fbpx

Ep.350: US Congressman, Ro Khanna

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.350: US Congressman, Ro Khanna

Ep.350: US Congressman, Ro Khanna

US Congressman Ro Khanna joins us and shares his initial reaction to AG Sessions rescinding the Cole Memo’s. On personal liberty, he continues the conversation from our last episode with US Congressman Tom McClintock which brings up the similarities between guns and cannabis in regards to concealed carry. On cannabis law enforcement he discusses racial equity. On spending federal funds to go after cannabis businesses, Congressman Khanna supports both the McClintock Polis and Rohrabacher Blumenauer Amendments. On jobs, he discusses bringing the new economy to every corner of the US. Further to that point, he notes that we’ve got to come together- in order to compete with other nations moving forward “we don’t have a person to waste.”

Transcript:

Ro Khanna: I'm Ro Khanna. I represent Silicon Valley in the United States Congress.

Seth Adler: Okay, and your first pet for operational purposes?

Ro Khanna: First pet? I don't have pets. I'm allergic.

Seth Adler: Okay. You never had a pet, not once?

Ro Khanna: No. I had allergies growing up, as my brother hates the fact that I did. But, my wife says that my son is going to want pets.

Seth Adler: Right, and so you're willing-

Ro Khanna: So now we're going to look at a hypo, whatever-

Seth Adler: ... allergic, or whatever. All right. Well, here we are in your office, in Washington, D.C. where lets just dive right in on it. Jeff Sessions, it's only a couple months ago, but it seems like a lifetime.

Ro Khanna: Right.

Seth Adler: Rescinded the call into Cole and Ogden memos. What was your initial reaction?

Ro Khanna: I said it's a contradiction of everything the Republican Party stands for when they talk about State's rights and federalism.

Seth Adler: Indeed.

Ro Khanna: Their whole thing is, let states be the laboratories. The Federal Government shouldn't intervene, and he we have Jeff Sessions who's made a life making that argument, making that argument on issues of race, conveniently, and now saying, well no, if California wants to legalize marihuana, the Federal Government should get in the way. Because what the recindment of the Cole memo means in very simple terms is the Federal Government can go and hold the banks or people doing business in marihuana accountable under federal law, and overwrite state law.

Seth Adler: Yeah, and override the will of the people.

Ro Khanna: Override the will of the people who voted for this. What all the arguments on State's rights were thrown out.

Seth Adler: And personal liberty for that matter.

Ro Khanna: Same thing by the way, which I talk about on guns, where they had this thing that California ... They had this law where they were saying California and other states should recognized concealed carry. I said, okay, well if you want that, should every state then recognize California's law in legalizing marihuana?

Seth Adler: Absolutely.

Ro Khanna: You want us to have your folks bring their guns, are you going to have our folks bring their marihuana? There's absolutely no intellectual consistency in positions.

Seth Adler: That's what I'm looking for. That's what I'm looking for, is consistency. I've noticed that you have put your name to the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment which needs to be passed time and time again, as you well know. Also, McClintock-Polis, which hasn't been passed yet, is what I'll say. What else are you behind? What other bills that are out there, have Ro's support?

Ro Khanna: Well, Cory Booker's bill, the Marihuana Justice Act, I think is really going to be the policy of this country, whether it's two years from now, four years from now, six years from now, it legalizes marihuana. More than that, it expunges the records of people who had use cases of marihuana. Here's the thing.

Ro Khanna: I'm Ro Khanna. I represent Silicon Valley in the United States Congress.

Seth Adler: Okay, and your first pet for operational purposes?

Ro Khanna: First pet? I don't have pets. I'm allergic.

Seth Adler: Okay. You never had a pet, not once?

Ro Khanna: No. I had allergies growing up, as my brother hates the fact that I did. But, my wife says that my son is going to want pets.

Seth Adler: Right, and so you're willing-

Ro Khanna: So now we're going to look at a hypo, whatever-

Seth Adler: ... allergic, or whatever. All right. Well, here we are in your office, in Washington, D.C. where lets just dive right in on it. Jeff Sessions, it's only a couple months ago, but it seems like a lifetime.

