fbpx

Ep.189: Congressman Jared Polis & Amanda Reiman, DPA

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.189: Congressman Jared Polis & Amanda Reiman, DPA

Ep.189: Congressman Jared Polis & Amanda Reiman, DPA

Amanda Reiman returns to give us an update on Prop 64. She takes us through the actual legislation, where the money goes as well as where polling is as we speak. We wanted to get this out as soon as possible so while the content is current the sound quality is less than ideal. Then Congressman Jared Polis joins us to give us an overview cannabis in Colorado. The congressman takes us through what’s working in Colorado as well as what’s working in congress. He does have a fairly bullish outlook on what’s possible which I guess is what comes with the territory as a politician. He’s a busy man so we didn’t have a ton of time but there’s a lot packed in to the conversation we had.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Congressman Jared Polis and Amanda Reiman. Amanda Reiman returns to give us an update on prop 64. She takes us through the actual legislation where the money goes as well as we're pulling is as we speak. We want it to get this out as soon as possible so while the content is current, the sound quality is less than ideal. Then Congressman Jared Polis joins us to give us an overview of cannabis in Colorado. The congressmen takes us through what's working in Colorado as well as what's working in Congress. He does have a fairly bullish outlook on what's possible, which is what I guess comes with the territory as a politician. He's a busy man, so we didn't have a ton of time, but there's a lot packed in to the conversation we had. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends in the word economy. Jared Polis proceeded by Amanda Reiman. So

Speaker 2: here we go with Amanda Reiman time. Once again, Amanda, thank you so much for giving us a few moments.

Speaker 3: Thank you for having me.

Speaker 2: I mean, we're in running mode, you know, this is the last few weeks here, uh, of a, of prop 64 kind of campaigning. Um, how are you doing? How's your sleep pattern right now?

Speaker 3: Well, it last week I was in both Portland and Vegas, however, I was talking about cannabis but not about prop 64, so it was a quite a nice reprieve. But now I'm back in the thick of it and um, you know, we're just talking about it everywhere we go all the time with every lyft driver, with every server, with every person I come across that it's a topic of conversation

Speaker 2: [inaudible] we want votes and you know, we're gonna get duck dive into, uh, the, the legislation, just to make sure we're all on the same page. But as far as a polling is concerned, what, what are we looking like?

Speaker 3: Well, we had the field poll come out a few weeks ago, this is a pole that's run by UC Berkeley. It's considered to be probably one of the most valid and reliable and objective poles and it shows support at 60 percent with opposition at 31 percent and probably most importantly, undecided at a low nine percent. I think this mimics what we've seen in terms of public support for legalization across the country and the growing unequivocal belief that people who use cannabis should not be subject to criminalization.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Because it's a plant and it should be legal because why is it not? Exactly. So that's the big picture. Now let's Kinda zero in on, on prop 64. Um, you know, we, we, you know, I like where those poles sit. Of course we do need people to actually vote,

Speaker 3: tell their friends and family to vote. It's all of our responsibilities to make sure people show up for a whole number of political reasons including prop 64.

Speaker 2: Right? So, so one of the things that we like to talk about with the Colorado is, you know, kind of where the money goes. Uh, yeah, sure. It's legal. Yes, you're overtaxing it. Here's where the money goes. Let's be clear for folks listening where, where's the money going in prop 64. So they understand not only is kind of, it's legal, but a here's what a is benefited by a further benefited by cannabis being illegal.

Speaker 1: Congressman Jared Polis and Amanda Reiman. Amanda Reiman returns to give us an update on prop 64. She takes us through the actual legislation where the money goes as well as we're pulling is as we speak. We want it to get this out as soon as possible so while the content is current, the sound quality is less than ideal. Then Congressman Jared Polis joins us to give us an overview of cannabis in Colorado. The congressmen takes us through what's working in Colorado as well as what's working in Congress. He does have a fairly bullish outlook on what's possible, which is what I guess comes with the territory as a politician. He's a busy man, so we didn't have a ton of time, but there's a lot packed in to the conversation we had. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends in the word economy. Jared Polis proceeded by Amanda Reiman. So

Speaker 2: here we go with Amanda Reiman time. Once again, Amanda, thank you so much for giving us a few moments.

Speaker 3: Thank you for having me.

Speaker 2: I mean, we're in running mode, you know, this is the last few weeks here, uh, of a, of prop 64 kind of campaigning. Um, how are you doing? How's your sleep pattern right now?

Speaker 3: Well, it last week I was in both Portland and Vegas, however, I was talking about cannabis but not about prop 64, so it was a quite a nice reprieve. But now I'm back in the thick of it and um, you know, we're just talking about it everywhere we go all the time with every lyft driver, with every server, with every person I come across that it's a topic of conversation

Speaker 2: [inaudible] we want votes and you know, we're gonna get duck dive into, uh, the, the legislation, just to make sure we're all on the same page. But as far as a polling is concerned, what, what are we looking like?

