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Ep.291: Lindsay Robinson, CCIA

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.291: Lindsay Robinson, CCIA

Ep.291: Lindsay Robinson, CCIA

The long time industry activist and advocate and brand new Executive Director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, Lindsay Robinson shares that when she was still with the MPP, she joined the board of CCIA. After a year and a half, once her work with MPP was wrapped up and as former ED and guest Nate Bradley moved into full-time lobbying, Lindsay came on as ED. She learned her advocacy skills from her mother As a kid, Lindsey stuffed envelopes, picketed and protested. She readily admits to her formative years being about bucking authority, causing mischief and sass talking, a lot of sass talking. And now the industry is happy to have her doing just that on it’s behalf.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Lindsey Robinson, the long time industry activist and advocate and brand new executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, Lindsay Robinson, chairs that when she was still with the Mpp, she joined the board of CCIS after a year and a half once or worked with MPP was wrapped up and as former Ed and guest nate Bradley moved into fulltime lobbying. Lindsey came on as Ed. She learned her advocacy skills from her mother as a kid. Lindsay stuffed envelopes, picketed, protested. She readily admits to her formative years being about bucking authority, causing mischief and SAS, talking a lot of sas talking, and now the industry is happy to have her doing just that on its behalf. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends in the word economy, Lindsay Robinson, the other ones were snippets at arm wrestling matches and random other events. Donate, donate, donate, donate. Right. Definitely a hard fundraising push most of the time. Well, let's just start there I guess. Right. Congratulations my friend. Thank you. The brand new executive director of CCI. Yup. Yup. So I, when I saw the news after maybe it had been whispered, I, you know, this makes sense, right? So where can folks go to donate to the, uh, California Cannabis Industry Association so that we get it right out of the way, right? Yeah. You can visit our website. Yeah. California Cannabis Industry Association and it ca a cannabis industry.org. And you know, we, most

Speaker 2: of our money that we generate comes from our members. So if folks donate slash join, they actually get quite a lot in return that were gum. So it's not just a, a strict donation. Um, you know, we're, we're, we hope that folks will, will want to join as members and we'll get to what they get. But do I have to be from California? No, not at all. Um, we definitely have folks that are from Colorado and Washington now, they may have some type of business interest or pretend a potential interest down the road, um, but CCIE focuses on representing our members in Sacramento and as we're building a, the laws right now in the regulations around what the cannabis industry is really going to look like in, in California. Um, if people want access to that or have an opinion about that, uh, we encourage them to join when these conversations between Lindsey and CCI, kindness first started for whatever along the way.

Speaker 2: When did you guys, you know, them and you both realize, wait, we should really do this, this is a good idea, you know, because of x, y, and z. what, what was it, how did you come together here? Yeah. You know, I've lived in California for a really long time and I care very deeply about, um, what happens in the state. Uh, and, and, you know, cannabis policy is no exception to that. And so I actually joined the board of directors, um, uh, when I was working with the marijuana policy project, I joined that kind of on my own representing Mpp, but, you know, I, I, I got to sit on the board, which was a huge honor and a great opportunity for me to, to dig in a little bit on the development of the laws in the state. So I sat on the board for about a year and a half years or dog years.

Speaker 2: So that's about 10. Exactly, exactly. Uh, and it was a really exciting time. I started in January 2016 and then in about January, February of this year, um, the, the conversation started opening up about CCI needing a new executive director and I was immediately intrigued by it, but, you know, the conversation took a little while to develop. Um, mostly because I wanted to make sure that my current position with MPP, that I had really taken the time to wrap up the projects that I had been working on there. And so we kind of started talking about it a few months later. Um, and you know, it moved fairly quickly, which I think almost everyone involved felt that it was a really good fit, which I'm super grateful for and yeah, so, you know, we, we did a slow leak. We certainly, you know, we told I, I told the MPP staff and they knew and then obviously we told the CCA and the NCIA staff, but then it sort of started to trickle around and you know, a few weeks later we made it an official announcement and you know, the, the, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Speaker 2: Did you find out about all of the Lindsay Robinson fans that you maybe didn't know about? Well, you know, typically as a fundraiser you don't necessarily have a lot of fans. Everyone's afraid that you're going to come and ask them for money, which is true. And which by the way, the next time I walk up, yes, that's what I'm asking you for. Yeah. Yeah. You know, I've, I've been in the industry a long time and I've built some really great relationships and a lot of those people have been, you know, in a professional capacity. But also our mentors and teachers and people I've learned so much from over the years, especially people who have been in the, um, you know, on the, on the true industry side and, and been building companies and because I've been on the nonprofit side the whole time, so that's, you know, that that's been a huge learning curve for me, which has been great.

