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Ep.200: Congresswoman Barbara Lee & Corey Barnette, District Growers: MCBA Spotlight

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.200: Congresswoman Barbara Lee & Corey Barnette, District Growers: MCBA Spotlight

Ep.200: Congresswoman Barbara Lee & Corey Barnette, District Growers: MCBA Spotlight

Congresswoman Barbara Lee joins us to discuss her thoughts on Prop 64 passing as well as and more importantly what folks can do now to affect the change which they seek on the proposition as it gets written into law. We broaden the conversation to cover how she deals with phone calls and action from her constituents. And finally we cover representative lee’s thoughts on the recent overt uncovering of racial communication as well as the subtle institutional and structural racism which has always been present. Corey Barnette then joins us to paint a clearer picture of the DC legal cannabis market. Did you know for instance that there were no restrictions on qualifying conditions in DC?

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Corey Barnette, Congresswoman Barbara Lee joins us to discuss her thoughts on prop 64 passing as well as and more importantly, what folks can do now to effect the change which they seek on the proposition as it gets written into law. We broaden the conversation to cover how she deals with phone calls and action from her constituents, and finally we cover representative Lee's thoughts on the recent overt uncovering of racial communication as well as the subtle institutional structural racism which has always been present. Courtney Barnett to then joins us to paint a clear picture of the DC legal cannabis market. Did you know, for instance, that there were no restrictions on qualifying conditions in DC? Welcome to cannabis economy on your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the Hamilton economy. That's to answer the word economy representative Barbara Lee, followed by Corey Barnette,

Speaker 2: Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Thank you so much for, uh, giving us a few minutes. I'm very much appreciate your time and everything that you do.

Speaker 3: Thank you. Glad to be with you.

Speaker 2: You got it. So, um, I would be remiss if my first question wasn't about the, uh, election that we just had, um, you know, I don't want to dwell on that. I certainly want to get onto, to other points. But, um, what are your thoughts and feelings as, as we, as we go here, it's a couple of days after the election when we're talking.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Well, I'm still stunned and in shock, almost speechless. You know, Donald Trump is somebody who can really take this country in the direction that you don't want to even think of. I mean, he's now president elect to really, from everything he gets sad, doesn't believe in democracy and democratic participation. I mean, he wasn't going to the Hillary Clinton, but he didn't say whether or not he would acknowledge that the election was held. You know, he, um, have said some things that really makes me. And I think everyone realized he's not going to be pleased with that for everyone. When you talk about deporting Muslims, Muslims and Latinos and all of the horrible racist rhetoric that we heard during this election, it's very scary. He played on the fears that I hope he doesn't as president, but he played on the fears. People, you know, economic insecurity, racial animas, you know, their a big factor in the end, he went right to that and he played into their worst fears rather than playing to the best of people. And so I'm terrified, quite frankly

Speaker 2: know as far as supporting communities of color, um, you know, um, at any one of the constituencies that, that you just mentioned, one of the main things that I want to talk to you about today is, you know, for our audience, you are in Congress. Uh, it, it, it, it took you a while to get there. You've been there awhile. And I wonder what you would say to folks that would like to get involved no matter who they voted for. Um, it's obvious that, uh, you know, the, uh, the best form of action is action. You know, it only starts with voting. So what would you share with folks? How could they, how should they be getting involved, you know, over these next even couple of days, couple of months and definitely couple of years

Speaker 3: I would say they need at the federal level at least members of Congress accountable, make sure they post sponsor the bills. It really speaks to the aspirations of the public and members of Congress accountable agenda. That is an American agenda and I think that's the way you do that because the house is going to be a nightmare, but many people have Republican members of Congress and they need to let them know that they too wanted reasonable policies passed.

Speaker 1: Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Corey Barnette, Congresswoman Barbara Lee joins us to discuss her thoughts on prop 64 passing as well as and more importantly, what folks can do now to effect the change which they seek on the proposition as it gets written into law. We broaden the conversation to cover how she deals with phone calls and action from her constituents, and finally we cover representative Lee's thoughts on the recent overt uncovering of racial communication as well as the subtle institutional structural racism which has always been present. Courtney Barnett to then joins us to paint a clear picture of the DC legal cannabis market. Did you know, for instance, that there were no restrictions on qualifying conditions in DC? Welcome to cannabis economy on your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the Hamilton economy. That's to answer the word economy representative Barbara Lee, followed by Corey Barnette,

Speaker 2: Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Thank you so much for, uh, giving us a few minutes. I'm very much appreciate your time and everything that you do.

Speaker 3: Thank you. Glad to be with you.

Speaker 2: You got it. So, um, I would be remiss if my first question wasn't about the, uh, election that we just had, um, you know, I don't want to dwell on that. I certainly want to get onto, to other points. But, um, what are your thoughts and feelings as, as we, as we go here, it's a couple of days after the election when we're talking.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Well, I'm still stunned and in shock, almost speechless. You know, Donald Trump is somebody who can really take this country in the direction that you don't want to even think of. I mean, he's now president elect to really, from everything he gets sad, doesn't believe in democracy and democratic participation. I mean, he wasn't going to the Hillary Clinton, but he didn't say whether or not he would acknowledge that the election was held. You know, he, um, have said some things that really makes me. And I think everyone realized he's not going to be pleased with that for everyone. When you talk about deporting Muslims, Muslims and Latinos and all of the horrible racist rhetoric that we heard during this election, it's very scary. He played on the fears that I hope he doesn't as president, but he played on the fears. People, you know, economic insecurity, racial animas, you know, their a big factor in the end, he went right to that and he played into their worst fears rather than playing to the best of people. And so I'm terrified, quite frankly

Speaker 2: know as far as supporting communities of color, um, you know, um, at any one of the constituencies that, that you just mentioned, one of the main things that I want to talk to you about today is, you know, for our audience, you are in Congress. Uh, it, it, it, it took you a while to get there. You've been there awhile. And I wonder what you would say to folks that would like to get involved no matter who they voted for. Um, it's obvious that, uh, you know, the, uh, the best form of action is action. You know, it only starts with voting. So what would you share with folks? How could they, how should they be getting involved, you know, over these next even couple of days, couple of months and definitely couple of years

Speaker 3: I would say they need at the federal level at least members of Congress accountable, make sure they post sponsor the bills. It really speaks to the aspirations of the public and members of Congress accountable agenda. That is an American agenda and I think that's the way you do that because the house is going to be a nightmare, but many people have Republican members of Congress and they need to let them know that they too wanted reasonable policies passed.

Speaker 2: And we've spoken to a couple of your colleagues as far as holding your, uh, your, you know, representatives accountable. I'm one of the first things that you can do is actually called the office know of course, uh, organize and have more than one person. But how powerful is that one is, is a phone call to your office.

Speaker 3: It's very powerful email, phone calls, you know, staff keep track of the public of public opinion. And it's showing up at the congress person's office in, in the district is very effective. It's critical mass on a given issue. It's very effective. So people need to know that their voices are going to be very important during this very dangerous time with Tom himself.

Speaker 2: Okay. So as, as far as this one particular issue that this show's about, cannabis economy is the name of the show. And so, you know, I, you're, you're there in the bay area. Where are you as far as a legal cannabis is concerned? What, what is your viewpoint?

Speaker 3: Oh, for you as I supported it and I supported for a variety of reasons. First, ongoing criminalization of marijuana just cost the federal government in California and other states, millions of dollars and this, that's a harm to young people of color. That's just wrong. And I've worked on this for many, many years, uh, in terms of medical marijuana. And so now we're working on getting the regulations. What have you established a recreational use?

Speaker 2: Yeah. And, and in prop 64, there is language that says that money is going to communities, disaffection only, uh, you know, affected by the war on drugs. I would imagine you loved that line.

Speaker 3: I did. And uh, I've been meeting with some of the leaders in the cannabis industry. I actually, I was legislator of the year for the national organization last year and when I walked in there, I saw maybe one person the power. Yeah. And so we've been meeting and talking about how we can ensure entrepreneurial world diversity and, uh, ensure equal opportunity for women and people of Color in the industry and in the business and also for people who have been negatively affected. Yeah. So that was a break for the prevision and I'm very pleased.

Speaker 2: Good. And, and as we're talking about prop 64, what else did you like and what don't you love?