Speaker 3: Well, we had the field poll come out a few weeks ago, this is a pole that's run by UC Berkeley. It's considered to be probably one of the most valid and reliable and objective poles and it shows support at 60 percent with opposition at 31 percent and probably most importantly, undecided at a low nine percent. I think this mimics what we've seen in terms of public support for legalization across the country and the growing unequivocal belief that people who use cannabis should not be subject to criminalization.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Because it's a plant and it should be legal because why is it not? Exactly. So that's the big picture. Now let's Kinda zero in on, on prop 64. Um, you know, we, we, you know, I like where those poles sit. Of course we do need people to actually vote,

Speaker 3: tell their friends and family to vote. It's all of our responsibilities to make sure people show up for a whole number of political reasons including prop 64.

Speaker 2: Right? So, so one of the things that we like to talk about with the Colorado is, you know, kind of where the money goes. Uh, yeah, sure. It's legal. Yes, you're overtaxing it. Here's where the money goes. Let's be clear for folks listening where, where's the money going in prop 64. So they understand not only is kind of, it's legal, but a here's what a is benefited by a further benefited by cannabis being illegal.

Speaker 3: Sure. So one of the differences between California and Colorado is that in Colorado, the money pretty much those into one big decision is made. What are we going to do with this money? So far it's been primarily dedicated to school construction. Other possible avenues forward as well, but it basically comes from this fund that later on is decided where the money goes before prop 64 was drafted. We did some polling of Californians to find out where they would like to see the money go and probably unsurprisingly to anyone who's lived in California for at least 10 years. California do not trust our state government to do right by money collected off taxes from California.

Speaker 2: Is it because California is consistently in debt?

Speaker 3: Well, I mean we don't see the results of any of these. So one of the things we consistently heard during focus groups was, well yeah, that's what we heard about the lottery. The lottery was supposed to bring all this money for schools and basically went in one big fund and then politicians took money out of that for their own special projects and we never saw what we were promised. So with prop 64, we wanted to make sure that the money was going into designated places where it had to go for these purposes and where the state government could not redirect it for things that they've personally thought made further their political careers as it happens. Right? So that was something that, why, you know, we're talking about our funds and how it's very specifically portioned out that was really by design in a reaction to what we need in California, but both old also what Californians felt was most important to do with the funds.

Speaker 3: So that being explained, this is how the funds breakdown. So we're looking at the potential of a billion dollars in tax revenue a year from, uh, the sales of legal cannabis in California. So of course, the first thing we have to do with that money is we have to cover the actual cost of administering that program rights that we have licenses that have to be given out and inspections that we have to do and we have to have a new governing body with new jobs for people to run the marijuana bureaus and to run those licensing departments. Um, additional jobs with the Department of food and AG, Department of Public Health, Department of consumer affairs, everyone that's responsible for ensuring that this program run smoothly, that costs money, right? So first and foremost, we have to pay for the actual regulation itself. Um, after that we have $10,000,000 a year that's going to be distributed to a public university in California to do research on legalization.

Speaker 3: And this is really important because one of the things we're going to need to show is that legalization is a net public health benefit to society rather than a a problem. And if we're going to do that, we're going to need extensive research done by public health experts to show the impact of legalization on youth use. On our road safety, on crime, on economic stability, and so that is very exciting that we're going to have that money for that. After that we have $3,000,000 that's going to be distributed to the California highway patrol for five years only to established Dui protocols. So one of the things that makes prop 64 different than some of the other initiatives is that it does not have what we call a per se limit for driving while intoxicated on cannabis. Meaning we didn't put in the equivalent of a point, oh eight on the alcohol scale for intoxication.

Speaker 3: Five nanograms has been the going rate for intoxication in states like Colorado and Washington. The science does not support that there is a nanogram level of thc that can look to and the blood to determine intoxication. And so we didn't want to criminalize it will be mostly medical cannabis patients in California by putting in that arbitrary number, but we did recognize that we have to look to try to work on this issue and to apply a valid and reliable way to assess if someone is driving while intoxicated. So we wanted to do research on that. So there is money allocated to the California highway patrol for the purposes of doing research on how do we best assess someone who is driving while intoxicated. Okay, so moving on to million dollars a year are going to be, is going to be distributed to the University of California San Diego Center for medical cannabis research for research on medical marijuana.

