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Ep.187: Aaron Justis, Buds & Roses Part II

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.187: Aaron Justis, Buds & Roses Part II

Ep.187: Aaron Justis, Buds & Roses Part II

With some interesting prognostications, Aaron Justis returns. He discusses what might just happen in cannabis as we move, albeit deliberately, towards legalization nationwide. His focus now though is on the city of Los Angeles as state wide regulations come in to existence. Aaron shares that the year of 2017 is when the work gets done in the city and the state. We move into a conversation around the similarities between cannabis and wine as well as cannabis and coffee…and the potential ultimate outcome of “cannabis as medicine.”

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Aaron justis returns with some interesting prognostications Aaron justis returns. He discusses what might just happen in cannabis as we move all be it deliberately towards legalization. Nationwide is focus now though is on the city of Los Angeles, is statewide. Regulations come into existence. Aeron chairs that the year of 2017 is when the work gets done in the city and the state. We move into a conversation around the similarities between cannabis and wine as well as cannabis and coffee and the potential ultimate outcome of cannabis as medicine. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends of the world economy and if you're into more direct communication, email, engage@Canneseconomy.com. As an introduction, we go back to episode 54 for a bit of a biographical overview. The triumphant return of Aaron Justis.

Speaker 2: I. I've never really talked about this. I was going to post it. I never did, but it comes to mind and why not a girl scout cookies of America did send me a letter a couple years ago and said quit using this name and, but it wasn't my strain or anything. Well, yeah, everybody's got it right. Yet we had won a big competition with it. We got that letter and then I kind of put it to the side and, and haven't heard anything since because I was going to say I saw some girl scout cookies over at medicine man the other day. I bet you did. Yeah, exactly. So Pete Williams showed me, you know, so you know, it was good. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. He knows this stuff. But uh, as far as what's in a name? Yeah. You know, I said I said what he did. J U S T I c e that's justice.

Speaker 2: But for you it's ju. , s t I s. Yep. And then you laid one on me. Yeah. So, um, a lot of people, I don't talk about it often, but I was adopted at two months old and I never knew who my birth parents were anything but a couple of years ago I got my original birth certificate and my birth name is actually Frank Gilbert Goldstein. Well, you know, it's good to have you as a member of the tribe. I guess that's what I hear exactly. But wow, that you just said a lot of different things there. So how did you come upon the original birth certificate? While I was born in Chicago and Cook County and they were one of the toughest places to get your original birth certificate from and a couple of years ago they just basically opened it up so I just requested it and truthfully I was not even sure if I had a different name, you know, I probably had asked my parents and forgot.

Speaker 2: But yeah, it was surprised when I saw it. And you were adopted a as a chair, so you don't remember that, right? Uh, wha, what do you know about the process though? I mean, you know. Well, it's interesting is, yeah, my mother was Jewish and um, but I was adopted through a Lutheran Agency and I'm not really sure how that happened or it just doesn't matter I guess, but, um, that's all I really know about it. My, I have an older brother to my parents that raised me and he's their biological child, but he's kind of a big guy and my mom's and he was a big baby and my mom said I don't want to do that again. I want to adapt. So. Okay. So she ended up with me. All right. And then, uh, your birth parents, uh, is there any connection there? Um, I, I've, I've found out who they are.

Speaker 2: We've talked on facebook and things like that, but nothing, no face to face. Okay, fair enough. So kind of busy, kind of busy doing stuff. We're going to talk all about that. Yeah. Uh, so we'll, we'll leave them over there, but then let's talk about your mother who seems like a, an interesting person to say the least. She gave birth once and said, f that noise say yeah, exactly. And so how did she, uh, you know, come to adopt you? Well, I'm not exactly sure. They just um, applied with an agency and it happened. What was interesting though is my mom is Italian and Swedish and I'm so, so I grew up with a lot of Italian things and that for awhile and you know, it's, I guess somewhat similar to the Jewish culture and it was interesting and my mom, my mom and I kind of looked the same and my brother looks more like my dad and so everyone used to think my brother was the one that was adopted, not me and I, and I think it irritated him a little bit.

Speaker 1: Aaron justis returns with some interesting prognostications Aaron justis returns. He discusses what might just happen in cannabis as we move all be it deliberately towards legalization. Nationwide is focus now though is on the city of Los Angeles, is statewide. Regulations come into existence. Aeron chairs that the year of 2017 is when the work gets done in the city and the state. We move into a conversation around the similarities between cannabis and wine as well as cannabis and coffee and the potential ultimate outcome of cannabis as medicine. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends of the world economy and if you're into more direct communication, email, engage@Canneseconomy.com. As an introduction, we go back to episode 54 for a bit of a biographical overview. The triumphant return of Aaron Justis.

Speaker 2: I. I've never really talked about this. I was going to post it. I never did, but it comes to mind and why not a girl scout cookies of America did send me a letter a couple years ago and said quit using this name and, but it wasn't my strain or anything. Well, yeah, everybody's got it right. Yet we had won a big competition with it. We got that letter and then I kind of put it to the side and, and haven't heard anything since because I was going to say I saw some girl scout cookies over at medicine man the other day. I bet you did. Yeah, exactly. So Pete Williams showed me, you know, so you know, it was good. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. He knows this stuff. But uh, as far as what's in a name? Yeah. You know, I said I said what he did. J U S T I c e that's justice.

Speaker 2: But for you it's ju. , s t I s. Yep. And then you laid one on me. Yeah. So, um, a lot of people, I don't talk about it often, but I was adopted at two months old and I never knew who my birth parents were anything but a couple of years ago I got my original birth certificate and my birth name is actually Frank Gilbert Goldstein. Well, you know, it's good to have you as a member of the tribe. I guess that's what I hear exactly. But wow, that you just said a lot of different things there. So how did you come upon the original birth certificate? While I was born in Chicago and Cook County and they were one of the toughest places to get your original birth certificate from and a couple of years ago they just basically opened it up so I just requested it and truthfully I was not even sure if I had a different name, you know, I probably had asked my parents and forgot.

