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Ep.234: Andrew Freedman

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.234: Andrew Freedman

Ep.234: Andrew Freedman

Andrew Freedman joins us and shares how his global travels with a bit of excellence in debate all added up to his becoming the marijuana czar in Colorado. He explains how not understanding one test at Harvard Law led to a readjustment of his life’s priorities for his personal betterment. Andrew discusses how decision making along your life has the possible repercussions of closing doors not necessarily with intent.
He takes us through how a low level position with the lieutenant governor, who didn’t have much staff led to greater things and eventually a Chief of Staff position. And how his success in that position put him in place to be Director of Mariujana Coordination in the first state to have an operating legal adult use cannabis regulatory framework.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Andrew Freedman, Andrew Friedman joins us and shares how his global travels with a bit of excellence and debate, all added up to is becoming the marijuana's are in Colorado. He explains how not understanding one test at Harvard law led to a registrant of his life's priorities for his personal betterment. Andrew discusses how decision making along your life has the possible reproductions of closing doors, not necessarily with intent. He takes us through how a low level position with the lieutenant governor who didn't have much staff lead to greater things and eventually a chief of staff position and how his success in that position put them in place to be director of marijuana coordination for the first state to have operating legal adult use cannabis regulatory framework. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social, but the hand mechanic anime. That's to answer the word economy. Andrew Friedman.

Speaker 2: That's good. All right, that'll work. Alright, so how can I explain this? I'm sitting in front of a gigantic end, beautiful stained glass window. There is a beveled ceiling which had looks over a two floor. What is a condo? And there's a third floor, is what Andrew's saying. Fancy stuff. All right. So you have a condo that is inside of a converted church. Yeah. Yeah. We have the rose window as, uh, as the, uh, the centerpiece to. I'm a pretty funky little dig, so this is a, I don't mean to be hyperbolic, but I do think this is the coolest department that I've ever. Oh, thank you. Thank you. Yeah. My, uh, my roommate is kind of the chief

Speaker 3: fundraiser for the governor and so when I was the marijuana czar and the chief fundraiser and we lived in a converted church, I was like, we are like, could be a sitcom at this particular moment. Absolutely. Yeah. Well I actually, it would be too much. That's too much. Yeah, you're right. It was unbelievable. Even though it's it, even though it's true, it's unbelievable. Indeed. And so you embrace this, uh, the czar word. Do you embrace that? Yeah, I mean, so, um, when I came on the, it is our position. I mean, that's what it was, that's what it is. But when I came on, it was very important to a lot of people that had created the position that we stick with director of marijuana coordination and I tried to stay very faithful to that. Uh, but the first time I was on a first time I was interviewed, I think it was brandon regimen with nine news.

Speaker 3: He's like, so, and we were like, b roll. And he's like, so you're the, you're the pops are. And I was like, well, we're trying really hard to call me the director of marijuana coordination. And then when it, when it hit the airwaves, he goes, Colorado's pots are. Well, we're trying to hold on one sec. Oh, here's Alexa. Alexa, stop where we are. We are brewing coffee. Yeah. There's a French press here, which is, I mean, your address. This is a no, I treat you right because you really do. But anyway, so then the news guy, the news report. So they, they like, he like added me as a are. Uh, and then from then on it was impossible not to get that name. And it's really hard to explain what a director of marijuana coordination is. It really sounds like you're personally giving out marijuana.

Speaker 3: So, um, no, marijuana is our, I think in government speak is, is just a more clean way to get to what I, what I was doing, which was just being a point person on the rollout of, of, of legalized marijuana. Okay, perfect. And obviously you, you've stated that perfectly so that we know what you were just doing. Yup. At the end we're going to talk about what you are doing. Great. But right now we're going to go all the way back. All right. Where, uh, where is this man from? I'm from Denver, Colorado. I went to Cherry Creek high school. Really? Yeah. I just looked like an east coast Jew. You really do. I mean, you look like you went to my high school. I know, I know. I've definitely brought to the drag. Uh, yeah, no. Uh, I, I, I've, uh, been east coast Jewsons life but since birth but uh, but only lived there eight years so.

Speaker 1: Andrew Freedman, Andrew Friedman joins us and shares how his global travels with a bit of excellence and debate, all added up to is becoming the marijuana's are in Colorado. He explains how not understanding one test at Harvard law led to a registrant of his life's priorities for his personal betterment. Andrew discusses how decision making along your life has the possible reproductions of closing doors, not necessarily with intent. He takes us through how a low level position with the lieutenant governor who didn't have much staff lead to greater things and eventually a chief of staff position and how his success in that position put them in place to be director of marijuana coordination for the first state to have operating legal adult use cannabis regulatory framework. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social, but the hand mechanic anime. That's to answer the word economy. Andrew Friedman.

Speaker 2: That's good. All right, that'll work. Alright, so how can I explain this? I'm sitting in front of a gigantic end, beautiful stained glass window. There is a beveled ceiling which had looks over a two floor. What is a condo? And there's a third floor, is what Andrew's saying. Fancy stuff. All right. So you have a condo that is inside of a converted church. Yeah. Yeah. We have the rose window as, uh, as the, uh, the centerpiece to. I'm a pretty funky little dig, so this is a, I don't mean to be hyperbolic, but I do think this is the coolest department that I've ever. Oh, thank you. Thank you. Yeah. My, uh, my roommate is kind of the chief

Speaker 3: fundraiser for the governor and so when I was the marijuana czar and the chief fundraiser and we lived in a converted church, I was like, we are like, could be a sitcom at this particular moment. Absolutely. Yeah. Well I actually, it would be too much. That's too much. Yeah, you're right. It was unbelievable. Even though it's it, even though it's true, it's unbelievable. Indeed. And so you embrace this, uh, the czar word. Do you embrace that? Yeah, I mean, so, um, when I came on the, it is our position. I mean, that's what it was, that's what it is. But when I came on, it was very important to a lot of people that had created the position that we stick with director of marijuana coordination and I tried to stay very faithful to that. Uh, but the first time I was on a first time I was interviewed, I think it was brandon regimen with nine news.

Speaker 3: He's like, so, and we were like, b roll. And he's like, so you're the, you're the pops are. And I was like, well, we're trying really hard to call me the director of marijuana coordination. And then when it, when it hit the airwaves, he goes, Colorado's pots are. Well, we're trying to hold on one sec. Oh, here's Alexa. Alexa, stop where we are. We are brewing coffee. Yeah. There's a French press here, which is, I mean, your address. This is a no, I treat you right because you really do. But anyway, so then the news guy, the news report. So they, they like, he like added me as a are. Uh, and then from then on it was impossible not to get that name. And it's really hard to explain what a director of marijuana coordination is. It really sounds like you're personally giving out marijuana.

Speaker 3: So, um, no, marijuana is our, I think in government speak is, is just a more clean way to get to what I, what I was doing, which was just being a point person on the rollout of, of, of legalized marijuana. Okay, perfect. And obviously you, you've stated that perfectly so that we know what you were just doing. Yup. At the end we're going to talk about what you are doing. Great. But right now we're going to go all the way back. All right. Where, uh, where is this man from? I'm from Denver, Colorado. I went to Cherry Creek high school. Really? Yeah. I just looked like an east coast Jew. You really do. I mean, you look like you went to my high school. I know, I know. I've definitely brought to the drag. Uh, yeah, no. Uh, I, I, I've, uh, been east coast Jewsons life but since birth but uh, but only lived there eight years so.

Speaker 3: Okay, wait. So you lived where? I was in Boston for Undergrad and law school. Okay. So it wasn't the first day? No, no, no. Yes, I was born here. All right. So what was it like a, what I would imagine the, the eighties ish, right? Eighty three, uh, here in, in uh, in Colorado. A little bit different, right? Yeah. Colorado is always, I mean it was more of a, um, and I don't mean this pejoratively in any way. It was more of a cow town at the time right there. It wasn't like. I mean, I think now Denver is actually a destination place and at that point I lived 30 minutes south of Denver in a suburb and there was never any point to go into Denver. Right. You can either go up to the mountains or you go to like your, your, you stay in the neighborhood. Um, uh, so I've been super, you know, it was a great childhood and the way that we had a Condo, we would go up and go skiing and then can come back and, you know, it was a pretty typical suburban life. But I've been really surprised by both, uh, the diversity and kind of how much more fun Denver has become by the time I came back.

