was like on the ground providing medicine to patients. He then covers  i502 and the inherent differences between that initiative and amendment 64 in CO. The conversation turns to 5052 and finally what it’s like post July 1st 2016.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Alex Cooley returns. Alex Cooley, solstice returns to give us not only an update for the history of legislation and regulation around legal cannabis in Washington. We initially go back to Alex's first visited in episode 56 to give you a sense of who he is and then come back and dive into how we have what we have in Washington state. Alex goes back to the pre 2012 vote and it explains what it was like on the ground providing medicine to patients. He then covers [inaudible] and the inherent differences between that initiative and amendment 64 in Colorado, the conversation turns to 50 slash 52. And finally what it's like post July first 2016. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends. And the word economy, the triumphant return of Alex Cooley. How much of a Georgia do you remember?

Speaker 3: Oh, great amount. Yeah, no, absolutely. Um, I have been back multiple times. I mean, I'd loved it. And lived in Savannah, Georgia the majority of the time. Then a Hilton head island, South Carolina, which both are very, very, very beautiful place. These are just beautiful, pristine. Justin wrote trees, Spanish Moss, intercoastal waterway. No, it was beautiful. No, I, I think I'm, I'm very fortunate. I look at it as a, uh, my um, my roots in the south, but my head's in the northwest so I have the principles of a politeness and, and good posturing. But then I also have a very progressive agenda. And what, what age were you specifically when you moved? 12. Twelve years old. So you absolutely remember it and it certainly wasn't your decision. It doesn't sound like at 12 I was not making the decisions in the family know what, uh, how did the family structure work?

Speaker 3: Uh, so my father, uh, worked for himself. He was in a independent financing and investment banking. And so, uh, he actually wanted to live closer to his family and uh, you got a good amount of family up here or there in the northwest. And so, um, since he was able to, you know, you could work from anywhere and it made it a good fit for my mom at the time. So we just said, okay, it's time to go to Seattle. So his family's from Washington. Is he from washing? No, I actually, I definitely have an odd circumstance where family locates and not actually being from there. Um, so he's actually from Louisiana. I'm from Baton Rouge, but none of his family was really left there. They had all kind of gone their directions and the majority of it ended up in the northwest and my mother from Rochester, New York.

Speaker 3: And so, uh, most of her family was on the east coast and so we, you know, first half of my life was with my mother's family. And then the second half of my life with my father's family. This, uh, your family's literally from all over the United States and now everyone lives in Columbus, Ohio. Somehow with the exception of you a yes. And that will never happen. Alright. Okay. So call Ohio's out of the question that came with residents. Yeah. All visited now. And again, I'm kind of forced to, uh, with a nephew and my entire family there, but yeah, no, unless I get one of those five girl licenses that they're trying to talk to them, then, you know, then there's a monopoly like that 20 percent of the market. And if I'm lucky I could actually be better and take up to 40 percent sure it works properly I think or whatever, you know, whatever it is.

Speaker 3: How old's your nephew? He's three. So I have a four and a half year old niece and a two year old nephew. Okay. And so, uh, I understand the uh, well, I mean we've got the best job in the world, uncle. Yeah, exactly. There's nothing better operation. Cool uncle. Exactly. But on that for a little while. Absolutely. Do you have nicknames for, uh, for your nephew of jewels and what's his Julian? Oh, I feel like you've got to do better. I know, I agree. I have to go to Ohio to do better to get it. Don't go to Ohio that much. Well, what did he refer to himself by name when he was two? Yeah. What did he, what did he use? Julia. Oh, so he said to him. So for my niece it's Yay. Or who? For Les L. Alright. And a shamrock for a Samuel.

Speaker 1: Alex Cooley returns. Alex Cooley, solstice returns to give us not only an update for the history of legislation and regulation around legal cannabis in Washington. We initially go back to Alex's first visited in episode 56 to give you a sense of who he is and then come back and dive into how we have what we have in Washington state. Alex goes back to the pre 2012 vote and it explains what it was like on the ground providing medicine to patients. He then covers [inaudible] and the inherent differences between that initiative and amendment 64 in Colorado, the conversation turns to 50 slash 52. And finally what it's like post July first 2016. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends. And the word economy, the triumphant return of Alex Cooley. How much of a Georgia do you remember?

Speaker 3: Oh, great amount. Yeah, no, absolutely. Um, I have been back multiple times. I mean, I'd loved it. And lived in Savannah, Georgia the majority of the time. Then a Hilton head island, South Carolina, which both are very, very, very beautiful place. These are just beautiful, pristine. Justin wrote trees, Spanish Moss, intercoastal waterway. No, it was beautiful. No, I, I think I'm, I'm very fortunate. I look at it as a, uh, my um, my roots in the south, but my head's in the northwest so I have the principles of a politeness and, and good posturing. But then I also have a very progressive agenda. And what, what age were you specifically when you moved? 12. Twelve years old. So you absolutely remember it and it certainly wasn't your decision. It doesn't sound like at 12 I was not making the decisions in the family know what, uh, how did the family structure work?

Speaker 3: Uh, so my father, uh, worked for himself. He was in a independent financing and investment banking. And so, uh, he actually wanted to live closer to his family and uh, you got a good amount of family up here or there in the northwest. And so, um, since he was able to, you know, you could work from anywhere and it made it a good fit for my mom at the time. So we just said, okay, it's time to go to Seattle. So his family's from Washington. Is he from washing? No, I actually, I definitely have an odd circumstance where family locates and not actually being from there. Um, so he's actually from Louisiana. I'm from Baton Rouge, but none of his family was really left there. They had all kind of gone their directions and the majority of it ended up in the northwest and my mother from Rochester, New York.

Speaker 3: And so, uh, most of her family was on the east coast and so we, you know, first half of my life was with my mother's family. And then the second half of my life with my father's family. This, uh, your family's literally from all over the United States and now everyone lives in Columbus, Ohio. Somehow with the exception of you a yes. And that will never happen. Alright. Okay. So call Ohio's out of the question that came with residents. Yeah. All visited now. And again, I'm kind of forced to, uh, with a nephew and my entire family there, but yeah, no, unless I get one of those five girl licenses that they're trying to talk to them, then, you know, then there's a monopoly like that 20 percent of the market. And if I'm lucky I could actually be better and take up to 40 percent sure it works properly I think or whatever, you know, whatever it is.

Speaker 3: How old's your nephew? He's three. So I have a four and a half year old niece and a two year old nephew. Okay. And so, uh, I understand the uh, well, I mean we've got the best job in the world, uncle. Yeah, exactly. There's nothing better operation. Cool uncle. Exactly. But on that for a little while. Absolutely. Do you have nicknames for, uh, for your nephew of jewels and what's his Julian? Oh, I feel like you've got to do better. I know, I agree. I have to go to Ohio to do better to get it. Don't go to Ohio that much. Well, what did he refer to himself by name when he was two? Yeah. What did he, what did he use? Julia. Oh, so he said to him. So for my niece it's Yay. Or who? For Les L. Alright. And a shamrock for a Samuel.

