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Ep.225: Art Way & Mason Tvert: MCBA Spotlight

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.225: Art Way & Mason Tvert: MCBA Spotlight

Ep.225: Art Way & Mason Tvert: MCBA Spotlight

Art Way, DPA & Mason Tvert, MPP
Mason Tvert returns to give us an update from MPP. He shares that if you look at cannabis in a vacuum, things are as good as they’ve ever been.  Mason notes that Arizona losing with 49.7 percent in the most hostile media environment that he’s seen in his 12 years of fighting for cannabis reform with a tremendous amount of opposition money is actually promising.
Art Way then joins us and takes us through his personal history which turned out to be a perfect background for a career in advocacy. He shares his philosophy of harm reduction and meeting people where they are to get them to where they need to be. Finally Art shares that you can’t communicate with someone unless you fully understand from where they’re coming.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Art Way and Mason Tvert mason, divert returns to give us an update from MPP shares that if you look at cannabis in a vacuum, things are as good as they've ever been. Mason notes that Arizona losing with 49 point seven percent of the vote in the most hostile media environment that he's seen in his 12 years of fighting for cannabis reform with a tremendous amount of opposition. Money is actually promising art way then joins us and takes us through his personal history, which turned out to be a perfect background for a career in advocacy. You shares this philosophy of harm reduction and meeting people where they are to get them to where they need to be. Finally, our chairs that you can't communicate with someone unless you fully understand where they're coming from. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends and the word economy art way proceeded by Mason to vert. So

Speaker 2: last time we spoke, uh, everything was okay in the world. Don't know about that. Certainly have better prospects. Indeed it was different. So, you know, we've spoken to you before we got to your background and all that and I can't wait to hear what you're. A song selection is on the soundtrack of your life this time. But I digress. Um, as far as MPP is concerned, let's just start big and wide. Uh, spoke to Ncia their mission, uh, did change, spoke to minority cannabis business association. Their mission didn't change with the surprise that came with the election and in, uh, in November. In other words, no matter what your political stripes, I think nearly 100 percent of the people thought it was going to go one way. Now that it is a different reality, how much has that changed your work?

Speaker 3: Well, with regard to marijuana policy, there has been no change yet. So there's no one outside of, of the administration who could tell you they know what the administration's going to do and marijuana policy. So nothing has changed as of yet. So our, our work certainly hasn't changed. One where we're continuing to work in legislatures in Congress and that supporting potential future ballot initiatives. And we are cautiously optimistic that that things are going to continue forward as they have been.

Speaker 2: So you deal with reality at hand. Other words, you're not going to go ahead and restructure whatever the plan was because there's a different guy on top. We got to wait and see what actually happens.

Speaker 3: Yeah, there's, there's been no indication as to what the administration's policy or, or, or, or intentions are. So all, all we do know if we base this entirely on, on what is known for certain, is that the new president believe states should be able to establish their own marijuana laws. Okay. That is not a departure from the previous administration, right? It is that the new president thinks there is medical values to marijuana and that it should be available to sick people who need it. That is not a particularly significant departure, or if not an improvement from the last administration, uh, less those things change. There's not a reason to be concerned. Now the, I think the concern lies in the unknown and that the possibility that those things could seemingly change because this president tends to, to kind of blow in the wind a bit on some issues

Speaker 2: and, and I quickly, you can also find kind of quotes on the other side, uh, you know, which could be pointed to in retrospect and say, well, I said that, so, you know, a, a, it is up in the air. I like the fact though, that you're going to wait for the dust to settle, so to speak. And so when the dust has settled on, on ballot measures in eight out of nine states, eight out of nine wins, guy like mason divert, you know, when you, when you see those, uh, election results, how did you feel on election night simply with cannabis as your one issue?

Speaker 3: Right? It was a bizarre situation, honestly. Obviously this was a historic election for marijuana policy, but there was a very somber, a sentiment, uh, with regard to the presidential election. And it's still there. I mean, it's, it's still it, you know, damping the moment. Uh, so it's, it's bizarre. But, you know, if you look at this issue in a vacuum of, of the, you know, only a few, if you're concerned only about marijuana policy in the United States, then things are as good as they've ever been and potentially on their way to getting better. But obviously we don't have the luxury of living in a type of vacuum.

Speaker 1: Art Way and Mason Tvert mason, divert returns to give us an update from MPP shares that if you look at cannabis in a vacuum, things are as good as they've ever been. Mason notes that Arizona losing with 49 point seven percent of the vote in the most hostile media environment that he's seen in his 12 years of fighting for cannabis reform with a tremendous amount of opposition. Money is actually promising art way then joins us and takes us through his personal history, which turned out to be a perfect background for a career in advocacy. You shares this philosophy of harm reduction and meeting people where they are to get them to where they need to be. Finally, our chairs that you can't communicate with someone unless you fully understand where they're coming from. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends and the word economy art way proceeded by Mason to vert. So

Speaker 2: last time we spoke, uh, everything was okay in the world. Don't know about that. Certainly have better prospects. Indeed it was different. So, you know, we've spoken to you before we got to your background and all that and I can't wait to hear what you're. A song selection is on the soundtrack of your life this time. But I digress. Um, as far as MPP is concerned, let's just start big and wide. Uh, spoke to Ncia their mission, uh, did change, spoke to minority cannabis business association. Their mission didn't change with the surprise that came with the election and in, uh, in November. In other words, no matter what your political stripes, I think nearly 100 percent of the people thought it was going to go one way. Now that it is a different reality, how much has that changed your work?

Speaker 3: Well, with regard to marijuana policy, there has been no change yet. So there's no one outside of, of the administration who could tell you they know what the administration's going to do and marijuana policy. So nothing has changed as of yet. So our, our work certainly hasn't changed. One where we're continuing to work in legislatures in Congress and that supporting potential future ballot initiatives. And we are cautiously optimistic that that things are going to continue forward as they have been.

Speaker 2: So you deal with reality at hand. Other words, you're not going to go ahead and restructure whatever the plan was because there's a different guy on top. We got to wait and see what actually happens.

Speaker 3: Yeah, there's, there's been no indication as to what the administration's policy or, or, or, or intentions are. So all, all we do know if we base this entirely on, on what is known for certain, is that the new president believe states should be able to establish their own marijuana laws. Okay. That is not a departure from the previous administration, right? It is that the new president thinks there is medical values to marijuana and that it should be available to sick people who need it. That is not a particularly significant departure, or if not an improvement from the last administration, uh, less those things change. There's not a reason to be concerned. Now the, I think the concern lies in the unknown and that the possibility that those things could seemingly change because this president tends to, to kind of blow in the wind a bit on some issues

Speaker 2: and, and I quickly, you can also find kind of quotes on the other side, uh, you know, which could be pointed to in retrospect and say, well, I said that, so, you know, a, a, it is up in the air. I like the fact though, that you're going to wait for the dust to settle, so to speak. And so when the dust has settled on, on ballot measures in eight out of nine states, eight out of nine wins, guy like mason divert, you know, when you, when you see those, uh, election results, how did you feel on election night simply with cannabis as your one issue?

Speaker 3: Right? It was a bizarre situation, honestly. Obviously this was a historic election for marijuana policy, but there was a very somber, a sentiment, uh, with regard to the presidential election. And it's still there. I mean, it's, it's still it, you know, damping the moment. Uh, so it's, it's bizarre. But, you know, if you look at this issue in a vacuum of, of the, you know, only a few, if you're concerned only about marijuana policy in the United States, then things are as good as they've ever been and potentially on their way to getting better. But obviously we don't have the luxury of living in a type of vacuum.