Speaker 2: But yeah, it was surprised when I saw it. And you were adopted a as a chair, so you don't remember that, right? Uh, wha, what do you know about the process though? I mean, you know. Well, it's interesting is, yeah, my mother was Jewish and um, but I was adopted through a Lutheran Agency and I'm not really sure how that happened or it just doesn't matter I guess, but, um, that's all I really know about it. My, I have an older brother to my parents that raised me and he's their biological child, but he's kind of a big guy and my mom's and he was a big baby and my mom said I don't want to do that again. I want to adapt. So. Okay. So she ended up with me. All right. And then, uh, your birth parents, uh, is there any connection there? Um, I, I've, I've found out who they are.

Speaker 2: We've talked on facebook and things like that, but nothing, no face to face. Okay, fair enough. So kind of busy, kind of busy doing stuff. We're going to talk all about that. Yeah. Uh, so we'll, we'll leave them over there, but then let's talk about your mother who seems like a, an interesting person to say the least. She gave birth once and said, f that noise say yeah, exactly. And so how did she, uh, you know, come to adopt you? Well, I'm not exactly sure. They just um, applied with an agency and it happened. What was interesting though is my mom is Italian and Swedish and I'm so, so I grew up with a lot of Italian things and that for awhile and you know, it's, I guess somewhat similar to the Jewish culture and it was interesting and my mom, my mom and I kind of looked the same and my brother looks more like my dad and so everyone used to think my brother was the one that was adopted, not me and I, and I think it irritated him a little bit.

Speaker 2: Yeah, sure. Which is always fun to find. No brothers. That's, he's my older brother. So too bad. Yeah. And that's the best. I mean, you've got something on him. That's right. Which is fantastic. All right, so we've got a older brother. How many years older is he for years now? How has that relationship? It's good. He lives in northern California. He's a small edible maker in a cook chef. Yeah, he's industry. That's right. That's right. It's a family tradition. I guess I'll just start off starting one. At least. That's right. Northern California or southern California. Yeah. But, uh, you know, when you talk about your mother and father, you're talking about Illinois? Northern Illinois. Oh, one thing about my brother. It's his birthday today, so he probably, he won't hear this today, but happy birthday John. Indeed and John. Yes. Very happy birthday to you. Yeah. I think you're 42 today, is that right?

Speaker 2: Yeah. Congratulations. Enjoy. Take it easy. Exactly. Alright. So, uh, so Illinois, we're in Illinois, Rockford, Illinois, which is about 90 miles west of Chicago and you know, it's a, it's a tough city to grow up in. It's considered the third most dangerous city in America. And um, I saw a lot of the worst things that happened because of the war on drugs and it really motivated me to become an activist when I was about 19 years old and pretty much stuck to that path. So this is a part of the reason is we actually want to get to know you. That's why we kind of go all the way back and do this. Uh, the other reason is to really understand why you're here. You know, who you are, informs what you do. Uh, so you, you talk about the war on drugs and its ill effects in the third most dangerous city in America was very impressive by the way.

Speaker 2: Thank you. Two at the top 25 most dangerous neighborhoods in America as well. Wow. I mean these are, I like to say it. These are good boat fetus. So, uh, which I think might be a redundant, but anyway. Um, you said at age 19, when did you kind of start to figure it out as a young man? What was actually it was, it was Jack Harrison. There's book. Well, I started using cannabis at about 17 doctors. Try to give me a Ritalin for Adhd or add. I know there's a little different. My mom actually worked at the hospital and she was like, no way, you're not taking this. Let's find a different route. And I ended up like leaving my third grade class. I was getting a lot of trouble being energetic and I went into a program called kappa the creative and performing arts and so it's more like dance theater, things like that.

Speaker 2: And I at least did that throughout the rest of grade school, which pretty much helped, but I started using cannabis at about 17 and I don't think I really knew the medical benefits until maybe I was almost 30. I just, I knew I liked it. Um, I knew about the cars, the medical part of the cause was just kind of coming out back then and Jack era was one of the only guys talking about it. Other people just thought he was crazy and. But I think that, that it, it became my medicine, so I really liked it. I saw what alcohol had done to people and I thought, wow, this is way better than that. I know that everyone says it's not the way to go, but I just thought for myself and then I read the emperor wears no clothes, and then I ended up going to norml conferences.

Speaker 2: Then I ended up starting a hemp clothing company called j Dot Wareham clothing company and it was like activist tee shirts and hemp, hemp apparel and that's Kinda how I, how I fell into it. So the, I just want to dot the line here because we went from 17 to 30 and I want to make sure that we know the arc. When did you read the book? Oh, I'm about 19. Yeah. So cannabis use and then you started to kind of get involved and then there you go. Now you're an activist. And uh, when was your first normal meeting? For instance? Uh, probably I have an autographed book from Jack Harrison. Nineteen 98. I'm in DC. So you traveled to DC right? To go to that. That's right. DC, Aspen, Florida. All kinds of places. When you walked in the door. So you had read this book, you know, this, this, a cannabis plant had touched you.

