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Ep.203: NY State Senator Diane Savino & NV State Senator Tick Segerblom

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.203: NY State Senator Diane Savino & NV State Senator Tick Segerblom

Ep.203: NY State Senator Diane Savino & NV State Senator Tick Segerblom

Nevada State Senator Tick Segerblom discusses the vote and ensuing adult use program in the state. We review the now fully functional medical program including the concept of reciprocation and how that key principal might affect the global cannabis market. Tick also shares his thoughts the recent history of populism.
New York State Senator Diane Savino then joins us to provide a history of legal cannabis in New York. She shares how the medical program came to be, where we are now and where we’re going with the prospective changes to the program. She also shares how she and some of her colleagues have changed the way legislation happens in New York.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Nevada state Senator Tick Segerblom discusses the vote and ensuing adult use program in the state. We review the now fully functional medical program, including the concept of reciprocation and how that key principle might affect the global cannabis market. Tick also shares his thoughts on the recent history of populism. New York state Senator Diane Savino then joins us to provide a history of legal cannabis in New York. She shares how the medical program came to be, where we are now and where we're going with the perspective changes to the program. She also shares how she and some of her colleagues have changed the way legislation happens in New York. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the mechanic Honami. That's two ends of the word economy. State senators tick segerblom and Diane Savino.

Speaker 2: I've been calling you seeger blom for. Is it secret balloons? They hear bloom. Just tick, tick man. I appreciate the time. What? How tick we. I never asked you the question how to tick happen if it's not a long story, but it's. It's it's stuff that I got when I was a baby, but I'm Richard's my real name and when you get a nickname and your name is Richard does either Dick or whatever the nickname is and I preferred tick how people in the band. I love it. I was born here and the government knows me. It's ruined through Nevada. Right, exactly. You're one of the locals. Have a local, not too many people born and raised here, right? Yeah. And actually I'm a third generation and fourth generation legislator in Nevada, so I go way back. All right, so let's talk about that. Nevada now seems like, you know, a different place than it ever was and the, the stamp was put on it on, on Tuesday.

Speaker 2: This is a blue state. We're nominating and, and uh, you and uh, electing all sorts of different people than we used to. Is that fair to say? That is that we've always had a democratic makeup, but, um, we finally were able to put all the pieces together. Uh, and, and um, so we, we are strong democratic state. We took control of the legislature, we conducted a Latino, the first Latina US senator in the history of the country to new democratic congresspeople. Um, so it was a very positive day for us and we voted for Hillary. So very positive. And, and the reality is we've always been kind of pie bowler. We're halfway between Utah and California. If you could imagine how bipolar that can be. Absolutely. But at least right now we're working closely with associated with the California. Okay. And uh, you in the state Senate, I mean, how are you feeling now?

Speaker 2: You've got, you know, you're a big proponent of cannabis and we had a medical program that was working and now we've got adult use. How you feeling? Fantastic. It really has been a labor of love, but our medical program, which we passed in 2003, has finally come to fruition. WHO's out there? And it's fantastic. The industry has done just a beautiful job and now in the public could see that and I didn't go to. Well, the reason they passed recreational, but now we have recreational, which as you can see, it's just perfect for Nevada, but what else could you come here and do everything else sinful. Why not be able to do that too? So I, I just am very optimistic about where it's going to go. Yeah. And uh, you know, really there's a sense that if I am from anywhere, I can do it with a reciprocation with my medical card from anywhere.

Speaker 1: Nevada state Senator Tick Segerblom discusses the vote and ensuing adult use program in the state. We review the now fully functional medical program, including the concept of reciprocation and how that key principle might affect the global cannabis market. Tick also shares his thoughts on the recent history of populism. New York state Senator Diane Savino then joins us to provide a history of legal cannabis in New York. She shares how the medical program came to be, where we are now and where we're going with the perspective changes to the program. She also shares how she and some of her colleagues have changed the way legislation happens in New York. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the mechanic Honami. That's two ends of the word economy. State senators tick segerblom and Diane Savino.

Speaker 2: I've been calling you seeger blom for. Is it secret balloons? They hear bloom. Just tick, tick man. I appreciate the time. What? How tick we. I never asked you the question how to tick happen if it's not a long story, but it's. It's it's stuff that I got when I was a baby, but I'm Richard's my real name and when you get a nickname and your name is Richard does either Dick or whatever the nickname is and I preferred tick how people in the band. I love it. I was born here and the government knows me. It's ruined through Nevada. Right, exactly. You're one of the locals. Have a local, not too many people born and raised here, right? Yeah. And actually I'm a third generation and fourth generation legislator in Nevada, so I go way back. All right, so let's talk about that. Nevada now seems like, you know, a different place than it ever was and the, the stamp was put on it on, on Tuesday.

Speaker 2: This is a blue state. We're nominating and, and uh, you and uh, electing all sorts of different people than we used to. Is that fair to say? That is that we've always had a democratic makeup, but, um, we finally were able to put all the pieces together. Uh, and, and um, so we, we are strong democratic state. We took control of the legislature, we conducted a Latino, the first Latina US senator in the history of the country to new democratic congresspeople. Um, so it was a very positive day for us and we voted for Hillary. So very positive. And, and the reality is we've always been kind of pie bowler. We're halfway between Utah and California. If you could imagine how bipolar that can be. Absolutely. But at least right now we're working closely with associated with the California. Okay. And uh, you in the state Senate, I mean, how are you feeling now?

Speaker 2: You've got, you know, you're a big proponent of cannabis and we had a medical program that was working and now we've got adult use. How you feeling? Fantastic. It really has been a labor of love, but our medical program, which we passed in 2003, has finally come to fruition. WHO's out there? And it's fantastic. The industry has done just a beautiful job and now in the public could see that and I didn't go to. Well, the reason they passed recreational, but now we have recreational, which as you can see, it's just perfect for Nevada, but what else could you come here and do everything else sinful. Why not be able to do that too? So I, I just am very optimistic about where it's going to go. Yeah. And uh, you know, really there's a sense that if I am from anywhere, I can do it with a reciprocation with my medical card from anywhere.

Speaker 2: I know that cannabis is fine, everything's okay, but now with adult use, if I'm from anywhere, I can have my first experience with cannabis and then take that back to whatever geography I'm going to, whether it's Utah or Australia. Absolutely. And the fact that the number one dispensary in Nevada bet is going to be right on the border with Utah. Right? Right. All those good. Maura was going to be coming across the border and go to getting their joints. So what, what, what are your politics obviously, you know, uh, you're a Democrat, right? W, W, w, where do you find yourself in the political kind of a spectrum? Well, just a point of reference, I was head of the Bernie Sanders campaign. Okay. So I consider myself a socialist first and the Democrats second. Got It. As does he writes? Yeah. And um, and what, what do you think?

Speaker 2: Um, let's just do the Bernie thing first. So, you know, obviously he didn't take the nomination. Um, what did he identify for folks that really kind of supported him? You know, I, I think, and this goes really well, I think maybe to the core of Hillary's loss, um, he saw that, that ordinary people who want to be Democrats working people primarily white, uh, really are just suffering and, and we say we give them a health insurance, but then you have a $2,000 deductible. So you really don't have health insurance right now you say we're going to have to go to college, but then you ended up with $30,000, $30,000 in student loans. Just the basic things which our societies should be taken care of. Those people, we don't do it, we've just forgotten them. And, and they're saying like, what is trump? Franklin said, he said, what do you have to lose, you know, and, and the rallies, they have a lot to lose, but what we didn't articulate, we say, oh, we're going to lose control the supreme court that, that goes in and out of most people.

Speaker 2: So you have to be specific. Uh, we're going to increase what you're going to get from social security. We're going to decrease your in deductible in South America. We're gonna have single payer health insurance. You're going to pay anything, you know, we're going to make sure college is free. Just just basic fundamentals that we needed to be able to say to people that's the next step. And I think in our country's evolution and for whatever worse, either Hillary was not willing to say it or just couldn't get the message out stronger than. And so you're not necessarily saying that, um, you know, Democrats aren't the Party of labor anymore, but it does feel like. It feels like this election kind of said that. Whether that's true or not. You know, when I was growing up to have Democrats, absolutely the Party of labor, where, where did we lose the way there as far as everybody being on the same page at least.

