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Ep.327: Jonathan Blanks, Cato Institute

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.327: Jonathan Blanks, Cato Institute

Ep.327: Jonathan Blanks, Cato Institute

Recorded on the day of the Cole & Ogden Memo’s rescission, Jonathan Blanks from the Cato Institute joins us and shares that from his vantage point, the Sessions Memo reverses a very sane practice of limiting the federal government’s power to intervene in state legal cannabis. In his words “the people of Colorado think we’ve spent too much money, wasted too much energy and jailed entirely too many people for smoking marijuana, so we’re not gonna do it any more, the federal government shouldn’t come in and interfere with that.” So that puts us in a place where the voters asked for legal cannabis but instead of tax dollars from that industry going back to building that community, that communities tax dollars are being used in enforcement against the very will of we the people.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: from the Cato Institute, Jonathan blanks recorded on the day of the colon, Ogden memos, rescission, Jonathan blanks from the Cato Institute joins us and shares that from his vantage point. The sessions memo reverses a very sane practice of limiting the federal government's power to intervene in state legal cannabis. In his words, quote, the people of Colorado think we've spent too much money, wasted too much energy and jailed entirely too many people for smoking marijuana, so we're not going to do it anymore. The federal government shouldn't come in and interfere with that in quotes, so that puts us in a place where the voters asked for legal cannabis, but instead of tax dollars from that industry, going back to building that community, that community is tax dollars are being used in enforcement against the very will of we the people. 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. Jonathon blank

Speaker 3: can't do a project on criminal justice.

Speaker 1: Okay. The Cato Institute's project on criminal justice. Why would I be talking to you about cannabis? Why is that in your realm? I guess?

Speaker 3: Well, we had Keto are constitutionalist and we believe that the constitution means what it says and one of the things that that encompasses is the enumerated powers of the federal government related to the state powers of the police powers of the state. The sessions memo released today reverses the Obama Administration was a very insane practice of limiting the federal government's power to intervene in a marijuana in the states where it's legal. This is a great policy because the state should be able to govern what goes on within their states. If Colorado says they, the people of Colorado say, we think we've spent too much money and wasted too much energy and jailed entirely too many people for smoking marijuana, and so we're not going to do it anymore. The federal government shouldn't come in and interfere with that and unfortunately the memos that were rescinded today basically invite us attorneys all across the country, particularly where marijuana is legal to go in and in fact mess with what the Democratic people of the states have said,

Speaker 4: you know, there are laws in place aside from that, the voters asked for this and now we're going to go ahead and send in the federal government to overrule not only law, but you know, the conscience of the people.

Speaker 3: Absolutely. And the thing is, is like the cabinets out of a bag. It's not that the Department of Justice is going to be able to stop legal marijuana, they just don't have the resources for that, but they can, they can chill business and they can, uh, make it, make it harder for people to do this legally and above board the because they can send cease and desist letters to a marijuana dispensary operators or the landlords and say, you need to stop this or we're going to come after you. And so a lot of people who were trying to do the right thing, trying to, you know, make sure it doesn't go to criminal elements, doesn't cross state lines, doesn't go to kids are now saying, nope, we're going to use all this evidence that you were doing the right thing against you in a federal court and that that's absurd because they can't go into federal court and say, Hey, it's legal under state law. Federal government doesn't care. And so it's not a defense. And so you're talking about taking legitimate business people to court for just trying to make an honest living right

Speaker 4: while we're here, you know, the solution is to well have memos like we had, which now those have been rescinded. So the next solution, as I understand it, is simply to do something about the controlled Substances Act within Congress. Is that right? As far as the only solution that we have,

Speaker 3: basically, I mean there's a robot or Blumenauer amendment that currently protects a medical marijuana dispensary that says that the federal government, the Department of Justice cannot spend money on state legal, medical marijuana products.

Speaker 4: Whether or not are in place, whether or not particle memos that are in place.

Speaker 3: Oh, right, right. Absolutely. It doesn't affect that they came in after the effect of the Ogden memo, which was rescinded today, which said that the doj was not going to prioritize that right now. Unfortunately we don't know if it's going to make it into the next budget deal. Right now we're about. Your Blumenauer is only as good as you know, is only good until January 19th and so hopefully it will make it in the next one, but you know, we don't know because all the log rolling has happens in Congress. So yeah, there are different things that can be. You can amend it so that you move marijuana and schedule two or or or reschedule it so it's no longer scheduled one and there's no federally recognized medical purpose for it. Or as a representative. Tom Garrett, who is a Republican prosecutor from Virginia of all of all places, said just the schedule it all together and that that would still leave it to the states. States can ban it if they want to. Federal government can still get involved in interstate commerce if they wish, but that will leave it to the states. But yeah, outside of legislative action right now, the DOJ is completely empowered to do what it's doing.