Speaker 2: You said you didn't understand the effects until you were about 30, do you mean for others? Because, uh, I meant for myself. Oh, you did? Okay. Yeah, I didn't really. I knew I liked it. And everything, but we actually had a situation once where I was going to meet a friend and for lunch and I hadn't seen him in a long time and, and, and I had just smoked and then I got a phone call right before I walked into the restaurant and it was a, another friend giving me pretty bad news and I was like, I was bummed about it, but I thought, you know, I have to, I have to focus on my other friend here because I haven't seen him in so long and I remember like I totally forgot about what just happened for about 40 minutes or so, 45 minutes. And at that point I kind of felt like I realized it's medical benefits because my mind is so active that it, it helps to suppress that and, and just calm, sit down for awhile. And then I started realizing like, that has a lot to do with why I use the candidate. Interesting. So like the kinetic, you were understanding your kinetic mind? Yeah. In real time. Finally for the first time. Yeah, exactly. All right. Exactly.

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Speaker 3: You must be growing. You. You are growing. You must be grounded. Triangle Kush is that is that emerald triangle or

Speaker 2: probably. I mean it begs that. I mean it should be right? Yeah, I think so. I don't know any other. It's not the Bermuda Triangle, Kush. It is not overview to triangle Kush.

Speaker 4: You'll never find that again. The little known Bermuda Triangle. Kush. Aaron Justis. Thank you for inviting me to buds and roses. Here we are. Yes. You've got a. it's. It looks so nice out there. I mean La, it's like beautiful people. The shelves are Nice. Yes. The product assortment just seems nicer, you know, like everything just looks good in La. Well thank you. I was good to see Larry. Larry is the man and employee number one basically. Pretty much. Pretty much. What do you think he's seen in the last six or so years? Wow. Um, some of his favorite, uh, celebrities, I have to say he's seen, um, well since we're doing this, let's, let's name drop, let's know that. Well, that's the thing is we actually have a celebrity policy here because we do get a lot of people and um, it's just, if they're, if they really, if our staff really wants to take a picture with them or something like that, then they have to get a manager and they would really have to be somebody that's very pro cannabis out there in the world otherwise, even if they seem cool with it, um, we, we just can't be like a fan to these people because they could talk about some serious medical condition they have.

Speaker 4: So there's all these reasons to kind of, to kind of downplay that. But um, but if someone wears the sweatshirt out picture of himself, well, okay, so I, I can't, I won't say who because I'm just because, but there, we do have a patient that's really famous and there was a picture of him with a buds and roses hooded zip up sweatshirt on recently. Yeah. And we found it on twitter and uh, I showed it to him the last time he was here and he kind of smiled and stuff about it, but I don't think he would want me to repost it and we never posted it, but it's all over the Internet and it's actually like him in like a 10 year old kid who came up to him to take a picture and he just has the buds and roses hoodie on and he's like, well, I didn't know that picture was out there but.

Speaker 4: Okay. Right. So, but I like the fact that basically, whether you're a celebrity or not, you, you know, you respect a patient, your respect to patient experience and this is the cannabis as medicine after. Oh yeah. Right. You know? Yep. Definitely. So, so that's good. All right, so we have to check in with you on a, on California, but you're in southern California, which is different than northern California. Yes. It's like its own state. It really is, right? With no leadership government. So fringes the, the rates, the rates have the raids at least kind of calm down a little bit. Yeah. Uh, I think that there, I do hear about rates, but again there's maybe 900 or so dispensary's operating outside. What little regulations I guess you could call it that we have. So, um, yeah, I think it's, I think it's definitely a much more stable than it was in the past and I'm looking forward to it being even getting even more and more stable.

Speaker 5: Yeah. Well there's, I mean there's state regulations coming here and coming. Um, when you say it more stable than it was, I would call it unstable. So on a scale of one to 10, 10 being a fully regulated market, what are we at a four? You know, I'll be an optimist and say five. Okay. All right. But right around there. So it's, it's really, we still do need these regulations. So let's jump in. M, m RSA is now EMC RSA,

Speaker 4: yeah, I think they got their vocabulary correct. So it's medical cannabis regulation and safety act instead of medical marijuana.

Speaker 5: So we've got the, uh, the distribution piece, which, uh, which is an interesting thing, uh, which I think we've covered so we don't have to cover that piece here as far as Emc Rsa, as you know, as it relates to you. Um, before we get to that, what are you working on? On the local level? I mean, the city of Los Angeles, the county of Los Angeles, you know, it's, it's all city

Speaker 4: and basically while we're one of the original dispensary, so at the time in 2007, they grandfathered in 187 stores, maybe half of those still exist. And um, we've always been fighting for our right to be regulated and to operate legally here. And a few years ago we passed what's called limited immunity. So we're basically illegal, but if we follow certain rules, we have limited immunity from prosecution. So, you know, we've held onto that and it's been better than it was before and now we're just trying to say, hey look, the city of La has always said that once the state regulated, the city will follow. The city did not want to make up all these own rules for a city that's the size of the state on such a controversial topic. So now that the state has made rules, um, we are seeing the city seems to be taking this issue seriously.

Speaker 4: We had the first, um, our council president is the one who has been leading the charge. We just had a city hall meeting, a City Council meeting. No, I'm sorry. It was at City Hall and it was a committee of three city council members. I'm looking to lead the regulations of cannabis in La. And we went there and, and the council president was very positive about regulating it properly. They're taking input over the next two to four months from everyone. And then hopefully they will draft an ordinance and, and put it on the ballot for next March or May, which will finally actually licensed cannabis activities in Los Angeles. And hopefully it goes beyond just retail and it does manufacturing and distribution and cultivation and things like that. Why are they doing that? In your opinion, why are they doing that as Emc Rsa comes down, you know, medical, uh, is, is Kinda here and prop 64 is almost here.

Speaker 4: Why, why would the city kind of go to all this work now to create? Yeah. Well, um, so what they are doing is most likely we found out at this meeting that they are not going to put something on the March, 2017 ballot because the deadline is six is the deadline that the city would have to have that written is six days before adult use is on the ballot. Um, so they, they don't want to drop something before they know if that passes or not. So it looks like they're going to wait to see if legalization passes. Um, they would have to turn, the city would have to turn in its ordinance a month or two later and then it would be on the ballot for next May. Now the reason is if they don't do it, then we don't have another election for a year, which would be, um, four to six months into 2018.