Speaker 3: So this is an amazing research organization that was founded through legislation back in the early two thousands. They ran out of money, of course they have not been funded since. They've been doing some amazing clinical research on the medical benefits of cannabis and they're going to have $2,000,000 a year to continue that research. Um, and then we have $10,000,000 a year, which will increase annually by an additional 10 million until it geeks at 50 million. And then it will remain at $50 million to be distributed to community reinvestment for those disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs. So again, we're talking about, you know, $3,000,000 a year to California highway patrol for five years. So that's $15, million dollars total for them to establish their Dui protocols and then $50 million dollars a year into infinity for communities that have been most impacted by the war on drugs.

Speaker 3: So those are. That's the top line investment then of what's leftover. So after we've established, we paid for the program, we've made sure that the community fund, it has its money after that, 60 percent of the remaining funds go towards youth drug prevention, education and treatment. So programs for at risk, youth dropout prevention, drug education, things that are based on science to really help folks who are younger and maybe struggling. Twenty percent of the remaining funds go towards environmental restoration and protection. We're the first state to allocate revenue for environmental protection, but given the history of illegal cultivation in California, done by not the industry but nefarious actors within it, it is very important that we protect our environment and then 20 percent beyond that goes towards state and local law enforcement. Really to retrain their police departments on how to treat cannabis when it's no longer contraband.

Speaker 3: We have a culture of policing where the smell of cannabis has been used for so long as a tool to walk up to groups of people, usually young men of color, and ask them what they're doing to empty their pockets, to turn over their ids, to be run into the computer and that's no longer going to be a tool they have and they're going to have to change their protocols and they're going to need training to do that. So there is money allocated to help police department shift from a reality where cannabis is illegal to one, where it's something that's appropriate for adults

Speaker 2: as opposed to being a foot soldier in the war on drugs. A potentially a peacekeeper once again.

Speaker 3: Totally. I mean, after they passed legalization, Washington, um, I will never forget the following year, the fast, uh, the Washington police, the Seattle police department handed out bags of Doritos to people that were attending the festival, reminding them about how to be safe, what the local laws were. And so it was a real shift right away from the police going there to lock up people for criminal activity, to being someone there to help educate people about what the proper laws are and what they need to be doing. And so that's what we're hoping to see posts legalization in California as well.

Speaker 2: Great. Alright. So, and then speaking of posts legalization, I guess the other big a point of discussion with prop 64 is you know, how distribution works, Mandan, mandatory or otherwise. So. So just take us through that. So we, uh, you know, completely understand it, it's a knowledgeable group of folks that listens.

Speaker 3: Sure. So one of the aspects of Emc Rsa, which is our medical cannabis regulation safety act, is that it follows California's alcohol distribution model in that it requires an independent distributor to handle in between each level of production. So, you know, um, for example, with beer there's someone that grows the hops, an independent distributor has to take those hops from that farm to the processing plant, make it into beer. Another independent distributor has to pick up that fear from the processing plant and take it to the store. Now, of course, the logic behind that is that it prevents alcohol companies from getting too big, but budweiser has seemed to do just fine even though they're required to have an independent distributor at each level. And in fact it was the independent breweries and the micro breweries that thought for exceptions to the independent distributor rule so that they could bring their own product to market and it was through this exception that we saw the explosion of the microbrewery history.

Speaker 3: And now when you go to some place like whole foods, I mean, sure, you know, you kind of see the big guys that you also see like a hunter, different independent breweries and that's only because they are able to distribute for themselves instead of having to go through with someone who's independent. So how prop 64 differences that really adopts more of the microbrewery model, meaning that there's still the distributor piece and there's still a distributor license and as distributors still has to be involved in the chain of command. But you can be around distributor, so if I'm an individual that has a garden and I want to be able to bring my cannabis to the testing facility, get it tested, and then bring it myself to the dispensary, I am allowed to do that under prop 64 under mcrs. Say I have to pay an independent distributor to do that for me.

Speaker 3: Now, for somebody that is a farmer up in northern California, maybe what happened, the Emerald Triangle where the nearest retail point maybe few hundred miles away, an independent distributor may make sense. They may not be able to do it all themselves. They may prefer to be able to drop it off to somebody that's going to go and take care of the rest of the process for that. However, if I have a farmer down in southern California or in central California and the nearest retail point is 30 miles away, it may make a lot more fiscal sense for me to be able to move that product myself. Especially if I'm a smaller producer. So it provides more flexibility for especially smaller producers to be more like microbreweries and perform the distribution task themselves rather than hiring independent distributors, which there's also a concern that because their only role is to move product from point a to point b, they don't really have the connection to the movement, to the plant, the spirituality that comes with cannabis consumption that's devoid and we're talking about alcohol consumption and that they may be more of an agitator role in the chain rather than somebody that's facilitating the industry.

