fbpx

Ep.274: John Vardaman

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.274: John Vardaman

Ep.274: John Vardaman

John Vardaman joins us and discusses his involvement in the release of the the third Cole memo and FinCen Guidance which supported the initial memos which of course laid out guidance from DOJ to state attorney’s general. John lays out that Justice and Treasury still needed to deal with the fact that based on the Controlled Substances Act, the monies generated from state legal cannabis were (and still are) considered criminal proceeds based on federal money laundering and bank secrecy act laws aided of course with a Patriot Act kicker. Which John actually has experience with as he began his career in government just weeks before 9/11 and explains that his job following that day was following the money- something he also had to do on the ground in Iraq. Thanks to Boveda & MCBA for supporting the episode.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: John Vardaman. John Vardaman joins us and discusses his involvement in the release of the third. Cole memo and Fincen Guidance, which supported the initial memos, which of course laid out guidance from Doj to state attorneys General John lays out that justice and treasuries still need to deal with the fact that based on the controlled Substances Act, the monies generated from state legal, cannabis were and still are considered criminal proceeds based on Federal Money Laundering and Bank Secrecy Act laws did of course with the Patriot Act kicker, which John actually has experienced with as he began his career in government just weeks before nine slash 11, and explains that his job following that day was following the money. Something you also had to do on the ground in Iraq. What cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the hand can economy. That's to ins in the word economy. John Vardaman, thanks for being here. My pleasure. We need to dive in

Speaker 2: with, I guess what you're most known for. Is that fair? Yeah. It's not something that I expected to be associated with, but, uh, it just so happened that in 2014 I was involved in drafting up a memorandum that basically lays out how banks, financial institutions can permissibly service the marijuana industry. I call that fincen guidance. I think it was released in concert with Cole. Memo three. Okay. That's what I think. What was in that guidance as you remember it. So if we go back to August of 2013, um, what I'll call Cole memo one. Sure. What that was, was really the DOJ is response to the Colorado recreational, a legislation and what effect that coal, what that memo did was, was to lay out how doj was going to enforce the controlled Substances Act with respect to marijuana in states where it's been legalized. The problem with that memo is that it did not take into account the fact that all of the money that was generated or would it or would, would be generated by marijuana related commerce.

Speaker 2: We're still considered criminal proceeds for Federal Money Laundering and Bank Secrecy Act laws as a result of that. A bank's, uh, we're not going to participate or service marijuana businesses. So what happened, sort of looking back was sort of predictable. You had the Cole memo on one hand giving effectively a green light for the marijuana industry, right? And you know, Colorado was sort of ground zero for that. So you had this business really just flourish, but simultaneously you had nowhere for these businesses to take the cash that was being generated because they were a, they couldn't get access to the banks. So that reality and, and all this sort of associated effects of that transparency issues, law enforcement issues, safety issues, taxation issues of having a state legalized industry that it was effectively frozen out of the financial system. It didn't take long for the Justice Department to recognize that the failure to address that piece in the 2013 Cole memo was something that needed to be remedied. Um, so I had no involvement whatsoever in the drafting of that original memo, but because I was in the money laundering section at Doj at the time, that's how this thing's sort of landed on my desk. Uh, again, not something I ever would have anticipated, I think, you know, when, you know, when they rolled out the assignment, I'm sure everybody was, took one step back and then suddenly I had found myself volunteered to, to draft guidance to try to entice banks to willingly enter a federally illegal market. Okay.

Speaker 3: So knowing that that was what your kind of remit was, how did you go about kind of finding the language that was most appropriate for doj and in

Speaker 2: essence the, you know, community that you were speaking to? Well, we, you know, we used as our baseline the coal, the original Cole memo, and so we realized that first and foremost are wanting to be there. One, we wanted to have a level of consistency so that we didn't have sort of different standards for banks is for the, for the businesses themselves. So in that respect, the banking memo. And so for, for these purposes, I'll call it the banking memo. Fair enough. Okay. Um, it, it, it really sort of tracked the Cole Memo, the Cole memo, uh, identified eight priority factors that we're going to guide enforcement of the controlled Substances Act. So we adopted those same eight priority factors. Don't go across state lines, don't sell the kids, etc. It's exactly so that was going to and does guide enforcement of the money laundering laws.

