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Ep.223 Mike Ray & Dr. Michele Ross

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.223 Mike Ray & Dr. Michele Ross

Ep.223 Mike Ray & Dr. Michele Ross

Mike Ray, Bloom Farms & Dr. Michele Ross, IMPACT Network

Dr. Michele Ross returns to share where she is with the Impact Network. As she gets funding squared away, her first study is on how cannabis can help anxiety. Based on the federal regulatory research minefield, Dr. Ross is focused on the state of Colorado for the time being where she can utilize state legal, consistently tested product with a group of willing subjects and publish results in accredited scientific journals.
Mike Ray then joins us to discuss the decades old cannabis economy of Northern California. Mike twice spent time in NYC in finance first around 9/11 and then around the economic downturn of 2008. He then returned to his roots and became a cultivator. He shares lessons learned from the cultivators in the Emerald Triangle from the 70’s, 80’s through to today.

Transcript:

Speaker 2: Dr. Michele Ross and Mr Mike Ray, Dr Michele Ross returns to share where she is with the impact network as she gets funding squared away, or first study is on how cannabis can help anxiety based on the federal regulatory research minefield. Dr Ross has focused on the state of Colorado for the time being where she can utilize state legal, consistently tested product with a group of willing subjects and published results in accredited scientific journals. Mike Ray then joins us to discuss the decades old cannabis economy of Northern California, Mike twice, spend time in New York City in finance, first around nine slash 11, and then around the economic downturn of 2008. He then returned to his roots and became a cultivator, shares lessons learned from the cultivators in the Emerald Triangle from the seventies, eighties through to today. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends of the word economy. Dr Ross and Mr Ray

Speaker 1: and you are Michelle rusher. Dr Michelle Ross. Hi. What happened with your car? Were here in the frozen Tundra? Because I was a last night this ice storm, this is not Denver, whether this is northeast, whether I was perfectly at home. Yeah. You know, we haven't had any snow for quite a while and it was like 70 the other day and then this morning, of course it's like a store. And uh, my tiny little car, it's just funny. It is definitely not one of those Colorado cars. I don't have one of those big trucks so it did not want to start. So, so sorry, I'm a little bit late. No, no worries. No worries at all. Um, okay. So impact network. It turns out you're making an impact now. Yes, we are picking up speed. Okay. So federal regulations have slowed you down a bit. Of course they have. Um, but you have a where there's a will, there's a way you have found a way. Is that about right?

Speaker 3: Yep. Um, you know, I have the persistence, I dunno either a blockhead or you know, you can't really stop me once, once I have a vision. And so our goal was to really do a clinical cannabis research using the nutraceutical model, which is, you know, sort of my wheelhouse. I came from being a chief scientist of nutraceutical companies, right? So, you know, there's pharmaceutical cannabis, so you have your, like your Marinol, you have recreational cannabis, you're just smoking to get high. And then we have what we call medical marijuana, but I really see it as nutraceutical marijuana because if it's medical that it's a pharmaceutical. So I trying to shift sort of the terminology and how we're studying it and I'm looking at this in terms of cannabis as value and that's how you can study it by shifting that, the prism of the thinking. Yeah. Um, and you really don't want to study cannabis on the pharmaceutical model. I mean, because you know, to get a new drug onto the market, I mean, that's like hundreds of millions of dollars for years. I mean, we know cannabis works, we all know that, you know, cannabis is still a young and emerging industry and companies don't have hundreds of millions of dollars to put, you know, to validate streams or concentrates or whatever products they have in the market. So, well also

Speaker 1: there again, those finicky fed federal laws that it makes it nearly impossible to do so. So how are you doing it without giving away the special sauce? Right? So just, you know, so that folks understand that the impact network is doing research with patients with product or you know, what's the general way that we're doing this? Well, um, so the first step of course, uh, to, to launch and research is funding it. So, you know, we have a lot of projects on the table ready to go and, you know, trying to get industry sponsorships with

Speaker 3: grants and other donor, a donor space that package to go because research isn't cheap no matter what type of research we're doing, whether it's nutraceutical or pharmaceutical, right? But for us, um, um, patients, as long as we're not handing them the product, um, we're not breaking any federal laws, are not getting, you know, we're not actually giving them the drug. So in Colorado, because cannabis is available to anyone, I mean it's just like a vitamin almost that you would get from cds. Sure. So, um, you know, the patients themselves can go pick up a, you know, unmarked and a bottle of whatever the product is at a dispensary in that way. We're not actually breaking a federal laws, they're not. Well, I mean we're all breaking federal laws using cannabis here, but if you're not breaking any state laws, so they're able to go pick up the product, take it, you know, we can study them at our offices. Um, and because we're not actually doing anything with cannabis, weren't actually not last. So you know, it's this fine dance of what you can do and you can't do. And we can do a little bit more than universities, which is amazing because they're still usually restricted to using cannabis that is from the University of Mississippi. So we're a little bit outside of the system or I registered as a independent research institute with the NIH, National Institute of Health where are papered. So the research we do can be published in scientific journals.

Speaker 2: Dr. Michele Ross and Mr Mike Ray, Dr Michele Ross returns to share where she is with the impact network as she gets funding squared away, or first study is on how cannabis can help anxiety based on the federal regulatory research minefield. Dr Ross has focused on the state of Colorado for the time being where she can utilize state legal, consistently tested product with a group of willing subjects and published results in accredited scientific journals. Mike Ray then joins us to discuss the decades old cannabis economy of Northern California, Mike twice, spend time in New York City in finance, first around nine slash 11, and then around the economic downturn of 2008. He then returned to his roots and became a cultivator, shares lessons learned from the cultivators in the Emerald Triangle from the seventies, eighties through to today. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends of the word economy. Dr Ross and Mr Ray

Speaker 1: and you are Michelle rusher. Dr Michelle Ross. Hi. What happened with your car? Were here in the frozen Tundra? Because I was a last night this ice storm, this is not Denver, whether this is northeast, whether I was perfectly at home. Yeah. You know, we haven't had any snow for quite a while and it was like 70 the other day and then this morning, of course it's like a store. And uh, my tiny little car, it's just funny. It is definitely not one of those Colorado cars. I don't have one of those big trucks so it did not want to start. So, so sorry, I'm a little bit late. No, no worries. No worries at all. Um, okay. So impact network. It turns out you're making an impact now. Yes, we are picking up speed. Okay. So federal regulations have slowed you down a bit. Of course they have. Um, but you have a where there's a will, there's a way you have found a way. Is that about right?

