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Ep.287: Steve Trenk

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.287: Steve Trenk

Ep.287: Steve Trenk

A cowboy at heart, Steve Trenk joins us from the Upper East Side of Manhattan although he spends most of his time in Arizona. Steve is an entrepreneur which it turns out is genetic. He started companies in the healthcare and aviation industries and learned impactful lessons that he brings forward to his cannabis investments. He also brings his love for animals and wide open spaces to the industry in that when asked for tips on riding a horse- his advice is that staying on is always key. But the real key Steve says is picking the right horse. He’s been an angel investor in the space for a number of years. He notes that it’s not often that you find a horse that you get along with, that you communicate with and that you feel safe on- but he’s got a couple.

Transcript:

Speaker 3: Steve Trenk, a cowboy at heart. Steve Trenk joins us from the upper east side of manhattan, although he spends most of his time in Arizona stevenson entrepreneur, which it turns out his genetic. He started companies in the healthcare and aviation industries and learned impactful lessons that he Brings forward to his cannabis investments. He also brings his love for animals in wide open spaces to the industry and that when I asked for tips on writing a horses, advice is that staying on is always key, but the real key steve says, is picking the right horse. He's been an angel invesTor in this space for a number of years. He notes that it's not often that you find a horse that you can get along with, that you can communicate with and that you feel safe on. Buddy's got a couple. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host seth adler. Check us out on social with the handler can economy. That's two ends in the word economy. Steve blank. Steve blank. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1: We're on the upper east side of manhattan, which is where you're only sometimes you're not here all the time. I'm not. I'm here and in scottsdale, Arizona, which sounds like the winterhaven uh, it's not calendar dependent. It isn't go as often as I can to each place. Well, to Arizona. I prefer Arizona. Uh, you feel like a new yorker to me. Right? I mean we'll allow that. Thank you. So like you're, you're not necessarily here more often though, is what I'm saying? No, I spend as, I spend more time in Arizona these days than in New York. And iT's not weather based. No. So what could be going on in Arizona? Well, being a cowboy at heart, I much prefer being in the desert and around my animals. Hence the boots which anyone who knows steve, there are boots on. Absolutely. So what animals, let's describe because upper east side, manhattan, a kind of a residential building.

Speaker 1: It is what you think it is, right? Absolutely. It's a small place to keep some stuff. Right. And there's shoe. I'm sure there's a doorman in there that can help you, uh, every once in a while. You bet. Right? Uh, but the, but on the farm or what would it be called? The ranch? It's probably more of a ranch at a ranch. Fair enough. A New York style ranch, right? Not exactly. I mean in, in size as far as the one bedrooms and the two bedrooms. Oh, well this is not sprawling is what your point is. A. No, not sprawling horses. Cows. What are we talking a couple of horses in the backyard. And do you ride the horses as often as possible? And what's the key to riding a horse was staying on is always key. Okay. UM, but the real key is to piCking the right horse. And I've had, you have to make a lot of mistakes. It's like kissing frogs. Sure. Uh, it's not often that you find a horse that you get along with that you communicate with and that you feel safe. Fun. Yeah. But I haPpened to hAve two of those at the moment. IT is a frightening how much that sounds like angel investing.

Speaker 1: There are some similarities. I see them some, right? I mean, so you know, you are a, let's say you're active in the space in cannabis. Is that fair? That's very fair. All right. So when you are looking, um, for an investment, uh, you know, you have to find the right horse, right? So, but what is the right horse as far as your angel investment goes? It's, it's an interesting parallel, but I don't generally bet on the horse. okay. Bet on the jockey. There you go. All right. Uh, and most of the time I'm not looking for them. Okay. I'm looking at them and I look at as many as i possibly can. Sure. And the ones that I develop confidence in and trust in are the ones that I pay more attention to and that just happens. It sounds like it's almost an organic type of thing. It is.

Speaker 1: You have to put yourself in this space that will give you exposure to them. and I've found that art view is that space. Sure. Um, so there's plenty of opportunity to find those good jockeys. and then when it does happen, it's a, is, it's indescribable now what, what do we, you know, in, in that kind of entrepreneur that does have it, what do you usually see? What goes across the ones that work well? I'm generally finding people who are, they start out as being a confident and capable with experience that experience generally will relate to what it is they're trying to develop in the form of a new business they will have surrounded themselves with other likeminded, credible, capable people and they will have already developed a plan that presents well, is rational, and can reasonably be expected to achieve the objective and stated purpose.