Speaker 1: from the Cato Institute, Jonathan blanks recorded on the day of the colon, Ogden memos, rescission, Jonathan blanks from the Cato Institute joins us and shares that from his vantage point. The sessions memo reverses a very sane practice of limiting the federal government's power to intervene in state legal cannabis. In his words, quote, the people of Colorado think we've spent too much money, wasted too much energy and jailed entirely too many people for smoking marijuana, so we're not going to do it anymore. The federal government shouldn't come in and interfere with that in quotes, so that puts us in a place where the voters asked for legal cannabis, but instead of tax dollars from that industry, going back to building that community, that community is tax dollars are being used in enforcement against the very will of we the people. 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. Jonathon blank

Speaker 3: can't do a project on criminal justice.

Speaker 1: Okay. The Cato Institute's project on criminal justice. Why would I be talking to you about cannabis? Why is that in your realm? I guess?

Speaker 3: Well, we had Keto are constitutionalist and we believe that the constitution means what it says and one of the things that that encompasses is the enumerated powers of the federal government related to the state powers of the police powers of the state. The sessions memo released today reverses the Obama Administration was a very insane practice of limiting the federal government's power to intervene in a marijuana in the states where it's legal. This is a great policy because the state should be able to govern what goes on within their states. If Colorado says they, the people of Colorado say, we think we've spent too much money and wasted too much energy and jailed entirely too many people for smoking marijuana, and so we're not going to do it anymore. The federal government shouldn't come in and interfere with that and unfortunately the memos that were rescinded today basically invite us attorneys all across the country, particularly where marijuana is legal to go in and in fact mess with what the Democratic people of the states have said,

Speaker 4: you know, there are laws in place aside from that, the voters asked for this and now we're going to go ahead and send in the federal government to overrule not only law, but you know, the conscience of the people.

Speaker 3: Absolutely. And the thing is, is like the cabinets out of a bag. It's not that the Department of Justice is going to be able to stop legal marijuana, they just don't have the resources for that, but they can, they can chill business and they can, uh, make it, make it harder for people to do this legally and above board the because they can send cease and desist letters to a marijuana dispensary operators or the landlords and say, you need to stop this or we're going to come after you. And so a lot of people who were trying to do the right thing, trying to, you know, make sure it doesn't go to criminal elements, doesn't cross state lines, doesn't go to kids are now saying, nope, we're going to use all this evidence that you were doing the right thing against you in a federal court and that that's absurd because they can't go into federal court and say, Hey, it's legal under state law. Federal government doesn't care. And so it's not a defense. And so you're talking about taking legitimate business people to court for just trying to make an honest living right

Speaker 4: while we're here, you know, the solution is to well have memos like we had, which now those have been rescinded. So the next solution, as I understand it, is simply to do something about the controlled Substances Act within Congress. Is that right? As far as the only solution that we have,

Speaker 3: basically, I mean there's a robot or Blumenauer amendment that currently protects a medical marijuana dispensary that says that the federal government, the Department of Justice cannot spend money on state legal, medical marijuana products.

Speaker 4: Whether or not are in place, whether or not particle memos that are in place.

Speaker 3: Oh, right, right. Absolutely. It doesn't affect that they came in after the effect of the Ogden memo, which was rescinded today, which said that the doj was not going to prioritize that right now. Unfortunately we don't know if it's going to make it into the next budget deal. Right now we're about. Your Blumenauer is only as good as you know, is only good until January 19th and so hopefully it will make it in the next one, but you know, we don't know because all the log rolling has happens in Congress. So yeah, there are different things that can be. You can amend it so that you move marijuana and schedule two or or or reschedule it so it's no longer scheduled one and there's no federally recognized medical purpose for it. Or as a representative. Tom Garrett, who is a Republican prosecutor from Virginia of all of all places, said just the schedule it all together and that that would still leave it to the states. States can ban it if they want to. Federal government can still get involved in interstate commerce if they wish, but that will leave it to the states. But yeah, outside of legislative action right now, the DOJ is completely empowered to do what it's doing.

