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Ep.260: John Davis

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.260: John Davis

Ep.260: John Davis

Recorded May 5th of 2017, John Davis returns to provide a history of legal cannabis in Washington State as well as an update on his personal saga. Washington State has always been building the regulatory plane as they fly it. For John in particular, he was a medical dispensary owner prior to legal adult use cannabis being voted in. But the medical market was never truly regulated. And so, the goal was to move the medical shops over to the adult-use program between July 2016 and July 2017. So John had to apply to keep his business. He put in his priority submission on the first day he could but one thing led to another and he had to shut his doors a year ago. All was lost until just recently- when he finally got approval.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: John Davis returns recorded May 5th, 2017. John Davis returns to provide a history of legal cannabis in Washington state as well as an update on his personal saga. Washington state has always been building the regulatory plane as they fly it for John in particular, he was a medical dispensary owner prior to legal adult use being voted in, but the medical market was never truly regulated. And so the goal was to move the medical shops over to the adult use program between July 2016 and July 2017. So John had to apply to keep his business. He put in his priority submission on the first day, could one thing led to another and he had to shut his doors a year ago. All was lost until just recently when he finally got approval. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends of the word economy. John Davis,

Speaker 2: how you doing? John Davis?

Speaker 1: I mean, come on. Who has good news? John Davis says good news.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I, uh, finally got through my beef with the liquor and cannabis board here in Washington state and I'm not all the way through the process, but I've been granted to licenses in the city of Seattle. So, um, congratulations. Well, thank you. Thank you. It was a long, hard slog, you know, and it's, it's nice in the end for them to agree that, um, you know, they screwed up

Speaker 3: so it turns out John was right all along. So, so let's, uh, let's go back here. The last time you and I spoke literally was in, was last year, so it happens to be may of 2017 when we're talking now, but just kind of give us the quick overview of the whole storyline. You know, folks can of course go back and listen to each episode as it unfolds. Uh, but, you know, as far as what actually happened, um, you know, take us through it from, from uh, well I guess from before July, right?

Speaker 2: Yeah. Well, I mean, a license period opened up, uh, you know, the, what happened was the legislature wanted to merge the medical and the recreational program because it made sense and because really at the time the medical was largely unregulated, a lot due to a veto from governor Gregoire at the time, a 50, 73 because she was worried that, you know, back in the day when it happened that, you know, stays a state workers would be at risk by having anything to do with cannabis, which is still to this day is schedule one controlled substance. So we worked hard to get that through the legislature and then she wrote a vetoed every piece of that that had anything to do with a state worker being involved in it, which we had a licensing set up the whole thing. Um, but that got vetoed. Therefore there were no licenses

Speaker 3: state trying to regulate medical marijuana before a legal adult use came in basically

Speaker 2: going through the legislature because we wanted a licensing system to a system like that, that made sense. Um, but, you know, ultimately it got vetoed. So, which put us in, you know, this limbo area, like, you know, um, how are we regulated? And so it, you know, and they did a lot of work with the city of Seattle, city of Seattle, passed several ordinances. Um, I still have the pens from the signing of those ordinances and you know, so the city of Seattle, they, they went to work on figuring out how they could regulate and you know, both my stores, we're in the city of Seattle. And so we, um, we did it that way and uh, they did a good job about um, you know, figuring out who was real, who was following the law and basically who wasn't. And so in that process, the city whittled, you know, how many dispensaries where they're in Seattle, like we, you know, it depends on your definition of a dispenser I suppose, but Seattle widdle down to 47 people that, a dispensary organizations that were doing things right. We're complying with the law and we're compliant with all the zoning and everything else, paying their taxes. And, um, then we actually went to the legislature again to get, you know, cause if they were going to merge the medical and the recreational systems, which we weren't against but had to do with some care, um, for, for a lot of reasons.

Speaker 3: I just spoke over you dosage being just one, right?

Speaker 2: Oh yeah, yeah. I mean it has to be thoughtful because, you know, there are missions, you know, I dealt with patients that were critically ill and needed to have good access to the type of medicine that worked for them, you know, and I, you know, I'm not against going into the future. I mean I've been playing in the cannabis politics for more than 20 years and you know, that seemed to be the next logical step. So I'm doing recreational as well. Made sense to me as long as I can, you know, serve my existing clientele events still the bill that got passed. And like I was there for a lot of the negotiations on this. Not all of them.

Speaker 2: It was decided that, um, medical shops. No, that is in the law. It says that there's supposed to be a competitive merit based system that allows people to get licenses based on their experience and qualifications and also their adherence to the law. And, you know, I said, you know, with my group, you know, we all had been at the forefront of what was compliance, you know, to begin with. We wrote a lot of this stuff, especially back in the day, um, so you know, that being passed and understanding that, you know, I'm a competitive based system would allow the best of the best and those people the world, but you move into the new system of licensing under the liquor and cannabis board. Um, you know, that made sense. So the liquor and cannabis board, they decided, you know, and they opened up the next round that it would be a very narrow.

Speaker 2: Um, they, they basically, they didn't at that point, you know, there's a lot of their view in the liquor and cannabis board was that medical was illegal. And so really they had no love for the medical system to begin with. I mean, they were not, you know, there are people, their competitors as far as they were concerned and that was, that was kind of a prevailing attitude. I mean there's pockets of people who thought differently and the, the, the LCB, but they devise a licensing system based on priorities. And the criteria was that you would have applied for a license in the last round that you had no outstanding tax obligations, um, uh, that you were an existing, um, what was called the collective garden here in the state that was basically a dispensary. Um, and basically what had happened was when they put it together, the licensing system, um, remember I told you were there, I was, uh, I was, I was at the door when the bls, the licensing agency open on the first day of a application because I was like, well, I actually wasn't the first guy in line.

