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Ep.271: Shaleen Title: MCBA Spotlight

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.271: Shaleen Title: MCBA Spotlight

Ep.271: Shaleen Title: MCBA Spotlight

Cannabis activist Shaleen Title joins us and takes us through her early realization that numbers made sense foisting her into accounting only to realize that drug policy was where she wanted to be. She joined SSDP and eventually had a hand in Amendment 64 passing in Colorado. She went to law school to get well versed in legal writing, political speech and how the law worked to serve her in her cannabis law reform work. She moved to the east coast and served in tax law for six months- her first day of orientation being the economic crash- which had her realize that the universe didn’t want or need her where she was- “Lehman just went down- but here’s your desk.” Which is ultimately what set her on her ultimate path of full time cannabis policy.

Transcript:

Speaker 2: shaleen. Title, cannabis activist, shaleen title joins us and takes us through her early realization that numBers made sense, foisting her into accounting only to realize that drug policy was where she wanted to be. She joined ssdp and eventually had a hand in amendment 64 passing in Colorado. She went to law school to get well versed In legal writing, political speech, and how the law works to serve her in her cannabis law reform work. She moved to the east coast and served and tax law for six months. Her first day of orientation being the economic crash, which had her realize that the universe didn't want or need her where she was. Lehman just went down, but here's your desk, which is ultimately what set her on her ultimate path of fulltime cannabis policy. We're going to cannabis economy. I'm your host seth adler. Check us out on social handicaps economy. That's boarding honami shilling title. Oh, you're the first person that's ever done that. You don't have to to

Speaker 1: do like this. That's the knoll gallagher. Waste this thing. So my first question, shaleen shaline saline. That's my first question because I've been in rooms with you. We're both are used. You don't usually correct people, but shaleen we prefer. Yeah, I will answer to either, but the correct pronunciation is shaleen. What is that from where in the world? Well, uh, I'm indian, but the name is persian. My parents like very confusing already way. So you're indian but persian name because they saw the naMe and liked it. They're like, this is what her name is, it means polites and I guess they really wanted me to be polite. That was their effort and it was up to you. The rest of it was up to you type of thing. So. So it was polite for many years. And where were you born? I was born in the Chicago area.

Speaker 1: Where were they born? Oh, India, bombay and delhi. So to them, you know chicago, New York. It's a joke. The city People went. When did they come over in the seventies. So right before you. Yes. You were the celebrAtion that they had once we got. Once we landed in chicago. Well acTually my dad came first. Your rogers park in chicago. And then, um, once he was settled here, he went back and got an arranged marriage, how they do it in our culture sometimes. then, so then they came back here and had me and my sister younger or older? Older. You're the older one? I am the younger one. The younger one. How much older is she than you? She's four years older. So there's, that's close enough in age where you kind of could be friendly and also fight. I think it's the perfect age difference. I'm three years older than my sister.

Speaker 1: We used to fight all the time. Then I went to college and we became best friends. Is that what happened with you? Yes, that's exactly what happens when you get older. Four years seems like a lot less exact. Exactly it. All right. So as a little kid, uh, I can't imagine you were a cannabis activist, uh, under the age of 10, but I'm also sure that you must have had inklings of this type of, uh, activity for your soul. So when you were a little kid, when did we first kind of notice what, what chalene was going to do here? I think I had those roots when I was born. I had that, that quest for justice always. When was the first time that that kind of reared its head for you in, in a way that maybe your parents saw or that you understood? Well, I went to a boarding school when I was 13 and that was actually where I met my best friend and now business partner and they'll schumacher and uh, I started learning a lot about the world and different issues I wanted to be a part of, but cannabis really struck me because it's truly bipartisan all the way back then in high school, in boarding school, get out people become interested in marijuana around that time, of course, but not as an activist, as an activist.