Speaker 1: John Vardaman. John Vardaman joins us and discusses his involvement in the release of the third. Cole memo and Fincen Guidance, which supported the initial memos, which of course laid out guidance from Doj to state attorneys General John lays out that justice and treasuries still need to deal with the fact that based on the controlled Substances Act, the monies generated from state legal, cannabis were and still are considered criminal proceeds based on Federal Money Laundering and Bank Secrecy Act laws did of course with the Patriot Act kicker, which John actually has experienced with as he began his career in government just weeks before nine slash 11, and explains that his job following that day was following the money. Something you also had to do on the ground in Iraq. What cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the hand can economy. That's to ins in the word economy. John Vardaman, thanks for being here. My pleasure. We need to dive in

Speaker 2: with, I guess what you're most known for. Is that fair? Yeah. It's not something that I expected to be associated with, but, uh, it just so happened that in 2014 I was involved in drafting up a memorandum that basically lays out how banks, financial institutions can permissibly service the marijuana industry. I call that fincen guidance. I think it was released in concert with Cole. Memo three. Okay. That's what I think. What was in that guidance as you remember it. So if we go back to August of 2013, um, what I'll call Cole memo one. Sure. What that was, was really the DOJ is response to the Colorado recreational, a legislation and what effect that coal, what that memo did was, was to lay out how doj was going to enforce the controlled Substances Act with respect to marijuana in states where it's been legalized. The problem with that memo is that it did not take into account the fact that all of the money that was generated or would it or would, would be generated by marijuana related commerce.

Speaker 2: We're still considered criminal proceeds for Federal Money Laundering and Bank Secrecy Act laws as a result of that. A bank's, uh, we're not going to participate or service marijuana businesses. So what happened, sort of looking back was sort of predictable. You had the Cole memo on one hand giving effectively a green light for the marijuana industry, right? And you know, Colorado was sort of ground zero for that. So you had this business really just flourish, but simultaneously you had nowhere for these businesses to take the cash that was being generated because they were a, they couldn't get access to the banks. So that reality and, and all this sort of associated effects of that transparency issues, law enforcement issues, safety issues, taxation issues of having a state legalized industry that it was effectively frozen out of the financial system. It didn't take long for the Justice Department to recognize that the failure to address that piece in the 2013 Cole memo was something that needed to be remedied. Um, so I had no involvement whatsoever in the drafting of that original memo, but because I was in the money laundering section at Doj at the time, that's how this thing's sort of landed on my desk. Uh, again, not something I ever would have anticipated, I think, you know, when, you know, when they rolled out the assignment, I'm sure everybody was, took one step back and then suddenly I had found myself volunteered to, to draft guidance to try to entice banks to willingly enter a federally illegal market. Okay.

Speaker 3: So knowing that that was what your kind of remit was, how did you go about kind of finding the language that was most appropriate for doj and in

Speaker 2: essence the, you know, community that you were speaking to? Well, we, you know, we used as our baseline the coal, the original Cole memo, and so we realized that first and foremost are wanting to be there. One, we wanted to have a level of consistency so that we didn't have sort of different standards for banks is for the, for the businesses themselves. So in that respect, the banking memo. And so for, for these purposes, I'll call it the banking memo. Fair enough. Okay. Um, it, it, it really sort of tracked the Cole Memo, the Cole memo, uh, identified eight priority factors that we're going to guide enforcement of the controlled Substances Act. So we adopted those same eight priority factors. Don't go across state lines, don't sell the kids, etc. It's exactly so that was going to and does guide enforcement of the money laundering laws.