Speaker 4: And so just to Kinda clarify, Ogden memo came first. That was in 2009 then 2011 was the first coal memo. Second and Third Coleman was in 2013, 2014. And there you have it. Uh, and as was the case until today, so, you know, let's make sure that we, uh, you know me, the listeners understand the cato institute, you guys are a bunch of hippy dippy left wing nut jobs, right? Is that.

Speaker 3: Some people would like to think that, but no, actually a strict constitutionalist we're actually more in the sort of Clarence Thomas Antonin Scalia understanding of the constitution. We are rigidly in favor of following the constitution and the rule of law. So yeah, we are often cited as the conservative Cato Institute or by people who don't like our positions on stuff like this. They think of, you know, while we're Republicans who liked to smoke pot, that's not, that's not true either. We really just believe in the constitution.

Speaker 4: We really just believe in the constitution. So, you know, uh, let's talk about federalism so that I understand it and we understand it from your perspective. You know, the, the statement that you put out today in included kind of a strong support of that. What do we mean when we say federalism? What are we talking about? We're talking about the federalist papers, Madison and uh, you know, his buddies, uh, back in the day with Hamilton and I believe John Jay, if I'm not mistaken, right?

Speaker 3: Yeah, absolutely. Well, they were also responsible for the bill of rights, particularly Madison and the Ninth Amendment says the enumeration of the constitution in the constitution of certainly not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. That's a strong defense of individual rights as you're going to get anywhere in America. And the 10th amendment says the powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited to it by the states are reserved to the states respectively or to the people. That is to say that the states have the general powers of everything not listed in the constitution. That's where the power lies. That's called the general police power. And what that is, is like the states govern what happens within their own borders. Now, what happens in between the states, uh, you know, if you cross, if you take marijuana from say Colorado and bring it out east to New York or something like that, that falls within the federal government's purview. And we're not arguing. Although we do believe that marijuana should be legal, we're not arguing that the government doesn't have the power for that.

Speaker 4: We'll stipulate if there is cross border trade earth, it is going to cartels do something about it.

Speaker 3: Absolutely. We were not in favor of criminal gangs at all. We absolutely are in favor of letting the states handle their own business. But unfortunately, the Supreme Court case, the Supreme Court has said that under reading were very, very stretched reading of what's known as the interstate commerce clause, that the federal government has a right to get involved in state affairs. There was a case back in 1942 called wicked v Filburn that said that a person growing wheat on his own property could not and in violation of a federal act that was regulating how much we could be grown in the United States was in violation of this act, and this was again under the interstate commerce clause. How that, how that wheat who was going to be consumed by the man and his family was going, was never going to cross state lines, was never going to be sold. How?

Speaker 3: How does this connect to interstate commerce? Nobody really knows. Unfortunately as you, as your listeners probably know, there was the case in 2005 called Gonzalo was being raised, which applied the same principle to medical marijuana. If you grow medical marijuana in your house and you're just using it for yourself, you can't. That somehow still triggers this interstate commerce power. Even though there's no commerce or interstate movement whatsoever, and this is the, we believe that these are wrongly decided cases they should be overturned by the Supreme Court overturned by the Supreme Court. They should be overruled by Congress, but at basically all three levels, all three branches of the federal government have failed in protecting both individual rights and state prerogatives

Speaker 4: as of today. Meaning we were supportive of the coal memos. Yes.

Speaker 3: Uh, yes we were supportive of the Cole memo is because they recognize the limits of federal power that said, okay, we're only going to get involved and you're not. If you're in violation of state, if you're in violation of state laws or if you're diverting this money to criminal organizations, are you using this for money laundering or some other federal crime that you know, is a legitimate use of federal government resources?

Speaker 4: Yeah. So that gets us to federal government resources. I just want to tack back to those Supreme Court cases just in case, uh, you know, because this is a phone interview because it's a timely. Um, so the first case was wheat, you know, w h e a t separate the wheat from the chaff in the second case was, was his cannabis marijuana or weed? I just want to make sure that we've got that clarification correct.

Speaker 3: Yes. Yes. So the first one was about a man growing wheat to feed his family. Nobody to do with intoxication. Has nothing to do with, you know, criminal elements or anything like that. It was just about growing, growing food in your backyard,

Speaker 4: which is. So again, I just want to kind of get back to that point about federalism. You guys aren't, you know, the Keto Drug Policy Institute. Um, it, it's not about the product, it's not about the substance, it's about the right and it's about the power. Am I correct?