Ro Khanna: Right.

Seth Adler: Rescinded the call into Cole and Ogden memos. What was your initial reaction?

Ro Khanna: I said it's a contradiction of everything the Republican Party stands for when they talk about State's rights and federalism.

Seth Adler: Indeed.

Ro Khanna: Their whole thing is, let states be the laboratories. The Federal Government shouldn't intervene, and he we have Jeff Sessions who's made a life making that argument, making that argument on issues of race, conveniently, and now saying, well no, if California wants to legalize marihuana, the Federal Government should get in the way. Because what the recindment of the Cole memo means in very simple terms is the Federal Government can go and hold the banks or people doing business in marihuana accountable under federal law, and overwrite state law.

Seth Adler: Yeah, and override the will of the people.

Ro Khanna: Override the will of the people who voted for this. What all the arguments on State's rights were thrown out.

Seth Adler: And personal liberty for that matter.

Ro Khanna: Same thing by the way, which I talk about on guns, where they had this thing that California ... They had this law where they were saying California and other states should recognized concealed carry. I said, okay, well if you want that, should every state then recognize California's law in legalizing marihuana?

Seth Adler: Absolutely.

Ro Khanna: You want us to have your folks bring their guns, are you going to have our folks bring their marihuana? There's absolutely no intellectual consistency in positions.

Seth Adler: That's what I'm looking for. That's what I'm looking for, is consistency. I've noticed that you have put your name to the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment which needs to be passed time and time again, as you well know. Also, McClintock-Polis, which hasn't been passed yet, is what I'll say. What else are you behind? What other bills that are out there, have Ro's support?

Ro Khanna: Well, Cory Booker's bill, the Marihuana Justice Act, I think is really going to be the policy of this country, whether it's two years from now, four years from now, six years from now, it legalizes marihuana. More than that, it expunges the records of people who had use cases of marihuana. Here's the thing.

Seth Adler: Which you guys know about in California. You did the same thing with your state law.

Ro Khanna: We did. Here's the thing. You know Chris Hayes, the guy on TV on MSNBC. He tells the story, he was going to the Republican National Convention. He had some pot which he was taking in. He didn't realize it. Security guards stop him. He's with his father-in-law, and they give him a warning, and say, throw that stuff out. Now, you're an African American in Oakland or-

Seth Adler: Forget it.

Ro Khanna: San Jose, and you make a mistake like that-

Seth Adler: You're in jail.

Ro Khanna: And you're in jail, and you don't have a future. Because in today's day and age with the background checks ... We all do these background checks, asking people when you're going to hire them. That shows up on your background check forever. Why are we destroying people's lives, their futures, at the age of 18, 19 because they smoked a joint. It's the most absurd thing, and then we're turning them against society for the next 50 years.

Seth Adler: All right. Since this show is called Cannabis Economy, we kind of have all sorts of political persuasions, that listen. With my ears, I'm hearing you sound like this kind of left-winged guy. You're mentioning MSNBC. You're talking about this, you're talking about that. Talk about what you're doing in Kentucky.

Ro Khanna: Well, okay. Kentucky, Hal Rogers, Trump country, as they call it. He calls that area Silicon Holler. Coal miner's kids learning software in creating tech opportunities in tech jobs. Here's the thing, and I went to Youngstown as well, Akron, Paintsville in Kentucky, these folks, these kids they want the jobs of the future. They want private sector jobs. They want to be part entrepreneurs. They need people to believe in them. What I've said is, the Coast, we've got to realize the talent, the work ethic of places across this country. We've got to bring the new jobs in economy to them.

Seth Adler: Yeah. Why do you care about that? In other words-

Ro Khanna: For two reasons.

Seth Adler: Yeah, I mean you're a guy from Pennsylvania. You spent some time in Illinois and you're obviously over in California. What are you doing in Ohio and Kentucky?

