Ep.191: Michael Bronstien, ATACH; Will Luzier & Jim Borghesani, Yes on 4 in MA

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.191: Michael Bronstien, ATACH; Will Luzier & Jim Borghesani, Yes on 4 in MA

Ep.191: Michael Bronstien, ATACH; Will Luzier & Jim Borghesani, Yes on 4 in MA

Michael Bronstien of the American Trade Association of Cannabis and Hemp joins us to discuss his background in politics which includes a White House internship turning into full time eploy as well as working for Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of England. He shares his views from the inside of electoral politics albeit at a low level at the time and how that informed his work now with ATACH. We first speak with Will and Jim of the Yes on 4 campaign in Massachusetts. Will and Jim share how it’s set up, where the money goes and how it plays or doesn’t with the current medical initiative.


Speaker 1: Michael Bronstein and yes on four Michael Bronstein and the American trade association of cannabis and hemp joins us to discuss his background in politics, which includes a White House internship, turned full time employee as well as working for Tony Blair in the former prime minister of England. He shares his views from the inside of electoral politics all be it at a low level at the time, and how that informed his work. Now with attach, we then speak with will and Jim have the yes on four campaign in Massachusetts, ruined Jim. Share how it's set up, where the money goes and how it plays or doesn't with the current medical initiative walk into cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the Hammock can economy. That's two ends and the word economy, our Ip, Shimon Peres. As he is cited in the conversation with Michael Bronstein, which is proceeded by will and Jim from us on for. Okay. So we've got the yes on four guys from

Speaker 3: Massachusetts will. And Jim, how are you?

Speaker 4: Very well said. How about you?

Speaker 3: Alright, that's will if I'm not mistaken, right? That's right. Okay. And Jim, how are you?

Speaker 4: I'm doing well. Uh, we have a lot of activity going on as you would expect them to closing weeks of the campaign.

Speaker 3: Indeed, it's just a few weeks to go. So, uh, first things first, you know. Yes. On Four. Give us the basics so that we know if we're outside of Massachusetts.

Speaker 4: So basics are that initiative will establish a, uh, the cannabis control commission that will regulate all commerce in marijuana and marijuana products including retail cultivation, manufacturing and of all marijuana products. Um, and uh, the cannabis control permissions analogous to the alcohol Beverage Control Commission and they will be charged with regulating and enforcing those regulations for all marijuana commerce. Um, and uh, you know, what a is most important is that we're committed to taking this commerce out of the criminal market and putting it in a regulated market that pays taxes, uh, and creates jobs and drives down youth access.

Speaker 3: I think we can all get behind that, at least most of us national polling indicates, and we'll get into in a minute, but, um, take us through, you know, what, yes, on four does, in relation to the medical program or not, in other words, are those two separate things and how does it all work because you've, you've had some trials and tribulations with the medical market.

Speaker 4: So the initiative is very explicit that it, it has no effect on to medical system here in Massachusetts. Um, but we, we certainly believe that there are a lot of folks that there are only eight dispensary's open now. There was one just opened recently in Quinsy, the medical marijuana initiative called for 35 in the first year. So the roll out has been glacially slow and there are many people who can't, who may need marijuana as medicine but can't get it, or they may not want to go on the DPH lists because they're veterans or because they're federal employees are retired federal employees or somehow otherwise connected to the federal system or they might be undocumented immigrants or they might have a firearms id card and all of those people don't want to go on a dph list. So we believe that those people will be able to get their medicine because they need it and cut out the middleman and have those decisions just be made between the patient and their doctor.

Speaker 1: Michael Bronstein and yes on four Michael Bronstein and the American trade association of cannabis and hemp joins us to discuss his background in politics, which includes a White House internship, turned full time employee as well as working for Tony Blair in the former prime minister of England. He shares his views from the inside of electoral politics all be it at a low level at the time, and how that informed his work. Now with attach, we then speak with will and Jim have the yes on four campaign in Massachusetts, ruined Jim. Share how it's set up, where the money goes and how it plays or doesn't with the current medical initiative walk into cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the Hammock can economy. That's two ends and the word economy, our Ip, Shimon Peres. As he is cited in the conversation with Michael Bronstein, which is proceeded by will and Jim from us on for. Okay. So we've got the yes on four guys from

Speaker 3: Massachusetts will. And Jim, how are you?

Speaker 4: Very well said. How about you?

Speaker 3: Alright, that's will if I'm not mistaken, right? That's right. Okay. And Jim, how are you?

Speaker 4: I'm doing well. Uh, we have a lot of activity going on as you would expect them to closing weeks of the campaign.

Speaker 3: Indeed, it's just a few weeks to go. So, uh, first things first, you know. Yes. On Four. Give us the basics so that we know if we're outside of Massachusetts.

Speaker 4: So basics are that initiative will establish a, uh, the cannabis control commission that will regulate all commerce in marijuana and marijuana products including retail cultivation, manufacturing and of all marijuana products. Um, and uh, the cannabis control permissions analogous to the alcohol Beverage Control Commission and they will be charged with regulating and enforcing those regulations for all marijuana commerce. Um, and uh, you know, what a is most important is that we're committed to taking this commerce out of the criminal market and putting it in a regulated market that pays taxes, uh, and creates jobs and drives down youth access.

Speaker 3: I think we can all get behind that, at least most of us national polling indicates, and we'll get into in a minute, but, um, take us through, you know, what, yes, on four does, in relation to the medical program or not, in other words, are those two separate things and how does it all work because you've, you've had some trials and tribulations with the medical market.

Speaker 4: So the initiative is very explicit that it, it has no effect on to medical system here in Massachusetts. Um, but we, we certainly believe that there are a lot of folks that there are only eight dispensary's open now. There was one just opened recently in Quinsy, the medical marijuana initiative called for 35 in the first year. So the roll out has been glacially slow and there are many people who can't, who may need marijuana as medicine but can't get it, or they may not want to go on the DPH lists because they're veterans or because they're federal employees are retired federal employees or somehow otherwise connected to the federal system or they might be undocumented immigrants or they might have a firearms id card and all of those people don't want to go on a dph list. So we believe that those people will be able to get their medicine because they need it and cut out the middleman and have those decisions just be made between the patient and their doctor.

Speaker 3: Okay. There you go. And dph, where the glacier occurs. In other words, how are we getting around, um, what has been very slow to adopt a, you know, a legislation in Massachusetts with yes on four. Then what had happened with the, with the medical program, what do you know? Where are the, uh, were the answers? Were the solutions

Speaker 4: specific timelines in the initiative on how this is supposed to be rolled out and there is a clause in the initiative says that if those timelines are not met, if the counters controlled permission doesn't issue licenses by January of 2018, that folks that are selling medical marijuana can sell to the adult use market

Speaker 3: and they're in a, is the tie between the two so that, that's fantastic. In other words, you know, regulators need to regulate or else, you know, basically we'll go ahead and regulate ourselves kind of thing.

Speaker 4: That's right.

Speaker 3: Excellent. Okay. Um, you know, as far as yes, on four, where does the money go? This is a question that we've been asking a, you know, a little bit more often as far as California as far as Arizona, as far as Nevada, you know, how does it break down as far as taxation is concerned? Okay, great. We've got legal cannabis, we've got money coming in. How is it distributed?

Speaker 4: Six and a quarter percent regular sales tax in Massachusetts and that will go to the general fund. Three point seven, five percent excise tax on retail sales will go to the cannabis regulation fund that will fund the activities of the cannabis control permission and if there's any money left over from that, it will go to the general fund and then there's two percent local option tax that will. And you are to the benefit of the local communities that have retail facilities in their cities or towns. So it's 12 percent tax altogether and the tax obviously is lower than many other legal states.

Speaker 3: Yes.

Speaker 4: The reason for that is because we thought that it gets important to keep the tax blow to undercut the black market.

Speaker 3: That's exactly right. Yeah. No, uh, there are other states that have a much, much higher taxes, you know, included that uh, that excise tax and really hit the consumer or the patient. And then, you know, we are getting reports that uh, the black market certainly isn't dead so to speak. So. So I like the sound of, of what you're doing with the, with the taxes and how it, how it all breaks down as far as the opposition. That's been well documented that a, you've got some big players that we would rather have on our side that aren't necessarily on our side. How's that all going?

