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Ep.242: US Congressman Ed Perlmutter

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.242: US Congressman Ed Perlmutter

Ep.242: US Congressman Ed Perlmutter

The congressman joins us and shares Colorado’s cannabis legalization results- crime is down, businesses have grown, there’s a better banking landscape and revenue to the state has been strong. The congressman has introduced The Marijuana Business Access To Banking Act which says that if a State has a regulatory structure in place, the businesses within that State would be exempt from the very restrictive federal banking laws. This of course would put into law the FinCen guidance released in tandem with the third Cole Memo. Remember- it was the Ogden memo in 2009, the first cole memo in 2011, the second cole memo in 2013 and that third cole memo in 2014. The congressman says that momentum is building for true federal legislation.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: US Congressman Ed Perlmutter. The congressmen joins us and shares Colorado's cannabis legalization results. Crime is down, businesses have grown. There's a better banking landscape and revenue to the state has been strong. The congressman has introduced the marijuana business access to banking act, which says that if a state has a regulatory structure in place, the businesses within that state would be exempt from the very restrictive federal banking laws. This, of course would put into law the fincen guidance released in tandem with the third Cole memo. Remember it was the Ogden memo in 2009, the first coal memo in 2011 second Cole memo in 2013, and that third Cole memo in 2014. The congressman says that momentum is building for true federal legislation. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host, Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the hand mechanic economy. That's two ins in the word economy. Congressman perlmutter. You guys all with the Blumenauer and roar backer and. Yeah, Duh.

Speaker 2: Yeah. We tried to make it harder.

Speaker 1: It really is unbelievable. A congressman perlmutter it. It's good to be talking to you again if you can believe it. It's been three years at least since we had a conversation, a well in front of a group of people. I guess it was right?

Speaker 2: Yes. We met at top floor of a hotel in Denver. There was a conference on a cannabis and marijuana economy and what could be expected and it was very well attended, you know, three years ago and you and I had a, you interviewed me and some others. It was a, it was a good afternoon. So

Speaker 1: you know, I guess we can start there by saying on the ground, how much has it changed since the summer? 20 14 is when it was and you and I are talking here in the first quarter of 2017. How much has it changed on the ground in Colorado?

Speaker 2: Well, in Colorado we've now had a time, enough time to see how the regulations and the law developed and how the industry would develop and it's been pretty successful without a glitch here or there, but really a from a client point of view, it's been pretty steady or down. We've seen no real uptick. We've seen growth in the, in the number of businesses we've seen improvement in the whole banking aspect to this revenue to the state has been strong.

Speaker 1: Yeah, the revenue has been reported. It's, it's amazing you bring a banking. And so I guess that's our first topic of conversation here. The marijuana business access to banking act, which is yours. And Congressman Blumenauer brought it up in a recent conversation I had with him. Uh, but please take us through it. What is this legislation that we're talking about?

Speaker 2: Well, the legislation is to say that if a state has a regulatory structure in place that the banking laws that make it so difficult for marijuana businesses to have a legitimate banking relationship, whether it's a payroll account or a credit card or you know, just normal banking accounts, the law would say that state and those businesses in that state are exempt from those very restrictive banking laws.

Speaker 1: And so what do you, in terms of either conversations that you've had or just expectations that you have, how do you feel that, uh, you know, the big banks will respond to this if it is able to get past?

Speaker 2: Well, I think there will be a very positive response. I mean, today there was a memo that was part of the Obama administration and you and I talked about it a few years ago. It was the Cole memo which set certain sort of guidelines for businesses and financial institutions to follow. And if they did then the scrutiny of the, either the Justice Department or the treasury department would be minimized. And we've seen some credit unions and smaller banks and even some larger banks say, okay, and they've been providing a legitimate marijuana businesses with banking services. So there's been some success on the regulatory side from the law, from the statutory side. Uh, we've been introducing this bill so that it would be clear that the congress and the federal law what allowed this kind of activity. And so far we haven't gotten much movement, but across the country with the addition of other states that have either allowed for medical marijuana or have allowed for recreational marijuana, the momentum is with us.

