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Ep.224: Becky DeKeuster & Kris Krane

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.224: Becky DeKeuster & Kris Krane

Ep.224: Becky DeKeuster & Kris Krane

Kris Krane is back  to give us an update on Massachusetts. He shares that the current six month delay is not  a return to what happened  to the medical program- which is still in a state of recovery- from a few years back. This delay is for the state to get their ducks in a row and Kris’ point of view is that it’s essentially above board. Kris is also kind enough to get in the way back machine and share what happened with the medical program in the first place.
Becky DeKeuster then joins us and shares her experience of going from being a midwest catholic high school teacher to joining the Berkeley Patient’s Group and helping    build it into a cannabis industry institution. She then went across the country to help build a cannabis economy in ME. Without Becky we wouldn’t be where we are in general.

Transcript:

Speaker 2: Kris Krane and Becky DeKeuster Chris Crane is back to give us an update on Massachusetts. He shares that the current six month delay is not a return to what happened to the medical program, which is still in a state of recovery from a few years back. This delays for the state to get their ducks in row and Chris's point of view is that it's essentially above board. Chris has also kind enough to get in the way back machine and share what happened with the medical program in the first place. Becky to oyster then joins us and shares her experience of going from being a Midwest Catholic high school teacher, did joining the Berkeley patients group and helping build it into a cannabis industry institution. She then went across the country to help build a cannabis economy in Maine. Without Becky, we wouldn't be where we are in general. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the head mechanic economy. That's two ends of the word economy. Becky oyster proceeded by Chris Crane.

Speaker 4: Uh, I got a Bagel from Dunkin donuts in front of me.

Speaker 1: Okay. Bagel from Dunkin donuts. I feel like there are healthier options. Chris

Speaker 4: there. Uh, there are. Um, uh, I, uh, yeah, I'm a, I'm a Bagel handle those. You're not necessarily looking donuts, but obviously so good trying to make two stops and the way in the office.

Speaker 1: I hear Ya. I mean he, the Dunkin donuts coffee, that's a thing. I'm with you there and you're also, you're on the thinner side of people, right? I mean, you don't really have to worry, you know, about these things,

Speaker 4: the cream cheese and all that. It's just being just a plain Bagel. Seems on FDS.

Speaker 1: Oh my goodness. Well, you, you always approach life differently than most and uh, and that's why we love talking to you. So, um, you know, like uh, what's going on here in, in Massachusetts when last we spoke, I think it was before way before, uh, the election. Since then we've had a bunch of wins, which is great. We've got an administration that we don't know what, what's gonna happen, you know, with, with our issue. So rather than say it again,

Speaker 4: say the least

Speaker 1: to say the least. Um, so rather than focus on that, let's focus on Massachusetts. Um, and you know, what, what's exactly happening because it, uh, is this a, uh, evidence of one step forward, two steps back or, or not quite?

Speaker 4: No, no. I mean, if anything, if it's two steps forward, one step back and Massachusetts, it's happening. Put a big. The big news, obviously the concern is that there's been a delay in the program, a six month delay in the program right now. The, it's important to note that that doesn't impact the possession and personal, personal possession, personal corporation and gifting provision. So it is, as of today, actually as of December 15th, a perfectly legal for somebody in Massachusetts to possess up to an ounce of marijuana on their person up to 10 ounces in their home to grow up to six plants for themselves while announces our 12 pants. I'm in a home with two adults and gift marijuana. So free. I'm. So all of those permissions are Nina. What was deleted was the, uh, the regulating and licensing of, uh, of, of a new industry, Massachusetts.

Speaker 1: What happened last time?

Speaker 4: Uh, not exactly. So medical was never Mr. delayed. They just missed all their deadline. So I think in this case know that the legislature, I think was concerned based on conversations that they'd had with the treasury secretary who was ultimately going to be over a overseeing this program that the deadline set a new initiative. We're too aggressive and that they were likely to miss those deadlines anyway. And so they wanted the new, the new schedule to sort of reflect reality know I think that's a little bit of a cop out personally. Um, I, I think the deadlines that were set were realistic, but they were hearing from a lot of their own folks that they weren't able to make those deadlines. And as we saw with the medical program, when the deadlines are missed, there's no consequences for doing that. So, um, this was probably going to happen whether we liked it or not.

Speaker 4: The delay. Exactly. So it was a good news is from everything that we can tell, the leadership in the state legislature and the governor are committed to seeing the program through to making sure that it does happen. Um, they, you know, the timeline is not what those of us who support the initiative, uh, would like to see. Um, but I haven't seen any indication that they're trying to know God or undermine the program that said they are using the six months away to take a look at the law and make some adjustments to the law. And so there have been bills introduced in the legislature already to start the session that would make, that would make changes to the law. Some of them really substantive, some of them not so much.

Speaker 4: Sure. Uh, so, you know, there's been discussion about banning edible products. I think that's probably the most far reaching that we've seen. There are some discussions around, uh, changing the local control element of this, which I think would be a really bad thing for the legislature to jail. Right now. Local towns are not allowed to Dan, um, marijuana businesses, unless they put it to a vote of the people. So, you know, a board of selectmen or city council catch us the side to ban it and they're talented actually happened to put it on the ballot and with people made that decision and I think, you know, there's a move, but by politicians to keep the power for themselves rather than giving that power to the people. Uh, and not, not, not surprising, right? I mean these are, these are, these are legislators, most of them come from the city and the city municipal governments themselves and so they're going to be sympathetic to their, you know, their counterparts in city government.

Speaker 2: Kris Krane and Becky DeKeuster Chris Crane is back to give us an update on Massachusetts. He shares that the current six month delay is not a return to what happened to the medical program, which is still in a state of recovery from a few years back. This delays for the state to get their ducks in row and Chris's point of view is that it's essentially above board. Chris has also kind enough to get in the way back machine and share what happened with the medical program in the first place. Becky to oyster then joins us and shares her experience of going from being a Midwest Catholic high school teacher, did joining the Berkeley patients group and helping build it into a cannabis industry institution. She then went across the country to help build a cannabis economy in Maine. Without Becky, we wouldn't be where we are in general. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the head mechanic economy. That's two ends of the word economy. Becky oyster proceeded by Chris Crane.

Speaker 4: Uh, I got a Bagel from Dunkin donuts in front of me.

Speaker 1: Okay. Bagel from Dunkin donuts. I feel like there are healthier options. Chris

Speaker 4: there. Uh, there are. Um, uh, I, uh, yeah, I'm a, I'm a Bagel handle those. You're not necessarily looking donuts, but obviously so good trying to make two stops and the way in the office.

Speaker 1: I hear Ya. I mean he, the Dunkin donuts coffee, that's a thing. I'm with you there and you're also, you're on the thinner side of people, right? I mean, you don't really have to worry, you know, about these things,

Speaker 4: the cream cheese and all that. It's just being just a plain Bagel. Seems on FDS.

Speaker 1: Oh my goodness. Well, you, you always approach life differently than most and uh, and that's why we love talking to you. So, um, you know, like uh, what's going on here in, in Massachusetts when last we spoke, I think it was before way before, uh, the election. Since then we've had a bunch of wins, which is great. We've got an administration that we don't know what, what's gonna happen, you know, with, with our issue. So rather than say it again,

Speaker 4: say the least

Speaker 1: to say the least. Um, so rather than focus on that, let's focus on Massachusetts. Um, and you know, what, what's exactly happening because it, uh, is this a, uh, evidence of one step forward, two steps back or, or not quite?

Speaker 4: No, no. I mean, if anything, if it's two steps forward, one step back and Massachusetts, it's happening. Put a big. The big news, obviously the concern is that there's been a delay in the program, a six month delay in the program right now. The, it's important to note that that doesn't impact the possession and personal, personal possession, personal corporation and gifting provision. So it is, as of today, actually as of December 15th, a perfectly legal for somebody in Massachusetts to possess up to an ounce of marijuana on their person up to 10 ounces in their home to grow up to six plants for themselves while announces our 12 pants. I'm in a home with two adults and gift marijuana. So free. I'm. So all of those permissions are Nina. What was deleted was the, uh, the regulating and licensing of, uh, of, of a new industry, Massachusetts.

