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Ep.217: Ari Hoffnung Part II & Pamela Hadfield

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.217: Ari Hoffnung Part II & Pamela Hadfield

Ep.217: Ari Hoffnung Part II & Pamela Hadfield

Ari Hoffnung, Vireo & Pamela Hadfield, HelloMD

Ari returns (Episode 187) to provide an update on Vireo and New York Cannabis in general. He shares a few ideas which might help the patient count increase and improve the program in general. New York is in an interesting place right now as the cannabis opportunity remains huge, but the shackles on the program remain very heavy. Politics aside, Ari is bullish on cannabis under the new administration and sites business and taxation as reasons for feeling that way. But first Pamela Hatfield first joins us and takes us through her journey as a patient which led her to what she feels is an unlikely career in the cannabis industry.

Transcript:

Speaker 2: Ari Hofnog, Pamela Hadfield. Ari Hofnog returns to provide an update on old and New York, cannabis in general. He shares a few ideas which might help the patient count, increase and improve the program in general. New York is an interesting place right now as the cannabis opportunity remains huge, but the shackles on the program remains very, very heavy. Politics aside, you bullish on cannabis under the new administration, insights, business, and taxation as reasons for feeling that way, but first, Pamela Hadfield joins us and takes us through her journey as a patient which led her to what she feels is an unlikely career in the cannabis industry. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social that the handler can economy. That's two ends and the word economy already. Half done. Proceeded by Pamela Hadfield.

Speaker 1: See, you're allowed one guy can be allowed on you. Where are you from the east coast? Sure. You have a California phone number? Eight zero having. Well, I'm originally from the east coast, but once you're from the east coast, it never leaves you right, but isn't your phone number four? One five? I'm California, California now. No, totally understood. That's why I thought you were California forests and I kind of look California now a little bit to. You certainly were on the east coast. Are you from. I'm from Connecticut, right outside of New York City, so the same thing. Totally the same for me. I'm from you. Where are you from? I'm from New York. Okay. What part? Well, Long Island. Okay. Yeah. I usually don't like to say, but it's true. It's true. It is a great place and it's beautiful. It's very beautiful. You still there? I am

Speaker 4: in the city, so I live in Manhattan. That was where we were last before we moved back to California from the last time I see now we just don't bother trying to leave you. California. Why would you? Well, I mean there are a lot of reasons to leave. Are there. Well, not now that we're in the cannabis industry, but yeah, but before then, what would it be where we were in New York City? Well, I'll tell you that. I'll tell you, there's only two places that I live. It's where we live now. That sort of area area. Bay Area Ish, or back to Manhattan? Well, because for one, five, that's why I said San Francisco area. Bay area. Where are you? I'm in Marin. Beautiful. Yes. Absolute Paradise. And that's. Well now it is. I kept, I've always been in silicon valley and working in and around that world and as it was moving further and further or closer and closer to the city, I kept moving further and further north because nobody would cross the golden gate bridge.

Speaker 4: And now tech is, you know, because everyone's in the city now. Everyone's out where we are. It's kind of a bummer dude. It's a total bummer language. Pamela Hadfield. Hello? Md. Yes. Right. So that, I mean it should be counted as tech, right? Yeah, it is tech. So then how do you come, you know, come to this. How did this happen? How did this happen? Okay. So we staRted, um, we are, um, my husband and I co founded the company. Mark hadfield. Um, what were you married at the time? We were married at the time, were still married, if you can believe it, but we'll get into that later. Yeah, and we, we'll get into that later. So we started, uh, we, we've started multiple companies together and we started a telehealth platform, technology company In a more traditional healthcare space about three years ago, four years ago.

Speaker 2: Ari Hofnog, Pamela Hadfield. Ari Hofnog returns to provide an update on old and New York, cannabis in general. He shares a few ideas which might help the patient count, increase and improve the program in general. New York is an interesting place right now as the cannabis opportunity remains huge, but the shackles on the program remains very, very heavy. Politics aside, you bullish on cannabis under the new administration, insights, business, and taxation as reasons for feeling that way, but first, Pamela Hadfield joins us and takes us through her journey as a patient which led her to what she feels is an unlikely career in the cannabis industry. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social that the handler can economy. That's two ends and the word economy already. Half done. Proceeded by Pamela Hadfield.