Speaker 3: Well, I think this was a good first step. I think we need to get time to schedule a cannabis. So that's the next thing we have to do with that. We have to do that and it's federal levels, but I'll say 64. I was overall very good know once we got the inclusion of the language and in diverse language and it's going to be a great to see young people now I'm not going to jail for smoking a joint. And also the violence associated with drug use has been horrendous and I think now will be a reduction in violence.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I know that. That's certainly my, uh, my hope, uh, as well, you know, when you, when you're talking about prop 64 and California passing, you know, eight out of nine states passed, whether it was a, you know, uh, adult use or a medical, um, uh, uh, you know, on election day as far as what folks can do, who are listening, who are not elected officials to help influence how the laws are actually written in their state. What would you suggest? How can folks get involved in actually, you know, helping write loss.

Speaker 3: Yeah. The regulatory process will start and so insulated been sending letters. I'm not sure which regulatory agency will promulgates regulations, but find out which Sacramento, Sacramento and my state find out regulations, then send letters, emails and communicate with those that had established in the past. It's very important.

Speaker 2: Okay. Sending letters, uh, doing phone calls and I don't mean to press the subject, but I feel like, you know, especially over these next four years for you, it is about community involvement. It is about, uh, you know, uh, the electorate doing more than just voting, um, you know, obviously going to meetings I would, I would imagine you suggest.

Speaker 3: Yeah, it's always been there for me and I'm really proud to say that because of that sodas got a humble sense. Ninety percent of the votes and I'm engaging with me on a variety of issues each and everyday and I think more people need to engage with their members of Congress, absolute of action so they can make sure their voices are heard.

Speaker 2: Absolutely. And I love hearing from each of you in you in particular that you know, a phone call matters, a letter matters. And if you can do it in mass that's even better.

Speaker 3: Absolutely, so I've got this issue in your government.

Speaker 2: That's it. I have three final questions. I'll tell you what they are and then ask you them in order. What has most surprised you in cannabis? What has most surprised you in life? And then on the soundtrack of Barbara Lee's life named one track, one song that's got to be on there. So first things first, what has most surprised you in cannabis?

Speaker 3: Oh boy. The channel list of the positive effects of medical marijuana. My mother, she passed away last year. I'm sorry to hear another knee replacement. I've listened tremendous. And uh, she was a big supporter of medical cannabis because she had cream but she was underneath and let me tell you, she needed a replacement, but she was too, uh Oh. They have a knee replacement in her left knee and I would ask you everyday, how is your niece? She said they're drunk. Okay. I don't feel anything. And so she was 90 years old and so senior citizens on bionic and I've seen how it works now in terms of medical cannabis and the Aba surprise. And My mother would tell me if I didn't vote for it or if I did a sponsored these legislations that I didn't work on it, that she was going to make sure I knew she was my mother. We went to Duke.

Speaker 2: All right. So, so, so there you go. There. That's an important constituent. No less. Right.

Speaker 3: That's right. She's here. Directed me even though her physical presence there.

Speaker 2: That's it. Well, my mom passed away a few years ago as well. So I understand. I understand your point of view there. As far as what has most surprised you in life, what would be your answer to that question?

Speaker 3: What has most surprised me in life? And that is the racism and the legacy of the middle passage. It's still upon us and we haven't dealt with systemic and institutional racism.

Speaker 2: Do you think that this offers us the opportunity?

Speaker 3: It hasn't surprised me is just shameful.

Speaker 2: Yeah. We just had the first African American president. We now have a, uh, someone that um, you know, as you said, brought up obviously Rachel racial charges during, uh, during the campaign. Do you think that a unearthing these things is helpful in any way or we just still in a not so great shape?

Speaker 3: No, no, they had to be honored because, you know, in many of us who were black, we see how subtle institutional and structural racism as and in some areas we see how bold and in your face in there, so you know, I hope the public understands what we're dealing with now and know that the visions that had been swept under the rug and leaves now you have to come to grips with believed that African Americans and people of color that's still caught up in the morass of, of the legacy of the vestiges of the middle passage.

Speaker 2: Well, uh, I guess here we go over these next four years. I guess a ending on a little bit of a lighter note. The final question on the soundtrack of your life, Congresswoman Barbara Lee. What is one track? One song that's got to be on there?

Speaker 3: Oh Gosh. 16 candles.

Speaker 2: That's a, that's a first for 16 candles. That's a first. That's a first for 16 candles. That's going way back, isn't it?

Speaker 3: Yeah, way back. That's what I like it.

Speaker 2: Oh, congresswoman, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time and looking forward to doing this in person next time. How about that?

Speaker 3: Okay, thanks a million.

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Speaker 4: Microphone check one, two, isn't it? One, two, one, two. Yeah. Because we're sure we're about the same age, right? You're generation x generation X. it's a good possibility. You were born in the 19 seventies. I was born in the last year of 1969. Oh, look at this. The last year of 1969. That, uh, that's, I mean the last, the last year of and I felt the 16. There you go. You got it. Sixty nine,

Speaker 2: six years on me. Okay. Uh, that wasn't quite the summer of [inaudible]. Sixty seven, 67. Sixty nine was woodstock. Among other things was. It was. I think we also went to the moon that year, right? Something like that. That's what they say.

Speaker 5: Corey Barnette, Washington DC. Are we really here? We're really here. Washington in Washington DC. The nation's capital a growing a ton of cannabis and I'm helping the sick now and vulnerable. Uh, W W, was that a data point or was that a feeling or are you actually growing a ton or. Well, is that, is that metrics are. I think we would be a little upset if we only grew a time. Okay. All right. So let's, let's do this. Let's, let's first go to the operation. Let's first talk about the market. You're the first person that I've spoken to that's actually in the market because what we, what we always say is four states before Tuesday, four states plus DC, but dc doesn't really count. So what do we mean and what's actually going on? Um, well, from a medical marijuana standpoint, uh, you know, the, one of the reasons why we always say, and I'm assuming that's your question, why do we always sort of say this many states plus plus DC DC is not a state, you know, fortunately on taxation without representation.

Speaker 5: Exactly. We do everything that people elsewhere do, but we don't get everything that everyone else gets. We don't get to have representation in our nation's a congress in our nation's Senate. So what we just ended up doing is kind of paying all the taxes that everyone else would pay. Not really having a say, well you have a congressman, Eleanor Holmes, Norton, and she gets to voting committee but she knows not only for. Right. Crazy. It's horrible, horrible idea. You can't make that up. I can't make it up. Can't make it up. But hey know. But they did. They made it a major. Things have happened. Like Tuesday. Yeah, Tuesday we'll get to that. So all right, so that, that's why we kind of say DC, but also, you know, there are established regulations that I can go and read for Colorado, a newly established regulations for Washington.

Speaker 5: We've got mmr essay or MMR CA in California, which, you know, you know a little bit about. We'll get to that. Um, you know, and in the medical states there's regulations. It's a little bit more, a cloudy as far as DC is concerned. Well, I mean, no, a DC has actually, uh, you know, as truly regulated programs go, DC has a very, um, what I think is a very attractive and favorable law both for the patients and for operators full from the operator's perspective. Take us through it. All right. From the operator's perspective, it's one of these markets where you have a, a, a very sort of controlled number of licenses, a, you have very clear directives on what you can do and what you cannot do. A established by whom established by the Department of Health. Okay. Uh, and then you have a great rapport with the Department of Health and your well, uh, our industry does.

Speaker 5: And, and, uh, because we have that rapport with the Department of Health, we can suggest things that sort of help the industry, uh, operate more effectively and serve our purpose more effectively. And as a result of that, we're able to get things done. Uh, like, you know, just recently we were able to previously in Washington dc only only doctors could recommend cannabis. Um, but because we talked about some of the hurdles with that, uh, and the way that doctors actually operate their practices and how they go about patient care in general, now it is the case in here in Washington DC. Um, but we were able to successfully get a law passed that would allow a nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, dentists, great other people to also write recommendations for the program and for patients as well. Excellent. And uh, but it's because we have that kind of operating that close rapport with our city government is here, uh, that we're able to get things done a little bit more effectively than this, a what some people could do.

Speaker 5: And in other states where you have to literally approach a state legislative body. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You say, uh, you said that there's definitely will, we can do. It's definitely what we can do. What's in the law, what, you know, how, how does it work? You said there's a defined number of operators beyond that. What are we talking about? So, so the framework that we exist in here in Washington dc is that we have five districts, uh, in this place we call the district, which is about 670,000 people. Uh, we have 10 growers here in Washington DC. We have a, approximately each grower is able to grow approximately a thousand plants, um, provided they can do so within their facility. Uh, we have, uh, the ability to deliver the full array of edibles concentrates. Um, so there's no product that we can't put on the market place here, uh, but we are asked to hold within some pretty tight guidelines when it comes to how we actually offer our products.