Speaker 2: Indeed. So, uh, with adult use coming to California, um, you know, just focusing there for a minute because that was the big win. How much does that change the conversation from an MVP perspective?

Speaker 3: Well, I, you know, I think that, that it's been very clear for the last couple of years that the country is heading in a direction of, of reforming marijuana laws and moving toward a system in which marijuana is being treated more like alcohol and, and the passage of the laws in California, but as well as in Massachusetts, in Nevada and Maine, certainly a reinforced that and make it an even more obvious reality. Um, you know, the, the, the concerns that arise from the trump administration or the perception that it's going to be bad for marijuana kind of takes away from that, that momentum a little bit, but as I said, there's not necessarily a reason for it to quite yet, but you know, when you're talking about public perception that it is what it is. Right.

Speaker 2: You mentioned a Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, those are three, you know, kind of geographies that at least had some experience with cannabis before. The fact that we had winds, they're not necessarily huge news. Let's leave those alone for a minute. We'll see if we have time to come back to them. However, when you see 71 percent in Florida, but also Arkansas North Dakota, Montana, what does that make you, when you see those results specifically? You wake up the next day and do you, what do you think you can win any state as far as medical? I think North Dakota was particularly interesting in terms of the, the

Speaker 3: terrific and margin of victory. Uh, you know, I had expected that that would win, but not quite that big. Uh, so that was certainly, no, the Florida was, was pretty clear the direction that that was headed because we had that evidence of 68, couple of years ago previous study. So that wasn't particularly surprising, although the fact that it got again, that the margin being so great is note worthy. Um, and then Arkansas with there being two measures on the ballot, again, certainly interested in the, the, there'd always been a notion that if there were two medical marijuana initiatives or marijuana or only one, neither would pass. And then obviously that was not the case.

Speaker 2: No, no matter which way you look at it, I think the cause was benefited by the two measures only being on the ballot for a couple of weeks of early voting. They actually, you know, a seven came off for six came off, I can't remember which, um, so that, but certainly even with two, yeah, there's a wind in Arkansas and also just the question of whether it would divide a supporters

Speaker 3: and so on. And, and, uh, you know, fortunately it did not. Uh, so yeah, it's. But I think that there's also some, some of the biggest aspects of the election were things that did not get talked about quite as much. Uh, particularly, uh, I think that in Arizona, although that was an initiative that ended up ultimately losing, did receive about 49 point seven percent. And of course, you know, that's, it could be perceived as spin from the losing side that it, you know, it's a point now that it's note worthy, but it is, that's my home state is a very conservative state. It was perhaps the most hostile media environments I've seen working on this issue in the last 12 years. Discount tires and fentinol right. Well, it was also the most money ever spent against the marijuana initiative with the exception of the opposition in Florida in 2014, which is the same guy, Adelson.

Speaker 3: Uh, but I mean I listened, didn't even give that much in Arizona. They, the governor really made it his primary issue of the election and they raised something like $6,000,000. And so that was, you know, with that much opposition in that hostile of immediate. I mean, keep in mind, I mean, this is a, a, a state with really only two media markets and uh, you know, being Phoenix and Tucson, uh, and then really one newspaper. I mean, you've got a couple local papers in Tucson and flagstaff, but really the Arizona Republic is the only newspaper that most people see in Arizona and it's spent at least two columns or two editorials a week for months. You're hammering this thing and in a, in a very misleading way. So the fact that despite all of that, it still gets 49 point seven percent is, is promising, and suggest that if it comes up again, like 2020 the past.

Speaker 3: The other very big thing in the election, uh, it did get some attention to is the initiative in Denver that really represents that the next step toward treating marijuana sensibly is social use initiative that will allow for adults to consume in certain venues if the neighborhood's approve of it. A 300 initiative, 300, that's very noteworthy, but also the defeats of the proposed bans on businesses in Pueblo and Pueblo County, uh, which were really marketed by our opponents as a referendum on whether legalization is working in Colorado. Right. You know, as well, if legalization were so good, why would the, this, this city that had fully embraced this be now considering repealing it and obviously we knew that that was not necessarily the position of, of most people. It was really just something that got on the ballot there. Unfortunately it was, it was handling, defeated, really sent the message that it is working in. Most people would agree. Well, let's, let's, uh, Kinda dive into both of those because you are in Colorado. Um, as far as Pueblo is concerned, I those, what I've heard is that those are the same folks that were kind of pushing on the potency. Um,

Speaker 2: and so are they going to be chasing people like you around the country now or, or the state for that matter, or we, where are we with that opposition

Speaker 3: specifically? Basically there, there are people who believe marijuana is bad or wrong or unhealthy or what have you and generally, you know, I think there's a spectrum of, of people with reasonable concerns to unreasonable concerns and then with, you know, a variety of intentions, but ultimately there is a group of people with a certain mindset that marijuana should not be used and they are going to want to limit its use or prevent its use or limit the extent of its use in any way possible. So they will put up a fight to keep it illegal and when that fight fails it will be a matter of making it as difficult as possible to get. So that'll be supporting local bands say that fits in, you know, as those things become a, you as those goals become an unattainable for them. And these communities, you know, like in what we've seen in Colorado, even places that band are increasingly now revisiting that in deciding to allow for the, you know, these businesses, the, they will take those steps of wanting to limit the potency or the types of products and so on.

Speaker 3: And you know, I think that at some point there is a healthy balance. I don't think, you know, obviously that that re, you know, ridiculous limits on potency or on certain types of products that are unreasonable or just serve to push marijuana back in the underground market. I don't think that those are reasonable. But there is going to be a community that wants to be a watchdog on this. Much like we've seen with other products, you know, we, we live in a society that has experienced dealing with other intoxicating substances. And unfortunately a tobacco was the one that really set a precedent of, you know, you had these horrific marketing and, and other types of business tactics and things that were done a long time ago. You know, at the same time when there were no seat belts. And you know, things like that, that, that really alerted people to the possibility of nefarious activities by certain types of companies.

Speaker 3: And that sentiment is still alive and well. And now while marijuana is not the same product, although some of these people think it's like, you know, just worse and worse. There are people who now look at it through a historical lens of we need to prevent that type of thing from occurring and I think that there are some aspects of the positive things you know, to, to keep an eye out for possible bad things. I mean, it's theoretically that you could see something that's, that doesn't need to be kept in check. So that. So, which brings us to two consumption. And so I have two minds about consumption, which is absolutely, we must have it without question. The assumption of yeah, well consumption laws around the. So we pass consumption here. The other side of my brain with consumption goes to, okay, so this guy goes into a bar, mean socially, like social social constructs yet and, and, and outside of the home.

Speaker 3: So a 300. So this guy goes to a bar, have a drink, then goes to a consumption, uh, you know, legally acceptable consumption place for a cannabis gets pulled over. And then where does the finger point to the cannabis? I don't think it matters whether the guy goes home or goes somewhere else. Now, first of all, the guy shouldn't be in a situation where he has to go to a bar and drink and then drive somewhere else to use marijuana. It doesn't make sense and the entire point that's exactly are saying that as well, but people are the. The point is that people are going to be consuming marijuana regardless. The question is, are people going to be drinking in a bar and then going out in the alley or the parking lot or out on the street and using marijuana and then back into the bar.