Speaker 1: What happened last time?

Speaker 4: Uh, not exactly. So medical was never Mr. delayed. They just missed all their deadline. So I think in this case know that the legislature, I think was concerned based on conversations that they'd had with the treasury secretary who was ultimately going to be over a overseeing this program that the deadline set a new initiative. We're too aggressive and that they were likely to miss those deadlines anyway. And so they wanted the new, the new schedule to sort of reflect reality know I think that's a little bit of a cop out personally. Um, I, I think the deadlines that were set were realistic, but they were hearing from a lot of their own folks that they weren't able to make those deadlines. And as we saw with the medical program, when the deadlines are missed, there's no consequences for doing that. So, um, this was probably going to happen whether we liked it or not.

Speaker 4: The delay. Exactly. So it was a good news is from everything that we can tell, the leadership in the state legislature and the governor are committed to seeing the program through to making sure that it does happen. Um, they, you know, the timeline is not what those of us who support the initiative, uh, would like to see. Um, but I haven't seen any indication that they're trying to know God or undermine the program that said they are using the six months away to take a look at the law and make some adjustments to the law. And so there have been bills introduced in the legislature already to start the session that would make, that would make changes to the law. Some of them really substantive, some of them not so much.

Speaker 4: Sure. Uh, so, you know, there's been discussion about banning edible products. I think that's probably the most far reaching that we've seen. There are some discussions around, uh, changing the local control element of this, which I think would be a really bad thing for the legislature to jail. Right now. Local towns are not allowed to Dan, um, marijuana businesses, unless they put it to a vote of the people. So, you know, a board of selectmen or city council catch us the side to ban it and they're talented actually happened to put it on the ballot and with people made that decision and I think, you know, there's a move, but by politicians to keep the power for themselves rather than giving that power to the people. Uh, and not, not, not surprising, right? I mean these are, these are, these are legislators, most of them come from the city and the city municipal governments themselves and so they're going to be sympathetic to their, you know, their counterparts in city government.

Speaker 4: There is. Talk about a changing the number of commissioners on the Cannabis Control Commission. That's one that, I mean, frankly, I could care less. They're talking about going from three commissioners to five commissioners. I don't. Yeah, I mean he attacked me out if you want to tweak around there and that's okay. Um, I think the biggest thing, and I should say that the, the, the provisions that I just mentioned, I think we're all pretty unlikely to pass on it. It's getting the number of commissioners that you like me to pass. The other two are much less likely to danny edibles. This is not going to go anywhere. I think.

Speaker 1: I mean, based on what,

Speaker 4: based on, you know, the, the negative stories, negative stories that we heard at a Colorado, particularly in the early days about your people, you know, taking edibles and having bad experiences. The, you know, the morning Tao column

Speaker 1: and I'm sorry for interrupting, but just based on anecdotal stuff, we're just going to abandon edibles, which actually is a great way for patients to get their medicine.

Speaker 4: That's right. And again, I don't think this is going to happen under consideration but I haven't gotten any indication that that's actually likely to happen. So, um, there's not one that I'm too worried about, but I with something that under the policy project and, and the, the sn for campaign. Thankfully the, you know, the staffers, either, the couple of folks who ran the campaign are still doing this full time, so you will lose your edge. Bergen, Connie, they're still doing this, are still working for NPP. We'd got blocked and we got a lobbying firm hire to work on this. So now we're pushing back. We're, we're, we're, we're actively involved in making sure that this thing doesn't get gutted and it's one of the reasons I feel pretty good that, that, uh, you know, things like banning edibles or limiting phc percentages. It's something else that's been bandied around banning high potency marijuana.

Speaker 4: Those, those things I think are, are virtually nonstarters. I'm the one that I think has, that is likely to actually ask. And, and probably the most substantive change will be a change to the tax. The tax rate legislature seems pretty intent on raising the taxes on a marijuana sales. I don't know what that's going to be. What they're likely going to do is put together a study commission to look at what the appropriate tax rates should be based on how much it's going to cost the state to administer. The program, and they're very likely to raise taxes based on that. I think it's a bad idea.

Speaker 1: Are they going to take into account the fact that they will bring back the black market by doing that? In other words, if you raise tax on legal cannabis enough, then the black market starts to come in as what we're seeing in kind of in Washington.

Speaker 4: Well, that's exactly what I was gonna say. I mean that's basically been the Washington experience to the point where they had to lower the tax rates and they're still dealing with that issue, so theoretically and in conversations that I've had with folks in the legislature, they're part of the committee is supposed to take that into account because they're supposed to be looking at, you know, what's the right tax rates and make sure that the state has enough money to administer the program, but it's not so high as to drive prices. Go Up to the point where it will. It will be the black market and tax and whether whether the legislature is capable of actually doing that is a. It is up for debate. Our scan, for those of us who support the initiative has been, you know, we, we debated this a pretty intensely as we drafted the initiative.

Speaker 4: We think we have a tax rate that will work and that makes sense. Um, if the state wants additional, you know, need additional fees, they can charge licensing fees for the businesses that's not setting the initiative. So there are other ways to state to new revenue and let's let the initiative as it was passed by, the voters go into effect without changes. And if ultimately the state decides that they're not receiving enough tax benefit to continue to administer the program, then we can look at making that tweaked down the road. I don't see any reason why we should make these adjustments now before we've had a chance to see how the program works as it was written and as it was approved by the, over to the Commonwealth

Speaker 1: as written. What is the tax rate? What, what did you put in there?

Speaker 4: So as it is, there's essentially an assault percent tax and that's calculated fighters. There's already a six and a half percent sales tax in the state and so this would be subject to your regular to connect percent retail sales apps. Um, there's a, a, a, a three and a half excise tax on marijuana, marijuana sales, and then the local towns and municipalities are allowed to enact the two present, a local sales tax on top of that. So all told it comes out to about 12 percent, but it'll go through exactly 12 percent assuming that the town's adopt their two percent tax rate, which, you know, knowing how towns operate, county governments operate that. I would imagine that, that every single one of them will do that.

Speaker 1: Alright. So let's just make sure to, to Kinda cover what we already covered. And by that I mean, do you mind giving us a little bit of a history lesson on what happened with the medical program? Because, you know, when I read the headlines the first time, um, and I think we all have to stop just reading the headlines, but whatever, that's a whole different conversation. Um, it looked like it was the same thing that happened last time. So you know, it looked like what happened with the medical program, so just give us a little bit of a tent pole history of um, you know, we got medical cannabis and then it kind of fell apart and then it came back, that type of thing.

Speaker 4: We're still recovering fully back yet and we still only have nine stores open in the entire state of Massachusetts initiative passed in 2012 years to get nine stores open,

Speaker 1: which is more than just being in New York and it's more than New York. So I feel like you're the game in some ways as far as the east is concerned. But. But continue.

Speaker 4: That's true. And actually you have more, you have more storefronts open in New York and we have enough license holder for storage. My understanding of it, I believe, I believe also one of those stores are open 20 storefronts in New York.

Speaker 1: I don't know if it's 20, but you know, we can come back to that again.

Speaker 4: Certainly certainly more than one or two. But anyway, coming back to Massachusetts Initiative Council 2012, they spent the majority of 2013 in rulemaking, which, which is what they're supposed to do. Um, initiative had set some deadlines as to when they were supposed to issue licenses, I believe it was the end of 2013. Um, and they, you know, they, they actually were, were fairly close with the, with the deadlines and the initiative, um, up until the application process. And it was really when they started accepting applications and scoring with applications that the major trouble was wound up one springing up here. So what happened was initially when Massachusetts, the initiative called for a maximum of 35 vertically integrated license, uh, with at least one in every county and no more than five just to make sure that they were geographically split around the beginning of the populous counties. Uh, suffolk and Middlesex in particular would get multiple licenses and small counties like Dukes and your markets basically Martha's Vineyard Nantucket, we get probably one of each that it didn't actually happen.