Speaker 1: Lindsey Robinson, the long time industry activist and advocate and brand new executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, Lindsay Robinson, chairs that when she was still with the Mpp, she joined the board of CCIS after a year and a half once or worked with MPP was wrapped up and as former Ed and guest nate Bradley moved into fulltime lobbying. Lindsey came on as Ed. She learned her advocacy skills from her mother as a kid. Lindsay stuffed envelopes, picketed, protested. She readily admits to her formative years being about bucking authority, causing mischief and SAS, talking a lot of sas talking, and now the industry is happy to have her doing just that on its behalf. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends in the word economy, Lindsay Robinson, the other ones were snippets at arm wrestling matches and random other events. Donate, donate, donate, donate. Right. Definitely a hard fundraising push most of the time. Well, let's just start there I guess. Right. Congratulations my friend. Thank you. The brand new executive director of CCI. Yup. Yup. So I, when I saw the news after maybe it had been whispered, I, you know, this makes sense, right? So where can folks go to donate to the, uh, California Cannabis Industry Association so that we get it right out of the way, right? Yeah. You can visit our website. Yeah. California Cannabis Industry Association and it ca a cannabis industry.org. And you know, we, most

Speaker 2: of our money that we generate comes from our members. So if folks donate slash join, they actually get quite a lot in return that were gum. So it's not just a, a strict donation. Um, you know, we're, we're, we hope that folks will, will want to join as members and we'll get to what they get. But do I have to be from California? No, not at all. Um, we definitely have folks that are from Colorado and Washington now, they may have some type of business interest or pretend a potential interest down the road, um, but CCIE focuses on representing our members in Sacramento and as we're building a, the laws right now in the regulations around what the cannabis industry is really going to look like in, in California. Um, if people want access to that or have an opinion about that, uh, we encourage them to join when these conversations between Lindsey and CCI, kindness first started for whatever along the way.

Speaker 2: When did you guys, you know, them and you both realize, wait, we should really do this, this is a good idea, you know, because of x, y, and z. what, what was it, how did you come together here? Yeah. You know, I've lived in California for a really long time and I care very deeply about, um, what happens in the state. Uh, and, and, you know, cannabis policy is no exception to that. And so I actually joined the board of directors, um, uh, when I was working with the marijuana policy project, I joined that kind of on my own representing Mpp, but, you know, I, I, I got to sit on the board, which was a huge honor and a great opportunity for me to, to dig in a little bit on the development of the laws in the state. So I sat on the board for about a year and a half years or dog years.

Speaker 2: So that's about 10. Exactly, exactly. Uh, and it was a really exciting time. I started in January 2016 and then in about January, February of this year, um, the, the conversation started opening up about CCI needing a new executive director and I was immediately intrigued by it, but, you know, the conversation took a little while to develop. Um, mostly because I wanted to make sure that my current position with MPP, that I had really taken the time to wrap up the projects that I had been working on there. And so we kind of started talking about it a few months later. Um, and you know, it moved fairly quickly, which I think almost everyone involved felt that it was a really good fit, which I'm super grateful for and yeah, so, you know, we, we did a slow leak. We certainly, you know, we told I, I told the MPP staff and they knew and then obviously we told the CCA and the NCIA staff, but then it sort of started to trickle around and you know, a few weeks later we made it an official announcement and you know, the, the, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Speaker 2: Did you find out about all of the Lindsay Robinson fans that you maybe didn't know about? Well, you know, typically as a fundraiser you don't necessarily have a lot of fans. Everyone's afraid that you're going to come and ask them for money, which is true. And which by the way, the next time I walk up, yes, that's what I'm asking you for. Yeah. Yeah. You know, I've, I've been in the industry a long time and I've built some really great relationships and a lot of those people have been, you know, in a professional capacity. But also our mentors and teachers and people I've learned so much from over the years, especially people who have been in the, um, you know, on the, on the true industry side and, and been building companies and because I've been on the nonprofit side the whole time, so that's, you know, that that's been a huge learning curve for me, which has been great.

Speaker 2: So yeah, I really, I'm, I'm feel very humbled and honored, uh, and have like get a little sheepish with it. But it's been such a good response. I could just, you know, it makes me and the board of directors and the staff at CCI, I feel like it's a really good foot and the members, you know, I mean, what we, my job's still is to work for them, you know. Absolutely. And speaking of your job being working for them, nate Bradley fans, what should they know? Yeah, um, well I am a nate Bradley and former Executive Director of CCI just in case folks aren't exactly those dogs. Yeah. And the co founder two, I mean neat, has been absolutely vital to the growth of, of CCI a and M has really built a name for himself and the Organization in Sacramento and has been on the front lines of fighting for these regulations for years and nate and I have known each other for years, so we've always been friends and um, you know, once I moved on to working on the board, I got an opportunity to work closer with him, which was, which was great.