Speaker 3: Yes. Right to do with your body, what you see faith as long as you don't hurt anyone else because we strongly strong believer in individual rights as well. And also the limit of the federal government's power over the states and over individuals within those states. Absolutely no place for this. If it's not crossing state lines and not hurting anyone else.

Speaker 4: Okay. So we talked about Rohrabacher Blumenauer, which is on, you know, I don't know, a precarious footing is what I would say. Um, and it always has been on a precarious footing. It's simply an amendment to a budget bill. Uh, so we've got that short. Other than that, there is only the controlled substances act, so we would have to have proactive action by Congress on this issue. And you mentioned, you know, Congressman Garret and of course we've got a, well, you know, uh, in name a congressman, Blumenauer Congressmen roar backer, uh, and we've got many others, you know, from both sides of the aisle that are, are interested in this issue. However, as far as Congress is concerned in 2018, what is there, you know, what, uh, what thoughts do you have you probably closer than I am a being that you're there in DC, uh, to understanding if it is at all feasible for Congress to act on this issue. What are your thoughts

Speaker 3: in the short term? I'm afraid that Congress is going to be too deferential to the Department of Justice. Very often you have members of Congress who were very open to either whether it's drug policy or criminal justice reform. Generally they hear, they hear the stories, they hear what's going on and they're like, that sounds wrong and we want to get involved. And then the DOJ sends in their lawyers to talk to them and all of a sudden the congressman that says, Oh, I'm sorry, we can't do anything about it. And so it's basically overcoming the influence of the Justice Department and saying, Oh, this is what the people, you know, this is what the people want. This is what your constituents want. And being able to convince them that this is going on in the short term. Do I see, you know, radical, you know, marijuana legislation coming out of Congress.

Speaker 3: Unfortunately. No, but I think it's something that is continuing to grow and it's not going to stop. And I think if these US attorneys follow the sessions memo that was released today and start going after people that more and more horror stories are going to come out because of people being prosecuted for being honest, law abiding citizens and that this and that will get, you know, people in both red and blue states calling their congressman saying, we don't want this to happen anymore. Not In our name. This is, this is a ridiculous of money at a waste of time and you're ruining lives for no good reason. And I, I hope that's it. That sort of, the silver lining of this is like if the, if the US attorney as follows through with this, that I think there will be more public outcry against this, you know, that's a really heavy price to pay tas people to risk going to prison, you know, to fix a really terrible law.

Speaker 4: Jonathan is not anything that we haven't done before.

Speaker 3: Unfortunately. That's very true. Exactly.

Speaker 4: Exactly. All right. So, but now we've gotten to the point in the conversation where we are talking about we, the people and our pocket book and you know, based on reaction from the tax bill that was just passed. I can't find anybody here in the United States of America that's not a fiscal conservative anymore. Right. It seems like I've made from the left, from the right, everybody doesn't like the debt doesn't like the deficit. And now we're talking about using new money, using my money, your money, you know, uh, we, the people, our money to go after state legal businesses and, and people, um, I take your point that, uh, there's not going to be much of an appetite for it. Um, how infuriating is that from the Cato Institute point of view that this is how we're using federal government money, which we shouldn't be using anyway.

Speaker 3: Yeah, I mean, we're, we're a small government organization to small size of the federal government to be so small you can throw it in the bathtub. Um, but yeah, I mean, it's absolutely infuriating. This is, this is terrible fiscally. This is terrible social policy. I mean, it shows where there's data showing that where there are a marijuana dispensary, there are 25 percent up to 25 percent fewer opioid related deaths and I'm just like, okay, so this is the health side of this is absolutely infuriating. So we're actually going to be proposing to spend money in a way that's counterproductive both to democratic will and to public safety and it just doesn't make any sense whatsoever,

Speaker 4: you know, leave out the fact that you're going after industry, you're going after a business, you're going to have to commerce, you know, you're going in for capitalism.