Speaker 3: That's a big jump. Yeah. Well he, he tried to shampoo shea. He was trying to shamrock. So there we go. Uh, so you've got the nephew. How many brothers or sisters? Yeah, just one brother. Oh, so it is your brother's son, son. There we go. All right. As the saying goes. Yeah indeed. And how much older is he than you? Oh, he's two and a half years older than I am. So right in the neighborhood. Yup. Yup. Relatively close. The normal, typical lady's family know a couple of years later sort of thing, right? Yeah. Close enough, but not too far away. Indeed. So that's a dad was in finance. What was your mom? My mom was my father's secretary for years and then she went into sales and is now uh, one of the top five salespeople for macy's in the nation. Oh Wow. Yeah, she's a beast.

Speaker 3: Wow. Yeah. So I get, I get salesmanship from my father's side and from my mother's side, they didn't directly teach you, but they taught me how to sell. Sure. Yeah. Well that's a good salesperson. Yeah, absolutely. You never know when you're being sold. That's it. And that's exactly what they did. Yeah. So what was the dinner conversation like? You know, the usual. I mean, we, you know, we were pretty much the typical family, you know, grew up playing sports, go into sports, you know, make sure you get your homework done sort of thing. My father was a chef as well, so he, I don't know if you'd call them a restaurant tour, but he, he started a few restaurants and sold them off and um, so he, a lot of, a lot of dinner was about the dinner. It was definitely about the food and.

Speaker 3: Okay, wow. What flavor do you taste there? What's that about? And that sort of thing. So you, you've got a palette, that's a strong word. I mean, is it uh, yeah, I mean my father would, would be rolling over in his grave. I mean, I've been a vegetarian for 10 years and so I don't know how big of a fan he about that, so I've lost the palate a little bit to a degree and he helped, definitely helped steer me in that direction of making sausage at like six years old. Stuff like that was a sausage. What else? Oh, I mean everything. I mean he definitely had a lot of French influence being from southern part of Louisiana and so I mean creoles type stuff, but also like, you know, eating frog Ra's a kit and things like that. And it was, yeah, it was aggressive, you know, I just want to Mac and cheese.

Speaker 3: It was aggressive. It was aggressive. Yeah. There was definitely some, some foods that were experienced to say the least. Yeah. What else? Uh, if, uh, if we're talking, you know, wacky type stuff here, you know, or, or not a mainstream high mean. Nothing else really sticks out in my head. Obviously some time blocking it out. I think. So. I think that's definitely what happened. Well Annie would like, he realized like I wasn't the most adventurous eater, so he just lied to me about it. Sure. Oh yeah. Like we were eating chicken, but we were eating quail actually, or we're eating pheasant or things like that. That's how I uh, a doc for the first time we were raising chicken. It was chicken. Yeah. Why does it taste different? Different chicken isn't my dad waited until we were done with the duck and then he went quack.

Speaker 3: Oh, so horrible. I actually hated that delicious, dark, horrible. I only had an eating all of it. Alright. So then a lot of food. Okay. And then when did you become a vegetarian? I became a vegetarian at the age of 20. Okay. So, but you were out of his house? I think that that was probably necessary, but that was definitely necessary and part of it and yeah. So it became a vegetarian. Uh, last time I eat meat was a, what would it be? Two thousand and five on thanksgiving. Alright. So about 10 years ago. It's coming up on 10. Yeah. And you were a picky eater. How much of this though is I don't, I don't like the word piggy politics particularly now in particular, used to be picky. I got you. Okay, fair enough. I'll back off. But how much of it is in your head?

Speaker 3: Meaning what you don't agree with as opposed to what you don't like to eat? You know, really what pushed me really put me in that direction is all in my head. It was all, you know, reasons of First World Intellectual Ism. Yeah. And so yeah, I, I actually, um, yeah, and also kind of the concept of meat and that was kind of know my father, you know, making sausage and things like that. Like you really see it, you see it and you understand message being made literally. And now I go to, you know, stay in the capital of the country and see sausage getting made. Right. Um, and so your head kind of gets in a way of like you see it when you eat it when you're at the end product. So that was part of it. And uh, actually, uh, made the decision that I'm coming back to the dark side.

Speaker 3: Oh Wow. Oh, and why? Why is this? Oh my big reasons for um, you know, uh, being a vegetarian art really valid 10 years later and uh, not eating meat is not the easiest thing to do. And so yeah, I'm gonna uh, I'm going to hit the 10 year mark in November, right? And then what I've decided, I'm, uh, through, uh, through our network, uh, I've actually met a fifth generation rancher, a that meets all my criteria of meat, of organic, uh, you know, open field grass fed, no hormones, you know, humanely slaughtered, so on and so forth. Uh, so I'm going to meet the cow and a couple of weeks and I'm going to throw a big party around Christmas time for all my friends and family, for everyone who's had to suffer for over the last 10 years. So, hey, how about we go to a saloon me for lunch and it's like Alex can't go to suddenly we've got to go somewhere else. So yeah, we're, I'm going to throw a big party and then thank everybody and have a meal on me from, from my cow. Look at that. Yeah, you, you seem to be extremely self aware. I try to be try to, you know, I try to do my research. I try to be conscious and make an informed decision.

Speaker 1: This episode is also supported by Focus. Focus is working on independent and international standards while offering third party for cannabis businesses. The foundation of cannabis unified standards helps build your business into the best it can be. Focus is not a regulatory agency so they don't engage in enforcement. Rather the organization has 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. Guarding against risk and liability all while protecting your Ip. Go to focus standards.org. I am at solstice. Yes sir. This is solstice. I, you know, we found a place it happens to be our fulfillment. Yeah, so there's a. there's a ton of stuff here. Yeah. I mean I almost quite literally,

Speaker 4: I would assume we have at least a metric ton of cannabis in this room, which is fun. It's nice. It's all labeled appropriately. According to state law to sunset Sherbert, nine digit ubi, identifier barcode. Love it, all of it. Totes, totes, totes, love racks, and racks and racks. Most of the interviews don't smell this way. It smells really good in here. I think it does. Yeah, it does. Kind of sweet. We're next to a, some granddaddy purple and sunset Sherbert. So it's a kind of Creamy, fruity, nice, deep, velvety tones.