Speaker 2: shaleen. Title, cannabis activist, shaleen title joins us and takes us through her early realization that numBers made sense, foisting her into accounting only to realize that drug policy was where she wanted to be. She joined ssdp and eventually had a hand in amendment 64 passing in Colorado. She went to law school to get well versed In legal writing, political speech, and how the law works to serve her in her cannabis law reform work. She moved to the east coast and served and tax law for six months. Her first day of orientation being the economic crash, which had her realize that the universe didn't want or need her where she was. Lehman just went down, but here's your desk, which is ultimately what set her on her ultimate path of fulltime cannabis policy. We're going to cannabis economy. I'm your host seth adler. Check us out on social handicaps economy. That's boarding honami shilling title. Oh, you're the first person that's ever done that. You don't have to to

Speaker 1: do like this. That's the knoll gallagher. Waste this thing. So my first question, shaleen shaline saline. That's my first question because I've been in rooms with you. We're both are used. You don't usually correct people, but shaleen we prefer. Yeah, I will answer to either, but the correct pronunciation is shaleen. What is that from where in the world? Well, uh, I'm indian, but the name is persian. My parents like very confusing already way. So you're indian but persian name because they saw the naMe and liked it. They're like, this is what her name is, it means polites and I guess they really wanted me to be polite. That was their effort and it was up to you. The rest of it was up to you type of thing. So. So it was polite for many years. And where were you born? I was born in the Chicago area.

Speaker 1: Where were they born? Oh, India, bombay and delhi. So to them, you know chicago, New York. It's a joke. The city People went. When did they come over in the seventies. So right before you. Yes. You were the celebrAtion that they had once we got. Once we landed in chicago. Well acTually my dad came first. Your rogers park in chicago. And then, um, once he was settled here, he went back and got an arranged marriage, how they do it in our culture sometimes. then, so then they came back here and had me and my sister younger or older? Older. You're the older one? I am the younger one. The younger one. How much older is she than you? She's four years older. So there's, that's close enough in age where you kind of could be friendly and also fight. I think it's the perfect age difference. I'm three years older than my sister.

Speaker 1: We used to fight all the time. Then I went to college and we became best friends. Is that what happened with you? Yes, that's exactly what happens when you get older. Four years seems like a lot less exact. Exactly it. All right. So as a little kid, uh, I can't imagine you were a cannabis activist, uh, under the age of 10, but I'm also sure that you must have had inklings of this type of, uh, activity for your soul. So when you were a little kid, when did we first kind of notice what, what chalene was going to do here? I think I had those roots when I was born. I had that, that quest for justice always. When was the first time that that kind of reared its head for you in, in a way that maybe your parents saw or that you understood? Well, I went to a boarding school when I was 13 and that was actually where I met my best friend and now business partner and they'll schumacher and uh, I started learning a lot about the world and different issues I wanted to be a part of, but cannabis really struck me because it's truly bipartisan all the way back then in high school, in boarding school, get out people become interested in marijuana around that time, of course, but not as an activist, as an activist.

Speaker 1: That's what I'm saying. So what, uh, what years were these so that we can properly give you your two as far as being involved in the movement since then? Um, I would say the real true movement was in college around 2002 when we start our ssdp chapter. And what college was it? University of Illinois. The aline. I right eli now, they were the fighting align I at the time, if I'm not mistaken.

Speaker 1: So, uh, you okay, fine. You turned onto it in, in, in boarding school, you get to university of Illinois. And then how did that kind of founding of the chapter happen? You know, what, where did chris crane come into this or whatever. What actually happened? What's day one or before day one? Well, I joined it as a treasurer, kind of as a favor to danielle because they wanted to hang out at the party was over here. The other cool people. Let's see what's going on. Um, but one of our first speakers was from the aplu of Illinois and he quoted a human rights watch report at the time that said that black men wore 57 times more likely to be incarcerated for drug offenses than white people, which sounds actually low as a matter of fact. RighT? Doesn't that sound like it? It is actually higher than that or what would have been higher than that at the time.

Speaker 1: Well, 57 times really shocked me. is still high enough for you to pay attention to it. Fair enough. And that kind of clicked on clicked and uh, it, it, it definitely clicked for me that it was more about more than just about the right for college students to use marijuana, that it was actually a much bigger issue. and so I would say that was the moment when I decided I wanted to spend kind of all my extra time and effort on this issue 15 years ago. So bring us back to campus ssdp you come in as the treasurer because your brain works that way. What was your major? Accounting. Thank god that we have an accountant, right? Please come shaleen. Just look at the books, make sure that we're okay. When did you, by the way, when did you realize that math made sense to you?