Speaker 3: Yeah, absolutely. And, and, and you know, obviously we like lower taxes as well, but it was like this is also a massive tax base. You're talking about, you know, billions of dollars being created at, for, for state level government saying, hey, you know, this is something that our people want. This is what our people want to consume and we can use this for infrastructure. We can use this for any, all sorts of things. That legitimate state purposes. I mean, and yet here we are interfering with that. I mean, it's, it's counterproductive. Government at it's worst

Speaker 4: and I appreciate that and clearly we find ourselves on the same page. I, I want to go ahead and take a couple shots here and see what we can discover. Um, you said that we don't like federal taxation. Totally understood. Can you take me through your point of view on the salt, a tax, you know, kind of a, abolishing the fact that state and local governments, uh, you know, I can deduct that from my federal taxes. How do you feel about that?

Speaker 3: Taxes are not my specialty generally for lower taxes across the board. I can't, I have to defer to one of my colleagues to get into the minutia of the, of the budget bill. I just like, you know, when that fight was going on, I just sort of crossed my cross my fingers and just hope for the best because, you know, there are parts of that bill that seem really great. There are other parts that just seem kind of out there, but I basically lower taxes are best I can. I can get into introductions and whatnot.

Speaker 4: I got, Ya know, and totally understood and I, I take your point that that's generally your point of view. Um, and that, uh, from a professional standpoint, um, you know, it's lower taxes. That's what we're looking for and I don't necessarily know it to that end though. What you personally, if you can, if you don't mind, um, what were some of the, the kind of the things that didn't make much sense to you? You kind of said there's some wacky stuff in there. What, what are we talking about?

Speaker 3: Tell me about it, you know, the um, you know, the different stories on who's going to be affected and how it's going to hurt, uh, you know, various constituencies, the, the home interest deduction, which I think, you know, personally I benefit from at the same time it sort of plays favorites and the economy and favors and privileges over those who, you know, rent. So it's just a big. Our tax code is too complicated as it is. It should be much simpler. It should be harder to evade, but it should also be, you know, initially also be harder to gain. But it, but unfortunately our tax code is so complex that the people who have the most money are, most, are most able to game it, whereas they know the people without money, you know, aren't as able to, you know, get deductions.

Speaker 4: Yeah, no, completely understood. And that's why when it first was, you know, a bandied about, we were talking about tax reform and there was the, you know, the card that they were holding up and it was we were going to simplify the tax code. Um, and instead we kind of just took money from here and just gave it there, which that just doesn't make sense to me as you know, a policy meaning, uh, if you look back at the Reagan tax cuts, you had a, an economy where corporate profits were low and interest rates were high. We now have corporate profits that are high and interest rates that are low. It's a totally different dynamic. What are your thoughts? And again, these are personal. Now I'm asking you personally on kind of incentivizing that, a corporate tax rate down, meaning, you know, let's not just glop it off and give it away. Let's say, Hey, if you're going to do x as far as employment, if you're going to do y as far as investment, if you're going to do z as far as, you know, um, you know, really investing in people in community, uh, then yes, of course please, let's take your to a corporate tax rate down. Um, but to, to kind of, you know, just leave it out there and just lop it off and throw it away. It feels like it was a lost opportunity on actually improving the economy.

Speaker 3: Again, it's like, you know, there, there, there are limits to how much the government should be involved in shaping, you know, personal decision making. I mean, it's the same principle applies to corporations that applies to individuals you don't want, you know, you want the government to like take revenue for what it needs to do, what is charged with doing and then leave the rest of the people who make it, you know, and you can incentivize here and there, but again, mostly on a local level I think is better. But um, but right now we're, you know, our debt is insane and getting larger our, our, our debt obligations in the future and the hundreds of trillions of dollars and, you know, we're not cutting spending and it's absolutely insane. So I mean it's, it's, it's the fiscal mess. Is it, is it just that it's a mess.

Speaker 4: So. Okay, got it. And you know, it's not, I'm asking you questions about stuff that you can't really answer, so I'll stop that. But finally I will ask you, because you said we want the federal government to be so small you could run into a bathtub, but you do favor of course, you know, defense spending, which is as far as the budget is concerned, you know, a significant portion of it. So how do you square that circle? Because that's something always something that I don't understand. We don't want the, you know, the, the, uh, federal government to be large. But we do want that defense budget to be Gargantuan.

Speaker 3: No, not, no, no, no, no. That's not something that we support it all on record. We'd been on record. I mean, again, not my personal policy. Potatoes been on record opposing most of, most of the federal, the military interventions and escalations that we've gotten involved in in recent years. We are, scholars have told people to pull back, you know, pull back, you know, from all these places in Africa, you know, who knew that we were in Africa until we knew that there were, uh, there were soldiers in Africa. But in so far as like we have people in Hustle, engagements in countries that we've never war on. That's again something that article one, section eight says, Congress has the power to declare war. We haven't declared war and years yet. We're, we're in shooting wars all over the world and we want to pull back that.