Speaker 5: There you go. So we've, we're, we've got the right mindset for this conversation. I agree. And uh, when I called you up, I said I'm coming to Seattle and you said great. And so we got to talk. Well, don't stay. Come. You can't stand right. Yeah, it's too many people. It's the opposite of Hotel California. You didn't it so not to. Not to quote the eagles, but we could get into some trouble. We would, we would get into some trouble. So, so speaking of getting into some trouble, I mean, that's my life, right? So, so I'm here, uh, you know, it's, it's hemp fest and that's fantastic. Yeah. Twenty five years, 25 years, which is amazing. And it will be talking to Viv and John, but there you go. There's John, there's a John Davis and he no longer runs a dispensary here in Washington state. So that's correct. You being a grower, you being a, you know, a provider if you will note, we're producer, producer, processor license. Um, let's get into that. So July first, everything changed, everything changed. And you shared with me how much it changed here. Tell me about the business the day before July first and the day after,

Speaker 4: you know, the day, you know, June 30th verse A. July first wasn't a huge difference. Conceptual, conceptually, obviously, you know, you really have to jump back years and years and years. It goes back to 2011. And uh, most people don't realize what, why we were in this situation where we're in one month ago or just over one month ago was a years in the making and it all back to our legislative session in 2011. It was a full term legislative session for those of, you don't know, Washington state works on a, basically a part time volunteer legislature. So we do short and long sessions alternating every year, a long session going to July, starting in January. So we get seven months and months. Yeah. And that's if it's an extended session, which uh, it, uh, it always is, but short sessions are only three months, four months. So the whole year, whole year we've got to get it all done then.

Speaker 4: And essentially what happened during that, that long session is we attempted in very pragmatically, holistically and rationally attempted to regulate medical cannabis. So we had a pretty burgeoning medical cannabis industry at that time. [inaudible] we're up and running just spencer's were up and running. We went from three underground dispensary's in the beginning of 2010 to probably a dozen, a couple dozen, uh, up in the open without a lot of legal protection. And so we attempted to follow suit of our, I guess now kind of our sister, state of Colorado who appropriately regulated their medical cannabis system in 2010. And they actually changed their constitution and they did a really rational, appropriate action. So we tried to do the same and we did that by working with the industry or providers at the time, worked with the legislature, particularly Senator Genie Kohl Welles, who had been a champion for medical cannabis for quite some time and we all sat down and we wrote a really good bill and it was such good bill that it made it past our state and it made it past our house and it was on the governor's desk and it was a, uh, it was the first time I'd ever really been politically involved.

Speaker 4: So it was a heavy lift. It was incredibly exciting. Um, it was, it was very invigorating. I always likened it to, that was when my, the activism candle or flame in me got turned on and uh, we thought the governor was going to be cool. It wasn't cool. Uh, so she sexually vetoed the bill. A very aggressively, didn't completely view it, but sexually vetoed it because she was fearful and there's a lot of conspiracy theory of was it intentional that she pushed for this answer from the Department of Justice and from law enforcement because of her law enforcement background, but essentially she said that the doj stated that state employees were not protected from arrest if they set up a regulated system. So she said, look, I can't put state employees at risk of arrest and prosecution for being engaged in this criminal activity and we can't do it.

Speaker 4: Nope. Done over. And that is 2010, 2011. So we did have one, which was the, which was rather light. It wasn't a whole lot and still to this day, the federal government says that they could arrest them, prosecute if you're not doing well. No, you could even. They could go down right now to the liquor and cannabis board and arrest people and there's nothing that the guidance, what does, but always at the end says at any point we can, we can do whatever we want. And that was her opinion. Yeah, it was her opinion, she actually asked the question to the doj like, and there's again conspiracy theories in regard to, well, you know, was it, did she have a private conversation with them asking for this particular answers so she could say so she could veto it. Whatever it is, she vetoed it. That's what put us in a situation of July, first 2016.

Speaker 4: So we had a, uh, a very haggard law but just basically scraps of fabric that we stitched together and we took a uh, a bay, basically four lines, um, and it was per the request of King County Prosecutor Dance Outer Bird. He essentially said, look how you been providing access to people because no longer legal, because previous to that what we were doing, we were, we were uh, it was called the one patient at a time model. And what we would do is, you know, someone would come into an access point, you'd sign them up as a, as, as you being their care provider at 11, oh five. And then they would buy cannabis from you or donate for canvas, right. Donations, can't forget that. And then at 1115 you would sign out and you would no longer be their care provider. So that provided a legal conduit.

Speaker 4: They went away, they tightened that loophole up with this law. It was Senate bill 50, 73, got away with that care providers, only one every 15 days, etc. Etc. But it gavE us a, a bit of language for collective gardens. And it essentially said like, people could collectively work together and cultivate, you know, up to 45 plants per collective garden, cetera, et cetera. It was like six lines. And so I'm king county prosecutor said, you know, look, you don't get one patient at a time anymore. I don't want to rest your clients, But I will. Uh, and he'd always been supportive of, of small cooperative access. He understood that people needed to get medicine because it was legal for them to have it. uh, he essentially said, I don't know how this works. Handed it to two lawyers and said, figure it out how it works and come back to me and I'll tell you, I'll give you a thumbs up or thumbs down.

Speaker 4: Well, those two lawyers were actually lawyers in mind. It was a douglas hyatt and erin pelli to a very respected individuals, uh, in the medical cannabis community and phenomenal lawyers and they basically brought it back to myself in a small group and said, guys, we're not experts. You're the experts. How does this work? Figure it out. So we sat down in a small group of us for about a week and we modeled out how this law could work in order to provide safe access and make legitimate medication and really kind of like in a, in a sidestep way, regulate the industry. Uh, and because that was all of our goals was to have a regulated system that we could provide a medicine to people as well as the providers could be safe, that I could trust and investment into something or I could trust that I wouldn't be arrested when I go home.

Speaker 4: Uh, so we wrote the collective garden model and it was the aggregated collective garden model and that basically that gave the framework for commercial operations. And that's what upset a lot of people. Um, and so you went from having three underground dispensary's to many hundreds. I mean, we and the, it we, it was, it was partly a king county's stance as the prosecutor stance and then it was the city of seattle who really kind of opened pandora's box. So in 2011 just after the sexual veto, just after redeveloped as aggregated model, like within a month, uh, the city of seattle built a, what we called the white board task force on medical marijuana. And essentially it was, it was a group of industry representatives, patients, providers, uh, and the city. So you had a city council members, you had mayors office, you had legal, you had a city attorney's office, you had dpd, you had like really all kind of the main pillars of what makes a city run.

Speaker 4: And they're like, look, we're supportive of you guys. Obviously you need to provide this as cannabis to people. But like how do you do it? Like, how do we let you do it when you, it's not exactly clear that you're allowed to do it. And so the city of seattle jumped on one of the first in the nation to write an ordinance saying that, look, if you're in the business of medical cannabis, like we're cool with it, we have no authority to regulate you, but we're going to use normal code to regulate you. So if you're going to be in the business of it, you're going to be like any normal business. And that was, you know, looking back and really wasn't much. It was just a kind of whereas ordinance, but it was monumental for 2011 and that just blew the lid off. Everybody was opening a shop.

Speaker 4: Everybody was growing, you went from grows that were, you know, legal, the biggest being 30 plants now you had more multicolored plant rows, which was massive at the time. And it allowed people to actually, you know, be a, be a business and in engaging commercial operation. And so solstice took advantage of that, uh, and, and worked with the city to develop it. And that's really, we built solstice that exact same time that all this happened. We founded solstice in 2011 in the middle of the legislative session because we believe that there was going to be an opportunity to provide legitimate medication to legitimate patients because there was going to be this framework, so we just had to kind of stitch it all back and we followed the letter of the law and went so far as developing a self regulatory organization called the ccsc right at the bequest of city hall and I said, look, we can't regulate you. You regulate yourselves, show us who the good actors are, and it allowed us an opportunity to self police to elevate the industry and it worked really well.