Speaker 4: Oh, okay. Which is such a long time away. Plus by then you cannot operate under these old medical marijuana guidelines that we operate under now. So everybody would be completely illegal even at the state level. So the city has to get ahead of it before that out ahead of it looks, it looks like may they have to figure it out. Got It. And it's really actually November to make sure that we can get to May correct so that it's before November. That's right. Okay. Fair enough. Okay. But either way you slice this right, six slash seven years have passed. Um, we are, you know, in the right direction here, you know, all of a sudden if we've got the city, you know, and medical and adult use and we're talking about regulations really actually talking about regulations all before January first 2018 and it's September of 2016.

Speaker 4: I mean here we are, right? Yeah. Are you a, I mean you've done a lot of battling. Yeah. So like, I know you're tired. Yeah. But are you surprised? Are, you know like how, what I'm, I'm actually not that surprised and this is um, so I'm on the board of directors of a trade association here called Glauca Greater Los Angeles collective alliance and there is another trade association that was recently formed and at the beginning discussions was that this other group really felt like the city wanted to limit activities just to these, to us dispensary's the hundred or so that have limited immunity. But I truly actually believed what the city said when they said when the state passes regulations, we will too. And again, I'm an optimist. I believe in this industry and I couldn't really see that once there was a state system for this that the city of La would not want to be part of it.

Speaker 4: Um, it's not like, you know, it's a liberal city and I just think that I think you corrected yourself is a, it is, it is a liberal city. Yes. And, and fairly progressive. So I feel that they, I felt they would do this. They are, so I'm very happy and I was worried when we first started lobbying at the beginning of the year, but this does make sense to me. Okay. So, uh, now diving into Emc Rsa, understanding that you have been focused on the local level, how much are you paying attention to those medical regulations? Understanding that they don't go into effect for quite some time, but they're here. Um, I am paying attention to them. I am on the board of CCA, California Cannabis Industry Association. They're very active with the state and so I get a lot of updates. I pay attention to it. It does guide what's happening here at the local level and it's exciting.

Speaker 4: It's just what happened is the adult use law came into place and it's really just held everything up with medical regulations. Okay. And as far as prop 64, um, you know, I asked you before we started, what do you think? And you're like, I really, I've got a couple of meetings in downtown. I need to make sure that I'm at this la thing. I need to make sure I'm at that La thing, but like what are you thinking, feeling all that? Well, overall, I mean I support progress and I want adult use to pass, um, for social justice reasons so that the country sees that cannabis is going well and states that have medical are, are looking to open it up to adult use A. I'm really the most excited I am. I'm, I'm so excited about the cannabis cafes that the prop 64 allows for cannabis cafes.

Speaker 4: That's really my ultimate dream. So I'm, I'm positive about it. I do understand that a lot of people are worried that they're not going to be able to operate in this regulated system. They're not going to be able to get a license. Um, and I just to those people, I mean I started with almost no resources and I worked hard to get to where I am and I don't think that people should give up this early in the process. I think that California is pushing for to be more inclusive and uh, they're not as restrictive with who can operate. They have a social justice initiatives for people with criminal convictions for minorities. Um, they're capping the size of the farm so that big money just can't come in and take everybody over. I mean, I'm from Illinois and there's only like 50 growers in the entire state where California is, it's all about what your locality would allow.

Speaker 4: So, you know, I just say to the naysayers, they should just get involved the best they can. Try to be part of a dysregulated system and, and be positive. And another good thing about adult use or prop 64 is that it does not require mandatory distribution. Whereas I'm EMC. Rsa Does, and right now there are no distributors. It's basically that's a middleman from the and the retailer. Everybody that operates in California to this point deals directly with those growers. It's part of our, it's part of the way our, our whole, um, collective operates, um, many dispensaries, you know, they all have purchasing departments. So I think that distribution is, it should be out there. It's a good opportunity for people. It's a good way to get product you may not otherwise get. But with EMC RSA it is mandatory with prop 64. It is voluntary and um, I think it should be voluntary. Yeah.

Speaker 5: So we agree on that. I think as far as, you know, you mentioned a couple of different things and so I want to make sure to, to, to talk about each of them. Um, yes, there's the distribution piece, uh, with, you know, with statewide regulations, uh, and you know, the fact that it isn't mandatory is a, is a nice ad, but what you keyed in on was getting involved. And I think you spoke to two different people, if I heard you correctly. One was, you know, operators or potential operators and um, you know, just doing the work. And then the other one was, you know, operators in relation to regulations. So first off to, to the, you know, you mentioned social justice to folks trying to come into the industry and maybe giving up specifically in California. What's your message there? Because you were speaking to them specifically? Uh, my message is

Speaker 4: do not give up. It is so early in this industry, early in the game, this is the largest market in the country. Probably the world for cannabis and the way California is set up is that if your locality will give you a license, then you can get the state license. So there's so many small cities, small counties and towns that you don't have to just go to the state where you don't know who these people are, who's reading your application. What you need to do is just talk to your local government and lobby them and lobby them on your own. Go talk to him. Um, maybe hire a lobbyist and make a plan and just get a local license and you will be in the game and that will turn into a state license. And, you know, the, the, the, um, there's no glass ceiling, you just keep going with that. So, um, I just say focus locally, there's not a lot of big money players and investors from other places in the country that can come to your small town and convince them to give out permits and applications. You have a better job of doing that. So, so do that.