Ro Khanna: Well, a couple things. One, I think from the perspective of the country. We've got to have a common country again. First thing I did after the election is say that the stupidest idea was these people talking about California succession. We fought a war in this nation to have a common concept of America. Silicon Valley wouldn't exist if it weren't for people sacrificing in World War II and some of the states in South Carolina, Kentucky, other places. It wouldn't exist if it weren't for the industrial excellence of places like Cleveland and Detroit. We need to figure out ways to come together.

Ro Khanna: Say, if we're really going to compete against China, billion some people, we don't have a person to waste. We've got to realize that we need the talent in other parts of the country. My district, there's too much traffic, the cost of living is crazy, and they're looking for places to expand. This is in our country's interest. The final point is just that someone who group in Pennsylvania, and my wife grew up in Ohio, I get the kind of work ethic, the sense of humility, the sense of patriotism, of aspiration the people have, and I want to make sure that they are prepared and get a shot at this future economy.

Seth Adler: I also noticed, you're in this very special district.

Ro Khanna: Amazing district.

Seth Adler: Most amazing companies that we've ever heard of. You're also not so into monopolies, I noticed.

Ro Khanna: Right. The district is Apple, Google, Intel, Yahoo, Cisco, Linkedin, ten miles from Facebook. I have tremendous belief ... Look. But people say, what do you think of these companies? I said, aren't you grateful they're American companies, not Chinese companies?

Seth Adler: Sure.

Ro Khanna: They're contributing to America's innovation. That said, we have obviously an issue of economic concentration. I think the worst problem of it is with pharmaceuticals, and banks, and airports where you don't have airports to rural areas. But of course, in the tech industry there is monopolization in who gives you your internet service. The Comcast, Charter, Verizon, that's why you pay four times more for the internet than people in France. We need to make sure that these places stay competitive, that these companies stay competitive. If there are huge mergers like Amazon and Whole Foods, or when Facebook merged with Instagram, we need to look at those and really evaluate, are those in the interest of consumers? Are they creating jobs, and have a strong FTC and strong anti-trust enforcement?

Seth Adler: You've got a whole caucus about this, right?

Ro Khanna: We do. Keith Ellison and I, and David Cicilline started it, saying we've got to take on economic concentration, and encourage what built Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs, startups, small businesses, and what built so many small businesses around America.

Seth Adler: Understanding that the affect that you're going to have when successful is removing money from the Coast and putting it into middle America, how many folks on the other side of the aisle have you been able to convince to join your caucus?

Ro Khanna: I don't think we're necessarily going to be removing the money.

Seth Adler: I said it that way on purpose. I was poking. I was poking.

Ro Khanna: Yes, yes, yes. I think what we're going to be doing is, in multiplying the money, by making sure that the money doesn't all stay in the Coast. That the Coast will benefit, but so will people in Youngstown, so will people in Paintsville. You know why I knew we were doing something right is when Tim Ryan and I took 15 venture capitalists from Silicon Valley to Ohio.

Seth Adler: There you go.

Ro Khanna: Tim's going to run for president, probably, and so ...

Speaker 3: He's going to run for president probably, and so you had Congressman Steve Stivers, Republican Chair of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee ...

Speaker 4: Uh huh.

Speaker 3: And they asked him, "What do you think of Roe and Tim kind of coming and bringing all these venture capitalists from Silicone Valley to invest in Ohio?" I thought he'd take some shot, some ...

Speaker 4: Sure.

Speaker 3: He says, "Well, if Roe and Tim want to bring people to invest in our state, I'm all for that. Let them bring more." So this is a bipartisan issue that can really bring this country together. We've got talent, DNA, people who've built America all over, and we've got to make the digital economy work for them.

Speaker 3: As someone put it, Jim Kessler put it actually, he's a ... Who I don't agree with on everything, but he said right now the digital economy is working for people in term of giving them better entertainment, better consumer experience, better sports experience, but we've got to make the digital economy to give them better work. That is the challenge of our time.

Speaker 4: Mm-hmm (affirmative). How can we do this now? You're mentioning a few kind of big picture ways.

Speaker 3: Yeah.

Speaker 4: What else is on this list that you're talking about about how to just bring more jobs to the American people?

