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Ep.351: US Congressman Carlos Curbelo

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.351: US Congressman Carlos Curbelo

Ep.351: US Congressman Carlos Curbelo

US Congressman Carlos Curbelo joins us and discusses his point of view on cannabis which extends from his belief in federalism and states rights. He was first made aware of cannabis as an issue through Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code which states that cannais businesses may not deduct otherwise ordinary business expenses from gross income associated with the trafficking of Schedule I or II substances, as defined by the Controlled Substances Act. Now well versed in the subject, Congressman Curbelo also discusses the wellbeing of patients relying on cannabis.

Transcript:

Carlos Curbelo: Carlos Curbelo, Florida's 26th district.

Seth Adler: Okay, and first pet's name for levels.

Carlos Curbelo: First pet, Beba.

Seth Adler: Okay, what kind of animal was Beba?

Carlos Curbelo: White poodle.

Seth Adler: A white poodle, interesting.

Carlos Curbelo: Yeah.

Seth Adler: One of the small ones.

Carlos Curbelo: Miniature poodle, yeah, yeah.

Seth Adler: The standard poodle, that's in your district, Alexander Hamilton my sister's dog.

Carlos Curbelo: There you go.

Seth Adler: Okay. As far as Carlos Curbelo is concerned, way back in January when the Attorney General rescinded the Cole and Ogden memos, what was your initial reaction?

Carlos Curbelo: Extreme disappointment. I had a lot of faith that the President wanted to keep his promise during the campaign that he would leave this issue to the states which is where it belongs. And wouldn't say I was necessarily surprised given the Attorney General's history on the issue and his past statements but many people are under the impression that he acted unilaterally and really without any kind of strong support or indications from the White House.

Seth Adler: Many people like me, or many people here Washington?

Carlos Curbelo: Here in Washington too. There's a strong bipartisan majority here in the Congress that rejects that decision and that supports rational policies regarding marijuana.

Seth Adler: Some of those are the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment. You have signed onto that. The McClintock-Polis amendment, you've signed onto that. Just share with us your thoughts regarding each of those amendments, one which is in place, one which will hopefully be.

Carlos Curbelo: Well these amendments are about federalism. They're about state's rights. They're about the federal government staying out of state affairs and the fact is that we have dozens of states in this country including mine, Florida, where 71% of voters voted to amend the Constitution to allow medical marijuana and those states are sovereign and the people of those states are sovereign and should be treated as such. Because the federal government still has an irrational policy set when it comes to marijuana, cannabis, that's why we support these appropriations amendments that would defund any enforcement action having to with, in one case, medical marijuana and the other case adult use marijuana in states that have approved it.

Seth Adler: You are not only supporting state's rights in your conversation that you're having with me but you're demonstrating level of knowledge that not necessarily many members of Congress have. Why is this an issue that you care about beyond the state's rights?

Carlos Curbelo: Well I got into this issue from a tax angle. I'm on the Ways and Means committee, that's a committee that handles all tax policy here on the House side. And section 280E first caught my attention. I said, "How come if you're a legal licensed business in a state the federal tax code discriminates against you by not allowing you to deduct your business expenses?" So that was my foray into this marijuana issue. And for a long time that's all I was focused on but as I learned more about the issue I decided to become active more broadly in all of the different laws that address marijuana in the United States. And that's why I took these positions and I really believe that the more we educate members here on both sides but especially on the Republican side where we have more room for growth, the more we educate members, the more will sign on to these common sense changes to the law that will actually help us regulate this substance. Keep it away from children which no one wants to see and put all the illegal drug dealers out of business.

Carlos Curbelo: Carlos Curbelo, Florida's 26th district.

Seth Adler: Okay, and first pet's name for levels.

Carlos Curbelo: First pet, Beba.

Seth Adler: Okay, what kind of animal was Beba?

Carlos Curbelo: White poodle.

Seth Adler: A white poodle, interesting.

Carlos Curbelo: Yeah.

Seth Adler: One of the small ones.

Carlos Curbelo: Miniature poodle, yeah, yeah.

Seth Adler: The standard poodle, that's in your district, Alexander Hamilton my sister's dog.