Speaker 4: Um, and I, so there was gonna be this massive 35. So it was an intensely competitive process. Um, there were about 180 applicants that apply for these licenses, um, and uh, and, and it was, and it was, it was a competitive process. They were scored and the highest score we're supposed to get the licenses, the winners were announced in a, I believe it was late January of 2014. So not too far off of their guidelines. I think the deadline had been a couple months earlier, but, but for pretty close to. Yeah, first of all, within state government, like Massachusetts actually kind of oppressive. The problems arose at that point. Once those initial winners were announced. So they announced basically 28 winners. They picked 2,835 out of the head of the maximum 35. There were some nuances to that. A handful of those, I believe eight of those were not tech, didn't technically when in the first round, but we're squirt, squirt really high.

Speaker 4: Somebody else in their area for a little higher. So they were invited. She reapply was supposed to be immediately four counties that weren't granted licenses. So they were basically told that, you know, you can find a place in a county that, that isn't currently being served by one of the other winners. You're going to get a license. So there were 28, uh, let's call them 28 winters, a little bit, little bit nuanced here. Um, the state put all of the applications up online and that led to a ton of media scrutiny and wound up happening was there was a scandal after scandal after scandal. Um, some of them completely legitimate in my mind. Some of them not at all. I'm really just sort of press the press, the media hysteria with very little real backing behind it, but there were know there were allegations along the lines of applicant's having lied on their applications, primarily lying about their local support.

Speaker 4: One of the components of the application that you have to write a narrative about what you had done to a pain support of the municipality that you planned to locate in. Um, and there were a lot of allegations that people had lied about, um, about the support that they had received, about meetings that they had held and that they shouldn't have licenses. There were reports that there were people involved with a license applications who had things in their background, bankruptcy's felonies, whatever it was that were never disclosed and that they shouldn't have been granted licenses because of that. The, the biggest scandal was, uh, was around a former congressman. Delahunt school was a former congressman, former district attorney who had very close relationship, a very close relationship with the head of the Department of Public Health here that oversaw the program. Um, and he received the three highest scores basically near near perfect scores.

Speaker 4: The only ones in the state that received here perfect scores, a mentor. There was some concern that that was politically motivated. I'm considering it, didn't actually have operation operation, operational experience. Then you had groups like, you know, good chemistry and harbor side and our stakeholders and a number of others. It would great a great team in the theory that there didn't get perfect scores on the operation section. But former congressman did as that was a big scandal and so the state basically said, well, hold on, hold on, hold on. We didn't really mean when we said these 28 groups in 21, we didn't really mean that they want and meant that now they're entering into what we're calling this investigation, which was never anything that had been announced previously. They said that they're provisionally selected but they're not provisionally licensed and now we're going to go and we're going to really look into the veracity of their applicant at applications and how truthful it wasn't anybody who lied.

Speaker 4: We're going to kick them out of the, out of the process. So that lasted for about three or four months actually, where they were reviewing these applications. And in the end they kicked out about half of them. Um, they, they left, 13 likely told her is everyone else was basically booted from the program, including some fairly well known folks in the industry, particularly some from out of state that that got left out initially licensed here. What has went up might be kicked out. And I think in some of those cases that was, that was a, a choice of convenience in that it was fairly easy to demonize the out of state groups is like, we'll give you a wild west Colorado when the operator, you know, they're not able to pull the wool over our eyes. You're in Massachusetts. And then there were some that I think we're, we're, we're more legitimate as well.

Speaker 4: So you have basically these 13 that were left, there was a lot of scandal and a lot of controversy surrounding this. And so a lot of them had trouble, number one, trouble raising money, um, partly because of profit of taking so long and now there was all this uncertainty around it. And part of it too, the process of so long that the, a lot of the investors that were looking at this, I started looking at, at, at places like Nevada in particular in Illinois. But not definitely because that applicant by time, by the time this was getting settled, ineptitude, Nevada is absent. Starting to roll around in Nevada was a for profit, a state a lot easier to structure investments that are nonprofit and I can choose. It started leaving. They started getting cold feet about the program. A local jurisdictions started. I'm sort of pulling the rug out from under the cups. They had one, just some of the groups. One had to look for other locations, other towns and start that process and it just lets, you know, it really led to a taking a few years before you do any of these places actually got the doors open.

Speaker 1: So here we are again. You're, you're saying that this is not like that one. Um, but uh, this time we've got the eye on the ball. This time the investors know what the potential pitfalls are. So we're, uh, we're in better shape no matter which way you look at it. Is that fair?

Speaker 4: I think we're better shape. I, you know, there's going to be holes there are virtually every program, but I think, you know, while I'm not at all happy about the six month away and I posed the six month delay, I think they should let this thing play out the way that the voters approved it. The difference here is that this is being managed right because six months later it's being managed as opposed to a delay that's born out of controversy and scandal and the department trying to, trying to figure things out as they go along. So I'm hopeful that this will fill the well managed. Like my biggest concern obviously, that the legislature will be something dumb and make some of your major alteration to the, to the program that can really, that will really grow things for a loop. But I'm optimistic that's not going to happen.

Speaker 4: I think we'll see some changes like, you know, like I said, besides the tuition I'm raising the tax rate, I would put a pretty big bet on that. I'm not actually happening, but outside of those, if they don't do anything, you're massively drastic. Um, I think we're gonna. I think we're in good shape for implementation here, of course, as with everything in the industry is predicated on the, you know, the, the, the federal government, the Justice Department, allowing all this to move forward and do that. I think we're, I think we're going to be in pretty good shape

Speaker 1: and for folks listening by that and by now they know to be calling, you know, those, uh, representatives in the state government that they have to let their voices be heard. But that's again, a whole different conversation for another time. Unfortunately, we don't have a ton of time today, Chris. So I got to ask you the final question right now, which is on the soundtrack of your life. One track, one song that's got to be on there.

Speaker 4: One track. It's got to be on there, but we did this last time. We do it every time, Chris. We do it every time. I got to think of another one now. I didn't realize that I hadn't thought about this one. Let's go with, uh, let's go with ice by the super free Adams.

Speaker 1: I don't even know what that is.

Speaker 4: Uh, not, not, not, not too many do, but I don't mean it to be pretentious, it just happened to be one of my favorite all time bands and probably my favorite song of theirs. It's a cold, sort of a cult classic. Anyone goes to the, goes to one of the concerts. There's usually somebody in the audience would scream ice hockey here for most of the concert until they play it. And it's actually my, my ring tone on my cell phone. So if there's anyone out there who's into late nineties, psychedelic Brit pop, uh, check out the super furry animals and that'd be a good place to start.

Speaker 1: There you go. I'm hitting Google as soon as we go and that's what we're doing. Chris, thanks so much. Of course, you know, um, this time and every time really very much appreciate it. Um, and this was supposed to be in person. Uh, I guess we'll have to say next time, right?

Speaker 4: Always good to talk to you and look forward to seeing you next time.

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Speaker 2: to enjoy your passion. Lab testing of cannabis within without Bova found story. And with Belvedere retains 15 percent more terpenes. Top cannabis businesses are using Bova to cure store and merchandise flour. And you should too, go to [inaudible] dot com slash herbal or on social at both to ink for more information. So, uh, we are in May. I did make it here and we didn't know you missed all the bad weather and I can see remnants of it this yell out the window here and it's beautiful and it's cold. Well, yeah, I would only like five, six months out of the. Fair enough. So summer's like, what do you get up to? A really will start complaining when it's in the nineties, but there are very few of them.

Speaker 5: We got with a couple of weeks usually where you're going to want to turn the air conditioner on if you have one, if you have one. Right? Most folks, many folks don't. Got It. Yep. Got Becky dequois oyster and I was pronouncing that wrong. Before we do, you are not alone in that cloister. And then let's just get to the etymology where you said Belgium. Yes, yes. Yeah, there are. There's a pocket of us in a little town in Belgium called La Hoop Honda. And so there's a little bit of a Dutch influence, a little bit of French influence. Sure. And uh, there's a, there's a very tiny oyster diaspora here in the U. s for Diana spore is fantastic. Uh, do, do you, have you been back in pronunciation? Sounded very authentic as well. I think, you know, I have not, I've been to France and Spain and uh, both leading student trips and then also for personal enjoyment, but I just have never yet made it there.