Speaker 1: See, you're allowed one guy can be allowed on you. Where are you from the east coast? Sure. You have a California phone number? Eight zero having. Well, I'm originally from the east coast, but once you're from the east coast, it never leaves you right, but isn't your phone number four? One five? I'm California, California now. No, totally understood. That's why I thought you were California forests and I kind of look California now a little bit to. You certainly were on the east coast. Are you from. I'm from Connecticut, right outside of New York City, so the same thing. Totally the same for me. I'm from you. Where are you from? I'm from New York. Okay. What part? Well, Long Island. Okay. Yeah. I usually don't like to say, but it's true. It's true. It is a great place and it's beautiful. It's very beautiful. You still there? I am

Speaker 4: in the city, so I live in Manhattan. That was where we were last before we moved back to California from the last time I see now we just don't bother trying to leave you. California. Why would you? Well, I mean there are a lot of reasons to leave. Are there. Well, not now that we're in the cannabis industry, but yeah, but before then, what would it be where we were in New York City? Well, I'll tell you that. I'll tell you, there's only two places that I live. It's where we live now. That sort of area area. Bay Area Ish, or back to Manhattan? Well, because for one, five, that's why I said San Francisco area. Bay area. Where are you? I'm in Marin. Beautiful. Yes. Absolute Paradise. And that's. Well now it is. I kept, I've always been in silicon valley and working in and around that world and as it was moving further and further or closer and closer to the city, I kept moving further and further north because nobody would cross the golden gate bridge.

Speaker 4: And now tech is, you know, because everyone's in the city now. Everyone's out where we are. It's kind of a bummer dude. It's a total bummer language. Pamela Hadfield. Hello? Md. Yes. Right. So that, I mean it should be counted as tech, right? Yeah, it is tech. So then how do you come, you know, come to this. How did this happen? How did this happen? Okay. So we staRted, um, we are, um, my husband and I co founded the company. Mark hadfield. Um, what were you married at the time? We were married at the time, were still married, if you can believe it, but we'll get into that later. Yeah, and we, we'll get into that later. So we started, uh, we, we've started multiple companies together and we started a telehealth platform, technology company In a more traditional healthcare space about three years ago, four years ago.

Speaker 4: Why who's coming from healthcare? We weren't actually coming from healthcare. We were coming from more of a technology background and also because we thought that there was a need and so we were in that space for awhile and we were doing okay, but then it was just going to. There was more and more friction about actually being in that space. How do you mean? What I mean by that is that we were having to deal with insurance, large hospital corporations. I'm realizing that we were going to need a lot more capital than we initially had assumed in order to be successful in the way that we wanted to succeed. And so at the same time, I've always struggled with migraines and I had started to use cannabis successfully and had found that I was able to get off of narcotics. Look at that, look at that.

Speaker 4: Can you believe layoff? Yeah. Um, and so my experience in getting a medicinal marijuana card in California was actually not spectacular. I just had felt at the time, I felt like there was still a lot of stigma around cannabis. What, what are we talking about kinda 10 yearS ago? No, no, no. this was about two and a half years ago. Still stigma two and a half years ago. And I just, I just didn't feel. I didn't feel comfortable walking into the doctor's office. It wasn't private. Um, I got the card, ended up using cannabis. Um, it helped me immensely. I was completely shocked. I found out that it wasn't just about getting high, um, you know, I had all those stereotypes in my head and so I was out to dinner one night after, you know, having this experience. And I thought, well, why don't we pivot our platform into cannabis?

Speaker 4: We have a healthcare, a healthcare platform, and hey, cannabis is kind of a good idea and it was a lot simpler. It's, it's cash. um, and we just so happen to transition our business into that space, right? As the laws had changed. So we were the first to market with a telehealth solution in California for delivering, um, medical marijuana recommendations to patients. And what we found was that the, one of the primary motivators for people coming to us was exactly the reason that it was stigma privacy. Nobody really wants anyone to know tHat they are getting their medical card and they also want it to be fast and efficient and often the places where you get a medical card or not in the best areas of town. So that was how we initially launched the business. Um, but at the same time we have become so much more than a medical marijuana recommendation, you know, I'll bite.