Speaker 2: Well, I think that it's just labor is not able to articulate and maybe produce frankly the results that, that people, the working people really need what I say are just the fundamentals of being able to not have to worry about medical care and not be able to worry about college, um, be able to make sure that their retirement is going to be beneficial and instead I'm seeing just billionaires running around doing everything I wanted to do and they may not see the connection there. But the reality is we have basically sold our souls to the billionaires and, and I think Republicans have been very successful as far as stymied in the efforts to do it, make any changes. In the meantime, given the tax structure and things, just the wealth continued to go up to up the ladder. And so the people making 100,000 dollars or maybe 2000 and less, I've seen their, their, their ability to do anything erode over time.

Speaker 2: When coming off of, uh, of the, uh, election, I've done a lot of thinking and everything because as has every one, because it was a shock to everyone without question, no matter what your political stripes, you know, who knew this was gonna happen. And so what I've been trying to do is have as productive a thought process as possible. And I see 50 percent of the people didn't vote. Roughly 25 percent of the people voted for her. Twenty five percent of the people voted for him. What I've noticed is that it doesn't seem like any of those three people actually have any productive political discourse. And I don't mean at the state senate level or the federal level as far as politicians, although I don't think it's there either at the federal level. Uh, I mean just everyday folks, you know, folks that I went to high school with, if they voted for a different person, we're not really talking about, you know, what we could be talking about as far as effective and productive political discourse.

Speaker 2: What do you, what are your thoughts? Well, I think maybe at a macro level that's true, but the end of the day all politics is local and I think at a local level, people in there talking, you know, there's a talk went on at the workplace, um, and in homes and on TV, uh, there may be some segmentation where some people are watching Fox who think that and some people are watching MSNBC, we think that. And those people don't necessarily talk to that. Maybe one of the issues that we've segmented with Internet and things. What, how were you able to hear what we want to hear it go realize what's going on. But the other day I said we have to be able to show people in whose economic interest should be with us as being Democrats. That it really makes a difference and we just haven't been able, unable to show that you, you know, unable to show that on the national level and even the local level across the country.

Speaker 2: However, it's a different thing here in Nevada then it is almost anywhere else, you know, you have to state houses kind of flipping read as opposed to flipping blue, um, you know, uh, senate going red as opposed to blue. What is the difference between what's going on here in Nevada and most of the other geographies across the U. S I think frankly we just made a real concerted effort to find the democratic base register and have them vote and that's just a mechanical process. You just have to go out and track them down, make sure they register and then just talk to them on a daily basis. This is really important, really important. Engaged. And then on the day of the election, you know, just go back and we actually track. So if you haven't voted, we know where you are. We go to your house or your house until 8:00 at night, making sure you get there.

Speaker 2: It's, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's hard, but that's, that's the route, I mean because particularly the battery, this 24 hour town people have million things to do rather than vote, but even probably in Michigan where you sit down in the countryside somewhere, you still have something else to do and, and we just didn't give enough incentive to the people that did vote. But if you're looking at Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, those three states total, less than hundred thousand votes made the difference. Sure. So I mean if, if just for example, if Hillary just come out in favor of marijuana, there's probably 100,000 people don't vote that, that they needed something to vote for a and you just need something like that to, to. Everybody's got their own little hook. But, but, but just positive things to say your vote makes a difference and I'm not sure that, that those kids that didn't votes or those people that voted for trump, I didn't vote for Hillary.

Speaker 2: Saw that there really was a difference. That the connection wasn't made. There were these two imperfect candidates and that was the end of the conversation as opposed to. No, no, no, no, no. Here's what her platform is, here's what his platform is and this is what it means to you. Exactly. But hopefully not that I wanted to happen, but I think it's going to happen. Yeah. When you see four years and what it really can happen. Yeah. Then I think in 2020 we could have another wave that just the opposite way we have to get a good candidate articulate that, but the reality is when you actually start to see what, how his policies will affect the ordinary people, I think they're gonna be shocked. Well, yeah, we'll see what happens. Certainly I think that, uh, I'm in jail for promoting marijuana. You'll know that it's the difference. That's exactly right.

Speaker 2: That'll be direct. So let's, let's get to you as far as your, your path here. You said a third, a third generation legislators that right. Unfortunately is forced to lead. A great grandfather was a senator. My Grandmother was assembly woman and my mother was an assembly woman. So I'm, I'm the fourth generation, third generation born into unbelievable. What did you learn from those, uh, politicians, uh, that, that made you say, hey, you know what, I could do this too and I should do this and I need to do this. Probably just that, that, that the route is, especially the playlists, Nevada legislature is not a governor or US center. It's a pretty small time job, but you could make a difference. It's fun. And if you don't do it, somebody else is going to do it. So why not? Okay. So why not? It's in the, it's in the family blood type of thing growing up with a public face on the house.

Speaker 2: Right. What was that like? Were out there? The truth? My mother, um, she taught politics and in high school and so she was very articulate, but she didn't get active until, after I left the house. So I left him, left a Nevada, go to college, but she didn't actually run for assembly, so she was 75. Oh Wow. So I always thought I'll do this after everything's over. But the opportunity came up in my district, inside, I jumped a little early, but, but it is very fun for me because I've been active in political parties and, and worked for Carter at the White House and stuff to actually be my own politician and not have to report to anybody. I can just do it. I wanted to do. And if the voters are likely the, then they're free to vote me out. Sure, absolutely. So you, you're very straightforward as this is what I'm doing.

Speaker 2: I'm not going to try to Kowtow for votes or anything like that, you know? And I also think that that probably. I'm not sure if that's true about Hillary. I think that's her perception of Hillary. She's one of those politicians that should tell us whatever it is, but then they should really do it. And I had to do three people like forever trump and I don't think he's going to do it, but they think that he's telling the truth. Exactly. I'll say whatever I want to say and held me down. And they liked that. Yeah. No, absolutely. Feels like it's straightforward, is what it is. Yeah, the reality is if you're looking at him, he said the opposite yesterday, but, but, but at least he's, he's not afraid to say it and, and he, he doesn't back down. That's the other thing is, is he, you know, he'll say something and that's what I said.

Speaker 2: Screw you. All right, well let's, let's talk about the White House. Jimmy Carter Administration. How'd you get hooked up with a. It was just a fluke. I got out of law school, went to DC, looked at all the people that wanted to work for president. There's a good chance for me and I just thought he was by far the best. And so I, I got an early and he was the end of the day. The, the, the, the part of the election of a president, particularly the primary part does really select for better or worse, the best person at least as far as the best candidate. And, and uh, as you saw with trump, I mean, the fact is it's just unbelievable. With 16 people were ever was, you know, he just rose to the top and it wasn't even close. Looking back at the primaries at all, as far as Jimmy, what did he, um, what did Jimmy Carter kind of identify? What was it for? Those of us are wandering around

Speaker 3: at the time, you know, he was a peanut farmer and kind of regular guy is what I get from, from the books and from the television, but what, what really was it?

Speaker 2: It was a, it was the same thing as far as seeming like there was a core there. He had a real goal and we talked. You could actually feel that he was coming from somewhere as opposed again with Hillary for better or worse God lover, but you never felt that there was coming from the heart. It was just something that she had learned and I think she'd been beat over the head so many times that she just kind of lost touch with that. But like with Bernie, I mean, Bernie, you hear him and I like what he says, but do you feel like this guy actually believes what he's saying? Absolutely. Um, and uh, if you can hear him, I don't know what's wrong with your ears for exactly what was your position in the White House? I mean, you know, it was, it was very small. I just, I got there and I was in the White House personnel office and then ended up coming back here and then into what? Working for the Democratic National Committee in his reelection at West. It wasn't a big deal, but it was still fun. It's still very fun. Okay.

Speaker 3: Then obviously, uh, he, he didn't win. And 84, what do you think? Excuse me? He didn't win an 80. What, what, why do you think? Uh, what was it about Reagan that he identified that Jimmy Carter didn't have? Have,

Speaker 2: you know, that that was really a case of just, I think the economics. And then of course we had the Iranian thing going on with that, all the hostages there and, and, um, but he actually Cardan's credit Nixon had, had opened the floodgates as far as the Fed goes. And then facing was going through the roof. And Carter brought it in, Volker and said we're going to tighten things down and get placed under control, but, but the reality is in doing that, he squeezed a lot of people and so there's a lot of hardship going on and right, so gas prices are going up and inflation is up and, and Reagan said, you're already better off today than you were four years ago. And honestly, uh, you weren't right. But that's because we were taken off the gold standard. Right, exactly. Because Nixon that pumped her, he'll put price controls on, pumped everything up and then we had to come back off of that.