Speaker 2: Absolutely. I mean, I've been traveling to here for about 20 years and I've seen, you know, uh, this arc of change of which you speak now. So what are your folks doing that we are fortunate enough to have a nice condo, right, and all that. What were they doing?

Speaker 3: My Dad was um, uh, just retired, but he was the chair of psychiatry for a Cu Anschutz medical center. Now I'm a and the editor in chief of the American Journal of Psychiatry. Um, my mom, uh, was a Spanish teacher, uh, her, both her parents were born or shortly after being born were deaf. So she grew up as an, basically an interpreter. And so she's just since then added on new and new languages and she became a fluent or proficient in like seven different languages. Do you know how to sign A. I can finger spell 'em to get, I think probably way off track. Go ahead for it. My, my grandparents didn't sign American sign language. They were both from the Ukraine and so, uh, you know, when that happens you don't, you don't get a full

Speaker 2: or full dialogue of, of

Speaker 3: any language including sign language. And so they, they really were a much more, you know, they had a few signs that they knew that they didn't have a full language, they didn't have it grammatical structure.

Speaker 2: Wow. So a lot of body language, a lot of head nodding and smiling and

Speaker 3: yeah, the, I mean they, they, they did, they use their hands. They did sign quite a bit, but it wasn't, it was a lot of finger spelling. It was, you know, it was not American sign language.

Speaker 2: Wow. That's a fascinating. Yeah, no, I think that once we understood what was going on and once I get, once I was old enough to understand what was going on is really, it was really interesting. But that's it. And I, I do believe that that's an appropriate use of the word. Fascinating. There's a lot of layers there. Now as far as your dad being a, this um, I don't know, a, a luminary in psychiatry, what's it like growing up as a, as the son of a guy who knows exactly what you're thinking, all of that?

Speaker 3: Well, uh, it has its ups and downs. He was luckily, I think it would've been worse if he was a practicing psychiatrist, right? He didn't have page patients and so, um, I, I think has been matt bedside manner.

Speaker 2: Terrible. Have you had patients? So it was more like, what's it like growing up with like the mad professor than it is? What's the, what's it like growing up with a therapist? Fair enough. And so when you give me that a visual, I just envisioned papers flying, but what, what was it actually like? What, what are we talking about?

Speaker 3: Yeah. I mean, how do I describe my dad? Um, uh, he thought we had a purple car and we didn't have a purple car, like we just had a gray car and he'd be like, well everybody gets in the purple car and we had the note. We don't have a purple car. And I think it was just like those kind of details just didn't sink in with them. And so you, you'd be like going around and, you know, he'd be great in some conversation, but then you'd realize like, he kind of doesn't know what's going on around him. So. Yeah. So interesting. Yeah. You know, there's different levels of, of genius and stupidity that you can kind of layer on top of that. I hope my dad never listened to this book

Speaker 2: and that's how we'll, we won't tell them about it. But uh, you know, I have various levels of genius and stupidity. My stupidity out certainly outweighs any genius. But. So there you go. So your grandparents are signing in in a Ukrainian, your, your, your father has a purple card that's actually gray and, and then we get this kind of what seems like this normal guy. And well thank you. It coming out of that. And I think anybody's ever said that in high school where, uh, where did you find yourself as far as, you know, being a student as far as extracurricular activity.

Speaker 3: He's a, I was, I was a, I'm a good student. Um, I, uh, I think it was in a little bit of an identity crisis coming in and that I went out for freshman year of football with my two best friends and as, as a kicker who had, that's right in my mom, in my mind as a, as a quarterback. And they did, they made me back up, back up quarterback for the team, um, uh, but, but the, the fourth, a linebacker for the B team. And so the backup backup quarterback number plays. But the fourth line backer actually plays quite well. Um, and at the beginning, uh, uh, we didn't have pads yet and I was like, okay, there's like 10 different plays that the offense knows and like if you look at these three things, you'll know which, which one of the 10 plays it is every time.

Speaker 3: And so I was really good at, at basically flag football. I could just like go there and nobody, none of the coaches were paying any attention to me. I couldn't figure out why. And then they gave us pads and uh, like the first play I was like, oh, there's a sweep to the right. And I went in for backfield tackle and the guy just ran through me and that's not my bag. He was the first time the coach looked at me and he's like, he had to knowing grin on his face, like he always knew that I wasn't ever gonna be able to tackle. And he was like, it could have been in the papers, Friedman. And then. And then I went and I became the cabinet of the debate team so that everybody was like, this is where you belong. I know. I just thought maybe it could be a quarterback.

Speaker 2: I do. I do like the fact though that you had analysis down, you could replace. That was not a problem. Yeah, right. Yeah, I was, I was happy with the way there. And everybody knew that the other half was more important to you on the field. Yeah. Yeah. All right. So you show up at the debate team and how quickly were you able to, uh, I, I would imagine slaughter on that field, right? I, I was considered, I am on the wall of fame at Cherry Creek high school for my debate prowess. What was your key, what your key to the approach? What was your key to this goes way back? I had. Well, but I mean it's also the whole thing, isn't it? Yeah. I was

Speaker 3: able to, um, there were, there were a lot of different ways to get to a victory in a debate, but I was able to take kind of some of the more complicated arguments of the year and just continued to go on those themes. And so a lot of people would just do a lot of research and I found it more important to do a lot of reading and really get down into the more nuanced, complicated. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Parts of whatever that year's topic was. So give us a, for instance, I know it's going to be way too hard.

Speaker 3: One that was interesting was, uh, talking about policing and um, how to significantly change policy and policing and, and um, I got really into critical legal studies at that point, um, which, uh, um, is Professor Duncan Kennedy at Harvard Law School who later on I took his class and he is just as brilliant as he comes across and he basically said, listen, laws don't really dictate this quite as much as you'd think it would laws, no matter how you write a law, it's pretty indeterminant. And so all of these community and biases and um, and political powers that existed before, no matter how you change the law, that's how they're gonna end up again. Right? Like basically I'm, the formalism of law won't end up guiding the way that society works. Society will, will co op that and just basically reentry whatever there was before. Anyway, it's a pretty complicated argument. Yeah,

Speaker 2: totally. But what you're saying, if I understand it, is that the other folks are studying the kind of, the tactics of how they're going to approve their argument and you are taking like eight steps back and looking at the entire philosophy and showcasing how. Well actually it's what I'm saying. Yeah. Yeah. And I think it was frustrating to people because they're like, but I have all these facts and I'm like, yeah, but here's, here's the main logical part at the beginning that we need to consider it. And uh, yeah, it was fun. That's it. I love it. So to take them right off the, you know, that you're having a different argument, you're having a different conversation basically. And I have thought about critical legal studies a lot with the legalization of marijuana. So it's been interesting to, to, to come back to it, right?

Speaker 2: Yeah. But, but first you had to go to Harvard, does that right? I had to, I went to tufts for Undergrad. Oh, you did? And then Harvard for Law Tufts is also up in Boston also a very good school. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's the biggest problem is that it's like three, three metro stops away from Harvard, which, and anxiety would be a very good school that you would know about mit and Harvard. Warren, like shadows. That's it. What did you study? Undergrad philosophy and political science. Uh Huh. Yup. Alright. So, I mean we're, we're kind of getting right to it from the debate team straight through to Tufts, uh, anything fun happen to tufts or just four years or whatever. Yeah.