Speaker 3: So we know that there's certain conditions that a place has to have to attract jobs, to attract capital. Chattanooga did it by advertising themselves as having high speed internet. You know if a region has high speed internet, that's a good thing.

Speaker 4: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Speaker 3: We have a public university. That's a great thing. Flint, Michigan. I went there. What do you think of when you think of Flint?

Speaker 4: The water, of course.

Speaker 3: The water, right? That's what I thought of.

Speaker 4: Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 3: You know what, they have one of the best incubators in the nation or the world. A thousand startups there getting a hundred grand, why? Because they've got all this talent from University of Michigan. So having a public college nearby. Having access to a urban center with easy public transportation, really important. Having outstanding tech credentialing or vocational centers. So how do we have federal government partner with state and local governments to create these regions? I call technology opportunity zones where you have a public university, you have outstanding access to the internet, you have great credentialing centers, and you create this economic vitality. That's, by the way, the answer to Donald Trump. Because Trump is basically saying I'm going to get your old jobs back. You know my answer? I was like, "I'm going to get your kids the new jobs." That should be the entire contrast. Old jobs, new jobs.

Speaker 4: Perfect. I love it. You said the federal government can partner. What do you mean? Are we spending money there, or ...

Speaker 3: We are spending. We're investing. We're investing in human capital. You know who else believed in that? Eisenhower.

Speaker 4: Of course, sure.

Speaker 3: He built all the universities. He built the GI Bill. He said ... You know what, there are two different theories. The Donald Trump theory, and I'm being very respectful. Here is his actual theory, I'm going to give the tax cuts to the corporations and the investors because they're going to build America.

Speaker 4: Right.

Speaker 3: That's what ...

Speaker 4: That's what he thinks.

Speaker 3: That's what's going to build America. I said no, I believe in the genius of the American people. I'm going to invest in actual people to get a college education, to get the skills, to get the tools, and I believe they're going to build America. Let's take the bet. Do we believe that corporations built America or do we believe the people built America? I believe the people built America.

Speaker 4: I'm with you. I'm with We The People, personally, right? It's not that hard.

Speaker 3: That's the genius of America, right?

Speaker 3: What people don't realize, for most of human history, 90% of humanity didn't have a great life. If you were the king or the nobility, you were supposed to have the opportunity to do what you wanted and make a contribution. Everyone else kind of just were serfs. They just did their thing. They hated their work. We came about and we said ... It's not just that we said everyone can vote. We said everyone has the potential to be extraordinary. That was America's promise. That's I think what makes us different than China. China it's all based on elites. But the average person, they don't have a standard of living. We said no, we're going to build a middle class. We're going to give people money. That's what's going to drive the economy. So we've got to do what built America, which is not betting on the corporate investor class. It's betting on the average individual, and the people who bet on them are people like Dwight Eisenhower, Abraham Lincoln with the land grants, even Ronald Reagan in manufacturing investments in the commerce department.

Speaker 4: Right.

Speaker 3: It's not rocket science. I used to think saying I believe in America's ability to invest in our universities and to have a free market system that's truly competitive, that's so mom and apple pie. It's like cliché. Well, why aren't we doing what was cliché anymore than in the capital?

Speaker 4: It's not so bad. Sometimes a cliché works. Exactly.

Speaker 4: Speaking of building countries, your grandmother knows a little bit about that, doesn't she?

Speaker 3: Yeah, my grandfather.

Speaker 4: Oh, grandfather. Excuse me.

Speaker 3: Most profound trip of my life last week, literally. John Lewis, by far the person in Congress who I have the most admiration for. John Lewis was a Civil Rights hero, and Bloody Sunday, March 7th, 1965, walks across the Edmond Pettus Bridge knowing he's going to be beaten, knowing he's going to be beaten. After he's beaten, before going to the hospital, he goes to Brown Chapel and he says, "If LBJ can send troops to Vietnam, why can't he send troops to protect us?" It's only March 21st that Dr. King goes to Selma and then they march across the bridge. That's where you see the movie. But Lewis did that.