Speaker 5: So you won't see child centric marketing in Washington DC or anywhere, but I take your point, right? You know, you won't see, um, you know, um, scantily clad women in advertisements and things of that nature. And so, uh, the, the industry in DC operates pretty clean in terms of the way we approach a public safety and, and, and actually the presentation of our industry. Um, but uh, from, from the standpoint of the dispensary, dispensaries are able to operate within a, you know, I think from as early as nine in the morning to as late as nine at night. Oh Wow. They're able to hold the full array of cannabis products that are being sold here in growers are able to sell to any and all dispensary's. Each dispensary is able to buy from each and each and every grower gray. And so a vertical integration, while it does exist in the marketplace because you have people who, who own dispensary and cultivation centers are not mandated.

Speaker 5: It's not mandated, not mandated. So patients are able to go to any dispensary, get pretty much the variety that they need. Which brings us to the patient. You said it's a good place for patients. That would be a main reason. What else? Well, unlike a lot of different places in the country, I'm in Washington, D, c, the industry was able to work with the city council here and get the Department of health out of the doctor's office. And what that means is that if your doctor says that you have a reason and a need for cannabis, then you're allowed to get access to the medical marijuana program. Now, how is that different from places like let's say Maryland or Michigan or California or other places in a. most of the states around, um, is typically the case that the departments of health or some governmental entity is saying these other conditions for which you can get medical marijuana.

Speaker 5: And so we in DC believe that that is prioritizing. One person's paying over another person. One person's illness over another certainly is. And if the doc, because this science is as yet undefined as we find out more like what's happening in the dental world right now as we find out more about the uses of different cannabinoids or the cannabis plant in general, doctors did have reason to believe that their patients would benefit from that. Should be able to recommend people for the cannabis program. So there's no qualified conditions. There are no qualified conditions that you can be ruled out for. Understand doctors, if your doctor says yes, then you have the ability. Look at that. In addition, we were also able to pass a law here recently that got full reciprocity for out of state every citizen in the country or out of district for out of the district.

Speaker 5: We're not staying. And what that means is that, you know, if you have a card or if you're part of the medical marijuana program in your state, then a, if you're one of the 20, approximately 20 million people that come to visit the district every year, uh, then, uh, you can, you can still come into a dispensary here and continue with your care. You don't have to risk putting your medicine on a plane hop and then landing in DC and hoping you don't get searched or anything like that. So I'm hearing the clicking of keyboards across the country getting ready to come visit you. Well, if you do the Metropolitan Wellness Center on Capitol Hill, eight blocks from the capital would be our place. It's really eight blocks from the capital. Yeah. We're on a, on a, on the corner of eighth and pen. Okay. So we're gonna talk about the election, but you as an American, me as an American, and you as an operator. Yeah. The fact that there's a dispensary with cannabis eight blocks from the capital, what does that do to you as a, uh, as an American? Wow. As an American. I'm not even, I'm not sure how to answer that question. Okay. Ask that differently or that differently.

Speaker 5: You were born in 1969, so I know where you're going in. All right. Yeah. Cool. So, you know, at, at first glance, and I talked to this with my colleagues in the industry all the time. I mean, they were like, listen, you are literally right next to the dea. Um, but uh, you know, while I am a while, I have a healthy skepticism, skepticism of our government. I do believe certain things about our government. And, uh, I believe that when the Department of Justice put out things like the Cole memo, absolutely, when Congress defunded the AAS ability to interfere with these types of programs and because our laws here in Washington DC do have to go up and appeal to Congress and Congress has to approve any law passed, uh, the, the, the prospect of operating a dispensary in Washington DC and being one of the growers in Washington DC and in my opinion was, was an attractive opportunity, gave a guy like me the opportunity to stand up in the nation's capital a and prove that there is a way to responsibly operate and to effectively operate and to sort of provide a, a, a beachhead in the nation's capital for the entire cannabis movement.

Speaker 5: And what we've tried to do is to work with state legislators from around the country and we've tried to have them on site so that they could bring them in with what's really happening versus the rhetoric that they may be hearing. Exactly. Certain naysayers out there. What's happening in the dispensary, which turns out is nothing other than retail store. Exactly, other than a retail front, you know, it was all the things you thought would be happening aren't happening now, you know, hey look, it's a guy in a tie. It's a guy in a time, hey look, it's your aid coming, coming through. So one of the things we find is that, um, you know, there are all of these myths and misconceptions about, you know, how things would run, but we have some very responsible operators here in Washington dc and I'm putting forth a very good look and feel of our industry.

Speaker 5: And I think that because of that we are seeing some, some movement on behalf of naysayers. I'm, for instance, here in Washington dc, we have not had a robbery of a dispensary. We have not had a robbery of a cultivation center. Um, we, we continue to expand our program and everyone I made, I think all of the businesses are doing fairly well and our program is growing. Uh, you know, we have a. because of the way that the medical marijuana program was operated here in Washington dc, we were able to speak to the community at large and passion initiative 71 as well and say, listen, you know, cannabis has been introduced to the community is being used by people, you should have the right to grow it at home. Why would you stand against that? And so that was initiative 71 that was initiative 71.

Speaker 5: It allows people to cultivate and grow cannabis at home and to use for personal use, but not to sound good luck by the way. Good luck growing at home. It's right. Right, right. It's not as easy as everyone thinks that you just sort of throw the seed out there and let mother nature dance over. It doesn't really work that out. I'm not, if you want what it is that, uh, that we offer to the market. Sure. So what's possible, right? Yeah. Right. All right. So you, you, you mentioned responsible operator, you, you mentioned it's your privilege to be here in DC. Let's go, uh, in the wayback machine in 1969, you know, where did you, uh, come out of what we're on earth. Were you born sir? Uh, I was, uh, I was born in the great state of Tennessee. Oh, look at that. I'm a southern boy by trade, by heart.

Speaker 5: And so, uh, would you be a supporter of the volunteers or there is no better football team in all of football no matter where you look. Then the good old volunteers and it doesn't matter what year we're talking. Yeah, exactly. They are concerned with the best every year. No matter what the polls say. How long were you in Tennessee for? Honestly, at least long enough. No to come. I grew up in Tennessee, uh, and at the ripe old age of 17, he went off to college in Tennessee at Tennessee Tech University. And then it wasn't until I was about 22 that I left the state. Oh, so you were there for a long time? Yeah. Yeah. I was there for awhile. Did you, did, did the titans get to you before? You know, we're not a team by the way. It was, it was the Houston oilers before it was the titans.

Speaker 5: Uh, as far as I'm concerned, I route where my grandfather rooted, which was at that time the good old redskins. Okay. And I am still a diehard skins fan day. Alright. Yeah, I think we'll maybe get to that. So then what, so you moved, you went to college and then 22, where'd you go? A 22. I took a job with Bechtel, a major engineering firm. I came out as an engineer, mechanical engineer and um, got a chance to see a lot of different places around the country working with them but ended up in Augusta, Georgia, the Savannah River nuclear facility. And then one day sat around and said that I didn't want to look like act like or be like anyone that I worked with. How come? Um, because, you know, um, I, I think, uh, I've always had a personality as a little bit more maverick and entrepreneurial.

Speaker 5: Um, and m engineering gave me a lot of critical thinking skills. I'm still an engineer at heart shirt, but for the most part, um, I wanted something that was a little bit different than what the field of engineering was offering on a nuclear facility. I just want to pray and everyone was kind of nerdy. Okay. So that's one part of the answer. The other part of the answer is you said the word nuclear twice, right? And knowing that we are dealing with a, a, you know, a, um, a controlled substance, a schedule one controlled substance in cannabis. I'm doing that tongue and cheek. Right, right, right, right, right, right, right, right. It's so dangerous. It's so dangerous. It's killed. Exactly. How many people know as I think, you know, if we get somebody today, they will have, one will have one, right. So nuclear facility, I mean, what is that?

Speaker 5: Are those dangerous? I feel like they're dangerous. People tell me that they're not. What's that all up, you know, you know, without, without going too much into the physics of it all. I mean, when you, when you're talking about nuclear for power, then you're not dealing with a very dangerous, uh, controls and things like that, you know, the levels of redundancy and things like that on nuclear facilities, um, um, more than provide the necessary safety that we need to, to get access to that energy. Got It. Uh, but, uh, you know, there are other places where the experimentation with fossil material in and nuclear material and things like that could become very dangerous. Okay. But if I'm looking at an energy facility that's not a dangerous place or it certainly has the capacity to be a dangerous place, it just has measures in place to make sure it's not.