Speaker 3: Steve Trenk, a cowboy at heart. Steve Trenk joins us from the upper east side of manhattan, although he spends most of his time in Arizona stevenson entrepreneur, which it turns out his genetic. He started companies in the healthcare and aviation industries and learned impactful lessons that he Brings forward to his cannabis investments. He also brings his love for animals in wide open spaces to the industry and that when I asked for tips on writing a horses, advice is that staying on is always key, but the real key steve says, is picking the right horse. He's been an angel invesTor in this space for a number of years. He notes that it's not often that you find a horse that you can get along with, that you can communicate with and that you feel safe on. Buddy's got a couple. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host seth adler. Check us out on social with the handler can economy. That's two ends in the word economy. Steve blank. Steve blank. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1: We're on the upper east side of manhattan, which is where you're only sometimes you're not here all the time. I'm not. I'm here and in scottsdale, Arizona, which sounds like the winterhaven uh, it's not calendar dependent. It isn't go as often as I can to each place. Well, to Arizona. I prefer Arizona. Uh, you feel like a new yorker to me. Right? I mean we'll allow that. Thank you. So like you're, you're not necessarily here more often though, is what I'm saying? No, I spend as, I spend more time in Arizona these days than in New York. And iT's not weather based. No. So what could be going on in Arizona? Well, being a cowboy at heart, I much prefer being in the desert and around my animals. Hence the boots which anyone who knows steve, there are boots on. Absolutely. So what animals, let's describe because upper east side, manhattan, a kind of a residential building.

Speaker 1: It is what you think it is, right? Absolutely. It's a small place to keep some stuff. Right. And there's shoe. I'm sure there's a doorman in there that can help you, uh, every once in a while. You bet. Right? Uh, but the, but on the farm or what would it be called? The ranch? It's probably more of a ranch at a ranch. Fair enough. A New York style ranch, right? Not exactly. I mean in, in size as far as the one bedrooms and the two bedrooms. Oh, well this is not sprawling is what your point is. A. No, not sprawling horses. Cows. What are we talking a couple of horses in the backyard. And do you ride the horses as often as possible? And what's the key to riding a horse was staying on is always key. Okay. UM, but the real key is to piCking the right horse. And I've had, you have to make a lot of mistakes. It's like kissing frogs. Sure. Uh, it's not often that you find a horse that you get along with that you communicate with and that you feel safe. Fun. Yeah. But I haPpened to hAve two of those at the moment. IT is a frightening how much that sounds like angel investing.

Speaker 1: There are some similarities. I see them some, right? I mean, so you know, you are a, let's say you're active in the space in cannabis. Is that fair? That's very fair. All right. So when you are looking, um, for an investment, uh, you know, you have to find the right horse, right? So, but what is the right horse as far as your angel investment goes? It's, it's an interesting parallel, but I don't generally bet on the horse. okay. Bet on the jockey. There you go. All right. Uh, and most of the time I'm not looking for them. Okay. I'm looking at them and I look at as many as i possibly can. Sure. And the ones that I develop confidence in and trust in are the ones that I pay more attention to and that just happens. It sounds like it's almost an organic type of thing. It is.

Speaker 1: You have to put yourself in this space that will give you exposure to them. and I've found that art view is that space. Sure. Um, so there's plenty of opportunity to find those good jockeys. and then when it does happen, it's a, is, it's indescribable now what, what do we, you know, in, in that kind of entrepreneur that does have it, what do you usually see? What goes across the ones that work well? I'm generally finding people who are, they start out as being a confident and capable with experience that experience generally will relate to what it is they're trying to develop in the form of a new business they will have surrounded themselves with other likeminded, credible, capable people and they will have already developed a plan that presents well, is rational, and can reasonably be expected to achieve the objective and stated purpose.

Speaker 1: I mean, this all seems like, well, doesn't, don't all of them have that. I'm afraid. Not afraid, not. They are beginning to come to arcview and to my attention in a more well developed form. Got it. uh, that's evolved very significantly over the past several years. Right? Well, let evolutions. Let's talk about them. Let's talk about you. We established you're from New York. Is that fair to say? I'm actually from New Jersey. Oh, well I grew up across the hudson river. Yeah. So for people that aren't from the tristate area, that sounds like it's the same thing, but it's not. Well indeed it is the New York metropolitan area, but even people from New York don't know that you can get to New Jersey for not unaware. Well, there's newark airport which we're aware of. Right. And that's rumor has it that the football teams play in New Jersey. I've heard That rumor but, but beyond that, so what town, what exit I should ask you in New Jersey?