Speaker 2: Um, so he is transitioning out of the executive director role and he is going to work with platinum advisors and platinum advisors, as some folks might know, is our main lobbyist. Amy Jenkins works for platinum advisors and they have a very strong presence in Sacramento and she's an absolute dynamo and super smart and we, we have been so grateful to have her as one of our champions in Sacramento. And so now nate and amy will, um, he will work with her at platinum and CCI is their number one client. So it's, it's a natural evolution because, because it has, like I said, built a name for himself in Sacramento and really helped push the agenda and you know, the priorities of the members of the CIA, the fact that he gets to do that now full time. It doesn't have to also run an organization, try to do both things at the same time.

Speaker 2: So yeah. So, uh, it's a good fit for everybody. Fantastic. So we agree that this is where we should be today. Yes. Let's work our way back and figure out how we got to today. Where are you from? So I'm originally from upstate New York where I was born in Rochester. So talk about nick tahoes and they're garbage plates. Oh, I love that. You know that. Oh, you know, I moved away when I was six but we spent a lot of time going back there because I had family there. So I got to experience that in later years and you know, learning about it and then actually seeing it, like it's kind of disgusting, but you still have to indulge and I love that they're famous for, for that. And you know, if you say Rochester, everybody knows about it. That's exactly right. When you were six, you know.

Speaker 2: Okay, fine. You move away. Where did you go? So we moved to Connecticut and I spend. I'm very fancy. Yeah, well we lived outside of Hartford and Windsor, Connecticut. So a small, more small towny yeah, a little bit. Yeah, it was, um, it was a great place to grow up actually because it was a pretty diverse community, which I was really grateful for and I went to public school and um, you know, got to, got to have a great childhood. I actually liked growing up there. What were you into at that time? Was, was advocacy and in the back of your mind are not yet a little bit. Yeah. I learned most of my advocacy skills from my mom. She is a teacher and a diehard nonprofit supporter. And so, you know, we would do campaigns for the schools or the local nature park or you know, all sorts of other stuff.

Speaker 2: And she would have us, you know, stuffing envelopes at the kitchen table. And this didn't happen once or twice. This was a regular occurrence as she put the whole family to work and we were out there for the cause and you know, I mean even like picketing and like protesting and stuff like we, we did some of that as well and she was super active in the community. And um, when did you realize what was happening? Meaning, you know, my mother was an educator and I did a little bit of that as well at the kitchen table and I, you know, it was to begin with, it was just mom telling us what to do and we just do it because mom said to do it, just do it. Yeah. And then you're like, wait, I think this is having an impact. When did you realize you do remember your brain being turned on?

Speaker 2: Yeah, you know, I, I can't remember a specific thing, but I was always like a rebel rouser and like a boundary pusher and slightly obnoxious kid. So can you give us an example of, um, I can think of what I'm sure, but, you know, just in general, I'm a bucking authority, um, you know, causing mischief and I'm sat a lot of sas talking, a lot of sas talking, no doubt my poor mom. I know my sister was so well behaved a couple of years older and my mom was like, ah, like pulling her hair out with me and then there's Lindsey. I now the trouble child. No, we, you know, it's interesting. We fought like cats and dogs. My mom and I and even my sister and I when we were younger and now she's one of my closest friends. Like I love her. So you know, you go through that cycle of, of being a kid and trying to figure out where you are in the world.

Speaker 2: Where did you go to school? So, uh, for college I went to the University of Vermont. I just drove past the University of Vermont. I was up there. It's so beautiful. It really is. It's one of my favorite places in the world. I really loved living there. And so when I went, I got interested in environmental studies and that's when the real hardcore activism started. And how did that, uh, kind of manifest itself outside of the classroom. So, um, I joined a group, a newly formed group called the Rainforest Action Group, which was actually affiliated with the rainforest action network that's based in San Francisco where I now live and started working with them and uh, also doing social justice work. Uh, there was, unfortunately, there was no, uh, students for sensible drug policy at that time. A little too old that's going to date me a minute, but that's okay. And I am realizing as we're sitting here that you might be a different age than I thought you were.