Speaker 3: We want to shrink the size of the federal, the federal defense budget. We want to get, bring our people home. We don't want them getting involved in fights that are just endless like Afghanistan. I mean obviously we wanted to get Osama bin Ladin, but like the fact that we're still sending people to be injured and killed there, you know, that's not, that's not good government either. I think on the, on the broader Republican side, which we are the fiscal conservative side, we get lumped in with them a lot. They're much more hawkish and they want to see us do more. But certainly from a cadence perspective that we are, we find that we're completely overstretched. We're spending entirely too much money and that should come to an end.

Speaker 4: Got It. You and I are on the same page. Hey, you want to send six guys to go get Osama bin Ladin have at it.

Speaker 3: As I said, I'm not getting into like what we originally did bear, but whatever that is over that mission has been long over. So

Speaker 4: No. Okay. So we were again, we find ourselves in the same place, which is wonderful because as the listeners might know, I come from the left and tried to be in the middle. So really all I'm looking for is solutions here, whether it be in cannabis or, or otherwise. It sounds like, uh, you, you, uh, you have similar stripes.

Speaker 3: Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, you know, where I think we'd probably have, we wouldn't have our larger differences and stuff like gun rights as we believe in the whole concentration. We also believe in the Second Amendment, um, you know, and, and stuff like that. But you know, you know, we're reasonable people too, just because we don't have a political party that always stands for what we believe in. We're not technically affiliated with the Libertarian party to make that clear

Speaker 4: and personally on guns. I mean, I, I, if you want to have a gun the way that I see it as the same way as if you want to marry a man, go for it. Now you know, I don't want you to have a gun in the establishment where I'm drinking alcohol. I think that that might not be a good idea. You know what I mean? I feel like A. Yeah,

Speaker 3: absolutely. I was a bartender for 10 years then with guns is a very, very bad idea. And the thing is is they're often, you know, most states have borrowed that sort of thing. You're not allowed to have that or at least you're not allowed to drink if you take, if you're in possession of a gun. So

Speaker 4: you know, if you're on the terrorist list or if you've got a mental health issue, I'd like for you not to have machine guns. You know that that's the kind of thing. But if you've got a handgun because you really like it and you know you're safe with it, will you have at it?

Speaker 3: Well, I

Speaker 4: wouldn't put too much faith into the terrorist watch lists. Right? I mean, I, I obviously if there is evidence of that you're like in a criminal network or something like that. Absolutely, absolutely. Just because some guy in Washington and you saw you at a protest one day and said that you might be up to some no good trump government lists in general rule, you know, that gets into surveillance and all that sort of thing. So you know, anytime you're going to take her away, right from someone, you need to have due process. It needs to be appealed so that, that sort of thing. So, but yeah, I'm definitely in favor of a personally I will, although I am most in my gun supporting gun rights, I support strength, the laws that say um, you know, if you've been convicted of a domestic violence crime that you should have gotten taken away from you. Um, and unfortunately one of the most recent incidents that was a failure of the military to report, you know, that that had actually happened. And so that's, that's a matter of strengthening the loss that we have, not passing new ones that aren't necessarily going to help anyone. Just while we're here, you and I, before we started recording, we were talking about gay marriage. You just take us through, you know, what were, you guys were on that just so we have a, again at this point, a complete understanding, uh, you know, of the viewpoint.

Speaker 3: So when it started happening on the state level, we are very, very supportive of it and saying that this is something that states should be able to do. They should pass these laws in other states, recognize I'm under under existing federal law and then, but because you get certain government benefits because you join because you get married than it under the equal protection clause. If it's legal for people of opposite sexes to get married, then it should be illegal for people of the same sex to get married so long as they're consenting adults. Everything is okay. And so we filed in support of the gay bar of a, I forget the name of the case, but in the gay marriage case it went to supreme court. Uh, we supported on originalist grounds are supported on equal amendment, equal protection grounds and we're all for it.