Speaker 3: Are they going to be using it in an area of the bar that, where it's allowed? Or will it be an establishment that has certain types of rules? Perhaps they say you're allowed to use marijuana but you are only allowed to have up to two drinks while you're here or only up to one drink or maybe even they could say you can't have any drinks while you're here. And I mean, I'm not saying that I think that that is necessarily the best idea. But um, you have all these, these, these options in the middle. It's not a question of should it be allowed everywhere or not? Could you have a situation where you've go to, uh, this, this, this venue of sorts? And they say, do you plan on consuming cannabis? Yes, I do. They give you a certain type of bracelet. Now I can go into the area where you're allowed to consume cannabis, but because I have that bracelet, I'm only allowed to have purchased two drinks a or something like that.

Speaker 3: They could do these types of things and also then I would be wearing this bracelet and when I purchase a drink, the bartender can now make the judgment that we trust bartenders to make in this country that you know, they, every time when someone serves a dream, they are responsible for determining whether you're too intoxicated to serve or not. And now they can see, well, I need to take into account that this person is also consuming cannabis and that is a much more reasonable or sensible system than, than just going into this blind and forcing people into the, into the shadows. So absolutely and reasonable and sensible is where I'm at. I'm saying the opposition like we're talking about with potency, like we're talking about with tableau coming back and then being able to point fingers. That's really what I'm getting at the point is that it's not going to make a different, you know, whether the person is, is driving or not.

Speaker 3: It doesn't matter where they use the marijuana loses in the parking lot or in the venue. Uh, so you're, you're going to have certain opponents who are going to be trying to paint a dark picture no matter what. Um, but I think that you need to trust the reasonable policy. We'll, we'll end up prevailing and that we will see the benefits of it, whether it's we see less consumption in public on the street and the park, what have you, uh, whether we actually do see those types of, of, of benefits of reducing intoxicated driving by, by, you know, having things in place that maybe limit the number of drinks if someone's consuming or things of that nature. You know, I think that we have to trust that the best policy will work better and we need to make the case for it.

Speaker 2: Distemper, establishing a sensible policy for reasonable social consumption. Yes. Essentially is what it is and where it's at. Um, where's your biggest a focus when you wake up in the morning, what do you think? What do you think about first now?

Speaker 3: Oh, well, you know, we've got a whole lot go to. Our legislatures are really getting rolling with a legislation on marijuana policy around the country. So, you know, we're, we're very, very involved in supporting a legislation to regulate marijuana for adult use and states like Vermont and Rhode Island and Connecticut. And then of course there are still fights going on over medical marijuana and some legislatures, particularly South Carolina and Texas, Louisiana. Uh, talk about. Talk about those three please. Sure. Well, you know, Texas and South Carolina and Louisiana, all three of them have adopted laws regarding medical marijuana, but none of them are adequate. Uh, they are all flawed and at least one or more ways in ways that make them unworkable or very ineffective for most people. And so there is a need to pass what we would consider comprehensive medical marijuana legislation and all three of those states in particular certainly could do that within the next year or two.

Speaker 3: A Texas. We're very hopeful because there is strong public support this public square in all of these states they should say, but this is an issue that they got into their last time around when they did pass that I just said the legislators have all started to learn a little more about this issue. They all dip their toe into the water by passing these measures that they were warned we're going to be ineffective and now they are seeing how they are ineffective so they will be really forced to take the next step because they've now acknowledged that there's a need to help certain people and if the law they passed is not doing that, doing that, then they need to take the next step to make sure that that they are perfect. Now the problem of Texas is that they only meet every other year and for a very limited time, which at that time they spend trying to run out the clock so that they don't pass anything. Right. So, uh, there's also a penalties bill in Texas that were very hopeful. We'll pass that. We believe that very strong support for a that would remove the possibility of jail time for low level possession. Um, South Carolina is, is, you know, obviously in the south there's in all three of these states that are great local activists there, you know, these parents and in other patients, parents, patients and other patients who are very involved and we're doing everything we can to make their efforts as effective as possible. Fantastic.

Speaker 2: Alright. So we march on to other states and you know, tomorrow's the same as yesterday in, in many ways and did all right. So, uh, you know, I'd love to sit here all day but we got to do another thing. Um, and so I'll ask you the final question for today, which is always the same final question on the soundtrack of your life, Mason. One track, one song that's got to be on there could be the same one that you gave us last time. It could be.

Speaker 3: I don't know what I gave you last time.

Speaker 4: I don't remember either. Yeah, I fought the law.

Speaker 2: Yeah, that's, that's, uh, that's perfect. Macy's. Divert. Thanks so much again. I was pleasure.

Speaker 1: This episode is also supported by Eden labs. Even labs is the fastest, highest yielding botanical extraction, a distillation on earth. COAC Bradick says that our health depends on what we consume, how it's prepared for our consumption and the environment. Eaton is a modern ethno botanical based company that continually innovate efficient systems for the highest purity and quality products. The company was founded from an intense curiosity on the effects of botanicals on human health and wellbeing. The focus since 1994 has been on pure medicinal or nutritional extracts. Visiting labs.com for more detailed policy alliance in the basement in the basement.

Speaker 5: The office is in the basement of a bunker sorts, safe brick mansion. Valerie, about Valedictorian. Victoria. Victoria is a tornado, whatever, and bring it up. Now. Did you. Is this your choice? Why did you specifically kind of. I did, I did find this and I was satisfied for the first two or three years and I won't be able to move out for another year, but it is done is purpose, but I'm about ready to go. So DPA and we'll, we'll talk about the changes and all that art way. First off, I mean art way. This is like a name and my first conversation where you got to tell me. Is that your given name? It is, it is Arthur Antonio way junior. So that's me. So the art, which is beautiful. I love the shortening of it. Ours define. Okay. What's the etymology? You already told me, but you've got to tell me now because we've got the mics on of way. How was that last name? I love it. Yeah. And I look for ways and I don't see many ways right there. So you know, my uncle says where there's a will, there's a way, you know, he's, he's big on the ways, but yeah, you

Speaker 6: know, English is all I can say. You know, they sent me the crest one day. They've been mailed me and asked me if I wanted to join the. I'm okay, you're, you're, you're making me think of slavery a little bit, but yeah. Uh, yeah, I'm, I'm good with it though. I liked it. It does have a nice ring to it. Two syllables. So you brought up your, your uncle. We just did a Webinar for MCPA, which was

Speaker 7: just really good. Um, and you said something interesting along the way there. He said, uh, I kinda noticed early on, uh, the difference between my uncle still get into it,

Speaker 6: you know, marijuana is safer than alcohol. Right? Right. And so yeah, when you're in a car with a, either you're a family member or your friend's family member and they're driving drunk and you're looking for the seatbelt at 11 years old compared to, you know, going to the circus or the zoo with the hi uncle. Didn't. Maybe you cannot understand that, you know, that marijuana may be safer than alcohol on occasion. And it is, it's fine to put that out there. You know, my whole drug policy take is from I learned from my family, you know, my great grandma was like, look, I want you to be drug and alcohol free. But I mean, I think if, if you had to choose, you know, she was a fan of marijuana at the time, but because, you know, we had a few alcoholics in the family, some people would have disappointed her and you know, she just, uh, realized, uh, you know, from, from the health issues with liver failure and kidney and you know, alcohol is, is uh, is, is dangerous, but it's, it's culturally accepted. Um, and of course it's used at a higher rate to marijuana, but marijuana is just not the type of substance that can cause the physical elements in the public health costs that alcohol candidate. Right. You know, when you talk about traffic safety, the violence, you know, a lot of times alcohol is behind that. You know, if the KKK smoked a lot more American,

Speaker 7: they may not be the same. They may not be the same group. That's a different take on.