Speaker 1: Well, unfortunately I can't describe it as an exit. I, I grew up in the towns of livingston and south orange, which are in essex county there soMetimes as little as a half hour from manhattan. Huh. But not normally. Right. A, whiCh obviously that's traffic dePendent. Sure. But it is A bedroom community of New York city. Okay. Bedroom was clearly a suburban, middle class suburban area. Now horses not in the immediate area. Right. Okay. Was that an early interest or did that, uh, come upon you at a later time? Well, I started to ride horses at two years old. Oh wow. Uh, in fact I fell in love with it for two principle reasons. The first is that my father used to take me and my brother who's 15 months older than I, a very early in the morning with a friend of his who owned horses to get us out of the house and give my mother a little peace and quiet and you can imagine how it feels to be two years old and sitting on a horse being coddled by your father.

Speaker 1: Yeah, a protected and uh, just experience the wonders of nature. Wow. On horseback. So he's with you. He's kind of holding you on the horse. He couldn't ride alone at that age. I probably couldn't stay in the saddle. Right. Uh, but the other factor was that at that point in history, everything on television was westerns trying to teach you great family values. Sure. And I immersed myself in those as a result of how I related to the horses and the cowboys. I had never seen an episode of bonanza until literally two months ago. Something like that. That's a good show. Well, that's, that's really astonishing to me. It will show it, but I missed it. Right? So when I was a kid, bonanza wasn't on, wasn't even on reruns really? And if it were on reruns, it looked foreign. It looked too too much. You're making me feel very old.

Speaker 1: Well, we're not that much difference. There's not that much difference in age between us, but I would say that there's probably 15 years. well, I wouldn't be surprised. So. But that 15 years is a lot on television, meaning my kind of reruns were different strokes. You see what I'm saying? Idea what you missed. Yeah. When I was growing up it was all westerns. Yeah. Uh, but you miss davy crockett is the point. No, I didn't see you had to wait a year older than I think you are. My goodness. Okay, fantastic. You look great steve. Thank you. I feel great. Yeah. So you're, you're riding horses to stay away from your mother, so she can have just a minute please. Right. With your brother who's 15 months older than you, which makes you not quite irish twins. Right? I think I'm right on the edge though. Uh, what about at school?

Speaker 1: You know, as you kinda went through and went through high school, what interests were there? Uh, my experience throughout school was mostly a social experience. Uh, I made a lot of friends and I had a lot of fun. It sounds like we learned a little something along the way. We had a similar experience, it sounds like. Uh, where'd you go? Did you go to college? Uh, I went to college at. I went to university of miami my freshman year of school. I went to a state school in New Jersey because my parents decided it was time to bring me home from that vacation. Sure. Yeah. Uh, and I went to, what was newark state college at the time? It was a teaching college. It is now keen college [inaudible] named after a former governor of this state. Tom, I think. Yes. And, uh, I started my first business in my second year of college and here we go.

Speaker 1: Okay. And so what was that? it was a, uh, it was actually quite innovative. It was a hybrid transportation service. And so now, because you said the word innovative now is when we actually have to find out what year this was. Okay. This is 1973. Okay. You are older than I thought you were. And again, when you do look fantastic, but 1973. What's innovative in, in hybrid transportation? Uh, the, a, a combination of service to people who were not in emergent situation but could not travel by taxi cab because they were confined generally two wheelchairs and stretchers, but who didn't need the extraordinary expense of an ambulance. And we created an industry that's now known as the ambulate industry or the invalid coach industry. Sure, yeah. I, uh, I unfortunately have had experience with that when my mom was sick, uh, about 10 years ago for, for about three years.

Speaker 1: Unfortunately she passed away, but I'm very familiar with that service. And it's very specific, as you say, right? Well, at the time there was no practical way to transport patients, uh, who needed to get in, in the case of the demand that created this concept for me. Yeah. People were going to therapy specifically to renal treatMenTs in kidney dialysis centers and there was no way for them to get there other than By Ambulance, which they generally couldn't afford, right. Which the government paid for in certain circumstances, but they were pushing back very heavily to the expensive that transportation was an issue with healthcare here in the United States of America. Hard to imagine, but it's been around for awhile.