Speaker 3: You know, college is college. Indeed. I went to Ithaca College, which is in Ithaca, New York, Cornell also in New York. Similar, different way, but similar philosophically a Ithaca is not as good of a school is tufts. And so what I used to say is, um, you know, they had the studying and we had the fun colors other than the really sad coronel that's right. All right. So, so you do the tufts thing and you say to yourself, no, I still need more school. Yeah. Why did you say that? Do you think? Well, first of all, they're not exactly going to open up any philosophy factories anytime soon. I don't think so. Uh, uh, I and I always saw it as the kind of the practical way to use philosophy in the real world, so it's pretty close. So I was, I was always excited about law school.

Speaker 3: I wasn't that excited about being a lawyer, but I was excited about law school. I'm a, so I got in my senior year, but then probably the best advice I got was to go into for a year and just do a, a, a, a, a year of traveling in volunteering and, and do everything I wanted to do before I died, which I'm the person who told me to go do that. They're like being a, there's like a little bit like that then. So do everything you want to do before you die. So where'd you go? What was the first stop? We got to know, let's see. My trip around the world. I wasn't literally did go around the world. Uh, I was uh, an organic farmer in Ireland. Get outta here. No. Yeah. What world wide opportunities on organic farms? I worked for a post conflict resolution camp. I'm in Jerusalem.

Speaker 3: Um, but what, what kind of conflict, I guess? Well, the conflict, right? Uh, so this wasn't a spousal. Uh, no, no, no, no. Yeah, it actually, it's actually a, a camp that meteor called building bridges for peace and it was some of the, the, uh, the students that were here, um, uh, I'm from Ireland, northern snow from Northern Ireland, from Israel, Palestine from South Africa. Uh, and so I was meeting some of those students in Jerusalem that had to be fascinating. Yeah, it was a, um, a few nights in places where it was, you know, the, you know, staying at some of the, the um, uh, the kids' houses. You're like, wow, this is, you have an intense life. And so what were your. Yeah, I mean, I would imagine that was informative with all due respect to the farm. Let's talk about this. Uh, what w, what did you immediately, what hits you with everything hitting you at once? You know, what do you remember? I guess. Oh, um, I spent one night in Ramallah with a really good kid. Um, uh, and his whole family made it a big to do, right?

Speaker 4: MMM, mmm.

Speaker 3: And it was a very, like, it was just a very awesome, very loving family. Um, and um, I think what hit was that about an hour and a half into to dinner when we had gotten really deep into conversation and for some reason we just hadn't talked, you know, most of the time when you're in those places you've talked about the conflict. We hadn't talked about the conflict right awhile and

Speaker 4: I'm a,

Speaker 3: it just was enough of a perception shift. Whereas like, like for a moment I was in America having this conversation that, uh, once the whole context layer back on, it was like this very rare. Oh Wow. Like there's a very two very different worlds these people live in all the time and so, um, no, I, you know, the whole thing was very interesting. How long did you do that for? A, there I was there for six weeks I believe. Um, which it feels like the learnings must have felt longer. Well, yeah. And these were groups that I've worked with for two summers before. Okay. Yeah. So at the, of the story at the camps here. Yeah, I didn't just meet them. They are, I had already known them.

Speaker 4: Uh,

Speaker 3: and then I traveled with some friends through Jordan, uh, went and met with a friend in Japan. Uh, we did all those aren't close, right? Yeah. Well that was a great flight. Uh, the reason we went to Jordan is because I'm a, if I try to file a fly out of Tel Aviv to get to a then I had to, you have to fly around Iraq and that's very expensive and if you go to Jordan to connect you to slide right over, look at. And so I saved like a thousand dollars by taking a three day trip to Jordan.

Speaker 4: I'm uh,

Speaker 3: and then my friend and I, we did Thai, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia. Um, uh, you know, some hit or misses there. We did a full moon party in a coping Yang, which like sounds really great. Yeah, I was gonna say I want to go to a formal. Yeah, yeah. I got to tell you, first of all, not my senior link. So, um, describe of just, just, um, very bro you right? Yeah. Oh really? Yeah, yeah. Oh, and that, and I'm like, everybody likes a little bit of hedonism, but it was just like way too much. And we also came in without reservations. We just linked. We had just gotten there and it was literally full moon party and then two days later, New Year's eve and like the people, they always tell you this when you go anywhere like the, you know, they, they're like, oh, there's not going to be any more rooms.

Speaker 3: Like get a room now, like pay way too much for a room. And we're like, we, we hear that a lot, right? No, no, no. People have booked this out a year ahead of time. You are screwed. And so we literally, I think we got the last room and in the whole place and it was, it was above kind of the senior frogs of coping Yang, like the most tacky bar. We were literally above the speakers. They wouldn't, they weren't going to turn them off until five in the morning. And uh, and we didn't, we, we had gotten scuba diving lessons. Um, so it was like you literally just tried to fall asleep in order to wake up at 6:00 AM in order to go on your scuba diving lesson. So it was the scuba diving. That's great. Other than that, oh, I finished that trip with him. He went home and then I went back to Chiang Mai and worked at a woman's rights center there. Um, the, the, um, the sex trade in Thailand, like one of the grossest things I've ever seen a and particularly the youth part of it, but just in general,

Speaker 2: like what is there to do to solve that and how, how, how do we square that circle?

Speaker 3: I can't pretend like I know that right now it's like, it's, you know, my work is fairly limited. I just wrote some literature for them, right? Like I just did some training, not translation, but somebody would tell me what a pamphlet says anti and I would write it up in English. Got um, uh, helped with some fundraising materials and, and you know, nothing groundbreaking, but it was, um, it was pretty gross there. And then I went to India, which India was my favorite of all of them. Um, uh, and taught English and uh, that's a chef map. Taught English. Isn't he a chef? Oh, Todd English. No, I was a teacher in English.

Speaker 2: Taught English. That makes more sense based on where you work in your narrative. Yes. Free to bring up a random chef. Made no sense.

Speaker 3: And then me and some friends there, we went up to the Himalayas and we, you know, when you go to Dharamsala you can sit with a whole bunch of monks and the Dalai Lama and eat breakfast. And I mean, it was really fun. It was a great year. The Himalayas. I mean, did you achieve

Speaker 2: zen without even trying? I feel like that's what the Himalayas are for, right?

Speaker 3: I mean it's, we come from that. We're really proud of the rocky mountains here. Um, uh, and I, I do love the rocky mountains, but the Himalayas or something else, I mean, it is like, it is the most dramatic views you'll ever see in your entire life. And, you know, here you're on [inaudible], which is a huge corridor going through the mountains and um, uh, there you're on like the tiniest dirt road hugging the mountain and like if you, if you go like two inches to the right, like by, by, um, so you're both like scared for your life and everything's just jutting up and touching the sky. Uh, and, you know, monkeys everywhere it was. I mean, it was pretty cool.

Speaker 2: That does sound cool. Especially with the monkeys everywhere. Alright. So eventually you did come back and you did a matriculate right to, to, to Harvard law. And so what would you tell people that, uh, that think that this is just, you know, Hartford Law please?

Speaker 3: Oh, I don't. Yeah. And it seems like since I never became a lawyer, it seems like a, a, like it almost didn't happen, right? Uh, but of course it did. Yeah, it, I'm not lying about it. That's true. A Harvard, that was great. Um, you know, uh, I think there's like two ways to go through law school. One is in like the super competitive mode, right? It's kind of hard right? If you graduate in the top five people for, in, at Harvard, like you're going to get to clerk for a supreme court justice right there. That's like, so that's what's on the table and that sounds awesome. Um, I, you know, for, I think the first semester I was like, I could be one of those top five people and then um, I got like probably the luckiest bad grade in my entire life. And I was like, okay, that actually does mean I can't be the Everett.

Speaker 3: Like I got good grades, good guy, good grade, could didn't understand the test. And then I was like, you know, depressed about it for 48 hours. And then I was like, oh, I just don't have to be able to competitive now. Pressure all the way off. Yeah. Well, yeah, because everybody else, it's like either you, you really don't get it. And um, and by, by, and well, there's no real vibe but like, um, but you know, there's this whole gray middle in and I just, you know, a while I took studying seriously, I was like, you know, I don't have to, I don't have to devote every part of my resource, I don't have to be competitive with my friends here on this thing. And um, and so for me, law school was incredibly fun. You gotTa, you know, when I found it an idea, interesting, I got to go pursue that idea. Um, uh, I did not like spend my son spend my time killing myself on projects I didn't enjoy doing.