Speaker 2: But, but, you know, that's politics that. Yeah. So what is politics? So in other words, it seems like this election cycles especially was just so ugly, you know, is it, is it that bad or I guess maybe it goes in waves, you know, at the, at the local level, what are your thoughts? Absolutely. It's very cyclical and the key obviously is to, to get on the right side of the cycle. And that's what's fun for me at my age, it was, can I do. See Bernie as the start of a cycle to the next evolution, which is basically democratic socialism, European socialism. Yeah. And I've waited my whole life to be there and even though trump's an aberration, that's where we're going to go in the next 20 years. In my opinion, we were, we've matured enough as a society that, that I don't think we need to grow so much as we need to redistribute the wealth and make sure that no one suffers and then focus on, on, on people that are the, that have real problems.

Speaker 2: We need to make sure that, that, that, um, anyway, there's just, we basically view, I think our society as human beings, it's just a machine and we, we call Jen and spit you out and if you don't come out with all your lemons and limes is, let's just go out there and go to the homeless were always some stuff. I mean those people are just treated terribly and they've, they fought in wars, they give their lives or they worked hard and then they do. They just, their bodies were out and we just described them to the side. Those societies should do, especially this society of this rich. Yeah, no,

Speaker 3: we, uh, it's, uh, it's amazing how, how big our society is and how rich our society is and, and, uh, and kind of the, the, the choice that we made that, um, you know, to, to elect either one of these candidates on. I'm going ahead and I'm normalizing the whole process again, but I want to get to, to, to what you were talking about as far as information. And I think that's where it comes from. You know, we, we, um, we as a society had this point of view of the two candidates because of the information, uh, that we sought and the information that was provided. And um, I feel like we've got the, the headlines here with fake news

Speaker 2: that we're in kind of a post fact type of world here. Post-Truth kind of world that, I can't remember which politician said it, but if you say it over and over again with people believe it. And I guess trump's thing and he just would say things over and over again and people believe it. And conversely, if you're saying something true, I mean, they, they were the same thing and the MTV, they feel obligated to show one side than the other side, even though one side is just total lies and the other side of this absolutely truth, they just, the fact that they would compare her emails to his, you know, grabbing women and, and, and in fact he won't release his tax returns and the just incredible, just he's ultimately absurd person. But you would think, well, she, she didn't divulge your email. So those somehow those are equivalent.

Speaker 2: I mean, what the hell? So how do you cut through that no matter which side of the thing, you know, how do you cut through it to make sure that a voter is getting facts? You know, I, I honestly don't know about that. I think more than the politicians themselves have to be honest enough with themselves that, that the people think, well, I think that that person who is saying something, there's a core there that is true. And again, I just think for better or worse than that, that people didn't feel that, that anything Hillary said was, was something that she came from her core. Um, so they're, they, if it was her position on this, she could change that position where some of our other trump came across as this genuine person, which is ludicrous, but that's how he came across

Speaker 3: civic duty is to vote. And uh, what I'm noticing is that our civic duty is a citizens, uh, probably is

Speaker 2: more than just voting. And so let's talk about how folks can actually get involved in the process and how you, a state senator deals with that. So if I call your office, what happens? Well, first, I don't even have an office. We need four months, every two years and we don't, aren't given any money in the interim, right? So we don't have offices can call my law firm. Uh, and, and, uh, I'll try to respond to you, but sure, we don't end. We do have a little bit of a staff that we can call and ask to address the problems. But again, that is one of those things where, where we are kind of ombudsman to make the system work. Uh, and so maybe not so much at my level, but that at city council of her kind of commissioning or even congress that we have staff that is, should be a resource.

Speaker 2: Where were they? They are there to make sure that, that people don't fall through the cracks. And so when I've spoken with a congressman, Barbara Lee, uh, jared Polis, Dana Rohrabacher, what they say is when I get a call, I got to do something about it. You know, we got to answer that. Um, is that your, uh, experience? Uh, I think so. But, um, you know, the call, is that really the tip of the iceberg? So the, the, I mean it's important that we performed that function, but I don't think that's what elections are won and lost. And I think the end of the day, it's, it's more being in tune and, and being proactive as far as seeing what really needs to be in the community and then addressing that with some type of legislation and actually doing something about it. So if I'm just a regular citizen, how can I get involved?

Speaker 2: How can I actually put my, my issue forward? How can I do that? Well, first it's really important to articulate your issue. And is it just, you know, I need to pick it up my garbage or are they not picking up the garbage on the street or the garbage man or the garbage company is corrupt. I mean, you have to depersonalize it to the extent you can and make it a bigger thing. But to the extent it's bigger, then there's, there's getting other people to join you. There's press out there that still pretty free. And so there's lots of ways to get there. But at the end of the day it takes work. Um, and most people are, are exhausted by two or three jobs already. But if you, if you want to make a difference, especially state like the data, you can certainly do it. Uh, so I, I appreciate that.

Speaker 2: I appreciate that. A positivity. You did say along the way there. We do have a, uh, to, to, to, to some extent a free press. I don't know exactly exact words that you use, but you did say to some extent, right, that I think that is probably the biggest problem we have going forward is, is the corporatization of, of both newspapers and television and um, you know, to the extent that they have a lot of money invested, they're not going to want to present the issues that are attacking basically their wealth or their thing. For example. I mean, um, we should not be alone in my opinion, prescription drugs to be advertised on television. But why would we want to encourage people to buy something, um, that the doctor should prescribe or not prescribe? You shouldn't be. Go to your doctor and say, I don't think I saw this on TV and watch.

Speaker 2: I had to get that. But, but if you try to take that away from the television that, that revenue stream, they're going to go throw bloody murder. So I'm just, there's a lot of issues where corporate America has figured out a way to tie into corporate media and I'm not sure how we're going to be able to enter in to an untimely uncouple that. Yeah. So would, that brings us back to kind of social feeds and that fake news thing and how I get my news delivered to me the way that I wanted and only what I want to see. It seems like there could be potentially a win there. If people are uncoupling from corporate media, you know, there is a possibility then that truth can kind of come out in a way where, you know, advertising on pharmaceutical advertising for pharmaceuticals on television could kind of make some headway.

Speaker 2: What are your thoughts? Absolutely. And that's a, a podcast and, and facebook and twitter and all this stuff. I mean the other day who can be a very democratizing element, you have to use it the right way. But um, and I am positive about that ultimately because like Bernie showed, I mean, the fact is there's enough people out there that if they can talk to each other a $5 or $30 or $27, whatever it was, but he raised a much of Hillary did, which is astronomic. We'd never in our wildest dreams ever thought she could raise hundreds of millions of dollars at that small donor base. So the people that are out there and they're getting pissed and it's just, we have to be smart enough to figure out, make them talk, let them talk to each other and then make a movement and then get them to donate.

Speaker 2: So we can go forward now. And just finally on Bernie, because you were there and the cannabis he was, he came out pretty strong, right? Absolutely. And I've got to take credit for it. But I remember early on saying, you know, this is really a big issue and I don't think he fully appreciate it. But as you went forward and started to see more and more, he could see that this again is, it's both from a criminal justice standpoint and also from a, just a personal issue is personal freedom. Uh, there's a lot of people out there that liked this issue and so he came out strongly in favor of the referendums, said let states do with wanting to do a, which is incredible for our presenters. Okay. To touch that kind of an issue. Yeah. And it changed the platform. Now it's in the platform and any of that kind of thing where, um, I don't think we ever really conveyed that.

Speaker 2: I think maybe hillary would have had to go out there and kind of brag about it, but yeah. But, um, I, I've been convinced that just that issue alone, there will be enough votes to Hillary would have won. Well, and I keep saying on this program is Gary Johnson, you'll go shit little boats to. Yeah, absolutely. Um, I keep saying no if, whether you're Democrat or Republican or a libertarian, a, no matter what you are a party, cannabis gets more votes than you. Right? Absolutely, that's what I, I just getting back from the speech downstairs and so they told you the other day, this issue is so popular and so far beyond the politicians. The politicians are trying to catch up, but you don't lose anything by being in favor of marijuana. It's, it's a, it's a win win. You don't lose anything by being in favor of marijuana.

Speaker 2: I love that. Three final questions, I'll tell you what they are. I'll 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 your life named one track, one song that's got to be on there. But first things first, what has most surprised you in cannabis? Um, I, I think the speed, um, you know, I, I saw basically I, I saw things coming along but, but, but no rush. And then when, when Colorado and Washington state and in 2012 I voted yes, I saw an opportunity that, that, that was kind of a precursor. But then to see the lightning speed with which it's taken off across the country, if you have 70 percent of the people in Florida, both for medical, Arkansas, for medical, um, North Dakota, Montana. Yeah. Yeah. I mean the public is there medical for sure.