Speaker 1: But then, you know, it begs the question, how would you have ever thought of this? Why would you have ever thought of this? Uh, I come from a long line of creative and inspired family. I had an uncle who was a pioneer in the kidney dialysis industry. He brought my father as a business person to that industry. They built among the first outpatient for profit dialysis centers to the state of New Jersey. Got it. And lo and behold, they had difficulty getting people back and forth to the clinic at. Steve says, hold on one second. I got an idea. well, I, it wasn't really my idea. It evolved as my idea, but at first they offered it to me as an opportunity to make some spending money while I was going to school. Sure. I was in school in New Jersey, not far from where their clinics were and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Speaker 1: Yeah. And, uh, started to do this for myself. The volume picked up, so I started hiring all of my friends. I ran out of friends and uh, had to start hiring strangers and buying vehicles. Right. And I ended up in that business in New Jersey and in los angeles for eight years. How did we get to los angeles? Well, one of my best friends at the time was going to ucla and the girls were much more attractive in la than they were in newark in union New Jersey. So I thought it was a good place to set up an office. It sounds believable whether it's true or not, it sounds believable. And so you were bi coastal, right? You had a business by coastal business. Everything's going fine. You said eight years. That's a long time. But, uh, there was uh, an ent, yes. Okay. After about eight years, uh, and a great deal of support from state medical programs, medicaid and medicare, because if you really do know about how healthcare works, I do it.

Speaker 1: Yeah. It started to get very highly regulated, which I was not accustomed to being a 20 something year old at the time and doing pretty much whatever I want. Right. Yeah. Uh, it started to get very highly regulated and they started to ratchet down reimbursement so it became somewhat less profitable. Right. And I had my first m and a experience. I ended up selling the businesses on both coasts to separate competitors. Okay. So interesting. Cashed out for the first time at. oh, I guess I was about 27 years old. That's an exit by the way. That was, those were two eggs. That's right. Yeah. Um, and you know, you're going to hear maybe some horns along the way here because we in New York, if we're in a car and we're driving and we can see that the light is green, but you, you're not moving in, you're in front of us.

Speaker 1: We're just going to lean on that horn, you know, we're not going to really have any patients whatsoever now with the horn was made for. Right? Exactly. Yet, why do you have the horn as this is, you know, folks, New York sensibility is a, is a different type of sensibility than, than uh, well then other sensibilities. Let's just leave it at that. All right, so now you've got this stack of cash. What are you going to do with it? Well, I borrowed a pickup truck. I bought a horse trailer. Okay. And I took my horse on a trip. Cross country. Look at you. We spent about eight weeks traveling around America together. You and the horse and the horse, because nobody else would go with him. He had the trip of a lifetime. How so? Well, I put about 8,000 miles on that summer. I was in a pickup truck that didn't haVe air conditioning.

Speaker 1: sure. And I don't think it dropped below 100 degrees any day that summer. Right? And I just got to experience America to really see the country for the first time from the ground route 66 and such. Right. Got it. So, uh, knowing that you're in New Jersey kid, uh, knowing that you have experienced in la, which anybody that's listening from neither of those two places is like, go on, you know, I don't care about New Jersey, I don't care about la. What, what, what became apparent to you, you know, knowing that you have this kind of cowboy inside. WhaT, what did you realize along this tray, the trip of a lifetime, what? You know, what, what was the rest of this country about? Well, it's interesting because it does impart, lay the foundation for what I'm doing in cannabis now because it gave me a very acute appreciation for what freedom means in America and for those of us familiar with this cannabis industry and the impact that it's had on minorities, uh, involved historically in the use of cannabis.

Speaker 1: You know, that that's not a given in every case, right? Uh, but it, it taught me that America was a great place. Okay. It taught me that freedom was more valuable than anything but health maybe speak to that right. You, you used the word freedom twice. What are you actually talking about? The ability to step outside and go wherever you want. Okay. Uh, the ability to travel freely without restrictions, without, uh, without impediment. So going across state lines, you realize that you were going from one place to another and it felt as though almost you'd warrant and you realized empirically that you were free because of that? Well, I, I sorta related to all these things that I watched on television, be able to go wherever I want, being able to pull into a, a national park and get out and tack up my horse and just go ride anywhere.

Speaker 1: I wanted to go home on the range in a manner of speaking. Right. All right. So freedom becomes apparent to steve? Yes. Uh, he's still got the money because we borrowed the truck. If you were liStening, right? No one's with them. He's not buying any meals of any real substance and he's riding source around. And how long did that go on? For? Two months. And then, well then I came back with a real appreciation for the luxury of being able to make money and help people at the same time, which is basically what I was doing in the healthcare services indusTry. Right. and I came back and I actually got involved with my father and with my uncle in a number of different healthcare businesses that we stayed together in for another 18 years. Such things as well. We were primarily involved in building, buying and selling outpatient dialysis centers.