Speaker 6: They got drunk before doing a lot of that stuff. I don't think they got high. Exactly. And you did mention about drunk was I kind of noticed that the, the, the, the cannabis cycles were cooler. Yeah, I mean they, they hung out with you a little bit more, you know what I mean, you know, they, you know, but I'm not saying that. I'm not saying that some people can't get high and do foul stuff. Sure. But it just doesn't seem to be quite the norm the way it is with alcohol.

Speaker 7: Yeah. So, so we're talking about your great grandma and your uncles, obviously family, big deal for you. Where, where did you grow up? All the way back.

Speaker 6: I grew up here in this, in this community in northeast Denver and my family's been here since the turn of the 19th century. So you know, my great great grandfather came out here working on the railroad, a sharecropper in Alabama and one of the first African Americans to own property in Denver. So there are people in Denver and I'm wondering the old families look at that. So like 18 hundreds and stuff like 1880 something, you know? Um, wow. You came out here and then set up shop and he wasn't really the only one. I mean, you know, the railroad opened up the country for a lot of people, including black folks that were down south. So of course that's how we ended up, you know, he was probably going to la because like artist work, just a dude. He was probably going to California later. Kind of like it here.

Speaker 7: You know what, we'll, we'll resettle here. What was that? Your great, great grandfather. Great. Great. Great. Great, great, great, great. And so then the, was it his daughter that you're talking about when you say greg? Grandmother. Wow. Alright. So that's the connection you have is pretty far back and uh, and personal.

Speaker 6: Yeah. Yeah. I mean my family has always been the type that, you know, was not afraid to tackle the tough issues, you know, I was, as a kid, I was like, why do we have to talk about this? I'll let you know. What can I say? I'll be like those other close loop

Speaker 7: people. You know, why can't we not share with you?

Speaker 6: Yeah, they get to talking about sex and I'm like, this is too much information, you know, but it was the same with drug policy. I mean, we discussed these things and so a lot of my paradigms and you know, came from the family and it was, it's just the same stuff that I've been learning and advocating for at drug policy alliance. Um, you know, just because you use a substance does not mean you're a moral failure. It does not mean that you should be considered a criminal, right? Just because you decide to alter your own damn consciousness, you know what I mean? But if you actually heard somebody in the process, you know, you should be dealt with for that specific, you know, a physical or violent act or, or even negligent act. Um, but at the same time, um, uh, my, my family instilled in me that, uh, you know, you take people for what they are and you treat people with compassion. Uh, and it's, it's the same thing that the drug policy movement is trying to do.

Speaker 7: There you go, take before they are treated with compassion. What, what kind of people were mom and dad when you were growing up? Obviously openminded and maybe sharing a little too much, but what did that do? What mom do?

Speaker 6: Being a dad was a Vietnam vet. He was at Kipp for his services. Absolutely. Um, you know, and he was, he was just a drinker, you know what I mean? And you know, a lot of the stigma that happened from that war, you know, a lot of guys will blame, you know, marijuana and heroin on, you know, losing friends. Um, and so, you know, so that whole Nixon era and the war on drugs and how Vietnam played into that, I kind of saw that with my dad a little bit. Um, he wasn't really, um, a marijuana smoker, but my mom's brother, my uncle, he everything, you know, he was a 16 kid, you know what I mean? Marijuana, cocaine, uh, you know, uh, everything, but he was tight with my dad, you know, they got along good. Um, so, you know, but you know that the alcohol just, I don't, I don't think it's hard to tell. Right. You know what I mean? I think we all have family members who probably drink too much and it's not hard to tell you that the decision making when you're inebriated is not the best. And so, you know, not only my dad but a couple of grandfathers and so on and so forth, but you know, all, all good people at the same time, you know what I mean? But you know, you just saw the differences between, you know, my, my uncle and on one hand and they kind of my dad on the other.

Speaker 7: Yeah. So you said it was only a few words, but it says a lot. Take people for what they are treated with compassion. Treat them with compassion. I got it. Check. Take people for what that, what does that mean when you say that? What you said it was taught to you?

Speaker 6: You know, look at it when it comes to the 12 step program and abstinence only, you know, some people may not be ready to quit and you forcing them to quit and get clean and sober may only make the situation worse and that's the way our criminal justice system looks at it. Whereas, you know, the way my parents tried to instill with me is what we call harm reduction. It's like, well, this person is not ready to quit, but then how can we benefit? How can we improve their situation in light of the fact they're still not ready to quit. You know, you can still better your situation. You can, you can slow down, you can make sure you eat and shower every day. You know, if you brush your teeth, you know what I mean? You know meth mouth is not really due to the math. As much as people are not taking care of themselves anymore. They're not brushing their damn teeth anymore. They're on that chaotic end of the spectrum where they're not eating. They're not drinking water and not taking care of themselves, and then that's when the dental decay. It really starts to happen

Speaker 7: as a caregiver in that situation, you know, if you're taking people for it, they are. And, and understanding, okay, you know, uh, what, what you're doing is harmful, but let's see where we can make some improvements. How do you actually approach that person? Um, what kind of language do you use? What kind of, you know, physical approach even, you know, to, to, to kind of ease the message in?

Speaker 6: Well, from a policy perspective is like, look, you can engage in this diversion program that's harm reduction based or you could just wrote a dice at the courthouse. Right? You know what I mean? So there's a little incentive incentive there and you know, question is, what's the. I'm forgetting the word that I need right now when you kind of force somebody to do something when it's not voluntary. I mean, you know, our way is not completely voluntary, but it's a lot less, more cores if that's the word I was using then what the current system does. Um, so it's really just providing an opportunity and, and surrounding that person with a community of harm reduction activists of treatment folks of people who provide wraparound services to help stabilize that person. So then they can say, you know what, I do want treatment. I think I'm tired of this chair so that this drug dependency has me on,

Speaker 7: I'm going to take a leap here and I'm purposely going to do it. And I hope that, uh, we, we get somewhere with it and you know, we, we kind of touched on it before we turned on the mix that no matter which side you're on and they're really tends to be kind of just two sides and there's, you know, a spectrum there as far as politics is concerned. When you look at and listen to the other side, you don't, you just don't understand what they're saying, where they're coming from and it makes you a. and there's just such an anger from either side. And so if we, as a society, because I'm an American, I'm a patriot, I love this country. I like to say I come from the left, I try to be in the middle. Um, if we're gonna survive, we got to talk as, as Americans to each other. Forget about the politicians, just us. We got to get together here, you know, the $300, whatever million of us. How can we use these principles of kind of, of helping make someone's life better. Uh, just kinda. Okay. I get it. That's your point of view. Um, you know, before I tell you what my point of view is, let me understand your point of view a little bit more. How would you use those, those principles that same way?

Speaker 6: Well, to be honest, you know, I want to understand someone who, for whatever reason is on the opposite side of the issue with me because my goal is to turn them to my side and I can't do that unless I fully understand where they come from. Right. And so if, if you just listened to certain buzzwords or, or just the fact that they're a republican or a Democrat, you know, it shut down before you actually understand where they're coming from because usually people have personal reasons why their politics are what they are, you know? Um, I, I got a car stolen from me in law school and I was, I was like tough on crime and next month I was like, put everybody in jail. And they got, they got to go, you know, I was pissed. But you got to understand that a lot of people have personal reasons that they come from where they come from and you have to like an onion.