Speaker 2: Right. So I mean there you have it. Those are the kind of the things that I have been hearing about it in conversations that I'm having. You know, what, what else is important to know? What else kind of has been coming up just to make sure that we dot our i's and cross our t's here.

Speaker 3: Well I think that, you know, the public feels that marijuana should be legal without question. That's both true in California and that's both to across the country. Now with the rejection of the Ohio initiative last year, the public has made it clear that they're not willing to accept legalization at any cost. They're not willing to hand over the industry to eight individuals to run the entire show, but devoid of something that drastic. The public understands that each time we take marijuana out of the criminal code of estate and make it legal for adults to possess marijuana and in cases like California to cultivate marijuana, that we are doing a service to those who have been negatively impacted by the drug war. The public understands this, they understand the social connection and to be honest, the people that quibbled the most about the licensing about the taxation are individuals that are so inside the bubble that they really can't even see the big picture anymore. And we've been doing this for a long time. I absolutely expect that to happen, but we have to keep our eyes on the big picture. People are still going to jail for marijuana even in a state like California

Speaker 2: and that has to stop and that has to stop there. You go yesterday, right? Exactly, and if not yesterday, November eighth. Right. Absolutely. Great, wonderful. I mean, um, you know, at what, what, uh, are you using to make sure that you stay awake for the next three weeks as well? Lots of fresh air. There you go.

Speaker 3: I don't think I'm going to have any problems staying awake. I think it's a very exciting. There's a lot of really great things that are going to be happening over the next month and then November ninth we're going to continue our work because it absolutely does not end after legalization. It just places us on a different playing field, one of equity with other industry and one where we can be transparent and open about what we do for a living and I am very much looking forward to that day.

Speaker 2: Absolutely. And I love that you brought that up without me prompting you or even asking you, um, you know, this whole thing about the way that it, you know, gets written once it's voted in the, the real work does start on November ninth, doesn't it?

Speaker 3: Oh absolutely. I mean, you know, one of the things that we do with legalization is we changed the landscape of how cannabis is used and talked about in society and once we do that, we're able to move forward with the normalization. So yes, the idea that you can't walk around outside with more, with more than an ounce on you is ludicrous because you could walk around with a keg of beer, should you be able to lift it and carry it down the street. So of course we believe that, but the public is not ready to embrace that concept yet.

Speaker 4: So once people are able to observe how cannabis fits into their society, they're going to understand that some of the things in the first round of legalization are arbitrary. Like the cap on the amount of cannabis you can carry around with you or maybe even the cap on the number of plants you can have. But right now the public is still operating a very fear based perspective. And even though they're ready to admit that people shouldn't go to jail for cannabis, they're not quite ready to embrace it with open arms into their communities. So the first step is taking it out of the criminal part, putting it into the regulated part, and then letting people see what it looks like and then we can go back to the legislature with a good deal of support and demand for expansion of these laws and to make them a bit looser and more progressive.

Speaker 2: I love it. Alright, well listen, keep fighting the fight. The last question, of course, is on the soundtrack of your life named one track one song for today.

Speaker 4: Um, yeah. You know what? I don't even have one today that's like, that's how like broken my mind is right now. I can't even think of a song. I can't even think of a song

Speaker 2: that's, that's fine. We will go and prescribe

Speaker 1: to you Peter Tosh is legalize it because that is literally what you're doing in these next three years.

Speaker 4: Okay. Yeah. Well then I'll just keep repeating that we lift be my mantra.

Speaker 1: Amanda Reiman, thank you so much for this incarnation of Amanda Reiman time.

Speaker 4: Anytime

Speaker 1: this episode is also supported by Focus, focus is working on independent and international standards while offering third party certification for cannabis businesses. The foundation of cannabis unified standards helps build your business into the best it can be. Focused is not a regulatory agency so they don't engage in enforcement. 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. Alright, so we've got a congressman jared Polis. Congressman, thanks for giving us a few minutes. Let's pleasure. Welcome to northern Colorado. We're in Fort Collins. We've got an office here. You've

Speaker 5: got an office, a got a few offices in Colorado. Well have a beautiful district. It's all the way from the Wyoming border, northern Colorado, western Colorado, Vail and Copper Mountain Arapahoe Basin, all the wonderful ski resorts as well. Beautiful district. Come visit Colorado anytime. I absolutely I'm. I'm here often and others should. Should come cannabis tourists are here frequently. It's a great state for it. That's it. So let's, let's just jump in with cannabis. You know, you are a congressman. For what? How many constituents? About 800,000. Okay. And uh, not all of them are, uh, are, are cannabis enthusiasts, I would imagine. Uh, no. Uh, you know, when we had an amendment 64, the initiative that legalize it on the ballot, it pass my district with a, just over 60 percent of the votes. Okay. About 40 percent are like it. I think the numbers have grown.