Speaker 5: The opposition in Massachusetts, you know, it's the same opposition that came out against decriminalization of 2008 and medical marijuana in 2012. They like to characterize it as this new coalition. It's the same people supporting the same tired, you know, 1930 style arguments that prop up prohibition. I'm voted, didn't listen to them in 2008 and bloated, didn't listen to them in 2012. Both of those measures passed overwhelmingly. They're not giving us any new arguments. So frankly, you know, we're not too worried about the fact that the governor or the mayor of the attorney general or against this, they were all against the prior two initiatives. The only thing we're worried about is will they have the money to put out, you know, TV commercials or other media that will make the air campaign and more effective.

Speaker 3: And so when we talk about money, we talk about messaging. Let's, let's go ahead and discuss what the message is. Yes, on, for what, uh, you know, beyond the basics, what, what, uh, what's the campaign? What are we going with as far as messaging?

Speaker 5: All right, now our key messaging is that prohibition has failed and that Caxton regulated system, so working in Colorado and other states, we have a great TV commercial that's on air right now featuring a retired Boston lieutenants saying that ending prohibition will help public safety will actually control marijuana in Massachusetts and will provide money, uh, that can be put toward schools while law enforcement. Um, so basically what we're trying to tell voters, um, is that, you know, the grand experiment experiment, if you call it that the prohibition has been fast failure at every level. All it has done is enable a criminal market and make sure that the 900,000 regular marijuana uses in Massachusetts and you don't have to go to, into a market with a kid with, they are also exposed to heroin and opioids and other dangerous items. Um, and we think that consumers deserve the same protection that other consumers that Massachusetts get, which is inspected product labels, good packaging, you know exactly what you're buying, you know, who you're buying it from. Um, and so far I think masters is in Massachusetts. Voters have been very receptive to that, to that argument,

Speaker 3: Massachusetts. But I'm receptive to that argument and would like to maybe donate to the campaign where, where should I go?

Speaker 4: Uh, you can certainly go to the website which is www dot regulate Massachusetts dot more m and there's a button on there, a big red button that says donate.

Speaker 3: Well, what's your background? You know, why do we have the pleasure of speaking with you about legalizing cannabis in Massachusetts?

Speaker 4: Well, I'm a lawyer by trade. I came to Massachusetts to finish my legal education back in 1975. But before that, when I was an undergraduate student, I was a student activist and I was admittedly a hippy and, you know, once I often say once a Hippie, a Hippie, but at any rate, uh, I, in 1970, I got arrested for a possession of less than a quarter of an ounce of marijuana, which in New York state at the time was a class a misdemeanor. I could have gone to jail for a year, uh, the cops put their hand in my pocket in order to get the marijuana. So I was an illegal search. It was thrown out, but who knows how my career would have been different if that hadn't happened. But, so I went on to school. I

Speaker 5: worked for 12 years in the attorney general's office. I worked for 13 and a half years for two state senators as chief of staff and general counsel. And then, um, for six and a half years, up until April of last year, I was the executive director of the Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and prevention. Working very closely with the lieutenant governor on a whole range of substance use issues.

Speaker 3: Sense. Uh, you know, uh, you, uh, you get a person that was disaffected by the, uh, the war on drugs no matter what it was. And that certainly is you, Jim. I heard the accent. So first off, you definitely know who Tony.

Speaker 5: Yes, I know who he is. He was my hero when I was growing up as a baseball player.

Speaker 3: Gifts a gift folks, just because we're in Massachusetts, give folks a sense of the folklore of Tony.

Speaker 5: Ronald. Tony was a young player who grew up in Massachusetts, go down the red sox and had a spectacular rookie year, um, and in 1967 a year that the red sox won the pennant early in the season. He got hit by a pitch and it was just a devastating hit. He got hit, I think in the temple, um, and just suffered a massive injury. He did come back, but he was really never the same. Um, so his career was, his career was cut short and he was very promising player a power at a great arm. Um, and it was, he's gone down as a legend in Massachusetts for one, not only for how we battled back for a full body could've been, and that his career was cut short.

Speaker 3: He certainly is held on a pedestal or a mantle, if you will.

Speaker 5: Yeah. And he was a cool guy. I think he dated Raquel Welch. I mean, he was, he dressed, he was almost like the Joe Nemeth of Boston, you know, he was in that era. Um, so eddie, he sort of embraced the era and reflected the era. So he was one of those, you know, real legends of Boston Red Sox history.

Speaker 3: So besides being a red sox historian, why, why do we have the pleasure of, of your services?

Speaker 5: Well, I started my career as a journalist, um, and then I went into government communications. I worked at the District Attorney's office in Boston for eight years doing that communications. And then after nine slash 11 I went to the governor's office to handle the communications. Um, and, you know, I've done a lot of campaigns and my career and I came onto this campaign and, you know, I don't have a story like, well, I don't have know the backstory that exposes, you know, the terrible injustices of prohibition. I came onto this because I liked campaigns and I did feel that marijuana should be legalized, but frankly I had no strong feelings about it, not in the course of doing this campaign and learning the history of prohibition. Um, I, I, I couldn't be more committed to making sure that this terrible era and not only in Massachusetts but in the entire country. So, you know, and I looked back and I, I, I feel ashamed of myself that I didn't embrace this cause earlier. But when you really look at it and um, and the, the, the horribly racist, a bedrock of which prohibition was built. Um, it just becomes something that you just don't want to see continue in America anymore.

Speaker 3: We're all on the same page as far as looking at where we are. As I mentioned, we would talk about polling numbers. Where are we a few weeks out from the election, what, what are the numbers indicating?

Speaker 4: There was a recent poll from western New England and a western New England university and they did a poll, I think it came out a week ago last Monday. And um, the pole was about 53 percent in favor, uh, about 42 percent against m and uh, but that was among likely voters and among registered voters to pole went up to like 55, 39 likely voters, um, skew older than a just registered voters. And we, for instance, or having a, a, a, a day of a registration on a Sunday at 15 colleges and universities in Massachusetts to make sure that we can get as many students registered as we can. That deadline for registration is October 19. So, um, we have a big push on to get everyone registered yet, you know, even though you might live in another state, you can register in Massachusetts, devote at your dormitory residence or in your, you know, your student residents. Um, and so, um, we, we believe that there'll be a lot of young folks will make them up just to vote for this.

Speaker 3: So you're doing all the right things. We've got all the right messaging. Let's just do that website one more time before the last question. So the website is,

Speaker 4: well, there a couple ways to get to it, but the first one is www dot regulate Massachusetts, but if you don't want to type that long and you can also use www.regulatemass.com.

Speaker 3: Okay, great. Yeah, that's much more easy and we appreciate the saving of, of, of, uh, of each character as far as your character is concerned. The final question goes to each of you on the soundtrack of your life. One track, one song that's got to be on there. We always ask this. So maybe first, what's one song that, uh, must be on the soundtrack of your life? Oh, that's, that's a really good one. That's a really good one that has not come up yet. And that, uh, that makes all the sense in the world will. How do you, how do you, uh, how do you beat that?

Speaker 4: I'd have to go with a Nobel Prize winner for literature and say women 12 and 35.

Speaker 3: It's uh, you know, and, and, uh, as far as officially a, you know, everybody doesn't have to get stone, but, uh, the patients need their medicine and that's why you guys are doing what you're doing a very much appreciate, um, your time and your work and, uh, appreciate your song choices, both of them. And we'll check back in with you, uh, probably after the election at this point because that's when the real work starts. Doesn't it?

Speaker 4: Thanks so much for having us on

Speaker 3: you. Got It.

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Speaker 6: Bronstein and lever. Who's weaver? Weaver? Weaver is my business partner. Yeah, sorry to put media for about 10 years. Yeah. Years ago.

Speaker 7: Known very well in, in democratic politics. Okay, well we got to jump in there, right? Who, who do we care about as far as Democrats are concerned? I would imagine all of them. If, if I'm you right now, absolutely care about care about every democrat. What uh, what's your, uh, kind of stripe? Where were we? Where are you most comfortable with? What works for you and what, what, uh, what works for them when we're going with Braunstein waiver, I'm very, uh, I'm very comfortable as a Democrat for sure. There are. My clients are of all different stripes inside the Democratic Party. As a political consultant, your job is really to get people elected. It's not necessarily to enforce your own will and your own political beliefs over them. So long as they're in the party, you've got a job to do. And um, you know, I've had, uh, I've been fortunate to have worked with some great people over the course of my career yet, uh, we're just seeing news break of Shimon Peres actually going into the hospital. So that gives folks an idea that we're in early September when we speak. Um, you know, what, what the, you know, you, you said you got a chance to meet him?