Speaker 5: Well, and to you and john and jeremy.

Speaker 4: Exactly. All, all, all the main players from the beginning, from john at nwp arc, jeremy at cpc, you had the dockside, you had a. Yup. And you had new leaf and dama and you know, kind of what became the first brands of Washington state. I'm just kind of coming together and saying, look, we want to do this. We want to do it right. We didn't get the regulation. We ask for. We're going to regulate ourselves and it was, it was really, it was a really fun time. It was really exciting and we thought that we were going to be able to go back to the legislature again because our governor was a lame duck when she did that. So she was out of office. We thought we were going to be able to go right back and go, look, let's regulate it like we were supposed to. That did not happen. So we tried year after year after year to appropriately regulate it. And one of the big things that came of it was we got this new shiny toy called [inaudible]. Sure. So I passed the next year. Uh, so one twelfth. Yeah. So we got one short session legislation legislature, which they were pretty tired of us because it was a lot. Everybody lifted a lot and they're like, look, we really don't work this hard on this type of issue this many times. So like

Speaker 5: back later may never come back at all. Went fine. Like you got your stores were like, yeah, but we want regulation, regulation, regulation.

Speaker 4: And uh, so then that happened. And then 502 comes along, I remember it's so shiny

Speaker 5: and this fixes every regulations we want regular, we want regulated and we're like, well, but like that's not the same thing. So like ones for sick people once were people trying to have fun. Right.

Speaker 4: And, and they're like, yeah, but like let's figure out this shiny thing beCause there's a lotta. There's a lotta good framework here.

Speaker 5: Yeah. And let, let's now kind of dive in there, beCause you pointed it out that amendment 64 in Colorado was an amendment to their constitution. It was built in or as we like to say, baked into the law. Yup. One hundred percent. This was an initiative, correct? This was an adult use initiative and simply adult use. Yes, yes, of course. A, colorado's was a adult use as well, but, but done by amendment. Yes. Well, and uh, uh,

Speaker 4: you know, this gets into kind of the nerdy components of policy and it turns out Colorado and Washington are set up very differently. So we can't amend our constitution like they can, they, they basically can ratify their constitution. We can. And so their medical law was an amendment to their constitution as well, and so the that and that puts a lot more teeth behind what it is they had in place and you didn't. And then now you go into [inaudible] without actual medical regulation. Exactly. And so when, when anyone ever asked me like, well, why is Colorado doing better in Washington? It's that exact reason. Yep. They regulAted medical in 2010 and we failed to appropriately regulate medical in 2011. If we would have regulated properly, would that bIll, who knows what would be going on right now? I think it'd be a very different world for Washington.

Speaker 4: I think Colorado would be in the same situation, um, which is I thinK a pretty damn good situation. Right? So that's really that when you bake it all down, that's what's left in 2010, 2011. And it's really the, you know, the Conversation you and I have. I want us to be a lesson to every other state of. If you don't have your house in order and you don't have medical properly regulated, you're going to get steamrolled and that's what happened to us. And so they continued to focus on and when I say they, regulators, legislators, all those types of folks started to focus on this new shiny thing and it's like, hey guys, but like we didn't do the medical ones. So remember, we still need to regulate medical. We didn't do our homework. Yeah. Did not show our work. And, and so now you're starting to, um, set up this new system.

Speaker 4: Wow. This other system isn't functional. Uh, and you're trying to say, oh, well, is it going to be the same? Is it going to be separate? Can we do it in the same place like colorado's doing? Um, and they're like, well, it's not really regulated. I'm like, yeah, I'm totally aware it's not regulated. Can we please regulate it? And they're like, wow, that's not really our job. And this is all about adult use. This is all about adult use. That's how initiative five. Oh, two was sold. Yep. That's how it was passed. That's how it was originally implemented. This has nothing to do with medical cannabis. This is simply for adult use. Medical is its own law. So let's go through the two July 1st because before this past July 1st, there was the initial july, which, um, why don't you take it from your perspective. People have heard my perspective.

Speaker 4: So the initial July 1st it was kind of business as usual, you know, we use it for medical, at least for medical. You stIll had medical shops, there had been some widdling down, you know, over the years you had a municipalities draft ordinances passed legislation. So like the city of seattle I think has done six ordinances. We had done for, by that point of zoning, which allowed us to build the first ever fully permitted grow in the state. You had, um, special compliancy thing. So like it was the, it was being worked out the best as it could without state. Top down regulation. Sure. With one exception being, and again, we are in a facility, so if people are working exactly. We've heard doors closing a much louder everywhere. the lottery. Yeah. So let's talk about the lottery one more time. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, how Washington state decided to issue its retail store licenses for adult use was on lottery.

Speaker 4: Um, and that is for, for multiple reasons. One, they didn't feel like they could transition over medical operators just because there were medical operators because they were not regular because there was no state license. There was no, there was nothing to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to say, of to minds. Correct. And their minds there, if they wanted to work at it, they absolutely could. They could have done a merIt based system. They could have interviewed people, they could have investigated, but that they did not want to do that. Um, and so what they did, instead of issuing a, an abundance of licenses because they didn't want people to fail because they believed if people failed, then there would be diversion. Which is a big no, no. Or selling to minors, which is a type of diversion again, a big no, no. Um, they, they wanted to keep their hands around it and they figured, well, if we can, we can always loosen regulation, we can rarely, rarely tighten it back up.

Speaker 4: Right. And they took the alcohol model for Washington state and you know, alcohol is a lot like cannabis. It's a patchwork of different laws across the country and counties. Washington state was, I'm a retail monopoly for alcohol until 2011. So we had state owned stores. Um, and so it was just after the liquor and cannabis board who this was handed to just after they lost a lot of jobs because all their stores went away. Thanks. Costco, at the time they were the liquor control board, correct. They were the liquor control board and so they basically, they cut and paste a model that didn't work, that was literally taken away from them by the citizens. I because that was another initiative to basically privatized liquor sales in Washington state. They figured, you know what, you know what me storage reached out, we should have the exact number of stores that we had to sell liquor.

Speaker 4: Three hundred and 34 stores. So that's a small amount of stores for a lot of operations and so they were like, well, you know, if we do a merit based system we could get sued and it's a lot of work and mind you, I'm, we were part of this whole process. So we were on the liquor camps boards, kind of ad hoc advisory team. They used our facility as the model for all the cultivation rules. We were working with them on all of these thoughts and they, they used us quite a bit in the beginning to understand how to approach this. And they said, well the only fair way we could do it as a lottery and we're like, that doesn't feel fair, but okay and mind you, we're all still kind of believing that medical is going to get regulated properly and we're going to sort that out.