Speaker 5: I bet if it was on again, it would probably be mid sixties. Told us geographically gets more and more. What was your take? Let's go ahead and do the, the chronological thing. What was your take on amendment 64 at the time? Well, I've always been supportive of legalizing marijuana, so I mean from when, even before I was in politics and first ran, so I've been a long involved and supportive of, uh, of not uh, you know, decriminalization legalizing it. So I think it's great where Colorado is today. Good Soda. Why? Why, why were you supportive even before? There's so many reasons. I mean, you know, obviously, um, prohibition wasn't working. Same reasons it didn't work for alcohol. Uh, why not tax it? There's a public safety side. Do you want to regulate it? You want to reduce the number of drug dealers to get drugs out of the hands of kids.

Speaker 5: Um, it's a good creates jobs. Know, helps fill a vacant space. So it was a lot, a lot of reasons why it should be illegal. I'm with you 100 percent on that. You're an early adopter is what we would say. Uh, what, uh, what was it, do you think that enlightened you to what is a, what I think is truth and fact? Well, I think, you know, I never, I never thought it should be illegal. I mean, I always thought it should be legal. I, you know, I um, it just never occurred to me. Why, why anybody would think it should be a people we should, should we put in jail over? It doesn't make any sense. Uh, agreed. Let's get to cannabis as medicine. Uh, when were you enlightened to the fact that we actually have medicine here? Well, you know, the frustrating thing is that because of the classification by the FDA, we don't have good testing as to what it is and what it does.

Speaker 5: So, uh, it, you know, and it's frustrating because the FDA will say you don't have any evidence. And we've said, well, we don't have any evidence because of you. You're not letting them test it. Obviously before we can reach any conclusions about its medicinal applications, there would need to be a double blind studies and efforts that are done to find out exactly what it does and doesn't do it. Having said that, you did come out with a pretty strong, uh, you know, comment after the dea kind of said, you know, we're still a schedule one. Take us through your ridiculous. Right? So, I mean, first of all, the real we real answer is, uh, I'm the chief sponsor of a bill to regulate marijuana like alcohol. So that's what we would do and we would transfer from the dea where it does not belong to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, firearms, and marijuana, which is what we would rename that bureau and then currently regulates or other controlled substances.

Speaker 5: And of course, marijuana would still be a controlled substance like alcohol. Uh, but in the meantime, absent any legislation, of course the FDA could, um, the da could, could reschedule it. And right now it's in a category that doesn't even allow for testing. Um, and in fact, it's at a higher scheduling category that even cocaine is, which is absolutely ridiculous. So it, look, I think there's been a lot of public interest in medicinal applications anecdotally. A lot of people in Colorado use it for pain management instead of a harsher, more narcotic, more addictive compounds that could otherwise be used for pain management. It's been used as a for appetite stimulants for people who are receiving chemotherapy or other treatments. So these are all things that should be validated scientifically. And there's barriers to doing that under the current laws and rules. Totally. You are sponsoring this bill, um, you know, uh, from an outside perspective, we noticed that not a lot gets done there and in Washington DC.

Speaker 5: So you've got your name on a bill. That in itself is a statement these days. Now, you know, we're making progress. We, um, we now routinely when a floor votes, we need a majority of the house generally agrees with decriminalization, allowing, for instance, we went to Florida to allow access to medical marijuana at va facilities. So I mean we win these votes. They haven't become laws yet because the process of making a law is very long and convoluted involves both the house and the Senate and the same forum passing a bill as president signing it. But obviously you start from a position where you have a majority on the floor and you're in a good position. So it's only a matter of time percolating through the system until some of these changes actually become binding law of the land. If we are getting these floor votes, can you shed some light on, you know, your colleagues in the house, either side of the aisle, what is the kind of off the record conversation that is occurring as far as cannabis.

Speaker 5: Well, what's really driving the discussion as a state level reforms and as more and more states and we're hoping that in this coming election in Florida, in California, move in that direction, uh, then it becomes an issue for representatives because all of a sudden they have a, uh, residents and constituents that are involved in the business. People who are consumers that have want to have their voice heard, that aren't hiding in the shadows and elected officials are responsive to their constituents or if they're not, they're not at their own peril. So that's really what's driven the discussion. And we've gotten a lot more members of Congress who care about it. And frankly, it's popularity in terms of legalizing marijuana has grown significantly in the Democratic Party. I mean, when I was first, there were probably 60, 70 percent of Democrats. Now it's like 95 percent of Democrats and we have our same kind of 15 percent of Republicans that help us get them origins.