Speaker 3: Yep. Um, you know, I have the persistence, I dunno either a blockhead or you know, you can't really stop me once, once I have a vision. And so our goal was to really do a clinical cannabis research using the nutraceutical model, which is, you know, sort of my wheelhouse. I came from being a chief scientist of nutraceutical companies, right? So, you know, there's pharmaceutical cannabis, so you have your, like your Marinol, you have recreational cannabis, you're just smoking to get high. And then we have what we call medical marijuana, but I really see it as nutraceutical marijuana because if it's medical that it's a pharmaceutical. So I trying to shift sort of the terminology and how we're studying it and I'm looking at this in terms of cannabis as value and that's how you can study it by shifting that, the prism of the thinking. Yeah. Um, and you really don't want to study cannabis on the pharmaceutical model. I mean, because you know, to get a new drug onto the market, I mean, that's like hundreds of millions of dollars for years. I mean, we know cannabis works, we all know that, you know, cannabis is still a young and emerging industry and companies don't have hundreds of millions of dollars to put, you know, to validate streams or concentrates or whatever products they have in the market. So, well also

Speaker 1: there again, those finicky fed federal laws that it makes it nearly impossible to do so. So how are you doing it without giving away the special sauce? Right? So just, you know, so that folks understand that the impact network is doing research with patients with product or you know, what's the general way that we're doing this? Well, um, so the first step of course, uh, to, to launch and research is funding it. So, you know, we have a lot of projects on the table ready to go and, you know, trying to get industry sponsorships with

Speaker 3: grants and other donor, a donor space that package to go because research isn't cheap no matter what type of research we're doing, whether it's nutraceutical or pharmaceutical, right? But for us, um, um, patients, as long as we're not handing them the product, um, we're not breaking any federal laws, are not getting, you know, we're not actually giving them the drug. So in Colorado, because cannabis is available to anyone, I mean it's just like a vitamin almost that you would get from cds. Sure. So, um, you know, the patients themselves can go pick up a, you know, unmarked and a bottle of whatever the product is at a dispensary in that way. We're not actually breaking a federal laws, they're not. Well, I mean we're all breaking federal laws using cannabis here, but if you're not breaking any state laws, so they're able to go pick up the product, take it, you know, we can study them at our offices. Um, and because we're not actually doing anything with cannabis, weren't actually not last. So you know, it's this fine dance of what you can do and you can't do. And we can do a little bit more than universities, which is amazing because they're still usually restricted to using cannabis that is from the University of Mississippi. So we're a little bit outside of the system or I registered as a independent research institute with the NIH, National Institute of Health where are papered. So the research we do can be published in scientific journals.

Speaker 1: Have you gotten to that stage yet where folks are giving you feedback or are we still running around the country and trying to get funding and stuff like that?

Speaker 3: You know, I mean to be completely honest, I mean research is really expensive. We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars so we are still very much in funding mode. We have a lot of things set up, we have our patients and everything. But to actually go through and say, okay, this is our, you know, our legit studying, not like a little pilot. We're still at the point where we're fundraising. So how can I become a patient? You said you have our patients do, do you need anymore? Absolutely. So we, our diamond Denver, so you can find like this at impact network. Um, so in fact, cannabis.org is our website, um, and let lot of stuff right now. So we have an email list and what we do is we send out forms to prequalify patients based on the conditions.

Speaker 1: And so what are we first going for here? In other words, what are we actually studying? So I'm. Okay, great. I go to the website. I'm going to be, how am I, how are you studying me? Well you have to come down and actually be screened and everything. Oh sure. No, but I mean I get through to you on the website, but then. So then what is the first study that you have

Speaker 3: lined up? Yeah. So we have anxiety study. So I mean when you look at costs for research, right? I mean you have some studies where you'd be studying breast cancer or something else like that and it's going to take a long time, several months. So mental health is one of the easier things to study because it's, you know, you can study it in one day. Um, it doesn't require a lot of fancy equipment or you know, it just really researchers and some pencils and paper, you know, a lot of different surveys and batteries. So timing on that. Yeah. Um, so I mean we're hoping to launch our first actual irb approved study next month, so next month. And then. Oh wait a second. I'm somebody that might want to fund this research. How can I do that? Yeah. So you can always send us an email@infoatimpactcannabis.org or there's a donate button on our website too.