Speaker 3: Now, John Lewis told me that ... And told everyone on this pilgrimage, we went to Selma, we went to Montgomery, we went to Birmingham, we went to Memphis. He said you know the biggest influence on him and on Dr. King was? Muhammad Gandhi. Dr. King carried two books with him, the Bible and the Gandhi reader. John Lewis had John Lawson in Tennessee who used to teach every week, all these folks, about Gandhi and non-violence. That struck me because my grandfather spent four years in jail alongside Gandhi in the Indian Independence Movement in the 1940s. That's what gave me my interest in politics and human rights, but what I didn't realize until I went on this trip is how much it spared Lewis and the Civil Rights Movement.

Speaker 3: Now, here's where history comes full circle. Civil Rights Movement leads to the 1965 Immigration Act. '65 Immigration Act is what opens up immigration so that my parents, my father comes here in 1968 to study at University of Michigan. So you had this pilgrimage where someone who fought in the Civil Rights Movement, John Lewis, who was there with a grandson of someone who was in the Gandhi movement, which inspired the Civil Rights Movement. That's why America remains the most remarkable democracy in the world.

Speaker 4: Yeah. What's old is new again, and as far as the student becoming the teacher and all of that, how can we then, based on that explanation, how can we separate immigration from economics? Meaning, the places that you have visited, my sense, the base for Donald Trump is folks that are scared about their economic wellness.

Speaker 3: They are.

Speaker 4: They attach immigration to that very concept. Hearing it from your mouth, those are two separate things.

Speaker 3: Right. Let me correct myself, I actually don't think they're scared. I think they feel forgotten. I think that they feel what's in it for us? Where's our path?

Speaker 4: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Speaker 3: When I've been there, they love my coming there. Sometimes they joke around. All right. Here's the Indian American guy. He must know something about tech. I mean, I get sometimes more respect there than I go back to my own district. So I think the issue is they want a path.

Speaker 4: Okay.

Speaker 3: They want an opportunity.

Speaker 4: Right.

Speaker 3: They want to know that the economy's going to work for them. They say don't forget about us.

Speaker 4: Yeah.

Speaker 3: Don't forget about our talent. But immigrants, a third of the startups were created by immigrants of the Valley. You wouldn't have Google if it weren't for immigrants. You wouldn't have Tesla if it weren't for immigrants. You wouldn't have Apple probably if it weren't for immigrants.

Speaker 4: Right. Oh definitely not.

Speaker 3: We want these companies here. I don't want folks to be creating these companies outside America, and my guess it that people around America have that view. They just want to make sure that they have the opportunities too. So I think this is a fundamentally decent country. The mayor of Akron was saying he's going to bet on three things, millennials, entrepreneurs, and immigrants. People just want to know that they're part of that future. I think that to the extent, I disagree with so much of the rhetoric of Trump, but I think one of the lessons of '16 was remember that there are a lot of people who feel left out.

Speaker 4: Absolutely.

Speaker 3: We got to give them the tools, but more than that, we've got to give them the respect.

Speaker 4: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Speaker 3: They are part of the ingenuity and the creativity that built America.

Speaker 4: How can we spring up rhetoric? How can we kind of tone this down? How can we turn the volume down on rhetoric? There's one person we're not going to be in control of that person. I'm saying the rest of us

Speaker 3: I think it starts with a respect for people's motives to say look, we're all in this because we care about the country. It starts with a sense that we're going through a very tough time. Two things we're trying to do. We're trying to become a multi-cultural, multi-racial democracy. That's a tough thing. We else have done it in the world?

Speaker 4: No one.

Speaker 3: Right. I've told people, people don't like it when I say this, I said, I will listen to the Europeans lecture America when they elect Barack Obama.

Speaker 4: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Speaker 3: Let Germany elect someone of African descent. Let Britain elect a Prime Minister of Africa ...

Ro Khanna: One of African descent. Let Britain elect a Prime Minister of African descent and then I'll listen to their moral lectures right. I mean, we are the most open democracy still in the world, and no one has become a multi cultural multi racial democracy.