Speaker 3: And there are several members of several employees with the Cato Institute are in fact in gay marriages. It's something that we've considered to be an equal rights issue. However, um, whereas some people like fine fuck with us is that we also filed in the case that said that if you are a baker and you don't want to participate in a gay wedding that you shouldn't have to because we also believe in the free right to association and freedom of expression. And so while we don't necessarily condone his decision, we say that he has a right to do it and we believe in the power of the market to, to regulate that and say, hey, this person's going to, you know, do gay weddings. Well then he should lose all that business. He should lose other business with people who believe that that's the wrong thing to do. This isn't the same thing as an accommodation like under the civil rights act where you know, people, you know, black people couldn't go across this country and know that they had a hotel room to stay in or get fed. That that's completely different. And so that's, but this is a first amendment issue that it has nothing to do with providing basic necessities for, for individuals to live

Speaker 4: essentially. Don't tell me what to do.

Speaker 3: Yeah, we're, as I said, we are very strong in that individual rights thing that we're really big into it.

Speaker 4: Like it's finally though, you did make the clarification that you, uh, you don't identify with the Libertarian Party, is that what I heard or you're not? Libertarians would. What were you saying there that I missed?

Speaker 3: Uh, we're, we're not, we're not affiliated with the Libertarian Party. Got It. We are a nonprofit. We are a five, zero, one C, three nonprofit organization. We are not politically aligned with any, with any political party. We certainly have a lot degree with, with the Libertarian Party. But, you know, we had, we also had things to agree with the Republican party up until they, you know, there's, they're stepping all over federalism what this session's about. All right. I mean this is going against Republican philosophy, but uh, or the, the, their professed philosophy anyway. And so yeah, we, we prefer it to be a neutral arbiters. And just say we believe in the Madisonian vision of the constitution. We believe strongly and individual rights and in limited government.

Speaker 4: Excellent. Okay. Quickly, I'll do the three final questions. I'll tell you what they are and then I'll ask you them in order. First question is, what has most surprised you in cannabis as this is your beat? A second is what has most surprised you in life? And the third question on the soundtrack of your life. One track, one song that's got to be on there, but we'll get to that first things first. You know, you, you've been kind of watching and you know, speaking about what bit, what goes on here in cannabis, what's most surprised you in cannabis?

Speaker 3: I think like gay marriage, like sort of the speed at which it started being adopted as well. You know, it was very slow at first and then just sort of the domino effect of, you know, a liberalization of the fact that we have 29 states and the district of Columbia that, you know now allow medical cannabis and more and more states are allowing a recreational cannabis. And that's just, you know, this is completely blowing my mind from, you know, growing up in the eighties and nineties and you know, just say no, this has been able to take off. So. Great.

Speaker 4: Yeah. Oh Nancy, what has most surprised you in life, Jonathan?

Speaker 3: I think just the difference that the Internet made. I mean I'm, I'm at the tail end of Gen x and you know, he didn't grow up with cell phones and that sort of thing. I had a pager in high school. Of course people thought it was a drug dealer, but um, you know, and just seeing like sort of like the mass democratization that the Internet has brought. Um, some for good, some for ill. I mean it's, you know, to be able to, you know, talk on the phone, they're not talking with them talking to unite with people across the planet for free effectively. I mean you pay the concert and internet, but I mean effectively for, you know, long distance charges, right? Being able to, you know, self published and have thousands or millions of people read it again for very low, very low cost. I think it's one of the most marvelous things that have happened in my life. I think it's probably has to be the most innovative creation in my lifetime.

Speaker 4: Yeah. I think maybe I have a couple of years on you. Uh, but we're basically in the same boat in that the first website that I visited, I did. So in computer class, in college, you know, that just sounds so ancient. It's crazy. All right.

Speaker 3: So I learned to type on it in a typing class, for example, under 30. You have any idea what that.

Speaker 4: All right, uh, you know, most importantly in this conversation, we need to discover this on the soundtrack of your life. One track, one song that's got to be on there.

Speaker 3: Probably something by James Brown. Vicky, you like. I'm like, uh, I don't want nobody to get me nothing. Just open up the door. I'll get it myself.

Speaker 4: I will forever a note, that song choice by you, Jonathon blank from the Cato Institute. I appreciate not only the song selection but your time. Thanks so much. Uh, you know, for, for doing this by phone, next time we'll do it in person. How about that?

Speaker 3: Sounds great. Thanks for having me on.

Speaker 1: And there you have Jonathan blanks from the Cato Institute. We spent the entire time shouting out each other about things that we completely disagreed about or oh right. We spent zero time on that and only focused on what we can agree on. So I enjoyed myself. Seems like Jonathan did to hope you did as well. 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.