Speaker 1: Great. And if we, if we address the Info at to Michelle. Yeah, with only one album by the way. And that's why I said Info just because people, I get my guy, I get Michelle, I was, yeah, of course I had the French spelling. I'm just saying info out and then I, I say Hey Michelle, yet I heard your thing and I wanted to, you know, so the Michelle called me back, right? Absolutely not going to be some staff members. We do have a team of volunteers, so you know, who knows, who knows. Yeah. I mean

Speaker 3: unfortunately I am a traveling quite a bit, so I mean somebody has to educate the masses on cannabis and mental health. Hey,

Speaker 1: we don't have a ton of time today, but I want to make sure, how are you doing as a person? You know? Um, cannabis keeps me pretty stress free except when my car doesn't start, then you can see me swearing in the parking lot, so, which is fine. Nothing wrong with that, but everything's fine now. The farmers started. You are starting every, every wonderful 2017 has been the best year of my life and it's only been 32 days I think. Well, I mean, it don't. Jake said, don't be like, oh, now it's all downhill from here. No, I mean I, I've met so many people that, you know, the stars are aligning and really, um, a lot of opportunities are happening in cannabis. So it's an amazing time. Awesome. Fantastic. Michelle, Ross, this was too quick, but we have the final question of course, which is a on soundtrack of your life. One track, one song that's got to be on there. It could be the same song as last time. It might something different. Well, today it would be smile like you mean it. Dr Michele Ross. Thank you so much. Thank you. So

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Speaker 4: So here we are bloom farms. I mean the first thing that's apparent in your headquarters is that I don't smell or see a form that is a fair statement. Three, you know we're located here over in Oakland. This is where I have lived for the past five or six years. I'm in between San Francisco and Berkeley and Oakland and Berkeley now. And it's this spot really make sense because it's a nice easy commute in this bay area traffic. Fair enough. Yeah. I mean you have a recognizable neighbors. We can say that, right? Um, we don't have to name check I guess if we don't want to. Um, yeah. I mean this is kind of the Oakland is turning into a little mini epicenter. Not that it hasn't been, but people are talking about it more now. People are inviting people over now. You were a little bit more out of the shadows than we ever have been.

Speaker 4: Okay. So you're now you are named Jackie who our neighbors so that I'll just leave it there and if you don't know what we're talking about. Doosan research. So, uh, so Mike Howard, how did you get into this whole thing? What, what, uh, how do we have the pleasure of knowing Mike? Well, so I grew up in an area called calaveras county is where bloom farms is located. That is a real farm even though you don't see it here. It does very much so exist texted. Uh, I grew up there from the time I was eight or nine years old all the way up until the time when I left for college. Um, and where is it just generally? I'm up in Calaveras county. Is where we're located in foothill and Nevada mountains just outside of Sacramento, about an hour and a half.

Speaker 5: Excellent. Perfect. All right. So you are, um, one of the folks that, whether you like it or not, you've been in this forever, right? I mean, that's an area where cannabis has been an industry, if you will correct for ever.

Speaker 4: Yes. And as far as me personally being involved, it was not something that was cultivated on our property, um, while I was child when I was growing up, uh, that said it was everywhere. It was very quiet. It wasn't spoken about a lot. This is back in the eighties and nineties when, you know, people were very, very timid about, um, you know, letting onto what they were up to the, the for good reason. I mean major, Major, um, you know, federal pen penalties, state penalties, I mean, lots of years in prison there, there are still people in jail today that we're cultivating up in those areas. Um, you know, back in the eighties and nineties. It's just a travesty really. And, and you know, we're hoping with the passage of 64, we're going to start to see some of those people who are suffering 10, five, 15 year sentences, you know, getting some reprieve from those. Absolutely. That's why we love that expungement clause doesn't. Exactly. And one of the reasons why I was personally a proponent for it was that exact reason you got to get people out of jail for this stuff. This is just silly.

Speaker 5: You said that it wasn't cultivated on your property without going too far or going as far as you'd like. Any family members or um, you know, uh, very close friends that were involved in cultivation when you were growing up when you were a kid.

Speaker 4: Absolutely. Um, you know, many, many of my closest family friends growing up, some of my best friends today, their families relied on it back in the seventies and eighties as their only source of income. I've always had a special place in my heart for a, the cultivators, the family farmers who risks so much back then to be part of this industry, which at the time was very underground. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 5: It wasn't an industry really, I'd called it an industry. People were making money from it. People were making, uh, you know, uh, the money that they needed as you, as you mentioned. Um, so in that way it was an industry but not quite like today. And so that's what leads me to my next question. When you go back home in quotation marks, but when you go back, uh, and when you are on the farm, how different is it? It must be night and day. It's night and day. I don't know if tracking much about what's

Speaker 4: going on in Calaveras county. Last year they issued, issued an urgency ordinance which a new put people through the beginning of a licensing and permitting process that would allow commercial cultivation. There's been a lot of back and forth up there, a lot of unrest between the pro and the anti, you know, cannabis industry. It's still very undecided what's going to happen up there. I think it's going to be a shame if they decide to band commercial cultivation up there. It's a very poor community. Um, kind of get into that I'm sure in a little bit, but it's a very poor community that really needs industry. Uh, the biggest, uh, availability of jobs up there is the government center. It's available in schools and the hospitals. But beyond that, there's just not a lot of jobs with who is anti would you say anti versus pro? Well, it's, you know, specifically, I don't know who is anti, but I know that, you know, somewhere around a half of the county is against commercial cultivation and a lot of voters themselves, the people, the voters themselves, exactly in a lot of them philosophically aren't actually against cannabis as a plant or the people who enjoy it, what they're against is commercial cultivation of it.

Speaker 4: And some of the low brow I'm operators that come up there and exploit the land, um, you know, trash the place, our poor members of the community. And there's a lot of that. There's, there's a lot of that happening up there. Um, I think that that's probably caused much of the inviting. Um, but the way that I see it is with proper regulation, with proper business practices being required, I'm the poor operators will in time go away, there'll be extinguished if you will. And so that I want to bring it back to your pro prop 64 stands and how you do speak to folks, you know, when someone makes themselves apparent to you, you know, hey, I didn't support it. I don't support it. Now you know, you did just say, hey, with proper regulations we can, we can get the wrong guys out. What else do you share with them and what else did they share with you?