Speaker 8: I did. Now I, I've met Shimon Peres. I met him. I used to work for the British Labor Party. Okay. And um, while I was there, I met him at a Labour friends of Israel, um, reception at Labour party conference. Okay. And uh, what, what, uh, Prime Minister Blair are used to say of Shimon Peres was that there was nobody better with a one liner then, uh, in politics than Shimon Peres and he certainly, he certainly lived up to it very, very gracious, larger than life really to have met him. And he always seemed to rise to the moment. He always rose to the occasion and uh, just it was a really, it was a really exciting time for me. It's a kind of a once in a lifetime experience really.

Speaker 7: Sounds good. And do you have a one liner, a, you know, at the, at the palm of your hand by any chance?

Speaker 8: Not from him, not from him. Actually, I remember, I, you know what, I do have one. We were in a, we were in a meeting and there were a bunch of, uh, members of parliament there and they were asking, um, shamone one, one, Ash Ramon. He said, a very prominent, a prominent leader said, well, you know, are you planning on, are you planning on retiring? Right? Or like, when are you planning on retiring? Any looked at him and he goes to retire because I'm just getting started. And that was, it was, it was a very funny. It was a very funny moment.

Speaker 7: Yeah. That follows the fact that you just mentioned he's 93. I said, is he that old? And you said he. I said, he's never been. He's been forever. I get them. I give them my best, uh, again, I give my best wishes,

Speaker 8: you know, hopefully, uh, you know, obviously he's going through a trying a health situation or our, you know, our prayers are prayers are with him. Sure.

Speaker 7: Absolutely. Well, let's, let's dive in on you though, uh, you know, with all due respect to him. Absolutely. You did mention labor, you mentioned that that's what you were working on at the time. Uh, and it was Tony Blair

Speaker 8: it. Well, yeah. Tony Blair's reelection campaign in 2005. So I worked for the British Labor Party during that, uh, that campaign and I would sit in his design and political, a publication unit and those, those were high stakes a times. There's no question. Yeah, you had the, the war with Iraq, um, that, that, uh, was definitely of issue going on throughout, throughout it. Um, there was a, certainly a, a question of how long the prime minister was going to serve and um, it was a really a really exciting, uh, exciting election. One, that we spend a lot of time talking about what the Labor party had for Britain, and it was very substantial.

Speaker 7: It was a time when the Labor party was attract more conservative than usual. Is that fair to say?

Speaker 8: I think from an international perspective, when you look at it, it's a, it's fair to say that they were more, they were more of a center, a center left party then, uh, then perhaps they are now in leadership, but there are certainly people who are inside the party who have reflected on those days. You remember what it was like to actually win elections and our, and our assertive looking back at that, um, you know, looking back at that fondly that it's certainly not necessarily the way leadership is, is, uh, is seeing it right now.

Speaker 7: Fair enough. Where would you see, where would we see your hand, if you will, or just generally, you know, what, what was the pathway to success in that specific election do you think?

Speaker 8: I think the pathway to success was being able to actually run on a, on a, on a record that, uh, that people felt pretty good about and that was, that was important there if there wasn't a domestic policy that was in place that, that, uh, the prime minister had the ability to run on. It would have been a very different, uh, it could have been a very different election, but there were a number of years where there was some very good policies that were enacted that the, uh, the British people I felt very good about. And the thing is, is that our prime minister dot Blair was a, I mean, he was a, he was a leader. I mean he was a very decisive leader too. And when you have a decisive leader, a pupil kit, people form very, very strong opinions about some of the things that you do. And there were, there were enough, a good opinions at that point to carry the election. And I learned a lot from it.

Speaker 7: Yeah. Just, uh, to, to give you a sense of, of my relationship with Tony Blair. It is in a bar, a very, uh, very directly after September 11th, 15th anniversary just happened. It was when Tony Blair was addressing both houses of Congress and just to give folks a sense of the time again, I was in a bar and everything stopped and we were all watching Tony Blair give his address to both houses of Congress in a bar. I was in New York City and um, you know, he started to talk or he, uh, you know, he made his way to, uh, to the podium and just before we started to talk, a young man from New York City said how you doing? And so I knew that I was in New York watching this. Um, but, uh, let's digress. Shall we. So how does Michael Bronstein get, uh, get to these upper echelons really have of politics, international politics where, where did you come from to get there?

Speaker 8: Well, there were a, the way I got there specifically, I am, I was a student at Cornell University and when I was there I had held an internship at the White House in the Clinton administration and also kind of a number of jobs just interning and doing stuff in, in politics. And uh, I applied to be a, a hansard scholar at the London School of Economics. And so I wound up over there as the hansard scholar and as part of that I had a placement in the House of Commons. And My, uh, my boss was a James Purnell. James Darnell is now the director of strategy at the BBC and James was a minister in, in, um, in Tony Blair's cabinet and uh, just a, a young gun, a really excellent a member of parliament. We hit it off and after my placement was done, uh, he, he, uh, offered me a job. And what was, what would you say these years later, is the lesson that you learned from him?

Speaker 8: The lesson that I learned from him was that the, uh, the bigger, the bigger picture is, is usually more important than the, uh, than the details sometimes in, in politics, and sometimes you do have to, you have to look at, look at everything, but if it's for a broader purpose, um, any decision that you make in the, in the interim, we'll usually guide you and he always used to say to just basically do what's right with that doesn't sound like a politician at all. Well, Britain is a very different system than it is somebody in the United States and certainly not in American. Certainly not an American, a Moroccan politician at work there. I got it. But the small ball, you know, kind of leave that alone, make sure that you're, you're playing to that big picture. That's correct. And you know, there was a lot to be learned from that.

Speaker 8: And the way that he executed a was also, there was also a lot to be learned from. I mean, he was known as a very, very sharp thinker, very definitely an intellectual leader inside the movement. And there was a lot to be taken from that experience, uh, understanding that you were a low level guy at the time, um, compare the White House in the United States to the House of Commons, uh, in the, and again, two different branches. Understood. But just the way politics works, you, you've now referenced it a couple of times. Those are both very high elevated places in each geography. Again, you were low level, but what can you share with us? Yeah, well, I mean, in fairness, I'd spent a lot of places in, in low places as well, but in the White House and the White House and the house in the White House and the House of Commons. So one of the things that I, that I would often tell Americans who would go over and then eventually if they were, if they were scholars over there or they were just visiting part of parliament or um, you know, even even Brits, is that the kind of, the initial reaction that you have as an American over in Britain is that their system really is not good.

Speaker 8: And there was a whole reason why we had a revolution, right? And, and that's sort of like the culture shock. I'm sinking into what that system actually looks like. But what it really is, is it's a system that works for a different culture and it's the, uh, it's the oldest parliamentary democracy. In fact, when, as they answered scholar, it was a, the reason why it was founded, I think it was Winston Churchill because they were concerned about whether a parliamentary democracy would survive, uh, throughout the world. And one of the principle things was, was to teach people from other countries about democracy just in case, um, you know, that there wasn't any, there wasn't any left to be talked about. So it was kind of this awesome, uh, you know, kind of kind of this awesome idea that, that, that they had. And so, but the thing is, is that people fall into a trap and they say, well, okay, well the British system is, is so much different in the American system works, it works so much better.

Speaker 8: The American system works great. And if I had my choice, I would definitely choose the American system, but that does not mean that the British system a doesn't work. There's a lot to be learned from it. And it's a, it's an amazing beacon of democracy that I think it's important to celebrate and just updating your reporting on each place. It looks like neither works right now, but that's a whole different conversation. That's a whole different podcast. That's right. You did mention an I uh, I am sorry that we have to go here. But, um, you did mention that you were an intern in the Clinton White House, right? Yeah. So there are stories, you know, uh, so, I mean, the first question I have to ask you is, did you know Monica? I did not. I was, I was, uh, either I was a couple classes afterwards, so I was not there for a, there for that, for the new rules, uh, for interns after the Monica.

Speaker 8: If there were any new. I don't know what there were because I have no basis for comparison of, of, of what it was. It wasn't mentioned at all. It was, that's interesting. It's funny that you should mention that. I actually say this to people a lot. I mean, it wasn't really mentioned. I mean everybody kind of knew what, uh, what had happened, but there was a, there was a job to get on a. We were explained to very specific set of rules and of tasks and most of the day to day was just basically we had to, we had to do work. Sure. Oh, and I'm a absolutely understood about the work. I mean just procedurally, you know, like extra forms of paper that you need to fill out, you know, I'm not sure. I know the classes were rather large. I mean they weren't, they weren't small classes.