Carlos Curbelo: There you go.

Seth Adler: Okay. As far as Carlos Curbelo is concerned, way back in January when the Attorney General rescinded the Cole and Ogden memos, what was your initial reaction?

Carlos Curbelo: Extreme disappointment. I had a lot of faith that the President wanted to keep his promise during the campaign that he would leave this issue to the states which is where it belongs. And wouldn't say I was necessarily surprised given the Attorney General's history on the issue and his past statements but many people are under the impression that he acted unilaterally and really without any kind of strong support or indications from the White House.

Seth Adler: Many people like me, or many people here Washington?

Carlos Curbelo: Here in Washington too. There's a strong bipartisan majority here in the Congress that rejects that decision and that supports rational policies regarding marijuana.

Seth Adler: Some of those are the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment. You have signed onto that. The McClintock-Polis amendment, you've signed onto that. Just share with us your thoughts regarding each of those amendments, one which is in place, one which will hopefully be.

Carlos Curbelo: Well these amendments are about federalism. They're about state's rights. They're about the federal government staying out of state affairs and the fact is that we have dozens of states in this country including mine, Florida, where 71% of voters voted to amend the Constitution to allow medical marijuana and those states are sovereign and the people of those states are sovereign and should be treated as such. Because the federal government still has an irrational policy set when it comes to marijuana, cannabis, that's why we support these appropriations amendments that would defund any enforcement action having to with, in one case, medical marijuana and the other case adult use marijuana in states that have approved it.

Seth Adler: You are not only supporting state's rights in your conversation that you're having with me but you're demonstrating level of knowledge that not necessarily many members of Congress have. Why is this an issue that you care about beyond the state's rights?

Carlos Curbelo: Well I got into this issue from a tax angle. I'm on the Ways and Means committee, that's a committee that handles all tax policy here on the House side. And section 280E first caught my attention. I said, "How come if you're a legal licensed business in a state the federal tax code discriminates against you by not allowing you to deduct your business expenses?" So that was my foray into this marijuana issue. And for a long time that's all I was focused on but as I learned more about the issue I decided to become active more broadly in all of the different laws that address marijuana in the United States. And that's why I took these positions and I really believe that the more we educate members here on both sides but especially on the Republican side where we have more room for growth, the more we educate members, the more will sign on to these common sense changes to the law that will actually help us regulate this substance. Keep it away from children which no one wants to see and put all the illegal drug dealers out of business.

Seth Adler: Without question.

Carlos Curbelo: This is such an obvious issue and I really think we're just so close to having a major breakthrough here where a bipartisan majority is allowed to act in favor of a more logical policy set.

Seth Adler: We're on the precipice of a major breakthrough. Is that specific? Or is that a general feeling that you have?

Carlos Curbelo: I'd say it's a general feeling but I think that the Attorney General's action in January has actually helped strengthen our coalition here and has drawn a lot attention to the issue and lot of Republicans, mostly Libertarian leaning and centrus Republicans are now speaking up and saying, "A lot of us haven't focused on this issue in the past but now there's an urgency and we want to do the right thing by so many states and so many voters who have made a choice. By so many patients throughout this country that rely on some of these products for their wellbeing."

Carlos Curbelo: We're learning more and more about the potential benefits everyday. The opiod crisis in the United States is a hot topic here in Congress and it turns out some studies are now showing that medical marijuana can be an off ramp for those who are addicted to opioids. So people are learning so much here everyday. I've had a lot of one on one conversations. A lot of distractions in Washington DC.

Seth Adler: I've noticed.

Carlos Curbelo: There's a news bomb every two or three days. But more and more members are paying attention to this issue. And more and more they are signing on to some of the ideas that we think are common sense.

Seth Adler: What about 280E? What is possible within the year of 2018? Is it possible that we actually get something done?

Carlos Curbelo: I think there is a possibility. We know that over on the Senate there's a clear bipartisan effort associated with this here. In the House too. But with Cory Gardner and Rand Paul working with senators like Ron Wyden and others, we have a real chance. And here on the House side our legislation has dozens of cosponsors. Lot of Republicans, I think we're up to 16. Have to double check that number.