Speaker 2: All right. I mean, you look younger than you are is what I think. Wonderful. So I wish there had been an SSDP chapter because I probably would have focused all of my energy on that because it's really an intersection of so many things that I cared about. But mostly at that time I was focused on environmental activism and working for nonprofits. So I did that. Uh, kind of on my spare time and then after I got out of school as well, that was my focus. Why, what, you know, as far as the nonprofits, it's, it's so not rewarding. Why was it rewarding to you? Um, you know, it's interesting. I, another thing I know I learned from my mom is always fighting for the underdog and um, a lot of what we were working on with the environmental issues was the social justice stuff and, and sort of recognizing the connection between low income communities and Super Fun sites or deforestation, you know, and the health effects to two tribes in the Amazon.

Speaker 2: And so that piece of it for me, just the spark was lit and so yeah, you don't make a ton of money in the nonprofit world, but it's, it, it feels good. It's always. And that's always been more important to me. The reward. You have to understand what, how it's rewarding for it to be rewarding. Yeah. So meanwhile nectars, I went in and I tried to get a t shirt and they're like, oh yeah, we're out. So can you just go online? Nope. How they make you go all the way up there, but then they didn't have any t shirts anyway. Where did you would know? Some friends. We can get you a tissue. Okay, good. I really would like that. Actually. Let me know your size. I will. So you were doing nonprofit work in college, out of college. What was the first real job that you have?

Speaker 2: Um, so I worked with a group who was focusing on deforestation issues in central America, um, and they were a group of rowdy individuals and we did a fair amount of direct action. So direct actions, like we would organize a protest and lock ourselves to things like the front doors of a home depot, you know, to try to convince them to stop selling old growth wood. Gotcha. So, so you literally were a tree hugger at this time. I know for real, for real, like I went to activists camps in the summertime to like learn how to protest, you know, properly and make and make the most of it. And it was great. I loved it. It was super invigorating. Why ever leave? Well, I definitely became known as the girl who had like blank protest signs in her trunk and was just like waiting for the next protest, like I was teased mercilessly by my friends and it's fair, it's fair.

Speaker 2: I was a total nerd and that regard and I was real mouthy, like I was super. How you are when you're 19 years old, you know, everything. You're a super righteous. Sure. Yeah. So, I mean, it wasn't that bad, but it was, it was that bad. It was all right. So you get that, that is who you are and you're doing the whole kind of forestation and deforestation. Mostly environmental work mean what was the next step? So the next step for that honestly was, um, I, I won't say I got pigeonholed, but I know with the nonprofit work you either have a membership base or you have a donor base. And um, so I started working in that arena and working with the volunteers that we would have. And I've started essentially got pushed into fundraising because they were like, oh, you don't seem afraid to ask people for money.

Speaker 2: It doesn't make you feel weird and I was like, won't stop talking or asking for stuff. Do you mind having a phone in your hand when you do that? Is that basically right? Yeah, they're like, you seem like you might be okay that it's like, well, try it out. And I was, I was pretty good at it. So I worked. I lived in Vermont, um, after I graduated for several years and worked for a couple of different nonprofits and, you know, just kind of got into the fundraising side of things. What's the key to fundraising from Lindsey Robinson? Well, I, you know, for me, I've always been super passionate about the cause, the cause and so it's, you know, it's shifted over the years, but to me when you're, when you have a genuine passion and you're really out there fighting for it, people can say, hey, I don't have the resources to give or now's not a great time or whatever.

Speaker 2: But they never. That chunk of it, that passion from you is that they can't deny that. Right? So, um, and you can't deny it. And I think that that's a really powerful motivator. If you really care about something and you're willing to go out and fight for it and you're willing to go out and ask money, know, raise money, ask people for money, even if they don't want to give they, they hopefully can still see that passion. And I, and I think for the most part that helps inspire them, you know, especially if you have a common passion and if you keep going and if you don't stop. Yeah, if you're a somewhat tenacious, yeah, you do have to be tenacious, but you can't be obnoxious. Um, where's the line? Well, you got to drop for yourself. All fundraisers are different because sometimes, you know, and sometimes some you got to push really hard.

Speaker 2: Um, and I've learned that over the years, but you still have to respect boundaries. People are, you can't make people give if they want to give and they can give and help inspire them. You know, that's, that's the kind of magic combination. What'd you do have to get to that line? You do have to push to the line. Sometimes you do. And sometimes you have to ask and you'll get a commitment and then that commitment does not materialize. Well, how often does that happen to you think? Oh my too much. I'm not going to answer that. It, it happens a fair amount. Yeah. It's really interesting though because I don't ever. I don't think that people, Ninety nine percent of the time, I don't think they're doing it to be like, oh yeah, you know, screw you. I'm just kidding. Ha Ha. I won. I won. Now it's, it's the realization of the bank account when it comes time to write the check and sometimes they overcommit and sometimes they really wanted to say no, but they felt bad about saying no.