Speaker 5: We need to pass things. Got It. That's, that's on that side, on this side. Um, as far as this presidential election and, and kind of burning, making, putting, making a footprint, how much have you realized that obviously in the Democratic Platform for, for the presidency, what about, you know, behind the scenes as far as conversations with fellow Democrats, how much has that changed the conversation of what you're watching, what the focus is on the democratic side? Well, we have a plenty of voters in Colorado that are cannabis voters and they're going to vote on that issue whether they're in the business, whether they're consumers. It's kind of a threshold issue. And for them, the only choices Hillary Clinton, she'll basically continue the same policies that Obama has had that allow the industry to operate, allow consumers to not worry about, um, being arrested. Uh, I'm confident that when we get, you know, eventually when we can get a bill through congress, I think she'd, she'd sign it, uh, you know, with Donald Trump, we don't know, of course, I mean, who knew, heck knows.

Speaker 5: What's worrisome is that he surrounds himself with Chris Christie who was a very likely candidate for attorney general and he's one of the most hostile people to a legalized or medicinal marijuana and if he is age could shut down the industry overnight. And so that's, that's the fear that's out there and it's very, it's very legitimate. Uh, W, what is your, take your, you're also on the ballot this year. Uh, how does it look from your perspective? You're actually running the, this is an unlikely election to say the least. As far as the two top candidates, how does that affect what you do day to day? I, you know, I, it doesn't affect me. I mean, I, you know, I've house parties I have tonight. I have one. I visited companies in my district to do the same things I've always done. I mean, people want to know the candidate, they want to know the representative.

Speaker 5: Of course, these national trends are worrisome to watch, obviously with the surprising amount of support that somebody is, um, as reckless and dangerous as Donald Trump has received. But, you know, I'm out there making the case everyday for a, for me to be able to continue to represent our district. How long have you been in Congress? Uh, this is, I'm finishing up my fourth term, so I'm hoping to be elected to a fifth. So eight going to 10 hopefully. How much is just general conversation changed with you when you go to these house parties? What is, what has changed over the years? Well, I mean a lot of changes I'd say, you know, it's, you know, kind of zooming in on, on cannabis related issues. I, I think by and large everybody's come to terms with it being legal in Colorado. So, I mean, you know, at first it was a little controversial.

Speaker 5: I mentioned six and 10 of my constituents voted for it, but now, I mean, even the ones who voted against it, they realize it's not going anywhere. They're of course interested in the regulations around it and the policing around it. Um, they may have particular complaints around siting and the local communities apart or what amendment 64 did is it allows, of course counties and cities not to have dispensary because I mean, that's entirely up to them. I mean, even with prohibition being removed, we have dry counties to this day and states like Tennessee and uh, and Texas, there's counties that don't allow alcohol sales. So, I mean, that's not, it's going to be the same with marijuana. I'm sure this doesn't. No one, no one. We're not trying to push some agenda nationally where it has to be legal everywhere. We're just saying remove the federal barriers and the communities decide how they best want to regulate it.

Speaker 5: I'm going to ask this question in a specific way. Uh, often, uh, we cite the fact that the sky hasn't fallen in Colorado, uh, with legalization. What does that mean as far as you're concerned? I think in general it's been good, uh, over 100 million a year in tax revenue for a state our size. That's very good. A lot of that is going to capital construction and some of our poor schools, uh, underage use of marijuana is down. Uh, we think that's generally because there's less drug dealers out there that would sell to underage kids and obviously it's controlled at the official dispensary's. Um, so indications have been good. Uh, it's created thousands and probably tens of thousands of jobs indirectly, thousands directly. Uh, and uh, it's been been a boost for our economy, a boost for our security, a decrease underage usage rates. So, you know, again, I, anybody looking at the data would say it's been pretty successful.

Speaker 5: Are you surprised at how successful it's been considering all the statistics you just. Yeah. You know, I'm, I'm surprised that it's not that we haven't been without our hiccups and of course there's challenges on the implementation, but I'm surprised it's gone as smoothly as it has for the first state that did it right. You never really want to be the first state. It's, it's much easier for states now to model or legislation after ours and do it, although they refuse to do that, but that's a different. They do like that, like that mess in Ohio and that initiative. They did exactly. Um, but, but, um, you know, but at least that's out there and that is the way California is going. Um, so, uh, but, you know, again, I think that I think that, um, it was a little scary to be where we were, but um, we really came together and implemented it well and frankly there were less hiccups then I would have predicted a tax revenue and jobs as far as jobs are concerned.