Speaker 1: John Davis returns recorded May 5th, 2017. John Davis returns to provide a history of legal cannabis in Washington state as well as an update on his personal saga. Washington state has always been building the regulatory plane as they fly it for John in particular, he was a medical dispensary owner prior to legal adult use being voted in, but the medical market was never truly regulated. And so the goal was to move the medical shops over to the adult use program between July 2016 and July 2017. So John had to apply to keep his business. He put in his priority submission on the first day, could one thing led to another and he had to shut his doors a year ago. All was lost until just recently when he finally got approval. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends of the word economy. John Davis,

Speaker 2: how you doing? John Davis?

Speaker 1: I mean, come on. Who has good news? John Davis says good news.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I, uh, finally got through my beef with the liquor and cannabis board here in Washington state and I'm not all the way through the process, but I've been granted to licenses in the city of Seattle. So, um, congratulations. Well, thank you. Thank you. It was a long, hard slog, you know, and it's, it's nice in the end for them to agree that, um, you know, they screwed up

Speaker 3: so it turns out John was right all along. So, so let's, uh, let's go back here. The last time you and I spoke literally was in, was last year, so it happens to be may of 2017 when we're talking now, but just kind of give us the quick overview of the whole storyline. You know, folks can of course go back and listen to each episode as it unfolds. Uh, but, you know, as far as what actually happened, um, you know, take us through it from, from uh, well I guess from before July, right?

Speaker 2: Yeah. Well, I mean, a license period opened up, uh, you know, the, what happened was the legislature wanted to merge the medical and the recreational program because it made sense and because really at the time the medical was largely unregulated, a lot due to a veto from governor Gregoire at the time, a 50, 73 because she was worried that, you know, back in the day when it happened that, you know, stays a state workers would be at risk by having anything to do with cannabis, which is still to this day is schedule one controlled substance. So we worked hard to get that through the legislature and then she wrote a vetoed every piece of that that had anything to do with a state worker being involved in it, which we had a licensing set up the whole thing. Um, but that got vetoed. Therefore there were no licenses

Speaker 3: state trying to regulate medical marijuana before a legal adult use came in basically

Speaker 2: going through the legislature because we wanted a licensing system to a system like that, that made sense. Um, but, you know, ultimately it got vetoed. So, which put us in, you know, this limbo area, like, you know, um, how are we regulated? And so it, you know, and they did a lot of work with the city of Seattle, city of Seattle, passed several ordinances. Um, I still have the pens from the signing of those ordinances and you know, so the city of Seattle, they, they went to work on figuring out how they could regulate and you know, both my stores, we're in the city of Seattle. And so we, um, we did it that way and uh, they did a good job about um, you know, figuring out who was real, who was following the law and basically who wasn't. And so in that process, the city whittled, you know, how many dispensaries where they're in Seattle, like we, you know, it depends on your definition of a dispenser I suppose, but Seattle widdle down to 47 people that, a dispensary organizations that were doing things right. We're complying with the law and we're compliant with all the zoning and everything else, paying their taxes. And, um, then we actually went to the legislature again to get, you know, cause if they were going to merge the medical and the recreational systems, which we weren't against but had to do with some care, um, for, for a lot of reasons.

Speaker 3: I just spoke over you dosage being just one, right?

Speaker 2: Oh yeah, yeah. I mean it has to be thoughtful because, you know, there are missions, you know, I dealt with patients that were critically ill and needed to have good access to the type of medicine that worked for them, you know, and I, you know, I'm not against going into the future. I mean I've been playing in the cannabis politics for more than 20 years and you know, that seemed to be the next logical step. So I'm doing recreational as well. Made sense to me as long as I can, you know, serve my existing clientele events still the bill that got passed. And like I was there for a lot of the negotiations on this. Not all of them.

Speaker 2: It was decided that, um, medical shops. No, that is in the law. It says that there's supposed to be a competitive merit based system that allows people to get licenses based on their experience and qualifications and also their adherence to the law. And, you know, I said, you know, with my group, you know, we all had been at the forefront of what was compliance, you know, to begin with. We wrote a lot of this stuff, especially back in the day, um, so you know, that being passed and understanding that, you know, I'm a competitive based system would allow the best of the best and those people the world, but you move into the new system of licensing under the liquor and cannabis board. Um, you know, that made sense. So the liquor and cannabis board, they decided, you know, and they opened up the next round that it would be a very narrow.

Speaker 2: Um, they, they basically, they didn't at that point, you know, there's a lot of their view in the liquor and cannabis board was that medical was illegal. And so really they had no love for the medical system to begin with. I mean, they were not, you know, there are people, their competitors as far as they were concerned and that was, that was kind of a prevailing attitude. I mean there's pockets of people who thought differently and the, the, the LCB, but they devise a licensing system based on priorities. And the criteria was that you would have applied for a license in the last round that you had no outstanding tax obligations, um, uh, that you were an existing, um, what was called the collective garden here in the state that was basically a dispensary. Um, and basically what had happened was when they put it together, the licensing system, um, remember I told you were there, I was, uh, I was, I was at the door when the bls, the licensing agency open on the first day of a application because I was like, well, I actually wasn't the first guy in line.