Speaker 6: You Peel through those layers to find the common grounds. But if you're not willing to first sit and listen to somebody and also realize that you may need to tone down your approach, that's it. Before you turn people off, you know where you will turn people off or you will turn people live. You know? So it's, it's, it's just this crazy thing called humans trying to communicate with each other, right? And doing a real match, I mean, people do it on dates, right? They really try to get to know each other. But in the policy world, we don't always do that. But you're not. It's understandable though, because the proof is in the pudding, you know what I mean? We'd have 40 years of this drug war, um, you know, 90 percent of the people in federal prison for crimes charges are black. Um, you know, there's racial discrimination at every step in the criminal justice system from stop arrest, sentencing, even reentry stuff is, is, is we get less of that. And so it's hard to hear somebody's support that old way when you know, the proof is in the pudding and for us it's just failed. And so I understand why people lose patients, but you still need to have you. You need to, you need to establish a foundation to listen and to sometimes all to your approach in order to get your, your, your approach across.

Speaker 7: There we go. Alright, so listening, we've got two ears and one mouth for a reason, right? Right. Um, so, but let's, let's go in on that subject alone, right? So, uh, if, if I've got this guy over here, um, who, who hears it and says, well, the majority of folks, uh, yeah, they're black. Well, that, that's obviously, that's got to be the point. It's not the structure, you know, it's that, that's what it is. How do you then kind of delicately, right and definitely try to approach that person with, you know, not necessarily fact, because if you go ahead and list off statistics, that person's not listening to you, but, but how do you kind of, um, find common ground with somebody like that?

Speaker 6: I mean, you'd have to try to educate them on terms such as selective enforcement and you have to let them know that or remind them because they probably know this, that, you know, black people aren't. The only people in the history of the world were to engage with cocaine. Right? We're not the only people in the history of the world to engage with. Correct. Uh, but the reality is, and when it comes to enforcing these laws, it was our communities for a variety of reasons where the laws were chose to be a forest and then you talk about the history of drug policy as a policy used to maintain, um, you know, the, the, the status quo from a racial and class point of view, you know, our first law is against opium and weren't against opium per se, but they were against opium smoking.

Speaker 6: Sure. Because they wanted to target Chinese Americans who had these opium den. Exactly. But you know, grandma was able to go to the pharmacy at the same time and get a bottle of laudanum and get high all damn day. But you want it to criminalize the opium smoking because you wanted to keep an eye on the Chinese. Know marijuana became illegal initially in the southwest and called marijuana. He called marijuana due to our political issues with Mexico and Central America and migration, you know, uh, cocaine became illegal when people, like, my great, great grandfather started leaving the sharecropping and fields and working in the cities of New Orleans. And, and you know, White folks started losing their jobs and they were like, well, you know, the only reason they work so well is because they're on their cocaine. And so, you know, all of a sudden the cocaine becomes illegal. So, you know, people don't realize the history of how a drug policy is intertwined with, uh, you know, racism and classism and maintaining a certain hierarchy in this country.

Speaker 7: So that brings us to the concept of other. And I think that, you know, if you're on the left, this message is to you as well because you, you, you, you said it, you know, we got to be listening to matter who we are. Whenever a folk, whenever whoever you're listening to is telling you, well, you got to watch out for those people. You know, you got to watch out for those people. And I'm talking to you. If you, if you're a Democrat, you got to watch out for those people that's creating other. And that's dividing humanity and humanity should, is indivisible, should be indivisible. So talk about that, the concept of other and how if you're, you know, you, you might be being used as a tool, you know, um, because the, the concept of others been introduced to you.

Speaker 6: Yeah, we, I think we saw that over the last election. I think the word is demagogue and xenophobia. So for one, when you blanket terms like other, you're, you're letting people know that you really don't know the people you're talking about. Exactly. Not In, you know, and you have no interest in getting to know the people that you're talking about. You've already drawn a line in the sand. And um, you know, I, I think we saw that not only with the trump administration, but we saw that in politics throughout this century and probably beyond is where you know, you, you create an enemy, you create fear. Uh, but at the same time you're creating a sense of hedge Limoni amongst a certain group. So it's kind of a twofold thing. And um, it's, it's, it's a, it's such an old trick in the book is just amazing that it still works.

Speaker 6: It's, it is, it's remarkable, right? It just, it just kind of blows your mind that, you know, you talk about Muslims, you talk about Mexicans and, and you and you use that other kind of xenophobic type demagoguery language and people and you actually unify your base with that. I mean it's, it's, it's, it's amazing and it's mainly because these people have no real personal experience with these others or their personal experiences limited and they've used one bad situation to cloud the whole reality, you know? Yeah. I'm much more in danger of being, you know, targeted by some, uh, you know, a white supremacists on the streets of Denver. Then I am a fallen victim to a terrorist organization from the Middle East. But at the same time, for some reason some people will, even though they have no experience with these, with these people would just see them as, as problem and you know, I, it, it blows my mind and I can't even really a wrap my head around it

Speaker 7: to answer the question. Yeah. No, absolutely. Just shocking. And so taking that understanding and framework though the double edge sword of it, kind of looking at it from the other side, right? Um, when, uh, someone that does support conservative government and governing, um, and, and just find themselves to be a trump supporter simply because of that and not because of the rhetoric. What, how do you approach the fact that when someone says they're all racist to, you know, conservatives to Republicans, to even Libertarians, whoever you know, that's. You're kind of doing the same thing, right?

Speaker 6: Yeah. You know what, if you're smart enough to support trump on fiscal policies and conservative policies, you're also smart enough to realize he's building his base with demagoguery and xenophobic rhetoric. And so you're smart enough to realize that, yeah, somebody may call you racist because you're willing to basically put your head in the sand and allow this to go on and support this stuff. Even though you are likely smart enough to know the, the collateral consequences that would flow from supporting such rhetoric. So there's, whether you support the rhetoric, right person, right? You really can't separate it because there's some cognitive dissonance going on there. Yeah. Yeah. And I don't even know what policies he was putting forward other than the stuff that was supporting the rhetoric. Sure. You know, the wall. Sure. And all this. But I have to admit I didn't pay that much attention to the guy. I, you know, like many people especially to pundants a thought he was going to lose in the fashion that he won the electoral college. But, you know, I liked the, I liked to infrastructure talk, you know, I liked that. I liked, you know, he's talking about, uh, trying to keep corporations know located within the country. Yeah. Keeping

Speaker 7: the jobs here,

Speaker 6: you know, and the infrastructure deal. So I, I admit I probably didn't pay close enough attention as I should and there may be some traditional old school conservative politics that he is putting forth. The Republican Party didn't seem to think so.

Speaker 7: So I don't know, you know, some establishment, but I, I don't know how serious that was. An infrastructure is usually not a conservative, uh, you know, thing. But is there a bridge to be built there? Pun intended, I guess, uh, as far as, hey, maybe I'm, you know, I'm not supportive and I really have a problem with x, y, and Z and also a, b, c, and all the way through the alphabet again. But when you talk about infrastructure, I'm with you. Here's how, here's why. Yeah. Because it puts people to work.