Speaker 4: So that's how we started to build our revenue. And we sold three consultations and about the first hour that we had been online. So we knew we were onto something, but pretty soon we were offering high quality doctors, um, consultations online. We were getting a lot of feedback from people. People were coming back and saying, this is helping us so much, but we have following questions, we don't, we don't know where to go after this and patient patient questions. And so if you're new to cannabis and even if you, you've been in the market, there's a lot to know and a lot to learn because the science is always advancing. There's, there's new things on the market all the time. There's a lot of it. There's a huge educational sort of on ramp for people that are getting into the market. So the next thing that we thought was, well, why don't we offer our patients the ability to ask questions online and engage with the community and build that community.

Speaker 4: So now people can come to our platform, they can ask any question from anywhere in the world which they do and our doctors will answer. Our community answer will answer or brands that participate. And so that was also something that we realized is that we wanted to engage the whole brand ecosystem into our platform, the cannabis economy, cannabis economy, and so it's worked brilliantly because there's a big deficit in the market of connecting patients to information, especially more interactive information. There's a big deficit in connecting patients to brands and brands to patients because you can't advertise in this space. Where do you find your physicians? So initially it was a Hunt, right? So we had to find physicians that would actually want to recommend cannabis and feel comfortable doing so. And now it's not at all. They come to us. Um, and so we have, we have an enormous amount of doctors.

Speaker 1: What's the community on the physician side? What's the community on the patient side? DO you have numbers of any kind or.

Speaker 4: So we have, we have about 100,000 active registered users on our site in every month. That'S about 250,000 people on our site. and this is all California? No, not all California. So that's registered users and actually active users. We're growing by about 20 percent per month. In what markets, so California and what else can I would say the majority of still a California, but now with the legalization movement and the over the past four to six months, we've seen an enormous shift even in the last week. It's been pretty spectacular to see the interest from outside of California and that's where you would expect a lot of questions coming from Massachusetts, Maine, Florida,

Speaker 1: and then how will you engage a physician community in those?

Speaker 4: So we do have plans for a nationwide rollout of the physicians. We can't offer telehealth within those states. We do believe that that may be changing. Who knows what the current administration and how thIngs are going to play out. So as far as telehealth, it's. It is still only California still is California, but there's a lot of ability for us to have reach into different states and to help the process within those different states. And so that's, that's how do you explain what you mean? Well, for instance, a patient who is in Massachusetts, right? They want to understand the laws. They want to understand how to get their card. We can help facilitate connecting theM with a doctor in Massachusetts in the future and helping them to understand the process to get them to where they need to be, information information, but there's also a connection point with the doctors themselves. The is, there is no, well, it wouldn't be through telehealth

Speaker 1: then. I'm not going, I'm not going to go, but there is, that's fair because now we're getting into proprietary type of situation. Actually. Basically my job is to make sure tHat, uh, anybody listening that's a physician understands how to do it and anybody that's a consumer understands how to do it or a patient. Um, so you've given us enough there so you have plenty to do here. Right? I mean it's just all growth.

Speaker 4: It's all growth. And so I think the, the, the one of the biggest problems is just continuing to support the platform and how and its growth in the way that it needs to be supported. So I think in terms of where we're going next is really oUr biggest focus is to increase our community, uh, you know, and at the rate that it's been increasing, but to also continue to give people the kinds of information and an, and I emphasize interactive because there's a lot of static information out there. You can go and read papers on this or that. Sure. Static content is everywhere. But what we, what we do is we build upon the questions and the answers. We have, um, interactive. Ask me anythings with brands where we, them, they come in, anyone can ask any question the brands will answer. And our next step in our roadmap is that we are starting to open up a marketplace. And when I say that the, these different brands, retailers, anyone who is offering products, they can actually list their menus, list their prices, and people could come because they want to know specific products, right? They Want to know, well, if I want to keep a chocolate and I want it now, where am I going to get that in? What is it going to cost me and what's in there? I guess what's in, what's in there? That's a very good question. Why it's in there.

Speaker 1: So do you, I mean you will, you only deal with brands that are, you know, on brands. Will you only deal with brands that have gone through testing? I mean, you know, how much due diligence do you feel like you need to do,

Speaker 4: you know, on your end and all that currently right now as you know, the regulatory market is influx at best. Yeah. To say the least to say the least. And so as the new laws roll out and it becomes a lot clearer what those regulations are, obviously we will be paying attention to those and to date, you know, we, we closely align with brands that we believe in, but any brand could come and create a business listing and put their products up and just say to people, hey, this is who we are a little bit about us and these are our products. Um, but you know, there, there are brands that do that and then there are brands that we closely align with and have close partnerships with.