Speaker 1: Because it never made sense to me. I'll look at it probably around age three. You know, everything is making sense and I've got a piggy bank and I know exactly my debits and my credits. Mom and dad, everything's gonna be okay. Um, so that was the books side of it, but on campus ssdp, when did you start to become a voice if that 57 percent number hit you and turned you on? Oh, it's not 57 percent. It's 57 times more likely. So that's why 57? Yeah. No smith to seven then ordinary. That makes more sense than what I had perceived. So I'm glad that we cleared that up. I'm sure it was me. That was the problem. Not you as far as communication is me hearing it. I'm a little tired. I'm a little tired. Yeah, exactly. But um, when did you start to kind of open your mouth if your ears were open, when did you start to kind of lead?

Speaker 1: Yeah, I love that you asked that question because it's something that I think about a lot is how do you make people feel empowered to speak out about the issue? It was after my first ssdp conference and that was when I saw chris crane speak and I found him so inspiring and I didn't know that there were people around the country working on this issue, not just people who were engaged in activist, but young people like myself and many of them, especially on the east coast, we're actually changing the law and that was when we realized we could do that too and that everyone would take us seriously. Even though we were young, if we knew what we were talking about, oh, we don't have to only just advocate for this, we can change this. Exactly. Fair enough. And everybody wants it

Speaker 3: changed. That was the crazy thing about marijuana legalization with even back then we were starting to have that culture shift where people understood that it didn't make sense to punish people for it.

Speaker 1: So you go back to campus, when was the first kind of actual, whether it be valid initiative or some sort of measure that you jumped into?

Speaker 3: Um, that would be a, the Illinois medical cannabis law, which we started lobbying for back then. So 2000, one, 2004, maybe early, early, early days. Yeah. Yeah. it past 10 years later.

Speaker 1: And thanks by the way, right. You know, because again, as we know now it use those first days and weeks and months that build to it passing 10 years later, if you didn't start that and it wouldn't have passed 10 years later.

Speaker 3: Exactly. They'll be waiting. right? And that's why when people point out about later things that I worked on, um, I always say I'm so grateful for being in the right place at the right time because it all comes from that foundation that's been laid from generations before us.

Speaker 1: When you were out there kind of saying, hey, we're going to try to do this in 2004 in Illinois. What were you hearing?

Speaker 3: Ah, you're crazy. I don't want to be associated with you. It's never going to happen that your pizza party. But I will write my name on the email list. And by the way, some of those people are now reaching out to me now looking for marijuana jobs.

Speaker 1: Of course, of course. So okay, so that's 2004 Illinois. Uh, when's the next kinda hit as far as actual again, legislation or momentum or you know, some sort of tent pole event.

Speaker 3: Sure. So, um, then I got my masters in accounting. I went to law school also at university of Illinois, university of all in a row I did, we like it there so much. It's a cool town. The kids kind of run it in there and champagne, urbana. Um, and so really the reason I went to law school was because I wanted it to be very well versed in, um, in legal writing and, and political speech and, uh, how the law works so that I could get more involved in this issue. So, uM, after graduating I moved out to boston east Coast. I had a brief stint in tax law for about six months. That's always fun. Oh, I started on the day of the economic crash in sePtember two thousAnd and nine. That was my first day of orientation or you know, I cannot imagine that by the way, a lehman brothers collapsed. But here, here's your notebook. Was that day. Everybody's freaking out and pale and I'm like, we're all just out of school, like not knowing what to do.

Speaker 1: Oh my god. What were you seeing the faces of the people that we're trying to orient you? Shock. Total shock. What? How would, how did they continue with the day? Like, why not just come back tomorrow?

Speaker 3: I think, you know, when you're in shock, you try to just be in denial and just through the motions they're like, here's your computer, here's the hr policy. You could just go and about it. Like nothing

Speaker 1: happening. Oh my god. Did you realize the. So we all kind of did realize it gradually, you know, so, you know, I'm not a finance guy. So I realized that lehman collapsing was not great. I saw that the stock market was really going down a lot, so I knew that this was really not good at all. but I think in that moment, you know, a half of my mind was like, okay, but probably we should be able to figure this out. And then half of my mind was thinking, oh, it's the end of the world. Yeah. You know, when you get that fight or flight feeling, I have to get out of here. I'm grateful for the timing because I had that. That is what sent me into working for marijuana policy fulltime. Huh? That's interesting. So thank goodness that was your first day and worked out great.