Speaker 5: That's what I would say. Okay. That's what I would say. Yeah. All right. So you're, you're sitting around with these guys with a, you know, the great guys and the guy's pocket squares, you know, far more pints in where's pocket pocket protector to protect her far more ink pens and pencils in them than they actually do need. Uh, but, um, yeah, I was speaking conceptually, of course, conceptually, conceptually. Yeah. And um, I, I'm sitting around and I'm like, you know, I really want to go to business school. I apply it to business. I applied to several top business schools. I was able to be accepted across a fair smattering of them, but I chose Duke University. Uh, so I went through the fecal school of business, uh, and came out there, uh, with um, uh, grades that's at least Montgomery securities deemed acceptable out in San Francisco.

Speaker 5: But before we get to San Francisco. Okay. Where do you stand on the Duke Basketball Team? Almost the greatest best team in the world. That's what I figured, you know, it is almost as good and some years even better in Tennessee's football team. So that's a strong statement. That's a strong state. How do you spell Shashefski? You don't coach coach k. So you get out to San Francisco. What was the name of the place? I was with my dummy security. Well, I actually didn't get to go to San Francisco because nations bank bought Montgomery securities. And so I ended up in Charlotte. I'm trained in San Fran for a little while, but he ended up coming back to Charlotte, um, where I was operating. I then convinced the, I guess about four years in, I convinced the then chairman of the bank a and CEO of the bank, Hugh Mccall, that it made sense to do some investing in some of the bank's actual vendors and things of that nature, that people that we were getting good pricing from but didn't have the scale to service the bank across the entire country.

Speaker 5: Let me stop you there because a lot of folks who are listening are entrepreneurs. A lot of folks who listen to his prospective entrepreneurs that here you say, I was able to suggest to the chairman that we do x, Y, z. How did new guy, I know you were there for a little bit, about four years. Well, all right, so the office of the chairman. How'd you. I was an investment banker and the number of investment bankers there were small and we did have access up the channel of that nature. So you're pulling in money so they like you. Well, the thing that doesn't hurt, it doesn't hurt, it doesn't hurt to have that happen, but um, but, but for the most part, uh, there were a group of bankers that wanted to actually start a, a venture fund that was focused on investing in businesses that service the bank and we were able to successfully take that idea to the, to hugh mccall and what came out of it, um, was a, a group that was very successful.

Speaker 5: They are in, we ended up expanding from just being in Charlotte trying to service the entire bank's footprint to putting an office in Atlanta to Chicago into any DC, right. Fly Law. They gave me the opportunity to get to Washington DC and I had been here for quite awhile. Um, I spread my wings and done all I felt like I could do with the bank. Um, ended up leaving and joining these small Enterprise Assistance Fund and doing a emerging market venture capital for about four years still in DC. I was based in DC, but, uh, I was spending about a third of the year outside the country. So I went through the side of the country. Yeah. Emerging market as in truly. Oh, real emerging markets still, right? Yeah, exactly. Like Bolivia. Yeah. Nigeria. Yeah. That's at the bottom there. Right. We were getting a lot of growth, a lot of growth opportunity, uh, but it really gave me the opportunity to get away from the debt side of, of financing and, and providing know capital as a banker to being, to taking a position in the business as an investor and a builder and helping to solve problems with your management team and things of that nature.

Speaker 5: And so I did that for about four years. Great experience. I felt like a, at that time that I had a background that would suggest that I've made a lot of people a lot of money, uh, and my wife and I were looking at trying to have children and she was kind of, you know, this has been a third of the year out of the country thing is not really conducive to that. Um, which was kind of like the writing on the wall a meaning you don't get to do that anymore. Exactly. Pretty much, pretty much it, it is. The peace in the valley has, you know, has value. And so I'd like to discuss male, female relationships, female, female, male, male. I'd like to discuss interpersonal relationships of love and, and her saying that means you're coming home. Yeah, pretty much. Pretty much you got it.

Speaker 5: Figure out something else. That's it. So I literally left the firm, um, shortly after finding out that, um, you know, we were pregnant with our first child and um, uh, we, um, I ended up a towing company called Henry's wrecker service, which is located in the Fairfax area, great tooling company. And we were able to build that into the second largest toy company in the country, uh, and later sell it, uh, also bought a myriad of other different companies across the country, a clinical trials company in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh area. We also had an automotive parts manufacturer in Rochester Hills, Michigan area, so forth and so on. But then I got a call from a buddy of mine who was in the school of public policy when I was at the funeral school of business about this thing called the medical marijuana collective. And I was like, well, you kind of had me at marijuana.

Speaker 5: But, um, did he actually, I mean, as you're talking about actual real businesses, you're talking about a towing company, you know what I mean? You're talking about auto parts. These are real things that people know about that no one has a problem with auto parts. But he knew, he knew that I, uh, I had also been at a small Enterprise Assistance Fund and, and, uh, we had worked with all sorts of businesses from small startup tech companies to chicken farms. And so, uh, you know, he knew that, um, the, the, the goggles that I would use to look at the business have more so to do with its opportunities and prospects for the future than whether or not it was sexy or whether or not it was, you know, uh, anything attracted. That's his perspective. What was your perspective? That's exactly what my perspective was to us, like, you know, like, you know, when he called me, I'm like, you know, listen, you know, cannabis is illegal federally illegal, and I'm still, it's like I didn't really know much about California's law at the time.

Speaker 5: Uh, but, uh, he, he, she said no, like, you know, there, there are marijuana dispensaries that are opening in California. I was like, get out. And so he literally flew out there. I stayed with them for about like a week and a half. What year was this? This would have been like 2007, 2000 early, 2008 sort of time frame. And I saw what I believed at that time to be the most incredible business model I'd ever seen. Right. And, and unlike a lot of people come to the industry, I didn't initially come to my interest in the industry, uh, through the helper sort of, um, you know, viewpoint, right? You know, I wasn't necessarily, I'm dealing with a scenario where a, I had someone that was critically ill dot and things like that. Now he was married to a thing as a caregiver in any way. Right? Right, right, right, right now.

Speaker 5: Now when he called me, he was, he called me under the guise of his wife had recently contracted breast cancer. Uh, and she was an amazing. She is an amazing woman. She ended up beating her breast cancer, uh, and uh, he, he did so that, that peaked my interest in. So I'm already willing to help, but, you know, the extent of my help was just that help. But when I got a chance to come out and I got a chance to actually look at what was going on back then almost 10 years ago, and, um, uh, you know, I saw what I, what I deemed from, with a, with the eyes and vantage point of a bloody capitalist. I saw what I thought was the most incredible business model that had come along, at least since the birth of the Internet. So, um, and I take your point on Internet, we've kind of talked about the similarities and differences, um, as a bloody capitalists, your words, what, what precisely did you see?

Speaker 5: Uh, I saw, uh, you know, an undefinable demand curve that was a devil seemingly continuing to expand. I saw a dearth of operators that for, for the most part, we're operating with, you know, Archaic Business Tactics, uh, which gave someone who had truly competitive, um, experience and acumen and acumen for business to come in and really sort of established themselves. Uh, I saw, uh, a, a base of products that were still embryonic in, in their development. I saw a lot. I saw a tremendous opportunity to use technology to benefit the industry and an individual business. I saw a labor force that was still very young and sort of kind of literally coming out of the woods. Yup. I saw a or shadows or shadows, uh, and I, and I saw a legislative environment that I felt, you know, um, if this trend continued, would quickly get over the hump and become almost undeniable in its ability to perpetuate itself specifically in California, specifically in California.

Speaker 5: Right? Uh, and I, I surmised that if California is able to, you know, develop as a market, so with the rest of the west coast go and if you could have a lynch pin on the east coast, the entire country would fall. Sure. Um, and, and that's what we're sort of, we're sort of seeing and second on it we're working on and I saw and I saw a lot of, a lot of things just kind of happening, uh, across the country in that regard. But by the end of my trip I saw a few things that they're sort of changed my perspective, for lack of a better phrase. Um, you know, I got to see people that were coming in who truly had medical conditions and we're getting help.

Speaker 5: I'm not the sort of bleeding heart, you know, guy, right. I'm starting to get that. My, my, um, my experience as a young man with a cannabis was, you know, watching my, my, um, my friends and my colleagues get locked up. My experience was not a very pleasant interaction with cannabis. You know, there was no, I mean, you know, there were people rolling through my neighborhoods looking to sort of introduce a young black men to the prison industrial complex. I was good. I want to take that tangent. Yeah. Because I've had this conversation before, namely with Jesse Horton. When you said, you know, your experience with your friends was people getting locked up. I, I, uh, we're about the same age. We established exactly the difference, but, um, I didn't have that experience. I'm Jewish guy, right? You know, we don't say no. Yeah, yeah. Can you believe it?