Speaker 1: Got it. Alright. So the, the possibilities are endless. But if I'm a consumer, I get some information from you and a absolutely with the, the, the bow tie, a enter interlinked, a windy, whatever, infinity loop de loop. I know that because I'm from California. I see because now you're from California, from California. So, so I guess it's, you know, we don't have a ton of time this time. I hope we speak again, right? I'm with microphones. I'm sure that we'll speak again without my phone. but uh, we, we have three final questions and so they are rapid fire. Sure. But I'll tell you what they are and then I'll ask you them in. Okay. So what has most surprised you in cannabis? What has most surprised you in life and on the soundtrack of pamela's life named one track, one song that's got to be on there, which will be difficult or the easiest one for you, but what has most surprised you in cannabis? You have a unique perspective being a patient as well as a somewhat of a provider.

Speaker 4: Yeah. Okay. So, so what has surprised me most? Uh, there's so many surprising things about this industry. I think most recently, the thing that surprised me most was waking up the day after the election and after the panic attack,

Speaker 1: after the

Speaker 4: panic attack was actually realizing that I was completely wrong about hillary winning. And I was completely wrong about the legalization that was going to happen the night before. What did you think? So I thought I really, really believed that on the California was going to go legal

Speaker 1: and everything else was

Speaker 5: wow. I had a kind of a view that, well, it's been just an, it's been an evolution and it really felt like when I woke up that next morning that the whole world had fallen apart and the domino for cannabis had actually fallen. Absolutely as far as cannabis winning because we're going to focus on that. We've talked about the election. We're going to leave that alone for this unannounced. But, uh, but what Surprised me most was how wrong I was about everything. But California passing, I think everybody assumed that you had to get to 60 percent. People felt good about that in Florida, but 70 percent, 71 percent is ridiculous. I've been saying and other other states where there's an elderly community, it's only something like the support is only 45 percent. Yeah. So what was it about Florida? Yeah, well it's a diverse, uh, and a unique community, but they had gotten to 58 percent.

Speaker 5: The fact that they went all the way through the roof to 71 percent is, is, is amazing. I've been saying that the, um, uh, I don't even agree with myself 71 percent of the time. So that, that's remarkable that voters did that. But then you had ours on obviously didn't pass Nevada had the same kind of sheldon adelson issues as a Arizona did. And then w what, Arkansas and Montana or North Dakota or those are going to pass. I just, I thought they did. I was just shocked. And they had an amazing kind of. And I know the polls had indicated that Massachusetts and Florida would most likely pass, but I still didn't believe it. Right. Well, Massachusetts had really tough, uh, kind of, uh, opposition in the governor and the mayor. and so, uh, yeah, but eight out of nine. So I take that. I think that that has been my most surprising thing of the week. But every week I'm completely surprised and shocked and an off of the industry. Fair enough. that's fair. Shocking. Okay. So that's the, the industry question. That's the, you know, what, what does this surprise you? Cannabis taking a longer view. What has most surprised you in life? Oh dear. What's most surprised me in life? Um, that, uh,

Speaker 1: sometimes you think that there's like a universal truth for you and the universal truth changes. How so? What do you mean? Now? I'm not going to get into specifics, but just sometimes things change. It's surprising that you've kind of one thing, sometimes things change, things are always changing, but sometimes things about yourself that you thought were like a view on yourself or view on other people they change. Interesting. Yes. meaning like, you didn't think of yourself as a cannabis patient and then you became one. Right? And then I'm working on. That's a great. For instance. So for instance, if you had told me five years ago when I was working in tech as a consultant doing yada, yada, yada, that I would be a co founder of a cannabis company. I would've told you you were smoking cannabis. Cannabis.