Speaker 5: I would love to. It's on my list. Okay. So we'll put that on the list. It's officially on the West. Recorded in history. Posterity. So we call this a real time history of legal cannabis. Yes. And a Berkeley patients group is certainly part of that realtime history. Yes. If not a, uh, a landmark, a tent pole, and you have a little bit to do with bpg. I was very, very fortunate to start my career in this movement industry with bpg. Yeah. Way Back in the day. All right, so I'm trying to hear your accent. I know that we're in May now said that the name comes from Belgium, but you haven't been there, so that's not where you're from. Where did you grow up? St Louis, Missouri. Okay. So because it didn't sound very west coast. No, no, no, no. And I know that Berkeley is in Berkeley, California.

Speaker 5: So St Louis, Missouri, St Louis, Missouri. Did that make you a cardinals fan growing up? You know, I, yes. Cardinals. You just can't, you know, it's one of the best sports towns for that. I mean, you go to the airport in it, it's not baseball season. Right? But people are wearing their cardinals gear. They're real fans. Here's where I have to admit to you that I'm a New York mets fan. Oh dear. Oh dear. See that's a thing. Because you remember the cardinals in the eighties? I do. I do. Remember what the mets word? Yes. So did you call us pond scum? The word. What a terrible thing to hear from a midwife. Now I know you realize we understood because we use different words, but we understood the pond scum was just a very a heart. That's probably the worst things that you could say. Like when a southerner says, bless your heart does not mean bless her heart so we can get through that.

Speaker 5: But I can, I mean I can set that aside. Yeah. You remember the eighties a cardinals? I mean the smiths and the tummy hurts. Hijack Clarks and the walking and do art and, and the real Mr. Buck doing the broadcasting on the radio and Jack Buck. Yes. Yes. No, no, no. I mean listening to it on the radio and on Saturday mornings while we're in the kitchen making breakfast go crazy. Oh my gosh. Yeah. And my dad, um, well we, we would go to games very frequently. He was a big fan and I remember I was, I was quite young, 10, 11 and he took me to a night game. So you might even remember Joe Morgan, but I digress. He took me to a night game and it ended up being one of the longest games that had been played at that time in, in the old stadium.

Speaker 5: And this was a school night and I didn't, you know, he didn't get me home. We sat through the whole 13 in. And so I think mom had some thoughts about that. Dad was thrilled. I was thrilled. Exactly, exactly right. And that's the old busch stadium not to be confused with established it. Yes. Right, correct. Alright. So that St Louis. So now you've proven your St Louis on a few days. We know that that's where you're from. Yeah, absolutely. How, where did you go from there, if that's where you spent your formative years? I was there for almost, oh my gosh, I can say this a quarter of a century. Um, yeah, those are a quarter of a century is easy to break off now. I know what I mean. It used to be a lot of years now. Twenty five years was like, I kind of remember in five years now.

Speaker 5: Um, and I was a teacher, a Catholic high school teacher. Um, oh, we got to talk about this. Yes. And um, I met my first husband who was in the navy and was stationed in Alameda. He, I met him when he was back home on break. And now Alameda, you're, you're already on California's wait. So how did you get from uh, well he, he, we met back in St Louis and we're doing long distance dating God after one I, I went out. Oh No, he was on his WESTPAC. Anyway, he was on his big six six month tour, but it was about a boys. What we're saying is about a boy. So much of life is about a boy or about the heart at least we'll get, we'll get to California and you said the first husband, so we don't need to spend the time but, but this Catholic school teacher thing, how did this happen?

Speaker 5: That was, you know, once I got past wanting to be a veterinarian, which is what my niece who's six wants to be right now. Yes. So by the time she's about nine or 10, start listening because she's going to change your mind about things. Got It. Um, and uh, and yeah, once. It just made sense, it was like what my eye was drawn to. Is it a, is that an important thing in your family? Was an important thing in your family growing up there every Sunday? Was it? No education, certainly. Oh, you mean Catholicism? Catholic school. So there's two things. Yeah, I was definitely raised Catholic and no question about church every Sunday. Every Sunday. Absolutely. My Dad was elector. Oh, well yeah. And my family was very involved. So I'm recovering from the system, but I'll tell you what, I feel very fortunate. I had a great a high school education and that's where I've really, when you, when you meet that first teacher that makes you go exactly like, my brain is on fire, my, my heart is on fire.

Speaker 5: Um, you know, that's, that's where I became started to really think, yeah, well I, I would love to do this. Um, and then had the fortune of going to St Louis University and was educated by the jesuits who kind of had their own thing going. They do, but they're known as good educated. They are excellent educators and they value social justice and I don't think, I think that maybe my career or life path would've been different if, if not for those influences because um, you know, the idea of working for the good of everyone of lifting up those who need to be held. Um, that's just something that has always been, you know, I mean, it started with my parents, but that was reinforced by my education. I love it. All right, so now we were starting to get it. You said you were recovering. What are you still holding, by the way?

Speaker 5: As far as Catholicism? I'm Jewish. We have guilt in common. Okay. Oh yes. Oh Gosh. Yeah. I think Catholic moms are like a neck and neck race in terms of the guilt. So what do I mean? I, can you, can you, uh, share maybe an anecdote? Oh my gosh. So that folks that aren't Catholic or Jewish can understand what we're talking about, you know, nothing comes immediately to mind, but there's just that sense that uh, I don't know if you could do more, you could do better. Right. Different. Different. Yeah. Right. Exactly. So like if you went to your mother and had to tell her something that she didn't want to hear, the worst thing is not is not what mom said. I mean, I know what mom is going to, how mom was going to react in one of the things she's going to say is going to kill me.

Speaker 5: It's going to be your father will be so disappointed. Disappointed as the word. Not Angry. No, no, no. If he blows the lid, it's better. Exactly. Exactly. But, but man, you disappoint dad. Wow. I, you know, you slay me here. So the jesuits with the education that parents with the Catholicism kind of say, you know, I'm done with the veterinarian veterinarian thing going to be a Catholic school teacher. What, uh, what did you impart to your students? What was important for you? Wow. For them. Um, I was an English and literature teacher and also writing, um, and I would hope that one of the things I taught them was that even when we are studying, I don't know, literature, huck Finn or something, a book that I never really enjoyed teaching, but it has really about Tom Sawyer for a number of reasons because it was hard to get the kids engaged.

Speaker 5: While how would you now people wouldn't believe people would not believe the language that is used in Huck Finn. Yeah, exactly. If I have not read it and don't know what I'm talking about, you would be shocked. Exactly. Exactly. So this may not be okay for, you know, where we have come to today and so that my. So why it was difficult I would think. Yeah, I think so. And I think that, you know, to your question, I would hope that I helped them be alive to the fact that these, these works of literature, of these things from history that might seem like an artifact actually have resonance and importance to us today while flawed on the edges. Right? Right. The underlying themes, the things that humans care about, don't change that that much, you know, the words that we use for our different William Shakespeare. I absolutely still resonates today.

Speaker 5: Absolutely. You just have to give them the keys to be able to unlock that very daunting language. But once you get into it, oh my gosh, you know, it's, I know people like that. Exactly. Exactly. So I hope that's an end. That and that there is. I mean, I, I was, I don't know how political we want to get, but um, I was fortunate to be teaching during the early days of the second Iraq invasion and teaching. Um, well things like brave new world and catch 22. So this is the George w dot Bush Hw Bush. Yeah, that was, that was my friends going off. Yeah. Often. And you know, um, it was, it was very powerful to be watching, you know, in San Francisco, they shut down the city for three days when he declared war. Um, and to be able to have these young minds who are at that age just so passionate and when they get invested in something man that, that they're in it.