Speaker 6: Uh, it improves our country. You know, the old saying is always start at home, you know, we have no high speed trains in this place. We have rubar hanging off of bridges in Chicago and you know, you, you, you need to get your home in order, especially before you go out there and trying to rule a world. Um, but if he puts no black and brown people to work, if, if he does not allow felons to get these jobs and work on the infrastructure deal, wait a second. It. Yeah. It's not really going to benefit our most impacted community. It may benefit the country from a, you know, a physical and public health and safety standpoint. But you know, to not put certain people to work and to just use the infrastructure deal to enrich those who are already in a decent position that that's not ideal. Right.

Speaker 7: All right. So it starts the home. Uh, we got this kid here and have way too much at the, uh, at the dinner table. Uh, I got uncles taking me to the zoo, got uncle because taking me to the other, to other places, obviously though it's all about information. It's all about education. It's all about understanding people for what they are, treating them with compassion. Okay, great. Here, here comes out into high school. What kind of high school kid is way cause you, you're on the tall side, so people are going to be paying attention is what I'm saying. I was, I was slumped over because I was child. I was trying to fit in by slumping over that with you guys. Probably. I'd probably do stand up straight until

Speaker 6: I was 25, but I was a nerd. I was a definite nerd. Um, I think I had a strong sense of right and wrong in high school as well, you know, um, even though, you know, the cool kids wanting to hang out with me, that's how it's kind of funny or something, but I always found that the non coo kids more interesting, you know, why do you think that was? Let's, let's take it. You know, I always looked at those who seem to have less in life and I've found that's where the work needed to be and that's what just kind of intrigued me. Interesting. I think most people involved in social justice could relate. So, you know, I'm not supposed to say this, but like the short bus kids and stuff, he had definitely hung out with them a lot and found them entertaining and I would help them talk bad about the cool kids. You know, we, we talked about helping with that.

Speaker 7: If you're using that terminology, which I won't repeat in that context. Meaning I was with them,

Speaker 6: we can allow it. Right. You, I didn't know what else to say because you know, you don't know if people are actually mentally challenged in these public schools are just kids who don't get along with teachers and they throw them in the special day class. I mean, you never know.

Speaker 7: Exactly. I don't know what it's like now, but you and I are basically the same age and that's how it was just.

Speaker 6: Yeah. Okay. We'll just put you in there. We'll just put you over here because we don't know what else to do with you, but yeah, I mean I was, I was involved with, you know, I was starting to become somewhat of a militant black, you know, Afro centric even in high school and high school. Yeah. That's where it started. Even before high school, thanks to a couple of other uncles again, you know, always talking about the man. I was trying to figure out who the man was. I slowly started to figure out who to man. Oh, now I get. Yeah. Yeah. So where did you go to school? I went to Denver South high school where I graduated from. I'm sorry, I'm talking about college. I started out down into Alabama state and grambling state, historically black colleges. Spike came out with a school days and she's got to have it and it just turned me on to, you know, coming from Colorado, I wanted to be, you know, I thought I was missing something, but I ended up coming back to University of Colorado Denver. I'm getting my bachelor's degree, then spent 10 years in my twenties, you know, trying to roll the perfect blend. Um, succeeded. I got pretty good at it, trying to figure out if I'm wanting to be legitimate or not. Uh, I decided to be legitimate so I went to law school in my thirties

Speaker 7: before, but before we get to law school, because that's, I feel like, you know, art was in art the whole way. Right. You just kind of figuring it out. Before I got to high school, I kind of knew what I thought in high school. I kind of started to activate that. Obviously, you know, some entertainment and media with a thanks to spike. Lee kind of gets me to where I'm going in college. But then in the twenties, because it's, it's, it's easy to have fun when you're in your twenties. I'd like to point that out, but there, there seems to be, whether it was a moment or you know, a little bit of an arc of time, you could have gone either way is what I'm hearing. Yeah. I advocate

Speaker 6: for myself. People similarly situated with me, you know, I, I've sold drugs, not just marijuana, so crack for awhile. Um, I definitely could have. I was on the margins of society, uh, during my twenties to a certain extent. Um, so yeah, um, you know, I, I first was a police accountability advocate. You know, I've, I've had my shoulder dislocated by police, I've had police put guns to my head at 11 years old. Um, so everything I've done social justice wise is due to my past and my own personal. Sure. So, you know, when I, when the, when the opportunity came along and drug policy alliance, you know, and I, I've, I've had experience with drugs, marijuana, cocaine, um, it was, it was Cathartic, totally. To be able to do this work is a solution for yourself and for myself and others. And those back to the twenties here.

Speaker 6: Because how did you find yourself? Because you had the strong family. Yeah. Okay. We had problems, you know, everything has got problems, you know, as far as personalities and you know, and uncle this uncle that. How did you find yourself that far out? You know what I'm saying, that you needed to kind of come back type of thing. I realized that the cynicism was like killing me more than anything else. Just the, just the negative mind space and the know it all tight thought was just taking me further away than I needed to be. But I think also having kids kind of really just like brought you back and brought me back into like, oh I want to be a decent civilian. Right? Cause to be a decent father and you kind of have to be a decent civilian because you have to show up at the school and you can't just show up at the school.

Speaker 6: Highest Hill. Not Acceptable, not acceptable. And it's like, you know, you know, so I think having kids Kinda had kids at 26, 28 so that, that kind of brought me back into, into society a little bit. But yeah, the cynicism and just around, um, the purpose for disenfranchisement and historical disenfranchisement of black people into what I saw in the country almost just kind of took me out. You know, you always let it be, I can see it. It's almost let it consume me and you start to not to see the good things in life. You know what I mean? Because this is a beautiful state. We the second Sunday of state and the country, the weather is great. You know, women are beautiful, you know, men or beautiful, whatever you like, whatever you want. Sometimes you just gotta your mind can be such a prison all of his own.

Speaker 6: Right. And I think just realizing that my mind was starting to imprison me, um, I, I snapped out of it. Huge. All right. So where did you find a law school? A Jacksonville, Florida, because I was in the golf back then and Jacksonville is like the good place to play golf. So I got into Jackson, I got into Florida Coastal School of law in Brooklyn law school and as a Colorado Kid, uh, I didn't want to be in a apartment in Brooklyn and sit in the car. I just thought that I was like, Ooh, it's like a closet. It's like a big ass closet. So I chose Florida, not a big ass closet by the way.

Speaker 5: And I'm actually a Jeb Bush scholar. How does that, how does that happen? Because that's the financial aid that they need. That they gave me. When I went to Florida coastal school blog, look at the bush. Was the governor then. That's, that's probably what did the men right there. I actually thought he was going to do good too, but I was rooting for him to process. But yes, I can't say the Bush family is never done anything for me. I lost that scholarship real quick. Okay. What is too much golf? A year? Yeah. And just not enough legal writing. Yeah. I failed a class my first semester and I got the high grade, the same semester and another class. So you again kind of, and maybe I'm slipping, but boom, I'm finding my way. I made it through. What would you focused on public policy at that time or did you kind of find it along the way? Because it seems like it was always within, you know, the criminal proceeding

Speaker 6: major in criminal justice classes Kinda blew my mind. Right. You know, learning about the fourth and fifth and sixth amendment. Constitutional Law also blew my mind too, you know, I was, I, I was like, uh, I received some award for the best, um, you know, agitator in constitutional law, you know what I mean? So I, you know,

Speaker 5: I think if I may just give me an anecdote of how you might agitate that class. The constitutional law class. Here comes art. He knows the, he knows the constitution backwards and forwards. Let me tell you about the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments. It's like, what's happening

Speaker 6: about a segregation and brown versus board of Education. And everybody's like, you know, Gung Ho about integration and everything and I'm like, you know what the word on the street is that they just brought in integration. So blacks were stopped winning basketball, football championships.