Speaker 2: A couple of people showed up for me, but you know, there was like seven or eight of us, you know, and because we were like, there is no way that we're going to let the liquor and cannabis board who has a history of just not caring, um, you know, be arbitrary with it. So it's like, okay, we are the most experienced, in fact were the most timely applicant's now, you know, and so I put in and it says in, you know, what the rules put together that you were supposed to do a submission showing that you existed showing, um, you know, that you, uh, uh, your taxes, we're good. Uh, you know, basically proving you're a priority status three priorities, priority one, priority two, priority three. And at the time, I, you know, said, I think I said to use it, you know, only priority one was going to matter if you've got a priority two or priority three, you know, you're, yeah, you're just not going to be meaningful.

Speaker 2: And so, uh, I went and I applied and I turned in my priority a submission saying, okay, I have experience. I'm open. I'm one of the people already vetted by Seattle to be open, uh, you know, here's my submission that they might taxes. Here's my submission. This is probably the first submission, but I know it was the first submission they got already submission right there. So, um, I applied for that day and um, and waited and you know, for the licensing agency to get back to me because I was ready to open. What do you want to inspect? Like I'm not, this is not a theoretical building that I have. This is an open. The operating compliance was compliant before there was compliance location. So just come on down as soon as you're ready

Speaker 4: me and open me if you want some, uh, some key pointers on security. Let me show you what I did with the doors here.

Speaker 2: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. You know, my place was, it was a showpiece and it was, it was a bunker, it was a nice looking, security was a high and uh, yeah. So, um, so I waited and waited and then I started hearing that other people were getting donkey signs to, uh, you know, doing their submission, their priorities, and so I was like, well, I haven't got that. But then again, I did my priority submission already. So, um, maybe they're not giving me the docusign based on us, but to be proactive because it's between canvas part and because they don't care and they screw things up as an organization individually. There's people in the LCB, they're great people.

Speaker 4: A peer, you're talking about group think you're not talking about people.

Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah. You know, individually there's some good people in the LCB constantly. They're mindless, uncaring bureaucracy. Um, and so I started, you know, who looked on their website because at the time they kept changing their mind like this was an all over the place. Oh, you can put in as many applications as you want. And then the next day, well if you put it more than three, we'll cancel all your applications. And you know, it's like getting a straight answer out of them was nearly impossible. So I checked to make sure that I was doing, you know, uh, asking questions the right way to the right person, and I started calling and contacting them and saying, you know, where's my, were, what's the status of my application, do I need to do a docusign, I'm a priority submission, or uh, did you already approved my priority submission? And if you did, whereas the priority one status so I can get to the next level and you guys can come out and inspect. Um, and I kept getting the same line over and over. And by the way, at this time, there was no cap. They were just saying, we're just going to open. Well, you could have three licenses. But they were saying, well, in Washington state, there's not going to be any cap as to how many stores.

Speaker 2: Right? So I kept calling and say, Oh yeah, we see your hearing system. Everything's cool. Just be patient. We're busy. Um, and uh, you know, your, uh, your inspector will get a to you when they get to you. And they kept saying, listen, there's no rush. Right? Um, you have, you'll, you'll get there, you'll get your license and then kind of, what was it in December? Uh, that must have been 2015. Uh, Geez, I'd have to look at this point, you know, I'm still going through this process, you know, I'd have to think back, but anyways, suddenly, and the entire time I was also,

Speaker 4: it was December of 2015. Oh my God, this has been going on forever.

Speaker 2: Yeah. So, uh, then the uh, the, what was it is October 15th of Twenty 15 that the licensing windows started. I know because I was there the door on the first day.

Speaker 4: So anyway, so December 20, 15 go on.

Speaker 2: So suddenly in by the, by the way, in this entire time, um, there's comments going on rulemaking and I'm commenting on their rulemaking saying, okay, you've got this competitive merit based process and this is the criteria. This should be handled like this and this is a intelligent way to score it and to do it. Um, and you guys don't have to take any liability for this is just simply a scoring method, um, which got all the way to the governor because I got some flack from the unions because I forgot to include the unions in my theoretical, um, a group which was just an oversight.

Speaker 3: But nonetheless, this is your kind of traditional role. This is kind of that see the old ccse hey, let me help you know, with the rules and regs type of thing.

Speaker 2: Yeah, exactly. And I was also writing them saying, hey, by the way, like in my opinion, you're already contrary to the law here because the law envisions cap and what you're saying right now is that there are no caps to the amount of stores. But in my reading and my interpretation of the law says lawfully, it says in the law books your to open as many stores as you believe are needed for the existing medical patients. And so I'm like, so that to me says that it's not an infinite number, that it's a finite number. And I've been writing them and you know, telling them those, uh, you know, hey, by the way, I think you're breaking the law a little bit here if you think you're going to do infinite. And suddenly in December they got religion. I think they got it pushed on by some existing retailers that these have suddenly sprung in place.

Speaker 2: They just one day said, oh, by the way, we're issuing these caps. Then there's going to be 21 stores in Seattle, right? Twenty one total. Twenty one total. Which there's, remember Seattle went through the vetting process on day closed. I think they closed 60 stores and let 47 stay open. And so, you know, a 21 being less than 47, much less so everyone. Yeah, everyone took notice. And so it's at that time I'm like, okay. And you know, and, and watching them kind of bungle this. No. I'm like, what do I gotTa do here? You know, I'm, I'm using the process. I'm asking them and they're saying, oh, don't worry, we'll get to you. And it's like, well, it's obviously going to be competitive when you only have 21 for 47 rattle Seattle went to the extent of writing a letter to the, to the city saying, hey look, you know, you're supposed to look into it and figure out how many medical shops needed for the existing patient population and mind you, we just closed 60 stores leaving 47 open. So that might be a good place to look at what the demand is needed. We want, you know, all of our compliance scores to get through.

Speaker 3: That's the city, right? To the, to the LCB.