Speaker 5: Um, so all of his talks that was amazing with his brave new world. Yes. And the second Iraq war, which is now the real one, I guess draw the parallels. Tell us what you were telling them. Oh, Huxley's vision was that humans would be so distracted by pleasures and you know, things trifles that enormous acts of injustice could happen and, and the populace would not push back. That just sounds a yes so familiar from the Iraq invasion. But it also sounds a wow, isn't that, isn't that a timely for a second. I just, just give me a second because I've got to go check snapchat and I got to go tweet something, but just remember what you're talking about. Let's go on this first date and I'm going to be, I'm going to try really hard not to look at my phone. I can watch, uh, you know, whatever's happening in politics because you know, at least I have my facebook right, right.

Speaker 5: So, and people get upset when their feeds, you know, Dang it, you're saying the wrong thing. Yeah. You look at Huxley and Orwell together and it's, it's a little too much. It can be overwhelming, a little exact. Well, and I think too, that's another piece of, of at least teaching literature that helps us because there are times and I think we're in one of them now where it can be very easy to feel hopeless and powerless and good literature teaches us that neither of those things are true, that there is always hope and it lies within our own individual power. So let us do that. So that is, uh, you know, that's why we're talking to you. So, so let's just make sure that we bridge the gap from yes, Catholic school, Catholic school teacher to cannabis for former, you know, like, uh, what, what happened there?

Speaker 5: How did that, um, you know, my, my father back in St Louis died of lung cancer and this was all happening actually at about the same time as that, as in the early two thousands. And I had had the fortune of meeting some of the folks who worked at bpg before I began working there. I was still teaching, but I knew some of the directors and certainly valued what they were doing, although I did not understand it as fully as I should have even at the time. How had you met them? Just let me just make sure I understand through social engagements. Once a Catholic school teacher at the time hanging out with these hippie dippy have an eclectic group of friends and I curated a careful, you know, um, you know, I, I had just happened to meet these folks and you know, like minded folks.

Speaker 5: Let's name some names, right? Well, I had met a hen Fontana and Debbie Goldsberry and um, at that time her sister Jenny was still working there. So it was, uh, you know, and it was a smaller crew. I can't remember what number employee I was, but it was, I was under 20. They had her mother. Barbara Blazers is not working there yet. Not yet. No. No, but that's one of the best names in cannabis. Absolutely. Tell us about that. Be because we've, obviously, I've spoken with Debbie, tell us about Debbie back in the day. Um, you know, she was not any different than she is today and in the ways that count, I mean, she, she's a, she is a very intelligent, passionate, um, individually and just motivated by, Gosh, by a desire to make the world a better place. I mean, with her, I mean, you talk about history in the, in the movement.

Speaker 5: Um, you know, I learned so much from her and still do. Um, and I think that, you know, she, she, Gosh, I didn't know you're going to ask about that. I mean, we're going to talk about ppg. How are we not going to talk about specifics? Um, you know, she, she has a vision, um, and, and, uh, very, uh, she, she's a good communicator of that vision. She was a great leader. And again, I feel so fortunate that, that she was my first female mentor in this, in this industry. I would highly recommend it for anyone to download them. Well, our magnolia, right, exactly. A little plug for her. I see that she is doing, um, how to start a cannabis business, a information sessions and things and I just, I that do it exactly. If you are at all interested, go to go to the fountain.

Speaker 5: Alright. And you mentioned the Tan as well. You know, former service man, we thank him for his service and uh, and just so knowledgeable about the plant and I think that's what made that group such a powerhouse and not just debbie and eat a 10 but the whole thing, right. There was just this moment in time where people with different skillsets and interests sets but, but a similar vision coalesced around this, this entity that was bpg because people can't be put in boxes right? To this Catholic school teacher was friends with these hippy dippy and a respect to both of them at that. Dan as well. Of course. So you come across them in social life. When did that start to become not just a social relationship? After my, when my father was very ill and I got the phone call, you know, come home and just buy a one way ticket.

Speaker 5: We don't know. Got It. Um, which is a great call to go. I've gotten that call. My mom passed away about 11 years ago. I'm sorry. Yeah. Um, uh, some, someone, I don't even think it was either Debbie or at 10, I'm not sure who it was, but it said, Becky, you should take your dad home some tincture when you fly back. Um, you know, let's put it in your carry on bag. And again, this is right after nine slash 11. You remember the security craziness at airports and things began then you had to take off everything. She exactly. It was like new. They didn't need the extra because I'll see everywhere you go. Uh, and, and I was, although I certainly loved these people and what they were doing, I was not a personal place where I felt comfortable doing that. I am a Catholic school teacher.

Speaker 5: I don't have a lot of experience with this stuff. I don't know if my dad would eat. I had all of the excuses why I couldn't do this. So I said thanks, but no thanks. And went back and sat with him for the book. It took about two weeks, um, and, and I literally, there was not a day that went by that I didn't think at least once, God dammit, I should have put that picture in my carry on and I just take it right. Yeah, exactly. And that, that stayed with me. So in addition to the grief and everything, you know, I, I, we do the funeral and I come back to California and I'm processing all of that. There's also this little piece, will it activated that Social Justice Warrior in me, there's something very morally wrong with a system where my dad can't access this plant legally because he died in this box on the map and not this other box on the map.

Speaker 5: And I was chewing this over and chewing this over and this was a months long process. But at one point I think I must've said to Etienne, I'm, you know, I, I, this, this bothers me. I was, I was venting about this. And they said, you know, it's a big career shift, but we're hiring. You should think about putting in a resume. This is what we do. Exactly. Change the world. I have to tell you, seth, I, I, in my personal history of, of significant life decisions, I thought about that one for the shortest amount of time, you know, I said, okay, well let me ponder this a in. It was just so apparent that, you know, here was an opportunity and, and I had just had this huge lesson in, you know, I should have or what if I had. And also that I can't legally.

Speaker 5: Right, exactly. There's, there's like a, there's a fight here. This is going on. Exactly. Yes. And this had been, again, building and building and so I, I thought about it and I, and I decided that, you know, no time like the present and I would hate it if this was one of those paths that 10 years from now I look back on and think, oh, I should have. Yeah. And uh, and so I did, I, I, I left my teaching job and started working. They didn't let me anywhere near the plant at first because I didn't know enough about it, but started working at Ppg and just, it was a, like I said, it was a magical time at the company at that, at that moment as well. There were great people and the movement was growing and building and to be a part of that was, um, indescribable. Well, well, let's try. Okay.

Speaker 6: When you said it was a, it was growing, um, you know, you're a regular midwestern, you know, Catholic school teacher who's now part of the movement, which it absolutely was. This wasn't really called so much in industry at the time. Right. Um, where did you notice, you know, obviously you're a new person in, but how did you notice it growing yourself, you know, being a new person in it and the space. The shortly after I started, we were talking about with yours, it's just to make sure this would've been. Oh, three. Oh, two. Oh, three early days still. Not for some

Speaker 5: exactly, but I mean, and I think it was kind of our current reality, pivotal point for, for the national history as well. Yeah, well I think, you know, I certainly saw a growth in the number of employees, the number of people you were seeing. We were tracking, you know, at that time still on a whiteboard how many visits we had the day before and um, you know, I remember when 120 people in a day with a big day, big day and, and so, you know, more and more patients began to show up more and more staff were needed more and more, um, activism in terms of, I mean everything from just local. And I think that's another strength of BPG is that they focused on local. Let's start with Berkeley. We have a great city council. They're open to us. Let's educate them even further about what we do and, um, and become a part of the community and kind of talk about that.

Speaker 5: Well, I think, I think that certainly in those days there was not any appetite at the state level anywhere trying to regulate this industry because that would mean acknowledging it, right? So in California, um, you know, that was good and bad in a city like Berkeley, you had a real opportunity to go sit and talk to the mayor about cannabis issues and have them come in and do a tour and, you know, um, and so there was a significant focus on that sort of thing. And so, for example, within a few years, Berkeley had created the first medical cannabis commission in the nation, um, and to be part of building that is, is immense. And then also in the mid two thousands, the federal government was cracking down. There were raids of rights and, um, and that provided a sense of cohesiveness to not just bpg, but I think to the movement, um, that, that we have lost a little bit.