Speaker 1: Why would I gotcha for you. But let's just, we're in the shaline episode and, and by that I mean shaleen episode. I'm so why go to boston though? You're in chicago or champagne. Everything's great up here. We love it. Uh, that was, uh, I, I met actually my now has been through my ssdp chapter from the east coast that we moved out here together. He's from the east coast. is he from Massachusetts? He's from New Hampshire. I said not wanting to move to New Hampshire. I'm a city person. I gotcha. We compromise on boston. I'll go there, but you got to give me boston. Yes. alright, fair enough. so you're in tax law for a minute and then when were you able to make your graceful exit? So it was about six months later that there was an opening at law enforcement against prohibition. Leap happens to be based in the boston area.

Speaker 1: And so that's where I learned pretty much everything I know about nonprofit advocacy from working at lead. What do you mean by that? Because you were doing the books at ssdp and champagne and you were kind of keeping abreast of what was happening. Why is it there that it was like, this is how it's done. Oh, leap is the beth leap has always been one step ahead of everybody or several steps. They were using the word legalization back when the other drug policy group said, we don't use that word, but they have always said, well, we're cops. We've been on the front lines. Then we're going to tell it like it is and they're still doing that. Alright, perfect. And thank you for making that clarification. Here's one of the questions that I, uh, can't wait to ask you, which is in those days, how come the movement us, we all right now who are onboard, how can we weren't using legalization?

Speaker 1: How can we. We're not, we're, we're, uh, decided that that was a not a great idea to use that word back then. Yeah, that's a great question. So it comes down to the eternal struggle of, do we meet people where they're at and go for incremental change or do we just asked for the whole enchilada in terms of revolution and fairness and justice, which was legalization at the time. So, uh, I personally believe in the second one, I'd say just ask for all of it and go for it and whatever you get is great, let's do this. And uh, who better to ask for that? Then cops who have personally been the ones making the arrest and they know better than anyone. How wrong that drug war is that also just as far as words, that nomenclature. That's also why, uh, folks that are arguing for policy in our space, other adVocates use the word marijuana because they're meeting people where they are as opposed to using cannabis, which is a term I prefer.

Speaker 1: I would imagine. You do too, right? you know, I have some mixed feelings on that. Let's go. come on, let's take this. Let's take this tangent slip. Do it. Okay, so I'm. Sonia has been knows that is a mentee of mine in the boston area and she's the one who got me thinking differently about this. She uses the word marijuana because she feels that when we insist on using the word cannabis were actually white washing the word and so when we use, when we insist on not using marijuana because of its racist roots, we are in fact letting them win. The ones who put the race, that's associations with the word marijuana. So they get the word marijuana. She wants to take it back, take it back. That's right. Exactly. Let's take the word back. Interesting. That's. I've not had that conversation. I'm always learning from younger people, so I sort of used them interchangeably myself.

Speaker 1: I basically tried to not use marijuana, but that's an interesting concept and I can't wait to actually bring that up and talk to that about. Talk about that with other people, so I'm glad that we just discussed that. Intended leap though. That's where you learn how to do nonprofit in cannabis, right? That's right. That's also where I learned I had a passion for recruiting. Why? How so? Because it was my job to go out to law enforcement, ask them to be in favor of legalization publicly. Okay. So here we are all over again. You know, back in Illinois you're like, we're going to do this. It's 2004. It's going to be fantastic. People are saying to you, okay, I'll eat your pizza, but I'm not going to sign your document. How did law enforcement, uh, respond to you when you were there in Massachusetts? In what year, by the way?

Speaker 1: This was 2009. What did they say? If they laughed? I was lucky. That was a good day. Positive response. Exactly. Yes. But then sometimes I would find someone like diane goldstein, uh, and they would really think about it. They would listen to me, they will be minded and I got a chance to make a case for them. And then not only is it about me and my recruiting, it's this person is now an ally and an activist for life. And what more impactful work is there than that. Totally. When you hit that influction point, like, you know, I've spoken with neil franklin a couple times from leap and he's one of the best voices that there is because he understands explicitly what we're talking about here because he was on the other side of the war on drugs, so he knows exactly what's going on.