Speaker 2: So the message to banks was, If you end your marijuana business customer are not implicating any of the eight priority factors and our are in compliance with state law, then you will effectively, uh, the federal government will effectively leave you alone to do your thing. Right? Uh, it does not say that explicitly, but that was sort of the, uh, the subtext. Yeah, it's a guidance that we were not saying that, uh, were saying that they, you know, we're not asking them to go after you. Right? But, and our resources would be better used otherwise. Precisely right. And, and, and, and that's a good point because it not only relied upon the same factors of the original cole memo, but it relied on the same rationale, resources being one of them. You need to pick and choose where you're going to deploy your limited federal resources and so long as you don't implicate any of these priority areas, you are in effect are not a priority of our year. We are not going to deploy our limited resources to go after you. There we go. There we go. What did the bank say to you once you've released it?

Speaker 2: Did we get that? Uh, since, since, since this is audio, right? Okay. There was a, you held up your hand. Uh, and there was only one finger extended. So. Yeah. So. All right, so let's just say that there was a healthy degree of skepticism indeed from the banks, a lot of whom came out publicly and said, I don't care what doj says. And, uh, and, and again, you should also, we should also point out that

Speaker 2: in conjunction with the doj banky memo, there was also guidance from treasury, the fincen guidelines. Exactly. Which actually in some ways is the more significant document. Uh, I'm partial to the doj one because I was involved in drafting it, but the fincen guidance is in some ways more significant because it actually goes further, uh, in terms of explaining or, or, or laying out a path for banks to permissively services industry. But, uh, in terms of, so on February 14th, 2014, happy valentine's day, happy valentine's day. Uh, we, you know, we, we release these two memos in conjunction and yeah, so the response was, uh, was less than receptive from most banks, especially the large national banks who said, you know, I don't care what doj says, I don't care what vincent says, under no circumstances are we going to be associated with this industry.

Speaker 3: Why do you think if we've got these two, you know, bull he myths saying it's fine under what, you know, kind of, uh, alternative guidance. Were they operating? Why say no? Why say, you know, we don't get it. Why Say we're absolutely not going to do it?

Speaker 2: Well, um, and I get this, uh, the alternative was and remains federal law. so that guidance, uh, what it did was it laid out how the two agencies that were responsible for enforcing the relevant laws, the money laundering laws and the bank secrecy laws, how they were going to enforce those laws with respect to marijuana banking, right? It did not

Speaker 3: change those laws. So thanks for your memos. We are going to still go by the law that's established, which is the control controlled substances act.

Speaker 2: Uh, yes. Uh, and relatedly, I would say, um, that there was, I think a reputational issue. How so? Well, I think that sometimes we, we, this industry is moving with such rapidity that we sometimes forget where we were just three and a half years ago and I think at that time, and I think still to this day, but I think maybe, you know, I think increasingly less so, but there was a sort of a residual stigma associated with the industry that a lot of, you know, a white shoe, big banks just thought, you know what, I don't, I don't need to, I don't need to go there. Um, and so I think, you know, for them and, and you know, for, for wells fargo and bank of America who have a thousand revenue lines, the money they could make from our banking, the marijuana space as a rounding error, but what we saw was, you know, sort of, you know, what that did was it left the field open to other institutions and you started to see that gap being filled slowly at first dipping a toe the water. Um, and, and, and most often it was credit unions sort of leading the way as opposed to banks, but the bottom line for every institution was, can you rely upon this guidance. Okay. And I think it was a sort of a show me attitude, right? Well, we now have a three and a half year sample size of banks and credit unions openly serving this, uh, this industry. and during that time there have been no enforcement actions against any institution that has done that,

Speaker 3: including the past four months if we're speaking to each other in may of 2017. That's correct. Which we are, that's correct. Uh, okay. So, so there's reality, uh, let's talk about how you got to that desk that you spoke about earlier.