Speaker 2: Yeah. And I was talking to the city of Seattle bizarre when it came out when he sent it and you know, I called them up a really good guy. And I was like, what was the response for the liquor and cannabis board? He said, well that was their response. Wow. Okay. And so, and their, uh, their numbers came from this report that was issued. That was not very well thought out. It was just a report. We had to come up with numbers. We came up with numbers on, hey, we looked into it and did all this study and the amount of licenses that were opening up and happened to be the exact same as the ones that we did last time. Right. No real study was done, but someone had to put numbers to it. Those were the numbers that were put to it. And the LCB being mindless doc or see it is, it was like, okay, we have numbers, these are going to be the numbers. Right. And so after, you know, watching that shit. So, um, you know, finally I'm like, okay, I'm not getting anywhere with a process. And I happened to be on a friend's friend's friends, I think at the time with the, um, with the director, the head of the LCB.

Speaker 4: Right. And Oh, who I that, that, uh, you know, that there's been a change at the top, which we'll get into. But right. I do remember that you were also speaking with him offline type of thing.

Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah, no, we had a real good relationship. So I called him up and I said it like I don't know where I am in this process. Now you put this cap on it. I see. I think that things coming. Um, and like I haven't, you know, no one's given me a priority. I don't know if it's because I already did my priority submission or because something else happened. So you know, what's the deal? And he's like, well, when did you apply? And I was like, Rick, I was standing at the door when the bls opened. Like the first day I was, I was literally one of the first applicants and I trended my priority. I'm a submission at the same time because I saw bad things coming and I didn't want to have bad things happen. So you know, I'm being as proactive as I possibly can be.

Speaker 2: And really it was kind of a going out a procedure. You know, the thing about watching the lcb do this, what they do is they start out, I'm being really lax and when they find out and they're always surprised, oh my God, we've got a lot of applicants for people that want to open a marijuana store. Like, yeah, I told you that you would. And then they come to a point for being like hyper relaxed to a point of just trying to disqualify people for any reason just to get the applications off their desk. Right. And I've seen this happen twice now.

Speaker 4: So, which brings us back to that is the lottery. The first time you're talking about is the lottery.

Speaker 2: Yeah, it's a lottery. Yeah. And they would disqualify people because there was a lot of people, um, and uh, so, you know, uh, risks, uh, you know, got off the phone and you know, to his credit, he called me the next day and had my license investigator with them by my application person and we got on speaker and I was like, yeah, so what's the status? Where am I, like, yeah, I'm ready for inspection tomorrow. And she's like, well, you've got to turn in your priority document. I'm like, I did that, but if you want me to do it in a different format, like tell me like, she's like, well, we've, uh, we've emailed you

Speaker 2: and I'm like, I have not got any email. And so she was like, oh, well the email we have and she reads off an email of one of my competitors. Right. And I'm like, that's not my email. Right. And you know, this is my email. And she's like, okay, you know, we'll get it out to you. And so they emailed me the docusign for my priority documentation. I already had it together. I just had to scan it and do it in their format and I put it together and I sent it in and honestly within a was one or two days, um, I got my priority designation and I'm like sweet priority. Like, okay, already one to priority one, probably the best submission that they've ever seen. And a, I was like, okay, I'm ready for inspection. And they're like, well, hold on, you have to put this posting on your door for, I forget what it was like 21 days. And I'm like, all right. And there's another submission I have to put together, which I did then. And I'm like, ready for inspection? Okay, you got to go do your criminal background check. All right. So I was jumping through these hoops as soon as I got to him and say, you know, one day I get a call from my placement investigator and she's like, Hey, just so you know, I'm getting pretty full and you may want to, uh, move your location to move here, a proposed location. I'm like, well, it's not proposed location. It's an actual location

Speaker 2: operating business that has employees in the building and stuff. And I said, hey look, you know, this is, I can't move them. And so she sent me out it and saying, okay, well yeah, you have 15 days to change your address or you know, it's risky staying in Seattle. And I'm like, well I've got to stay in Seattle

Speaker 3: right now. We really have problems because now here's documentation saying, wait a second, you maybe this really isn't going to happen as opposed to you thinking it's not going to happen.

Speaker 2: Saying, Hey, look, you know, this can be, this can be an issue here, right? Uh, done everything on my part. Do this correctly and timely and you've been screwing it up at every stage, right? Like, this is, you know, you're going to need to, you need to figure out how I stay alive in the city of Seattle and basically get another call. Um, hey, the city of Seattle is closed. We're already processing enough people in Seattle that you're going to have to move your proposed location again, not proposed location, the actual location, I can move them. The world doesn't work that way. And at, and at that point I was like, alright, I've done everything else. I have to see these guys after working with them for so long, you know, but, um, what else could I do? So I started getting my lawsuit together and I told my investigator, I'm like, hey, it would be really handy if you'd give me that letter that says Seattle's closed basically, so I could use it, my lawsuit to say, Hey look, I'm, and I know I haven't done the licensing a isn't done yet, but here's finality for me.

Speaker 2: Right? They're saying they're not going to license me. And so, um, so I got together my lawsuit and I understood them and uh, tried to get an injunction. And so now I've know over the past year, a little more than a year, uh, become very accustomed to the tactics that the, that the lcd takes and what they, what they do is they just try to make it as painful as possible. They try to make it take as long as gospel. They don't want to have a good outcome because other people might do them right? And he said, hey, look, you know, um, we went into court and their argument was what it was, it doesn't have finality. You can appeal this to the administrative court. So we're in superior court. This is just the wrong venue. Yup. And they to. They want on that.

Speaker 3: Right. Where did you drive to? How many hours were wherever.