Speaker 5: I think, you know, when we're all one, we're all aware that, you know, we could be next, you know, we're doing raid preparedness training with our staff at staff meetings on a regular. Yeah. Um, that builds a certain level of trust in, in group cohesion that I, you know, I, it's a, it's a rough way to go about building group cohesion. They have a common enemy, a fear that you're going to be shut down. Yeah. Well, what you're describing almost as one step back, two steps forward. In other words, if they're going to come in and do this, we're going to stand even firmer. Obviously you have to, but. And that, that was, that resonated throughout the team throughout the community. Absolutely. And I think that their connection with Americans for safe access to the staff and back in the day, dawn. Yeah, I mean they, they both had, you know, kind of roots in bpg as well. Um, so it was like this epicenter of, of, you know, the resistance of moving things forward. So, uh, amazing times, you know, when, can you please take us through the moment that you were most fearful? Oh Gosh.

Speaker 5: Well, in seven when they raided our sister or dispensary, John West Hollywood, they did not physically raid Berkeley patients group. But when I got that phone call I was actually off that day and headed to a hair appointment, which we're going to think that's all I do. I'm good about your. It looks amazing. Thank you very much. I have great hair for radio. I like to say I have a face for radio. That's exactly. But I got the phone call as I'm driving down to Santa Cruz and all I heard was we're getting rated. I mean they were doing the phone tree thing, you know, so that was pretty much all they had time to say. And that moment was like, my stomach dropped. Next exit. I'm looping around and heading back up, um, because, because of the injustice of it, but also because these are not, this is my family now, you know.

Speaker 5: Um, and that, that was very scary. And then to see what they had done to don shop down in West Hollywood, you know, they did the full on, smash the windows, steal the money, steal the plants, um, that, that made it very real. There were other moments, you know what I mean? When Mickey Martin was facing federal charges, any number of those sorts of things were happening. You know, what's most apparent to me is that PPG, while they last a physical home still operates today. Oh yeah, there are just entries in West Hollywood that's still operate today and we're not quite to those regulations of which you spoke earlier, right? How important is that solidarity and that standing your ground in the space. It is vital and it's something that I worry that we are losing as the movement morphs into the industry. Okay. Let's talk about that.

Speaker 5: Okay. Just explained why you might be somebody that we should listen to as far as that point of view. So when you say you're concerned, you know, we are facing now and potentially more adversity. Who knows what's going to exact. Right, exactly. But, um, you know, that that area of gray is really where cannabis kind of lives, right? And has, as you know, I think there's, there's a false sense of security that has been built. And I just wrote a piece about this where I said, you know, I, I wonder how many cannabis companies, not just in California, nationwide formed after say, I don't know, 2013, I would say a great percentage still do know your rights trainings, how many of them are teaching their staff and their clients if their, if their patient facing, um, what to do if, if somebody is at your front door with a warrant and a bunch of guys and spicier I interrupted you.

Speaker 5: I tend to do that. It's not a good thing for someone that's interviewing someone to do. But your point was these companies, and there are many that have started since 2013, how much of them are doing the actual training that we need for it? If the, you know, if things go south, if things go the way we don't want them to, what if they come into our dispensary? What are you supposed to do? I would just suggest that that folks who, especially people who, you know, have our real new entries who came into this from a different business line of work or whatever, that might be something that they just haven't thought about and don't ever think that. You don't have to think about it. I guess even if you're in a state that has good regulations, um, you know, Maine is pretty, pretty good, uh, on, on regulating.

Speaker 5: It's dispensary's at least it's easy to think, oh no, that's, that's in the past. So that's, that was the battle days. Well, not really, and they were pretty good days to go forward, but we can't lose sight of the fact that, you know, we're still battling for the right to, to grow and use this plant. You bring up a main and we're, we're kind of jumping around, but not really. Um, and you say that these are good regulations, or did I miss understand you? I think we have. Maine has a fairly robust set of regulations around the dispensary's, the eight licensed dispensary. So we get inspected, they have checklists and they're looking for our inventory controls or security logs, things like that. So they're reasonable regulations. Yes. Um, what is the relationship with the regulators themselves? The legislators themselves as well? Okay. Our, our regulatory authority and Maine is department of Health and Human Services.

Speaker 5: Um, and so the legislative, hhs committee for the past six years probably has, has talked more about cannabis than they wanted to. Sure. But they have also become very well educated and they, they, um, they understand. And I, I'm being pretty blanket here. There are a few outliers maybe, but for the most part, our legislators understand patient's needs, which is what it comes back to, all of it. Um, and the, the regulatory agency right now is, I think there, there are maybe some personnel changes going on. Um, but they've been very open, you know, we've, we've had quarterly meetings with them. Um, you know, they seek out our input at the same time that they're regulating us. They're, they're, they're quite reasonable and nothing that they ask of these businesses is, is any different than, uh, than, uh, a business trading in widgets or, you know, anything else that's part of. I've heard of widgets for my entire life. I've never seen one. I haven't either. Yeah. If, if you find one, let me know. I'll just post it on social.

Speaker 5: So now let's just take the opportunity to share the difference between cannabis and Maine and cannabis in northern California. Oh wait, the actual product or. I mean the whole thing with the community that every single phone. Because when I visit my friends on the west coast, they don't understand why I don't get it because I'm in New York, kind of like both of us are in, we understand everything but, but kind of share the, the, just the start reference. Well, I'll tell you, I mean California is sort of like, well, California never having had a full statewide regulations. That's something that blows people's minds when I tell them out here. Sure. Especially because everybody sees California. It's like, oh my gosh, it's the cannabis Mecca, which it is absolutely. One of the ways it got there was because we didn't have statewide regulations for all those years and so actually helpful then it was, it was, and there were downsides to it as well as we shall see.

Speaker 5: But, um, you know, what it meant was that in a city like Berkeley, you could, you could advance the cause by, by, I don't want to say self-regulating, although we did that, but by, by showing exactly the regulators, the legislators, whatever. We're good upstanding citizens. Exactly. Back to your point about going to the city of Berkeley exact establishing this commission in which public hearings I've been. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, I mean, they're exciting. They're also boring. Of course. I mean condition is like, you know, I started to snooze no. Um, so, so that fact of overriding state regulation allowed for a lot of creativity and growth. It also allowed for towns to ban and sheriffs to call in the dea. So that's the flip side of that. But, um, so we have a very sort of elastic economy out there, cannabis economy, and also there's no vertical integration, right?

Speaker 5: I mean, you can if you want to, but you don't have to. And so in terms of, you know, that changes the product, competition, pricing, everything sure is different. Will the entire supply chain is a lot more dynamic. Exactly. All of these farmers, these growers and cultivators as cultivators can go to all of these dispensary, somebody in the heart of La can, can get some of the finest emerald triangle cannabis, you know, any day of the week. And that's, that's awesome. Um, the different, you know, when, when main came to trying to regulate this, you know, we had medical cannabis since 99, 2009. We approved this dispensary law to create the retail facilities, um, and, and the, the powers that be chose to make Maine a vertically integrated state, they wanted that inventory control that, that felt right to them because they look at California and whereas a cannabis enthusiast sees California as Mecca, a legislator or a regulator looks at California and sees.

Speaker 5: Right? Exactly. Oh my God. So let's do the seed to sale tracking. Let's see. For every single plant all the way, if you're so an edible, you better have grown the cannabis and made the edible and done the packaging yourself. And that is, I mean, that's on your show us the records. Exactly, exactly. Every step of the way. And it's understandable. It's an overreaction somewhere, you know, the probably the best program of somewhere in the middle. Sure. I'm like any other industry, there you go. But, um, but, so we ended up with this sort of regulated, very streamlined dispensary program in Maine. Uh, there are only eight dispensary's and, and that allows our regulators to have a lot more direct oversight than would be possible in a state like California. Um, what it also does, and it's kind of the flip side of that coin.

Speaker 5: Number one, we are a state with a population of one point 3 million people spread out over almost 36,000 square miles. Big here. Huge. You don't realize it, but, uh, you know, um, well I, I just drove some of it so, you know, so, um, so eight dispensary's, although they did put them in the population and service centers, they're not enough and in the last six years there was never an appetite to expand that number of dispensary's for a number of reasons, inputs. And what happened was that our caregiver community, which is, um, you know, a home grower who was growing in Maine for up to five patients, um, has, has stepped in to fill the gaps. So we have eight standalone vertically integrated dispensary's and we have upwards of 3,500 individual caregivers around them.