Speaker 4: Well, in regards to prop 64, I don't have to sell it anymore. Sure. It's sold, it's been done well. Just like with most things in government or politics and policies and regulation, it's not perfect. There are issues and, and, and there's, there's so many intricacies. I don't want to get too deep into it because we just go on for hours now. Um, but part of my job being elected, reelected to the board of the CCIM is to take the various items that you know are going to be challenging and not necessarily very well thought out and, and try to fix some of those, you know, I think, uh, when, when you speak to people who are anti a cannabis anti cultivation, you know, there are big arguments tend to be, you know, what about the kids, you know, what about the environment, about the carbon footprint, you know, what about you, what about all the negatives that anyone can come up with and you know, I, I trace back to the many of these negative.

Speaker 4: It's just not being managed without regulation and a sun grown takes care of a footprint issues. Yeah. So I'm going definitely helps. Absolutely. Um, you know that there's issues with that as well. I think the pesticide issue is a big issue. Sure. People get very nervous about the commercial growers who rely on crop to crop to crop to survive doing anything they can, if they have a bug infestation or that, that type of stuff. Again, and regulation, you'll, once everything is tested, once everything that hits the market is tested, those operators will go away and they will be able to, um, you know, to meet the quality standards that are required by California, which are still being developed today. We, on this show has spoken to almost all of the board members, current board members and CCIS and former board members as well. Also spoken with even some of the staff.

Speaker 4: Great people. Absolutely. You know, we say that it's done. We don't have to sell it anymore as far as prop 64, having said that, two thirds of the work still needs to get done. Right. Where are you with that? And as far as you know, how involved you are and what you're working on and all that. Well, we just finished up the um, the second in my second term has just now started. We're gonna have our first meeting in a couple of weeks or with the new board members. Um, you know, there's just really a lot, a lot of stuff that gets done. I'm looking forward to that first meeting so we can all sit down. You'll put our cards out on the table and see what the big items are going to be. Right. And, uh, were in January of 2017. Just a time check because in podcast land that doesn't really matter.

Speaker 4: But you kind of referenced the calendar there. What do you expect most folks will be on the same page about what do you expect will actually be where we need to do some work? Well, there's just, like I said, there's just, there's just so much we could get down this path for the entire time. I'm big picture issues. A big picture is going to be a manufacturing other regulation that goes involved, goes and is involved in, in setting the standards for manufacturing. And the pesticides are going to be a big issue. The taxation is going to be a big issue. I don't know how much they do in Dubai, the taxation it's written into the, uh, the initiative. So we'll take a look. Another vote to really change much of that. Um, it's, it's an interesting time and we're going to see what happens. I think that in a couple of weeks I'll have a whole lot more color.

Speaker 4: Got It. We'll come back to you. How about, so you know, you say it's an interesting time. It's a fascinating time. It's ridiculous. You know, we just saw a magazine that said, uh, a in Memoriam for a prohibition, right? I'm talking to yourself when you were a little kid from this seat right now. Um, how shocking is it that this is what you're doing right now? I'm not that shocking to be honest. How so? Um, you know, as someone who has always been an opponent of the failed war on drugs, I'm someone who believes in, you know, people's right to choose what and whatnot they can put into their own bodies. Um, I, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner to be honest. I'm surprised that this industry took over 20 years from the, from the time property, 15 sp, 4:20 took place in California to get regulation in place.

Speaker 4: It's, it's, it's, it's what I do credit, um, for the innovation of the California cannabis space, the ability for it, you know, these hundreds if not thousands of companies to have products, everything. Everything from a medicated gum to tinctures to all of this stuff. Positories, he has just depositories. Um, it's, it's all over the place and uh, you know, with the lack of regulation, it's allowed these companies to really build and grow and flourish and try their trade out and try their products into the market. Um, you know, when you take states, um, you know, like Neo Nevada for instance, or that were very, very slow to do anything that they didn't have the 20 year runway to really explore best practices and build out about that kind of stuff. Yeah, I think that it's a double edge sword, uh, with, with California and regulation of the non regulation that has allowed the industry to be awareness today and the regulation is now going to weed out the poor operators and you know, and let the cream rise to the top so to speak.

Speaker 4: And you know, the quality products, quality operators to companies that are doing the right things, the companies that are giving back to their community. Wind farms is a one for one company. I didn't know if you knew, knew that I did. I, I can't wait to talk to you about that later. Yeah. Yeah. For every product that we sell, we donate a meal to food banks and we'll get into, you know, the impact and them the other one that had a little bit. Um, but yeah, that's, that's kind of my feeling on California and the regulation. So, so perfect timing. I always am. I always find it a well hilarious that it was sb 4:20, but that's a different issue for different times. Number contended to come up a lot. It does, it does. So to 64. By the way your friends in Colorado will tell you.

Speaker 4: Oh, there you go. All right. So then, so mike grows up in the land of cannabis. Um, when did it become a job? When did it become something that became your career? Um, you know, it's, it's been a process. I've been all over the place, uh, graduated high school and moved to Santa Barbara. I went to college down there for about a year and a half, got very disinterested with uh, um, you know, organized education, uh, wanted to jump into the world as fast as possible and ended up moving out to New York when I was 19 years old before we get to New York. What was disinteresting about organized education to speak of it almost as though other people see it as a religion, right. Organized Education, um, you know, it's, it's for some people and it's not for other people. It wasn't something that was stimulating to me. I felt like I can learn a lot more out in the world, um, you know, doing things, moving to interesting places, working in crazy jobs.

Speaker 4: And I ended up moving on to New York City at 19 and I somehow talked my way into a, uh, a trading job and I was working at a day trading firm called Broadway trading and get it out in the nineties and low. Yeah, late nineties. I moved out there in 1999. This is at the height of the Internet bubble. Indeed. I was out there for probably about six or eight months before the bubble popped. Well, how good of a trader were you in that? Six to eight months. I was pretty good. It was pretty good. I did well. What are the keys to success there knowing that you're a cultivator? It's funny. It might have been my office. Uh, this is a day trading for him. This is when the first time that the Internet had really taken off and we were plugged directly into the markets.