Speaker 5: So you have a unique perspective there because uh, there are others that are in the industry happened in the industry for six or seven years and it's like I was here and I fought and I bled and I sweat and I don't want anybody else in because of how hard I worked. Not, not anything other than like they didn't put in the time. Damn it. Why are you so welcoming? Why do you want more? You know what I mean? Like

Speaker 4: that's, I mean, well, I, I feel that it's just the right thing to do. I mean, I understand that a lot of us have paid our dues and I feel the same way in Los Angeles and I want to make sure that we get our license, but I don't need to, I guess monopolize that to where it's only myself or a few people with a license, um, to when I guess I would rather it be an open market that's the right thing to do. Um, we can compete openly against each other. There's plenty of business for all of us and just as long as, as we actually do get licensed and prioritized, I'm totally willing to open it up and that's where I feel we'll get what we've worked so hard for, but we don't have to corner the market and be the only ones operating that's a, that's just not what I believe in. Right.

Speaker 5: And so like a perfect person for Daly city should go to Daly city and make sure that, uh, you know, there's, there's a good operator. Yeah,

Speaker 4: there is to try to pull something that I saw on a map on my way here. There you go. Plenty of some odd places. Towns like that, I mean all over Los Angeles, like Los Angeles has 4 million people, but their cities in and out of Los Angeles where you think you're still in Los Angeles. Like Beverly Hills is in Los Angeles, but it's its own city. There's no cannabis activity there. There's none in culver city. There's none in, you know her. Most of beach. There's just so many cities here to tap into. People should try to do that. There we go. All right, so the

Speaker 5: two, these are innumerable. Yes. What about, uh, you know, operators, I want to make sure I heard you right. You, you mentioned regulations. You mentioned your four regulated, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I think for regulated industry, I think I just know that wha, what are you saying there as far as support for prop 64 or support for EMC RSA or what? What are you?

Speaker 4: Yeah, I think, um, you said support. I support both of them. I think that if there's specific issues that you have with the way the law's written that you should just get involved. So they're, they're both like EMC RSA is taking cleanup bills there. I'm creating all the detailed regulations that go with the legislation and so people should just get involved with that. And then again, your locality can make its own rules, um, and so be, be involved with that. Same with prop 64, I would say it's, it falls in line with the same thing. So you have a local medical you can work on right now you have the cleanup of Emc Rsa really understanding it and giving your opinion and going to these meetings that they're having. They're going city to city right now, a state officials kind of explaining it, getting input from people.

Speaker 4: And I'd say, look, there's no time like now this small window of opportunity to give your opinion and be part of it is only going to last a year or two and then. And the industry takes off and it'll never be like that again. So I'd say I'm pro these cannabis reforms that stop people from getting arrested, have the potential to open up the marketplace and people need to get involved. A lot of people are ill informed about what the law actually says. Uh, what do you mean? I was going to ask you about those? I get to that. What? Yeah. Um, I, I've just heard different things. I don't even know if I can think of something specifically now. There is just very untrue about adult use. I mean, for a lot of people that are against it, I've never, like I don't, I don't hear enough people talking about the cafe situation.

Speaker 4: Me and I really think that if we want to be treated equal to other people and we don't want to be second class, then we should have places to use cannabis. You know, Emc, Rsa doesn't address that. Adult use does prop 64. Same with the distribution model. I mean that could easily add 30 percent to the cost and that could destroy the regulated marketplace and everybody could go to the black market because it's so much cheaper. Um, prop 64 eliminates that. So I mean there's, there's definitely pros and cons. I just think most people's biggest problem with prop 64 is that you have to get a license to operate up to this point. It's kind of been the glory days we've been in, even though it's been terrible in some ways. It's the glory days and other ways where, where you're allowed to be in these gray car. Yeah. This, this commercial activity without some kind of license and that's, that's just not how the world works. You know, if you're involved with commerce, it's got to be regulated.

Speaker 5: Biggest, um, issue with prop 64 is that you need a license to operate.

Speaker 4: You need a different issue. Different issue with prop 64. That's not the right one. Yeah. And that's about what I hear, but I mean there's other things in there too, but again, I've had to really focus on, on La and then secondary medical which has already passed. And then yeah,

Speaker 5: as we go here, it's, it's nice to be able to now take a, a look at it. I don't know if you're going to be able to, uh, because this next question is about, here's Colorado, here's Oregon, here's Washington doing what Washington does, here's all these medical, um, you know, uh, programs on the books. Here's all of these ballot initiatives in November. Here's all of this regulation coming to California in 2018. What does the cannabis industry look like as far as you're concerned? Do you see things kind of really moving over to California? Do you see a nor cal, so cal battle like a good battle, you know, for, you know, for a superiority in a, you know, because it's. Colorado definitely has the crown right now. Right. What are your thoughts about the next couple of years based on what you see right now? Of course it's an ever changing landscape. Yeah.

Speaker 4: Well, I think for sure California will come out the leader just because of its massive size and once all those, those entities that are operating now and there's no real data and there's no real taxes collected and all that kind of stuff. Once those come to the surface and we see it, we were, it's going, it's the massive tipping point that will change the world. I mean people, other governments could look at cities in California and say, Oh my God, if we have that much tax revenue and we could save our whole state. So, um, I think it's going to be big. I think that the truth is though, that um, a lot of people who have survived up to this point, including myself, that you're going to have to really get on top of running a business. So, you know, I built buds and roses mostly on passion and drive, but I'm at a point now where to sustain this multimillion dollar business, you have to really dot your i's and cross your t's and be focused on a business level so that your model is profitable even though in a nonprofit world.