Speaker 5: Okay.

Speaker 2: Oh, to. Oh yeah. Olympia. That's where the court was located. Yes. I had to go there several times and we actually appealed. It got denied on appeal because we hadn't gone through the process. So I had to go through the administrative court. No, and of course they drag it out, they make it take as long as possible. Then you have all the time in the world and they know you don't know. They drug their feet every could. I finally got an administrative hearing and a lost in the administrative hearing because the administrative law judge was like, well, he didn't move his address, his address, because there's still places that are open. That could be because it was in Washington and he could go there right. To richland and where there's a more tour to Umatilla wherever plays out in the woods where nobody lives. And you know, I live in Seattle with my daughter and I'm not moving. Right. And so

Speaker 3: also cvs, uh, you have to move a, your, a shop that's open, right. And uh, you know, the muffler shop has to move their location that's open and uh, yeah, the point being they don't. Seven 11 doesn't have to move because that's a ridiculous thing.

Speaker 2: Yeah. And all my employees are here and you know, I, you know, I've worked with the city to get us where we are today and you know, all that. But then that's where things got, I guess a little weird because again, I go back to, okay, does anybody know, um, we appealed of course the administrative, uh, ruling and kept back going, hey, where is this? Does anyone know where this is Chris eating? Is it not proceeding quizzes? And I've been getting complete radio silence, you know, because who, who didn't appeal to the appeal to the liquor and cannabis board, of course you do. But of course, you know, and it's like a, is the liquor and cannabis board really gonna rule against the liquor board.

Speaker 3: Right, right.

Speaker 2: So you can't make it up, actually. Yeah. These past three weeks I've really been burning it up. You know what I'm saying? Hey, does anyone know about this? When you get back to me, complete radio silence, returning my calls, nothing. Lawyers couldn't even get an answer. And then a fun one. It last a mellow. Was this Tuesday? I think I'm, they got, I, it's been a weird,

Speaker 4: because it's podcast land we're talking about. You're talking about like three or four days ago basically.

Speaker 2: Yeah, exactly. So, um, I get a text from the pots are the, you know, the mayor's liaison for a while. He does, he does cannabis jobs commonly referred to as czar. He texts me and says, Hey John, congratulations. We're so happy you're prevailed. So I'm like, text back, I'm not certain I have prevailed but, and he's like, instead of, you know, and I'm like, that's Kinda weird. I wonder what he heard. And there's a big rumor mill out there. So I just figured, you know, someone was talking and when they spoke to me he texts back and he's like, oh, maybe I wasn't supposed to tell you what. So I immediately,

Speaker 4: that's even more weird because you put it in past tense. He put it in past tense as though it had already happened. And then wait, maybe I'm not supposed to tell you what has already happened.

Speaker 2: Right, exactly. And I called him and he said, Hey, look, uh, yeah, um, I got a call from the liquor and cannabis board saying, congratulations Seattle, you, you now have the more shops she wanted because John Davis, just one. I'm like, so I start calling everyone I can think of and my lawyers and saying, what the hell can we figure this out? And um, uh, the next morning, um, one of my lawyers called me up and he said that he had talked to the opposing counsel, the counsel that rivers then the Washington state liquor and cannabis board. And she said, yes, there's been a ruling and you will be pleased. And he's like, well, was it ruling? And she was like, you'll be pleased that my lawyer asked her, well, can you send me the document? Says, no.

Speaker 4: Are you serious? I continue

Speaker 2: this document. Yeah, there'll be a, there'll be mailed to you. And so I'm like, what? So, um, went and then the date checked my mail and I had a receipt for a registered letter and didn't save it was wrong. So I'm like, okay, what's going on here? Um, went down to the post office and sure enough, got two envelopes from the liquor and cannabis board, believable. And then at the time the weather in Seattle has been really weird lately. But at the, at that moment he was actually sent me a nice year. So I went out in the parking lot at the post office and I open those envelopes and read the ruling. And the liquor and cannabis board had overturned the administrative law. Judge on appeal will look there in cannabis boards themselves had overturned. He said, yeah, and said, hey, this guy's getting two licenses.

Speaker 2: Which floored me because like, my God, I went through this whole thing and then the liquor and cannabis board itself says basically in the ruling, said like this guy did everything right, the screw ups where I'm the liquor in canvas board, which was them. So, um, we're given this guy two licenses regardless, regardless of the caps. And by the way, Seattle wants more licenses, so now I won on those two, you know, now I still have to go through the business of, you know, I had to close those stores, I can just, you know, um, according to keep them open with no revenue coming in and I wasn't about to Piss the city off by staying open and you know, uh, you know, it just kind of flying in the face of everything and I might do it as legal as you can kinda guy

Speaker 3: at the time. I don't remember if the mics were on or off, but I said, you know, hey, what about just kinda staying open and you said to me, you said I can't, I cannot stay open.

Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah. And I read the law and everything, you know, I refer to it all the time when I read it. And I'm like, yeah, I don't believe if I stayed open past, what was it July first, then I'll be legal. And you know, and I, I actually called the city of Seattle, called the city attorney. I called the mayor's office and I say, hey look, you know, this is going on, you know, uh, what would you think about these day and open? And they're like, please, please don't, please don't do that. We've always been, we've never had a beef with you. You've got a sterling reputation. We don't want to get into a fight with you. Play the long game and yeah. And so I closed and I had to lay off all my employees and you know, it's expensive actually closing business. Um, so, and to businesses I closed. So now I have to, I'm still, I'm still going through the court system because, you know, I'm going to ask for damages at this point

Speaker 3: because you actually have them exactly where we are and you know, you're still kind of going to make sure to, to Kinda try to get back, uh, you know, some stuff so that you can hire some, uh, some, some folks and you can find a location and, and get, get rolling. Fine. Two locations for that matter. Um, how much of this though, I'm this, this is 100 percent a cautionary tale. How much of it has to do with though the fact that medical cannabis was never regulated? In other words, Colorado did that before adult use came in, it was regulated than adult use came in. They were kept separate, uh, etc. Etc. ThEre were no regulations on medical cannabis. And so you got kind of caught in this, uh, you know, no man's land. Um, Tell us about what you think about all of these states will specifically California, I'm coming online that don't necessarily have, you know, a statewide medical regulations just yet. What, what is your cautionary tale? What does, uh, what lessons, uh, can you provide to us that you have learned?