Speaker 5: Either I just throw something out there like throw a bomb. But yeah, but criminal procedure,

Speaker 6: classmate learning the way the law was supposed to be executed on the streets in comparison to what I was experiencing during the war on drugs and the eighties and the ramp up. I was like, really? You know, it's not just the right to remain silent, but you know, the ability to refuse a search, you know, and it just, you know, it was, it was, it was like a know your rights class on steroids. They just like made me realize how things in my community were so wrong and how basically we did not have these balls. We didn't have these rights that I was learning about,

Speaker 5: am I under arrest at that type of thing

Speaker 6: thing. And, and, and, you know, probable cause, reasonable suspicion, you know, you're not supposed to be able to search people without probable cause. You can stop them with reasonable suspicion, but you know the Terry doctrine is the way you can search someone without probable cause. Police just have to claim that they think that you may have a weapon. And so we were, we. The dietary doctrine was the, it wasn't, it was the main diet in my community, you know, stop and Frisk. It was not used as the exception. It was just what they did on a daily basis. So I see how I learned how police really gone around fourth amendment rights and realized that police didn't even really learn fourth amendment rights. I think they were only taught to get around it. They weren't really taught

Speaker 7: well. That's what they were. How much do you think of that is actually the case because I spoke to a Neil Franklin from leap who says, number one, does this have a trained number two? These are all the things that we're doing. Number three, this is how we should be trained. Number four, these are the few things that we should be doing as peacekeepers, so to speak. You know, I, I. How much of it is, is that education and just again going back to information and communication.

Speaker 6: Yeah, I mean you just realize that you were the fodder for the drug war, you know, they didn't stop you and start to just to be assholes. They were looking for something and they were looking for something because uh, the laws at the federal level where we're, we're coming down and, and, and, and basically changing the nature of policing from preventing crime, being in your community, learning your community to arrest quotas to fill up prisons to a satisfying mandatory minimum legislation. So those became, the goals became different and you know, the, the, the clearance rate for murders and rapes and robberies went from like they used to clear like 90 percent of those cases in this, in the fifties and sixties. And then the drug war started in the clearance rate for all of those types of crimes dropped into the mid sixties because now they were focusing on was the drug trade and didn't do it as a civil asset forfeiture piece to that because they were able to pad their budgets at the same time.

Speaker 7: Get into that a little bit more because that came kind of came up in our last conversation on the Webinar, but dive in there.

Speaker 6: Let's say you have a highway and the going west is the drugs coming in and going east is the money coming out so thanks to civil asset forfeiture. Police are only mainly patrolling the east side of the highway because they were mainly trying to get the money so it just, it converts their incentive. The incentive is no longer, I'm trying to prevent crime. The incentive is, you know, how do we, how do we pat our budgets, how do we get this money and just the, the corruption that goes along with, with civil asset forfeiture because for one, a conviction is not even necessary in most states for your money to be taken by your property to be taking. You just have to be suspected of something. Um, and so that just creates a lot of fertile ground for corruption. And the drug war in and of itself creates a lot of fertile ground corruption within law enforcement.

Speaker 6: I'm the guy in the Philippines, I'm Duerte. He's, he's realizing that now he's like a he did was create a monster in his police force. Sure. And now he's trying to suspend it. He's trying to roll it back in and it's like too late. You can open Pandora's box and then close it. Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, I mean the drug would just perverted police. I mean, I think police went from wearing penny loafers to high tech combat boots. Yep. Uh, within the late seventies to militarily 80, 30 years or whatever, whether it even 10 to 12 years. Yeah. Alright. So here comes our now. Now he figured it out in, uh, in law school, gets the degree, passes the bar where I didn't pass the bar. Yeah, I failed the bar twice in Colorado. I decided to take the bar in Colorado instead of Florida. And these, uh, University of Colorado in Denver University kids kicked my butt.

Speaker 6: I mean, I only by like two or three points, I actually could have an appeal. That's how close I was, but I really didn't want to practice. You know, I, um, I think I knew and see while I was while I was studying for the bar and got a job with Colorado Progressive Coalition doing good, doing police accountability work and so that was how I was trying to help feed the family while I was studying for the bar and I just enjoyed it tremendously. I realized you could do more social justice wise to impact policy and hopefully impact people's lives than you could on a day to day basis with law, you know, unless you just got involved in some major kate's short dead that had mad precedent resulting from it lucky type of deal with it with the case. But you, you preferred to roll up your sleeves than to put yourself in one of those classes.

Speaker 6: I was like, I'm just going to write the legislation that all the lawyers have to follow. I don't need to be a lawyer. I'm going to get out in front of it. Yeah. Yeah. That's what the social justice world kind of provided me. So I was good to go. I did, I did. I wasn't upset. I passed the bar side. I did that for two or three years, Colorado Progressive Coalition and establish some, you know, legislation and kind of got on the map and then when drug policy alliance decided to open up shop in Colorado, um, I was kind of well suited and me and we hit it off. I interviewed will and ended up getting a Gig. Talk about, you remember the conversation at all that interested because we've added probably a lot like this one, a lot of uncles and great grandmothers and yeah. And police guns to my head and it was probably a lot like this conversation.

Speaker 6: Got It. It was, it was, uh, it was like a six week process. My interview, I interviewed with three or four different people at DPA, God and they all flow up, data off out here and sit down with me. So yeah. And I had been thinking about this stuff forever and I think he didn't realize it. Yeah. We've got somebody who kind of gets it. Yeah, absolutely. It's, it's built from within whenever you sounded. It was in there the whole time. So how long have you been with DPA now? It'll be six years and May. Okay. Yes. How's it going? It's going well. It's a head trip. Yeah. I think the first two years I was just trying to figure out how to talk drug policy, right? Because there's so many minefields. Yeah. Uh, when, when you're talking about dependency and you're talking about people's lives and people's family members, um, you know, sort of learning curve was steep, uh, words that can get misconstrued for instance. And then there, there's language that we're trying to move away from because it's language of the past. Speak to that, you know, the word addict, you know, we, we, we'd rather say, uh, somebody on a chaotic and up the use spectrum or a problematic drug user as opposed to an addict. Um, so there, there's all kinds of things like that, but at the same time you're trying to meet people where they are and if they're using the word addict, you've got to go in there using the heroin addict.

Speaker 5: That's all the policy guys use the word marijuana. And so, you know, that's why the bills are all marijuana bills because that's what the, the word that people understand, we'll educate them later that we've probably shouldn't be using marijuana type of deal. You know, DPA still has

Speaker 6: not decided to use the word cannabis, you know, so it's, it's, it's, it's, it's a tricky world, you know. But yeah, you know, I've got some, some harm to dust and stuff under my feet when I first started. Good Samaritan policies and the lock, someone distribution tried to get into the, uh, the overdose fight. I felt that was my serious learning curve. But then of course the amendment 64 campaign, you know, I, I, they just threw me into that pool and it was like, can you swim? I was like, I don't know, we'll see, but you don't. My job there was to build a coalition out, made sure that this was seen as a criminal justice reform, more so than simply championing marijuana because we've done it that way before and didn't quite get over the top. We had to, you know, educate people as to how marijuana was used as the gateway into the criminal justice system, you know, and, and, and how the racial disparities there were ridiculous.