Speaker 4: But you know, you have to, you have to be making money to survive. You have to have a model that works so that you can get investment behind you. And people need to just really. Yes, keep the passion and love they have for the industry and have a good mission and a vision for your company, but you have to really get down to business and if you don't, you will be taken out by people that not necessarily are bigger money and bigger business in general, but that are big money, big business or, but that know how to make money in the cannabis world and those are the people that will come through and buy a lot of people out and take people out. So you definitely have to focus on your business and your passion. So that's what I'd be much more competitive. I hear you.

Speaker 4: And that's what you're focused on today. You know, you, you and I on the phone, that's what, that's what you're talking about. Just to give folks a sense. You know, we, we talked about maybe people coming into the industry, so folks that are listening that are saying, okay, you got me, I do want to come in and now you're scaring me. I don't want to go. But uh, you know, for folks that are still with you on that. Yeah. Just compare your day to day, which you just did for today with, you know, early days, like how different is it, what you're focused on? Well, just for example, I was able to do a lot more conferences. Uh, I'm a lot more speaking engagements. I'm a lot more networking to kind of build our brand to learn about the industry and now I have to focus more today.

Speaker 4: Um, well I've, I've taken a lot of that and use what I've learned politically to just focus here in la because now it's time. It wasn't necessarily time. I mean we fought bands and things like that, but they weren't very sophisticated. Now the city's like, okay, we're ready to do it. What exactly do you want us to do? And you're like, oh, okay, so let me figure this out. So that takes a ton of work. But then on a day to day basis, I'm just just really like what most doing what most business people would do as far as crunching the numbers. I'm checking the processes, uh, you know, even implementing new training programs like I'll give Americans for safe access to shout out their pain, patient focused certification, have gone back and forth with them for awhile. We're going to implement that just so we have a solid and stable a training system for our staff.

Speaker 4: And I just, um, I just want to run a good solid retail business, but that has a bigger focus in dream of changing the world. Basically, you know, one location at a time. So one location at a time. How much do you want to talk about what the vision is at this point now that you've kind of made it through, you've got the operation here that we're sitting in. What are we talking about in five years? If you're a happy guy, what would it be? You know? Well, there's. California is limiting it. Um, and this again is to limit super big money from coming in and taking it over, but you can only have, if you're a retailer, you can only have three retail stores, one manufacturing license in one cultivation license. So I would like to get that, uh, I'd like to get that as local as possible, so having three retail outlets as close to each other as possible, be great if they were kind of in the same city so you would only have to deal with one city since the regulations are city wide and state wide and Max that out.

Speaker 4: So that would be my main objective for the next few years. And, but, uh, I think we have a really good model, a good brand. We may be able to, um, help turn turn other places possibly into buds and roses, whether or not we're there are stores or not, and then just kind of expand that model nationwide and globally. But I also am not sure how the dispensary model is going to survive, um, especially with big Pharma and things like that. Sure. But that's. But the, the truth is, I love having the retail store with cannabis products, but my ultimate vision is these cannabis cafes so that they're available in neighborhoods across the globe that have coffee shops and restaurants and bars. Um, so I don't know how that's going to look. Um, I think that that's going to be an uphill battle in California having these cannabis cafes with the indoor clean air act and things like that. So it's going to be tough. They're making some progress in Denver with a current initiative that I on the ballot supported. Yeah, absolutely. And, um, and, and that's, that's what I hope to see a kind of beyond what, what's available now. So you made me shiver when you said

Speaker 5: the current dispensary model because it makes me think of Canada which does not have a dispensary model at a federal level. Is that what you see, you see not necessarily stores more cafes or the stores are the cafes or what are. Yeah,

Speaker 4: I guess I just, in the big picture, I kind of see more of the cafes that you can buy product at for more what they would consider adult use, where I would consider it still for wildness. But um, but I can see more of these. I mean, the, the products that we have are basically a scientist's extracting cannabinoids and terpenes and then reconfiguring them into new products and then selecting which delivery method they want is we were out there looking at the female suppositories and things like that and I just, I don't know how long, um, you know, big Pharma and the government's going to allow us to, even, even though they're very safe and I'd love to continue to do it and I think we're a great opportunity. I don't know. I think that make it smaller and smaller.

Speaker 5: Got It. And window it seems inevitable for a bigger players and specifically pharmaceutical to, to, to get involved based on the fact that we are talking about medicine. This is medicine. Keep saying it right. Yeah. And potentially to our own detriment is your point or at least one of your points. Yeah. So, you know. Okay. So, so now I'm starting to see, you know, the starbucks certification. I think if I'm hearing you right. Um, and, and letting, you know, letting products be products like cafes, cafes, and uh, you know, uh, letting walgreens be walgreens essentially. Is that, is that really what A. Well,

Speaker 4: I mean, I'd love to see the dispensary survive as long as they can, but yeah, I see a cannabis cafes is kind of a big win for cannabis users and something that farm the big Pharma will not take away from us.

Speaker 5: Well, and that gets to my theory, which is more based in like I look, uh, I just went with my girlfriend to a, you have the wine country in northern California. Uh, it's beautiful. Oh yeah. I've never been there before and it made me think that maybe this is cannabis in the future. Meaning you've got Robert Mondavi who runs his industrial sized Mondavi thing and then across the road he's got opus one which is, you know, the luxury brand of cannabis. I mean wine. Yeah. So, you know, and I know Vr, look, when you go into once or look how many from all over the world, look how many farms there are that put out, you know, cannabis. I mean grapes, uh, in the form of wine each year. Do you see that as. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 4: I think that that's why people should be more supportive of the regulations in California because we're the kind of state that uh, that promotes small businesses like that. So we have all these craft beers, we have all these rare wines and that is one of the most exciting things about being in California again versus these other states where there's literally like two people that have licenses. So it's, this is very, uh, everyone can participate in this

Speaker 5: all different levels because it just, it seems to me that the cannabis consumer is more closely related to, to someone that does appreciate one, like if they want to be and coffee. Exactly. Want to talk about this specific wine bottle that you have or this specific cup of coffee. Why it's so great. And I had to, I, you know, I got these, these beings were shipped to me from this country and it took two weeks to get here and let me make you a cup of coffee because it's going to be the greatest cup of coffee ever had. That just sounds very familiar. It is. As opposed to I'm going to go down to walgreens and buy a six pack of Budweiser. Sure. You know, I mean, sure, there's that market to. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Which I, which I am not necessarily planning on catering to. Well, just because it's not me, but it's also,

Speaker 4: it is, it's a race to the bottom and that's where you can be taken out by, um, money basically.