Speaker 5: But I look white. Right. And so that's good enough. Alright. Um, let's, let's take this tangent. What the, what it's called marijuana, right? Uh, to divide people. Sure, sure. It is cannabis. It was called marijuana. It was deliberately called marijuana. And so even to this day it is dividing people and talk about your specific experience. You kind of brushed over it. I would love to dive in there. Yeah. Um, you know, I, I think, uh, and, and a lot of what I'm gonna say is, is, is really just my perspective after having been on both sides of this, this world of, of marijuana. Okay. You know, when, when were you a white guy? Yeah. Well you'd be surprised about that later I guess, but in the, in, you know, if you think about prohibition as defined under Nixon, let's not even go all the way.

Speaker 5: Just controlled Substances Act. Talk about since Nixon. Yep. Uh, and you look at where the war has really been fought. Yep. Um, it hasn't been fought largely on top of impoverished communities, uh, and the easiest place to fight that war when dealing with an impoverished communities, typically those communities of color, Hispanics and blacks, um, because no one on the other side of town is going to engage in public outcry to save them and to the degree that they've been already demonized in and they've already been sort of made to be the bad guy. Yeah. We just need to figure out. We can, you know, this, catch him and we'll figure out what the crime was there. Definitely bad, let's just, let's just catch them and, and that's the kind of tactic that the police force has taken it and I don't think individual policemen have been taking this, but I think that this is the way the rules have been crafted and because they are rule followers and they use words like, well, by training told me to do this and this is how you were being trained.

Speaker 5: It's the system that has been designed to just sort of go after a certain segment of people. Right? Uh, and I grew up in that kind of neighborhood. I grew up in a neighborhood where, you know, you had a low income families. I grew up in a neighborhood where, um, you know, you had um, um, largely for blocks and blocks and blocks in my neighborhood in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the brainerd high area or to brainerd area in East Chattanooga. For anybody who wants to go kind of check it out. Um, uh, I'd say take a little something which you when you go, but, um, and you're not talking about Gavin. I'm not telling you I can take them defense, right Tuckey chain yet, but you know, if you, if you go to, to where I grew up, I'm a police, have a very sort of difficult interaction with our community.

Speaker 5: Our perspective is that that's not help that is hurt coming towards your community. Right? And so when you look at that dynamic and look at their perspective of our community and in our perspective of police and the police state, you introduce cannabis into that equation. You now have a perfect sort of tiny bump, [inaudible], uh, and for digital and tools, uh, in their, in their, in their, from their perspective, this is how we can get them. Yep. And for decades that is what's happened. But despite the federal government and the local governments, um, desire to fight this war on drugs, you've still been unable to, to eliminate the presence of cannabis on the streets of the, uh, of us. And, and even in black neighborhoods. Right? You know, um, you know, for the longest time it's kind of one of the things that we used to always joke about back in the day that the largest distribution network of cannabis in the country has been and probably continues to be black barbershops, you know, if you ever go to, if you're black, you don't know where to get cannabis and you're in the place, go to the barbershop, somebody there knows who we man is and so, um, and how they haven't been able to figure that out.

Speaker 5: Don't know, but, you know, but, but for the most part, um, our, my perspective was that a cannabis, you know, in growing up, and I didn't smoke at a very young age, I didn't probably start, uh, having my first experience with cannabis until college. But, um, I did know people who sold it. I did, you know, them very, very well and a humbled a lot of people that did a lot of different things that will have you. And so from, from my perspective, um, the, the, they were good guys. Yeah. You know what I mean? They were guys that couldn't get jobs. Uh, but use what resources they had, what ingenuity they had, what opportunities they had to find ways of still figuring out how to make the ends meet. Uh, and um, I didn't see what they were doing as being something that was radically wrong and just because the system put, put out a rule that says that you should have to go to jail.

Speaker 5: It doesn't necessarily make that right in my mind. Yeah. But it did serve as a way to kind of lock up a lot of people. And so when I got a call, uh, to go to San Diego, right, to kind of look at this, I was somewhat skeptical, but after having been there for a little while, during my first visit, I actually began to see people and hear the stories of how people were getting help. Patients. Patients. Yeah. Uh, in California, uh, we're, we're actually getting help and some of these, it didn't matter to me that maybe some one person might be fighting cancer and the other one might be fighting sleep deprivation. Sure. Uh, what mattered to me was that these were people who through traditional beings couldn't get help, and the system is saying, oh, that doesn't matter. You just got to still go seek help through the traditional means.

Speaker 5: If pharmaceuticals don't work for you, who cares? Keep taking pharmaceuticals. To me, that didn't seem right, if, especially given the fact that there's an alternative method over here or a method that was being considered alternative indeed here. Uh, and the only reason you can't do it is because the state says you can't do it. To me, that's not life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness as a bloody capitalists, as a bloody capitalist. Right. Uh, and so, um, when I got on a plane to come back to DC, uh, I, I told him about it that like, look, you know, if there is a way for me to be helpful, um, I'll, I'll do it. And so I sat on the board, uh, when, when they started the collective and a, as the collective began to grow, they asked me to take on a little bit more of a role.

Speaker 5: I was actually in a position where I could, because I had recently sold out of an, of an investment. I was looking for something to kind of do a, she had beaten her breast cancer and his wife and his wife had been a breast cancer, but he was actually diagnosed at a, at a pretty early age with pancreatic cancer. And, uh, as his health failed him, they asked me to help with some of the transition issues and to potentially consider sort of buying out the board, um, which, uh, I agreed to do. And that a guy being involved in the San Diego medical collective [inaudible]. So at that point in time, despite what my wife, uh, had wanted, I began to spend like a month in DC, a month in San Diego month in DC model. But you were in the country though, but I was in the content when I was in a. and as stressing as that was that we were able to build a very successful a medical marijuana dispensary in San Diego.

Speaker 5: Yeah. Uh, we later opened a second store in a store operation in San Diego called CCI holistic. Uh, those two were operating very well. The city passed an ordinance that said, okay, everybody shut down for about two, three years and go through a type for conditional use permit, which is the kind of stuff used for waste treatment facilities in big stadiums and different stuff like that, toxic material, toxic materials and stuff like that. And so, um, I worked with a bunch of other out there to put together what was then called the patient care association and we are able to conduct a signature campaign and overturn that ordinance. Look at that. I was one of the first times in the state of California that citizens had organized for the purpose of defeating anti cannabis legislation. Um, that having been said, the feds then sent letters to all of the landlords.

Speaker 5: Um, and this was at a time to just give you a perspective of how this felt to me. This was at a time where we were considered a, both of the dispensary's that we had at the time, uh, were two of the 10 largest in a market where there were over 238 dispensary's. Right. So we believe we had had it right and figured it out. Yeah. In terms of how to operate. Sure. And we didn't engage in like tactics like couponing and, you know, over promoing and price warring. And then what we focused on was service, service, service, service, service, service, service, and very high quality product. Uh, and so, you know, we were, we were successfully operating, uh, but the feds in the form of, and this is pre Cole memo, shorter timeframe, uh, the Fed sent all of the landlords for all of the dispensary's and all of the cultivation operations that they knew about, sent them letters that said, if you don't kick them out, we'll take your property.

Speaker 5: It doesn't take a lot of coaxing to get your landlord to sort of reevaluate his position. Um, and that little rent that we were playing said that little ridge that we were playing were paying was not enough to make him use or lose a multimillion dollar asset. And so to the federal government, to the federal government, right, with no compensation whatsoever. So, um, we, we were, we lost the lease on the San Diego medical collective, but we're, but our, our operator for a ci holistic was Gung Ho. He was like, screw it, let's just fight. Yeah. Um, but, you know, I didn't see the value of, of fighting that war, picking that valley, picking that war and, you know, at that time I was a and still am a father of two a and the husband of one. And um, it made sense to sort of have one.

Speaker 5: I'm a husband of one, father of two. Uh, but, um, and, and there was all this pressure to kind of come back to Washington DC and miraculously when this was happening in San Diego, I was actually bidding on the license, gets that here in Washington, talk about timing, man. Talk about time. And I had already won. So I said, you know, listen, I'm at home in Washington dc at this time, you know, I had great relationships with the city council. Um, I figured I could, I could help the industry make inroads to Capital Hill and if we had good operators in Washington dc, he could serve as a strong beachhead to help, you know, Capitol Hill make the change. Absolutely. If you see it right, it's a totally different thing than if you hear about it. Right, right, right. Yeah. You know, someone can come in with myths and magic if the person has never seen it.