Speaker 6: And then we got some counties here in Colorado that's like four percent black, but somehow the black people make up 35 percent of the marijuana arrests. It's like crazy. That suicide, those numbers are insane. You have to try really hard. Yeah. You have to try to get those types of numbers. And so, you know, you know, we were at 19 in California in 2010. Really kind of set the playbook for a member of 64 and 95 or to Washington right here, you know, you, you, you build a strong criminal justice base, Naacp Aco, you know, National Latino Police Officers Association, national officers like, you know. So that was kind of my niche for amendment 64. Um, I had a lot of great conversations and brought a lot of people on board and you know, now we're looking to spend that tax revenue properly. Got for broader drug policy purposes.

Speaker 6: And uh, in what ways art. Yeah, you know, we just recently were successful in convincing the department of Human Services here in to request a $6,000,000 annual budget allocation to established mental health corresponder programs for police as well as law enforcement assisted diversion for adults. Um, so basically this is how you establish a public health to direct policy instead of arresting somebody with a small amount of drugs on them, somebody who's obviously on that chaotic and of the drug use spectrum instead of running them through the city jail over and over again, spending all their money while your city jail is operating at 90 percent capacity. How about we take this demographic and divert them before we even booked him in the jail into getting services. So we got that done. We got the request has to survive the legislative session right now I'm pretty confident that it will because the request ultimately comes out of the governor's budget for the marijuana tax, cash on the governor's on board, the Department of Human Services on board that we just have to survive. Maybe some crazy folks on the joint budget committee, but I don't, I don't think there are any, but you never know what's going to happen. Sure. You know, the partisan politics can, can maybe derail this, but I doubt it.

Speaker 7: Yeah. Well that's. So now, so you've found your way past partisan politics at least on that issue. I don't mean to hammer us over the head with the same kind of conversation that we'd been happening the whole time, but why not? Um, what, what, what advice, you know, uh, what would you have for reasonable people that are listening to this? I hope and, and saying, you know, oh wait, okay. I can hear these guys. We got to be talking to everybody. We got to really be actually listening, you know, how, how would you just enact that at a personal level?

Speaker 6: Pay Attention, you know, it was the first thing you need to do. We'll be paying attention to the new administration, but at the same time get involved locally, you know, um, because ultimately it's going to come down to whether or not this new administration tries to disrupt what's going on when it comes to reform on the local and state level and uh, you know, the best thing you can do other than paying attention to what's going on is to get involved on a local level, get involved in groups that are involved in reforming, not only drug policy for broader criminal justice on the local level and, you know, work with, of course Republicans and say, hey, tell your friends and the feds to back off and let us do our thing here.

Speaker 7: And, and here's a couple of reasons why. And here's how this benefits the way that you look at things.

Speaker 6: Yeah. You know, to states rights is something that you in your party I've talked about for decades now and now's the time to really put that talking to action. You know, that helped us. I hope you don't only believe in states rights when the Democrats are in control of that and in DC, which hasn't really been that often in the last 40 or 50 years. So, um, you know, that's a whole different conversation for another day. Clinton, you know, he was so moderate amount of people consider him the Republican anyway.

Speaker 5: Well, see, now isn't that interesting? Because in my lifetime, this is a guy that was called, uh, the first black president and then also what? Republican. Yeah, all in the same, you know, love and hate it at the same time. There you go. But that's true of every man at times. Certainly true with me. Yeah. You're probably not doing it right if you not love and hate it at one point. That's exactly it. That's exactly it. You've got to engage that passion. Um, I could, I could sit here and talk to you all day, unfortunately camp. Um, and so I'll ask you the final three questions. I'll tell you what they are and then I'll ask you them in order. What has most surprised you in cannabis? What has most surprised you in life? And then on the soundtrack of our ways life, one track one song that's got to be on there. First things first, what has most surprised you in cannabis? We've got to ask that because it's cannabis economy. The show meaning not broader drug

Speaker 8: [inaudible],

Speaker 6: you know, I'm surprised at how much we still can learn from a medicinal point. You know, cannabis is somewhat like the brain we're learning. We know a lot, but we still know there's so much more we can learn. And so I think when it comes to marijuana policy reform specifically, we're riding a nice wave because the drug itself is still proving to be more and more beneficial than we ever thought. And then the natural paradigm shift has taken place. So, you know, I guess I just say it's almost damn near legalizing and regulating yourself because once you get rid of the stigma and the propaganda and really start to look at this substance, man, it, it, it's, it's, it, it blows your mind. And I think we're still learning. More and more states are taking the lead in researching it now. Colorado puts $10,000,000 into research and the research. That's right. So we, we, we don't always need to fairs and whatever they're doing at the University of Mississippi to, to lead the way. I've just been surprised learning about the Endo cannabinoid system, you know,

Speaker 5: it's just amazing. You know, that my body's built for cannabis. Cannabis is built from my breast milk. Enough said. Um, what was the second one, if this. Well, that, that was the first one. The second one is what has most surprised you in life?

Speaker 6: Uh, the fact that the learning never stops. You know, we talked about how it was in my twenties house with a cynical and I kind of know it all right? But the learning never stops and it's, uh, it's still difficult to open yourself up to learn more, even though you need to, you know, the life, you know, and, and I'm, I'm amazed at how much joy I'm getting from the kids. How old are they not going to lie to you? They're 17, 15, 17 and 18 east. Those are like real people. Yeah. Yeah. There are people now, they're doing a good job and I just don't know what me and their mom did. Right. I wish we could bottle it and sell it. Yeah. Well, yeah. You know, the, the, the ability to never stop learning. You use amazing how, you know, you need to keep learning, but there's something about when you get older you are still hesitant to learn. Yeah,

Speaker 5: sure. And reasons more set in my ways. I'm more set in my ways, but at the same time I know I need to learn more. So that whole little balances is kind of freaking me out a little bit. Yeah, sure. But that's the fantastic journey of life right there. Alright. Soundtrack time on the soundtrack of your life. One track. One song that's got to be on there.

Speaker 6: Oh, see, I wanted to do so good here. This, this, this May. This may take awhile.

Speaker 5: That's fine. It's either the easiest or toughest question because true music fans a lot of time having difficult because there's so much around. Do I go with the new stuff or do I go with the, with the, with the old school stuff? I mean for me, if you're asking me, but was old school, I prefer that you prefer the, those who. That's where I'm coming from,

Speaker 8: man.

Speaker 6: I, I would go with something from parliament funkadelic. Hit Go. Yeah. Just throw a dart. The parliament funkadelic and wherever that lands,

Speaker 5: I'm good with it. You Got Macio on uh, on saxophone, you know, a little bit later. You got bootsy on base where you can bring in Clapton when he was with them for a little bit. Yeah. I'll go up probably by funkadelic that we go though the entire catalog. Throw a dart. Thank you George Clinton. And thank you. Well I really appreciate it man. Thanks for coming. You got to talk to you. Absolutely. Absolutely. And there you have our way

Speaker 1: and earlier we add a mason divert. I don't know, can't really think either of them enough for not only sitting down with me, but uh, also all they've done for cannabis reforming in art's case, a drug form in general. So really appreciate them being on. Really appreciate you 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.