Speaker 4: YeaH, of course. Why wouldn't it? We've done everything else so far. And so you were all kind of like, ah, that's how you're going to do it. And then it became this kind of rat race and they, they, they didn't really vet like, well, do you only have one lottery ticket or do you have 30 lottery tickets and how many straw men are doing this and so on and so forth. And all you had to do was have an affidavit from a landlord that location was viable for you to lease or own. And uh, there were, there were applications that went in with 20 different of the same address. So let's just say that that got stacked a little bit and the lottery happened. And of course, with every single state lottery we've ever seen from arizona's cha lottery, to, uh, to the New York lottery, whatever it may be, it doesn't always work perfectly.

Speaker 4: So there was some fallout associated to it, but the 334 stores were issued based on geographics, population, cetera, et cetera. Uh, and some people who put in for them who had high levels of merit did not. When I'm in some people with no merit one, right? That's a lottery. That's how lottery's work. Precisely lottery, right? And uh, so then the, those got issued a previous to that producer processor license were issued. There was no cap on that, there was just a window of when you could apply, it was only a 30 day window. So if you miss that window, you're on the outside. And in fairness they had a similar, a 30 day window in Colorado. but go on. Yes, yes. Well that. And that was to transition and so on and so forth. And there were some people who really believed that it wasn't going to affect medical.

Speaker 4: So you had legitimate operators, producers, processors and retailers not apply, not even apply, not even try for the lottery, not even opening the functioning store. I do. This is what I do over here and this has nothing to do with it, right. Nothing to do with it. And I'm paying taxes. Okay, cool. Yeah, yeah. And that everything is above board. And that was, that's like one of my most like nails on a chalkboard, uh, feelings of when people are like, well, medical didn't even pay taxes. Like, no, we were paying taxes. We, there was a ruling from the department of revenue. We pay local and state sales tax. Anybody who didn't do it got fine, got penalized and paid it. Yeah. So if you were running a business and you were in the open, you were paying taxes period. And it's just so easy for so many people to continue.

Speaker 4: Well they weren't even paying taxes. No, no, no. If yoU'd like to see my tax bill and you'd like to see all my reseller permits and then all of those people and how much taxes they paid, we can do that. And John Davis had his pieces of paper up on his wall. So this is exactly how much tax you are paying on the every time that you're purchasing. Every time. Yeah. And so it's like okay, so whatever. So the system was kind of rolling along. That's 2013 that the lottery happened and you know, we're still in the business of medical cannabis still growing the business. Even solstice, we wanted to engage in both market places. So we decided we were going to. So we entered in that 30 day window. We tried very hard to convince the lcb to allow medical to transition over or to do shared facilities like you can do in Colorado.

Speaker 4: They said, absolutely not. I said, but look, look how legitimate our facility is. You actually came here to learn how to regulate it here. And he said, well, you're the only ones like that so we can't do it. So the reason was what? It would be too difficult to determine who was legitimate and who is not like we know you're legitimate. It would be too difficult to regulate regulators saying that. Yeah, because it'd be too difficult to like look at grows and know who was worthwhile and who wasn't and we, you know, we can't have you combing. THey didn't want us to commingle product because it's like, well, you know, how do we know if you're not funneling medical grown in or funneling recreationally grown out. And it's like, well it's all barcoded and attract and exactly. For those who are listening and not here with us, I am pointing to a 10 pound tote of cannabis that has a barcode.

Speaker 4: That's what, two and a half inches long on it, so we're tracking it and it's barcoded twice. There's a tag and there's a barcode and I'm sure the cannabis in the receptacles inside our barcode as well, so. Okay. And we were able to show them all that stuff with our medical before because we tracked everything. We did see to sale since 2011 since we started. So they're like, well it's too difficult. Okay. It's too difficult. So what do we have to do? They say, well you have to open up another facility or you have to convert this facility and abandoned medical. And we're like, well we're never going to abandon medical. That's why you're able to stand here. So no, I guess we're going to open another facility. So that started us on a multi year path of trying to go into greenhouses and we went to a county that was good.

Speaker 4: That ended up going really, really bad and we had properties bought out from under us and etc. Etc. And so we finally got this facility that we're sitting in here again in seattle, in the sodo, which is where our medical facility was. Um, and so we started building on that while medical still happening, um, and through those years in 2015, it was July 1st, 2014, you start going, everything's great now. You were in 2015. And what happens, there were a couple of producers and processors who are like, ah, I didn't get my million dollar check every day for the last month. and I'm kinda confused because like, you make a ton of money in the, everybody in cannabis makes millions. And where's my million dollar check? Why am I checks? Where are, they're really rich, right? I don't understand who, why is this happening? I know why it's happening. Those damn medical marijuana market, they're stealing market share.

Speaker 4: But if they weren't here, I, I'd get my mIllion dollar check every single day. Clockwork. And, and I'm like, eh, and mind you, I am. I work with a lot of these people because I'm in both components of the industry and um, people are silly enough to think that. I know what I'm talking about. And so I'm like, what are you talkIng about, man? Like we're not one, we're not that big of a big of a market. And then to like we were here first, which isn't the best argument in the world. Um, built the industry. Yeah. And kinda like did argument, did all that stuff and like wrote the rules so you were able to have the. And uh, so yeah. And um, so we, we, uh, tried to rationalize, uh, and, and speak a sense of these people there wasn't sense to be had, so they decided to buy a senator.

Speaker 4: Um, so they, they, uh, the, the main person behind it, but a lot of money behind it bought a really top tier lobbyist and then they bought a pretty decent senator, um, when our senate went republican control. So that senator kerry this a patient protection actor, I forget the name of it. It was senate bill 50 slash 52. I know him by that number. sure. Of course. Fifty slash 52. And uh, so that bill originally started out as all medicals done over goodbye. we're closing all of them and patients will have to go to a, to a rec stores and they really can't grow anything anymore. They sure. Sure not groW together and well, we'll let them grow together. We'll let them do cooperative cultivation, but they can't do it within 50 miles of the store. Cow. okay. So basically three places in the state you could, you could grow your own.

Speaker 4: And uh, it was definitely a, a bit of a jaw dropper when the first time I read that, that language. And so, uh, that geared up to be the most painful and honestly disgusting legislative session I've ever been a part of. So we fought tooth and nail just to claw back opportunity and we tried to kill the bill but it was not dying and they wanted to do something about it because, I mean, I'm not naive to say that all medical cannabis was perfect. I'm not, I'm not foolish enough to make the statement that no one was taking advantage of it. Absolutely. There's people taking advantage of [inaudible] right now. There's no doubt. But I wanted to preserve something and I didn't want to throw the baby out with the bath water and they really did. And their reasoning being that, uh, we have a regulated market now that market is not regulated.