Speaker 2: And so, so this is an interesting thing to me because, um, you know, whenever I've seen you, I guess for the most part, uh, I would say roughly a thousand miles an hour is, is, is how you operate. Is that fair?

Speaker 3: Yeah. And I'm not saying I was a relaxed person in law school. Well, but go ahead and, and these two concepts do what I wanted to do, right? So I didn't have to, I didn't have to like be miserable because, you know, the, what, what keeps you competitive as a lawyer. He's a lot of meticulous work that like in a place, you know, and so if you read it, I would like to be up again in the big idea is a little bit more and I like to like, you know, travel on with the thought for a little bit of time. Uh, but you have to be very regimented in order to,

Speaker 2: to do very well in law school. But it's almost like you, you simply eliminated the competitiveness with your peers is that is. That's the only thing that we took out,

Speaker 3: right? I, I write, I did not, I was not gunning for. I was not a gunner.

Speaker 2: Exactly. Right. Yeah. Okay. Interesting. And then what did do now, you know, being someone that is competitive, that definitely wants to win, that literally changed the game as far as your high school debate team. When, when you came upon this realization that I'm not going to compete with these folks, what did you realize about them? About Yourself? About competition in and of itself? Alright,

Speaker 3: set. That is eight in the morning and thank you so much. This is literally a Saturday morning, uh, one thing led to another. Your schedule, my schedule that we are actually sitting here and talking at 8:00 in the morning. What does that teach me about competition in general? Um, uh, I will say this, um, I think that a lot of lawyers were very unhappy. I think they're probably some of the smartest, most talented people I've ever met in my law school. Classmates are some of the smartest, most talented people I met, um, and some of the most unhappy at the same, at the same time. Now maybe that's just chemistry and that's the way the brain works, but I think it might also be that, um, that, that kind of linear always been at the top model which does very well all through high school, College Law School, um, uh, um, doesn't work anymore after that.

Speaker 3: Like the second that's over, it's not a path to happiness. And so you end up thinking like, okay, how do I get the, I heard clerkships are fun, I hear, but how do I get the best clerkship? Then how do I get the best law job and jobs are not a great deal and they're kind of unable to move out of that mode and take risks and kind of move laterally. And so, um, I've always thought that there was a lot more to be gained even though it'd be, there'd be incredibly scary moments where you thought you threw everything away. There was a lot more to kind of pushing yourself laterally than there is to pushing yourself up up a competitive streak in a. and that's led to a few times in my life where like I literally thought I, I've gone, you know, like career wise, bankrupt, um, uh, but then you know, the kind of Phoenix ashes moment and you're like, oh, okay, everything does turn out just fine.

Speaker 3: And now you have a broader skill set and you also understand things from a different point of view that are probably a lot more valuable than if you would just learn if you'd just gone up that ladder further and further. And so, uh, I think competition makes you think that you are falling behind in some way where maybe that's not the race you want to be in that, that uh, it sounded like it can be on a snapple bottle. Think it was better than that. But I take your point. So I was giving advice to one law school student who, who he said my, my only concern is that I don't close any doors. He was like a second year and he wanted to, he wanted to look for a job that didn't, didn't close any doors. And I was like, that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

Speaker 3: It's also impossible. Everything, right? Everything you're going to do. I was like, that's what drove a lot of my friends who didn't like being a lawyer to like push to become a partner so that enclosed doors will, those people can't be the marijuana's are like, they don't think they've closed that door, that they could not have been the chief of staff for Lieutenant Governor. Um, there's a lot of doors they've closed. I probably can't go back, although I think now a law firm would probably like to have a, a marijuana's are in it. But I was like, I can't go back and do their life, but they can't go do mine either.

Speaker 2: Exactly. Exactly. It's a, it's really not about a closing doors. It's about finding the doors that are opening. And so, uh, as you left Harvard law, you came straight back to Colorado

Speaker 3: or were, you know, all that being said about that sage advice. I was still going to be a lawyer in DC. So did go down to dc are now, uh, I, I spent my second summer in DC, uh, at a, at a law firm there. And they had offered me a job and it was the middle of the recession. And so suddenly all your philosophy goes out the door a little bit. A drop sounds really good. Yeah. We're going to get an actual paycheck. Um, but I, I was lucky enough to have time before starting that job and finishing the bar, um, that, uh, I was just an intern. Like literally, I was like, I wanted, I want to do something that I know I want to do, so I'll do it for free right now. And I was an intern for um, then mayor, he can lose his first run for governor.

Speaker 2: Interesting. Yeah. And uh, now you find yourself in, in politics because you have a policy all the way back, right? You know. And uh, what, what was that first? A realization of a, Oh, I'm in politics.

Speaker 3: Uh, well first you don't feel like you're in politics for a long time because you're the most important thing you're doing when you're onsite with the, with the, with these guys is like, Hey, I need to know where the bathroom is in this building in case this guy needs to use the bathroom. Right. It's like a very, it's tough. I'm not all that good at. It's like x's and o's. Yeah. Brian and you, most everybody working on campaign is in some way doing a either field outreach or kind of advanced work, right? Logistics. Yeah. Uh, I was lucky enough I got handed over pretty quickly to the lieutenant governor candidate and we kind of do a president vice president thing now on the same ticket, right? Uh, and he had no staff and so, uh, I was driver for the most part. Um, and um, but then like nobody wrote a speech so I would write a speech and then like, you know, he'd be there and somebody would give them a question about, you know, gay marriage and nobody had briefed them on gay marriage.

Speaker 3: And so I briefed him on, you know, and, and, um, so I started writing this briefings and then his, his talking points and then like, you know, it's time to start thinking about transition a little bit. Like what are you going to do in order to be successful as a lieutenant governor? And nobody thought through transition form. Okay, here are your critical hires. Here's what you should think about for your critical hires. Um, uh, and, um, they're just became, you know, issue after issue. Um, some of which he would bring up that he was thinking about, some of which I was like, are you thinking about this? Right. And both of us were kind of wandering around in the dark together because he was, he was a, uh, uh, a, a university president and never been in politics. So at his first time, Andrew and uh, and I think we really enjoyed trying to figure that out together for awhile.

Speaker 3: I'm still, I was just going to go to a law firm, but on, on, uh, on election day he offered to make me his chief of staff, which was a pretty big surprise for me. I informed them that 30 people reported to his office, which he did not know at that time. I think he thought there was gonna be like two people in his office and I would so chief of staff what it was going to be like me and another person. And then he literally, he was like, well, can I actually have to think about it then? And that's like, you made him take back your jobs for that about three times along the way. So I, you know, I'm, I'm young now, 27 at that time. Yeah, I was 26 when he offered it in a 27. I was 27 at the time and I looked like I was 12 years old.

Speaker 3: Right. And so, and everybody said that. And so he did look young now, you know. Right. But yeah, I've been told that many times and national TV has told me that many times. And so, um, uh, he uh, had a lot of faith in me, but there was a lot of people telling me made a big mistake. So we got, we got to the place where we had a great working relationship. Good. Alright. So you were on on his team, cheapest staff, um, you know, first couple of years. What, what, anything big, anything kind of a note worthy? Yeah, there were, there were some things we were really proud of. We got really invested. He was also the director of higher education, so we got really invested in the whole pipeline from early childhood through, through postgraduate and um, uh, you know, I, my team, um, wrote a race to the top grant for early childhood.