Speaker 2: Where are you from? So I'm one of the few people that can call Washington dc, my hometown a ha, and if you grow up in Washington dc, you do one of two things. You either embrace law and government and policy or you get the heck out of dodge because it's not your thing. and so a lot of my friends and even siblings have left dc. um, you're the former, however. Yes. and so I, I grew up in it, I've embraced it. And um, what did you folks do where you folks in by a government or a law enforcement criminal defense. So, uh, yeah, so, uh, so I, I started out at a law firm and then I joined the treasury department and that's how I sort of got involved in financial crime issues, money laundering issues. Yeah.

Speaker 3: Talk about that. Let's go to there, right? How did you become someone that understood money? Laundry?

Speaker 2: Um, well, I actually started working at the treasury department in 2001 about three weeks before nine slash 11.

Speaker 3: Okay, so before we get to nine slash 11, just because, uh, I try to have a dialogue on this thing. I say I come from the left, I'm trying to be in the middle, meaning I'm not interested in talking about politics, I'm interested in talking about policy and how we can get things done. Right. You're coming into a, the treasury under a republican president, right. How much did that matter inside the walls of the treasury? Can you kind of take us through what it means to be kind of a lifer as they call them versus a political appointee?

Speaker 2: Um, well I was, I was still trying to figure that precise question out. Um, and, and then when, you know, I, I know it sort of trite to say, but when nine slash 11 happened, everything changed. Everything did change, right? So, so nine slash 11 happens, you're in theu , s treasury. What was the immediate first thing that we needed to respond to from your perspective, from your work? So it was a, it was following the money, it was, it was, uh, figuring out how the financing of terrorism happened on that operation itself and just more broadly. So, uh, basically a lot of people who had no previous experience with things related to terrorist financing or money laundering sort of became or had to become experts sort of overnight. And then that's, that was sort of became the focus, uh, of what we did going forward, which was the financial angle of terrorism and money laundering.

Speaker 3: So I know that the bank secrecy act is involved here. I know that the patriot act is involved here. I know that dodd frank is involved here. I'm just a regular person. Can you tell me what I'm talking about?

Speaker 2: So far? The bank secrecy act is really sort of the baseline here for what banks or are required to do when it comes to monitoring and reporting on their customer's activity. The bank secrecy act was passed I think in 1970 or so. Um, it, it has a lot of components, but at bottom what it, I think what is most important is that it puts the banks, it imposes a requirement on banks to effectively monitor the transactions, the money that are flowing through their institutions, and in the event that they see anything that is they consider or should consider suspicious, that triggers a requirement, uh, upon them to file a report called a suspicious activity report with the federal government. Um, after nine slash 11, the, you mentioned the patriot act. What that did was that added some new requirements on the banks that specifically addressed terrorism. uh, it added some new requirements in terms of what they had to do in terms of having a monitoring program in place. So it Really sort of just made the bank secrecy act a sort of more muscular and impose additional requirements on financial institutions targeted towards terrorism but not exclusive to terrorism. Um, so it, it really just sort of meant that banks had to elevate their compliance requirements and obligations to ensure that, you know, whether it's terrorist money specifically or just criminal proceeds more generally, we're not flowing through their institutions

Speaker 3: and then how to dodd frank effect it or not.

Speaker 2: Uh, I, I'm not sure that dodd frank affected that aspect of, uh, the banking, um, in terms of money laundering reporting.

Speaker 3: Okay. All right. So we're talking about your day job, right? It kind of two thoUsand one, 2002. Where did it go from there? Because we have to connect the dots between 2002 in thousand 13 somehow.

Speaker 2: Right. Okay. So, uh, well boy, how did it happen? Well, part of it involved a nine month stint in Iraq in 2013. You went to Iraq? I did. Okay. Why? Because after the quote unquote, the original sort of war was considered or declared over, um, you had a whole team of federal, uh, government officials go over there to sue a effectively run and operate the postwar iraqi government. And, uh, as part of that, I decided I had been working on those issues from, in the, in the treasury department on financial issues and, uh, uh, relating to Iraq and then basically they just said they needed more people over there. And so I said, okay, what year was it? This was 2003, 2003.