Speaker 1: So he becomes the greatest voice. Now. Uh, there's diane. Wonderful. The person that laughs at you. Okay, fine. But what about the folks that just couldn't get your message? What were you hearing? You know, in 2009 when, when you would walk in and folks would say, sheila and I just don't. I'm sorry, what, what was the feedback? There was a lot of, I agree with you, but I can't talk about it publicly or I agree with you, but it's never going to happen. And the interesting thing is both of those would not be issues if the person would just speak out. Oh sure. But everybody would just, oh my goodness, yes. But then you're talking about a each person here on earth thinking and acting for him or herself, which I feel like it would be a better place for all of us if everybody did that. What are you, what are your thoughts on that? Oh, I'm a big fan of thinking for yourself.

Speaker 1: Well, I just believe everything that that person says, no you don't and you shouldn't. You know, whatever. Whoever the person is, even if the person is me, listen to me. Think about it for yourself. I'll tell you what's interesting around 2009 though, is at that point we did have medical marijuana long enough that people were starting to see in their own lives, people who are either underground or as medical patients getting relief. But that was on the west coast. You were on the east coast. That's right, that's right. It was a bit slower. They're a bit slower, but you still had places like Rhode Island and so and you still had, again, because of the cultural shift, you had people who are trying medical cannabis at the underground level and so there was a thawing is what you're saying from 2004 to 2009. It's like now actually this is a thing.

Speaker 1: People do see cannabis as medicine even if it's only dave and nancy. Exactly. And that's where the change happens, right? Is when you see it with your own eyes. There we go. All right, so you're at least you're kind of just knocking on doors and saying, hey, I'm chalene. Please listen. You know, and, and I'll take a laugh. That's a, that's a positive response. What was the next kind of a. Oh, wait a second here. Things are changing again. That was 2011 when we start hearing about Colorado and Washington. So you start hearing about it and where did you go with yourself? I went to denver. I packed up and went to denver. So now your husband, who we already know, you live with him in boston at the time because you're like, I'll go to the east coast, but I'm, it's got to be boston.

Speaker 1: You pack up now. Do you take him with you or what happens there? He came and visited quite a few times. And what was his response? Because this now becomes a personal thing, right? I'm so in this that I'm going to change my life and help this cause, right? I'm going to help this movement and sacrifice my own personal life to do that. What did he say when you're like, I'm going to denver and I'm going to be there for a little bit. He's an activist as well. And when I told them I had this gut instinct that denver 2012 was going to be something that would change the entire world. He understood. So he did get it. A why in your gut? Because I think that, uh, everyone that I've spoken to that was part of amendment 64, we outperformed what we thought was going to happen.

Speaker 1: Sounds like you were more bullish on the way in, you know, I know the team that was in charge of it and I just knew that brian vicenta and betty aldworth and masons have areas and Steven Fox, when they put their mind to something, they do it and if you want more information on that, go back and listen to the episodes that we've had with those folks and you'll understand why charlene was so bullish in them. Absolutely. Right. And so what was your, you know, kind of place, what did you pick up? You get to denver, you're like, alright, here I am part of the team. What did they give you? I took a clipboard and I said I want to learn and I want to do whatever you need and that, that was my job to do whatever needed to be done. Such things as.

Speaker 1: So um, I help train speakers. Uh, I did a lot of recruiting for spokespeople since that was my strength time. And we know that especially in something like Colorado where it was a law passing for the first time. People, like you said, don't necessarily think for themselves, they want to see what people they respect thing, right? So we worked very hard on making sure that we had a diverse group of spokespeople who could talk to different issues and explain why there was nothing needed to be scared of. When you say trade speakers, I want to take this tension as well. If I'm someone that's listening to this and I'm in a, my friends and family kind of don't get it, but I do. What's some advice for how I can talk about it to bring people along?

Speaker 1: Well, you use your own strengths that you already have, so you're clearly very great conversationalist, very charismatic, you know, a lot of people. So we start there. And then the question is what kind of support do you need? You already have this network. So do you need facts? You need personal stories. Um, do you need a reference sheet? And then I give you what I can to support you and you just keep doing what you're doing. See, this is already good advice. Okay, fine. So amendment 64, here's your clipboard. Your training speakers, everything, you know, what turns out, okay, here's legalization truly in Colorado and shaleen thanks for helping out. You get on your horse, you go back to boston, I would imagine. Yeah. When's the next kind of moment?