Speaker 1: okay. Got it. This became our specialty. we know exactly what we're doing. We did a number of other things including a home care services. There was a very heavy push at the time by the government to get people out of the hospital sicker and quicker as they say, oh, so we provided sounds great home healthcare services, including durable medical equipment, a respiratory therapy home infusion therapy and things like that. Yeah. We alSo did some outpatient imaging, which was pretty new at the time. Sure. But we were principally focused on the dialysis segment over time. Eighteen years. That's a long. That's a long time. How much did the health care space change and ultimately what changes were there that happened where you, your dad and your uncle said, okay, we're good. Um, generally what happened was a trend of increasing regulation and decreasing reimbursement. Okay. And the flip side of that of course was the advancement of technology.

Speaker 1: Sure. Which made it more efficient to operate and allowed us to remain profitable and continued to preserve value in these assets. So we would accumulate assets and sell those assets to consolidators, bigger players in the industry. Right. All the while advancing your own technology to kind of stay afloat. And we weren't, we were operators, we were service providers. We were not at the time developing technology. Got it. We were implementing technology to provide service selling the old stuff and buying the new stuff is we were selling, uh, a consolidated groups of clinics. Oh, okay. All right. Fair. Knowing those clinics to operators who were trying to consolidate the industry, more real estate than a right. Well, you know, we were, we were not real estate owners in that regard. We were tenants. Got it. Uh, we were investing capital into equipment, hardware, dialysis machines, new technology to operate more efficiently, but we did not own the real estate in most cases. Got it. Okay. Well, which is why I have the great pleasure of sitting with you. If you had on the real estate, you know, you wouldn't be accessible to me. He'd be way too rich.

Speaker 1: Well, we don't have that issue right there. Good about that, right? Yeah, exactly. Um, alright, so 18 years on a, we're going to get out. What was there an ultimate kind of defining moment where the three of you sat down and said, okay, uh, this is enough. Is enough. No. Okay. There wasn't we, uh, in, I guess it was 1998, uh, my father, who was really the lead in this effort, [inaudible] my uncle was a physician who was the medical director for it. Uh, my father was very distracted at the time because my mother was very sick and ultimately died from cancer and it was around that time that we sold the last group of facilities and when she passed away he decided he was not ready to do this again. And uh, fortunately he was entrepreneurial enough along the way to have started another business that we had both been actively involved in [inaudible] and that was the aviation business.

Speaker 1: My father and I became helicopter pilots together in 1976. And, uh, there was an opportunity which he sought out to try and find a way to justify owning aircraft and we bid on an rfp or request for proposal from the port authority of New York and New Jersey to reopen a helicopter, a hell, a port on the hudson river in New York. Look at this. It was, it is today contiguous to the javits center where you and I met last week. Sure. for the cannabis world congress. Sure. But the javits center wasn't built yet. This is 1980 [inaudible]. There were not a lot of helicopters in New York. my new thing going on in that area, really either it'd be tough to explain what was going on was there was a lot of drug dealing and a lot of prostitution along the river. Right. and uh, the city was looking to gentrify the area.

Speaker 1: They were looking to reopen a heloc port that had closed for lack of use. And my father and I were ignorant enough to overbid for it. We won the award and we have operated that hell heliports uninterrupted for 37 years. It reMains. We continue to operate it to this, look at that. Alright. So what is involved in all that? Do you, do you provide the helicopters? Do I have to buy my own? My sister runs that business day to day. Uh, it is a glorified parking lot. And gas station and lounge got the four helicopters in helicopter passengers. Interesting. It's the, it's the admirals club. Have a helicopter a right or a whale. It's the admirals club in a trailer. Right. Okay. Fair enough. But that's, that's what it's tantamount to. That's amazing. All right. And so if I have a helicopter and I need a place to land, I call your sister basically.

Speaker 1: Well, if you need a place to land 24 slash seven, you call us at that location. There were actually three heliports in manhattan. Right. My family is involved in running two of the three. Okay. Are you on the old site to a. In a manner of speaking? We're actually at wall street, which is technically on the east shore because of the kickoff. Right. Wall street and west 30th street. Got it. Okay. Such and such an interesting thing. And why you and your father as far as getting the helicopter a licenses to fly. Why was it related or. Well, my father at 20 years old went into the Air force. Right. Wanting to be a pilot. Okay. But he had fallen in love before leaving with your mother? Yes. And he was, he, he was distracted, I'll say uh, he ended up getting, uh, getting out of the air force without getting a pilot's license, getting married and starting to have children at a very young age.