Speaker 6: Okay. So, you know, so that's kind of the setup, right? So as we were saying, so in California, you had sort of a, you know, the free market was allowed to do its thing and it'll be interesting to watch how regulation lays over the top of that and what, you know, what that means for people who have developed thriving businesses and in an unregulated market. Um, and here are the new rules for your established. Exactly. If you haven't been keeping inventory, you know, you might want to think about that or paying taxes like baked into the cake here in Maine. It is baked into the cake. You cannot, you cannot avoid it. So, um, you know that that's, that is one one difference. And I see that all up and down the eastern, the eastern states are just more regulated. They're more restrictive, I think.

Speaker 6: Absolutely. Uh, however, in Maine what you have is a set of cultivators that are actually bringing a diverse, a set of plants to the patients. You have regulators that understand the value of the medicine to the patient. The reason that I say that and I say it the way I do is because the, one of the reasons I'm here is to talk to you. The other reason I'm here is because my very good friend, uh, one of my very best friends who has a severe case of crones, um, has come up here. He has a medical card in New York. Uh, he's decided that he needs a little bit more. A variety. Yeah. In his New York. Doesn't need New York, doesn't allow flower, do I think if that's correct. So yeah. Oh my gosh. See now this is east coast to east coast. It's like, oh boy.

Speaker 6: Yeah, no, that's. Wow. Yeah. Well, as I have watched mean when we saw that happening, you know, but I mean no one who has worked with a patient thinks that that's a good idea. Good idea. Well, one of the reasons was a smokeless because of the smoking laws, but what we just learned is that a smokable cannabis does not cause lung, lung cancer, so that's wonderful. But I'm getting to my trip with my friend here. We could have gone to anywhere Colorado, California, and we decided that we wanted to do it legally. We wanted to do it above board. Kind of speaking to your, a story from a Missouri, you know, you want it to do it right or not do it. Exactly. Uh, so he got his, uh, paperwork he spoke to and I spoke to a regulator. There you go, sent me or him a letter with a seal from Maine.

Speaker 6: And we did the whole thing that we needed to do to participate in your reciprocity. Good. Good. And that's something that Maine is very proud of. I think that it's amazing that you are. So we could have gone to Nevada, right? Because they have reciprocity, but then we're getting on a plane. So is that what you want to do? Um, you know, do you remember, uh, the thoughts, the conversations around reciprocity when they were happening or are we just benefiting from that? We are benefiting from it. Um, it, it was something that was important in, in the, um, you know, again, to the folks who, who are working with patients. That was something that as, as we're looking at legislation that we knew was necessary. Unfortunately. Again, our legislators are very responsive. We have citizen legislators in Maine, some of these folks have jobs, they're, you know, they're in the communities very, very open. And, and, and I think that has, that has helped being a legislator is not the legislators job. Right, right. Exactly. Or if it is, it's a very, very poorly paid one now. Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, and there's upsides and downsides to that in terms of the cannabis

Speaker 5: community. It means that if you see a bill that you don't like or you see a piece of a bill that you really do, like, it's very easy to have your voice be heard.

Speaker 6: Excellent. So I just spoke to a, uh, some folks in. I'm a Montana, same type of relationship with legislators. A. Okay. So we got to Maine, but we forgot to ask you how you got to Maine. So when was the, when was the, how did you.

Speaker 5: One of the directors at one of the directors at Berkeley patients group is a Maine native. Ah, and so in 2009, um, the dispensary law was being voted on. And then also I'm a gay marriage. Bill was on the, uh, on the ballot and that director came back to hang out with his family and watch the vote just to see what happened with the cannabis thing. And we were all kind of, you know, looking at it and thinking, oh, well, you know, we'll knock off year election and it's not going to go. And Lo and behold, they did it and a while he was out here, um, Tim had met some folks, uh, who, you know, they had begun discussions about perhaps applying for a license or two. And I had done in Berkeley, I had done a lot of that sort of outreach, go to the city council, talk to the business owners up and down the streets, whatever.

Speaker 5: Um, and I was asked to come out to, to main to sort of help with, you know, first of all, sniff around and see if this is a worthwhile opportunity. And then, uh, as we decided to pursue it, I started coming out, you know, first it was seven or 10 days a month and then the next month it was every other week. And then the month after that it was all like, don't I have a plane ticket? But I don't, I want to come back late, give me five more days because I have two more meetings in, one more to set up. And eventually I just called them from Maine and said, if we really are serious about doing this, I think I need to stay in Maine. And fortunately the answer I got was, well, I've of been waiting for you to say that

Speaker 6: we've been reading the tea leaves. Exactly. You haven't been here in London.

Speaker 5: So, um, and so that was that. And I'm blessed. My, my husband's heart, I, I called him.

Speaker 6: Aha. So this is Alameda now. He has to actually approve, right? Yes, it was. There's a reason that, that we're together. He's a very patient man. So I said, I think, you know, I don't think I'm going to make it back to California. Yeah. So when you're ready, you can pack up the apartment. Yeah, exactly. I've gotten an apartment that I'm looking at it. Let me, let me take that tangent because I think that the most important thing in any relationship is communication. But you mentioned, I think the second most important thing, which is patients. Do you want to share a little bit more about that? As far as any interpersonal communication?

Speaker 6: That alone, I mean, he, he should have won an award for um, you know, he, he did, he packed the apartment by himself, rented a u haul and put our stuff in it. And then, and here's, here's, oh my gosh, we had an old cat Adani Adani made the cross country trip in the cab of a 24 foot you haul on, on my husband's shoulder, screaming in his ear the entire way Chad smuggling him into motels at night. So in a, in a, in an industry like this, you have to be flexible and you have to have a sense of humor. See in the industry now. Oh, he is. What does he do? He works with one of the other dispensary's. He's on the cultivation side. Great. And so that's what he was doing. Cultivation in. No, out there he is, he's a chemist by trade and so out there he was working with water treatment. Got It. Alright. Well thanks Chad for your patients. Right? Shout out.

Speaker 6: Alright, so you guys got here and then you know, what was the next, when did you actually, it was what we, we knew they were going to issue eight licenses and we thought, well, you know, let's, we know the competition is going to be tough. Sure. So let's apply for, you know, four or five of them and maybe we'll get one or two. Got It. Um, and, and here's another side note, but important thing that Maine did to, to kind of open this up. Uh, the application fee in Maine was $15,000 per region that you were applying for and if you didn't get it, you got all but a thousand dollars of that back. Oh, that's the same thing they did in New York. There you go. No, I'm kidding.

Speaker 6: Right. So those numbers were different. Big numbers and many, many more Zeros. I'm no refunds. Yeah. And so, so there were a ton of applicants, you know, and, and I think that's a positive. Um, and, and so we did the work. We, we pulled together what I think was a good team and, um, of mainers or. Yes. Oh yeah, yeah. And, and that's a piece of means law is that we have to be, you know, but I'm saying everyone on the team was mainers or with the only transplant basically, um, will be, was still involved, certainly, but I was, I had become a mainer by then. I had moved as the end of March effectively. Um, and, and we submitted these applications and kept our fingers crossed and uh, turns out that the committee chose us for four of the eight licenses, which I think the first words out of my mouth were, Holy Shit, what have I got that phone call?

Speaker 6: I had to sit down a few times in my life when I've had to sit down, but I had to sit down and that turned into wellness. Can I? And that turned into wellness connection into. Alright. So that means for shops, for, for standalone retail facilities. And then the one cultivation site talk about building that up. We're gonna Kinda start to finish. But uh, as far as building up wellness connection, you know, important milestones on the way. Oh Gosh. Um, you know, finding locations. This was, although cannabis is, how can I say this very popular in Maine, this was something new and, and there were plenty of, of towns and cities that, you know, we lead scout a good location and we'd lay the ground work talking to the city manager and then the brakes would come on at some point. So, uh, also very interesting because there's so much water in Maine and I have a point to, there are many, many towns.