Speaker 2: That's the thing. Without a state license system, they had to go to this collective garden language that we had survived on for, for many years and it was just understood this, the collective garden, as long as you were operating the collective garden that you were good, but the way that the liquor and cannabis board put out the application, they couldn't say, well, uh, that you have a license because there was no licensing. Right? Even though we were vetted by the city of seAttle city, seattle didn't give her for life, so they said they were going to like, after we get it, uh, you know, got her license through the lcb. So without the licensing process, I just took those four criteria, you know, the cutting your taxes, a pride before, uh, you know, having a owned or operated a collective garden, um, you know, those criteria and said, okay, well, applicants, you apply for your priority status.

Speaker 2: And so people know and the surprise of the lcb every time, um, they people scamming the system. Wow. You know. And so there's people out there that want to get in and they realized, no, okay, well I'm going to create a document that says that I scrubbed the toilet in a collective garden in 2012 and, and you know, or find someone that had something to do with the collective garden, you know. And then as I say, when they start out, these things, they are very, very lax. They get more restricted with time, but people were just simply nakedly scamming the system. And, you know, some of the in the industry was like, listen, you can't get a license. And so we got the gamut and I know, uh, several of my friends, just a one of them dummied up at least to a fred meyers, like they've had no lease with the fred meyer. They just both least language off the internet and find a landlord really, and pulled the trailer into the parking lot, went and got it inspected and they gave them a license. And the Upshot of it was even 40 slash 40 slash seven open dispensaries in the city of seattle that were vetted by the city 21 licenses to be issued. Of those three were actual dispensary three, everyone else got killed in the system, you know, and, and there's people out there, yeah, they got their final inspection, they've got their license and they're still not open because they never really had a real piece of real estate to begin with.

Speaker 3: Now you actually have to build a cannabis business. Good luck. But, you know, uh, as far as um, as you know, as far as basically john's advice to California in regards to medical marijuana, how important is it to get specific regulations for medical marijuana that are separate from adult use? In other words, this whole combining things certainly did not work for Washington state,

Speaker 2: California. The people that have been working in a medical marijuana, they're going to have to be thoughtful and careful about this process and believing I was thoughtful and careful out here and still got screwed by the system. So they're going to have to be, they're going to have to try to unite as much as they can. I know that there's lots of inviting in that community and have to say, look, we are medical, we predate this law and you know, if you're going to license us, you need to license that and you've got to find a real way to do that licensing because, you know, out here it was a shit show. And you know, the lcb did not really care who they raised them. They figured, well, you know, some people get licensed, some people won't. And that's the way it is, and our attorney is the attorney general for the state of Washington state attorney, and so they'll, you know, we'll license it, we license and the rest will be figured out in court and you know, so it, it's going to be a process out in, uh, you know, in several states to make sure that those legacy people that have carried us this far can actually get in through the process.

Speaker 2: I mean, the ironic part about the watson process, and I pointed this out many times, it's like the rules that they laid down, enCouraged and waited the field to those people whose scam the system. Right? And so who enters the market? Well, those people that you've chosen because of their lack of ethics. And uh, now you're surprised that there's unethical players in the market. You have to call the ethical people and screw with them.

Speaker 3: Yeah. So, uh, we're back on track. It only took a year and a half, two licenses. We're going for damages as far as kinda, you know, doors open. Um, let me ask you an impossible question to answer. Uh, do you have a, your realistic goal, right, of, uh, uh, of, of getting doors open and having folks working and, you know, uh, everything running. It maybe, maybe an initial goal of like, if I could do it by x, that would be great. And a realistic goal of why type of thing. What, what are you thinking?

Speaker 2: No, I mean if I could do it by tomorrow that would be so. Yes, right? Yeah, yeah. Gotta go through and that process, you know, I got to go. I lost a real estate before that, you know, they, they took my livelihood and you know, I've been doing some consulting work but I'm just enough to get by and I had already spent a lot of money opening two stores and so I've got a, I've got to get financing, then I've got to find real estate. Uh, then I've got to put together, you know, the store, build it out and get it open, you know, and that's a process and it's, you know, each one of these things are tough, you know.

Speaker 3: So, so two things there.

Speaker 2: You get it done in six months?

Speaker 3: Yeah. Okay, well so, so two things just to make sure that we're on the same page here. If you want to do business with John Davis, one of the great operators, uh, in cannabis engage academy.com, send me an email and get it to john. That's number one. Number two, you said I'd like, I'd like to get it, uh, have haven't done it in six months. what would John Davis, the consultant tell John Davis the operator, as far as that timeline?

Speaker 2: well, it always takes longer than you think. You go timeline for whatever reason, cannabis, it will take longer than you think. And you know, you gotta go through permitting. I mean luckily enough in the city of seattle here. No, I got the first permit, the first marijuana permit in the city of seattle. Right? And, you know, I kinda. So we kind of had to figure out how to permit that stuff early on, so, you know, but getting, getting the bank, getting the real thing, there's still a stigma out there. A lot of people with real estate aren't willing to deal with cannabis, even even legal cannabis, you know, it's, it, it, it will be tough.