Speaker 3: We ran, we won $45,000,000. That was the biggest ever competitive, a pot of money for education that the state's ever won. And it set up our early childhood systems that were still being done today. Right. Thank you. We worked with Senator Johnston to pass the read act, which was about early intervention into a reading so that people can be proficient by proficient by third grade. Uh, and you know, we've seen like a 10 percent decrease in, in our 10 percent increase in, in proficiencies from, and we'd go to the Department of Education, they're like, oh, it's because of the read act. Um, great. Uh, and um, we established the office of Early Childhood Education. We started the Colorado reading core. Um, uh, there was a lot that we're proud of from that time. Uh, and, and fantastic. It sounds like you did a lot. None of that has to do with cannabis, so none of that has to do with it.

Speaker 3: The government. We're deep into this interview. We got to make a turn right now. How did that, how did this happen? When did you start to get, you know? Yeah. So, um, one more story to get there. Yeah. At some point I was also kind of a senior advisor to the governor on education and we've put together this package of reforms mixed with fixes to our constitution, um, mixed with a, uh, uh, an increase in revenue to go to education. It was called amendment 66 and the general consultants on that asked me to leave the lieutenant governor's office to be the campaign director for that. And the governor thought that that was a good idea. And so I left. Um, uh, unfortunately it was not a successful bid. People did not like that. We were asking to raise their taxes by a billion dollars. Um, in part because I think they thought cannabis money could do it and I hate to spoil this, but cannabis money cannot fund education to the extent that people think it can, but we can get there later.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Well, we're going to get there soon. I'll tell that. Yeah. How will you on amendment 66 if we know that it was amendment 64? I was not, that was not amendments. Well, so amendment 64 had already passed but not been implemented. There we go. Now we got it. And um, uh, so this was November. It's going to start in January. Uh, I lost in November. I went through one of those lateral shifts, depressions that we talked about. Um, gained 50 pounds in, like stayed in my hat and my room all day for a couple months and then started to go around a law firms and ask if they would please hire me, um, and met with the governor's chief of staff. Uh, and she, uh, um, kind of a seemingly out of nowhere asked me to become the marijuana's are or to interview for the marijuana.

Speaker 3: So this is just from, from zero to 100. How, what do you think it was? Well, so, um, which she would say is my time Lieutenant Governor's office. I've proven that I can work with the cabinet members. I've proven I can do community outreach. Um, I've proven that I have good, good government principles. I thought I thought well about good government. Um, and uh, and um, she had decided, you know, I think everybody was like, this doesn't have to be this big of a deal. This legalization doesn't have to be this big of a deal. And then suddenly it was taking up everybody's time. Right? He was taking her time, our chief legal counsels time, all these department people's time and the departments were like, we need a real point person on this, like a cabinet level, like let's go ahead and actually solve this issue and make sure it goes well.

Speaker 3: And she was finally convinced of it and then when she was thinking it through, she wanted somebody that was agnostic towards legalization because they kept on bringing her people who were on the pro side and she's like, that'll kill us, right? We can't go to the law enforcement officials and get them to come to the table for somebody who helped pass the measure. And so she basically came to me because I had nothing to do with it. Um, got it. And is the key. That was, that was the key. And so is this post task force or were just post task force where I think that's the realization starts to set in that it wasn't going to go away. Right? Yeah. So, so, uh, Hickenlooper puts a task force, uh, in place. Many of the people from that task force have been on a. So they're doing their work.

Speaker 3: You come into it. And then what were your first kind of things that you knew you needed to do? Well, so I think the, the, the, the big thing. And I came in and it was January first when we launched, like everything was before then and suddenly everything was live. So instead of 2014. Yeah, right. And what that meant was media came into town like they didn't before, right? Um, uh, um, you know, the Department of revenue had done a really good job thinking through a structure. But, um, you know, they were not connected to the other departments in the right ways. Um, uh, and um, and you know, like everything became a huge story, right? So as a single working group became a huge story, the tax revenue became a huge story and we hadn't, we had been waiting for a lot of it dollars to come in to do public education to get a lot of our systems up and running.

Speaker 3: But there was this full six months before that was gonna happen. Um, and so, uh, you know, we had to get up and running with a public education campaign. We had to deal with edible deaths at the beginning. We had to, we had to deal with, of which there were zero, right? Sorry. Yeah, I always talk about this the wrong way. The two, the two instances where there is a, we, I believe in one, a very clear causal link between eating edibles and I'm having an accident, uh, and then the murder, which I don't know what to make heads or tails of that one, but there were, there were two where the story was there was edible consumption and then a death of some sort. Um, and a lot of instances of people talking about freaking out on edibles. And so, um, uh, just as everything.

Speaker 3: And then banking was suddenly a big deal. And then, um, uh, pesticides was suddenly a big deal. Like all of these things that were parts of the system that hadn't been as recognized before blew up to the top. Um, and not only were a big deal, but like there were a lot of journals who could make their name on it, right. There was a lot of pressure in these, in these areas. Um, and so it just became incredibly important to be not only very responsive as an entire administration, but also all on the same team with it and figuring out where we're going with this. So here's where Andrew running at a thousand miles an hour really helps, right? That's right. Because you just mentioned, uh, I don't know, 10, 12 issues and I'm sure there were many more. Um, how did you just start to tackle them one by one?

Speaker 3: You know? Yeah. So, um, uh, we had a burn down list, a, a scorecard of, you know, for the first month it was only putting things onto the scorecard. Right. Okay. That came up, that goes on the scorecard that came up, that goes on the scorecard. Um, a and I met once every two weeks with um, uh, the, the department heads have, I think nine different departments, um, uh, and there's key staff, um, uh, and I consider that to be my board of directors and really worked with them. First of all, do identify, here are the things we care about most. Here's our mission. Our mission is nothing about what we did a very good job about is we were never going to debate the merits of legalization, not pro or anti. We were never going to talk about that. That wasn't our job. Voters voted today.

Speaker 3: We're here to regulate and, and I don't think I, it's hard for people to understand what a big deal that is because every conversation we're having at that point, outside of that room, people were entering in, should we have done this? And then, Hey, are you attacking the fact that we did this, like every time we had a problem, somebody pro side would be like, well, what's going on with alcohol? Because I don't care what's going on. If this is going on with marijuana and my job is this, but it's still a good idea to legal. So I was like, I'm not talking about legalization, I'm talking about great implementation. Um, and uh, that tonal shift I like now it seems, of course that's what you're doing, but at the time it was a very hard thing to get people to get to that tonal shifts on either side, open data, right?

Speaker 3: Every, every conversation we were having felt like another debate about legalization was, hey, you guys can have that, but you can't have that in this room. We actually have to do in this room. We're in this room, talk about youth prevention in the world of legalized marijuana. Right? Like, that's, that's what we're here to talk about. And so we set our priorities, you know, youth use was always at the top. That was the governor's most important one. But public safety was also like a very close second. So when, you know, like when houses were blowing up from butane hash oil, you know, suddenly the next day I'm in their briefing the governor on what's going on on that. Right. And so, um, the uh, uh, the cabinet was all very responsive.

Speaker 2: Excellent. So yeah. Alright. So you have this list that is created and then made very long. Yep. And the first month, and then as you went on through 2014, you were able to shorten that list every once in a while. Something to come back on. Yeah. But shorten, shorten, shorten to 2015, um, obviously you can see Washington not necessarily having the same success as Colorado is having, you know, they didn't get started on January first. I got started on July first and you know, just everything's not running as smoothly. Just to go ahead and showcase the fact that in the, at the same point in time, uh, this wasn't easy to do. Um, what were the key lessons for, you know, on New Year's of going into 2015, what were your key lessons from 2014?

Speaker 3: Oh, okay. So a year into it, what were my key lessons are collaborative process had been more important than I think I understood coming in. Um, um, uh, again, governor Hickenlooper in Barbara Bro with department of revenue and Jack Findlaw who's the chief legal counsel at the time, I'm really had started a very inclusive process about how this was going to be done, which doesn't really happen in government all that much, right? You want your voice heard and what's supposed to be done, um, you are going to be in a working group. You're going to be, you know, there's a, there's a pretty easy path to make your voice heard. We might not always go with what you want, but like we're going to listen to you. Um, that ended up to be important as we had to be in a con, a reiterative process of, um, of what should, and should not happen.