Speaker 4: The oldest trader in the office was 25 years old or 26 years old. Uh, you know, he ended up on the cover of Forbes magazine. One of my good friends today. And one of the name Jacqueline. Uh, yeah, his name is serge moment actually. He says, what, what firm was it? It was brought to my trading. Oh, you said Broadway in. This was back in the late 90 [inaudible] shirts and we were all having fun. I mean, it was crazy. It was, it was a bunch of kids on Wall Street, you know, rolling up with our walkmans on, had my first MP, three player, they deal with the goal and everyone else is rolling around in suit and ties and we were, you know, t shirt and jeans and we were playing video games. Essentially we were playing video games, we were from the gaming. You're the kind of first gaming a generation and you know, things were moving around like crazy, you know, stocks were moving hundreds of points in a day and we were buying and selling, buying and selling.

Speaker 4: And in many ways we were the first people to create some, um, some competition for market makers as day traders is. What we would do is we would get in between the trade and market makers and provide a bid and they provide an offer and we would step in front of that and we would close the gap allowing, uh, you know, mom and pop to not have to pay these ridiculous spreads that we're a very prevalent and very profitable for the market knickers during that school. As the market space. We utilize the market. It was a, it was a really fun experience. Um, fire up napster, have the tubes going in the background, right? Absolutely. It was napster. That was natural title. Absolutely. There was another one too. Oh, sure. Yeah, of course. I never downloaded anything illegally, of course not well because the record companies were suing people at that time.

Speaker 4: There was going after everybody which turned out to be not such a great idea and going after everybody. It's funny, I moved to the sandy. I'll jump. Just jump in real quick. Back to San Francisco. I ended up linking up and becoming really good friends with Shawn fanning. Oh look, there you go. So I found her niche was kind of interesting that around about, well let's, let's get you out of New York first. Uh, you know, the bubble burst and I would imagine that makes it less fun to New York for you if you're a trader. It was, it was tougher and we actually did really well, you know, as long as there's volatility as a day trader you can, you can make money and so. But once the market collapsed, the volatility try it up. Oh, about the ETF. I ended up moving back to California and just, you know, a couple months before nine slash 11.

Speaker 4: Oh boy, a couple months before nine slash 11, he was still trading here in California when the towers came down. That was a jarring moment for the country and very surreal moment for me. This is where I get breakfast every morning on the way to the office and uh, you know, happy hour at windows on the world, which is, which, which was the bar on the top of the world trade. Absolutely. Um, you know, very, very sad time for the country and for everybody. You knew folks, I'm sure maybe even a cantor fitzgerald or whatever. I didn't have any friends or family that were in the world trade at the time. All of my people. We're two blocks away. It was, it was what it was. Everybody, everybody knows how a devastating time in this country that, that was. And you know, all the fallout that happened afterwards.

Speaker 4: He did. Um, I ended up trading for probably another year. So decided to give it up, became a small businessperson, all kinds of small business person, public transportation company in Santa Barbara, like vans and buses, buses. This is also right around the time of the movie sideways. Came out with shorts, which was very, very good for the Santa Barbara wine industry. And we ended up doing pretty well. I'm managing wine tours and transportation and taking people up to wine country and that sort of stuff. And that was fun for awhile and did that for five or six years. And um, you know, fast forward, you know, learned a lot about business, learned a lot about managing people, learned a lot about, you know, motivating teams and you just kind of keeping the business afloat. Let, let's check those, uh, those learnings, you know, as far as whether you are an employee or a ceo or somewhere in between type of thing where someone out somewhere outside of that, if you're lucky, I guess, um, you know, as a business owner, what became apparent to you when running the trucking company as far as employees and what you just mentioned?

Speaker 4: Well, one of the, one of the big things I always come back to as an entrepreneur or a ceo or a boss is the realization that there's nobody in the world that cares about getting mean which, well, there's one person, there's nobody there, there's nobody that really cares about getting rich and I didn't realize that when I was younger and I had this business, why are these people not showing up to work? Why don't they care about their jobs? Why aren't they keeping, you know, making my business as successful as possible, and I learned that lesson and I've been able to apply it to my company here at bloom farms and realizing that that good hard working, smart, motivated individuals, they don't care about a paychecks, they don't care about my paycheck because they can go anywhere that they want to get a paycheck. So the important thing about motivating a team is providing a value for their most valuable resource, which is everyone's most valuable resource that you're rich or poor is time.

Speaker 4: This is what we have very limited amount of and you're asking people to come in, donate. They're very valuable life moments, you better be giving them something back for that. And a paycheck is one thing and a higher purpose is another thing. And you at bloom I mentioned earlier, we have a very strong corporate social responsibility program. We're very focused on giving back to our communities of Vr. One for one program. We donated a quarter million meals to food banks in California in 2016. Our goal this year is a million meals and if it serves more x growth. Interesting.

Speaker 4: Thank you. Let me double check that out. Yeah. So, uh, you know, before we really dive in on bloom farms, you know, uh, let's do the fanning thing. When did that happen? Oh, he was being, uh, we met, we were training partners. Actually we're going to do Jujitsu. Oh, Jujitsu together. And I'm just kind of, you know, he was interested in what I had been doing in the, in New York as a trader and I was obviously interested in what he had accomplished as a, as an entrepreneur. He's got a ton of interesting things going on. Always. Um, W, what lesson did he tell you that he got from napster days? If, if, if he did or you know, I think that he, he didn't really give me any lessons, but he ended up walking away, uh, you know, not a fan of working in the music industry.