Speaker 5: So, but if they've experienced it, if they've actually touched it, if it's, if it's a part of the fabric in which, um, a fabric of DC where they, where they work every day and where they operate, then they can, they, they can sort of step out and if they want to know more, they can go learn. There is a place where they can go in and really get good feedback and, and get even see patients get relief. Exactly. Yeah, exactly. And so, and you know, we all have that moment in this industry, right? You know, no matter, no matter what your perspective is, when you come into this industry, you know, there, there's only a matter of time if you come in through the medical side, it's only a matter of time before you have that sort of Aha moment where a patient opens your eyes and helps you to understand what this is really all about.

Speaker 5: You know. Uh, and for me it was a, uh, uh, you mind if I tell this story, I, I would love for you to tell the story. I was, uh, I was literally sitting at my desk out in San Diego and I'm watching the videos. Uh, and, and this woman comes in, I'm tall, attractive black woman with this little what appeared to be like a seven to eight year old kid. Okay? Um, she comes in and I, I hit the speakers or have you so I can hear what she's saying to the receptionist because it just seemed kind of odd to be walking into a dispensary with a kid with a little kit. And so I hit the speaker and she's like, you know, can I speak to, um, the, the, the owner and he's the owner here and um, she says like, I had heard about him and I just want to, you know, I heard him talk at some whatever, whatever, in San Diego and, and wanted to want it to just sort of sit down and talk to me.

Speaker 5: So I go out to the front, I invite her to come back to the office and she sits out on my desk, a 16 pillbox and she says that I want you to see what it takes for me to medicate my child with prescription drugs. Um, and what she did was probably the only thing I've ever seen with my own eyes in real life that touched my heart in such a way that actually caused me to shed a or well up a tier. Honestly. I actually shed a tear because I'm not a crier, but clearly, clearly, clearly. But, um, but she got you pretty damn. Well, she was, she got to be as close as I think I had ever been since, um, since uh, attending some very sensitive funerals. So, um, the, uh, in, in this situation, uh, I literally watched her, the kid went wild when he sees the, the prescription meds.

Speaker 5: Um, she has to hold him down, use her legs to jaw, his legs, close, use her arm to wrap around him and shove pills down his throat. And I don't know how many people out there in radio land have kids, but can you imagine doing that four times a day to your kid because he's autistic and then she tells me that 12 of those medicines are to deal with the side effects of the first four and that if we could just find a way to get the kid to eat, that we can solve some real problems for her. Um, so we put her on a program, uh, and we, I told her, I told her after having seen our, I said, you'll never buy cannabis ever again. You never paying me ever, ever for this. If there's something I can do to help you with this happily, right.

Speaker 5: Um, and I don't know what it was with this kid had a jones for snicker doodle cookies and, um, after, after trying all sorts of different little application applications or what have you, uh, the one thing that we could get this kid to do at any time of day is to eat a snicker doodle cookie. And, um, we were able to infuse a that cookie and provide her with a healthy supply of those cookies to a each week a incidentally what the kid looked like. He was seven or eight years old, maybe nine years old. Kate was 11 years old, growth stunted all of this. Uh, but after about six to nine months of just being able to each comes back in one day, I'm almost crying herself. She says that she only has six minutes, prescription meds that she has to give him. And then she introduces me to a guy who was her who is the boys' doctor because he is now curious to see what it is he just saw at work.

Speaker 5: He just saw all he saw was the effect, what's causing him to eat. I mean, after, after months she finally is willing to tell the doctor did well, you know, I, I've been working with this dispensary and we've been giving him these cannabis cookies and he's like, you've got to take me over to, I guess this guys got to see what's going on. Uh, and so for me, that was like that Aha experience. Everyone in this industry, it doesn't take long being in a dispensary to have people, people like even my disciplinary hearing on Capitol Hill, people will come in and they'll literally cry, uh, into the arms of our manager out there who was Vanessa West. She's an incredible dispensary operator. Um, and uh, we're always hearing them say things like, just simple things like metropolitan wellness saved my life, um, in whether that's someone who was sitting back taking morphine or oxycodone on or, or something like that and were sitting in a dark slobbing on themselves all day or, or, and, and, and get access to cannabis and able to get some semblance of quality of life back.

Speaker 5: Um, you hear these stories and it galvanizes you and it makes you want to be a better dispensary. It makes you want to do more to sort of break down the, the, the, the laws that, that, um, that prevent people from getting access. That's why it was such a victory here in Washington dc when we, when we were able to get it into the law that is between the doctor and the patient. Yeah. You know, why are we sitting back talking about, you know, what sort of sort of conditioned should, should apply for you to make that determination, particularly if you're not some form of scientists that's actually researched this, you know, and so, um, and, and now we see other states beginning to sort of take that tactic and um, that's Kinda like my story. That's Kinda like how do you get from then to now?

Speaker 5: Yeah. So what, what's, what's a stark is, uh, the fact that we continually have called you a bloody capitalist, right? Right. And at the end part here, you kind of sound like five o one c three, not Mr nonprofit 500, one corey three. Uh, I don't want to suggest in any way, shape or form that, uh, I have lost any edge or that my teeth are any less sharp. Um, but I, I believe that if we are to build a healthy industry, if we are to build an industry that is going to be able to provide jobs and provide a livelihood for hundreds of thousands of people and if we're going to be able to operate in a way that makes us sustainable for the next 50, 60, 70 years, we do have to operate with good business practice. Absolutely. And that those business practices also have to be the kind of business practices that provide for public safety.

Speaker 5: Uh, it's not run a muck. That's not what I mean. Um, but I mean, you don't operate effectively, operate efficiently, build your business in a way that allows you to protect your employees and offer them a future. Builds a business in a way that allows you to develop wealth so that you can influence the outcomes of your industry in your local city politics, in your, in the state politics and federal politics. If we're going to be an industry 50 years from now, we need strong operators now. Now, right now I'm so many people that are not, that are going to refuse to do things like engage in price wars. We're going to need to, we need people that are going to take, you know, sophisticated tactics like, you know, building customer loyalty applications that actually promote loyalty and stickiness to your business models and things like this.

Speaker 5: So I'm no less a bloody capitalist. Uh, I, I'm very much a bloody capital. This is Justin. I believe I'm fighting on the right side of the war. Totally. But, uh, your stance now brings us to this election which we just had on Tuesday, right? So you have what might be, I would imagine a unique perspective here, right? Because you're a business owner and you're not going to not be a business owner. You're going to make as much money as you possibly can. I'm going to do as well as I possibly can. Fair enough. And thank you for the clarification. What happened on Tuesday as far as your concern? Um, for the industry or for the country? Because that's two different answers. It is two different answers. Right. And so I'm asking for both. We're talking to you on Friday, so it was three days ago.

Speaker 5: Okay. Just just so you know, downloads in this and that. Sure, sure, sure. Um, on, uh, for the country. Yes, we took an l. okay. No, I mean, I don't care. I don't care how you look at it. I don't care how you think about it. Um, you know, I, I believe that, uh, for the country we took an l, you don't care how you, how you look at it or how you think about it. What do you mean? Because at the end of the day, what matters is outcomes. Right? Okay. What matters is outcomes, and I don't think you can walk into any profession, any profession and say, well, my overwhelming qualification is that I have no qualification and get hired. Right? Like if you walk into my dispensary and say, listen man, I've never ever been in a dispensary. I can't even spell cannabis. I want a job as the CEO.

Speaker 5: Sure. Yeah. No, definitely. There's no place in the country you could do that and I don't care what metric you're using to assess and evaluate the situation, if that is your outcome, if what you're going to choose, even if you want to start over. I got you. Let's start over with someone who actually knows what the constitution says for one period. Yeah. You know, knows that there's no 20th amendment. Yeah. Like, like, like if you listen to some of the things that he said. Well, and he did actually say that. He did actually say so. So I believe that as a country we took it out. Now are they saying that as a business owner, somebody that hires people, I believe that, um, there are some good sides and some potential good outcomes to Donald Trump. Go for it. Let's do that right now. Wait a minute. I'm not going to name them. I'm not going to do that.

Speaker 5: Why would I to name them? I believe that whatever they are, it's a bet at best I got ya. Okay. So, and that's why it has what we don't know. You just don't know. Okay, fair enough. We have nothing to bet on. Right. Like you literally, like he's been on both sides of almost every argument I can think of, including cannabis, which gives us hope as far as his Chris Christie Giuliani thing. Right, exactly. And you know, it's like, and that could go either way. Yeah. If his recent rhetoric is his actual tactics, then we'll be fine as an industry. Right. But if Juliani or Christie Christie ends up attorney general, which is probable at this point, well people think it is, I personally don't think you get, you could get either one of them through, um, through congress more or through the house, through the Senate to actually be Republican House and a Republican Senate.