Speaker 2: And once you, once they see the medical program up and running and then like the data in a couple of years, you know, why not go the rest of the way? I mean, it's why I have to ask people what to do. Just what you mentioned the votes in 2012, was that your moment of enlightenment on the issue or. I mean, have you always been an advocate for cannabis? When did you come around on this? No, I'm a product of the sixties. So I remember the sixties. Yeah, we all did it. We did it the White House frankly. And, and it was fun, you know, with Keith drop you were there. He talked about that and, and um, but you know, the thing when you get older you got to get rid of it more focused. And so he kind of cut back on it a bit, but, but to see the demonization from going to where it was in the sixties too, then the drug war and then becomes good to one and then you know, people are being locked up for life.

Speaker 2: I'm really, it was just outrageous because there is still this undercurrent of people just using it and then see it started to come back out and then look at history and seeing where things are going. They said, well, you know, this is a good time for me to jumping back into it and then to see how it just, it was one of those things where you get on something else and it takes off and you're like, what the hell? Let's go for the ride. But the writers know Rio. That's. No, not at all. Uh, but we're doing okay. Yeah. Oh, I said you look at the election results. It's phenomenal. It's just, again, if you could have a vote tomorrow on just medical, every state in the country would pass. Totally. Yep. Totally. What's most surprised you in life?

Speaker 2: I guess that, uh, you know, it's not over when you turn 60, gets close to it, but not quite over still a bunch of time type of thing. Well, I don't, I looked there is that much time, but, but even if it's just a day, it's still, it's worth getting up. And um, and, and also, um, to see, I think the best thing for me is to see that the millennial generation seems so much like my generation. Um, and, and to see their enthusiasm and their spirit and, and they throw the bums out and they don't trust anybody over 30. Sure. Uh, so I, I do think that that if we can, those of us that lived through the sixties can encourage them and then hopefully helping them avoid what happened to us, which is basically a, you when Reagan came in and just wiped everything out. Let me ask you this, because if you're, if you're coupling

Speaker 3: together, you know, the two generations, um, uh, a lot of what is shared about the millennial generation is the apathy. And I didn't hear you say anything about apathy. Will what, what is misinterpreted when they, when, when the apathy tag is put on that generation.

Speaker 2: Exactly. They're apathetic at all. Just the opposite. They are very much into social change. Uh, they're not into material wealth. Um, I see, I said I just see a very similar thing. They may not be into politics, um, but that doesn't mean they're apathetic. They just got more into changing the world or our whatever they're into. But, but they're, they're adults either with apathetic at all, but I think that hopefully we can capture that energy and divert it to politics and then instead if we could merge the two generations, those of us who are still left and then figure out a way that, that the Reagan and trump doesn't become Reagan and he's like a one termer and, and he's basically excoriated and goes down in shame as I think Reagan will at some point, but not quite yet. Not yet, definitely not, but, but I was, he was the governor when I was in California in the sixties.

Speaker 2: And when he brought the helicopters into Berkeley and gas to everybody and stuff, I mean, I'd, I would never forgive that guy. Nobody talks about that. Yeah. And it's like wiped out our memory. I mean, he was, he was such a terrible, terrible person to tell people what that is, you know? Well, just, they, they had a free speech movement and they had a, you know, what today would by today's standards will be very modest, a demonstration and, and uh, and he actually brought the national guard with helicopters in and I can remember they tear gassed or shot or what if they did. But anyway, it just mean just brutal. I couldn't eat first president of the air traffic controllers, mild strike. He just fired them all. And I mean he was good as far as symbolism goes. But. But that was kind of thing. Plus it's just, it's, it's, it's the wrong side of history. I mean, we, we, if you look at history, all this stuff in the sixties was going to happen. It just, we, we last 30 years, which, which are pretty critical years as far as the climate near the house.

Speaker 3: APPS without question. And uh, we're, we're now still losing years, but, uh, we'll get back here soon enough. Um, I guess it's the final question then tick on the soundtrack of your life. One track one song that's got to be on there.

Speaker 2: God, I would know. I would, I would have said, uh, uh, you can't always get what you want or the rolling stones. But that's what I found is that trump uses of this thing is like, oh my God, I just think that it's so ironic that he would use that because it will. Maybe there's some, some self, uh, understanding there. And that's the funny part is, and he's basically saying to people, you know, uh, why not me, you know, but the reality is why not him? It's because he's the world's worst person in every imaginable way. I mean, just to think that he lives in this goal to play. I mean, just literally gold, golden tower. Literally. I mean, you couldn't ask for the worst nouveau riche, a person who just obviously symbolized everything that is bad about the states as far as anyway, it's just terrible.

Speaker 2: But we were on a song, so even though I say that it's, it's, it's, he's rented for, I'll stick with that because the end of the day that's taking it back is what you're doing. Exactly. Taking it because. Because that is the Israeli thing. I mean you to get up every day and uh, and take what you got you, you can't always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you get what you need. Exactly. That's it. And, and not just try something that got, got to keep trying. But that's the other thing is just, it's not over till it's over. That's it. My wife's a death sentence, but until you get the death sentence, whereas I'll keep going. It's not over yet. Life's a death sentence, which is

Speaker 1: of course true. No, none of us are getting out of here alive. Right. Tick. Segerblom very much. Appreciate it. Good seeing you. Thank you. This episode is supported by above and above, and it takes the pain out of people's passions. Maintaining a humid or guitar or cannabis flower is a painful time consuming mystery, but it makes it all very simple so you have more time to enjoy your passion. Lab testing of cannabis within without Bova found story. And with Belvedere retains 15 percent more terpenes. Type cannabis businesses are using both to cure store and merchandise flour. And you should too. Go to [inaudible] dot com slash herbal or on social at Bova Inc. For more information from the state of New York. All right, but you were in Italy, you were just telling me? Yes. Alright. Where we Flew into rome and the natural immediately went to sicily. We were tamina and katanya for a few days and then we went up to naples sorento. And this was in part a business trip? Yes. The, uh, New York state has a very large italian american population and we also have

Speaker 4: largest number of legislators who come from an italian heritage background. so it was italian american legislators confereNce and we would do, it was part of a trade mission meeting with the maYors of some of the cities. I'm also, we get to go to the vatican that weekend we were there. The pope wAs elevating s I think 17 new cardinals and there was the ending of the year of mercy for the pope. So it was, um, in the jubilee. It was actually quite exciting. Look at that. And you are one of these italian american state legislators. Exactly. we know funding. Oh, I was the president of the organIzation. So on the, uh, I'm a past president of the italian american legislators conference. And what, what did we discuss at this conference? Well, some of it is, you know, trade policies. How do we, how do we increase exports from the United States to Italy?

Speaker 4: The italians have an insatiable demand for, for american made goods. One of the problems is they have, um, it's difficult to import goods to Italy because, you know, there's, the italian government is, is probably famous for its corruption and they almost take a perverse sense of pride in it. But there's all sorts of judiciary complications with importing to Italy as well as know tariff issues and a whole bunch of things. So it was part, you know, meeting on how do we do that, how do we improve trade relations, how do we improve, you know, just relations in general. We were not italians or on immigrating to the United States and to the extent that they used to do, when I get a good thing, you don't have to flee Italy the way they used to, but at the same time the doors are closed for many of them unless they have a specialty, you know, and that creates problems for the italian people too. You see a brain drain of some of the smartest young people leaving Italy and they don't want that either. So, you know, this is kind of the things we were interested in having conversations with them.

Speaker 3: Absolutely. And obviously, you know, many places here in the states, if not the state, uh, that that's happening as well. Um, it prevents perverse sense of pride. Seems to be like a good memoir titled for someone. I don't know who, but uh, that would be good. So, you know, you are in the state senate and um, we had this scheduled actually the day before the election and you had to kind of do stuff. Uh, so we have the selection on. What are your key takeaways now that it's been a couple of weeks?

Speaker 4: Well, You know, I would say about a week before election day. I always believed this was going to be very close election for a bunch of reasons, but about a week before election day, I started telling people, I think you need to wrap your head around the idea that donald trump's going gonna win. Right? And then I think three days before the election, I said, nah, I think we've turned a corner. I think she's going to pull it out, but it's going to be tight. And I Would say most people thought that. And on election night I, I, I don't know whether I was more surprised or just, I don't know what it was, but I mean, I think the indications were there all along. And I remember back in march, I had a meeting in my office with a group of transport workers, union members. These are all black and latino people. They work in the, they woRk in the subway system and the surface division. They're bus drivers, train operators, you know, people who make the transportation system in the city run

Speaker 3: literally the guys that make the trains go. Exactly. And people who should it be.