Speaker 8: I don't know how many people were in my internship class, but I have a picture of it somewhere and it looks like, you know, there could be, you know, hundreds, you know, maybe $200. That's a tremendous amount of people. Yeah. I mean, so there were a lot of, and you could know all of them, but you couldn't know all of them basically. Yeah. I mean, there is no way, you know, there, there's no way to know. I mean we, I mean I have some close friends that I have from there that I, that I keep up with. Um, but you know, there were, there's no way to kind of know and every once in a while you'd go back and you look at the picture because a lot of those people wind up and wind up somewhere else. It's like where are these people now? And a lot of them have gone on to do some really impressive and successful things. Anyone that you would like to note of particular strands. So it's not like, you know, I look at the picture and I go, well, here are all these fans. Here are all these famous people that I bet if I went back now, I probably would find a good place. A couple of things that I could place. A couple of few. It's like a college, a college yearbook where.

Speaker 7: Yeah, no, I was, you say 200. I thought about my high school graduating class. That's what it kind of feels like as you were at least in the same house as a sitting president. Did you ever get to a chance to meet a Bill Clinton when he was president?

Speaker 8: Did I met him several times. So what I would do is I would actually staff the motorcades I worked in the office of scheduling in advance and whenever I staffed a motorcade, they allowed us to go out on that motorcade and then afterwards there'd always be a rope line for people who were in the motorcade. So I always used to get my friends and like, you know, I'd call it people I was college buddies with and I'd be like, Hey, you want to, you know, like, this is a great opportunity to be in a motorcade. I was college Democrats. I had people, you know, uh, had people ready kind of doing it and yeah. And it was a real blast because afterwards you'd get to be in a rope line and I don't know if they still do this, but you get to be in a rope line, you shake hands with the president, they take a picture and then they send you a picture after.

Speaker 8: So you've got the like, what's better than that? And it takes a day. You do it all day, like you wait in the line or you've got this thing and it's like this great experience. It really is. I don't know if they do that anymore because it was before nine slash 11. And I suspect the security concerns might be a little bit more. They may have some. I mean they always had professional drivers, but there were, there were people who drive around in the media. Like I had the media van, I drive around the media, uh, which, which sometimes wasn't that floods and have an experience because people are like fairly jaded and they're sitting in the back of a van and there are, you know, just like being, trying to take advantage of all types of, all types of situation. So it's being driven around by some kids, some kid, exactly. Some punk kid, you know, it's like, what are, you know, you know, who got this guy, this internship or something like that. I mean, there's all types. Turns out you were scholar. Yeah. Well, no, I mean, you know, I'm fairly legitimate, you know, credentials. And

Speaker 7: what's the difference between your kind of a scholar and a road scholar because that's the only other scholar I know

Speaker 8: it the Rhodes scholar so that the Clinton is a road scholar wrote Scott. Yeah. He was a Rhodes scholar so that they answered scholars programs at lse. Um, the Rhodes scholar, I think they take you over for a year and uh, I had friends who went through that process actually. And do you know, they, they, they, they are abroad for a year and they do their, they do their thing and it's up in oxbridge and kind of. It's not a, you know, it's not quite the lse digs. What can I say?

Speaker 7: I gotcha. I gotcha. Little competition, that kind of thing. There's much competition. So let's track back though, you know, um, as far as you find in Cornell, where are you from? I'm from Philadelphia. And so this is when you and I, we already know this, but for the rest of the audience, I'm a mets fan and you're not having to be a phillies fan, right? Yeah, very much not a mets fan. Right, exactly. And for this used to matter when both teams were good. That's right. Now it

Speaker 8: doesn't even, it's not even remotely relevant. No, no it's not. But how did you, uh, what kind of kid were you? Were you in kind of, you know, elementary school? Were you going to say, you know, I'm president of the class, I got to be president of the class when, when I'm in fifth grade or whatever it was. I think it's kind of unfortunate that you pegged me that way, but that's kind of the way it was. It's unfortunate that I found that it's quite, it is quite unfortunate, I'm sure. What were the issues of the day in elementary school? Do you remember? We, I mean, you know, there were, there was assemblies that I kind of wanted to make into a, you know, into free time. I mean, I remember that being a big issue. I thought it was an election winter too, but it turns out it was interesting and assemblies, it turns out.

Speaker 8: Yeah, I think they liked the issues. I just think, uh, I think it was more of a personality. Okay, fair enough. We were going to argue that element, you know, as a person who gets people elected all the time, and I can tell you what my, uh, you know, my strengths and weaknesses are, so how much of it is and just to jump out and then we'll jump back in. But how much of it, and I'm sure it's different every time, but his personality of factor because just me as a voter, I have noticed that it's a huge percentage. I don't want it to be, but it is the candidate matters and personality of the candidate really does matter and there's only so much that you can. There's so much that you can do. You can talk in the corners, you can have the right strategy, but if a candidate can execute a, you know, what, what, what good is it?

Speaker 8: Wait what you're passing off. So it's very important that you have a candidate that is able to connect with people personally. You can't teach someone how to connect, right? Not a teachable skill. Believe me, I've had plenty of people who have either wanted to know it and there's some people that they have it better than others. I mean, it's like any, it's like anything else and it's just, it's one of those things in terms of leadership, uh, it can't really be taught. People just, they sort of have it or they don't have it and the people who don't have it, some of them can get elected and serve in very high office indeed. People who have served as president and you know, I mean, it's not, but you have to about Richard Nixon type character who doesn't seem like he's a much of a people person.

Speaker 8: I, you know, Nixon is always a bad example for a example for everything. But there are plenty of presidents, right? We're talking about flooding, plenty of presidents, you know, there's a lot of Americans maybe agree with that, but there are plenty of presidents, but there, there are people have different personalities, the ones that they put their strengths forward and they are who they are, uh, and they feel authentic and they are authentic. Those are the ones that tend to do very, very well in politics. So that's Bill Clinton. It seems like that was Barack Obama to the voters, not necessarily to his, um, you know, uh, colleagues, folks in the Senate and House and like that. Do

Speaker 7: you read that or what's your take on that?

Speaker 8: I think Obama is going to be remembered as one of the great presidents and when people study, uh, the presidency and I'm an American, a history guy, and when people study, I, Obama's going to be a sort of a bookmark in history because of what he represents kind of socially. How do you mean as simply that these African American, but the way he did it, um, and, and having a multicultural America, these were ideas that people have talked about for a number of years that came to fruition under his leadership and in many ways he's not just a leader, but he's also a symbol. And those are the types of things that we're going to come to understand later as we, as we study history and in the, in the, in the history of the United States. I mean, when you talk about civil rights, um, and you, you talk about the history of this country and we've had some very bad dark, dark history in this country around, around civil rights.

Speaker 8: You know, you look at the founding of the country, um, you know, you look at Washington, DC is the capital, right? Yeah. I mean, you look at it exactly. I mean, you look at the founding of the country, okay. You look at the civil war, okay. You look at um, uh, you know, you look at the civil rights movements in the 19 sixties. I mean, the President Obama's election is a book end of these experiences in, in some, in some respect, absolutely. And I think that his election represented a lot of what America wanted to see and in and of itself, uh, but also what it wanted to be become. And it's interesting because I think there's a knee jerk reaction against that culturally. I mean, that's why you see sort of the rise of Donald Trump and the far right. I mean there's a misunderstanding of, and a constant tension of where America is going into America's growth and these are the types of things that we're, we're dealing with now.

Speaker 8: But when we, when we look at Obama, Obama has a lot more going for them than say, like the way conservatives look at Ronald Reagan. Okay. Added Reagan is kind of lionized amongst conservatives, right? And, but then when people look back at Reagan, they're like, well, what do you know? What do you stand for? What you do? And he's got sort of these, uh, you know, these, these social, conservative values that have been assigned to him, whether or not they're true or not. You know, is a, is a, is another story for history, but President Obama has accomplishments with him. He definitely had a theory of government and he symbolically represents something that's very important to this country.

Speaker 7: So an understood on the symbolism, you know, folks will say on, on Reagan, besides the social conservative, um, you know, a Bona Fides, uh, oh, or whatever, um, you know, bringing down the iron curtain or at least, you know, being a, a very big part of that. Um, so the units

Speaker 8: right about that now, I mean, that's just sort of the thing. I mean, when you're writing a history that's a good, like, you know, that, that, that, that people kind of remember that. And I think that the fall of the fall of the Berlin Wall, you know, as a historian, um, there were, you know, it was, it was not necessarily, it was not necessarily foreseen, but at the same time, you know what I mean, Democrats, a exerted robot exerted robust foreign policy. There are things that kind of make us, uh, make us American. And there was a, there was an epic battle between American values. And you know, what we're seeing overseas.