Ro Khanna: Canada hasn't, Australia hasn't, and so we're trying to do something very unique. You don't think that's going to be hard? Of course it's going to be hard. And you compound that with the economic change. We're going from an industrial economy to a digital economy. We've got these two massive changes taking place. Politics is going to be messy.

Ro Khanna: But the challenge is to recognise that that messiness is not personality based, it's because what we're trying to do is so difficult, but when we do it and when we succeed, it will be America's greatest contribution to the world. Because we will be for the first time in human history, a universal nation with people from around the world in a successful democracy and that will outstrip the achievements of Greece or Rome or any past nation, and that's what we have to look forward to.

Interviewer: No one brings that up, but those high quality of life countries, there is not a whole lot of diversity?

Ro Khanna: Well there isn't. It's a less ... They don't have people from around the world and that's our advantage right. When I was with the commerce [inaudible 00:21:20] and I said ... We used to send Gary Locke a Chinese American to negotiate with China. China wasn't sending someone of American descent to negotiate with us.

Ro Khanna: We are poised to lead in a global economy, but we've got to make sure that that economy is something that works for everyone, and that people don't feel left out whether it's in heavily minority areas, whether it's in the heartland, we don't have a person to waste in this country. We're competing with 1.3 billion people in an authoritarian regime. I mean Xi Jinping [crosstalk 00:21:51]

Interviewer: China you're talking about?

Ro Khanna: Yeah. Xi Jinping is announcing he wants to be there for life.

Interviewer: And they're just go ahead, they just vote yeah this is great.

Ro Khanna: I mean Mao Zedong is citing them with approval. Has he forgotten like the cultural revolution there? It would be horrible for the world to have a authoritarian regime like China succeed and be the model.

Ro Khanna: No the model has to be a multicultural, multiracial, innovative democracy like America. That's what's at stake, and when we realize that, if we want to beat Sparta which is China, we got to be creative. We don't have a person to waste.

Interviewer: We don't have a person to waste, you keep saying that and I love it. I think that's a great concept. Let me make sure I've got you right, because Gen X, that's me then there's ... I called Gen Y-

Ro Khanna: I'm Gen X too.

Interviewer: Oh you are.

Ro Khanna: Yeah, '76.

Interviewer: Okay, perfect, so you're one year younger than me, fantastic. As far as millennials, you brought up that generation. That's not a generation that really believes in institutions because, my goodness haven't we let them down with our institutions.

Ro Khanna: I love the millennial generation. They're idealistic, they understand the need for human rights, for in the environment, for government, they understand they're not encumbered by the past. But I will say two things that I hope that they will develop as they go on.

Ro Khanna: One is I used to teach. I was very privileged, I taught economics at Stanford. And our students were for smarter than me but then I was at their age, but they hadn't ever failed. And I said to them, you know you're going to fail, life's going to hurt.

Ro Khanna: I ran twice for Congress before I won. And so I think that ... I can't wait till they enter this political process like they've started to after Parklane, and all I hope is that, if there are setbacks, that they keep going. Because I remember the life of my grandfather, he spent 15 years fighting for the things, and change isn't easy.

Ro Khanna: So, I think once they enter and they develop that resilience, they're going to change this country in a great way.

Interviewer: Of course. I'm essentially getting to the point that is your mentioning, us versus the world essentially. We're going to need our institutions to come through for the American people. How can we convince a younger generation that's lost faith in those institutes.

Ro Khanna: That's a great question, yeah. Because we still are the most open democracy in the world. We still are a democracy where you give an inspiring speech like ... Here's the amazing thing, I mean Emma Gonzalez, her speech, I call BS, she's got a million followers now. More than any one sitting in Congress, other than few people who are running for president.

Ro Khanna: And so that just shows the possibility of this country. That you could be a high school student, give an inspiring speech and have the nation listen to you more than they listen to most of us sitting in Congress. And you still can get taken seriously. We have institutions that still are such a check on the president.

Ro Khanna: The president wanted to kick out all the dreamers, and one federal judge in San Francisco said no, that's not right. And the Supreme Court did not overturn that federal judge's decision, and those dreamers are staying. And there's nothing that the president the United States of the most powerful military could do, because he's been enjoined by the courts.