Speaker 3: Yeah. So let's see. So that was 2012. So we also had medical marijuana now in Massachusetts that had just passed and uh, I got to start working with chris crane again. Um, and that was when, uh, I was practicing law, I was doing business consulting and I was starting to think what this long career of doing politics and advocacy and law, where can I be the most impactful in how this industry and a movement moves forward. Right. And that was when danielle and I decided to start our recruiting firm.

Speaker 1: Okay. So, uh, the thinking being I know enough, right about nonprofit, I know enough about the movement. I've helped enough about kind of pushing this thing along that if I start this recruiting company, I can kind of foster some, you know, talent in the space. Is that fair? Exactly. Do some match making. And so what those early days, what were folks looking for, you know, as far as employers and, and you know, folks that were being recruited, what were they bringing to the table?

Speaker 3: Well, it's a similar process that we've seen in every state that has passed the medical or recreational law where at first people are wondering, they're like, I want to get in on the ground floor. I'm very interested. But then at the same time they find out that the regulations are usually a lot more restrictive think and they don't necessarily have the experience. So they want to know, um, people who have been in other states who have been through this, what would they recommend? And then there are often people who are coming from other states that are new, that want to meet with people on the ground and know the local nuances. So it's making those partnerships.

Speaker 1: If, let's do some advice now, if I am a, someone that's looking to get into the space and I would love a job, what's your advice for me?

Speaker 3: So I have two different sets of advice for entry level and for people with experience entry level to begin with, for entry level. It all comes down to personality and like I said, when I showed up in Colorado, I didn't say I'm, I'm a lawyer. I'm going to work on legal stuff, right? I said, whatever you need me to do, I'm going to take it off your plate. And it's a similar feeling for cannabis entrepreneurs. They have so many things in front of them and they just want someone who's going to be competent and quick and resourceful so you can just give them attack and they can do it. The other thing is they don't have time to do, um, full expansive, a thorough searches. So if you can be networking and in front of them and checking in with them and on the forefront of their mind, that helps cirrus your chances.

Speaker 1: There you go. We're in a wonderful time now where there are executives that are really good at what they do in real companies, in real industries that are coming in here. What's your advice to those people? Give yourself some time to learn and listen first. This is different than that, so even if you're the cme, whatever or the cei, whatever in that industry kind of come in, get your feet wet a little bit, see what's going on here, please.

Speaker 3: Exactly. That's right. And that's how you learn the most important part, which is how your skills can translate into this industry because absolutely they can, but it's apples and oranges and you know, it's, it's also very off putting when someone will come in from another industry with an attitude like, I'm here to save all of you.

Speaker 1: Yeah. You know it's going to be okay now that I'm here. Right? If you come in more,

Speaker 3: I love what's going on here and I am listening and I realize I have a lot. To me

Speaker 1: that changes everything and so on that point, this industry is different than pretty much any other industry. Right? I just said a very general thing. What would you add to that general statement?

Speaker 3: I would add that every cannabis company, even the biggest, most established ones, they're all startups at this point. Yes. It's good and it's bad for the people who are coming in to join the team. It's good because there's huge opportunities for growth. It's good because you have the ability to come up with ways to make the operation more efficient, more effective, more socially conscious. It's hard though because if you just want to come in and be told what to do and be given your your job and your policies, you're not going to find that in this industry.

Speaker 1: Not really at any company at all in this industry. That's great. Even in Canada where they have like real companies, right? With all due respect to our friends and loved ones here in the United States. Right. You know, it's just a different thing. Have you noticed that or you know how much, how much do you think about that? You know what? The federally regulated market in Canada, which is just over the border of us here in the us and the differences and nuances between the two markets.

Speaker 3: Right? Well, So many of the questions that we get, the answer unfortunately, is it depends until we see what the federal government does and until then it's a patchwork.

Speaker 1: Uh, yes, a patchwork, a, um, a pastiche of a wonderful different rules and regulations and such.

Speaker 3: That's a good segue actually to my most valuable piece of advice, which is that no matter what type of position you're looking at, if you understand the regulations and your states, people will fight over you.

Speaker 1: Yes. Oh yeah.

Speaker 3: Speaking of people wanting you, uh, you know, this last go around in Massachusetts, what did you do? I was blessed enough to be part of the team that got to draft question four in Massachusetts. And how did that all happen? Well, I had worked very closely with mpp in 2012 and I had been involved in, um, prop 19 and various campaigns and uh, I also had been advocating for what needs to happen and how the laws need to change. And so, uh, basically I got the opportunity to actually write what I have been advocating for. And what did you write? Meaning, we see what, you know, we can go ahead and look it up, but when you were conceiving of this with the team, of course, uh, what were the main things that you knew that jada have in there? What were the main things that you knew that you shouldn't include?