Speaker 7: Absolutely. And at home, uh, that's, that's where, you know, some other folks would see maybe Reagan stumble with, uh, aids with certainly with, um, you know, a mass incarcerations and uh, certainly with the war on drugs.

Speaker 8: Yeah, for sure. No, for sure. And that was, that's been problematic. I mean, it's something that we're fighting a lot, uh, to this day. I mean there's so many problems, uh, socially that were leftover from the, from the Reagan administration that have just sort of continued to, to full, you know, continue to fold themselves into society. And I think that we find ourselves at a, at a turning point and be in dealing with some of these things.

Speaker 7: Absolutely. And that's why I want to be on the symbolism kind of let you talk to the, the, the Obama successes, you know what I mean? That, that, uh, that you're referencing. Yeah, no, for sure.

Speaker 8: I think that Obama, like he's hung a lot of things up on kind of like signature achievements, you know, whether you look at, uh, his, uh, his healthcare package, which by the way, I think it was very bold. Um, it was very ambitious and it's something that another president wouldn't be able to get done. I mean, it's kind of a signature. It will be amongst Democrats, I think a signature achievement as they go for cause there were so many presidents that tried to do it, you know, the, the, the fact that, uh, you know, what he did with the economy. I mean, you really inherited what was quite a, uh, what was quite a mess and you like steady leadership really does matter. It really does matter in these types of circumstances. And I think that his leadership, when you look at what's going on in the economy and things of that nature has been really, really good. And I think some of the things that he's done socially, um, have been, have been really good. So I think President Obama is going to stand over on a good roll.

Speaker 7: Great. Yeah. As far as the economy is concerned, if you look at, you know, kind of, I'm not election day, but, uh, inauguration day 2009 to late 2016, you know, uh, certainly there are issues in our economy, but uh, it would be, it'd be hard to argue that it's not night and day. Oh yeah. Yeah. If you invested then and you were to cash out now, you're probably did pretty well for yourself. Indeed will speak. Speaking of yourself, we've gotten onto these very gigantic issues. What, how did you find cornell? Why Cornell? You know, they took me.

Speaker 8: No, I don't know. I, uh, I, I like Cornell. Um, the, uh, it felt like a college to be sure there is very, very rigorous education, which I was, I was attracted to. Um, there were a lot of disciplines are a lot of academic disciplines that were very interesting to me. So I didn't just go there to study American studies or, you know, take government classes or something like that. I mean, you know, I took a number of courses in astronomy. You know, I took a,

Speaker 7: I know Carl Sagan is a Cornell Guy,

Speaker 8: right? Hubel Cornell guy. My grandfather actually gave me a Carl Sagan book, um, when I was young, I was, you know, and he passed away. I don't know, I must have been maybe 12, 13, something like that when he passed away, but he had given me when I was, when I was younger, uh, you know, he made me watch cosmos and gave me the cosmos book, which I still have to this day, his copy of it that, that sits on my shelf at home. Um, and I, I just always remember that there's actually a picture of the back of Carl Sagan. He's standing, it must have been at cornell because there are these, there are these bushes that he's standing in front of it look exactly like these bushes that are in front of a sage chapel, which is not that far away from where the actual astronomy department was.

Speaker 8: And you know, at the time it says, oh, he's a David Dunkin professor at Cornell. I mean, it did not really, only until I kind of arrived there and I, I understood my pathway to there. I wasn't consciously thinking, you know, of it, but then when I sort of look back at it, I really understood why I was, I understood why I was there. I know it was also very like politically rigorous school as well. I mean we had very active political clubs. Many of the people, they're both at both Democrats but also the Republicans. I mean I ran into a friend from, uh, the Republican club is now like, you know, he serves as an attorney general. I mean he's like, you know, like these people were really, really interesting people. Very politically motivated and involved.

Speaker 7: Yeah. And we've discussed the fact that I went to Ithaca College at the same time. Cornell is in Ithaca, New York as is Ithaca College. And uh, I said to you, we were very pleased that we had the, the good looking women and you guys had the studying. So we definitely have

Speaker 8: studying a lot of. We had a lot of studying and no knocks on anybody else. But I mean, we were very interested in keeping our heads and the heads in the book, I mean, some of my fond memories of of college are actually in the library, which, uh, which I don't know how many other people can say, but certainly there are several other people who went to cornell. They can, can say the same thing and even vouch for the fact that I was there.

Speaker 7: Yeah. No. And just to continue this, uh, my, uh, favorite, uh, times from the Cornell campus where the parties, I guess that you weren't at the library. I'm at the party, I host a podcast. You've got friends that are attorneys general. Well, I guess that's sort of the way it works. That's, that's how that went to a few parties in my day. But, but did you, what, what did you latch onto? It seems like you were on this path from even a little kid. You kind of knew, you know, did you, uh, did it all become a kind of realized at Cornell? Or was this just a path that had been established and you've even thought about it but you hadn't ever eat? No,

Speaker 8: not even throughout my entire career. I've never, I never really thought about it. I just kind of did things. I never interviewed for a job. I always kind of, either I had an internship or something and someone to hire me. When I started my company it was all right, well what do I want to do? I'm going to go out and start that company. And that was kind of the way it was. I just never really thought about it. But. But, but.

Speaker 7: So you're at Cornell and then in the White House, let's just stop that line.

Speaker 8: Yeah. Why was, it was sort of my set. I think I was a sophomore or something. I have no idea how I, how they even made a selection. Because when you're a sophomore in college, like what do you have on your resume? Nothing that is right. You've got nothing that's like, okay, you go to the library to go right. I go to the library, right. And I remember I had asked for recommendation from a professor and I, they needed, uh, they needed a recommendation. I think it was a professor that I had had for like three or four months or something like that because, you know, I just did, showed up on campus. What was the, you know, who really knew what was, what was going on.

Speaker 7: So you, you, you get your application together. You asked for this recommendation from what professor was it? It was a professor. Cameron. Okay. So not a name of a particular note.

Speaker 8: Right. Professor came into, her husband had one, a. um, what did you, when he's, he's once, he won some very prestigious awards. He passed, he passed away. She is a, she's a historian, a tremendous historian, a local historian up in, up in Ithica, actually does a lot with Ethica and uh, and Cornell University. I'm a tremendous historians. Written a lot locally.

Speaker 7: And, and don't get me wrong, I think I misspoke. I meant it wasn't Carl Sagan. It wasn't, it wasn't. No, it wasn't. No, I don't mean she's of course of particular note I, I mean, you know, it's not like a show stopper name that gets you into the White House was my point. Oh yeah, no, it wasn't a showstopper name. I'm still trying to figure out how, you know, I'm still trying to figure out how that um, how that. So that's just dumb luck type of thing. Is that one of those right, fair enough. But I, you know, I pushed, I had a record and I stood on that record. What can I say that's fair. So that's kind of a good luck turn then I, right. I mean, yeah, I thought it was a good break.

Speaker 8: It was certainly a good break because that was sort of one of the most prestigious things in my family is not necessarily like they weren't like politically that being politically active or you know, they weren't donors or something like that. And I went there and there was somebody who complained to me. He's like, oh, the people here, they're like, they're so connected, and then, you know, his, his dad was like, um, you know, like a major vice president of in news organization. Right. You know, and he was going out to lunch with senators and stuff like.

Speaker 7: Yeah. So I always, I was always like, okay, you know, that's not really my can. I just had to really laugh about that. Right. Let me go get the motorcade together type of thing. Yeah, exactly. Right. And I'll have to go. You go to lunch with the photo editor. Photocopies. Yeah, exactly. Alright. So, so White House, she did a good job. Good enough to, um, and you're a smart guy. You're studying and you

Speaker 8: get the scholarship and you're in the London School of Economics and you're on in the House of Commons. What's the next step after that? The next step was I wound up working in the House of Commons. They got hired by James Darnell was, that was a job that wasn't an internship? No. I had an internship and then it turned into a joke. Okay, great. I was hired right out of that. I was hired right down to that. I worked there for a little while and James was up for reelection and um, he said, you know, I want you to, uh, you know, he, he felt like he was pretty safe and he said you should go work for the work for the party. And I said, why? I don't know how I'm going to just go work for the park, how do I just go do that? So he made a couple of phone calls on my behalf.

Speaker 8: I guess that's sort of what he was insinuating. And I wound up getting a, getting hired by the party and it was a really a really very, very kind of him and you know, a tremendous, tremendous thing they do. And so that's the piece. The reelection is successful, right. We talked about the, the candidate being so important. And James. Yeah. And James, it's funny, James was actually, so that was a parliamentary researcher to James Purnell, which sort of, it's a little bit different than in the United States where you have members of Congress where they have chiefs of Staff. So parliament, parliamentary researchers. They're only a couple of them there too, that staff usually one or two that staff, a member of parliament and then the rest of their staff is into constituency, but it's not like a 20 person staff. It's like three or four fear, something like that.