Speaker 6: So like we're interviewing him in Auburn I think right now. Those right across the river is Louis. I'm Hollowell Augusta. There's just a number of twin cities that are separated by a river. And it's very interesting to note that many in many of those cases, the larger of the two cities was a little more conservative and said no. And the smaller was a little more open to it [inaudible], whether from business, you know, stimulus standpoint or. So, Lewiston is larger than Auburn. I was at the time. Well, I, yeah. And, and Auburn, um, is where our cultivation site is. There is a dispensary in Auburn and I think we'll listen to this, maybe a little more conservative if you look back at the anyway anyway. Anyway. Um, but you know, Biddeford, Sako and Augusta Hollowell was where our first midstate dispensary was. Hollowell is sorta like the Berkeley of main of the east coast.

Speaker 6: You might say when, when they, uh, when the shops, uh, you know, got to, came to fruition. What was your initial thought on the difference between just, you know, what happens at a dispensary? Folks coming in service and everything compared to northern California. Oh Wow. Very, very different. So a wow by the time, by the time that we opened here in Maine, this era was passed, but I, when I started, uh, at Berkeley patients group for one thing, they were grandfathered in and we're an onsite consumption place. So we had a vape lounge and patients would consume onsite and it was not a problem. And, and man, you float that idea and was not well received. Look at you like you were crazy. Are you out of your mind? So I'm very nfw. Very.

Speaker 6: Yeah. Just a lot more. I Dunno, restrained is not quite the right, the right word, but a little conservative. Yes. Yeah, exactly. So that was them. But what about the patients? What was different or was it the same thing? The patients? Oh my gosh, no, it's same, same patients. Patients are in pain and they want something like some medicine to feel better without, you know, a giant pill factory, making money off of them and the risk of addiction and all of those things know that the patients are, you know, I think Maine's population is much older. Our average age in the state is, I want to say 44. Okay. So mid forties. Sure. Um, and we have a lot of retirees. We have a lot of, um, lower income folks. We're not a, we're not a wealthy state. Uh, and so those are differences, you know.

Speaker 6: Um, and, and certainly there are people who struggled in California, poor people as well, but sure, the number of folks who, uh, for whom it was apparent that they're choosing this medicine meant some significant financial sacrifices. You know, it was a big deal. Yeah. Yeah, I, it was. And, and then just things as simple as, you know, I have 30 percent of my members, my patients are 60 and up, so however my ada structures, you know, the, the first site that we had an Hollowell was a great space once you got inside, but getting inside there was this long wooden ramp and with our winters it was not great, you know, so I mean there, there were considerations that, that I hadn't expected or you didn't have to worry about their. Exactly. Exactly. So, um, but in terms of, you know, you want to, you want to serve people, you want to give them education and you want to be compassionate, compassionate to them.

Speaker 6: And that's, that doesn't change. It doesn't matter what state you're in. That's the whole thing. Yeah. All right. So you obviously a part of bpg at a very important time. Help build what we know as the legal cannabis market here in Maine. Thank you for that. I know you're doing a little bit of a huge group effort, but I know that you're doing a little bit of consulting and so without making this a commercial, what I'll say is if you want to get in touch with Becky, just engage account economy.com. How about we love that. I love that. Thank you. Then we'll ask you the three final questions. Okay. I'll tell you what they are and then Alaska, you them in order. Okay. First one is what has most surprised you in cannabis? Next one is what has most surprised you in life? And the third one on the soundtrack of oysters life. One track, one song that's got to be on there. But first things first. Wow. What has most surprised you in your nationwide involvement in or across nations involved in the cannabis? In cannabis. Wow. I'm glad I'm not on a timer here.

Speaker 6: Many things. Um, but I think, oh, you think it is. It has to do with the power of this plant too. Not only heal, but unite people. I think, um,

Speaker 6: actually I don't think you're going to edit this, right? You're not going to have to heal and unite. That's beautiful state, I think. Yeah. Right. It's so true. Okay. Okay. Why would that not be? It feels squishy, but, but it is. It's, you know, I mean, it's something that even if you don't use it, even if you think it's, you know, the devil's lettuce, you're going to be able to have a really interesting and exciting conversation with that person. Okay. Yeah. You know, around those differences and, and in terms of, you know, one of the beautiful things is to have somebody come in who now I'm thinking of a specific patient of ours at wcm that I became close to who, uh, came in and was suffering crones and had been for 15 years and was just so excited to tell me that he had been in remission for a full year since he started using it.

Speaker 6: I mean like, that's life changing. That is amazing. And to be part of, in any way making that possible for someone and making it, you know, the, on the flip side, he also is an education and didn't feel comfortable, you know, there's not a lot of folks who can talk to it. Right. You can't just share. Right. Exactly. So, so to, to be playing a role where you're helping people in such a very visceral way. Um, and personal way and yeah. And making their lives better. Wow. That's, that's a surprise every day. Do you, do you believe in miracles? Right? I tell you what, if you don't start working around cannabis and you're going to see them. So, so what has most surprised you in life? I mean, that's a pretty big one for just campus life is huge. It is. It's remarkable how, how a substantial it is, isn't it? We're not just playing around. This is for keeps. I don't know if it's necessarily a surprise, but certainly a lesson I have learned is that. And, and this goes out specifically as well to anybody who struggles with anxiety and depression. Okay.

Speaker 6: The clouds always parked. There is always another chapter in the book and I think that, you know, there definitely been some times, not just in my involvement in this industry, but just in life where you feel like it's, you know, how, how much worse can this possibly get? I'm like, after, after my dad died in my journal, I drew this picture of, of a figure just curled up in a ball on the floor and everything under the floor was just black. So it feels definitely. Exactly. And it has taken a long time for me to be able to be in a moment like that and remind myself, hey, it's going to get better. Yeah, it's, it might not be tomorrow, but it's going to get better and that's, that's not directly associated with cannabis, although cannabis certainly can help. Sure. Um, but, but to have that kind of patience and faith that it's going to be okay. There you go. Clouds always part. I like that. Yes, they always do. And uh, I, I like how you took that opportunity to an educator. You can help yourself. No, don't worry about it folks. The clouds always.

Speaker 6: Okay, Becky, it's either the. Oh, go ahead on the soundtrack. Oh man, you know, it's got to be, it's, it's a song that's got to be on the soundtrack so it doesn't have to be perfect, but it's a song in a or attract. That's got to be honest.

Speaker 7: Wow.

Speaker 6: Okay. This one might actually take me the longest I need. You'd like to say it's either the easiest or toughest question depending on so many. Right. I man, that's why I say, you know, was just, uh, one of the ones that's going by. You can pick any one of them will fight song just leapt into my mind, but that's not my usual type of music. What, what is that? Oh, that song I see muse uprising.

Speaker 6: Man, I might have to get back to you on this one. That's fine. You know that meme that's going around on facebook about the 10 albums that I've seen that effect. So I, I, I'm not a person to jump right on those things, but I had been kind of thinking and like the albums that come up for me are more like, you know, joy, division and eraser and yeah. And I'm sure there's something in those albums. Then you can go joy division. Let's do that. Let's get to Manchester, you know what I mean? Right. Division of A. Well who else would the happy Mondays were in that, uh, the situation around there. Alright. Not necessarily any particular song, but something from joy division is what we'll do. Is that you're going to play like I can, I go, I can't play anything. I had to cost me money. You could probably like 12, 12 notes of it. I don't even want to attempt the face. Like I said, I've already done that enough today. That's true too. But I want to, I want to do things above board. Gotcha. Gotcha. Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. I can't thank you enough. Thank you so much. That what a pleasure to spend some time with you today. Absolutely. Likewise. Take care. And there you have becky Dequois Easter.

Speaker 2: I mean, come on, that's the whole thing right there. There's becky. That's what that is. That's what this was before it was an industry. Chris Crane knows that. Thanks so much to him. Very much appreciate his time. As always, go ahead and give us a review in whatever service you use, itunes, Google play, whatever. 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.