Speaker 3: Uh, so, so at edibles, again, it's a good example, right? So edibles were discussed in the amendment 64 task force. They just weren't considered that bigger as big of a deal. I think in part because medical users had been using a edibles for awhile, but they're kind of more veteran users. They hadn't, they, they understood a lot more. Um, and so that will just wasn't a dynamic we were thinking about was like, hey, if, if I'm flying in for the weekend to go skiing, I'm probably more likely to pick up an animal than I am a, uh, vaping because it looks and I haven't used marijuana in the last 10 years and uh, and I'm going to eat one and then I'm going to, you know, since I'm on vacation, if it doesn't kick in in 30 minutes and suddenly like, I want to have a good time, so I'm going to need another one and then I'm going to start drinking because I believe that marijuana doesn't have an effect on me.

Speaker 3: And then two to three hours later I'm going to have a terrible night. And we hadn't. We hadn't seen that dynamic yet. Right? Or not to the extent to which we've seen it in. What was really helpful was to be able to pull in the same people who had been involved in the first debate to be involved in the second debate. And I think if we hadn't involved them in the first debate, um, you know, there would have been a lot of finger pointing by the time we got to the second one. Sure. Now there was a record. This is why we came to this decision. We all missed this. And so now we all have to rethink it, band. Um, and it costs a lot more positive rulemaking. Um, that I think led to real change. I mean, the, the Department of Public Health study that just came out showed that hospitalization rates really started to decrease after that poison control control center calls really started to decrease, decrease after that.

Speaker 3: And I think we actually established policies that worked absolutely in the industry, you know, from the operator side. Um, what I noticed was a shift in a. We actually are providers of information and education about cannabis. And with that we also have cannabis. Yup. Yeah. And, and, and that was a thing. I also, you know, government is hard because you are the regulator, verse, deregulate team and there is, there is, you have to maintain that position so many ways, right? You cannot give into industry capture and that's very hard at the same time if you don't consult and think about that, I think about them in mind when you create policy, you, you're going to a create really bad policy and be, you're always going to be battling and um, and there are places you simply don't need to battle. There are a lot of mutual interests

Speaker 2: to, to get to places. And I, we've had many conversations with operators that have shared with us the fat and here in Colorado that regulations consistently change and that's a difficult. Yes, but the understanding is there we understand why we have to do this. We understand that the intent here is successful implementation of cannabis regulations. So it is everybody's on the same page with their own little proclivities type of thing

Speaker 3: and in that, and certainly not without every, every once in a I get a little snarky aside, but other than that, of course, right? Yeah. Like, um, version one point was never going to be a, a perfect version. Two Point Oh, or three point. Oh, um, you know, there's still a lot of alcohol regulations that are passed every year. And so, um, I, I imagine will be added for quite a while.

Speaker 2: So before we get to January of 2017, right, New Year's Eve of 2016, what were the key lessons learned from that second year? Um, which from my perspective, both of these years, right? 14. Oh, we skipped 15 I guess. So we'll do 15 and 16 of together, you know what I mean, because why not all three of these years essentially have been pretty smooth. Is that what it felt like a 14, 15 and 16? Did they feel smooth inside?

Speaker 3: Yeah, I think when we're in 14, especially in that first quarter, you know, I, I, I wonder if I picked the right job right there. There was, um, there were just felt like an avalanche of issues. Um, and certainly issues continued to pop up, but I was really impressed by how smooth it became after that. Um, uh, I, I, you know, I started to think more broadly about it, um, by the time we entered our second year, we really started to, especially as we began to see the things I'll talk about, like data, sure, we began to see data being misused a lot. I invoked by both sides, um, you know, that there would be some minor. I'm a uptick in something. And once I would say that, that wasn't statistically significant, um, that, uh, some once I would say this was the worst decision ever, right?

Speaker 3: And there'd be some, um, minor decrease somewhere in the other side side said the world is more enlightened now. Um, and, um, we, I think what I didn't, what I wish I had seen more clearly from the beginning is that we were this obvious chest piece, um, uh, for a much larger dialogue in the nation about whether or not legalization was that was a good idea or bad idea. And so whether or not I want it to be having the debate about legalization, which I didn't, I thought that's not a good debate for Colorado to be in anymore. Um, the, what I didn't see is that going into another election cycle for legalization, a lot of the people we had managed to bring to the center together, we're going to pull back to their corners and start abusing data in ways that we, we didn't like.

Speaker 3: And I think if, if I had to do it over again, you know, we came out with some really good data reports, but we release it. We release everything right? Is with some, you know, here it is, here's a press release and that's it. I really would have, would have gone out to set the tone of here's unbiased data much earlier and just pushed it out and just said, anybody who says it's anything but this, we included them in our analysis. Um, but this is, this is people who are not involved in the debate. This is

Speaker 2: what they're seeing on the ground. So then let's get to these bigger issues. Let's talk about that as far as I think, I feel like you're talking about safety somewhat. Um, you know, what, what are you talking about when you say these are the numbers, this is really what it is. Well, what is the story of legalization in Colorado? Well, so for instance, I'll take youth use. Yep.

Speaker 3: We have not seen a change in youth use. Uh, we look at our, our main thing is as 17,000 kid, um, I'm a study,

Speaker 2: I'm a public health survey anonymous survey that they take in school that they had been doing for about a decade now. People always say, well, maybe they lie in their thing. Yeah. But they probably lie at the same rate, right? So year over year. So it's a good trend line data

Speaker 3: study. Um, and um, uh, that has been statistically insignificant one year and we saw a little blurb down the next year. We saw that blue return back up, uh, all, well within the margin of error. Okay. Meanwhile there's a, there's a national study to layer on top of it, um, that showed a more, still statistically insignificant increase that first year. Um, and, and one side was going crazy at us. I think you could probably guess the side, those that we were, we were discussing this, this statistic as statistically flatline. Um, and I got hate mail about doing that. Um, and so I continued to go back to our department of Public Health and environment. And am I coming at this scientists from an unbiased statisticians from an unbiased standpoint? Check when. Yeah. And then yeah, you cannot claim that there's been any, any change, uh, and

Speaker 2: you know, maybe five years from now we can say also this stuff takes a long time to show up in public health surveys and so please don't over conclude because of it, but this is the right facts at this point in time.

Speaker 3: And, and, and the next year on that national survey, which everybody, there was a 17 percent increase in youth use and the sky is falling. We can't do change year over year and it's statistically insignificant thing. And then the next year there was an even larger decrease in that survey was still significant, statistically insignificant. So we still say it's flat lined. I'm a

Speaker 2: but also like, it kind of ruins data for all of us, right? So then suddenly there's all these different, different messages.

Speaker 3: Um, for us this just shows no change. And youth consumption at this point got um, a and for some it shows, hey, since commercialization, we've seen a 17 percent decrease in youth use. And for some, you know, we want that first year, we don't want the second year. Um, uh, I really, I, I really, it's such important information,

Speaker 2: which we didn't politicize it so much. Well, amen to that. My friend, uh, we, we seem to politicize everything now, but that's not this conversation other big, you know, this is the story of cannabis legalization driving Ohio is really tough one. Yeah. Um,

Speaker 3: uh, there's a couple of different data points and what I'll say is its enforcement of driving while high is really hard. And so we redefined our laws two years ago and then we put a couple of million dollars into enforcement and training people to be able to spot it. And so you would guess they would go up, you would find more people in. And that in fact is what is what has happened that is very noisy data for us. We don't really want to draw any conclusions from that. If we trained an officer to be better at spotting, spotting, driving while high, and then they weren't better at spotting, driving while high, then we would question why don't we spent money on it, right? Different problems. Uh, the on the other hand, there's fatality data that's a little bit less noisy because it's done at least with considerably more consistency than, than pulling somebody over for driving while high that, that driver's involved in a fatal crash test.