Speaker 4: Correct. So how can thIs, how can this exist if not regularly? Yep. And as well as the cannabis is safer in the regulateD market, it's easier or be quote unquote better access and better players. There's ta, you know, they're paying taxes because medical is not paying taxes. Um, as well as tHere was this business component of people saying, well, I invested millions of dollars into a recreational and you havE to protect my investment because you can't allow someone to illegally oPerate in the same industry with market. That's when they called us the black market. Right? And I tried to convince them that no, the black market, the actual illicit markets are really strong. And that's the one who's taking your money because medicals may be taking 20, 30 percent of market share maybe

Speaker 5: from patients that need medicine. Incidentally,

Speaker 4: of course, now, are there people who were not real patients? For sure. Everybody's faked a doctor's note in their life and some people like myself were ones who got a bad rap. Nobody thinks that I'm a real medical cannabis patient, but I've, I've, I've broken four vertebrae in my back. I've had spinal surgery, have a. Can't stand up normally, but, but you're fun to hang out, have fun hanging out with. That's why I'm a fit young man is what all the old senators oyster. You're so fit and young. You can't be a medical cannabis patient. I was like, I didn't know you were a doctor and uh, so yeah, they needed to be tightened up, no doubt, but they were just like, no, let's just get rid of it. Well, it's just totally get rid of it. There's no point. And I get it. Like if you're in the business of selling widgets and someone else's selling widgets and you can generate a witch hunt against them, close their opportunity to sell widgets, and then you sell all the widgets.

Speaker 5: It makes business sense. So I'm very happy to be here to get your perspective is what we have to say here, just because it's obviously coming from europe.

Speaker 4: Yes, yes. This is, this is how I remember the series of events,

Speaker 5: which, um, so we'll just leave that there, but now let's get to July 1st, uh, which you know, did just happen and let's actually talk about a cannabis as medicine. Let's actually talk about the dosage that certain patients, cancer patients a need. um, and let's talk about the intellectual property of bud tenders and a medical dispensary owners that, where is that?

Speaker 4: So, so that was 2014. We passed the bill. We managed to get some good components in it were, um, they were required to get more retailers, um, because 334 couldn't support the market as it is. So they had to, they almost doubled the number. Um, and all of those retail was going to be, that was going to be given a under a merit based system, right? Three different tiers of merit. We had a kind of a closed door deal that producer processors, we're going to be allowed to transition as well, but it wasn't written into the law, but it was explicitly written in the law retailers transition from medical over to bring that knowledge base, that expertise of bud tenders and operators, medical utility, right perspective. Right. Um, and so that was 2014. It starts rolling me start working it out. We start writing the rules and the rags.

Speaker 4: And uh, we basically ran into another lottery system for retail. It was whoever was basically first in line and the merit wasn't really merit. It was. Can you demonstrate that somebody worked for a collective garden previous to 2012? Can you demonstrate that someone not even necessarily yourself applied for recreational license. And remember we had plenty of people who never applied because they were in the business of the recreational, right. and three, can you demonstrate you're current on your taxes? Because most of us were. And so they start kind of handing out these secondary, secondary round of licensing and part of the rules and regulations that came together of what you know would be medical cannabis, that, which was the determination of the department of health is that all cannabis and medical cannabis and medical cannabis is all cannabis, which I wholeheartedly agree with that concept.

Speaker 4: I think you can provide medical relief. They're all types of cannabis, not just cbd or not just this or not just that. Um, uh, so it was a rather rational approach and what they said is that a bud tenders and you had to get a medical endorsement and all of your people had to be trained in order to be able to provide a consulting for medical cannabis need. So that then that's all happened actually, like kinda rather well from that part of the system has been ruled out rather. Well I'm not. All the people who've got these stores were great. The city of seattle is a perfect example of the 21 additional licenses that were drafted or granted to. We're at actual existing medical cannabis dispensaries in the city of seattle. Right. So they didn't really, they didn't really work hard enough to make sure that legitimate providers were transitioned over.

Speaker 5: Yeah. And you know, john has shared on this podcast what he did, you know, he was first online actually. No. And this happened with the paperwork that happened with the paperwork. Well, and then now here we are. So yes. Oscar is also kind of shared the fact that he did have a, you know, he had to shut, you know, building a downtown building, be a still, you know, still operational and he has trained and certified some of those budtenders. Yep. But, um, it's very much so

Speaker 4: playing the game, like in, I don't think john was willing to play the game as others were. And, and you know, my hat's off to him because, you know, john really, he taught me how to do this as far as being an activist and a business operator and how your ethics are the most important thing because john comes from an age where if you do not have integrity, if you do not have ethics, you go to prison or they kill you, so to not great outcomes. So he played it straight up and no one else did. And if you're playing a game straight up and no one else is bull, guess what's going to happen? You're gonna

Speaker 5: lose. So, uh, talk about, uh, the, what has happened to solstice

Speaker 4: a before and after. Yeah. So, um, before we were, were doing just fine, you know, it really are. The business really trickled down as the writing was on the wall that there weren't going to be these legitimate outlets transition. Um, patients were very disgruntled and very angry about what had had transpired. Rightfully so. So they were very jaded. People stopped getting recommendations. There was all this misinformation out there. If there's no such thing as medical marijuana one anymore, it's completely gone. You can't even go to the stores anymore. And so there was definitely a shrinking of the market in addition to it. There were people who were not legitimate who were now going to recreational source, which is great. I always identified seeing a dip in medical marijuana sales. Um, when recreational came along properly, there's no doubt about it. Okay. Um, because you just, you just have to know that, right?

Speaker 4: Yeah. Yeah. And so you things we're doing okay. We were working, we were working with the state and the regulators, etc. This law passed many people, senators, regulators, so on and so forth. We're like, well, there's no way that we would close solstice. We will absolutely going to make sure. We're like, well, you told us to build another facility and we did and we're running it, and so we're running medical and we're running a recreational and you're only giving us one license in recreational, how, what? Like, what are you going to do? It's not in the law. They're like, well, we're going to work it out, alex. Don't worry about it. How we can't, you know, you, you can't let that not transitioned over. Okay. All right. And, uh, we continue to sit down and meet with department health, continue to sit down with the lcb and say, okay, well how are we transitioning?

Speaker 4: Well, we're, you know, we're working on this, but were your, you're like, next in line, we're going to figure it out. We know, You know, get us a list of this or get us a list of that. Give us, uh, how many, how many square feet of canopy is it? How many? It's like, okay, here you go, here you go. And it was always this kind of, well, it was always an excuse. There's always a day late and a dollar short with them. And the writing was really on the wall for solstice when john had to sue the lcb, right? So the most legitimate operator I have ever known in my life, you're the one who has written and knows policy better than I could ever imagine. If I committed tHe rest of my life to knowing policy, I couldn't get as good as john. I'm the best location all like every, every, you know, 90 degree angle of compliance john had and he wasn't getting a license and I'm like, oh shit, they're not going to give us a license.

Speaker 4: I kinda realized it right around christmas in 2015. It was just like, there's no way they're transitioning us. There's no way they're going to do it right there. Nothing of their previous behavior. And there's no. Even if there was a legal framework in the law that said they had to, they still wouldn't. They're not doing it for john. I have to assume that's right. I was just going to say, just my personal conversations with john. That's exactly when a, that's just when it started to get stark that the conversation started to just sound like this is not going well. No. And it was a really weird, like it sticks out in my mind. John and I bumped into each other at a steak house outside of the bathroom and I was like, around christmas time and I was like, so what's going on? He's like, well, I've gotta sue the lcb.