Speaker 5: You said tens of thousands of jobs. How happy as a proponent of this, as someone that's got a, you know, sponsoring a bill, how, how proud and happy and pleased does that make you? Oh, it's great to say that I would point out that, you know, the sector is broader than just medicinal than just consumer. It includes industrial hemp. We have a lot of jobs in that. It includes all the companies that make derivative products from the cannabis plant, whether it's oils, everything. So I'm in lighting and Erica everything, everything. And then, right. I mean, so you see, you see exactly. You see people selling lighting. I mean, you know, it's been a great positive economic impact. It's terrific to see, uh, there's no doubt it's attracted people to come live and be entrepreneurs in our state, which is great to see start businesses here. There's even in Boulder, a cannabis accelerator that effectively incubates companies that are going to be in the industry.

Speaker 5: Um, and uh, everything from point of sale systems to um, you know, tracking and marketing. So a lot of great things going on here in Colorado and we have a very entrepreneurial spirit here in Colorado as well as tax revenue goes right back into educational programs among other things, uh, thoughts on that and it's effect on society. Yeah. In the first place that tax revenue goes is to implement the regulation system and the forest, which is only a portion of the revenue. And then beyond that, as you indicated, the biggest chunk of it goes to capital construction for our poorest school districts. So literally these are schools where like, they haven't been able to use the gym in 10 years because the ceiling's falling and there's no local tax space. Those kinds of things, uh, some assistance for the, the general fund as well. And then not to mention municipalities are also collected revenues from it.

Speaker 5: So that's the state side. Municipalities are using it for all sorts of good purposes, Park's education, roads, all those sorts of great things that cities do. It really, it's, it's amazing. It's so positive and uh, uh, I can't say enough about, you know, not only what we have done but what we are doing. Um, there's a, you know, a couple of issues here. We've got a to age, right? Um, I know that you have thoughts on to 80 what, what, what can you do, what can we do? Yeah, I mean there's a lot of immediate issues around, uh, that we deal with. Obviously they would all, uh, every issue that I'm aware of would be rectified by regulating marijuana like alcohol and so short of that, um, there are fixes that we can get for some of the tax deductibility issues for some of the banking issues. We have those all in the mix.

Speaker 5: Um, and it's possible that we will get those. Again, we have the four votes to pass them, so it's possible we will get those amended onto bill's as partial fixes prior to kind of the whole, um, the whole enchilada passing, which I think is, I don't want to say inevitable, it might be too strong a word, but, uh, I think we're still probably, you know, three to five years from being able to pass a comprehensive bill to regulate marijuana like alcohol. But I do think there might be the opportunity to do some of these measures around taxes, uh, or banking in the meantime. Okay. Does it, does it feel like, um, you know, uh, as far as Congress is concerned that folks want to start to come together and, and do things and pass things. Is that what we're getting at, or are you just saying you structurally we can, we can together.

Speaker 5: We have a working majority of the floor and those issues and I frankly, it's gotten better every election. I think it'll be better. Again, in general, some of the newer members, the younger members are more likely to support it. Uh, the opposition would still come from, you know, people that have generally been there a long time or, or, or, or don't quite get it. So I would hope that after this election, uh, it's even a more favorable composition of congress for these kinds of issues. So we were talking about to 80 and then it threw in banking as well. Right. And that's, and that's by the way, the house, the Senate is a little tougher because people do represent statewide constituencies. We don't yet know if we have an operational majority in the Senate on these issues. We're very close to it and I believe that if more states move towards medicinal or full legalization, that'll put a lot of pressure on the senators to, uh, to act as well.

Speaker 5: So we're, we're getting to a political constellation where we can actually move some real relief, you say three to five years. That surprises me that someone like you would say that it is a soon as possible that soon. Uh, where do you kind of draw that from? You know, what's really, you know, again, it's taken off in no state of Florida is going to be a big one, right? I mean, Florida is a lot of representatives. I don't know what can, you know, California in terms of, uh, hopefully providing some order to. They're kind of chaos and they've had. But I mean, these are big deals. They have a lot of representatives. Um, they've influential senators. Uh, I think, uh, that's direction it's moving and um, that's certainly the reaction, the direction of public attitudes are moving as well. How can anyone listening support the D, Two different questions here, support, uh, your bill?

Speaker 5: Well, what's the best way for someone listening to. That's great. You know, look up whether your representative is a sponsor of the regulate marijuana, like alcohol bill, uh, if they're not called them and asked them to sponsor it, um, there's a senate companion that a senator, Bernie Sanders is a sponsor of and you can call and ask if your senators or sponsor that. So, uh, you know, the more constituents they hear from, the more important they know it is to their voters, the more likely they are to join these bills and tell us how, in other words, I'm sitting with a congressman right now, when you get a call, you know, how and why do you activate? What's your. I mean, there's different ways to reach members of Congress. I'm the best is in person. And so, uh, that's at a town hall or if there's none scheduled, it might be a, you had a group of people requesting a meeting, hey, there's 10 or 15 of us who want to meet with you about this topic, uh, back when the congressman is in the district or a woman.