Speaker 4: Yeah. The voting base for a hillary clinton campaign. You know the democrat democrats, by the way,

Speaker 3: if you read the platform, that's who they should be voting.

Speaker 4: No, they're overwhelmingly, you know, from minority population. There are. Many of them are first generation american. So you know, all of the rhetoric that, you know, people said that Donald Trump was spewing what would be a turn off to them? I just racially charged stuff. I'm having a conversation with them and one, one after the other there Sheepishly saying, you know, senator, I like him. I'm going to vote for him. And I said, what do you mean you're going to vote for him? And they had a different take on it there. Take as, as you know, working class people were, you know, I have to work harder now than the previous generation and my kids are not going to have as much as I did. Right. And that, you know, I remember thinking that we've got a problem and sure enough, you know, Donald Trump has tapped into this middle class or you know, blue collar anxiety that has existed in this country for, you know, quite a long time.

Speaker 4: It's not just bad trade policies as you knoW, this a stagnating wages, stagnating wages that has existed for american workers, uh, and a shrinking piece of The pie for decades, for decades. He had a message and incoherent message in my opinion, but he had one. Right. And so, you Know, in a vacuum that the democratic party was basically presenting where what they've been doing for years, which is I find incredibly frustrating, which is just playing identity politics, it, you know, he was able to capture the vote of people who said I may not like what he says about this group or I'm turned off by the way he talks about women or I'm not sure, I believe he's really gonna build a wall, but you know what, at least he acknowledges my pain and suffering and what the hell I got nothing to lose. And so here we are,

Speaker 3: there you go. And here we are. We're in staten island, which is the only borough that did vote for, for Donald Trump. So I mean you have a great vantage poiNt into, you know, if you just extrapolate that out across the country, exactly what folks are saying and thinking. And you mentioned that with the transportation workers. ThAt is something I feel like you must have known earlier. And I'm going to go to the idc now, right? Yeah.

Speaker 4: I look, I knew my constituents overwhelmingly we're going to support him. I represent stack on the staten island side of the district. I represent the, the, the county in New York state that has the highest labor density, which is ironic because the labor movement had put so much money into the democratic party, which on the national level, which I think is in many respects is a waste of money. They should have been putting money into state government, but that's a whole different story. That's a whole other interview. But you know, I knew that staten island was gonna was gonna vote for trump. Um, and you know, people were predicting it was gonna be like 80 percent. It wasn't, I also know staten islanders and not that, you know, right wing. Um, so it was a 50 slash 57 percent of staten island is voted for Donald Trump, which is pretty much what I thought was gonna happen. Right? But on the brooklYn side of the district, I represent a large russian community in brighton beach and coney island. They voted for Donald Trump. Right. And for them it was largely about Israel because the bulk of them are russian jews, russian jews. Okay. And you know, they, they were very uNhappy with the obama administration's position on Israel.

Speaker 3: well, theY don't get along him and netanyahu. right.

Speaker 4: And they felt that, you know, even though they didn't believe that they didn't believe that hillary clinton was going to have a different approach to the Israel than obama. And so they were, they were just not, they weren't voting for.

Speaker 3: What about the other side of the russian jew of the russian part? Um, you know, do you have any thoughts or sense as far as, you know, um, why there's there as far as a trump, yeah, the two nations and the leader and then all the way down to the know

Speaker 4: because the, the, the, again, the russIan community that I represent, they're not, they weren't really interested in the angle. ThAt was what motivated me was all about Israel. Got it. He didn't trust. They did not trust her to change. The administrations or higher administration would treat Israel any differently than obama and they don't trust obama. They were very angry about the Iran deal. Right. And so she paid the price for that in some respects. And you know, she wasn't, she said they felt that she was responsible for any bad foreign policy decision of the obama administration

Speaker 3: or the bush administration, by the way, she got blamed for bush's administration, which I think is interesting, you know, but you, you have kind of come up with a different way of legislating. And I want to talk about the idc. Explain what that is for folks that are outside of New York.

Speaker 4: Well, normally the way legislative bodies are divided, as you know, into two camps. You're a democrat or republican and you know, you see it in Washington and in every state house across the country, in every council body across every county across the country. And whichever body has the majority of the elected officials, they control the change, right? so in Washington right now, republicans will control the house of representatives and they will control the, the senate and the minority parties generally are relegated to being, you know, the loyal opposition with the disloyal or whatever you want to go. Getting in the way, getting in the way, making noise, pointing fingers, right? Trying to gum up the works. And that has been the way it's supposed to be and everyone expects that and you're not supposed to. You know what's happened though, in my opinion over the past 25 years particularly, is that nothing ever gets done then.

Speaker 4: Right? so we have legislative bodies that have become more hardened. And what we have in Washington is absolute gridlock, right? Because even when you have a majority body that controls it, you don't have unanimity of opinion inside that majority body, right? So you can control the house and still not get anything done. The idea of working across the aisle, I'm rejecting hardline partIsanship has become almost an anathema in government. And if you can't do it right, and if you try to, if you try and reach across the aisle and work with the other party to get things done, you're painted as a trader by your own party. Right? And attack witnessed. What happened to marco rubio when he first got elected? He joined the gang of eight. He wanted to work on immigration reform. He was immediately attacked.

Speaker 3: One of the reasons why he's not president of the United States of America.

Speaker 4: You get elected and you say, I want to, I want to stop campaigning now. I actually want to work on solving problems. You got sure. Right. So that's. That is the way politics is. Modern politics is supposed to work and that's the way it works. In New York state. For years years, I belonged to a group of members in the senate called the independent democratic conference and believe me, we had, you know, assume that was the way it was supposed to operate to. I joined the Senate in 2005 along with a few other people. We then took a particular responsIbility of electing democrats of the New York state senate and finally creating a democratic majority in the New York stAte senate. For the first time in 43 years, we asked a lot of people to believe in us in, in a democratic majority that would make a difference in the lives of new yorkers.

Speaker 4: We made a lot of commitments to people on a progressive issues and economic policy issues. and you know, we won the case. We wanted fair and square. I always say that the ran campaigns and we won fair and square and in two years after chaos in a senate, coo and corruption, and you can't even imagine than the insanity that went on during that period of time because we had to learn gel. now. Many of them are in jail. We had members who were just not ready for prime time, so wanted fair and square and we lost fair and square and after the, after the two year period of time myself, a senator, Jeff Klein, who was, who was elected with me, senator dave valesky also elected with me. Senator david carlucci who came in that year. Democrats. Yes, we're all democrats. uh, we decided that we were going to try something new. We were going to just upset the apple cart and we created a, a, a, another conference. And we said, we're not going to sit with you and we're not going to sit with you. We're going to create our own conference. Kind of like a, the knesset.

Speaker 3: Sure. In Israel and Israel and we're gonna.

Speaker 4: We're gonna. Our goal is going to be to work with whoever wants to work with us to get things done. And it was extraordinarily controversial. He took a, you know, I would say took balls to do what we did.

Speaker 3: Absolutely. It takes balls to continue to do what you do. You were attacked and you still are attacked.

Speaker 4: Yes. We were attacked and we were, you know, some of our members were primaried. Um, we've been, you know, but along the way we managed to, we created a coalition in the New York state legislature, a coalition government, which had never been done before. We have delivered on everything we said was the reason why we wanted to do it.

Speaker 3: Such as, just give folks an idea.

Speaker 4: We've raised the minimum wage not once but twice. Okay. To $15 an hour in New York state. That never would have happened if we hadn't forced republicans to do something. Right.

Speaker 3: Well, but wouldn't it be, how does it work? So give us the cogs of the. Shouldn't you be able to just do that if you have majority? Democrats didn't do that when we were in the majority. Right.

Speaker 4: was I, as I said, we had run on a platform for a democratic majority saying that we would raise the minimum wage, we would pass marriage equality. Um, we would, um, we would protect a woman's right to choose. We would get marijuana legislation passed. There was a whole list of campaign finance reform, right? Raising the way, the way we, one of the last states in the country that treats a young people as adults with respect to felony crimes. So it's us in North Carolina. Alabama doesn't jail teenagers in prison, in adult prisons. But we had a whole. We had a whole list. You can get any of them done. Why? Because we didn't have the votes for it when democrats were in the majority majority, not all democrats, I think the same way. RIght? And witness what happens in Washington. One of the democrats had had the house in Washington.