Speaker 4: It's, it's a, it's a, it's an interesting industry, but, um, you know, but he's, he's a really interesting guy who has done a lot of really, really cool things and has a vast network of, of really cool people also do incorporating. So it was, it was fun to, to, to hang out and get to know him. Oh, that was just, you know, just one of my, one of my first, uh, first friends here on the bay area and when I moved back was how seriously do we take this Jujitsu, whether it. Tell us about that. A Jujitsu. Jujitsu is a martial arts at its core. It's a thing I love about martial arts. Jujitsu in particular is it's an hour and a half out of every day where I don't have to think about anything about, does that surviving everyday everyday. Oh No, no, I, I've been, I've been off the wagon for, for about a year now.

Speaker 4: I'm focused on the company and focused on everything else. Um, but at that time is sacred when you're actually. Absolutely. The thing about martial arts is it's just always evolving. It's never, it's never the same thing. It's always changing. It's a form of meditation for a lot of people, including myself, obviously. Okay, good. So we leave the transportation company is blue farms directly after. Is there a step in between? I went back to New York again for a second run. You did? Yeah, I moved back. I moved back to New York to trade again with the same guys, 2008 living where I'm living in Manhattan were over in the East village because I'm from 13th and first read across moment. There you go. That's fantastic. I was in ninth and Broadway for a long time.

Speaker 4: I walked by that place many times wanting to go in and buy dinner, but it was just too expensive. Sure, exactly. I had a couple of dinners or to accord bunner three opposed is great. It's a trading with the same guys. Two Thousand Eight, subsequently 2008. What happened? Two thousand eight. Not good thing. Financial bubbles. I literally moved out to New York full time within 12 months of major bubbles happening and uh, I wouldn't change it for the world. Good. Both times were completely eye opening and wild educational experience about how the world works, how the financial markets or the second time I ended up there for about two years and sort of just cited wasn't for me anymore. I didn't want to be part of the machine that had essentially ripped off the American people that the machine that had done, uh, in many ways irreparable damage to the reputation of the financial markets and banks. And in 2000, end of 2009, 2000 early 2010, I threw my hands up and said, you know what, I'm going back to California. This is not what I want to be doing is not necessarily the people that I want to be working with

Speaker 5: and spending my life moments with what was not in my group of traders. Those are all my buddies. Just the financial markets as a whole in general, what was the, the pole a to begin with? Obviously you came to that realization, you had the epiphany later, but the first time, the second time, was there a greater purpose in your mind that, that obviously failed for you and everyone, but before that in your own mind, was there a greater purpose, a greater purpose for trading? And you had said that he equalized the markets. That was one thing, you know, other, you know, kind of positive features for you that went along with that or you know, I think for me it was just like

Speaker 4: the awakening of like, is this what you want to be doing with your life and you know, on a personal level, um, and I think, you know, in many ways a wakening for the American people are like, who's in charge here? Like, what's going on here? Um, you know, we have since market wise recovered from that. Sure. Um, the amount of input and influence that takes, that it takes to, you know, move world markets is beyond me. I don't know. I don't pretend to understand all of the factors. I don't think anyone really does, um, except for maybe a very, very select few. Um, but you know, after that experience I moved back to California with really no plans. It was like, you know what, I'm gonna go back to California and I was just going to figure out, wow, I'll find out something. What did you find out when my, what I did is I immediately know reconnected with all my childhood friends in Calaveras County and San Francisco and I reconnected with my community here and many of them, especially the cultivators, we're, we're doing pretty well for themselves.

Speaker 4: No one was, no one was getting rich, but people had a very successful operation that we're working with a bunch of cool a retail outlet. Dispensary's and I just got really kind of interested in this space. And again, going back on always being a opponent of the failed war on drugs. You're thought that this industry was going places this industry, but this is also 2010. Um, you know, we had recreational cannabis, uh, on the, on the ballot in California, and it was like no potential for we could do this, this could be a real thing. And I got involved, I started cultivating on a small scale, um, I didn't really want to a big player at the time, 2010. It was still scary. There was still raised lots of mandatory minimums being handed down. So I grew 99 plants and not in a small warehouse in South San Francisco.

Speaker 4: And I learned all about the industry. I was just absorbing like a sponge, everything I could about the supply chain and the retail markets and how that worked and how all the pieces went together. And it was just another educational experience. How different is the supply chain of 2010 to the supply chain of 2017? I'm much less, much fewer players in 2010. Um, you know, of course with your players was less product and a high demand, so prices were a lot higher. Now you see a lot of, uh, a lot of different supply and demand dynamics that are happening now. Um, I, I worked in, I had my small cultivation in San Francisco until the cops came in one night. They did for me outside. They picked me up, took me to the station, asked me a bunch of questions. Of course I had all my documentation in place, so I had put together not for profit collective. Uh, I was, I was working with only select dispensary's that was all 100 percent above board and they ended up letting me go that night

Speaker 5: really? And that's not a story we hear often. Why do you think that is?

Speaker 4: Uh, I think it's because I had all my ducks in a row. I think I had all my vacation and I was operating within the scope of sb 4:20 and slash 15 here in California. I was clearly not a member of organized crime. I was on a gang member. I was like, Yo, just a medical patient providing a medical dispensary is with cannabis. And they're like, you know what? And this is my assumption. They're like, you know what, this guy, he's not worth it. This is going to be harder than let's go find someone who's causing problem. That was enough for me though to shake up my experience here in San Francisco. So I immediately moved back up to the country you did back up to the country backup to calaveras county onboarding farms and began cultivating there. So 2000, 2011, 2010 was right around the time that that bloom farms first saw a cannabis planted in the soil. And when I say first saw, I don't mean that literally I had a couple of plants that I was in high school as well.

Speaker 5: Yeah. So it shall be right as it was. And so a job. Um, so, so then there you go. You kind of make your way all the way back home. Um, you find yourself to be a cultivator getting out of the city was enough or were your ears and eyes up in a different way? Uh, having been, I don't know if we'd call it a raid, but at least questioned. Yeah, I mean it was a re. They came in and they confiscated everything. They did confiscate everything, everything.