Speaker 8: So I was essentially, you know, acting out that role. I know it's kind of a tremendous responsibility, uh, explain for folks who may have seen, um, you know, video of the House of Commons. I'm on television or online, may have seen a kind of takes on the House of Commons on things like Saturday night live. Uh, and uh, and folks who know what they think about our current congress, the difference between the two bodies. It's the house of comments. It's actually, it's theater, a prime minister's questions, just theater and everyone kind of knows that going into it. At least when you're around the House of Commons. And I always remember the House of Commons, prime minister's questions, a, the question time. It'd be on a Wednesday, you know, sort of right before, right before lunch. And people go out to lunch afterwards, but it was right before there was kind of a raucous, a atmosphere and the whole house filled up and it's not usual that the entire house would fill up.

Speaker 8: A lot of the times it kind of looks like the way it doesn't cspan where you have one person speaking and no one's, no one's in the seats and there's an order papers that are published. So most people don't know this at home, but on the order paper they have generally the order of the questions. So yes, they did order the questions. So most I didn't know that going in. It doesn't seem like that. It doesn't seem like that at all. It doesn't seem like that at all. But the thing is is there's, there's kind of some training that goes into this. So when you see the prime minister speak, he has a, an order paper of who is going to be asking the questions. Sometimes they're subjects on it but they don't have to ask necessarily what the subject is. So that's sort of where the.

Speaker 8: I mean, nominally you're supposed to do that, but that's not really impractical you. That's right. Now, that's exactly what kind of, where that improv comes in and so typically what you do, and I once interviewed for a research position and uh, the, the people who are like doing this, but they researched that, what they do is they take a look at the person who's asking the question, they researched every issue that they have about them to try to figure out what it is that they might ask about it and then prep the prime minister about what any types of questions that might be asked. So there's a lot of preparatory work that goes into that, goes into it. The prime minister made prep know we talk about debate prep. This is every week or you know, every week. That's crazy. Oh, it's crazy. Yeah. No, ever, ever.

Speaker 8: Every week. And it works. I mean, there's a really interesting center piece of, of, uh, of British parliamentary democracy. It's something that people around the world, they all recognize and sitting in, sitting in the House of Commons, it's, it's, uh, it's really electric when, when you've got prime minister's questions and they're going back and forth and usually the opposition leader and you'll notice it's on cspan, gets three or four questions and they spar. It's a sparring match, you know, it's definitely, it's definitely a sparring match and, and the answers are not necessarily for the people who are in the comments there for the people who are outside that are watching for the cameras, for the cameras making, making some news. So that's why you get all that rock baby. Absolutely. In the, in this, uh, the, the, the shifting and this, you know, the, the turns and the opening up the three ring binder and closing it and sitting down.

Speaker 8: Absolutely waving the order papers the whole night and the whole nine yards. I mean, it's real, it's political pageantry. It really is. And you know what I mean. That is a, as a high, a high compliment. Exactly. Alright. So. Well, so then there you go. So now you have an election. Under your belt, it's a big one. Uh, you have operating democracy under your belt. And then when did you come back to the states? Because I see you here now. That's my, that's my question. Ten years ago. Two thousand and it's 2006. Oh, so kind of right after. So kind of right after, right after I came back and you know, there are a couple of pathways that I could have taken and I decided that I really liked electoral politics. I felt that, you know, establishing myself in electoral politics, who's going to be an important thing.

Speaker 8: So I, uh, I started the firm that, uh, that I have now. Oh, just right then. Yeah, it was 2000. It was 2006. So we have a big election under our belt wires. Yeah. Why not, I'll go out and I will, I'll do that. And it was kind of a crazy way to start a political firm. I mean, I was interviewed a while ago for um, uh, campaigns and elections or something and, and, you know, they said, well, what would you do? You know, what would you do? And I, and I remember I said like, listen, you're going to starting a firm at that time, now that I look back at it, I understand how crazy it was. Sure. To do what I did. Well, why just because most people were much more established in, in politics and especially in us politics and getting people elected and doing the types of things that they were doing.

Speaker 8: I mean the traditional pathway to becoming a political consultant. That was not one that I took. So I just kind of, you know, I jumped into the fray. I worked on a bunch of, a bunch of elections and I didn't really have any connections either. I mean it wasn't like whitehouse connections. We're gonna, you know, security or the White House internship, but it was going to secure me electoral political connections or something like that. I mean, had I done this over in Britain, I would have actually had a leg to stand on. That's kind of where, you know, that's kind of not where my head was. This was hitting the phones. Yeah. This was hitting the phones. Absolutely. It was hitting the felons I cold called people. Um, I really did. I mean I've got a, uh, I've got a, um, a cardboard box from lawn signs that we sold in the first election and what I did was I wrote candidates names on the back that we were cold calling and I would cross them out if they were no, you know, or circle them if they were yes or whatever.

Speaker 8: And I still have that. I have that frame somewhere in my office, you know, and that kind of remind, I mean that kind of reminds people to, to what it really kind of takes to make it because you've got to pick up the phone so people don't really, really know that. I mean there were a lot of people, there's some people who remember that time, but other people who I'm involved with in politics, they would know anything, you know, they wouldn't know anything about that or they don't know that they don't necessarily see. I've seen that side of the story. The grind. Are you talking about they don't know the grind, the actually, you know, picking up, dialing, hanging up, picking up dialing. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And that's completely not really the way, uh, it's sort of the way it works, but you cannot be scared to pick up the phone and make a call to someone you can be scared, but you still have to make the call.

Speaker 8: Right. Who was the first kind of candidate that said? Okay, Michael, that's a good question. So I had like three or four from the three or four from the first election cycle. I remember the first, uh, I remember the first piece of mail that we did, which was, um, this gentleman was running for state rep, uh, outside of Philadelphia and we wound up doing a couple of mail pieces for him. The person who is running against, actually, I think it's running for a Senate now, state senate, but ran for lieutenant governor or something in the, in the Republican, a Republican Party. Um, our candidate was unsuccessful, uh, at that time. But, you know, I figured if I was making cold calls, they might as well, you know, call, call, all the way through. I mean we, we became sort of nationally. We arrived to kind of on the national scene after the 2008 cycle.

Speaker 8: We had won a number of tough elections that year. Uh, one of them, we won the best bare knuckled street fight victory for in 2008. So it was the hardest fought election victory. Which one were we talking about? Is Representative Tony Payton at the time. So he from there was from Philadelphia because really it was a really tough and hard fought election and you know, received national recognition for it actually went on this run where we want. I think we were either. We were nominated for best bare knuckled street fight victory like three or four years in a row or something. This is industry terminology. Industry terminology. Yeah. Industry, right? Yeah. No campaigns and elections magazine. And they give out awards for the, for the toughest. The toughest, hardest fought one of victory. So we will, not a boxer now. I'm not a box, I'm not a boxer, although we did put that in our ads after we won the award.

Speaker 8: Oh yeah. Alright. So we've got these successes and uh, I guess at some point it, it begs the question, why are we talking here on cannabis economy? Right. How do we have the pleasure? Michael Bronstein. Wait, when did you first kind of realized that this was, uh, something that you wanted to be a part of? Well, I was approached by people who are leaders in the industry and they felt like they weren't getting the types of results that they needed in politics. And they asked me why, and I remember this was probably about three, four years ago, maybe four years ago now. Three and a half, something like that. It's been awhile. It's been a little while. Yeah. And by industry standards, that's, that feels like a long and it feels decades feels like, yeah, it feels like decades. But that was really when the first conversation happened and there are a lot of people in politics, especially on the democratic side, but also I have Republican friends who are sort of trying to figure out their way around cannabis politics because the elected officials themselves that elected officials themselves, but also consultants too because it's such a huge issue and these referendum campaigns, um, the politics around it, a licensure in some of these states.

Speaker 8: I mean, all of these things are becoming big, complicated political issues and they're ones that, uh, it's kind of, um, it's kind of a real issue amongst, not just amongst the electorate, but when you look at political professionals, they all kind of want to know how to do it. Why was not really thinking about it at the time? I, um, I, I, so this started to percolate up to you and you're thinking, well, I don't, I don't even know where I was. Uh, yeah. I mean, I was approached because I was a democratic consultant. Sure. You know, moderate renown and best bare knuckled, whatever that's knuckled street fight, victory, obviously made to take on a take on a cannabis, a challenge. You sound like the right guy. That guy. I tapped for it. So I, I described what I described, what I would do, sort of how, what types of strategies I felt needed to be employed in order to get some political success in, in the arena in a couple of months later, you know, I got a call back and they're like, all right, you're hired.