Speaker 4: Yeah. Look at the mess that they made with the affordable care act because you don't have all democrats think alike, which is why you need to be able to reach across the aisle and work with likeminded people. Look different parties. And so the only way New York state has moved forward under andrew cuomo has governed all of the great legislative accomplishments that he claims, whether it's raising the minimum wage paid family, leave, um, medical marijuana, all of those things happen because the idc made them our issues and then we pushed the republicans to get them done.

Speaker 3: Well, let's just take one of those as an example. And since the show is cannabis economy, let's talk about medical marijuana. It, if you could, the machinations of how, you know, you as an independent, uh, basically, um, w eight, we're able to make that happen. You know?

Speaker 4: Well, I took on the issue of medical marijuana in 2013. I picked up the bill from a departing member of the senate who had carried it for a long time to no aVail. Obviously no avail. Right? And even when we had the majority couldn't move the bed, couldn't get past the democratic conference because there wasn't enough support and the democrats and they had labored under this idea that you didn't need republican votes. Every you have to be able to pass every bill with 32 democratic votes or don't bring it to the floor, which is idiotic. Right? Right. So I pick up the bill.

Speaker 3: It's the hastert rule, but just for a New York, which is. Yeah,

Speaker 4: I pick up the bill. I realized immediately that I have bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition. Now I got to figure out how to work this bill at the same time, the assembly member, dick god, freedom to carry the bill for 10 years.

Speaker 3: How many cycles is That? My god. 18 years

Speaker 4: in New York state assembly. It could pass the bill for 18 years, but I'd never advanced it even out of committee in the state senate. So this is a bill that is going to require bipartisan passage and so I said about

Speaker 3: only because we've got the 18 years of history to look at. Right.

Speaker 4: And also we had. We had a coalition in the senate and the republicans had the majority members, so I need their votes, but I had to. I had to figure out how. How do I craft a piece of legislation that's going to get passed the senate and the one that was, that I originally picked up was never going to pass the senate just because it allowed, it was, it was essentially an unregulated model of medical marijuana. So because no one ever took it seriously the interstate

Speaker 3: because what they were doing out west was the, you know, that old crazy thing.

Speaker 4: Exactly. And again, because no one believed it was ever to happen, no one took the time to really study the issue. Right? Yeah. And so I've decided if I was going to do it, I need you to learn something about medical marijuana. And so I got on a plane and went to Colorado and went to California. I looked at other states where they had it in place. I met with experts, I met with people. I looked at it not just from the healthcare perspective because we were developing healthcare policy, but also from the, um, from the business perspective because we're also creating a new business model and an industry in New York state and jobs in an industry where you don't have a template for sure, you know, and how do you do that in the face of a federal policy that says that this industry is illegal, you know, and so, right. And along the way I had to hold my assembly colleague at the same time. I had to meet with every member of the senate to try and gauge whether their opposition to the, to the concept was ideological. And if it is, you know, you're not going to change somebody's mind if they're ideologically opposed to it always their opposition to something in the, in the process of the bill of the legislation and can you solve it that way? And you know, that's how we work the bill. But the biggest opposition really was the governor.

Speaker 4: And then he saw the train moving and he tried to slow it down. He issued an executive order that would allow for certain conditions in New York state and research, but he didn't really put my. He thought that would stop us. We obviously didn't and then we just kept pushing it and then at the last minute when he realized we had the votes and I had no, I had done used a procedural method to get it out of the health committee and then out of the finance committee, it was coming to the floor. He realized he needed to get involved and so in the last few days of that legislative session, we sat down and negotiated a threeway bill with the governor. So he took, you know, the work that I'd done and narrowed down a little bit. Some people were not happy about that and that was the other thing.

Speaker 4: I waS dealing with advocates who were somewhat, I don't want to say disingenuous, but their agenda was different than mine. Well, for a lot of people, they saw the medical marijuana as the crack in the door for legalizing marijuana for recreational use and less than the sat. My issue. And so they saw any attempt to restrict marijuana use for conditions as you know going against. Exactly. Yeah. And so when the governor got involved, he tailored the bill even further down, restricting, restricting some of the conditions which I wasn't happy about. But agaIn, that's what negotiation is about. You could, you could let the perfect be the enemy of the good. And we would be sitting here talking about, you know, what, how are we going to try again this year? Right. Or we could have a bill on the books and talk about improving it. I prefer to get the bill passed first and then let's talk about amending it and improving it. But they were unhappy about some of the changes that he insisted on. The biggest one, of course, was smoking. He was not. He meant that was his line in the smokeless. He, he, that was his line in the sand would not sign a bill that allowed smoking in New York state.

Speaker 3: What did, do you remember? Why? Do you remember what it was? Or.

Speaker 4: I think you know, near and I remind people all the time, New York state is a very progressive state on a whole lot of things. We are the first state in the country to, you know, allow women's suffrage and the first state in the nation that loud, you know, the adopted child labor laws and factory standards and you know, but we're also, those are both a long time ago by the federal government or any other state. We are also though the state that had the dubious distinction of having the most draconian drug laws in the country, the rockefeller drug laws, and we only repealed them in 2010. Right? So we're not very progressive on drug policy. And so he's a product of that, of that generation. His father, obviously we're all. We were all raised to think that, you know, there's good drugs and bad drugs, good drugs come from the pharmacy and bad drugs come from the list of illegal drugs.

Speaker 3: That's another conversation which is a completely different interview.

Speaker 4: So it didn't help us that we were negotiating this in the midst of the opioid abuse crisis spiking, which we're still struggling with. Right. And so

Speaker 3: we're still really early days, but it was coming.

Speaker 4: So, and I always said that developing the medical marijuana statute was again, health policy. Um, you know, creating a new industry. And we're also resocialize that we, you think about marijuana, he's one of those people, you know, what his role was more important than anybody else's.

Speaker 3: You said threeway, it's you, it's him. Who's the third way? Okay, interesting. Okay.

Speaker 4: So, you know, he was adamant about smoking and when you come down to it, if you, if you believe that this is about public health, it's kind of contradictory. Talk about health policy that allows you to smoke because smoking is so bad for your health. And the truth is there's been a ways to use medical marijuana then smoking, right?

Speaker 3: With more accurate dosage and et cetera, et cetera. Let's get to the number of licenses because I know that that was a seat for me.

Speaker 4: I didn't start out with a number of licenses because who does. Yeah, he felt very strongly, let's start small. Okay. So like he had in his mind because he had not taken the time because again, he got backed into this frankly, if he had really wanted to participate in the development of this, you know, he might've sent someone to other states and you could have seen that five licenses is probably too small estate with 19 and a half million people, but he had visions in his mind and what he saw her on tv about California to bash and other places where they are.

Speaker 3: Well California at the time was not regulated really. Right.

Speaker 4: So he was like, we're going to have five and if it works then we can then we can move forward. But right now we're going to make sure it's only five. And you know, again, negotiation. Is it, is it too weird in this case it was a three way. Sorry. You have to, you have to get to a place where you can start. But. And I think what we're seeing now is the growing pains before. Yeah,

Speaker 3: exactly. But before we get to that, I do want it because you said something about the aca, um, and that that's a mess. Um, but we're talking about, you know, just kind of getting legislation passed because this is how we can pass it. How does it differ in your mind from aca passing? Because we can get it passed. What's the, you know, what's the nuance there?

Speaker 4: Well, the difference between the, there here is the aca. I think that in my opinion, the biggest mistake they made with the affordable care act is, it was, it was, it was a tremendous giveaway to the insurance industry. Right. See there, you went outside, you just take it over here. There was no outside just, you know, like it was fighting, you know, the way he thought about marijuana and it was just legislators at the table right there really. And I often think that that was one of the problems I think if the industry had played a bigger role because I said this more than once to some of the lobbyists who are involved for some of the, some of the applicants who were interested. I said if you guys would get more involved in this would be better because he thinks we're all a bunch of idiots, has no respect to legislators and you might even think the advocates are a bunch of flaky hippies.

Speaker 4: He has tremendous respect for the business community. Exactly what you could sit down and talk to him about why it would be a mistake to do it this way and how hard it is to run this business. He listened to you but he won't listen to me, but I. I think that the industry itself, does it sell tremendous harm because it doesn't engage in, in a real meaningful and profound way and now I will tell you they've been good. They've been to get their act together because we have five states on election day. It was eight out of nine, so eight out of nine. We now have, I don't know what we have to 30 states, 28, 20 states that have either medical or recreational or some way shape or form and the feds declined recently to reschedule marijuana. Yeah, exactly. Actual marijuana and I'm. I am very concerned.