Speaker 4: And like, what do you mean you had to sue though? It's very vivid in my mind and that's when it, like I had a cold sweat run over me. I was like, we're Fucked. We're, we're, we're, we're not. I don't know if we're on these things, but we're, we're fine. Okay. Hbo is cool with it. Right, exactly right. That's exactly right. Streaming live on hbo. um, and so yeah, it became very clear that we weren't going to get an opportunity to transition the facility. And So we had to make some really hard decisions of do we get a straw man with a license and plug someone else's license in there and operate illegitimately no, we're not really comfortable with that. Um, do we just close it and walk away? Well, no, we're not really comfortable in that. Put a lot of money into that facility and it's a landmark in our opinion.

Speaker 4: So first ever in the state it, it has, it has a lot of history to it. And then it's, well, what do we do? So we knew that we could not continue to operate it because that would be illegal. And we're, we're not in the business of doing things explicitly illegal. Semi illegal gray. I'm alright. I can live with gray violations. Will schedule one no problem. But like explicitly on all corners, illegal, I can't do that. I can't sleep like that. Like I have a family. I liked it. I'm a big fan of sleeping and not peeking out the blinds and up to public now. So there's no way we could do that. And so we decided we were going to honor our commitment to all of our medical patients that we're going to continue to have cannabis available until the very last day. Yup. But that didn't mean our facility ran.

Speaker 4: So we did our last harvest in march of 2016, kind of trying to tail out the remaining cannabis and we shut the facility down and had to lay off 52 on people. So here's 52 people that have jobs, good paying jobs, legitimate jobs, and good paying jobs that now are unemployed because of the decisions that were made, you know, here. Correct. With, uh, with the way that we wanted to run a, the industry. Um, yeah, it was a, it was a shame. it was, it was a really sad day. I mean, over the, the five years that we've had solstice and been running it, I think we've, you know, obviously, you know, the people who have come and gone and I think we've only had to really had to fire maybe five people over the years. Um, so here's 10 x 10 x and they didn't do anything wrong. They didn't do anything. Nothing, nothing wrong. And that's the, that is the hardest thing in the world to do, of every challenge I've had as a, as an entrepreneur, that, that was the most

Speaker 5: absurd and gut wrenching experience I've ever had. So, so staying with these folks, all cannabis is medical cannabis. That's the theory. Yup. Uh, these folks are tending to that medical cannabis, however, that medical cannabis is no longer available. Correct. Now, if I'm a medical patient with a medical card, yes, and I want to get all cannabis, which is a medical, now what do I do?

Speaker 4: So now you can, you can go to a couple hundred different stores that have a blue little dot on a map.

Speaker 5: Great. And so the bud tenders are now certified and they can talk to me about cannabis as medicine, correct or incorrect?

Speaker 4: Just they can. They can. Because previously in our recreational law bud tenders, we're not allowed to discuss any curative or wellness privacy. Correct. Now they can, if you have a medical endorsement and you have the training, so if you're a bud tender who's gone through these couple of special courses and your retail store has an endorsement and you can have that conversation, which is great. Like I'm, I'm actually one of the people who sits on the other side of the line. Yeah.

Speaker 5: It says it's not that bad now. Well let's just talk about dosage. is everything okay with. I can get my 50 milligrams.

Speaker 4: So as a, as a general use person, you can, uh, how adequate medical context edibles in Washington state is 10 milligrams per serving, 100 milligrams per container or package medical, you can get 50 milligrams per serving, 500 milligrams per package. Wonderful. Now, is that a, is that bounty across the state? I don't think so. I don't know. I'm, I don't consume edibles, so it's not something that really registers to me. In theory, some stores have those available at this point. The way I look at it is the products took a three year step back.

Speaker 5: Well, that's here. Yeah. In theory, some, uh, some dispensaries have those products available on July 1st. Those products were not avail.

Speaker 4: They were not available now. So let's talk about that. So, um, as with everything in government, it's a day late and a dollar short and we were supposed to have a, a, a, an online registry system. We were supposed to have these products, but you know, the rules weren't figured out for the production time so producers could not make them. Um, so alison, I spoke to shut down for a little bit, right? yup, yup. Yeah. Plenty of people shut down because it just couldn't do like, what am I supposed to do? They told us three months before july what we were supposed to do and it turns out takes a lot longer than that to make one of these products like just for us to cultivate a plant from cutting to finished product that we're sitting next to you right now. And that's six months and that's an identified product that's very much so figured out with our operations plan if we're r and d and developing new product and take two years just.

Speaker 4: Okay. So there wasn't an appropriate timeline. The online system was not online the morning of jUly first. And so, which, I mean we took a huge step backwards. We went from a state with medical cannabis to a state without medical cannabis. um, so I, I look at it is we literally went from where we were at 25 states now, right? Sure. Uh, we went down to 24. Um, does that mean it's over? No, absolutely not. It will come back. It's coming back right now as we speak. The, the product is now coming to mark. Correct. Okay. So that's fantastic. So now I can get my dosage correct. Who pays the excise tax? You do only the medical patients. right? So here's, this is my biggest front to back is all cannabis, isn't medical cannabis. Yes, correct. And, but the only people that pay an excise tax on their cannabis or medical, everyone pays an excise tax.

Speaker 4: Everyone does. Yes. In Washington state there's a 37 percent excise tax pay. Everyone pays it. It's a sin tax. Thirty seven percent. One of the highest tax things in the world. I'm on top of that. There's a stow state and local sales tax. So like here in the city of seattle, it's nine point seven percent sure. So your effective tax rate on cannabis is going to be 46 point seven percent. Yeah. Uh, so 46 point seven percent tax. So if you buy $10 of cannabis at $4 and sixty seven cents goes to the government, it's a little steep. Um, and one of the nice little nuggets that they gave us in 50 slash 50 to compromise is that will patients don't have to pay local and state sales tax. So as a patient, instead of 47 dot a percent tax, 40 six.seven percent tax, you're only going to have to pay 37 percent tax so you have to pay the state excise tax, which makes no sense to me, especially in a state where we have no tax on medicine.

Speaker 4: Right? It's clearly understood law for us. How I'm. Okay. So you don't have to pay state tax sales tax essentially, but you got to pay excise tax. okay. So that's, you know, I can cry and my, my drink over and over again about what has happened to us, what upsets me most is what's still happening to us. And that's that patients are paying 37 percent tax on their medicine. What, uh, what was it before july? First it was a state and local. So anywhere from like eight point five to nine point eight. So that's the new 37 percent that I am paying as a patient. Correct? Correct. Everybody pay, everybody pays it as a patient, I now pay it. Whereas where you were not correct and there was a lot of discrepancy of did patients even have to legally paid the 10 percent or the the local sales tax previously because they don't really.