Speaker 5: That's a good way to do it. The second best way is a personalized letter that you can write or a personalized phone call, um, you know, and so, you know, put some time into it because again, it makes a big difference if they hear directly from constituents. So if you, uh, the constituent puts in the time the congress person has to, it's not gonna be that hard for you to set up a meeting with a congress person. Again, it might not, it might not get one on one, but it particularly if you have a group of people who care about this, maybe it's a medicinal buying club or something or whatever it might be. I'm trying to schedule that. And if not, ask for ask for their town hall or public agenda and you can, you can just kind of talk to talk to him or her at one of their public events.

Speaker 5: The wonderful things a, of public service members of Congress are more accessible than people think. I mean, we represent about 800,000 people. So I mean, uh, it's not that hard to get in front of them. Um, my goodness, you live in Manhattan. I don't think your district is more than 30 blocks, right? Mine is. Mine is a couple hundred miles really aside, but I just three blocks, right? Uh, so, you know, there's all different sizes across the country, but um, you know, we, members of Congress are always out trying to do outreach to constituents and uh, speaking of you in particular, if we were interested in driving support your way, how would we do that? A driving support my way. In other words, if we wanted to donate to your. Yeah, well that's a, that's a great thing to do. We love it when people do that.

Speaker 5: It's a Polish for Congress. [inaudible] DOT com. Excellent. And you're, you're welcome to. And if you want to, uh, if you want to stick a twenty cents on at the end, although it came from somebody associated with this, uh, with the, with a cannabis set point, you know, give a thousand and $20 instead of just a thousand or, or, or, or, or $4 and twenty cents, whatever you want, whatever it may be. I love the two examples. A thousand and then four. I prefer the thousand, but I know for your listeners we know the for 20, whenever that you would ever you can do. I mean, you know, whatever. Whatever you want to do. I love it. I appreciate it. Three final questions we ask everybody. I'll tell you what they are and then I'll ask you them in order. What has most surprised you in cannabis? What has most surprised you in life and on the soundtrack of your life?

Speaker 5: What is one track? One song that's got to be on there. First things first though, what has most surprised you in cannabis? That it's gone so smoothly in Colorado? I mean, we talked about that earlier. I just being the first, I would have expected more acrimony and more problems along the way. It's not, nothing's entirely severely, but it's gotten a lot better than we thought. Right. And things have worked out pretty well so far here. Excellent. A bigger question. What has most surprised you in life? Uh, oh, you know, life is a wonderful thing. So I don't know. Everything every day surprises me, you know, just to get to be a congressperson. That's pretty darn exciting. I was. How did you, when did it occur to you that you were going to run for Congress? What, where does that come from? It's pretty crazy. Yeah.

Speaker 5: I mean you just, you know, anybody can run and um, you have to be 25 years of age and you have to live in your state. But um, I ran and, you know, just every day is crazy going to work at the US Capitol every day. It's just, you know, amazing. Were you always kind of a president of this and leader of that? Or. I was in business before and I was in education, so I did start a charter school. I was superintendent of the charter school. I started some tech businesses, so I've been, you know, as an outcome of an entrepreneur. Got It. Okay. And I can get even more done if I can get into the building and uh, and you're there and we want to keep you there. So I appreciate that. Final question on the soundtrack of your life. One Song, one track that's got to be on there.

Speaker 5: We ask everybody. Oh, that's, you know, that's when you should have given me some heads up on, I don't know, it's just songs I like or songs that kind of exemplify my life or as good as you can do, you know, we'll take one of your favorites, but if you know, I like lady Gaga. Um, I was not anticipating that. Well, of course I like lady Gaga who doesn't want to quit. He Gaga people like lady Gaga. That's true. But in terms of like my life, I, let's see. I would say, um, you know, probably go back to some John Denver stuff. I would say sunshine on my shoulder probably. That's great. You remember the old God movies? Oh, of course. Absolutely. George Burns and John Denver. Yeah, those are great congressman Polis. You're a busy man. Get back out there. Very much. Appreciate your time. Have a great day. Take care of. And there you have congressmen Polis.

Speaker 1: I mean, I guess I get it, you know, he's a busy guy. He's going at a much faster clip than most people and he's engaging. He's endearing, came away liking the Milan and of course we know and love Amanda Reiman and of course we know and love you. Thank you so much for listening. Very much. Appreciate it.

Read the full transcript:

Become a member to access to webinars, quarterly reports, contributor columns, shows, excerpts, and complete podcast transcripts

Become a Member

Already a member? Login here.

Subscribe now to get every episode.

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