Speaker 3: I like that you put four d schedule because we prefer d schedule

Speaker 4: prefer to schedule as well. And I don't think enough people understand the distinction. Yeah. But I'm very concerned about the prospect of this new attorney general who is very anti marijuana. Yes, she is. And I don't know how we're gonna approach this. I, you know, when trump got elected, uh, you know, one of the few bright spots I saw and it was, I thought maybe we could appeal to him as a businessman, he would because he's one of those people who looks at federal regulations. Some says this is stupid. Why are we doing this? Right? This is, in my opinion, is the stupidest of the stupid recommendations. Like why would you do this? You have almost 30 states now and you getting into the federal government is literally getting in the way of profitable businesses as well as tax revenue. Right? This is the perfect

Speaker 3: because they're willing to pay the, the, uh, the tax

Speaker 4: we need. We need to find a way to get to him so that he sees it that way and we don't leave it to, you know, his incoming general who could very well onto the coal amendment and could, you know, begin to prosecute states.

Speaker 3: Absolutely. Which looks at the entire industry better without question, you know, uh, I've been saying that peter teal also being on this kind of transition committee and does have investments in the space hopefully as you know, offsets that. Uh, but, but who knows. Let's see. So. Okay. So thank you for clarifying the difference between the two and kind of just making stuff happen. You said you mentioned growing pains. Let's talk about those now. So we've got the five licenses, you know, we do have patients. Where are we?

Speaker 4: Well, in the beginning, you know, I gave them a very inexpensive for reducing the size of the program. I insisted on some very tight time controls and to their credit, they met every, every deadline from the development of the regulations to the issuing of the license application. So the actuaL license issue in to every. They met every deadline after the first 18 months in the, you know, we're, we're looking at the first dispensaries are open and you're seeing that, you know, the limitations of the program. One of the things thAt I have said consistently is the biggest problem is appropriate or doctors during a very hard time with doctors,

Speaker 3: but explain what you mean because you're not saying doctors are the problem. You're saying one of the education information, one of the requirements under the program Is

Speaker 4: for, for a patient to become a certified medical marijuanA patient in New York state, you have to have one of the qualifying conditions and that qualifying condition must be certified by your treating physician and before your treating physician can recommend you to become a patient in New York state. He or she has to take a training course that goes to 200 bucks. So for our online training course, if you're a doctor though, decides that they don't want to do it, sure, you don't have to do it. Forget it. Your stock. Right? And a lot of doctors in New York state have, yeah, they're risk adverse by nature. There's a lot of concerns and questions that they have about what happens to me, can I, can I be sued, do I have to carry gap insurance on my, on my medical malpractice insurance? Or they just don't believe in it because there's no fda approved research as a whole.

Speaker 4: I'vE had numerous discussions with numerous doctors about this and so patients are then stuck because they can't turn around and go anywhere else. Why there are at last count more than a thousand doctors in the state that are certified. But the list is not made public to anybody. Right. So if you're a patient and you don't know where to go and this is your doctor and your doctor says no, that's a no. Right, right. So we found that we had a whole bunch of problems that we were finding were patients couldn't find a doctor. Doctors weren't willing to take the course. Hospitals were we're afraid to get involved because even though they had patients that they would thought it would work with, were afraid of how this would affect them and their medicare licensing, federal funding, federal funding that you're teaching hospital. There are school nurses who are treating, you know, who normally deal with patient, with children who are eligible under the law because they either have epilepsy or because they're on chemotherapy, but they're not allowed to administer marijuana because they're licensed under New York state, says you're not allowed to administer a schedule one substance. We're seeing all of these problems. Right. But at the same time, the department of health, um, wasn't willing to make changes. So we're pushing them, we're pushing them and we put forward a list of recommendations and at the same time we introduced a series of bills to kind of spur them along to kind of get them to move, to make some changes to the program that we thought that they could do through the regulatory process. What kind of threatened them with legislation. And luckily they listened. So,

Speaker 3: so we good. Let me just, if I may take that tangent, you know, we can fix this over here or we got legislation company type of thing. It'd be a terrible shame if this legislation got passed.

Speaker 4: It's like the end of session, I, you know, I called, I called the governor's office and I spoke to one of his, one of his closest staff members who was actually leaving now and I said, listen, we need to fix this because quite frankly, if one of these, one of these licenses goes under one of these licenses, if they fail, right? It really doesn't. We've failed. So it doesn't matter to me. Oh, it doesn't matter to us. It doesn't matter. I. So I'll be honest. It's, it doesn't matter to me personally. I already made history my names in the history books. I got the bill hanging on the wall there. I said, this will be a tremendous embarrassment for the governor, right? You cannot allow this to

Speaker 3: friend of business type of thing.

Speaker 4: Right? YOu cannot allow this to happen. I think you'll have patients. I said, he'll be blamed, not me, not the legIslature and the department of health it. It'll be a failure of his administration. Right. And so that got his attention and so he then got ahold of the people in the department of health and it was like you guys got to listen to her. What is it that you get when. So when they kind of lit a fire under them and they issued, you know, some new draft regulations seeking public comment in these draft regulations where all of the things we were asking them to do to stabilize the program and to make it work better so that it would be, it would be easy for the license holders, it would be better for patients who would be able to for doctors and it would expand access to people when it was the most important thing.

Speaker 4: So right off the bat, number one, they are going to end at the end of this on November 30th, they will be approving our nurse practitioners as providers under this program. Excellent. Excellent. They are then going to be adding physician's assistants as well, expand the pool of providers because we've heard from both groups that they want to do this. Maybe that'll get more doctors involved. Sure. They are going to now release the names of certified physicians so that patients have doctors who don't want to do this. We'll be able to get doctors. Excellent. They're talking about expanding the number of licenses within two years so we can grow the program.

Speaker 3: Well, that's the headline that we know, right. That listeners to this show know what, what's going on with that.

Speaker 4: That's in two years. Quite frankly, you don't have the customer base for it yet, right? Well, we need to do is expand the customer base, which is the what you. I'll cite the other things that you just mentioned. Right? But the also, in my opinion, the most profound change that they are considering right now and they will be deciding on that soon is adding a chronic pain to the list of qualified nutritionist. Right. And I think that that will do more to expand this program than anything and it. And it's also that that decision is coming from the struggle that the state has had with the opioid abuse crisis. No matter what we do, people aren't paying. Right. You know? So if we could solve that, right? If we restrict their access to opioids for the management of chronic pain, that doesn't solve the chronic pain, where do I go, where do we go? Right. And so that, uh, the expansion to chronic pain is going to be a major change to this program.

Speaker 3: And then let's just take that condition. And how do we actually change that? You said it's in public comment now or. Okay. So we're, there's meetings and we can find where the meetings are and

Speaker 4: I think they have to do that. They can just do it. Commissioner has the ability to use the department of health conditions. Right.

Speaker 3: Okay. And he could just do it, just do it. No one has to vote on it. So we could just call the department of health the commissioner and just say we would like this.

Speaker 4: Wow. So that, that's going to be the biggest change. And for the license holders, you know, they're there right now. They are, you know, investing a ton of money already have still doing it a lot of money yet. No. No. And because of that, the cost of this product is very high. The way to bring the cost down because people ask me all the time, what can we do to bring the cost down where they bring the costs down as you expand the customer base, so we need to do that demand. If anyone's taken a business course. Some of the things I would like to now work on going forward. Yeah. You know, again with the spectrum of a potentially hostile federal administration. A little worried about it though, but I think we need to start to pursue changes in insurance law. How so? Well, I think somebody needs to push the envelope on this and say if this is a qualifying medical condition under New York state's it under a New York state health law and patient is entitled to it. Why? Why shouldn't they be covered by insurance? Why not in New York state? We're. That's right. So I think we need to kind of kind of stop spark that conversation. Interesting. How long would that take to do know?

Speaker 3: I mean, is that something that would have to go through the legislature? Can the commissioner do that? It would have to. You go through

Speaker 4: what we have to change in New York state insurance law. Again, we're looking at almost 30 states that have it. It's ridiculous that we can't figure this one out.

Speaker 3: It sounds.

Speaker 4: The thing is we need to develop either an insurance law or we need to get a advisory opinions from the insurance department, the state insurance department for doctors around whether it's medical malpractice insurance, because that's they need a definitive answer and insurance company, if you call your insurance malpractice carrier and say, do I need to cover? Do I need to purchase a gap insurance on my malpractice policy on this? Of course they're gonna. Say, sure. They want to sell you.