Speaker 4: It's medicine and medicine is not taxed to the state, so that's the biggest frustration. Do I believe that patients will be okay in the end? Yes. I do believe that. I believe that with the regulation that now exists around cannabis in this state, we have a stronger opportunity to build medical utility to make better products to, to experiment with new varietals of cannabis. That's all absolutely true. But from a, you know, a, I guess a, a wellness perspective as a, a mental wellbeing perspective. We took a huge step backwards. People are very jaded right now. People are very upset and it was, it was because of the greed of a few, which is just so incredibly frustrating. And what I think we're all having to come to terms with right now is that we thought that we were going to be able to keep cannabis on the outside of the normal world and we did for a long time and we thought that we could regulate it and still keep it on the outside.

Speaker 4: but at the end of the day, and this is something, this is this a, you know, a circle I've been squaring over the past couple of years in my own mind and reflecting that we wanted to be treated like anyone else. Patients wanted to be treated like a patient. Business owners wanted to be treated like a business owner. And it turns out we live and participate in a very capitalistic society that's very corporation focused and very consumer consumers and focused. And that's what's happening to us right now. So all being pushed into that fund and the, you know, what, like a, that's a whole dIfferent show. Yeah, absolutely. And I can do, do that over whatever, whatever, and for sure I'll bring whatever. But uh, what bothers me, I think is that with this 37 percent or 46 point seven percent or whatever number you want to say, we've got the black market now back in the game here.

Speaker 4: Yeah. Talk, talk through that. So a statement that I make very regularly and I wholeheartedly believe in the statement, is that legal marijuana did so much for the black market, like the illicit market is stronger than it has ever been as a result of us normalizing legalizing and regulating cannabis. And you mean I five zero two. I think in general it was very much very disconcerting, very much so. Specifically in Washington. So, so as a result, it's not the case in Colorado. Okay. That is very, very true. Very true. But it wasn't the beginning to this. Okay. Let's talk about the state. I know more about. So, uh, in Washington state how we rolled It out because we didn't have a medical system to transition over. So it took us longer to bring the system online in that vacuum, uh, after we educated everyone about the safe realities of cannabis, we communicated to them that It was okay and you could be an adult.

Speaker 4: We didn't have the product for them in a legal way. So what happened? They just started wanting to buy pot. We told them pat was okay. So they bought pot and they were buying it from an illicit source and you had things like winter spring up that was like a, an illegal delivery service for cannabis that ended up on the cover of the weekly and the stranger and on kIng five news, like, oh my god, they're like literally dragged her here and completely open about it. So we had one this, this normalization effect on consUmers too. We had a tolerance effect on, on law enforcement because the laws are changing. I'm not going to be the, I'm not going to be the guy firing the last shot and world war ii. And so they, they were tolerant of it to a very large degree and the feds kind of stayed off because we're figuring it all out and normally we just hand cases up to the fed unless they're huge cases in that bay come in.

Speaker 4: And so these illegal operators were allowed to operate without fear of arrest or prosecution and they had a huge client base because all these new people who wanted cannabis, they were able to just do really well and we haven't been able to take the market share back away from them even after two years of having this system online. and that's because we have an insanely high tax rate. So like the, the, the price that we deal with cannabis now, I never thought I would deal with it as low as it is. Like it's, it's astronomical how, how a inexpensive I comparison to years ago when you would buy wholesale cannabis for compared to now is night and day because it's being treated like an agricultural product and it's not illegal. So you don't have a thousand percent markup. You, you get a two or three and you're happy because that's better than if I'm going to grow apples.

Speaker 4: I'm working on a four percent margin, right? So people are treating it like a real business now. So before the tax, there's cannabis out there that's $3 a gram. That's, that's amazing times 50 percent, 50 percent. So now you, it's a $6 a gram, which is still great. It's still kind of undercuts the illicit market, but the majority of the illicit market is running off of either illegal home grows or California and it's pretty good cannabis. So they're able to offer pretty good cannabis at a couple bucks cheaper because there isn't that tax. They can still get their illicit market horror, you know, danger markup. And, and if I'm a patient, I don't have to be part of that registry. Correct? Correct. and so you're still satisfying a need because there's, there's a lot of walls that were built to keep people out of engaging in the regulated system and in we still have a, a reality of tolerance.

Speaker 4: So we're, uh, we're still building the plane as we fly. One hundred percent always will. Amazing. Unbelievable on. Do I think we'll be okay in five years? Yeah. I think we'll be okay in five years. Am I frustrated about where we are? Absolutely. I'm frustrated wherever we are. I hate to say it, but the impending doom of July 1st it was kind of anticlimactic like you asked earlier of like, well, the day before and day after it's like, you know what, we knew it was kind of a death of a thousand cuts. It's like it was a slow, slow march to death and uh, it is what it was and we will all try and do our best to make sure the fallout that's happening right now is minimized as much as possible. And at the end of the day, uh, I look at it very simply have, I have two goals, one to make sure that those who need it have a medical alternative. And to those that choose to enjoy with it, no one goes to prison for it. Sure. It's really simple. And are we accomplishing that right now? I'd say, yeah, we're still on the path for both. Are we doing a great job? Are we getting a 96? No, we're not. We're not getting. But I did get through high school with like cs and ds, so. And then I went on to college and get degrees and some say I've managed to build a successful life for myself after getting divorced. So.

Speaker 1: And then, uh, and thank goodness operating in a state that's getting c's and d's comparative to others.

Speaker 4: Exactly. We could be getting asked and asked her bad. So could be getting a's in Colorado. I think getting a b plus. I love to be getting b pluses. We will get beat buses. I mean we are, I think, and obviously I'm biased, but I think Washington state is a phenomenal state. I think there's incredibly intelligent people here. We have some of the largest businesses in the world. Here are some of the smartest minds in the world here. Uh, I think we will figure it out exactly how we do that. I don't know, but I know that I'm going to wake up every morning, put my feet on the floor and get to work and I know a lot of other people are right there with me, so I think we will come out. Okay on the end. It's just how much blood and how much mud is on us in the end. Here we go. We'll keep fighting, mAn. I'll do my best.

Speaker 1: We're happy to have you as a representative here in Washington, making sure that at least we stay above, above, above water. Exactly. Yes. Uh, I guess last question, we'll do a today's soundtrack of your life. The attractor song that's on there for today.

Speaker 4: I, you know what, I've been, uh, I've been listening to a new big graham's album. Oh, it's a big boy of outkast and phantogram oh, it is a phenomenal albums. So any song off of that, whatever speaks to you. Sure. I'm all for it. I'm a, I encouraged the album to everyone. A good friend of mine, uh, one of the best breeders and growers in the world put me onto it. A swamp. We seeds a chrome white, so if anybody's ever enjoyed the white from us, that's them. Phenomenal stuff. Put me onto the album. Great albUm, short album, but really good. So anything, anything off of big grams. I'm with alex schooly. Thank you so much. Thank you so much.

Speaker 1: And there you have Alex Cooley. Very much appreciate it. Alex is time very much appreciate not only him taking us through what's happening now, but how what's happening now is happening now. Great history lesson from alex on the state of Washington. Again, it's not a perfect, but I'm legal cannabis. Thank you so much for listening. very much. Appreciate your time. As always.

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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.