Speaker 3: Well, we took a little step back here with let's just, uh, point the finger at the attorney general specifically. um, you know, that that's, uh, that's kind of pushed us back a step. No question.

Speaker 2: Yeah. And you know, my take, I guess this is where I am. Oh, well pine, but I've done so by talking to a lot of republicans and I have, I have a good friend who's good friends with jeff sessions, ironically enough

Speaker 3: is that good friend a dinner or back or maybe I shouldn't ask that question.

Speaker 2: We'll just leave it at that. Fair enough to bring other people into it. But like, you know, jeff sessions is never gonna like marijuana. he just isn't. Right? So he's going to say the things that jeff sessions has said about marijuana. Um, so that's gonna put, that's gonna cause a lot of investors to feel nervous about the future. you know, what the trump administration going to do on cannabis. But one of the lobbyists talking to explain it this way, it's like, hey, look, out of the administrations 200 top priority, cannabis was 201, it didn't make the list, right? They got a lot of stuff to worry about. Sessions has said that. And also sessions has said repeatedly, I'm look medical, we believe with the rohrabacher pharma and meant which was just extended that um, that we have guidance on medical. We're not going to go after medical. Um, I, I no longer make laws. I now enforced laws and it would be kind of good to have some congressional guidance. So it's not weird if I'm not enforcing some laws. He's also said, you know, uh, uh, the governor of Colorado hickenlooper met with them recently and I'm just said, which you said before that the coal, the August 29th called memoranda is not far from good policy, which is jeff second speak for me. That's what we're using right now.

Speaker 4: I know, but they did a couple of things there. Number one, I don't really like the idea of we're going to go on something that was said behind closed doors. Number two, that's not really a great comment. You know what I'm saying? There's, I think a double negative in there and you knoW, I don't know.

Speaker 2: Well, yes, it's a great comment from jeff sessions. he does not like marijuana does he? Does he want to enforce, um, recreational. Every time things the administration had done, um, they've been sued on and the courts have they found against them would be one more thing. And then basically all the governors from the legal states that said, look, you know, if you go to war over, um, recreational, we've got a problem and you know, the several, a state attorney generals as that looked, you go after recreational and you'll find yourself in court. So I don't think that this is with all the rest of the stuff that they have to do, which I shouldn't have said again, um, that this is a priority for them. And also it could be very negative. And I mean, I'm assuming that they read the same polls as I do. And,

Speaker 4: but let's not assume that somebody said, let's not assume that there's any reading of any kind based on the commentary that cannabis has something to do with the opioid epidemic. If anything, it's a solution. It has a cannabis as something to do with violence. Uh, you know, if anything, it's the opposite. So, I mean, I don't know, I really don't have a great thoughts here as far as, uh, as far as that and you know, it's, it's what I don't like in particular is the fact that this is a person that has expounded, uh, his belief in the 10th amendment for, you know, his entire life. and then all of a sudden a, when it comes to, you know, something that he doesn't like, well maybe we don't necessarily, you know, what, maybe we will go after the adult use states. Okay, well, but what about the 10th amendment? You know, it's like what do you, what do you actually believe in, you know, what do you actually believe in?

Speaker 2: Right. and then that's a, you know, same with immigration. You know, it's like, can you believe that the states and cities should be able to do what they want in regard to immigration if you're a rights person. Right. So, yeah, I mean, and, and those types of concerns are still out there, you know, that, um, you know, that they could possibly do something, but, you know, and everyone's kind of waiting, you know, I keep hearing. Oh yeah, we're waiting for sessions to put out a memo. In my opinion, sessions is unlikely to put out a memo. I mean, why would he when, uh, August 29th coal was still in place and um, and if he put out a memo he would have to be commenting positively would she doesn't want to do. Right. So, um, I think that that is unlikely and yeah, sure, it's going to cause nervousness in the community. But what sessions has already said is they're not going after medical. In fact, he said trump is a fan of medical.

Speaker 4: He's actually speaking of medical, uh, trump's a fan of, you know, single payer healthcare. He's a, a fan of a. He's a fan of universal health care. So, uh, I, I don't, I don't know how on the same day you can say that you're a fan of universal healthcare and then pass a what they passed in the house, but hey, what do I know?

Speaker 2: Yeah, wiTh the passes in the senate will become known as trumpcare and he'll have to wrap that one. Yeah, that doesn't surprise me here in that comment.

Speaker 4: I get it. I mean,

Speaker 2: it is an administration that's all over the place and you know, that is a worrisome to some. But you got to understand, I've been working on this through two bush administrations. Um, you knoW, before there was ever any memos.

Speaker 4: Well, but this, this is exactly why. This is why my commentary is not left or right. You know, I, I, I like to say I come from the left, I try to be in the middle. I was certainly not a fan of George W. Bush and the two terms. Um, but, you know, looking back on it compare compared to our current reality, there was straightforward coherent thought. There was straightforward, coherent a process. you know, I didn't agree with it, but at least it was coherent.

Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So, you know, and that makes things a little bit less sound. But my point is it's a, you know, maybe I come at this from a little bit different angle and that has never been the sound further stuff that I've done, you know, uh, I, I was one of the first operators in the city of seattle, you know, um, I've been, of course during the world's largest carnival festival in the city of seattle for a long time.

Speaker 4: Buy your tickets now and also sponsor, go on.

Speaker 2: There's no tickets. You just have to show up.

Speaker 4: No, no, just, just, just sponsor. That's right.