Speaker 5: Sure. How much is brand, um, you know, for that new person coming in, just give us a lesson in cannabis brand, you know, because you, you hang with some, some folks that, that definitely are on social. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, well I, I knew yourself. Yeah. I

Speaker 4: think obviously having a strong brand for anything is what every business strives for because you want people to be loyal to your brand. You want people that believe what you believe, and that is how I built my brand. I didn't use branding companies and things like that. I mean maybe if I started today and there was a more crowded space, I would have to do that, but we were just really ourselves and we'd love cannabis and that showed and people were attracted to that. But again, I, I feel like it's, it's really when you build a brand, you have to build something where you believe in something, you stand for something and then you get consumers that believe what you believe and they feel that you are an extension of what they believe. And um, so we've always just tried to make something that people can be proud of and people can feel good to be associated with and it does help when buds and roses is a associated with great brands in cannabis.

Speaker 4: So when you're building your brand, it's important, but you need to just like musicians do, you need to work with other brands and show, you know, you're, you associate with these brands, your on similar levels with these brands and you work with them. Um, and you just really have to watch your image. I think in Los Angeles, most operators focus on the patient base that is willing to go to dispensaries and an unregulated market, which is kind of like young people in their twenties that are a bit rebellious where even though we love those patients and we focus on them too. Um, I, I try to focus on that 30 plus those people who um, who wouldn't normally go to a dispensary in Los Angeles. Um, so we've created a brand that we're just more, um, we just try to be a higher quality with the products. We have a, the information we have, the, the way our store looks and all that kind of.

Speaker 5: It's clean, it's nice. It's like going into like a high end retail shop where I can't afford a pillow. You know what I mean? Like, it's just nice. I think that's what you're talking about as opposed to, you know, whatever feeling like you're, I, I, we don't want it to feel like you're still doing something illegal. Right. And a lot of places do that now. I have to say it, it has a lot to do because there's no regulations in la, but it is what it is. You mentioned Illinois and so I need to make sure that I hear your thoughts on Illinois. I know you know, you're, you can't focus as much as you'd like on statewide in California. I mean, how much could you even focus on what's happening in Illinois? However, PTSD gets added, right? I'm sure you know, at least that. And you know, patient counselor kind of starting to come around here.

Speaker 5: The operators have spent a lot of money and have not made it back yet, but it's starting to soften. And in New York I just saw an article and starting to soften, maybe we're going to allow delivery here. And what are your thoughts on those? Obviously Gargantuan market's not quite as big as California, you might say. Yeah, right. But obviously Gargantuan markets that are going to have really big patient counts that don't. Now, what are you thinking as far as just a, a guy that's been in the industry for, you know? Well, it's just, when I think about it, I'm sad

Speaker 4: kind of at the state it's at today where even though Illinois has dispensary's and it has operators, I mean the no one really knows it. Um, yeah, they, they know, but it's such a far reach because my father for example, um, he looked into the card situation and like it's being fingerprinted. Still seeing, uh, you know, you can't have any felonies, which he doesn't. But I mean it's like, it's so restrictive and it's like $300 or something. It's just something where it's out of reach for most people. And then people that do go to those places since there's so little traffic in those stores, people just really don't. The people that work there, you know, they don't know a lot about it. There's not a ton of different products out there. So it's, it's, it's not a fair look at what cannabis be like. And that's the same as la, like what you see here is what happens when there's no regulations for 10 years and it gets out of control versus when regulators here like, oh, dispensary's are scary places.

Speaker 4: Well you don't even know what a regulated dispensary looks like. These are just know that. Yeah, you can know because you haven't regulated so. Um, so yes, those things are promising. They're just, they moved very slow and uh, I hope that they really open up faster than they are, but any progress is great as well. That's, I mean, because when I talked to you, it's like half of my brain and your brain goes to, we'll take what we can get. Yeah. And half of the brain goes to. But it really, it's not as good as it could be. Yeah. Not at all. How, where are we though on that, on that continuum? I mean, are you starting to feel a little bit more confident in the direction that the whole thing is headed? Uh, or is there still a ton of work to do? Well, there is a ton of work to do, but I am, um, I'm definitely more confident every day, uh, but cannabis, cannabis regulations are, I mean people are more and more people want to vote to legalize it or to legalize it for medical purposes and it, it gets better every day.

Speaker 4: Yeah. Okay. You'll take it all right. It's all right. Well, I think when California passes and you see I'm just, there'll be such tremendous, uh, everything. So there'll be a lot of tax money. There'll be a lot of awesome stores. They'll probably be these cannabis wineries in northern. So, I mean, I think it'll, it'll definitely help move the ball forward and we'll probably see multiple states pass, legalized adult use legalization this November, so I'm sure that, uh, things will just continue to snowball. Do you. I don't believe that the cannabis cafe thing is going to happen now because of what you just said, but like we still have to like get states passed to begin with. We still have to correct medical markets that are in place now before we get to consumption. But it sounds like we're going to get to consumption really soon here.