Speaker 1: So, uh, so things do change, things change and it's our job to make sure that they changed for the better. Exactly, exactly. Right? Yes. Uh, well, on the soundtrack of your life, one track, one song that's got to be on there. So easy. That would be, um, that would be freddy mercury and david bowie under pressure. Look at that every morning. Every morning I'm under pressure, but it's a great song to dance to. It's also a great song to dance to, you know, here's to your husband and a cutting a rug. How about that? I don't even know what that means. It means dancing. Oh, cutting. Cutting a rug. I think cutting rug might be something different, but it wasn't going to go there and look that up later. What a. What a pleasure. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Thank you for. Thank you for joining us. Speak to you soon. Bye.

Speaker 2: This episode is also supported by consumer soft. Face it, your life starts and stops with your multiple devices. Technology is the centrifical force of running your life or your small business. Chaos ensues. If a device fails you, whether it be for your laptop, apple or android device, consumer soft is immediately available through my phone support for consumers and technical support. Lie for businesses. Get fast, professional assistance. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, removed that feeling of panic when something goes wrong. Call eight, five, five, six, nine, eight, three, two, four, one. Or go to consumer soft.com.

Speaker 6: I had a bagel and eggs as opposed to a sphere. Exactly, exactly. Had a nice, a nice bagel. Negs, but a pleasure to see you again here. So, likewise and add. I Was just going to say what do you have plans for hanukkah? Uh, no, but a no specific plans as of yet, but, uh, all three of our children have been developing very detailed lists of toys. They think they deserve this hanukkah. Interesting. Um, so, uh, the lego company is going to be doing very well. The kids don't listen to the podcast, so we're not going to spoil anything for him. Not yet. Not yet, not yet. So, uh, they, they are, uh, avid youtube followers. Oh wow. Uh, and we do subscribe to some kid channels for them and every once in awhile like go over to them and I say, is this appropriate what you're watching?

Speaker 6: Um, and they up and down. So yes, yes. You know, this is the kid's channel, this channel. Um, but, uh, my, my young son, teddy, who's five is just fascinated with lego's right now. He loves building and he, he needs some occupational therapy, uh, for his, uh, hands and fingers and it's just great. You know, we're excited that he got into this because some of the lego sets really help you develop, hopefully dexterity and. Sure. What the skills that you need a teddy after teddy roosevelt or. Exactly. Yeah. Okay. Hey, listen to your own laguardia. You do old politicians. I was not going to name a child feel though. That's fair. That's fair. Um, and just, uh, while we're on the kids, big star wars fans or a superhero fans? Not yet. Um, our oldest is seven and a half, so I think she's maybe next year We'll take her to star wars and I know there's a star wars in the pipeline right now. I think it's coming out. Yeah. Yeah. My brother in law and a three year old nephew. Very excited. My nephew has created his own superhero. It puts a black scarf over his head and he calls himself black wax. Love it, but it's pronounced black. Wow. So he's a, we got big a. Is that a cannabis product?

Speaker 6: That's exactly right. Then the sister is a lady shatter. So anyway, uh, so here we are in New York in new and um, you know, there's been articles written about New York and everybody thinks that there's more licenses already out there on necessarily, but we wanted to kind of get an update. Um, first off, you know, let's start with the patients because, you know, that's what this is about. What have you been hearing? Yeah. Look, we've been open for retail business since the 7th of January, so we're getting close to our one year anniversary here and I'll wait to congratulate you. Thank you. Um, there are approximately 10,000 patients throughout the state who have become certified to participate in the medical marijuana program. And I think there are tWo ways to look at that. Number one is if you benchmark that number to two other more mature medical marijuana markets, um, which enroll on average one to two percent of the population, which for us would be two to 400,000 patients.

Speaker 6: Since New York has 20 million residents, we're nowhere. But if you reflect on the fact that New York has unveiled a, uh, a very medical model of, for a marijuana, for a, for a, for a medical program, closed fist program, and, um, uh, we're, we're off to a good start. I mean, there's a lot of room for improvement, but it's not just a numbers game, uh, that, uh, we've seen, uh, several thousand patients by now. And, uh, you know, I don't, I'm, I'm the first to say that I don't believe that a marijuana, that cannabis is some type of magical pill with curative powers for every disease and other disease notices on every known to mankind. But I think it is abundantly clear to those who embrace science that a medical cannabis has a potential for improving the quality of life for so many of our friends, neighbors, relatives, community members who are afflicted with life threatening and debilitating diseases like cancer, like als.