Speaker 5: Yeah. I still don't think that they would consider fair enough from those guys. If you look at where the Republican Party is right now, I don't think that they would, but if you get anybody you like them. Yeah. That's not good. It could change the pace of progress of the industry dramatically. I don't believe that we would pivot and turn and go back. But will you withdraw the coal memos and then we are. Well, yeah you could. Yeah. But um, but let's, let's understand that we do have 29 states, you know, and you have representatives and senators that are sitting in the house and in the Senate from those 29 states that are going to, if they want to remain in those seats, they're going to defend the decrees of their state. Sixty to 65 percent of people support it, you know, overwhelmingly, as we say all the time, whether you're republican or a Democrat, cannabis gets more votes than you.

Speaker 5: Exactly. And, and, and, and understand that, that the congress did actually, they have passed several marijuana related measures over the past couple of years. Yep. That suggests that even as a, as a body, their opinion is actually turning. It was major for Congress to defund dea activity. Yeah. Towards dismantling state regulated medical marijuana programs. I mean that, that was a major, huge, you know, and so the likelihood that you're gonna get a turn back, I don't believe is very probable, which brings us to the other part of Tuesday, which eight out of nine, uh, you know, um, I, I think that like, if you look at this from the perspective of being a, and I'm assuming that's what you're asking me from being an operator in the space. Yeah. And, and, and, uh, what's going to happen as a result of, of, of last Tuesday. Yeah. Uh, despite the fact that the country los, um, if, if, if Mr. Trump sticks to his recent rhetoric, the industry might actually have good footing to see positive change in a positive direction.

Speaker 5: I believe that, you know, one way that he could evidence that is, uh, in the next sort of, um, he could send strong messaging in our most recent, uh, well in the very next budget that gets done by Congress. Sure. Right now there's a provision there that sort of prevents the district from engaging in public safety efforts to regulate cannabis. Um, and um, there's just a simple writer and the removal of that writer allows Washington, DC's city government to begin to engage in good policy trumps most recent statements suggests that he believes that it is a states rights issue and if he asks for his district and the district where somebody. I mean, come on man, come on man. Absolutely. The 51st star baby plug plug for star, 51 which is a stranger district grows Gretel's www dot [inaudible]. Right. So, um, but yeah, I mean just the removal of that senseless, very small message to the industry that listen, tomorrow is not dark and dim hope is actually possible on that point.

Speaker 5: And any other point that someone listening holds dear, I'm starting to talk about governing and how we, the people can maybe participate a little bit more than just voting because we see how that went. Fifty percent of the people are not happy 50 and the 50 percent of the people that are happy for the most part, we're happy last time and the other 50 percent wasn't happy. Now they're at. So either way we look at it, half are unhappy and that's only 25 percent each. Fifty percent didn't even vote, didn't even vote. So now as far as being a part of this whole thing, you mentioned the community activism, then you engaged in to great effect, right? Talk about that. If I'm listening to you and I'm an operator or I just would like to make sure that I hold my member to task my congressperson to task.

Speaker 5: How did you go about doing that? What are the keys? Why believe first? First and foremost, that all politics is local. Yeah. And so if you are an operator that's in this industry or if you're aspiring to be in the industry or if you're aspiring to operate or do operate a business that is ancillary to this inner industry and you are not active in local politics, you are and is a very technical term. I'm going to use you. You are a fool now. You like you are. You are dumb at a colossal level is what I would say nearly incomprehensible. I don't think we could. There are not words that could describe the kind of risk you're taking. You're willfully taking a certain kind of risk, and I tell some of the people that I run across that the moment that public policy, capitalism and public opinion all said yes to cannabis.

Speaker 5: Everyone who was operating in the shadows was put on notice whether you know it or not. Come on out. Folks you've been put on notice. You go and if you're not willing to step up and find a way to to to shape your own tomorrow and if you are willing to allow people who don't have your same interest and knowledge and knowledge about what it is you do to shape your tomorrow, then you literally are willfully going into that good night and I just think that that is dumb. But what you'll find is there for those people who are willing to step up and work with their local politicians. What ends up happening is that their presence, their enthusiasm, their knowledge, it feeds up to state level because that's who state legislators are talking to when they're talking about what's going on in their, in their districts or in their areas and things of that nature, and so if they're able, if that's feeding up there, then it's also going to start to feed to their actual representatives that are here in the White House here in here in capital capital, mds like that, and so one of the most important things that we can do as an industry is to get active at your local level and influenced local outcomes in regulation.

Speaker 5: You say you have a really good relationship. You had a good relationship in San Diego. You have a good relationship here. How did you foster that? Is it as simple as a phone call? Is it a simple as walking to the office, a letter? It starts with understanding who your local representative is in whatever ward or district you live inside of your city. Right? Who was the council person that is trying to get your vote and to go to the most local level at the most local level. Go to that person and tell them who you are, tell them what you want to do. That's your new best friend, that's your new best friend, and every time a cannabis related measure hits the hits the wire or comes up for consideration, you should make sure that that person knows you have an opinion and then to the degree that they are in line with your opinion and they agree, asked them who needs to be moved on the city council, and then you go to those people and you make sure that they know what your opinions are and you find someone that's in their ward or in their area of town and you take that person with you.

Speaker 5: So did you can show them that this is going to affect votes in your area of town. Taking this policy affects votes in your area of town. I'll give you an example here in Washington DC. We just had a round of elections wherein a three of incumbents were outed. And uh, one of those incumbents was a council member low ruby May, who operates in ward eight in Washington DC. Great War, great people. Uh, it's a heavily African American ward and I'm about three years ago for almost four years ago, I actually did a little bit more than four years ago now we were able to get decrim passed in Washington DC. Um, and arrests for marijuana went from two or so to 2000 to 2,500 down to less than 150. Oh my. During the course of one year home, I go, it sounds like tremendous process progress.

Speaker 5: Well, percentage wise, percentage wise is incredible, right? But then when you look at those 150, wait a second, who were they? Right? Um, they were still largely African American men. Sure. Uh, or African American in general. African Americans in general. And um, um, most of them were in ward eight and most of them were being arrested because they were standing on the street corner smoking cannabis or utilizing cannabis. And they were standing on a street corner because they lived in public housing. And you can't smoke in public, can't smoke in public housing, and it was a measure that was passed or that was introduced to allow, um, public smoking, uh, or the mayor shortly after 71 past placed a ban on public consumption inside of restaurants and things that, things of that nature, uh, and we were trying to get that band lifted and she voted against it.

Speaker 5: And the industry sent out fliers in ward eight that says, this is one of the reasons why African Americans are still being locked up. How is it that you're African American council member voted to maintain this band? Wow. This a very powerful. Now I'm not suggesting that people voted against her solely because of that. I would never do that, but it didn't hurt if somebody was on the fence. Yeah, that's a reason. Yeah. That would've gotten me if I was on the fence. I Dunno. I Dunno. Oh really? Oh really? No, no, we can't. No, you're looking at. You're not going to. People that look like me can't have that, but it's that kind of activism is that it's, it's, it's being supportive of council members that are trying to be helpful and trying to do the right thing and understanding what the right thing is.

Speaker 5: The right thing isn't always what our industry wants. I, we as an industry, you ask for a lot of things we probably shouldn't be asking for, right. Or don't necessarily don't necessarily need. Right. Uh, so, so once you understand what the right move strategically longterm for industry is in your local council members, support you, you should support them. You should support them financially. You should knock on doors and help convince your neighbors to be positive supporters at the ballot box for them. And you should do all of that sort of stuff when they don't, you should be equally as fervent to make sure that they no longer have a place on that council. Um, and I believe in that. I believe in social activism and, and, and, um, when it's done positively. Well, it's worked. It's worked a couple of times here in Washington DC.

Speaker 5: We've gotten a lot of things passed for our program. Our program was probably one of the most restrictive programs when it first started and it was darn near impossible to make money and survive and provide jobs and grow your business on just 95 plants because that's where our program started. We're now at a thousand that didn't happen because people just woke up and said, hey, why don't we give him some more times more plants. You want to break them off a little bit, so be happy over there like Christmas or something. I ain't. Nobody did that. It took us, you know, actively working with the system in order to get those laws changed the way that they should have been changed and we had council members here that were on the fence. We have council members that were on our side and we had council members that were starkly against us.