Speaker 1: US Congressman Ed Perlmutter. The congressmen joins us and shares Colorado's cannabis legalization results. Crime is down, businesses have grown. There's a better banking landscape and revenue to the state has been strong. The congressman has introduced the marijuana business access to banking act, which says that if a state has a regulatory structure in place, the businesses within that state would be exempt from the very restrictive federal banking laws. This, of course would put into law the fincen guidance released in tandem with the third Cole memo. Remember it was the Ogden memo in 2009, the first coal memo in 2011 second Cole memo in 2013, and that third Cole memo in 2014. The congressman says that momentum is building for true federal legislation. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host, Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the hand mechanic economy. That's two ins in the word economy. Congressman perlmutter. You guys all with the Blumenauer and roar backer and. Yeah, Duh.

Speaker 2: Yeah. We tried to make it harder.

Speaker 1: It really is unbelievable. A congressman perlmutter it. It's good to be talking to you again if you can believe it. It's been three years at least since we had a conversation, a well in front of a group of people. I guess it was right?

Speaker 2: Yes. We met at top floor of a hotel in Denver. There was a conference on a cannabis and marijuana economy and what could be expected and it was very well attended, you know, three years ago and you and I had a, you interviewed me and some others. It was a, it was a good afternoon. So

Speaker 1: you know, I guess we can start there by saying on the ground, how much has it changed since the summer? 20 14 is when it was and you and I are talking here in the first quarter of 2017. How much has it changed on the ground in Colorado?

Speaker 2: Well, in Colorado we've now had a time, enough time to see how the regulations and the law developed and how the industry would develop and it's been pretty successful without a glitch here or there, but really a from a client point of view, it's been pretty steady or down. We've seen no real uptick. We've seen growth in the, in the number of businesses we've seen improvement in the whole banking aspect to this revenue to the state has been strong.

Speaker 1: Yeah, the revenue has been reported. It's, it's amazing you bring a banking. And so I guess that's our first topic of conversation here. The marijuana business access to banking act, which is yours. And Congressman Blumenauer brought it up in a recent conversation I had with him. Uh, but please take us through it. What is this legislation that we're talking about?

Speaker 2: Well, the legislation is to say that if a state has a regulatory structure in place that the banking laws that make it so difficult for marijuana businesses to have a legitimate banking relationship, whether it's a payroll account or a credit card or you know, just normal banking accounts, the law would say that state and those businesses in that state are exempt from those very restrictive banking laws.

Speaker 1: And so what do you, in terms of either conversations that you've had or just expectations that you have, how do you feel that, uh, you know, the big banks will respond to this if it is able to get past?

Speaker 2: Well, I think there will be a very positive response. I mean, today there was a memo that was part of the Obama administration and you and I talked about it a few years ago. It was the Cole memo which set certain sort of guidelines for businesses and financial institutions to follow. And if they did then the scrutiny of the, either the Justice Department or the treasury department would be minimized. And we've seen some credit unions and smaller banks and even some larger banks say, okay, and they've been providing a legitimate marijuana businesses with banking services. So there's been some success on the regulatory side from the law, from the statutory side. Uh, we've been introducing this bill so that it would be clear that the congress and the federal law what allowed this kind of activity. And so far we haven't gotten much movement, but across the country with the addition of other states that have either allowed for medical marijuana or have allowed for recreational marijuana, the momentum is with us.

Speaker 1: Absolutely. Momentum is with you and you say you haven't had much luck just yet as far as we go here into this new congress and this new political landscape, which maybe we'll get to if we've got time. You know, how, how are your colleagues responding to it in this new session?

Speaker 2: Well, I think that we've seen over the last couple sessions, a majority in the house, representatives about 180 democrats, about 50 republicans. So 230, the majority's to 18. We've seen a good group willing to change the marijuana laws. Uh, but it hasn't, we haven't been able to follow it through, through the Senate quite yet. So I feel like there's even stronger group, uh, this year in the congress. Now, contrast that with a sort of somewhat unsettling comments we've gotten from the administration, from, you know, the president's spokesman from the Attorney General, uh, we, we really need to get the law modified so that it, it's clear to the executive branch that people want to start moving forward with cannabis legislation and the cannabis industry

Speaker 1: as far as the attorney general is concerned. I'm keenly aware of the 10th amendment and how that reads and it struck me as counterintuitive to that principle. Uh, you know, uh, and I think attorney, the attorney general has a, you know, spoken about the importance of the 10th amendment in the past. It's interesting that he specifically him. Um, I would say something, you know, you mentioned the, uh, the administration, uh, communication, um, you know, a person, a sharing his thoughts and then attorney general sessions backed it up. It was, it strange for you who is in government to hear someone that has supported states' rights, uh, kind of go against that in at least philosophically.