Speaker 6: Um, and so on and so forth. And to work in the dispensary's and to listen to the stories of really countless, countless patients at, at this point. Um, uh, their stories of how their lives have improved, um, is, is deeply, deeply satisfying and really gives us the energy and the motivation to continue the work that we're engaged in here in New York. Uh, and as far as the work is concerned, that also involves money. So you guys have a tremendous amount invested 10,000 patients, uh, if we're trying to get to hundreds of thousands of patients, you know, we're, we're still taking baby steps and we need to take maybe larger steps. Um, what are, uh, what are your thoughts on the things that we've been reading which are. Well, let's start with delivery, right? That seems to be, you know, maybe not a ceo, but so, so, so let me take a step back.

Speaker 6: Um, I also have a, the pleasure of serving as the president of the New York a medical cannabis industry association. Excellent. And we have come together as the five registered organizations, the five cannabis companies in New York that's new since one, by the way, a few months ago, a few months ago, and we've been working really closely with our regulators. In this case, it's the New York state department of health and with elected officials and the advocates and other stakeholders on improving the program, making sure that the program evolves in a way where there's more not less patient access and there are many ways that that could be accomplished. The inclusion of chronic pain as qualifying medical condition, which is not included now, which will hopefully be included within the next few months in New York would be so many people are afflicted with chronic pain for different reasons. New york, like many other states, is really trying to combat the opioid epidemic so that that will create a lot more demand from patients and provide a lot more access to patients.

Speaker 6: Some of our patients are homebound or live in more remote areas in the state. I mean we're sitting here in manhattan. Sure. Spoke to diane savino and stop now and that's a little bit more remote, which been county, but they have a great fairy so they can get to manhattan quite easily. do you mean like glens falls? I mean this is a huge state. I'm awful lot all over. we're, we're in the southern tier, we're in binghamton, I mean, uh, and uh, the, the population, the demographics there are just really different. So home delivery will help us serve people in more remote areas, will help us serve homebound patients, physicians. There are 700 or so physicians who have registered with the program. Two ways to look at that number. Wow. 700 physicians, that's huge. Well, guess what? They're more than 70,000 physicians throughout the empire state, right?

Speaker 6: So we're not, you know, we're at one percent now. Um, department of health we're working is working on, um, allowing other healthcare practitioners like nurse practitioners, physician assistants who already have the authority to prescribe other medications under New York state law to be able to recommend medical cannabis to their patients. That's big, right? So all of these changes together and it's going to take a couple months to implement them. we hope will increase patient access and will help grow the market here in, in New York state. Sure. I want to, um, you know, speak to the other things that we've been reading, which is increasing the number of licenses which everybody that listens to this gets excited about because it feels like, and sounds like that means increased access rights. Um, so we do not support the issuance of new licenses at this time because, because we are right now in New York dealing with what I refer to as a micromarket, um, the 10,000 patients or 10,000 patients who were somewhat of a misleading number because the 10,000 patients or pr folks who were certified to participate in the program, but that's not indicative of the number of patients who purchase medical cannabis in the past 30 days or the past.

Speaker 6: What do you mean?

Speaker 6: Some people unfortunately pass away. I see. Okay. So some people, uh, for some people do not derive therapeutic benefit from it. They try it and it didn't work. Some people can no longer afford the medication. That's a big one. And that is deeply, deeply disturbing on a personal level to me and to other people in the industry because everybody's losing. I know that you're losing money whether you'll say it or not. I will say, okay, I'm no registered to the best of my knowledge. No, not even have all the five companies in New York state. No one is at break even. There you go. Okay, so we are all losing money. We have all poured millions of dollars into building a state of the art cultivation and manufacturing facilities, which we're really proud of, which comply with a very robust regulations which are really state of the art, but we're only using a fraction of our capacity now and what we would look.