Speaker 3: Positive for marijuana. I'm a at a, at a higher, higher rate and at a higher proportion than they did before legalization. I'm a couple of problems are, um, uh, it's not that it's active. We don't know because there's this active thc at the time and it's not that I'm a, we don't know if that caused the crash. Right? So, um, uh, if you were the driver not at fault and you tested positive, you would still be in that calm. Um, and, you know, and there's also, we really have to dig through the data pretty deep to say, and we were also drunk like what, what kind of problems, what else was going on. But what I will say is it is a concerning trend. Like I look at those numbers and I say, okay, it looks like we'd be foolish to say there's no problem.

Speaker 3: We would, we would have to look into it deeper. Now the main issue is that there's no way to test it, right, that the testing testing active thc on the road, much like you would for alcohol, um, uh, that technology is in its infant stage and in its infancy and uh, the um, it'll get better over time. I mean, will, will be more able to truly tell an intoxication versus just presence. Other big lessons, let's just knock them down. Alright. Um, or learnings or facts. All right. Public education campaigns. Yeah. You said something interesting about public education. Let's make sure to, we'll, we'll, I'll start with responsible use. Um, uh, are responsible use campaign, which I'm actually very proud of. I think. Good to know. Is that a very good brand for um, a public education? I think I'll get to why in a little bit.

Speaker 3: Yeah. I think I wish we'd, we'd started it a month before we, January first. I'm a. and part of it was we had waited for marijuana money to pay for it. Sure. Because, um, and I think if we had to do it over again, we would start talking about, hey, let's take a loan out from the general fund earlier, right. Pay for these things so that there's a good tone. And the governor was, he was very clear. These should be out now I'm a start low go slow stuff. Right? No, that, that was actually the, um, that was the industry side of it. Uh, that, that one was a little hard. How do you be the state government until you to use any marijuana, right? Like, um, but uh, it was, hey, here's, here's the facts of what edibles do to you. Like, um, uh, you can also like simple things like you can't smoke in public because people just didn't know that, right?

Speaker 3: You can't smoke in your car. And you can't take it out of state. I mean, I was getting phone calls from friends being like, Hey, can I take this on the airplane? What do I do? Yeah. And it was very clear in our surveys showed at the beginning, people just didn't, not right a lot of stuff that they, that they, that it would've been great to teach them about. What is responsible use, what is overconsumption, uh, what are the laws for driving while high, like all of these different things that would have been great to get out ahead of time. Uh, and then once we did, we actually do see drops in a lot of those things. Once the education level comes up, people are responsible. If they know what's right, they'll do what's right. And the other side I want, I want to get to the tax revenue.

Speaker 3: Paying into education. And you said, uh Oh yeah. Oh, so public education campaigns versus public education? Yes. I'm a $40,000,000 goes into um, a public education in the way of school construction. I, it's written into the constitution. It's, um, it's carried out. Um, every year, $40,000,000, um, and sometimes more than $40,000,000 now goes directly into school construction. We use as was contemplated by the, the amendment. We use the other money to pay for a regulation and then youth prevention and substance abuse. Um, uh, all these other things. But I think somewhere in the public's mind there was this idea of, oh, we are going to pay for education from a marijuana money. And I know that because when I was trying to raise people's income taxes, I, we got verbatims from the pull back from our polling and I just said we'll just taxed marijuana will be fine.

Speaker 3: Um, you know, at the most, at our last year, we made $140,000,000 in tax revenue from marijuana around, collected $140 million in tax revenue. It's a $27 billion dollar budget total for Colorado, right? Nine to $11,000,000,000, uh, in, in a school, in, in education funding. So even if we put every dollar, we didn't even fund a regulatory system, but every dollar went into education. You would not feel it. And you were not going to gym in your school, your teachers would not get a pay increase. None of that would happen, right? It's like we could reroof like a good number of schools in rural districts and that's, well, that's money well spent, but it's not going to be like one of those things where you're just, like, our education system is significantly different because of that money. There are great things to pay for. I think the money that we trying to gear towards homelessness isn't, could actually move the needle on homelessness.

Speaker 3: Uh, I think the youth prevention you, um, things that were putting money into is part of why we're seeing youth preventing youth use not going up. I think the substance abuse money is money that normally doesn't come in, that that's really great money. I think if you're trying to fund, to pay for roads and to pay for education and to pay for healthcare, you're looking in the wrong place. And I think the pernicious part of it is pernicious, strong word. I think the unfortunate part. Good words. Yeah. The unfortunate part of it is that people think that it can, um, and it's not, you know, I went back and looked at the ways in which, um, the Cedarburg and MPP and, and a campaign for amendment 64, they didn't make any false promises there, but I think in people's heads, this was always something that was possible, right?

Speaker 3: We could solve education if we just legalize marijuana and tax the revenue for like one for one like that and it just, it won't, it won't, it won't come from the tax revenue. So. All right, so, so there's, uh, there's tax revenue and thank you for shedding light there. Um, what other big key lessons, big key facts before we get onto a, your new job? Yeah, uh, I would say the youth prevention campaign, um, we learned a lot. Um, and maybe not one of our, our, uh, we, you know, our first one a don't be a lab rat. Um, I think, uh, one of the things that it taught me and I, and it's probably too long to explain it here, but we were trying to evolve on the, this is your brain on drugs and give kids. I'm a, Hey, here are the initial studies.

Speaker 3: They're not conclusive yet. They don't look, a lot of them don't look great. Um, but do you really want to be the brain that, that is part of the test for, for it? I think what I hadn't thought of all the way through is that first of all, the government always sounds bad when it talks about drugs use. It always sounds paternalistic and a paternalistic tone doesn't work. I mean, we've, we've seen it over and over again. Dare didn't work. And um, uh, you know, the, the campaign, while it was a small campaign, I think it really got caught in that and um, uh, became a lot about our, we're wagging our finger at communities of and I'm a, became a pretty controversial in that way. Um, the next one really did bring a lot of those voices to the table to talk about it.

Speaker 3: Um, and um, and also protested our message, be with kids before it went out to kids and so protect what's next about, hey, uh, you want to get your driver's license, you want to pass your test and pass the next test. Um, you want to get a date to the prom. Is Marijuana Really gonna help you get to these things? Um, and I think what we're finding is kids don't believe a, they actually don't believe it will be a once, whenever they recognize something that they want to do, they tend to, you know, push out the influences that don't get them there. Right. Um, and so, um, I think, um, reminding yourself that, uh, that you are still the government talking about drugs and that has already has a connotation to it already. I'm a, you have to view whatever message you're putting out in that, in that light.

Speaker 2: Along the way you meet Louis Kosky from med, you meet John Hudack from brookings. Uh, it turns to 2017. We have a, like we said, basically a smooth kind of system with its, you know, is everything perfect all of the time? Never, uh, these other two guys, I like to call you guys the holy triumvirate, a, how did this all come together?

Speaker 3: That's very kind of a, I won't mention who, but, uh, there are some, there are some, uh, marijuana implementation, a technocrat government nerds out there. Sure. And one of them is like, this is like team marvel. And I was like, no, no, the avengers, this is the bedroom. And she's like, that's a bad analogy to tobacco. Um, I, we are very proud of the team we put together. Um, and um, we started, uh, I mean in part it was kind of just this no brainer, right? We had all gone through this process together. I had witnessed John, um, uh, uh, really set aside any, any personal beliefs he had and really write about good government over and over and over again. Um, and I had witnessed Louis Kosky, um, do what was, first of all he was, he's an unbelievable work horse because what he had to do, I mean, he basically has not slept in the last seven years.