Speaker 8: And I was like, for what? What did, did I don't even remember, you know that. No, I mean, I remembered the conversation. Sure. You know, we started, we started to build and one of the things that we, we came through was the American trade association for cannabis and hemp attach attach, which is the, uh, the organization that I said, you know, all the national and state level strategy for and for. And uh, it's been a really tremendous, a tremendous organization. We've had some amazing people come through and we've also had some real political successes, uh, some real, some real tangible results that I think people in the industry really understand and activists and patients. I'm more broadly see, there was the DNC event, right? That'd be, I mean, top of mind. Right. So take us through that. So the DNC event we did with, uh, with drug policy alliance and we had, and the coalition for cannabis, a responsible cannabis production, which uh, was a very good, um, uh, you know, it was, it was a good, uh, a good event, um, and had a number of different sponsors both from the industry and activists and one of the things, uh, uh, we really figured out and we really did well, was we were able to bring people together for the event.

Speaker 8: We were able to get a bunch of people who maybe not necessarily had been in the room and I felt that the DNC was going to be a national moment potentially for cannabis. And I think I had it right. Looking back on it, I mean, I know I had it right for. I mean, I know Ethan Nadelmann were in the room, many of the operators, many of the folks that have been on this program, many of my friends in the industry, uh, certainly there. Who else can you share within the room when you say bring people together? Yeah, so we had a attorneys generals from some states, so, uh, you know, we, we had the, the attorney general from Oregon. We had members of Congress or a Blumenauer Congressman Blumenauer was there. I mean it was a really a really good mix of people and there were, you know, a number of state level politicians also who passed these laws.

Speaker 8: And as we know, the states are very critical to the laws that are being passed. Sure. If it's going to be federally illegal, yes, yes. Well, we're working on making sure that it's not federally, federally illegal, but as it is, as it is federally. What was the message? I mean obviously important people in the room, people that are moving policy, people that are, you know, activating policy. What was the message, you know, what was the kind of thought, what was, what were we bringing forward from this event? My view was people had to know that the DNC was taking up and talking about this issue and they certainly did in, in the policy platform, but even more so, I wanted to show people that there was a little bit more organization going on on the back end, a little bit more strategy, a little bit more of an idea of where people want to go inside the industry and in a way to create legitimacy.

Speaker 8: You know, legitimacy is a very important thing in politics and it's certainly an important thing that we're going to have to project a to people who are in the political system. And I wanted everyone who knew each other from around the country to kind of come together at this event and understand the gravity of this particular moment and the reason to get involved. Um, as we come off of that and as we move forward as an industry, what, what would you say from your perspective are the keys for success here? You say, you know, obviously working on federal, uh, but as we're working on states, you know, what, what are the basic blocking and tackling that you're doing, uh, the, the folks should know about and that they can do as well. Maybe we have to teach people about responsibility. How do you teach people that the industry itself, um, is responsible that it wants to, it, it holds itself to a standard and we not only that, I mean we have to create those standards that the industry is holding itself to.

Speaker 8: Um, and some of that work is, is going on and it's a key jumping off point for it. But the thing is, is regulators, politicians, they need to feel comfortable with the industry and it's certainly transitioned quite a bit and there's some really, there's some really good players and there's some really good actors because ultimately in order to be able to deliver medicine, in order to be able to deliver economic benefits in order to be able to deliver social responsibility, all of these things point to standards. And with cannabis, you can't mess up. Okay. You're not allowed. Okay. And in many other industries you can mess up and you can mess up a number of times, you know, you can, um, you know, we don't have the same common conversation about some of these, some other industries which are, which can be a little bit more suspect because cannabis is a brand new industry, brand controversial.

Speaker 8: The federal issue is a problem and every day we have to prove that that the industry is, is, uh, is, is a bunch of adults and legitimate, you know, and there are good people, there are good people. That's what, when, when legislators, they go out to Colorado or if they go out and they meet people who are operators, I mean we have people, they're very passionate and committed people. Okay. Who really want to see people get better, who want to see the world get better. And generally they're winning the public over a. and it's a grassroots effort. And really right now, I mean they are winning. And if you look at it, I mean, for the first time ever in polling, you know, adult uses polling past 50 percent. That's adult use. Yeah. That's not cannabis as medicine or medicinal that is adulterated. I mean, that's straight adult use and that's not to say, I mean, that is such an extraordinary thing when, when I, you know, and there was no, there's no question, there's no question that for somebody like me, it was definitely a risk to take on this issue at the time, at the time, four or five years ago.

Speaker 8: Exactly. Yeah. No one was talking about it as they are now. No one's talking as it as, as they are now. And I was, I was very concerned about what it might be to, uh, to be out and talking about this issue and be out in front of it because look, I run a successful business and well known, well known and politics and you know, reputationally, um, it, it's, uh, you, you, it, it could be an issue. Things like that and the industry because of the fact that there was absolutely no understanding of what actually is happening. That's the thing. Everyone's just has their speaking of college, just whatever they saw in colleges, what they think and this industry is now and to be without education. That's right. And to be fair, I mean there were certainly some things when I entered the industry that I didn't really, that I didn't really know about or you know, when I, when I started, I guess it's fair to say when I started representing industry interests through the association, you know, there are certain things that I didn't really understand or I didn't necessarily know about but came to know about them very quickly.

Speaker 8: And I feel like that education process helps me inform the broader public of what it is that's what it is that's going on. But you can't, uh, you know, you can't put when your perceptions changed and you know, the Sanjay Gupta special. Sure. You know, the types of, the types of reporting that's going on. And I think Americans just generally don't believe that, uh, that cannabis is as dangerous as, um, as the way the government certainly has, has it classified. Certainly. Uh, you know, they're right. It's because it's not, it's not. And it's, you know, to be sure, I mean, it has to be, you know, it has to be used in a very responsible way, which has to be, which has to be preached, but it's just not the, it's not what we were taught. It was not at all something different, especially a uni.

Speaker 8: And I mentioned Reagan with just say no and the height of the war on drugs and we were taught the opposite of work from a very young, from a very young age. That's right. Yeah. From a very young age. That's exactly right. So, so here we are now, um, and you know, we're talking about cannabis, but attach the last letter there is, is hemp. Yes it is. The last letter is h, which stands for hands for him. Um, let me not cut corners. Uh, why did you attach the h to the end of the, uh, association? Hemp is hemp is very important and when you're looking at the, when you're looking at the federal level, um, you know, we have, we have a mission to expand the legal hemp market and that's what's going on. Tapping into that is happening. I mean it has happened. Is happening actually much quicker than Kentucky's number two.

Speaker 8: Yeah, it was. Well, even more than that. I mean I think 31 I think I saw today about 31 states, 31 states, but Colorado is producing the most hemp and I think Kentucky. Yeah. Kentucky is a big producing the second most amount of hemp and the country it is. Which you would not think. No, they're known for bluegrass. Yeah, but it's actually the perfect environment for a. for him. Yeah. The, the one of the great stories, one of the great economic stories is going to be American head. Okay. And it is really, in fact, when you talk to anybody about cannabis, it's really funny. You talk to people about cannabis and then you hold an aside with them and you're like, well, let's talk about him. They go, we should really be talking about hemp. Like hemp is amazing, but you are, but you are kind of the same plant.

Speaker 8: Well, you know, I mean the types of things that, that, the types of things that have is doing right. You know, and the types of things that it can do in the legal status of it. Well, the, these different. Absolutely. They're there. The, the basic principles of it. There's clothing, there's a, you know, medicine, there's, you know, they go down the list and it does everything for your life, right. Including, including hempcrete. Well, yes. I mean there's a number, there's a number of uses and I think, you know, hemp must be, as from an economic standpoint, very intoxicating to people the way they describe it, but it's absolutely a, uh, you know, it's, it's absolutely, um, it's absolutely something that's going to have tremendous economic benefit. And so you've got a number of things that are going on with Hampton. A number of people are starting really exciting companies and for these last couple of years have been growth opportunities.

Speaker 8: People have been planting hemp in the ground and we're starting to see much more productive harvests than we ever have before. And these are the types of things that are going to be a real economic story and the country and bringing American back is something that's, that's, uh, that's extremely important from the, uh, the World War II was the last time we were producing hemp, right? Yeah. And there were a lot of things that were, there were a lot of things that were made, uh, made with hemp and there are a lot of things that weren't made at the time that are going to be made with him now. And you know, we're only starting to understand the fibers of hamp. I mean, a lot of them have a tremendous properties that, uh, that other plants said don't share. And it's very strong fiber and there's some fiber optic capability.