Speaker 3: Right? That's the guy that's selling you the stuff. You don't need it. Okay? Explain why.

Speaker 4: No, you're. If you are operating within a legal program in the state of New York, you don't need additional coverage. You're not doing anything different, but,

Speaker 3: and these are the laws they're going to tell you, of course will sell you what you want to just be sure you want to protect yourself there.

Speaker 4: We need, we need advisory opinions from the state insurance department with respect to malpractice insurance for physicians and now physician's assistants and nurse practitioners for we need to also get an advisory opinion from them about physicians and treating when they're treating of patients because a lot of doctors don't seem to understand that they can bill an insurance company for that patient's visit, the charging them cash because they assume that the end result is, I'm referring you for medical marijuana, right? Therefore, this entire arrangement isn't this visit, this consultation, this, um, evaluation of your condition is not, I can't bill your insurance company, which is wrong. You can, you're not doing anything different with that patient than you would normally do.

Speaker 3: This is huge. So then how do we make sure that they get educated to this effect? I mean, you said the department of health, there we go.

Speaker 4: The insurance department. It would be very helpful if the medical society wouldn't participate in this. They did not support the passage of medical marijuana, right? They have a new incoming lobbyist who I'm going to be meeting with soon to talk about some of these issues. They really need to play a bigger role in this. This is not going away now. Right. And they need to help us with messaging to their members so that they know what to do.

Speaker 3: What have the conversations changed and it has only been a couple of weeks when we're sitting down talking about this. Have conversations changed though with your colleagues in New York based on, you know, clearly you know, folks want this, you know, eight out of nine states pass and this. This is obviously the way thing things are going. Any conversations share recreational? No, no, no. Just I know that's not your issue. Your issue is medical, so let's just stay on medical.

Speaker 4: No, I don't know. Yeah, we haven't even seen the show yet because election day comes and then everybody disappears for a couple of weeks. So I haven't really seen it

Speaker 3: either lick their wounds or has parties. Right. But

Speaker 4: I'm sure it will. I mean I like the. They were going to have some concerns about Massachusetts now because they're so close us and you're going to have, you know, the state police are worried about people going back and forth across state lines to purchase legal marijuana, but that's a different issue. Nobody's going back and forth to purchase metamagical one. Right. But I ever concerned about patients in New York state who can't access medical marijuana because it's just too complicated or too costly. That's where your focus is, right? So we, that's why we need to do everything we can to stabilize our program would make it easier for patients to. Oh, one of the other iSsues that the state is approving society to work as a home delivery process because people forget medical marijuana patients are not, you know, young and healthy people for the most part. There's some patients, you know, it was hard for them to travel.

Speaker 3: So that's another thing that everyone sees as a headline and gets very excited about. But explain what that actually is.

Speaker 4: Well, rIght now, if you're a medical marijuana, so do you live on staten island for instance? A patient you have to travel to manhattan, which could take you up to an hour and a half or sometimes two hours, but if you're a sick patient, you know if you're suffering from crohn's disease or you're suffering from, you know, if you're on chemotherapy and you're wasting syndrome of your epilepsy or if you have ms, it's that two hours is a very arduous two hours to get to the dIspensary manhattan, but the, you know, the lord didn't allow them to deliver directly to your house. We have now going to Allow delivery.

Speaker 3: Do you think that that opens up other things or is that just one, you know, one issue at a time. These sick patients need their medicine. We're going to deliver to them. That's that.

Speaker 4: It'll make a big difference to patients will be able to.

Speaker 3: As far as the industry as a whole, do you think that opens up other opportunities?

Speaker 4: I don't know.

Speaker 3: You're not concerned with that. Let's see. Let's solve the problem. Solve the problem. Speaking of solving the problem, you, you, you and you know we're, we're winding down now. This is the last question before the three final questions as far as you solving, if you will, um, you know, how to actually do business and do work in New York. What would you recommend to, you know, federal legislators, folks in the house, folks in the senate, you know, you have this whole new model in New York. What would you say to the folks that are coming in now that either have been there or newly elected, either in the house or the senate? What would you say?

Speaker 4: Well, I think the message to the federal legislators are very simple. They need to respect stAtes' rights. That particular all these, you know, conservative legislators who claim that, you know, they respect states, right? You have, again, almost 30 states and many of them depend upon the revenue that the federal government should get out of the way of states that have figured this out and they should not take actions that disrupts what states are doing. And that's important to us, you know, because we're figuring, you know, states have always been the incubator for ideas. if they want to know how to, you know, how to solve the issue of marijuana policy, they should look to the states, right? The way they've looked to the states in the past on every other major issue. Don't get in the way and they should also send a message to the incoming administration that their new attorney general needs to respect states. Right?

Speaker 3: There you go. 10th amendment all the way. What about advice to folks? You know, the folks, uh, what can they do to, you know, help push things along that they believe in, whether it be through, um, you know, legislators like you or even the commissioner of the department of health, what can I do? As, you know, someone that holds this issue near and dear,

Speaker 4: what do you do exactly what they've been doing all along. The reason medical marijuana was able to move is because people were able to speak about it and share their opinion. When the governor saw the polling on this issue that democrats, republicans, independents, senior citizens, and young people, catholics and protestants were all supportive. It was like, well, I'm going to do something. That's how, that's how change happens when, when there's this belief that the public wants it and there's no doubt that the american public has moved, you know, across completely across the spectrum on marijuana plant.

Speaker 3: Absolutely. In the past, uh, I mean it's gone from 20 percent to over 60 percent. So there you have it. Um, so, uh, thank you for your work because, you know, without you, we wouldn't have it in New York. And so as a new yorker and oh, who has a best friend who has crones, we appreciate it, but we do need that insurance. So you're working on it. All right. The final three 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 then the third question on the soundtrack of diane savino is life. What is one track, one song that's got to be on there because we like to end on a lighter note. But what has most surprised you in cannabis?

Speaker 4: What's most surprised me in cannabis? Yeah. Um, you know, I don't know

Speaker 3: because are you a patient? How did you come to the, what, why do you believe in this?

Speaker 4: Well, again, you know, I think everybody that, any, anyone that has ever seen someone suffer from pain, you know, there's gotta be something more than this, right? Because the options are pretty limited. It's either suffer or become vegetable become venture or become completely dependent upon narcotics, which basically rob you of any quality of life. Right? And so, you know, my, my approach was if there's something better, let's try it now. and there's no doubt that people say marijuana makes them feel better. Five. So why are we standing in the way? That's it. It's very simple.

Speaker 3: Is that in your family at all or are you just a thinking person?

Speaker 4: Both. I mean I watch my watch, my mother die from lung cancer with my father died from latin. And what do they do? They put you into a state, basically a coma, you know, to avoid the pain. But wHy should that be? You know, what, it robs you of any quality of life that you have with your family. But more importantly, you know, we always think about medical marijuana or I think most people approached it from the idea that you're dying, that you're, that you're a person who is dying of cancer and these final days, right? Using your final days, the reality is most people are going to live a very long time of chronic pain because of conditions that allow you to live with a debilitating conditions like crohn's disease or ms or you know, the refractory epilepsy or pick any of the ones that are brutal, lifelong conditions where you are in chronic pain.

Speaker 3: Why not? It's great if it doesn't go back to morphine. I love that. I love the why not, you know. What has most surprised you in life? Diane? What's most surprised you mean as a state senator or talking to me about cannabis? Which one or both? Both. I guess the New York state a flag behind you. The us flag behind you. Actually what? I get the mailed to me that says honorable for that. So how long have you been doing this? Twelve years now. Do you? I came from queens too, so I figured gentle trump get elected elected. I was born and raised in queens. What the hell? Why not? Right, and you're doing good work. It's not like you're just sitting here doing nothing. Right. You know, if I weren't doing good work, it wouldn't do it. There we go. I'm on the soundtrack of your life. Senator savino. What is tracking my life? One track one song. That's blue sky, the allman brothers. Oh, look at you. That we have not had a lot of all brothers. That blue sky is so great that actually mentions pain, doesn't it? It does. So yeah. All right. That's a great one. Thank you so much again for the work that you're doing, that you've done and that you'll continue to do. All right, appreciate it.

Speaker 1: There you have diane savino and of course tick segerblom state senators alike. A slightly different view on a political philosophy, certainly so interesting to couple them together. Very much. Appreciate your time. Very much. Appreciate your time. Thanks so much for listening. Engage@economy.com to let me know what you think.

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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.