Speaker 4: Um, it was very disruptive experience, you know, bank accounts. Did they do any of that? No. There was no bank account seizing. I mean, the reality is I wasn't making much money. I wasn't learning what I was doing and I was, I was paying myself a nice, fair wage, but you know, I didn't have, you know, bricks of thousands of dollars stashed away. It wasn't. Maybe that's. Maybe that's why it wasn't as interesting, but they, you know, they took my equipment, they took the plants that I had in there, the chop it all down, destroyed everything and moved it up to Calaveras county which is out in more or less the middle of nowhere, much less risk of robbery and know law enforcement. It's an interference. And yet I still stayed small because I was still learning. I didn't reach out to um, you know, violates federal mandatory minimum limits and they're just getting involved and learning about the plant and learning about the patients.

Speaker 4: The longer longer I was in the industry, the more and more you debbie came over the amount of people that cannabis really helps at the medicinal level. You know, it was always the long standing joke between, um, you know, people not involved in the industry that, Haha, no one's really patients. They're just saying that because medical, okay. The fact of the matter is that San Francisco was the birthplace of medical marijuana and that HIV, that birthplace started because of the HIV aids epidemic of the eighties and know growing the calaveras and providing for dispensary down here in San Francisco. I had, you know, just lots of interaction, patient interaction, no dispensary staff interaction and just seeing the amount of people that this plan would help and not hinder and just all of the positive aspects. I just continued to get more and more passionate about the space. And you know, somewhere somewhere in 2011, 2012, I decided I'm like, this is where I'm going to be.

Speaker 4: This is what we're going to do. And, you know, being farms is the perfect kind of name for the company that represents where I grew up, represents kind of my refuge from, from San Francisco when I was, when I was run out of town here for on the cultivation side. And um, you know, I continue to cultivate all the way up until 2014 when I got very interested in the oils and specifically the co two extraction that was happening. And I saw a, a CNBC piece called the Denver Green Rush. I don't know if you've ever seen it or now they focus in on, you know, various companies that were doing things in Colorado. The recreational market, I think they talked about incredibles. Sure. They talked about art gallery dinner parties and they talked about a company called open. Um, and you know, the, uh, the gentleman who was speaking about the company, um, you know, he was pretty proud of himself. He was pretty proud of what they were doing. And He, I came out from that inner, from that, from watching that interview. And I said, you know what, the cultivations cool. The cultivation will always be important, but I think that the oils are the future of cannabis consumption, especially especially the vaporization aspect. And you know, I, I,

Speaker 5: why was that an epiphany for you then? Obviously we see that I, I watched that CNBC piece. Yeah,

Speaker 4: on a flight, you know, traveling to Colorado to call you're on your way and yeah, I was going to Colorado to go snowboarding with my friends and I got off the plane and I literally went right to the store and I got a couple of open vape pens. We tried them out and you know what I thought I can do better than this in California.

Speaker 5: Totally understood on, you know, competition and, and you know, what you offer and all that. What I'm asking about is the oil, in other words that obviously should have been your epiphany. I'm asking explicitly when you, when you were watching it, what made it apparent to you that this was that? Yeah. So, you

Speaker 4: know, they had done some really, really great things in Colorado and um, and they were after a demographic that was kind of younger and it was kind of, um, you know, more a cannabis culture, more like identified themselves as kind of just culture and uh, you know, as much as I love the plant as much as I care about the people that it helps, I never really identified myself as cannabis culture, identified myself as a consumer of, of, uh, of cannabis and enjoy or have it. Um, but, you know, just like a, I love coffee, but I don't, I don't. You're not a coffee enthusiast. I'm not a coffee connoisseur. Sewer. I like, I like wine but I'm not a, I'm not a wine enthusiast. And I know my feeling was that there was a lot of other people out there like me that wanted access to a clean, well-designed, pure.

Speaker 4: I'm safe products and there was not a lot of options in California at the time. So I put together some savings and I ended up buying the first CEO to extractor and setting it up out here in a, in a spot in Oakland, and we began making oil and we me and put it in independence and we began building the bloom farms brand, what we stand for. And it was a great opportunity for me to be involved in this space to, you know, look for ways where I could enter what I've always wanted to be able to and that is give something amazing back to the communities in which I worked. There you go. So let's get to that. Now you know, this is what you guys stand for. This one for one, the, the meals that, how did this come to you is this is what we're going to do.

Speaker 4: Uh, when did you first start it? And thanks for doing it. Let me just say that, you know, thank you know, thank, thank the food banks for working with us and for the work they do because they do so much to help so many people here in California. It's amazing. That's amazing. Um, so going back to calaveras county and when I was growing up, my father was an airline pilot. My mother was a house mom. We were okay. We were like human kind of middle class. We had everything we needed. We weren't wealthy but we weren't poor. But uh, as a child I had no. I had the place where all my friends would come and hang out, you know, on the weekends. And during the summer they would oftentimes be five or six boys running around causing havoc. I don't know how my mom dealt with it.

Speaker 4: I have three. I have two brothers, two younger brothers, um, uh, and then my friends, so we'd have a little rat pack, so to speak and causing havoc around the ranch. And it wasn't until later in life that I realized that, um, there is a reason why my place was always the place where we ended up. And you know, several of my, of my friends growing up, I know this now, we're part of food, what would be called food insecure households in not many. They were starving to death. You're not meeting that. They didn't have enough to get by with just that they didn't have enough and they didn't have healthy food and my mom was a great cook and she always provided for us and there was always everything we needed at my place. I got a little bit older. You grew up, you start to reflect, you look back at your life and you start to see things you never knew existed.