Speaker 5: I think that today, if you were to look at the DC city council, every one of them realize is that what we need to do is to find a way to actually truly regulate cannabis, to be effective. A tool set that the industry can be an effective contributor to our city's needs and goals if you're waking up in Arkansas this week. Yeah, they passed A. Yeah, that's the bill there. Yeah. And you want to be an operator. What's the first thing you're doing? Yeah, I'm, I'm, I'm going to first one, uh, I'm going to realize that there are three pillars to being successful if you're trying to get into the industry. Okay. One, you got to make sure your paper is right. Make sure your money is right. That's the easy part to be. Be honest for you. No, no, no. There's a lot of, there's a lot of, of capital coming into the industry, uh, to make sure your planets right, which is also easy.

Speaker 5: Um, but the third P is, is your politics. And so that's the hard part, right? Because, uh, it, it's, it's equal to the other two. Oh yes, absolutely. Equal if not even more essential. Right? Because the unfortunate reality of how marijuana licenses are typically given out, it happens at the state level. That means that the governor typically, or some gubernatorial body, uh, or state level body is deciding, maybe they put together a commission. Yeah, maybe to governor puts it into some department. Yeah. But it's department of Health task task or task force or something like, but it's typically happening at the state level. Uh, and if you are sitting in some middle income neighborhood in little rock, the likelihood that, you know, those state level people probably slim to none, right? You know, uh, and if you're in some rural area of the state, forget it, forget about it.

Speaker 5: Right? Right. And so, uh, it's not fair. That's not fair. And so if, if you are trying to figure out how to get a license, you gotta actually know those people you to get in your car, go figure out who that legislator is that proposed that bill and how that's going to actually be implemented in your state and what have you. And if you're lucky as a law is being formed, you can lobby to push the decision down to where it should be, which is locally. Like we don't zone anything else in our state or any state. I'm at state level, right? Zoning is typically something that's done locally at the county level or at the city. Let's make that happen. That is what that is. The way cannabis should be implemented. Right? And then you have a shot. You have a fighting chance against, you know, large, uh, larger, uh, marijuana and cannabis companies that are coming into your state that are trying to get positioned or whatever they're able to get to the state because they're going to hire the top three lobbyists to make sure that they get to the people that, uh, that count and can influence the outcome.

Speaker 5: You can't do that. Uh, is unfortunate. So you gotta have your politics, right? You got to have your politics, right? Because without that, you don't even get a chance to enact your plan or use your paper. You're not even sitting at the table, not even to. All right? So, uh, this is good. We got to do this again. All right, so, but I got three final 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 acore Barnett's life named one track, one song that's got to be on there. So what has most surprised you in cannabis? First things first. Um, what surprised me in cannabis is the rate of innovation. Uh, I, I knew that the industry would grow quickly, but there's so much interested in the industry and I originally thought that that would come in on the sort of demand curve side of the business, but the rate at which we are developing makes it very difficult, uh, to take advantage of innovation because six months later from now you're gonna have something that's even more quality.

Speaker 5: Uh, so the rate of innovation has probably been the most surprising thing. It's amazing out there. I mean, the what is on the shelves now is so totally different than even nine months ago. Excellent. Absolutely. Oh, and what's helping operators be better operations, right? You know, in 2012 you were having the birth of Mj freeway. Uh, um, you know, uh, mmj menu, things like that. Now the number of pos systems that are out is incredible, um, and uh, and more coming, more common and more come and they do different things and they all have sort of different value propositions and it makes it difficult for you as an operator to, to pick just one. Right? And so you have a technologies that are helping operators be better operators. You look at the light technology that's happening for indoor gardening. You look at the greenhouse technology that is out there to, uh, to help help the industry and help patients.

Speaker 5: And uh, so, so it was just a level of innovation that's taking place, uh, you know, from the router to the tutor. Is, is, uh, is that your own? That's the first time Louis Armstrong. So to sort of say from the router to the tutor that bad. So, uh, what has most surprised you in life? Uh, wow. You know, uh, I, I would say that probably was most surprising in life is, is not. I haven't really thought about that. That's a great question. But if I had just come off the cuff, just give it to you. What's surprised me most in life is that I didn't know half of what I thought I knew. Oh sure. When I was younger, you know, like, you know, never in a million years would I have believed at age 20 in college? Yeah. That I would be doing what I'm doing today.

Speaker 5: Oh sure. That's easy. But give us another example. In other words, as a former young man, what I like to point out to the young men that are listening is how much there is a to go. There's a lot more. Oh yeah. That's good. That's going to be learned as a young man. So what else did you say to your 20 year old self? Yeah, I mean like, look, dude, keep your eyes open, keep your head low, keep your mouth shut. And we moved a bit difficult I would imagine. Right? Both of us have. Exactly. Exactly. You know, uh, uh, and, and take advantage of opportunities. Yeah man. Yeah. I mean it's all over the place and just pay you, play your position. You don't have to be first, but you do have to be right. You know what I mean? So, um, if I could talk to my twin, oh, there's so many mistakes I could have prevented myself from making my point.

Speaker 5: Exactly, exactly. I could proven, oh my gosh, I would love to have a conversation with me if I could get into that time machine and go back. Oh Gosh, that'd be crazy. You'd have a licenses in 28 states on the soundtrack. You mentioned Louis Armstrong. But I wonder on the soundtrack of your life, one track, one song listening, we probably have to go in, we have to look into the crates and find something about a Wu Tang clan, probably Rizza, uh, and uh, judges, uh, on a shadow boxing with method man laying down tracks and lyrics. Definitely shadowboxing, shadowboxing babies. It, if I break it down to the bone and gristle exactly. Wu Tang, Wu Tang. Ain't nothing like that. None lag. And you gotta be you gotTa. That's our generation, our generation. That's high lyrical content, which is also another strain offer by district growers. High local content come to a store near you.

Speaker 5: Next time we talk, we'll just keep going through the strange. Absolutely man. Absolutely no, we have that argument here all the time about high lyrical content and and what's happening in the world of hip hop and how high lyrical content is a thing of the past. Oh well then now you've opened the door. So now you're talking about old school and not. Right, right. So what do you mean? Just so we know. Oh, you mean like in terms of hip hop? So you're talking about like tribe. I would imagine that'd be if you wanna if you want to go back. I mean, you know, let's, let's go all the way back. I mean we got to talk about like Grand Poobah. We got to talk about that. Oh yeah, we got it. We got it. You got to the core of when it was just two turntables and a microphone and you walk up and you would give it up and I mean it.

Speaker 5: Look, let's go. Listen, if you want to talk hip hop and lyrical content, but you got to talk to Keith Murray is you've got to talk Redman talk method, man. Inspectah deck. Just you got to talk about like, I mean we're talking about just cats who were known for their lyrics. It didn't matter what beats you had, you know what I mean? But now a day, if you don't have a hot track behind you, man, like really? Are you really saying something that's. Come on, you're not, you're not impressed. Yeah. I mean, you know, if you're being honest, I mean like, you know when we talk about the top three, top five or whatever, everybody's going to come up with the NAS or the world, you know, JC is going to be in that top three. But if you get to Thomas', I mean as is from the nineties.

Speaker 5: That's. Oh yeah. I mean until my best lyricist all time. If you had to do your top five and you don't get to Nas. Yeah. I, I have a problem with you now. The at the argument against that is that [inaudible] has put out a lot of garbage since, since, since, since he started. He asked without a lot of garbage, but like lyrically it's hard. He's hard to be be Jay z hard to be be right, right. So we can give you those first two as a goal and then you're going to have the biggie Tupac sort of argument or whatever. But I think that at some point in time if you're in five and you hit that fifth one, there's a lot of argument about that fifth one. Right. You know, like everyone can kind of agree and coalesce around those first four. But if he came at me and asked me for my fifth, yeah, I'm probably going to go m and m and that's just being honest about it.

Speaker 5: I really did not at all honest about hip hop, bro. I mean like look, like at the end of the day, he's lyrically one of the tightest we've ever seen in his delivery. Go back and listen to that renegade on, on a m and m's album where it was him and Jay z going line for line and asked me what you think. Have you seen anybody to keep up with Jay z like that? And I happen to think that Jay Z is, is my number one right. Jay Z is my number one, but now it's at a point he did get. He got ate up on that, on that album. I'm just, I'm just being honest, you know, and, and you know, you can't, you can't get knocked out by somebody and then say, well that guy doesn't count, that guy count counts. And there you go. Uh, Corey Barnette full of surprises. Really appreciate. Yeah, we talked about a whole lot here. So we did, we did, we went a lot of places. All right. Thanks man. See you soon. Alright, bye. There you have corey Barnette

Speaker 1: and of course congresswoman Barbara Lee at the top, very much appreciate her time and service. Really appreciate the advice that she gives to not only her constituency but, uh, to the greater American public. Tory Barnett. Very good guy. I can see myself spending more time with him in the future, and thank you. Of course for your time.

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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.