Speaker 1: So when we both started to make some money through this healthcare business in the late seventies, he decided he was going to fulfill that lifelong dream and I of course wanted to do anything he wanted to do. Right. So I did it with him. Yeah. And together in 1976 we became licensed helicopter pilot. That's fantastic. For me, that was the end of that path for a long time for him, he became a fixed wing pilot and a dedicated entrepreneur. He's a still at almost 88 years old, very active in the industry, probably the single most prominent player in the helicopter industry in New York. Look at that. And so, uh, speaking of you, you and I, could you take me up in a helicopter without anyone else he remained consistent with your uh, well, I have maintained my license but I am not current. Yeah. So I couldn't fly you as the only pilot today.

Speaker 1: If I went up with another licensed pilot, I could take you. All right. So we'll have to. I do not fly alone anymore. I got you. Maybe we'll do that sometime. That'd be great. Eventually this gets to cannabis, right? Eventually. How does it? Well, uh, in 2005, we bought a business that I ran for about six years and that was the air tour business in las vegas. Okay. We flew the airplane and helicopter tours from vegas to the grand canyon and at night over the las vegas strip. Brilliant. Uh, it was a lot of fun. Yeah. But it wasn't as much fun after 2008 in the fall of the economy, we spent a couple of years restructuring that business and preparing it for resale, which we succeeded in accomplishing in 2011. Okay. And I had been working for a long time, uh, mostly treading water in that business in, in Nevada.

Speaker 1: Yeah. And when I sold it, I decided I was going to take some time off. I was thinking about another trip with my horse around the country. Uh, but instead I moved from Nevada to Arizona where my Son, my brother, and my best friend going to lift my son who was an elected official, he was a town councilman and vice mayor of the town he lived in great. Was about to graduate law school and when he did, he got recruited by a, the rose law group in scottsdale was at the forefront of the medical marijuana movement. Yes, they were, uh, you know, I'm sure you know, Ryan Hurley, go, of course, ryan had the foresight to hire my son to help with municipal zoning for cannabis use. And I first started to understand the reality of legal cannabis, right. I was not a complete stranger to the concept of cannabis until then, but I was out of California way before it was legal.

Speaker 1: So I never thought about it. Yeah. But I did grow up in New Jersey with a, uh, a very good friend whose family was in the liquor business from prohibition. And I understood what this change in dynamics could mean to the cannabis space. Interest started to pay attention to it. Sure. And as I learned from ryan and otHers in the industry, I got exposed to arcview and when I joined arcview that changed my life. Okay. So, uh, you know, we know troy and uh, some of the folks there and we talked about angel investing, diving in, what was the first, you know, what did you notice first? Well, I'm, the thing I remember most vividly was that I had an opportunity early on to invest with andy williams and medicine man. Right. And I was not ready to make that leap. I had not made any investments yet.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Uh, I was still trying to get firm footing in the industry and I missed the opportunity to invest in andy's first note, a offering to the arcview group, the big one. And I have a very good friend, laurie ferrara in the industry who from. She made the investment. Yeah, exactly. and I, I sort of felt bad about missing that. That's the thing that I think got me moving and I ended up investing in a significant number of other opportunities with people who I had gotten to know through our fuel for a period of time and I decided to make the move and just sort of kept my head down and kept going. Now, uh, you mentioned the difference between what you're seeing now on the landscape and even in those rooms and what you used to see, right? Uh, it was a little bit, a little bit more rustic, let's say as far as the presentations.

Speaker 1: Well, it, it can be characterized by some of the early presenters still came in in tie dye tee shirts. Uh, and today everybody's wearing a suit and tie on stage without question, not even close a, why would you go to another kind of expo when we get it? When you're looking for investment, you're looking for investment, but why go to like a general big thing? Because I saw you also at the dc kind of expo I saw at the New York expo. Why are you walking around those places to get a feel for what's happening in the industry? Who the players are? What's new and innovative? Uh, I like to hear the presentations on what the new administration is likely to do to my assets. Sure. Um, but it's a perfect venue to connect with people that I know and like, and perhaps I've invested with right in a single location rather than traveling around the country and in a different way as well, you know, at an expo, there's kind of different type of conversation going on than, than other places had arcview I'm often distracted by trying to listen to the presentations on stage and I don't have as much time as I'd like to socialize with the people I liked.