Ro Khanna: He wanted to have a ban of all the Muslims, and the Supreme Court blocked him. We still have checks and balances, we have a system of democracy that was purposely decided as Madison said understanding that angels wouldn't always be at the helm.

Ro Khanna: Our founders, they anticipated Donald Trump, they designed the system thinking Donald Trump would one day [crosstalk 00:25:37] the presidency-

Interviewer: I mean Aaron Burr almost did right?

Ro Khanna: Yeah.

Interviewer: I got three final question for you. I'll tell you what they are, I'll ask you them in order. What's most surprised you in cannabis considering the show, what's most surprised you in life, and on the soundtrack of your life, one track one song that's got to be on there. But first things first, what's most surprised you in cannabis?

Ro Khanna: That the debate has changed as fast as it has. That people are not ... When you talk about legalization of marijuana, it is something that I now think within the next five, six years ... The next Democratic president, I don't mean this in a partisan way, I mean if Rand Paul wins or something maybe it could happen Republican but, we're going to see this happen sooner than later.

Ro Khanna: It's like marriage equality, its time has come. That has surprised me. I thought and, the amount of Republicans who get the failed war on drugs, has pleasantly surprised me. So that is the issue.

Ro Khanna: The second was ...

Interviewer: Yeah, just quickly though, as far as California, just give me your quick take on how we're doing with legalization in California.

Ro Khanna: We're doing great. I mean we've legalized, it's a potential 40 billion dollar industry, they're going to create new jobs, they're going to pay taxes, as long as the federal government doesn't get in the way, and they respect federalism, we'll be a model.

Interviewer: It's amazing how you sound like a Republican from when we were kids. [crosstalk 00:26:57], it's amazing.

Ro Khanna: Yeah, let us be a laboratory of democracy and innovation, right. [crosstalk 00:27:02]

Interviewer: That's it. That's Louis Brandeis right?

Ro Khanna: Yeah-

Interviewer: Former Supreme Court justice. What's most surprised you in life?

Ro Khanna: Well, in life, that's a deep question sure. I don't tell you about [inaudible 00:27:13] a father, eight month old. It's the most amazing thing. He laughs, he's carefree, and how much I enjoy that. Because I've always been ambitious, career minded, so many people come to Capitol Hill are, and there's something just a pure joy of being a father that's been pleasantly surprising.

Interviewer: There you go, well congratulations on that.

Ro Khanna: That.

Interviewer: On the soundtrack to your life Ro, one track, one song that's got to be on there.

Ro Khanna: Well I was always ... I've been a Simon and Garfunkel fan and I love Sound of Silence, is probably one of my favorite songs. There are a lot of Bob Dylan songs, I'm not a Bob Dylan lean, I hesitate to say I'm a Bob Dylan fan, because then you like offend Bob Dylan fans. Like yeah, you only know like 15 of his songs [crosstalk 00:28:01]

Interviewer: Right, you don't know the entire [crosstalk 00:28:02]

Ro Khanna: You don't know [crosstalk 00:28:04]. Don't be a fake Bob Dylan fan. But Bob Dylan, because he had a morality to his poetry, and [crosstalk 00:28:12] talked about the problems of interventionism or more ... Blowing in the Wind and Masters of War. And he understood one thing that now the country is going through, which is the times are changing.

Ro Khanna: He was talking about a revolution against members of Congress and Senators, and now we're seeing that taking place.

Interviewer: So thank you Congressman [crosstalk 00:28:38]. With that, I appreciate your time-

Ro Khanna: I enjoyed it.

Interviewer: And keep going man. Keep speaking that speak-

Ro Khanna: Well you know, you got to just get every member of Congress on record being for cannabis or against cannabis. I think we're close. I'm working on it.

Interviewer: Alright. And there you have US Congressman Ro Khanna, sounding different. That was filled with simply solutions. We don't have a person to lose. Love that line. Very much appreciate Congressman Khanna's time, very much for yours. Stay tuned.

Read the full transcript:

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

Become a Member

Already a member? Login here.

Subscribe now to get every episode.

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