Speaker 6: We don't argue that there should be five licenses in perpetuity in the state of New York. We're just asking the state and other parties let the industry mature a bit before we add new licenses. Right now there's no issue of supply. There you go. There is an abundance of supply. I'm sitting on huge amounts of inventory. That's it. There's no issue of supply. There is an issue of demand. Let's work together to get more healthcare practitioners involved in this program. Let's work together to get more patients involved in the program and then over time add new licenses. Would you know that's something that would make sense once we mature and get out of this micromarket situation,

Speaker 7: new,

Speaker 6: the issuance of new licenses will do nothing to enhance patient access and might in fact curtailed patient access because one of you will all be losing money. One of the five companies. It's already been reported by politico. A experienced severe financial distress is the process of being salt. And, uh, the current market, uh, is probably not sufficient to sustain even one cannabis company, let alone five, let alone 10. So we've been working tirelessly with regulators, with elected officials in a putting forth ideas for regulations that will help enhance patient access to the world, the program like chronic pain, like nurses, physician assistants,

Speaker 6: let those new regulations been implemented. Let's be able to study the impact. And certainly over time, let's bring new companies to New York as far as reducing the cost of the product. From your perspective to the patient, you're losing money. Now, where's that inflection point? You know, I know that you're talking about for other businesses as well, but you said you have the association. Where do you think the inflection point of, you know, okay, well, once we get to this point, actually we might be okay. Is tHat $200,000 or is it before then? Um, I don't know that I have a specific answer, but it certainly isn't 10,000 patients. And of the 10,000 patients, it's not even 10,000 patients because your most likely 3,500 impressions. Oh, okay. Okay. So we're, we're really dealing with a market where everyone is losing money. Yeah. And uh, to bring the price for patients down, there needs to be a substantial and significant increase in the number of patients we serve. We have as any business has

Speaker 6: fixed costs. So we employ pharmacists, we enclose security guards, we employed, we picked us the letter of the week, we pay rent and these are all fixed cost. The more patients we have, the more we'll be able to spread those fixed costs, um, uh, amongst our customer base and we would love nothing more than over time to, uh, bring more affordable products to the market. Um, it, it truly pains me and it pains my colleagues and it pains my peers in the New York, a cannabis industry that so many new yorkers, um, experienced financial challenges in purchasing our medicine. We do provide compassionate discounts to patients, uh, but even with that compassionate discount, some or are unable to afford the medication. What is your message and understanding that you're starting to get a unified message here to regulators and legislators about patients, you know, finding other states that are close Massachusetts, Maine, um, where prices, uh, could be just slightly lower, which is good enough, you know, plus the gas money and um, I'm doing okay if I'm a, a patient, what's the message to the regulators and legislators? Look, I think at the end of the day,

Speaker 6: americans and neW yorkers want to abide by the law. Sure, okay. they don't want to buy theIr medicine in the back alley. They don't want to cross state lines, they want to be good law abiding citizens of the United States. I'm certainly a broader issue with federal regulations on the federal level, but, um, we've been working really closely with regulators and elected officials to create better patient access here in New York and to the extent that some are, all of those ideas are implemented, I think we will see a more robust market and a better patient access for, for New York. Finally on this part, as far as, uh, the department of health and getting this added to, um, be an insurable medicine. Uh, how much hope do you hold out because we spoke to diane vino. She thinks it's good. the eye, of course it gets great idea.

Speaker 6: Anyone listening to this thing? So it's a good idea. Uh, I have tremendous respect for diane savino. She is one of the authors of the New York state care act. Without her a passionate advocacy and involvement, we probably wouldn't even be having this conversation. She's a, a true visionary. Um, and uh, you know, we obviously support any normal legislative efforts to, uh, have, uh, insurance, uh, cover the cost of the medication. Uh, there are however many complications with doing so, uh, the entire in the United States, most, not all, but most, uh, most working age americans get their insurance from their employers. There are federal tax benefits to the employee and the employer, m and a, at the present time. It's really hard to envision how we would overcome some of those challenges, but certainly, um, in the future would we like health insurance to cover the cost of medical cannabis so that every new yorker, regardless of their financial ability, would have access to this medication?

Speaker 6: Absolutely. Absolutely. So as we make our way into 2017, um, what do you see, what would be a, you know, tangible goals for accomplish meant in, in 2017. We've now kind of laid out all of the, all of the things that we're working on that we hope for. What would be a good year? Look, I'm 2017. It's going to be an interesting year. Oh sure. RIght. Not only for our industry, but really for, for every industry that's tremendous amount of change that's going to be brought by the new administration, by a president elect Donald Trump and his new cabinets. Uh, you know, we'll continue to fight the good fight here in New York, but the elephant in the room is what's going to happen in the, on the federal level. Um, and no one really knows. I think we're cautiously optimistic. How come at his core, Donald Trump is somebody who's anti-tax when definitely when he finds out about to 80, yeah, maybe his treasury department will get an irs, will get rid of it.