Speaker 1: And there we go. Alright, so that brings us to year a guy that operated in regulated healthcare in the United States and aviation and aviation. So regulations of course, but, but healthcare specifically you, you know, how, um, no matter who's in charge, if you're spanning 18 years, uh, how our federal government has worked essentially in regards to regulations and healthcare,

Speaker 1: they tend to add regulations. That's what I learned from you. Uh, they tend to, uh, find a way whether industry plus government finds a way to reduce reimbursements or whatever. Um, so let's assume that you could be the president of the United States of America because let's face it, anybody can be and a good, how would you change it? What would you do to healthcare on you? You really, you know, I, I'm, I understand that you're not a scientist, but you worked in the space. You're an entrepreneur, you're, you know, you've got answers. You know, how it all works. What, what are the basics that we could consider to maybe change this? I think we have to look at what, what is it that keeps compounding the cost of health care insurance? Well, it's a, it's a function of insurance. It's a function of tHe legal system. Uh, there, there is too much liability to the provider.

Speaker 1: Yeah. That has to be up against and the, as much as I love the profession of law and a lot of lawyers that I know, sure there are those that have taken advantage of the system at the expense of the consumer. So that has to be addressed. So if we made up some, some rules about what is a, you know, what can be a lawsuit and what can't be put those aside, what if we did these kind of doctor co-ops that I've heard about where I just paid the doctor co op and I don't have to pay the insurance company because I'm not sure. What am I getting from the insurance company? What am I getting? Well, you're getting catastrophic coverage. Okay. So we can provide that. Uh, that could be an alternative. I tell you, I'm not very familiar with the process. Sure. Having not been in the industry now for almost 20 years, I understood, but when you were in the industry, going back to that reality, if there was a dr co op, could that end, they could provide the catastrophic insurance, could that solve that kind of middleman problem?

Speaker 1: Because you, you brought up to middlemen, right? The lawyers and the insurance companies. Yes. But in the context, you know, my experience was limited primarily to the dialysis industry. Yeah. And that was an anomaly because if you had chronic renal faIlure, yes, you were considered to be permanently and totally disabled by the federal government and therefore eligible for medicare regardless of age. Got it. And so that was unlike the rest of the system. Okay, fair enough. Were we were able to capitalize on that and take advantage of that anomaly, uh, and frankly to exploit it for a period of time to our own benefit, but all the time keeping people alive that otherwise would have died from the disease. Absolutely. And I mentioned my experience. I'll tell you now explicitly what my experience was. I, my dad broke his ankle and my mom was recovering from chemo and we had to go to my dad's doctor's appointment and I was the primary caregiver at that time.

Speaker 1: So we can't leave mom at home. We certainly can live data at home. He's got the doctor's appointment and we've got a regular car. So how are we going to do this? Both of them are in a wheelchair, so. So I understand exactly what you're talking about. And thank you for that service is what my perception was. My perception wasn't, wow, this seems expensive and these guys are taking advantage of me. It was more like, there's no way I'm getting to the doctor's appointment without this amulet, if you will. So, uh, just to, you know, to blow some smoke up your skirt there. Sure. Exactly. I feel better already of course. Um, all right, so find you're not going to solve healthcare in a with me. That's fine. I guess I'll have to talk to somebody else about that. Um, as you've already observed, I'm too old for that new trick.

Speaker 1: That's it. Yeah. Nope, no, I'm too old for that. That's the, uh, the danny glover approach. Right? A. however, here we are with a medical marijuana with cannabis and here's a new approach to healthcare in and of itself. What are your thoughts on how that could possibly change what we've got going on? Well, I think it could be monumental. I think that if cannabis becomes recognized for some of its benefits, it can save the healthcare syStem and the federal government and the insurers and enormous amount of money. Yeah, uh, it will need to be accepted and covered, but compared to the cost of other therapies that we know are more dangerous and less effective, it can be an extraordinary benefit not just to the government and to the payers, but to the consumers. Right. So, uh, and the only thing it seems that is in the way here is attorney general jeff sessions.

Speaker 1: Well, I wish that was all there was in the way. What else is in the wild? Well, I think government in general is in the way the, the way that our government works, it's slow, it's generally steady. It's been pretty good over time, but it's a rollercoaster and no one man does it by himself. Sure. Right. But I don't think that our government is yet ready for it. I, I look forward to the day and I hope that it is, you know, you can count the number of years in single digits that something will change on a federal level that will lead to eventual reimbursement for these therapies. But I don't think we're there yet. Removing the attorney general and just looking at the landscape of federal government. That's a good start. Okay. Well, no, no, no. WHat I mean is you, you've been in the space for quite some time. Do you see us moving in the right direction as far as that's concerned?