Speaker 2: Third weekend in august. Myrtle. Leverage part.

Speaker 4: No, that's, you know, that's true that, that does, you know, therein lies the difference between. I started a kind of talking to you in 2013, which you know, is a long time ago, uh, for me now. But for you and others that have been doing this for like you say, 20 years, um, this is more of the same as opposed to anything different.

Speaker 2: Yeah, right. So, I mean, there's not a coherent policy on marijuana. There's never been a super coherent. So August 29th, if you actually read the august 29 called miranda, which you can google easily, right?

Speaker 4: Not only have, I not only have I read it, I spoke to jim cole about it.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I know, I know. That was interesting listening to that one. Um, but you know, the, the coal memos all end the same way, you know, the last paragraph in that is basically says, yeah, mind you, this is just policy and it's all against the law. So if you're individually, the us attorney wants to go after you and you're guilty and you're going to go to jail. Right? So that's, you know, calling them that clear direction. Uh, but it was, I mean, it's, it's the, it's the little things that appear to be crazy because everything in cannabis policy appears to be crazy, but you kind of become a connoisseur of cranky and interpreting bullshit and the english, um, and you kind of see where things are, where things are going.

Speaker 4: Well, that's the reason that the cole memo states that is because of the controlled substances act, which kind of sites the un treaties. So we gotta kinda get working on, on that paperwork, uh, you know, if we really want, if we really just want clarity, if we, if we want things to be go here.

Speaker 2: One of the things that I'm really impressed by Canada about canadians are taking kind of a Uruguay approach to it, whereas says, well, no, but it's not really legal. So we're, we're still waiting to the treaty. Canada's making it illegal and basically saying, listen, we can both it here to the single convention treaty and the human rights treaty, right? We can jail all our citizens. Um, so um, we can put in compliance with the single convention treaty and if you don't think we're in compliance takes us to the floor of the us, but we're going to have a long conversation about what's going on in the us and other countries. But the us is still, you know, they were kind of the author, you know, they were the driving force behind the single convention treaty. So legalizing it or appearing to legalize it or appearing to tolerate it is not really part of the secar right? It's still illegal.

Speaker 4: But what's starting to happen, john, with all these kind of, with canada's going ahead with don't use, but all of these countries coming online with medical, uh, is that we are starting to not only be last but be worse than last in that you know, the world sees the truth and we refuse to see it.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Um, but, you know, the thing about the dirty little secret about prohibitions is they don't work. In fact, they do the opposite of work in 1936, you know, cannabis was available at every corner pharmacy and a smoked cannabis was almost unheard of right now. We will make it illegal and we're five percent of the world's population consuming 25 percent of the world's supply of cannabis. Right? That's what it does have. It. Uh, it, it creates a desire for the forbidden and um, and, and it's not really dealing with problems. So we are headed in the right direction. We're headed, it looks weird, but there is movement. And as the rest of the world steps away from the treaty is in violation of the treaty and is legalizing and people start seeing the positive outcomes that you're starting to see in Washington, Colorado, where opiate use this down. I used the use of cannabis. A youth availability of hard drugs is down. Um, you know, uh, overdoses are down, you know, you're starting to see a regulated prohibition by itself invasions, a completely unregulated market because you can't regulate what is not legal, making it legal and regulating it is the way to positively a deal with a number of our problems. And as we start to see this, you know, I was a invited to an attended the, uh, um, the inauguration inauguration and the inaugural ball, right

Speaker 4: liberty bowl, no less

Speaker 2: the liberty ball. Yes. And um, talked to, uh, were introduced to several high ranking republicans. And the republican desire to fight against cannabis is making to their desire to make money off cannabis, to create revenue. Cannabis, you know, no matter what their thoughts on it are. In fact, this was probably the first inaugural ball where marijuana specifically wasn't mentioned on stage as a republican issue. It's a states rights issue, you know, or can this be clear and got a round of applause and I'm sitting in the inaugural ball and I looked around, I'm looking for the republicans turning pale and shaking with anger and I didn't see them. So, you know, it's, it's inevitable that we will have this change. Um, you know, we've been locking up people at a horrendous rage, minorities, a horrendous rate and we just can't keep doing it. Uh, you mean the, the, the war on cannabis in particular is just too costly and it doesn't have any positive outcome?

Speaker 4: No, it does not. We have to have a positive outcome of this call, which is a, you are ever the optimist and I so much appreciate that. I'm really so pleased about your. When I need to ask you the final question that I always ask, which is on the soundtrack of your life, john one track one song that's got to be on there.

Speaker 2: Oh god. Remember, you always ask me that and I never have a good answer. I don't know. Uh, I'm. Here comes some, let's say the beatles.

Speaker 4: Yeah, that plays right into what you were just saying again, john, congratulations. Keep fighting, get the damages, get the store, get the doors open and will be there opening day. How about that?

Speaker 2: Okay. And I will leave with this thought. Odyssey is not over that. I got that. I did everything right. They did. They screwed it up, but I still got. They only gave me two licenses. I'm just surfing three and so I was standing in the court and I want to make sure that I get the ruling that their whole process was contrary to the plain language of the law and the legislative intent of the law. And that's where we're headed.

Speaker 4: Oh my god. I mean, you know, and we got the right guy or they chose the wrong guy is what it is, you know, that's what happened. John davis, man, I'll talk to you again very soon. And there you have John Davis

Speaker 1: a in. They're very pleased for john and, uh, all things moving in the right direction for him. Having said that, that was recorded on May 5th and I left the jeff sessions stuff in there as a cautionary tale because it turns out that what we feel isn't woody is so lookout folks.

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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.