Speaker 8: I mean, there's some really interesting batteries people have been trying to make stuff out of. I mean, there's some really interesting science is going into world war two. I mean, as far as strong fiber that is rope know the navy used hemp as rope, you know, to secure ships. So, you know, that's pretty strong right now. It's very strong. It's very strong. I don't know how we could live in a world with that rope, but we've managed. We managed. That's exactly right. That's exactly right. Do you know you're not so. I don't know. No, no, no. I don't know my notes. So that's all I know is I wear a belt instead of a rope around my waist. So there you go. I think that that's positive. If we've learned nothing else may change depending on invention and future style. Yeah, we'll see. We'll see how it goes. Um, it. Did I miss anything because I'm about to ask you the three final questions, but I feel like, you know, we've got, you know, where you, where we've got where you are, you know, as far as where you're going. You mentioned the, the, the various opportunities and how we can kind of inform, uh, well, how

Speaker 7: can we best inform lawmakers, you know, of what we're trying to accomplish here.

Speaker 8: Well, what's the best way things is, is that people really do have to get involved and what's involvement mean? We'll go meet with a member of Congress, go meet with your local representative. Go be involved because personal relationships, those are the things that actually pass laws. Okay. Laws, it's not just the name of the act, the names of the people, uh, these lawmakers remember, and I know there are a lot of people who are kind of jaded about that type of process, but, but it's actually true. I mean, it's actually people can access the legislative system and they can change it. I think Pennsylvania is a very good example on the, uh, on the medical marijuana law was also a good example on the, on the hemp was why? So how so? Because it was really citizen activists who came in, whether it be mothers, uh, in the, in terms of a medical cannabis or whether it be, um, you know, farmers who came in in terms of hemp and they argued their case in front of the legislature and there was not. This was not like, okay, a lot of big industry money is behind it. Well, most people don't understand is that there is no big industry money that's really behind these things. Certainly not compared to other, uh, certainly not compared to other industries.

Speaker 7: Absolutely. It look at the ballot initiatives on a for, for this year, uh, industry players are certainly not donating as much as they should to those ballot initiatives.

Speaker 8: And people are saying, you know, there's a lot of talk about that. Yeah. Okay. And so, and the industry itself now remember the industry isn't that big. Okay. It's still what it was. What would the next year's projections are like six point $7,000,000,000, something like that. No dark view. And that's where we're from, from lisset right. From A, from legal, right. So, right. So I mean from legal, right, from legal cannabis. I mean, I think we sell, there's over at, there's over $30,000,000,000 in dog and cat food sold in the United States. I mean, let's just put this into perspective about what kind of market, you know, we're, we're really talking about, you know, the NFL is kind of producing a similar amount of number of. It's not a matter of priorities, it's just where the market is, right? And yeah, the market's going to grow, but there aren't these outside influences that are politically organized. If anything is a political professional. I can tell you they're politically disparate and they're not at the table and I think that the, the important thing is to, uh, is to organize people and to get people politically involved because these personal relationships, they really do, they really do matter. And the public is, is on the side of, of, uh, of legalization.

Speaker 7: So, so get involved no matter if you're a business owner or not, if you believe in this cause, talk to your local elected official, your national elected official about this because they have to answer the phone. I spoke to jared Polis a Democrat and he said, you know, I got to answer the phone. I got high. Actually I have to talk to these people. They call me. I got to talk to him. That's right. Um, so,

Speaker 8: so, so that. And then you, you mentioned kind of working with each other. Uh, what, what are your thoughts on, uh, Oh, I dunno. Potential backbiting or shit-talking that might happen within the industry. So within the industry. It's funny, I mean, I, I said that I felt like there is, there is comradery in the industry, like people do understand that they are in this together without a certain level. Absolutely. In my view, I think a couple of years ago it was not like that. I think people, um, it's tough because they compete with each other every day, especially if they're, if they're very big, they sit there and they compete with each other on store locations. They compete with each other on all types of things. And so to get everyone around the table is not an easy, not an easy thing to do, but the reality is in other industries, that's kind of what happens, you know, in other political movements, that's kind of what happens.

Speaker 8: And in this, that's what has to happen if there's, if they're going to advance, if they're going to advance their goals. So that's, that's important. And that's important to the political process. Anybody who's trying to access, uh, the process that's important to organize because you can't be doing it on your own and no one player, and I'll tell you the truth, not only does no one play or have the ability to do this, even collectively, it's going to be hard to do so even if everybody stood up in a line and said, all right, I'm all for this 100 percent or percent on the same page. I mean, this, this is not going to be an easy lift. I mean, we're talking about years and years and years of policy, you know, years, and they just react, you know, on a, on schedule one. So they did, they did.

Speaker 8: And, and I think it was, it was kind of a, um, people looked at it and they kind of understood that, well, maybe we've got a little bit further to go than, than we thought, you know, maybe this, this inevitability, there is nothing inevitable. There's nothing inevitable in politics and there's nothing inevitable in life. And that's kind of what we, uh, what we're finding now. I take your point that there's nothing inevitable. Just take us one level deeper there. What are you getting at when you say that? Well, I mean, when you look at the, when you look at issues in states, I mean there's nothing that says that if you don't campaign that these laws are going to pass. I mean there is an attitude that, oh, these things are just going to pass. Right? And someone out there is handling, there's going to be done.

Speaker 8: They're doing it. Absolutely. We've got a good guy in Arizona. He's fine, he's fine. He knows what he's doing. Exactly. We have people, we've got people, you know, there are people who are running these campaigns. They're doing and to an extent they do a very good job. But the, the, the unified industry or the unified cause or unified patients are unified. Like it does not exist the way that you, you would that I think the broader public thinks it is. Um, it doesn't. I mean that is actually more of the fiction of, of opponents of the industry and opponents of patients and opponents of medicine than it is actually reality on the ground. Well, Michael Bronstein, this has been lovely. We've got the three final

Speaker 7: questions. 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 named one track, one song that's got to be on there. So first things first, what has most surprised you in cannabis? Not necessarily, you know, you, you aren't, you know, here from the beginning, but you are here now.

Speaker 8: Yeah. I think that the people and the cause, the cause that they feel even amongst business owners now if there's a, definitely I'm a social element to it that because it's a very tough business, right? So this is not an easy business if people do not get into the cannabis industry and understand that it's an easy business, but there was an idea of, of, uh, of helping people. I think that's there that people wouldn't necessarily, I wouldn't necessarily understand and you know, maybe it won't be there in the future or maybe things will become a little bit more corporate. Um, but it is certainly, it is certainly there, I think, and I feel it now. I think people really feel like

Speaker 7: they're on a mission. Yeah, there is certainly a central, central vein that, uh, is that showcases the fact that this is, there's something more here, there's something more. All right. So what has most surprised you in life with the exception of the fact that nothing is inevitable in life, which you already mentioned? Nothing's inevitable in life. That's what surprised me in life, or what surprised me in this Gig? No, no, no. What is most of you? You kind of answered what has most surprised you in this Gig, but what has most surprised you in life?

Speaker 8: I think the thing that most surprises me in life is that a, is that there are a lot of things that are really serendipitous and they all seem to somehow weave together the talents that you have or other situations that you may have come through and they inform what you may do in the future. And it's, it's, it can be very, uh, when you have those moments, they can be very delightful. And that's, that's the type of thing that I constantly find surprising and you know, I did not expect to be sitting here necessarily interviewing, you know, interviewing with you probably four or five years ago or something like that. But the fact that I'm here now is really a, you know, it was really quite astounding.

Speaker 7: It's amazing. It's amazing. Here we are a. So then you know, on the soundtrack of your life, one track, one song that's got to be on there. I think a led Zeppelin's full in the rain. Oh Wow. It starts with a whistle or. No, the whistle comes in the middle. That's. It does come. It does come in the middle. There you go. That's coming to the middle. And I definitely feel like some days I am a fool in the rain. Yes. Michael, I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm here to share with you that uh, some days we all are that Michael Brassey. Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Alright, thanks for having me.

Speaker 1: You have Michael Bronstein. Hope you understood my rainy day woman. Twelve and 35 reference when Jim brought that song up. If you don't know the lyrics, go look up the lyrics and that's what I was talking about. So happy to talk to Michael Bronstein. Really appreciated that conversation. So happy to have your listenership. Thanks so much 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.