Speaker 1: I don't think that this new administration has been or will be particularly good to us. My hope is that it won't be particularly bad to us. Go right. Yeah. At which has been the, uh, you know, that's been the outlook on any administration. Just the way it's going. It looks like they've got their hands full. Yeah. And I'm hopeful that this won't be something they decided to make an issue becomes a priority even though, uh, the attorney general has sent a, a letter to a to congress saying, you know, hey, just withdraw the rohrabacher farr amendment so that I can come after medical marijuana businesses because I'm ignorant and most people didn't see that line in there, but I saw it. It was clearly recognizable. Yeah, exactly. That's exactly it. Um, so here we go. We keep going and, and again as well. When you come in contact with an entrepreneur tomorrow, you know, um, in, in uh, in legal cannabis, is there anything specific that you're looking for or is it always about that jockey and whatever that jockey brings to the table?

Speaker 1: My taste in this space has been very eclectic. Okay. uh, so I'm really looking at the jockeys looking at, at the jockey, the team, the plan and the prospects for their niche. So that would be a kind of advice both for your fellow angel investors and also entrepreneurs. Any further advice for either of those groups to keep your head down and to keep going because this wave is coming? Yeah. You want to make sure tHat your boat has no holes in it, but you want to make sure it's in the water at the right time. There you go. Also, it is hard work. We should probably remind folks on both sides of that equation. It is not a means to getting rich quick. Yeah. Thank you steve, for some people have been lucky in that regard. Most people have not. Right? Uh, this for me is a long longterm commitment, man.

Speaker 1: I see this industry. When I got involved, I saw it as a five to 10 year exercise. It's looking easily like a 10 year plus exercise now, right? Being about four years into it, right? Uh, but it is every bit as exciting today as it was when I first learned of it. And again, uh, in business helping people, you know, it goes back to your back to your kind of original concept. But the premise is that I can make money here helping people. There we go. And, and I don't, I don't want to ignore the, the philanthropic aspect of activities within this industry. I have become an active supporter of a number of organizations that I was introduced to again, buy arcview on, including mpp ssdp dpa, uh, and a number of others that I take great pride in supporting for all of the good work they've done.

Speaker 1: And their impact is palpable. You only need to look around at 29 states with some form of legal cannabis to know that they have been working hard and doing good work for many, many, many, many years. those are the people that change the laws without question, and it is my privilege to be in a position to support those efforts. And my hope is that some of these investments that I've made will lead to much more of that. There you go. Excellent. So almost a, you can see the outcome being more philanthropy than anything else because I've got my apartment, I've got my ranch yet, so I'm good. And I have been able to maintain my freedom throughout. There we go. Ah, god bless America. Right. Alright. So as kate smith has said in the past, so I've got three final questions for you. I'll tell you what they are and then 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, steve trank, one track, one song that's got to be on there. But first things first, what has most surprised you in cannabis?

Speaker 1: The quality and caliber of the people involved in the movement and the industry, let's say. Yeah, they're really decent people. We were actually talking about a couple of personalities that are unique and wonderful but lovable. All the same, right? It's part of what I really love about going to these conferences. I get to see these people who I really like and care about. Um, I think we were talking about a couple of people for the microphones were on I think, uh, and, and also after the microphones around anybody, a lot of hugs in the cannabis industry. You bet. Right? Uh, what's most surprised you in life?

Speaker 1: That I have been lucky enough to find my wife. Oh, look at that. Uh, I am. I'm involved in a second marriage, which I knew was not in the cards for me. I had, I had a very challenging first marriage. I have two unbelievable children and I never had any interest in getting remarried. I was single for 15 years. Okay. And thanks to my sister who introduced me to my second wife. I was amazed and delighted. Hot. I still am 10 years later. Got it. So if the first marriage he just kind of fall into the second marriage is a little Bit more difficult to get into what, you know, what, what's the key, if there is any one key to that relationship.

Speaker 1: Well, I think as in any relationship, willingness to compromise. Oh sure. Uh, and the need to focus on what it is that makes your partner happy. Yeah. If that person's happy, I can be happy. So that's the mice frees her up to spend more time making me happy. It's all very cyclical. He's in. If she's got to take care of yourself, there's nobody left to take care of me. Uh, the, these are very wise words, steve, understanding that, uh, making our way into the final question here on the soundtrack of your life. One track, one song that's got to be on their legalize it by peter tosh. Well, that's obvious. All right steve, thank you so much. It's a pleasure to be here on the upper east side of manhattan With you. And I look forward to, uh, the very next time we meet. How about that? Thank you seth. I appreciate your time. Of course. And there you have steve

Speaker 3: trank. There's a guy figured out what he was good at figuring out what he wanted to do, built the whole thing around both of those concepts. And I feel like that's the key to life. So thanks very much steve. Always appreciate spending time with him. Thanks to you for 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.