Speaker 2: Sometimes you're too good at your job is what that is. And in all seriousness, right? Maybe. Yeah. It's like I got this and then it's like, oh, but he or she really can't do that. So yeah, I know. And sometimes. So I find too, people are always like, oh, I have to go back and you know, ask my team or ask my significant other. And I'm like, great, I'll come with, you know, when some people are saying, some people mean when they say that and you're like, yeah, okay, great. What's your wife's name then coming over for dinner. I don't want to intrude, but yeah, exactly. I'll bring the coleslaw windows. Cannabis come to you. When do you go to cannabis? Of course a marijuana being the term of use of the fan. Let's not lie. You are cannabis enthusiasts was a cannabis enthusiast and you know, again, it was kind of the, the intersection of something that I cared about the social justice issue.

Speaker 2: So when I really started learning about the devastating effects of the drug war, I'm on so many aspects of our communities. I was enraged again, you know, kind of that, that fire. And I wanted to figure out how I could, how I could really make a difference in that. And you know, I had moved to California and was sort of living in northern California where there's a fair amount of weed and a fair amount of marijuana growers. And um, when was that we make sure that to get you from Vermont to northern California. I spent a year in Guatemala actually in the middle of that, which was, which was pretty awesome. Cool. Um, and it's amazing. It was, I went down to study Spanish because I thought it could be helpful in my work and I'm just stayed. Wow. You know. And then eventually I had to leave early.

Speaker 2: I had to leave. I ran out of money for real. Did you go back to Vermont or did you just go straight to northern California and why? I had friends out here and I had visited when I was younger and had fell in love with it. And so I knew I even went to Guatemala. I was like, I'm going to try to get out to California. Worked. Got It. Okay. So you go to Guatemala, you learned Spanish run out of money. Come up to northern California. Yeah. And so I was working for a bunch of various nonprofits. I've worked for organizations that prosecutor, um, human rights abusers, which was a incredibly powerful but also really heavy and sad and hard. Um, and I worked for a few different nonprofits in the bay area and kind of always had that, that activism side for reforming drug policy and then I, there was a job opening at the marijuana policy project.

Speaker 2: So it's just posted online, like here's my resume. Yeah. So I threw my hat in the ring and actually I did my first interview, my first phone interview I did. I'm in a broom closet at my old job because I was hiding because I didn't want them to know I was looking for another job. Did Rob interview you on the phone or was it someone else? No, it was someone else. It was their chief of staff at the, at the time. And then I didn't talk to robin till I flew out to DC for the interview, for the second interview or the first in person in the first in person. Which was with him? Yes. Which, what do you remember from that? Because of course we all know Rob Kampia, right. I honestly, I remember I remember a few different things. It was really hot in DC that day, so I was like, oh, it's just sweltering here, you know, and I'm so spoiled in the, in the bay area where it's, you know, never humid and always wonderful.

Speaker 2: Even when it's foggy, it's my favorite. So I got there and it was sweltering and the air conditioning in the office didn't work in the office, was so sad and I was like, oh, they really put their money where their mouth is because clearly they're not spending it on like expensive office stuff because they're, these chairs suck so bad. I was like, you guys bring like congressmen over. All right. Uh, keeping it humble, right? Yeah. So, you know, I first off I had known about mvp and add following them a little bit and had done some research and was incredibly impressed with what they had accomplished over the years. And um, yeah, so, I mean it was a great, it was a great interview and um, we, we hit it off and I was super excited about the prospect of working there. And then. And did you say to him, this is great and if you do want me, I'm in, but uh, it's not going to be here in DC.

Speaker 2: Yeah, no, they will. The best part was, is they were looking for someone remote in northern California. That was, you didn't even have to bargain that in absolute. I. Now, what were we talking about that time? What year was this? Um, when I started working for MDB, it was like 2010, but I had been in the bay area since like 2004 of God fine from here to here to here. A fundraiser for higher almost right after you get back out to, to, to a bay area. Twenty 10 now. Newly minted fundraiser for NPP. Yeah. What were we meaning you talking about at the time when you were picking up the phone, who were you talking to and how were you getting folks involved? What were folks saying? What were folks not wanting to talk about, etc. Etc. So it was intEresting because that was during the prop 19.

Speaker 2: So I started and the campaign had already been launched and was, you know, I started writing in the early part of the year, so the campaign was already had built but it was fairly disorganized and confusing because what I came to find out, so I, I, I've had friends in the bay area and in northern California who were um, cultivators and so I knew a fair amount about it, but I didn't realize how like how many separate kind of schools of thought there where in northern California and in California in general and how even the activists were kind of split in multiple fractions absolute. And there Seemed to be public support and just general support for marijuana policy reform in the state. But it was all over the place and it, it felt very. There's a huge lack of continuity. And it was very difficult coming into it to figure out how to navigate that.