Speaker 4: And really as a child, and I realized that, you know, food insecurity, you know, I, I dug up a little research and I realized that in California alone, food insecurity impacts, you know, one out of four, one out of three, one out of five households would be considered food insecure in California, in California. This, that's the stat, one out of five, that's crazy. One out of five household would be considered insecure food. Insecure. California is way too high in a state that boasts one of the largest world economies. Uh, I found that to be a little bit ridiculous. I wanted to give something back and it made sense to work with the food banks who are doing such amazing work in, uh, you know, providing healthy and nutritious meals to food insecure families throughout California. As we partnered with SF marine food bank initially we decided on the one for one program because it's really easy to understand. It's really easy to wrap your head around, you know, one product or one healthy meal and um, you know, the rest is history. It's been, it's been an amazing experience. It's helped to motivate my team, making them feel like they're part of something bigger. It's, it's helped numerous, numerous, numerous. I mean, it's helped a lot of people and it felt like the right thing to do.

Speaker 5: Are you officially a B Corp? Stop me if you don't want to answer these questions, but, you know, because of the way that, you know, to 80 years and can you even be a b Corp and all that? We're not for profit or enough. Okay. Got It. Um, I'm, I'm getting to the three final questions which I'll, I'll ask you just one minute. Um, as far as the giving back, right, and you're giving back to people that are hungry and you're giving back to patients as well, and you, you, you checked us with a new name, check the patients and said, you know, the amount of stories is, is remarkable. Could you, if you don't mind, share just one, you know, um, patient story that you have a, just to frame it and humanize it so that we understand, you know, what you've seen with your eyes.

Speaker 4: Well, I mean, I can go close to home. My mother for best friend, uh, last year passed away from cancer as you know, she was in hospice care as she was, you know, suffering immensely. You know, my mom who a drug and alcohol counselor by the way, I'm originally. It was not so thrilled with my line of work I would imagine has now come around. That called me up in tears one afternoon and one of one of Chris's last days, which was her friend and she said, Chris says, thank you for making this product, which she could enjoy her bed and not be bothering anybody else because it's a vapor pen and because it's something that she can find relief in, that's not a chemical that is not, um, it's not also destroying her Nachos. Also destroying her and ever since that day, um, you know, my mom, my mom's coming around, she suffers from restless leg syndrome.

Speaker 4: She had trouble sleeping for the past decade. Um, she's now an Indycar, a highlighter patient as she would be, she would be my dad. Thanks me for that because now she's not tossing and turning every night he's able to sleep. I mean, this, this is one of the things that I find so fascinating about the plant is the spectrum of people that it's able to help you take someone who's on their dying bed last stages of cancer, providing relief for them, epilepsy, the children with epilepsy, the epilepsy that it helps all the way down to I can't sleep at night. There's no other substance in the world that provides a safe, um, relief from all of those symptoms and everything, you know, and so many things in between when we're just scratching the surface, we're just scratching the surface that the science is still not fully developed. I think that over the next decade we're going to find out a lot more ways that this plant can be used beneficially and just removing that negative stigma is one of the pillars of our brand. And our mission is to remove this negative stigma of cannabis and provide a safe and easy way for people to find relief, relaxation, creativity, and a little bit more funding. And there you go. Increasing the quality of life for people. That's at our core.

Speaker 5: I love it. Thank you again. Um, I feel like we haven't even begun, so I'd love to talk to you again down the line here, especially with the, you know, as we go with 64, but I will ask you the three final questions. I'll tell you what they are and then Alaska them in order. The first one is what has most surprised you in cannabis? The second one is what has most surprised you in life? The third one, Mike, is on the soundtrack of your life. One track, one song that's got to be on there. First things first, what has most surprised you in cannabis?

Speaker 4: What has most surprised me in Canada? Um, I think the speed at which people who have been against it lifelong have been able to have decided to come around. Um, you know, people who two years ago I'd never tried it, always hated it. Are now converted or who now see the writing on the wall and just plant can be part of a healthy, active lifestyle. The stoner, I'm a stereotype is nothing like that. Stereotypes, right?

Speaker 5: That's in the process of being in the benefits as far as, uh, this is only that I think what's most surprised you in life?

Speaker 4: What has most surprised me in life, Josh? Um, you know, I was pretty surprised when I came to the realization that there's no one else out there that wants to get me rich. And I think that Bummer, dude, right? I think the moment you realized that as an entrepreneur, you look for ways to fulfill, um, you know, the people who work for you and sharing your vision. That's the lesson. That's the one, that's the lesson that when you get, when you come to that realization, it is much, much easier to build a business and build a business that's great to get up and, um, and go to work every day, I guess on that, on that ride to work, whether it's on a bike or in a car, on your feet, one track, one song that's on the soundtrack of your life that's got to be on there.

Speaker 4: Oh Man. Um, Gosh, let me think about that for a second. It's exceeded the toughest or easiest question for everybody. Soundtrack, the song of the soundtrack of my life on track. So you've got a soundtrack, just one track, one song that's got to be on it. It's definitely Zeplin. Okay. Um, and it's, it's got to be a, the name is escaping me right now when the levee breaks. Give me a couple more song. Remains the same by led Zeppelin. That's the one. So that. And it just echoes in your, in your mind, is that what it is or is there a key lyric for everybody or no, it's just, it's just a constant echo and that's, that's with the two next with Jimmy Jimmy page. And if you don't know it, just go listen to it. It's a, it's epic and Beautiful John Paul Jones and one of the best basis that have been on there. Oh my God. Easily. I interviewed him once, actually. Really wasn't that much. It wasn't near as good as this one. Mike, thanks so much.

Speaker 2: And there you have Mr. Mike Ray and up top. Dr Michele Ross both doing their part in the cannabis economy and everything that is emotion around it. If you are listening to this and tend to listen to this, we would love for you to give us a rating wherever you are hearing, so if that's it, that's great if at school to play fantastic. Either way. Thanks 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.