Speaker 3: Yeah. So this is still early days. Yes. I mean, yes. Uh, again, not getting into politics in retrospect, these are early days, right? Um, what did you, you're, I mean, you're just this, you know, you're not a soldier, right? You're not a marine. What are you walking into as a guy that's trying to help out with the books? You know, with all due respect, sir.

Speaker 2: No, no. What am I trying to do? Our primary responsibility was actually to locate, identify and repatriate iraqi assets, saddam assets that he had and his regime had sort of generated and had scattered throughout the region. All of which was done. I'm sort of under a cover cloak of secrecy or because it was all being done in contravention of un sanctions. So, um, so, you know, basically the iraqi regime are conducted in an elaborate sort of shell game of moving and generating and hiding assets. And so part of our responsibility was to identify them, figure out where they were and bring them back and use them for iraqi reconstruction efforts

Speaker 3: a day one versus you said nine months versus the last day. Uh, what was your thinking about Iraq and, um, you know, what your job was. I will keep it just to that, um, you know, how did that kind of evolve over the nine months?

Speaker 2: Um, it was a, uh, you know, it sort of felt like a lifetime in a lot of ways. But, uh, I, uh, I didn't know what I was getting into, but you know, what I left, I was incredibly proud of, of having been there and worked with the iraqi people who were in our and amazing people in a very proud and um, habit habit, immensely rich history and um, and to try to just sort of make some contribution. I mean, they had, they had suffered tremendously, uh, under a brutal regime and they were incredibly thankful, uh, to, you know, to be able to cast off that. But they were also then trying to figure out how to sort of run a government, run a society for themselves, which they didn't have a lot of experience. And so, uh, so it was a, it was an experience that, uh, I was very happy to be associated with, um, you know, at the, at the end of the day, I think we recovered about in the upper, in the order of $2,000,000,000, um, that, uh, had basically been, you know, sort of, uh, you know, saddam hussein basically treated Iraq like his sort of personal piggy bank and he thrived at the expensive as people.

Speaker 2: And obviously we weren't able to make complete amends for that far from it. But I think we, we, we made a small contribution and um, you know, I, I, I felt like we left things. They're in a better place than when we had arrived. Obviously things took a turn for the worse in the ensuing years. And it's still a work in progress. Sure. But, uh, I, uh,

Speaker 3: south felt at the time. Yeah. And that makes sense. Yeah. Um, alright. So, so in, in my life you're talking about, we've just covered three gigantic tent poles, right? Nine slash 11 Iraq war and uh, you know, cole memo and birth of cannabis type of thing. Right. So those would be three, three gigantic temples in my life. So thanks for helping out. Is there anything else like within those 10 years, between 2003, 2013, um, that doesn't necessarily rise to the level of the three things that we've mentioned, but something else that you, you know, was informative for you, for your career, for your mindset.

Speaker 2: Certainly nothing on that scale. Basically, you know, after, after the Iraq experience, I came back and that's what I made my move from the treasury department to the justice department. Right. And um, I worked on for five Years in what's called the office of legal policy, doing a variety of, of legal and policy issues, a national security issues, but always sort of keeping at least one foot in the realm of financial crime, money laundering. And then that's what's, that's what led to my, uh, my job at the money laundering section. um, and so I was, I was assistant deputy chief in the policy division of the money laundering section. Right. And so that is, that was where I was in 2014 wherein, you know, what we've discussed earlier.

Speaker 3: That's how your desk became your desk. That is, there

Speaker 2: we go. And while I, you know, in terms of things that I never would have anticipated or expected being associated with drafting guidance for cannabis related banking would have to have right, pretty high by so to speak. But, uh, but that's how it worked out. And again, it's, it's, um, it's, it's not, it's not something that people immediately associate with. When you talk about, you know, the marijuana industry. And by that I mean the money, the banking piece, but I think it is, it is an, and that's reflected in the fact that it wasn't even addressed in the original coma. yeah. So we, even if the department, um, didn't really connect those dots. So, um, but I do think that now is, this is becoming a maturing industry, uh, that the banking piece is recognized as one that plays a pivotal part in normalizing this industry and being an enabling it to operate as a normal business.