Speaker 3: Yeah, so number one was we absolutely had to Stop excluding people with marijuana felony. It'S from the inDustry. 50 seven times seven Percent. We had to stop doing that and you know, um, it's an interesting thing in the early state that was different because voters, we were asking them to take a chance on us, right? But now in 2016, we've had these laws in place for four years, we've seen that the sky hasn't fallen. We've seen that these are generally well respected businesses in their communities. and so we had the ability to use the data to show that, um, especially in community that have been disproportionately targeted by the drug laws, um, the people in those communities shouldn't be black. They should be welcomed into the industry. Right? And so we were able to address that in two ways in Massachusetts. First, um, people with marijuana felonies cannot be excluded from the industry for that reason and seconds.

Speaker 3: um, there will be policies and procedures required to be put in place by the regulating agency that will give back to those communities. So those are the two pieces. Generally speaking, I notiCed the, uh, kind of a text structure that you put together, what was it and how's that going? Well, um, it was, it was relatively low compared to other states through the floor. That's another way to put it. Um, so we have our existing sales tax of 66 point two, five I think, and then we had an excise tax on top of that and then we had a two percent optional local tax for a total of 12 percent, which is again very low, relatively low rate, you know, we were certainly taking into account that you have to have that balance between putting enough money in the coffers for the states who run the program and do good things. But then alSo of course you don't want to send people back into the illicit market. So there, there was a kind of six month, hey wait, hold on, let's kind of get our stuff together here. Where are we now as far as.

Speaker 3: Well, um, it's interesting that you're asking that today, june, june something or other in 2017 because this is actually the day that um, the new bill from the house is supposed to come out. I think it's June 14th if we're going to be that specific. Okay. Yes. Right. So, um, you know, the people who are listening to this probably have a very good idea of what the bill, but we don't know yet and uh, we've been lobbying. We meaning the movement, the business that had been lobbying very hard to keep the voters intense. Um, but the uh, the house and the senate decided to put together a new bill. I, if I'm guessing without having looked at it, I'm pretty sure the tax rate will be raised and perhaps still go even further in how we give back to communities

Speaker 1: and just understanding the kind of general trajectory. How are we doing? Even though that there was that six month hesitation and we've got a big day today, how are we generally doing, you know, in Massachusetts as far as legalization and actually happening.

Speaker 3: Right. okay. So, um, the bill will, it's supposed to get voted on the month and if that timeline goes as planned, we will see the new recreational or adult use dispensary's open about a year from now. So summer 2018,

Speaker 1: which is still pretty good, right? Not flatter than the medical program. That's, it's better than the medical program. why when I talked to chris crane about this, you know, we'll, we'll take it, we'll take it, you know, it's like, sure. Would we have loved at six months? Uh, before that? Yes. Would we have loved it 20 years ago? Absolutely.

Speaker 3: Right, right, right. Well, this is this. If there is a delay or this next year we're going to keep fighting for the people of Massachusetts to get what they voted for and for, um, access that is

Speaker 1: equitable and fair. We talked about, you just said keep fighting for. We talked about if I'm looking for employment, you know, what I might want to think about what I might realize as far as what I can bring to the table. What about activism, you know, um, what are folks, no matter if they're in the industry or not, um, but you know, believe in the movement, what do they need to be doing? Well, first of all, they should be supporting or joining the minority cannabis business association, or you go, which I'm very proud to serve as a founding board member of with you. There you go. Minority cannabis.org. That's right. Yeah.

Speaker 3: And I'll tell you what has been most helpful for me is, um, you know, the first 10 years or so, the industry was so small that I knew everybody. I was on top of everything. Um, and these days you just can't do that. It's not possible for a human brain. Yeah. And so I've joined this association so that when I need to know what's going on in another state or I need to meet the right person in a certain niche, I called my friend that mtba

Speaker 1: yeah, there you go. And, and to that end, uh, you know, before we turned on the microphones, I said, you know, I've been in this for awhile because I came in in 2013 when you still could kind of know everyone, you know what I mean? Not every single person but a very large, like 80, 90 percent of the people, certainly not the case anymore. Certainly not the caSe from when you started in 2000, whatever. We're 19, 90, whatever. Right? Um, okay. So that's what folks can be doing. Um, and then just general things to a. No, as far as cannabis legalization, what, what, what, what would be your favorite facts to just explicitly state to anybody? Uh, you know, uh, out there?