Speaker 2: He wouldn't be the first elected official who was inconsistent as attorney general. He will take a deep look at him and his philosophies and say, you know, we're going to allow states that have a regulatory structure in place to conduct their own affairs, but I, we also need to know, just confront the law and um, you know, try to get it modified an amended so that we can move forward without any kind of uncertainty in place.

Speaker 1: Those comments are far as soon to be Rohrabacher Blumenauer at one time a rohrabacher Hinchey, but that's neither here nor there. But Rohrabacher Farr soon to be rolled back or blumenauer was referenced as something that we do have on the books. Um, you know, how good do you feel about that being kind of renewed?

Speaker 2: What it really shows us and, and said to you and I just talked about it, is that fact that there is a solid majority in the House of Representatives that is supportive of allowing states to, you know, have legitimate marijuana businesses within their borders. And it also is speaking to the fact that the congress as a whole is prepared to move forward on marijuana legislation. So that's a real positive. But we still need to, you know, go through the regular order of things and the regular procedure to really modify the controlled substance act and the way that it needs to be changed.

Speaker 1: How realistic is that in anytime soon?

Speaker 2: That's the $64 question. And I would say the momentum is building. We have some chairman of specific committees who have been in the past very adamantly against marijuana legislation and uh, you know, Jeb hensarling is the chairman of financial services and peach session, the chairman of the rules committee and they've, uh, they've been very hesitant in allowing things to move forward. They blocked it generally where they could now I think that's going to change. And so I am optimistic, but that will be the challenge.

Speaker 1: Sure. And when you say, I think that's going to change, um, you know, now that you've been in session in this new congress, in this new political landscape, um, you know, how our folks speaking about cannabis, this is a personal liberty. You can look at it that way. Are we further along? You know here in the first quarter of 2017, then we were in the fourth quarter of 2016, I guess would be the question.

Speaker 2: The answer is I think we're further along and I'll tell you why. You know, with the addition of Maine and Massachusetts and Alaska and especially as well as other, the other states, some of the others have agreed to allow for medical marijuana. I think that just the the numbers of people in states effected by this has grown. Then as a consequence that gets more members of Congress sort of onboard, so we've seen that. I've also, I was speaking with you a little bit earlier about two other Republicans who've now move forward with some marijuana legislation grip Morgan and another guy named Tom Garrett, so there are a republicans willing to move forward. Clearly Democrats, whether it's been a earl blumenauer, jared polis, me a Diana to get a. we've been moving forward, but now we're starting to get some company from the Republican side. Dana is Dana Rohrabacher has always been there. It's starting to move forward and that's what gives me some optimism.

Speaker 1: Yeah. When you, when you talk about Tom Garrett, who, who did certainly make ways, uh, with, with his suggested bill, when you walk through the halls there, you know, I'm in DC, what are folks saying kind of behind the scenes. It's always a little bit of a different, uh, conversation when the cameras are on and when the cameras are not on. So from your Republican colleagues, um, what are they saying? What's the kind of general feel aside from the ones that are out there saying, yeah, Hey, let's go forward.

Speaker 2: Well, I think it's been a more positive response and so they, some of them might not become a cosponsor, but they say we'll support this. Uh, if it gets to the floor, we'll support this in committee. And so quietly there is additional support for a number of these things. And when you get some that are actually a affirmatively being sponsors of Bill's additional folks that I think a lot as well for addressing this.

Speaker 1: So I like to say that I come from the left and I try to be in the center as best as I can and I have a sense that the audience is kind of on both sides of the fence. I know that, uh, the folks that we've had on our, certainly on both sides of the fence, uh, including Congressman Rohrabacher when we talk about, you know, calling your congressman and calling your senators, what can folks do, you know, beyond a politics here, but when calling their representatives, um, who are, uh, either Republican or Democrats, what's your suggestion of how to show a constituency support, uh, of these various bills that we're talking about?