Speaker 2: Especially from a fundraising perspective because we were helping raise funds and there was a real thought that it could pass. but there was, I mean half of the medical marijuana activists in patients and cultivators were super against it, so that was really that, that was a difficult thing to navigate. But I was working with a lot of cultivators, a fundraising and so there were called the vendors that were on board. Yeah, there definitely were. Even back then because it's a, you know, kind of maybe leisurely reported that it was like they weren't for it. And that's kind of why it failed. It failed. Well, there, there were some, I mean the ones that already had dispensary's we're like, yeah, this, you know, the folks who weren't permitted and weren't licensed that probably less so. I mean I will Say in general, we know mpp, but drug polIcy reform was funded for a really long time, mostly by philanthropists.

Speaker 2: People who really believed in sort of the fundamental evils of the drug war because there weren't a lot of people that were making money legitimately and that, that caused them a lot of issue if they were to then donate the money that they hadn't necessarily made legitimately. And um, so that definitely caused conflict. But because you know, in California that we had medical marijuana and there were some businesses that were flourishing and so it was a very interesting time. Absolutely. How much did what happened in Colorado and Washington change because we're very much talking about on the ground in California. How much did those votes changed the way that you were able to have conversations in California? Yeah. You know, since mpp was intimately involved in Colorado and we had been for years, but I mean we, we helped write the initiative and help fund this drive.

Speaker 2: You know, we're very heavily involved there. I think that death, I mean, it definitely worked in our favor once we were in California and fundraising because we, we had sort of shown liquid. We, you know, look wIth this incredible group, right? This unified group of players in Colorado we're able to do. I think there was definitely some, I don't want to say jealousy, but a little bit of resentment that California wasn't first because they were, the pioneers should medical and they should have been. But again, that does sort of the divisive nature of what had been happening. There was no way that they were going to be able to pass anything then. So from 2012 to 2016. Yeah. How then did you go about building this kind of collaboration, which is actually what did happen, right? Over those four years, how are we able to kinda reinvent these conversations within the team so to speak?

Speaker 2: Um, and then out to fundraising. It's really interesting. I mean, one of the amazing things about rob kampia is his, he's a brilliant strategist and so oftentimes he can kind of see politically a few moves ahead of most other people, which is great. And he really does define kind of the strategic thinking at mpp. There are a number of people who have worked with that organization for a really long time who are incredible and it, we, we really wouldn't have been able to do as much as we did and accomplished as much as we did without that, that, that synergy between all of those dynamic individuals. Um, but, you know, we, we had, we knew that we wanted to focus on Colorado years before in terms of legalization and it was just kind of that sweet spot where the polling was good. Um, you know, we had an idea for a that we could, we could pull it off financially in terms of funding and much more cheaper in Colorado that for now and also the industry in quotation marks.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Was thriving basically all on the same page as well. And it was a lot easier, you know, once you have a state run medical program and you have dispensary's and cultivators and licensed tax, it's really easy for people to conceptualize how do we go from this model for medical to this adult use model. Right. It's super easy. Um, you know, and, and the initiative was definitely not perfect and I think there was a lot of things that we learned from that, that we, that we educated us on so that we could help write better initiatives after the fact. But once Colorado and Washington passed and we weren't, we weren't directly involved in Washington, but certainly supporting the efforts there. Um, it changed the game entirely, like it was actually, there was a general sentiment that so much more was possible and I think California kind of got over the, oh, you know, it, it should have been us first and learned from those, from that example, what worked and what didn't work in terms of getting it on the ballot for 2016, the runup to just getting it on the ballot, talk about that.

Speaker 2: So mpp was running for helping to run for initiatives, um, Arizona, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts. And then we were playing supporting roles in California and doing some support work for Florida and Arkansas. But those four were where our main focus. And to be honest, I don't think that the team had ever worked that hard and who'd ever been stretched so thin. I mean 2015 and 2016 were brutal years. Um, there was such a sense of urgency from the fundraising perspective. but also, you know, you again, you want to find that sweet spot where you not only have funding but you have a good initiative and you have good coalition partners and you've got people on the ground, um, but that you've got the polling right. I mean, pulling off an initiative, a passing an initiative is such a major endeavor. It's not, you know, there's pros and cons to workIng with the legislature or I'm doing an initiative, obviously not all states have the initiative process, so sometimes you're stuck going through the legislature, but, you know, it's, it's so much more time consuming and it's so much more expensive and it's just, it's really hard.