Speaker 6: It was his business. He would never happen. Absolutely he would. That, that would be anathema. Absolutely. Uh, he is somebody who strongly support state rights and he said it time and again, uh, and it's, and, uh, the cole memorandum essentially supports state rights. Uh, and I think perhaps most importantly, uh, say what you will about Donald Trump. But I don't think that anyone believes that he is not a master in reading public opinion. This guy may be the most skilled person on planet earth on reading public opinion. Yeah. That is a fair statement. If you understands public opinion in the United States where it was on the issue of cannabis, where it is on the issue of cannabis and where it's going on the issue of cannabis, that is not something that you would want to expend political capital working against. Uh, I, I saw as a very favorable development, uh, the talk of a congressional cannabis caucus, a bipartisan cannabis caucus. Uh, I will be urging members of the New York delegation to participate actively in this caucus as a medical marijuana state. And I think that that has, um, the potential of becoming a strong bipartisan caucus. There are thousands of thousands of jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue coming in on the issue of cannabis. And, uh, I don't think that the new administration is going to want to go against the majority of americans on this issue, but I would say that my level of certainty is probably around 80 percent don't.

Speaker 6: So just to take a number, I can't say with 100 percent confidence, I don't think anyone can, um, but uh, we are a cautiously optimistic and I would say one more thing on this stuff. I can even make an argument that for the cannabis industry and for patients, Donald Trump might be better than hillary clinton on this issue. How so sir, considering the democratic platform which listed it as a priority, it is just because of politics with a hillary, with a democratic president and with a republican senate and a republican house or they may have, and we're not going to know this, but they may have this. They could have decided to give the president the democratic presidents a tough time on this issue in any other issue, for the sake of giving them a tough time just for being defiance. But now the same team runs all branches of government and that dynamic is no longer there.

Speaker 6: Right? So in some ways it might happen that the current configuration might prove to be more beneficial to the cannabis industry that anyone has ever dreamed, simply because it's not a priority for that group. People. I mean, the republicans would have made a clinic, a hillary clinton presidency would have given her a tough time on every issue at every turn as we know. And that dynamic is just not there with president trump. I don't expect speaker ryan, I'm a and the senate leadership to a rubber stamp, a all of the presidents proposes. But nonetheless, I mean, uh, they're on the same team. Yeah. Alright. So just, that's, that clears the air as far as federal, cautiously optimistic, you know, I don't mean to pin you down, but as far as 2017 in New York, you know, um, if for instance, if we don't get delivery, you know, is, is that something that would be kind of very disappointing to you if we don't get, you know, a chronic back pain?

Speaker 6: Yeah. If we don't get, you know, more folks are able to prescribe a medication. What, where's the line? As far as 2017, w, I mean we would love to see all of the above. We're working with our regulators. We're working with elected officials, were working with advocates to ensure that chronic pain, something that afflicts so many new yorkers, so many older New York or somebody younger new yorkers, um, uh, to give folks an alternative to opioids, a safe alternative to opioids. I believe. I do believe that 2017 will see the inclusion of chronic pain in New York as qualifying medical condition. I do believe we will see home delivery in New York and I do believe that we will see the number of practitioners, healthcare practitioners who are registered with the program and certified patients. I think we will see that number grow. Um, and I think 2017 is going to be a very good year for patients here in New York. Yeah. Well, uh, from your mouth, sir. We'll, uh, we'll come back as we tick off those accomplishments, uh, and say hello again. I'm sure I'm, as a final question, I've asked you the three final questions. I'll ask you the soundtrack shows once again on the soundtrack of your life, whether it's today or otherwise, one track or want something that's got to be on there already.

Speaker 6: A New York, New York, frank sinatra, of course. How could it not be? Exactly. All right. Thank you so much. As always, always legit. Seth loved the program, loved the show. Thank you so much.

Speaker 2: And there you have already. And pamela hadfield up top. Very much appreciated meetings. Pamela didn't know her before that interview. I feel like I do know her now. Uh, and of course we knew already have known before this interview, part one being episode one 79. So appreciate artists time. Appreciate your time. Thanks so much for listening.

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