Speaker 2: Sure. I think the best thing is you focus on your own member of Congress and senators so that you know, as member of Congress, I'm interested in the views of the people I specifically represent. Sure, okay. If it's somebody from Biloxi, Mississippi, I'm not going to be so interested in that. The member from that area will be interested in that constituents. Do so first focus on your own representative and your own senators. Second, this is a subject that they need to hear about and whether you're from the right, the left, the center, whatever it is, uh, you know, it's your responsibility as a citizen to speak up about the issues you care about. And so we would be interested in hearing how our constituents are feeling and for some that are been very adamantly opposed to marijuana legislation in the past, you know, may soften them a little bit, you know, for others it might encourage them to become more outspoken in their support. So I think that you can go to town hall meetings, you can write letters, you could make phone calls, uh, you know, to get in contact with your specific representative or senator

Speaker 1: and, and if it is done in a positive way, in other words, uh, uh, with all a positive intent, what are your thoughts on that?

Speaker 2: I mean, I think what you're saying in a courteous, in a civil way, absolutely that's back. That is important. If you're getting on the phone and you just start screaming it, whoever answers the phone,

Speaker 1: that's not going to do anything. As far as I'm just thinking about talking to my girlfriend, I already lost. If that's my, uh, you know, approach, um, but, but what about dropping by the office and just saying, Hey, I'm here, you know, and even if I'm a veteran, I'm a physician, I'm a, you know, I'm, I'm a patient, uh, no matter what it is, um, what are your thoughts on that front from your perspective?

Speaker 2: That is also a great approach.

Speaker 1: It is.

Speaker 2: If you can come into the office, whether it's in Washington dc before, likely somebody would drop by the office in their home area, their state, uh, that too is a way to make the contact. Now, you may or may not bump into your member of Congress, but by showing up and saying, this is what I'm concerned about and this is how I'd like to see my representative proceed on x, Y, or z bills, or generally on the subject that is again, a very good contact. And I sat down, I got to get going because we're voting right now and I'm going to miss this vote. If I keep talking to,

Speaker 1: that's fine. You know, I, I, if I may ask you three final questions, just, uh, uh, that we always ask everyone what's most surprised you in cannabis, what's most surprised you in life and, uh, on the soundtrack of your life? One track, one song that's got to be on there. Those are always the three questions that I asked, but.

Speaker 2: Well, I read the first one in cannabis. I guess I've been very pleasantly surprised. Things have gone so smoothly in Colorado. Okay, good. Good. And what's most surprised me in life? That's right. Uh, that, uh, even when things or is uncertain and in my opinion kind of goofed up right now in Washington. Sure. That up that most folks can be determined but still have a smile on their face.

Speaker 1: Sure. To that end, do, do you feel that we can kind of make our way back here? And by we, I mean we, the people, meaning it does seem like there's not a lot of positive political discourse, not a lot of efficient or effective political discourse. Do you feel that we can kind of get back?

Speaker 2: Yes. And so let me just say to all of your viewers and listeners that they own this democracy, it is their responsibility to keep it in good repair. And if you sort of throw up your hands and say, well, I'll let that guy worry about her, I'll let her worry about it. Then bad things happen. And so when people take responsibility for their country, for this democracy, for the freedom they enjoy, for the equality they enjoy, for the opportunities they enjoy, it makes for a much better future for all of us. So yes, I think the people are who need to get the ship of state moving in a better direction.

Speaker 1: I love it. Alright, soundtrack time on the soundtrack of your life. Congressman perlmutter. One one, track one song that has to be on there.

Speaker 2: Oh uh, I love. Remember the titans

Speaker 1: by whom?

Speaker 2: Well, it's, it's the movie, the soundtrack and all of them together.

Speaker 1: Oh, there you go. We'll take it.

Speaker 2: Wonderful Soundtrack. And the first one is ain't no mountain high.

Speaker 1: That'll keep me from getting to you. Right? Exactly. Yeah. Congressman perlmutter. I can't thank you enough. Please go vote. I know that, uh, you'll be doing the right thing as far as cannabis is concerned and, uh, we hope to check back with you soon and kind of experienced this momentum of which you speak. How about that?

Speaker 2: Okay, thanks. That I'm sure that somebody's going to call me from the recording industry and asked me not to do that again.

Speaker 1: All right sir. Thank you. Bye. Bye. See Ya. See Ya. And there you have congressman perlmutter.

Speaker 3: I'll tell you, he says it directly. It's we, the people were in charge and I'm doing what I can to, you know, create this platform. And, uh, I guess it's on us to go down to the offices to, to make the calls and to be the change which we desire. Thanks for listening.

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