Speaker 3: Well, I love the onE about women in the industry so well. So, um, typiCally I think about one in six executives across industries are women in the cannabis industry. It's double that about one in three come on, lot of female ceo.

Speaker 1: Absolutely. And it does make us better because we have just a, you know, well, better events, let's be honest, when we all get together,

Speaker 3: right? And research is very clear. When you have diverse groups, they perform better financially and they purr, they make better decisions.

Speaker 1: That's it. Um, that diversity of thought is, it's amazing to me because we, I do think that this industry that just looks at business in a different way than, than any other industry because of that diversity of thought that needs to be continued though, right?

Speaker 3: Yes. And I think it's both on the business side and it's on the consumer side as well. And if you're not taking that into account about the consumer than your missing opportunity, what do you mean? Well, I mean that I think the cannabis consumer is a conscious, socially conscious person who is probably, um, politically involved in these measures and I think that, uh, their decision making, it's something that we should look very closely at compared to other consumers.

Speaker 1: There you go. A little bit more informed. Three final questions, I'll tell you what they are and 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 your life, one track, one song that's got to be on there, but first things first, what has most surprised you in cannabis?

Speaker 3: I have been so surprised by how quickly the products and culture has changed from when it was just you either have it or you don't. What do you mean have it or don't? When the two strains and where you have marijuana

Speaker 1: and there will be ways that you could administer it was a joint or a bowl versus what we have today and how quickly that has blessed them. Just been an extraordinary thing to watch unfold. You either have it or you don't. Those are the strains. I have this strain or you cannot buy it. The end. what's most surprised you in life?

Speaker 3: How much I have learned from people younger than me, how much younger millennials in particular are changing in the way the world works, the way that the professional world

Speaker 1: works and the way that we respect and treat each other as human beings. So, you know, I like to talk about generations and generational things like this. I'm just going to drop that in right at the end of this. And so just, you know what I've, I've come a long way in my generation x thinking as far as what each generation has brought to the table, the similarities in the millennial generation with each other generation before it and how those similarities aren't really talked about so much. You know, we like to kind of point a finger. Um, and so I kind of get in a new and different way tHat this, uh, especially younger millennials have grown up in a post nine slash 11 political mess of a financial chaos. Uh, you know, ridiculous world. they didn't have the 19 nineties, the 19 nineties were great. They didn't experience that.

Speaker 1: Just to give you a decade that I experienced as generation x where everything kind of worked and institutions worked. Foundation. Yeah, but what are they bringing? What are you saying that you're seeing that they're bringing, that you like, that you appreciate? Well, I think it comes down to technology and the access that they have, right? To all the information in the world and they, um, have only theme that. And so I think they lack of cynicism that perhaps older millennials and generation xers have. And that's why we can learn so much from them. I like to call older millennials generation wise, that's if you were born in between 80 and 85 for generation y. You see what I'm saying? Because you're saying you kind of do, can do both. You can think like me generation x, you can think like them. So it's kind of the best generation. Yeah, of course. Oh, the generation y each gender. That's what I'm saying. Like when I speak to my dad, he's like, baby boomers were the best that we all have in common. That's exactly it. That's exactly it. On the soundtrack of your life. Shaleen one track, I should have thought of it in advance of one song. That's gotta be on there.

Speaker 1: You could go with a lot of time and [inaudible]. Who's a. Did you know to that? You said you were indian? I am. I didn't know I could bring in bollywood. She's, she's the queen. She's a legend, right? Every song of her. Should we just do that? How about every let them engage skill your song that there is. I feel like we should do it that way. Shaleen title. Thank you. Finally with microphones in our hands. We've been waiting a long time. Indeed. Thank you. Thank you. And there you have shaleen title. I

Speaker 2: mean, come on. She's a, she's been doing this for for awhile. So, uh, not only someone that talks the talk but someone that has walked the walk. So very much appreciate chalene's time. Very much. Appreciate your time. Stay tuned.

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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.