Speaker 3: Right? Like through, through medical marijuana and recreational marijuana and being there for the true implementation of both those. Uh, and now his name is on the rule book for, for recreational marijuana. Um, uh, I was, I was very impressed with, um, kind of this very firm grounding. They came from of what government system works best here. And that's the very first thing I'm going to think about. I'm not going to think about whether or not legalization is a good idea. Um, and um, and we really, I the, the, the speed with which we had a meeting of the minds on philosophy on it made them my favorite people to work with, ensuring that way. Um, uh, and I often went to go pick John's brain about problems we were going through m and a and Louis and I worked very hard on stuff together. And so I had my initial, uh, I, I, I'm a kindly asked John Hudak two drinks in DC and a came in with a full on pitch for him about how, uh, uh, is there any way he could spare a few hours a week, uh, to help me in, in launching a consulting firm, um, hopefully in the long run about good government in general, but it's certainly in the short run about helping all these states that are to come online from online.

Speaker 3: Uh, and, and he both got very excited about it, but he was like, let me send me a good news email that, hey, he could both stay at brookings and do this work. Uh, and then I very cautiously approached Louis Kosky a task, what his future thoughts were because he's, he's been a very loyal. I'm a public servant for a very long time. Um, uh, and he also expressed interest of helping other states figured this out. Uh, and so, um, we, uh, we kept it well under wraps for a long time. And then I always knew that I'd be transitioning out of this. The governor agreed that this, that a czar position is not a good longterm solution to anything. And so we talked a lot about transition. Uh, and then on January fifth we launched a Friedman and Koskie. I'm a consulting services. Uh, John Hudak is a co founder but still remains at the Brookings Institution.

Speaker 3: And, uh, our plan is to go out to, we're not going to work directly for industry because I think, um, that we'll see where we want to remain agnostic source that multiple groups can use us for, right? Um, uh, and I think that takes away our ability to be that, um, but our hope is to work with local and state governments, uh, and ancillary businesses that help provide public safety and public health are, are two filters, our, does our work lead to good government or does our work lead to a more responsible industry? And if it answers either of those questions affirmatively, then that's what we're doing. Okay. As we start to close here, without giving away the special sauce, the three keys for any municipality, any state, any, anybody that wants to do this, what are the three keys? And we'll give away our special sauce all day.

Speaker 3: We're here to help. We're not here, not here to hide. I would say bring in the entire community as fast as you can. And an organized working group structure. It's incredibly important. Uh, it's, it seems like hard work and some of it seems like counterintuitive. Why would I? People that are screaming at you right now, you need to bring them in. They have to be there. And, um, uh, it's easier to pass a single regulation now without talking about them. It's harder to pass the next regulation, um, uh, and, and, and then your job will just get more and more difficult as you go or go down the line a plus. They really do help you think about better. Policy number two is a, don't underfund, um, all the, all the structural skeleton that you need coming in. I think a lot of people start to salivate over how you can use this money towards other things.

Speaker 3: Sure. You'll get there not on, not on, not for the first year. The first year your money should go to paying for a good regulatory system, a good public education campaign system, right? Um, uh, it should go towards the things that will make sure that the rollout is successful, um, and not towards all these other things you might be interested in. Um, so, so we've got to bring it all the voices and fund your regulatory system. Police. Yeah, from before day one. Uh, and then, uh, the third one, and then we haven't talked about this yet, but um, where we see abuses in the system and for us it's really home grows that we see abuses in a come because I think our regulated system is actually doing what, what it is tracking every plant from seed to sale a. and there are a lot of really good people who are in the homegrown system who are growing for somebody else medically in need.

Speaker 3: And four to six plants. There's also, there's also organized crime that has decided that we have some of the loosest homegirl laws in the nation and they're here and there's also a lot of valuable substance in somebodies houses. And so there's little kids jumping fences and getting shot. You know, we had a, I believe a 15 year old that was killed last year in Denver because of this. We had a seven point $6 million dollar raid on, uh, on what own ended up to be a Laotian organized crime group in southern Colorado. Um, uh, all of this was our homegrown system. Us Not thinking through kind of in the mind of the bad actor thinking through our homegrown system. Right? Um, so if you're going to be talking about a complete licensed system, you also have to think about the parts of the system that are outside the license system.

Speaker 3: Uh, and those two things, they'll really play off each other a lot. And so I tell people that's the first substantive issue you should think about. And, and there is a difference between four to six plants in 300 plants. Yeah. We allow for a lot of plants in Colorado. Correct. Alright. So, so those are the big lessons, you know, we could keep going, you know, um, you know, but it's 9:00 on Saturday morning, so there's tons to do. So I'll ask you the three final questions. Oh, I'll tell you what they are. I'll ask you them in order. What has most surprised you in cannabis? What has most surprised you in life? And then on the soundtrack of Andrew Friedman's life, one track, one song that's got to be on there, but first things first, what has most surprised you in Canada? Um, uh, what, what's, what's the most crazy to me, and it's surprising.

Speaker 3: It's probably the wrong word just for me, just because I'm a, it was too holy predictable, but it still has been like I'm in awe of this weird relationship between the federal government and the state government on this one. You know, like banking is an easy. Of course we should have banking, right? That only helps public safety. Right? And oversight of course we should have research like, like if, if people are using this on their kids as medicine, they deserve that as much research as possible on it, if it's being, if it's being used as medicine in 28 states, shouldn't like it. Like it just blows my mind the of courses and the fact that we don't do them and how hard it is to start those kinds of. Why, why do you think that is? I understand that you, you were kind of, you know, right there in the state government, right at the top, not in the federal government, but do, do you have any insight from, you know, from your seat? I, I wish

Speaker 2: I had better than I did. I, I really, I, I can't. I'm still at the, of course that we should be putting, you know, a billion dollars into research every year that, that seems like, what would we not do that, yes, this is everywhere right now. And so, and even in the legal states, it's there, right? You should, we should have the best information possible.

Speaker 4: Um,

Speaker 2: uh, there are crazier things going on in government than just this and so I, you know, the, the problem seem more systemic than, than, than this one place, but that, that would be what, Ha, what is most surprising to you in Canada? Yeah. I, or shocking or whatever. I guess unfortunately the now the now

Speaker 4: um, uh, the, now I'm,

Speaker 2: I kind of skeptical part of my brain. It's not, it's not surprising. It's just really unfortunate.

Speaker 4: I'm a,

Speaker 2: the third one, the soundtrack to my. Oh No, we have to still ask you what, what has most surprised you

Speaker 3: in life? Oh, okay. Hold on. Nine o'clock on a Friday, Saturday morning. What has most surprised me in life?

Speaker 4: I'm a,

Speaker 2: I would go back to,

Speaker 4: um,

Speaker 3: the amount of, the simple amount of talent in the world that I've seen. I'm not want to take a risk in their life.

Speaker 2: Back to the Harvard law thing. Yeah. They're just, you know, and it's everywhere. Everywhere I go.

Speaker 3: Um, so, uh, my continual lesson is like, oh, okay. It taking risk is like kind of the coin of the realm in order to have fun in your life. And so yeah, the coin of the realm. Yeah. That's like, that's the token. That's, that's that. That's the price you pay for fun is, is risk. So of it. Yeah. That's, that is what I've come to understand. And, and as a, a, uh, a long time, a state technocrat, it doesn't seem like I'm the kind of person that takes risks, but I really don't

Speaker 2: do believe in my, in my world, a lot of risks. What? You're gonna Start Your own company. That's ridiculous. That's right. Alright. On the soundtrack of your life. One track, one song that's got to be on there and got it. I got extra time on this one and

Speaker 4: didn't come to anything. I'm a,

Speaker 3: it's going to be something by the Beatles. Go with, uh, uh, I wanna hold your hand because, uh, uh, I can't come up with anything profound.

Speaker 2: Well, no, but it is. That's the way that you regulate. That's the way that you govern. That's the way that you were. There we go. That's right. How about that? Andrew Friedman my world, and now we're shaking hands. That's the whole thing. The whole thing works out. Thanks so much for your time. Thanks so much for what you've done. A go help somebody else. Right?

Speaker 3: My pleasure. Thanks for having me on set. You got it right.

Speaker 1: And there you have Andrew Friedman. And so now it should be perfectly clear how and why, at least from the regulatory standpoint we are where we are very much appreciate Andrew's time both with us and, uh, serving the state, serving the community, serving the industry. And thank you 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.