Speaker 4: Do you think that folks are going to be able to, society is going to be able to conceive of it. Do you think that the states, cities and states are going to be able to actually regulate it effectively if they can't even understand what a regulated dispensary looks like, which is just buying something at a counter, you know, like, uh, yeah, I think they may, I don't know if they'll find it easier. But like in Los Angeles, there's already cannabis consumption venues that serve alcohol. Now I don't know who's breaking the law where. But um, it's a thing. All you're saying is that it's a thing. It's a thing and there hasn't been a lot of enforcement against it. So I think it's, and you know, these cafes are usually more at night and I, I just don't know. I think they'll look at them more like bars and those, they kind of just follow the typical.

Speaker 4: They're not as bad as a bar. Like it's not like people are coming screeching outta there, wasted drunk. Um, it's just that as a retail store, we're very different than most retail stores, but like for a cafe type place, I think it'll be different everywhere. I think it'll be really restrictive places. Um, but I think places like California have an opportunity to do it because they have more outdoor spaces. So maybe they were like, fine, you can do it out here. There's no buildings around here where the smoke is going to go in or whatever it may be. So you see, you do see it? I do, I do. Wow. That, you know, in the state of Alaska also when they passed their law, they give state licenses for cafes. I don't know if any of open, but they wrote that in there

Speaker 5: just to them as well. That's been a little bit slow going and they had a little bit of a hiccup. But, uh, it, it's, it's getting there. Yeah. Uh, I spoke to Cindy Franklin, the person that is in charge of regulations and she said that it has to be done the Alaskan way, which means that Alaska has California is better than every other state. Alaska is also better than every other state yet, just so you and me coming from New York, New York is better than every other state. Of course. You know, we all have a little bit of that, right? Yeah. Um, so you're, you're going to take the crown in California. It's going to be in less than five years. We're going to have cannabis consumption cafes all over the world. This is a start. Well, I don't know about all over the world in the next five years.

Speaker 5: No, no, no, no. Maybe maybe one in year five. Right, exactly. In your life. Probably not. I actually have problems maybe in Barcelona. Oh yeah. Um, so, I mean it's, it's all feeling good. It's all to, you know, the last time we talked we just talked about just barely getting it together. You know, I, I read a book from Jack or wrote it and I couldn't believe it. And then I met Steve de Angelo and look at what I'm doing. And then here we are, we're talking about actually, you know, regulated business. Yeah, for sure. You know, with customers and patients. It's amazing. It is. Um, all right, so the final question I guess would be, unless you have any questions for me? No. Since I've already asked you what's most surprised you in cannabis? What's most surprised you in life? Uh, I've also asked you on the soundtrack of your life named one track one song that's got to be on there, but I want, I need a new song or if it's the same song, that's fine.

Speaker 5: But uh, yeah, we need you to answer that on the soundtrack of your life named one track, one song that's got to be on there. I could give a really like khaki response that comes from my childhood and there's probably a lot of vulgar language in this song. Doesn't apply, but you know, it's Kinda like, I think of Tupac picture me rolling. So it's like, you know, I didn't mean rolling. I feel like that's a good answer. It's clearly west coast, which is, which is applicable, but it's like a, you know, someone that was rebellious and did their thing and you know, look at me now. You all said I wasn't going to amount to anything or and that and stop

Speaker 4: doing what you do because it's bad. And look at me now. Picture me growing.

Speaker 5: I mean, so I appreciate that and I appreciate the fact that anytime I've seen you, you've had a button down shirt on and most of the time it's with a suit and a tie. That's all right. How much did you have to just, you know, kind of bite your tongue when people were looking at you and you know, as though you were a thug, right? Yeah. How much did you have that did you do?

Speaker 4: Well, I think that that's what still drives me today so that, um, you know, people that are not open minded enough that don't give 'em I came from, you know, not a lot of financial background or anything or education and I just want to help level the playing field and I feel like cannabis laws and the drug laws, I'm really affect minorities and people that don't have a lot of money and resources more than anybody. And by legalizing cannabis and regulating it, I'm at least removing that barrier, which affects them so much because, you know, I chose cannabis and it could have put me in jail, it could have done a lot of things to me and I, and I got through that, but for so many people it messes up their life. And it reminds me of an old picture I saw when I was, you know, back in the early days and it was like, it's a picture and says victim of victims of marijuana and it shows an assembly and no one's there.

Speaker 4: And then it says victims of marijuana laws and it's completely packed. So that's kind of what drives me today is, um, the, the way I was treated back then. Um, I mean my wife and I went to a romantic hotel, got away from our kids, um, maybe eight years ago. And uh, Wisconsin and I hit the bowl in my room before we went for massages. We went down to wait for our massages and as a guy comes up to my wife and I, and it's like a, I'm sorry, are you in this room? Are like, yeah, you gotta get your stuff and get outta here. And they literally threw us out of the hotel room. We had to get our bags and like do a walk of shame because I smoked some pot in my room and uh, it's, it's situations like that where we just treat it as such like crap. Um, when I was just using a little cannabis that should be looked at as much safer than say alcohol and um, got treated horrible for it.

Speaker 5: So what I can't wait for is for us to go back there and the day that they start selling cannabis onsite, you know what I mean? Right. And then just a campaign against them. There we go. No, no, no. Just they'll start signing is. They'll start selling it. Yeah. You know, you'll, you'll, uh, I'll take the picture. You'll post it to instagram. Sounds good. So there. Yeah, let's do it. Take that war on drugs. That's right. Aaron Justis. Thank you so much. Thank you sir. Alright. Alright, and there you have Aaron Justis my how have changed

Speaker 1: here we go into statewide regulations. The city is starting to pay attention. All of a sudden we are going to be in a world that doesn't have raids in southern California. And Aaron's on top of it. I really appreciate talking to him and, uh, seeing his arc. Thank you so much for your time. Thanks for listening.

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