Speaker 2: And we ran for and the fundraisers were all like, uh, you know, crazy eyed and lack of sleep and um, and all the campaign staff was to, it was just nuts. And meanwhile we're also workIng with legislature and other states. I mean pushing in Rhode Island and pushing in Vermont, um, you know, really creatIng this, thIs dynamic between the two. And it was, it was just crazy. I'm still exhausted from it. Sure. Plus we didn't, we're not even talking about California. So now here's lindsay robinson, the person in California, we hear what you're doing at work. It's like, okay, we gotta focus on x, y, z, and not California. So what were you personally doing in California? If it was kind of outside of a nine to five? So we definitely had, um, we did have input on the writing of the initiative here and all of the back and forth that happened.

Speaker 2: It was right after, um, you know, the trio of bills passed for medical cannabis. It was the following year. So it was um, or no, I'm sorry, it was actually that fall, that same fall, there was just a lot of it was very chaotic so we were part of the, the, uh, circle of people who were advising on that process. So I got to sit in on that, which was great and I was doing some fundraising, um, but my, my time was mostly working in Nevada and other states. So, but it was a bit of a confliCt for me because I wanted to, I wanted to be more focused on California, but the reality was, is that the funding and kind of the structure to get it passed in California and the polling where we're good enough that we wanted to and felt we needed to focus our, our very limited resources in other states.

Speaker 2: So we, that was where my push was, so I spent a lot of time fundraising for Nevada and our work in general and adjust a little bit of time focusing on California, but I was watching it like a hawk the whole time. Of course. Yeah, of course. And you're bringing up, you know, you started by saying, uh, rob kampia as strategist realizing essentially, um, California is going to be, okay. We need to focus on other places. So you're, you know, kind of keeping up with what's happening in California, doing what you can. Uh, here we go. It's on the ballot. Here we go. It passes. Fantastic. Fantastic ad. Around that same time, you joined the board of ccis? Um, it was actually the year before I joined in january of 2016, so you were already in, so I was keeping an eye on the ncca. Was very active in and pushing for um, support for prop 64, which was great.

Speaker 2: So I, I had, you know, one foot in and now type of thing. Yeah. Um, and was very closely watchIng it. And so once it actually passed, you know, we also passed Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts, but we lost in Arizona, which was only loss. Sheldon adelson. Oh, so rough. That was really, it was a painful loss. It was discount tire. Yeah, it was, there was a lot of players and even the cooling was so close. Yeah. The, I mean it was one point two roughly I think that we lost by. So that was really painful and, but eight out of nine wins in California. I know, I know. I to look at the bright side, it will have to say I was at the berkeley patients party, the celebration party, you know, and I'm on my phone frantIcally. I know California is going to pass.

Speaker 2: So I'm watching Arizona and Nevada pulling role in berlin and the next thing I look up and I'm like California one and then we here in Nevada one and then I look up and I'm like, oh wait, trump's president. Like, what? Wait a second. How did that. It was a real shocker. I was paying so much attention to these other things. I mean, I guess I imagine I'm not the only one that that happened to, but yeah, I think it was surprising no matter who you are, no matter maybe if you were honed in on it, but California passing was huge. Again, you know, there's, there's obviously a huge process that we're going through now to figure out how to reconcile it. What can you tell us about, you know, where we are. Yeah. So, um, as most folks know, uh, essentially what's trying to happen, and I'll keep it high level because I know we don't have a ton of time, but we're trying to figure out how to reconcile both of these two things together when we haven't even implemented the medical regulations yet.

Speaker 2: So it's been, it's been sticky and there's been, there's been a lot to keep an eye on in sacramento. I mean, besides the, the governor, uh, I'm putting forward some of the trailer bill language. There was 66 bills relating to cannabis, uh, last year. I think there was 20 and I think the year before that there was just a handful, right. So the need and the focus of cci couldn't be greater and couldn't be more intense. I, I'm, I'm finding a pattern that I'm like jumping from one in 10 situation to another and I keep kind of waiting for, oh, California slow down a little bit now. That's absolutely not true. Um, so what are we pushing for? In other words, when I go to ca, cannabis industry.org to donate, my money's going to. What specifically? What are we trying to make sure happens? Sure. So, you know, the main focus as I said, is building the membership and we legislatively, I'm asking.