Speaker 2: Uh, so son of a folks that were in law, uh, where you, where you cannabis enthusiasts as a kid, or is this all new to you? Um, I was. No, I was not. If there was a, if there was a category in, in high school for least likely to be associated with the cannabis industry, uh, I, you know, in cannabis advocacy, I'm sure I probably would have ranked pretty high on that. Uh, I've never been a candidate, a cannabis advocate. I'm a latecomer to this. Um, and frankly I'm, you know, I, I still approached this industry not sort of as a, from a, like a cultural. Yeah, I mean, I, I view it more pragmatically. I mentioned that. Yeah. Yeah. And how do we make it work? You know, I'm not a, I'm not a cannabis evangelical, you know, like I'm not a, I'm not out there saying that the solution is, is, uh, you know, decriminalization or, or die.

Speaker 2: Uh, I'm, I'm concerned with doing, you know, assessing the situation as it is, which is where we are and I actually do now believe that where we are make sense. I don't think if you had a whiteboard, anyone would have ever drawn up this scheme, but I actually think in a weird, strange, roundabout way it works rather well. Um, but what I am conceRned about is in light of where we are, I'm making this industry making this, the system work as effectively as possible, which brings us to your new desk. Right, right. Yeah. So, so what are you doing man? So I, uh, last year I left doj to join a startup technology company. I'm in scottsdale, Arizona. Who's mission really is to enaBle banks to service cash intensive, high risk industries this high to the kind of industries that banks tend to shy away from because they're considered difficult.

Speaker 2: They're considered high risk there could, you know, they opened them up to exposure and the cannabis industry sort of falls foursquare into that category and it just so happened that we have a platform and a methodology and a technology that is perfectly suited to address the unique challenges of cannabis banking. And so when I found out about this company and in light of my background in terms of money laundering and then my involvement with the marijuana banking memo, it just, it was sort of, it sort of felt like in a, you know, those kind of the stars had aligned in a strange, unpredictable, never could have foreseen it way, but it just felt like, okay, there's, there's real opportunity here and that, you know, we really, we, we, we, we, we face a pretty stark, um, you know, a choice when it comes to how this industry is gonna operate.

Speaker 2: It's been legalized in 29 states now that's happening. Whether or not businesses in those states have bank accounts, which means this industry is either going to be able to operate as a legitimate business and be treated as a legitimate business, do and perform all the functions, functions associated with being a legitimate business of which having a bank account plays a critical part or it's going to be legalized and yet stigmas taught, stigmatized, legalized, and yet still treated as a pariah. And I don't think that serves anyone's interest no matter how you look at this, that, that serves, that helPs. No one, okay? It doesn't help a state that may have passed legalized marijuana because of the tax, the tax revenue that had promise and how it might fund things such as education. It doesn't help a community where you've got hundreds of thousands, potentially millions of dollars of unaccounted for funds on the streets that are, that we don't know where they are. You don't know how much there is. You don't know where it's going. Um, so it, and it doesn't obviously help the business with themselves. They cAn't do basic things such as write checks to send and receive wires. Perform. Uh, you know, payroll services, so just from a purely pragmatic standpoint, enabling these businesses to get bank accounts helps everyone.

Speaker 3: I completely agree with you. I'll, uh, I'll, uh, I've got three final questions for you. I'll tell you what they are and then I'll ask you them in order. Okay. What has most surprised you in cannabis? I can't wait for that answer. What has most surprised you in life? And then on the soundtrack of john vitamins? Life one, track one song that's got to be on there and answer. I also cannot wait for it. Okay. But what, what has most surprised you in cannabis? I, you might have already touched on it.