Speaker 2: Oh, okay. Well, so there's a couple different things obviously in this direct moment. Um, we have just ended the 45 day common period for the trailer bill language on, there were amendments that have some amendments that have come out. So we're, we're trying to keep an eye on all of that. I think moving forward, the trailer bill will determine, I think kind of the health of a lot of these other bills, what, whether or not it moves forward and we're going to know probably very soon. So the benefit of being a member of cca is that you have not only direct access to the, to our lobbyists and to the organization in general, but they're actually out there fighting every single day knocking down the doors in the capital, in the building. Um, and making sure that, that perspective is heard. And I have to say that one of the most amazing things at cca has done over the years is really help educate these legislators that many of them did not want to touch cannabis with a 20 foot pole.

Speaker 2: And we're sort of forced into it because there was the looming threat of adult use coming down as a ballot initiative. And so that kind of kick started the conversation, but, you know, a lot of these folks, they, they don't, they don't have direct access to the industry and how it works. And that has been a huge educational opportunity. and I have to say the more that we do outreach and the more that we educate folks, the more allies we make, you know, I mean there's always going to be staunchly anti a cannabis folks, um, you know, whether it's in the legislature and in our communities or wherever, um, but most, most of the time that education works in and we show that it's, it's, you know, that the whole reefer madness and the, um, the, the supposed threat that legalizing either medical or adult use brings to a community.

Speaker 2: It's just not really there. And in fact, it's the opposite. It brings stability, it brings safety. It brings a fully taxed and regulated system which a substance like cannabis should be fully regulated and taxed. Um, it, you know, my opinion, it shouldn't be in the black market and I agree with you there. I would imagine a 100 percent of our listeners would agree with you as well. You never know. Here we are at day one again all over again. I know I'm starting all over it. I officially started my job on June 1st, which is a maybe two weeks for about two weeks in and it's been crazy. It's been crazy. We've been at the, the national cannabis industry association conference in oakland for the last three and it has been slammed, slammed, uh, and you know, and we're sitting, we're waiting for these trailer bill amendments to Come out and we're collecting comments from our subcommittees at, you know, at cci to submit.

Speaker 2: Um, it's just been nuts. I'll sleep when I'm dead. Says lindsay, right? I know, I'm like, yeah, that sounds good. It does sound right. Three final questions. I'll tell you what they are. 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, lindsay robertson, one track, one song that's got to be on there. First things first, what's most surprised you in cannabis? Oh, that's a, that's a difficult one actually, because I've been surprised by a lot of things. Um, you know, one thing I will say that I don't know if I'm necessarily surprised by it, but one thing that I'm super pleased by is that it's such a phenomenal group of people. I really, I don't know, I just have loved for so many people in this industry and you know, they're, they're on the front lines and have been for many years. And um, I, I don't know, I've just drawn a lot of strength and a lot of, certainly in terms of educating me and helping me understand things, people have been so gracious and generous. So lot of huggable people. Oh my gosh. So many. what's most surprised you in life?

Speaker 2: That's another interesting one. I think what surprised me most in life is that, um, that holding onto negativity and I'm holding onto things that haven't worked out in your life or that you thought were going to go a certain way or misfortune. Um, I, I honestly, I think for many years I thought that it, it kind of brought me strength to hold onto that stuff. Like somehow like, you know, that anger would help me and it's the complete opposite, which I know that everybody says, but to actually learn that is, um, that's been surprising in a very interesting journey and like super freeing for me. Got it. So kind of the past negativity kind of a at one time using it as a shield almost and of strength of course. Yeah, exactly. Actually realizing, oh no, no, wait, let me throw that aside. Yeah, that was yesterday.

Speaker 2: Yeah, here we are today. Open it up, you know, and, and, and lead with the heart if you can, because there's a lot of things to be angry about in the world and you know, and being an activist, that's what kind of fueled me and now it's, it's, uh, it's, it's kind of on the other side of the coin. There we go to you for thAt. Thank you so much. On the soundtrack of your life. One track, one song that's got to be. There's so many though, but um, I'm going to pick a grateful dead song because, you know, I have a lot of love for the dead and I think I might get teased for this afterwards, but I think I'm going to say war for it. Why would they teach you? I don't know. It's not everybody's favorite song, but I just love it. It's, I dunno. It always makes me feel good. Yeah, it's a, it's a melancholy song, you know, but I think I'm a bit of a melancholy person, lindsey. Oh, you sufficiently embarrassed me or maybe I've embarrassed

Speaker 1: myself, but it has been such a pleasure. We did the embarrassed. How? Because I feel like we're okay. We're okay. This has been a pleasure and keep my friend as always, really appreciate it. of course. I appreciate it. Keep going. I'll see you on the phone. and there you have lindsay robinson. Many of you know how hard she works as she calls you and you see her at many, many events, so very much appreciate it. Lindsay, not only taking us through her history, but her history in cannabis, which is, you know, the recent history of cannabis in California. So thanks to her. Thanks to you. 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.