Speaker 2: Um, actually I don't think I have. It's probably, and again it gets back to this idea about, you know, being that this is an unlikely role for somebody like myself. It's actually how impressed I am with the seriousness, the ingenuity, the creativity, the creativity of this industry. I mean, my father hates it when I say this, but I often say this is not your father's marijuana market. Okay? But it's true. This is a serious industry. These are serious people these and uh, I'm, I'm constantly impressed by, you know, the, the brainpower, the creativity, the passion that people bring to this industry, and I think there are still getting residual stigma associated with it, but I think every day the people that are here, the people that are involved in this are going a long ways towards legitimizing this industry because they're doing it the right way.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Everybody's working pretty hard, right? They're working hard and there are serious people. I mean, they're having fun. Sure. But they're serious people. They recognize that you need to do it the right way. That's it. And um, and so that's what I've been. One of the things that I've been particularly impressed by, um, and you know, you even see that, you know, for instance, you know, you've heard the, you know, the attorney general has said things to the extent, well, he's the current attorney general. Okay. Yeah. Well, I'm not sure the cole memo was being followed and uh, and I actually think that, and I'm, I'm, I, I hope that this reality is, is becoming more apparent to the, to the current justice department that actually this federal state interplay that's reflected in the cole memo and that is working in it and that is in plaCe right now. Again, imperfect as it may be. Sure. Nobody would have dreamed it up if starting from a blank slate is actually working pretty effectively. Yeah. And it's working effectively because the people here and that people out in the states and the, for everything from the government officials to the people in the businesses are taking it seriously and acting responsibly. I love it. It coming from you. I'd love to hear that. You know, uh, what has most surprised you in life?

Speaker 2: Uh, just that I guess sort of relatedly that, uh, the best laid plans or whatever you may think might happen in terms of how you think things are life is gonna go, uh, whether it's being in Iraq or being at a marijuana conference, uh, you never know, but you need to be open to the possibility that things that you didn't expect a would be something you would want to do or be open to, might actually be just the right thing to do, but you need to have an open mind and be willing to say, all right, this was the way I planned it, but this is where we are and I'm going to run with it. I mean, essentially that we've talked about is nothing that you would have anticipated. Not exactly this, this was, this was not the game plan. If I don't, I mean, I didn't exactly chart things out when I was 18, but if I had, it wouldn't have looked anything like this. You can't have. Yeah. But um, but again, that's half the fun is doing things a little differently and being open to new things because you're constantly surprised and you know, I've been lucky to, to have been surprised pleasantly by doing things differently and being receptive to things that I might ordinarily have been resistant to. Excellent. On the soundtrack of your life, John Barton. Yeah. One track, one song that's got to be on there.

Speaker 2: The one song. Well, so it doesn't have to be once. You can give me a few songs if you. OkaY. But it's, you know, so it's not the perfect songs, not necessarily favorite song. How can there be that? But one song that is certainly on a soundtrack of your life, you know? Yeah. Um, wow. That's a doozy. I heard one by youtube the other day and I, after it was over, I thought that may be the most perfect song I've ever heard in my entire life that counts, john. Okay. That counts. So I don't have like a desert island collection. But, um, every now and then I hear a song that, you know, like everyone else evokes a memory and suddenly, you know, it has resonance, but uh, but I don't think you can do much better than one by youtube. There you have it. John vardaman. Thank you so much. Alright, so, and thanks for joining us inside the industry. How about that? I love it. Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure. All right. And there you have john vardaman.

Speaker 1: My favorite part was when john pointed out that for us to legalize cannabis and yet still stigmatize cannabis helps no one. And again, this is coming from the least likely candidate to have anything to do with cannabis, uh, based on way back when. So thanks to john, thanks to you stay tuned.

Read the full transcript:

Become a member to access to webinars, quarterly reports, contributor columns, shows, excerpts, and complete podcast transcripts

Become a Member

Already a member? Login here.

Subscribe now to get every episode.

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