Seth Adler: Go ahead and name it, the 280E bill.

Carlos Curbelo: It's the tax parity, Small Business Tax Parity Act. It's what the title says. We just want fairness for entrepreneurs that are operating legally. That have licenses in their states and that today are paying an effective rate between 80 and 90%. I mean it's impressive these people are in business.

Seth Adler: That they stay in business.

Carlos Curbelo: I don't know too many businesses that could survive at that rate and it's just wrong. It's fundamentally unfair. It's outdated. It was a law that was passed at a time when obviously there were no legal marijuana businesses.

Seth Adler: You're talking about the Controlled Substances Act 1970.

Carlos Curbelo: In the country. It needs some updating. We have ...

Seth Adler: You said 16 total members, or is that total Republicans?

Carlos Curbelo: Total Republicans.

Seth Adler: How many total members?

Carlos Curbelo: I think it's over 40.

Seth Adler: All right so we've got ...

Carlos Curbelo: We get new people every week.

Seth Adler: Darn near 10% of the entire Congress right there.

Carlos Curbelo: That's right. And importantly we have a lot of Ways and Means committee members 'cause this is, I know a lot of people view it as a marijuana issue but it's really a tax issue.

Seth Adler: Indeed.

Carlos Curbelo: And we have three Republicans on the committee who have signed on. Many others were quietly supportive. So there's a lot of hope and a pretty decent chance that we can make progress on this issue this Congress.

Seth Adler: How can we get it to a vote?

Carlos Curbelo: Well we need to get more Republicans to sign on and I work on that here everyday. And we also need our friends in the Senate where you need 60 votes to do almost everything to really make this a priority.

Seth Adler: As far as your messaging so that we can kind of further that messaging, when you speak one on one to your fellow Republicans, as far as 280E is concerned, beyond what you've already shared, what else do you say?

Carlos Curbelo: First topic, 10th amendment.

Seth Adler: States' rights.

Carlos Curbelo: The Republican party is the party of the 10th amendment. And a lot of members understand that argument and sympathize with it. And then the next argument is if we really want to get ...

Speaker 1: Then the next argument is if we really want to get tough on drug dealers, on the criminal element that's involved in the drug trade, those who target anyone, including children, who don't pay any taxes, if we want to put them out of business, this is the way to do it, by embracing these policies.

Speaker 1: On the other hand, if we refuse to embrace this policy agenda, we're actually supporting this criminal element. We are strengthening criminal organizations all over the Americas, not just in our country-

Seth Adler: Indeed.

Speaker 1: But all throughout Central America and South America. These are people who kidnap, who murder ...

Seth Adler: These are criminals.

Speaker 1: Our laws keep them in business. Our laws really make them stronger every day.

Seth Adler: Especially with Canada legalizing and Mexico decriminalizing. We're the only ones keeping them in business, essentially.

Speaker 1: Exactly. Exactly. When you make that argument to a lot of Republican colleagues, they really start thinking at least.

Seth Adler: Start to think. Fantastic.

Speaker 1: That's right.

Seth Adler: Let's just make sure, while we have you here, what are some of the other issues that drive you? Why did you put yourself in this situation where you have to be a Congressman? I'm kidding of course.

Speaker 1: Don't make me think about that too much.

Seth Adler: You're right.

Speaker 1: Obviously being on the Ways and Means Committee, all the big issues that we have jurisdiction over: tax, trade, all of our Welfare programs. Social Security, about half of Medicare, so I focus a lot on that, but then off committee, important issues to me immigration. I come from an immigrant family. I come from an immigrant rich community.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Speaker 1: We have so much work to do int his country to reform our immigration laws, to welcome DACA recipients. Those young immigrants who were brought to this country as children. Make sure they have a path forward in this country. I think we can secure a future for them in this country.

Speaker 1: Also, big personally, and for my district, is environmental policy. Most people are, by now, familiar with the concept of sea level rise driven by climate change and specifically carbon emissions and I represent the Florida Keys, where most people live at about sea level and near the sea.

Seth Adler: Right.

Speaker 1: This issue of sea level rise is important and I'm very passionate about trying to reform our laws and get our country to a place where environmental policy can be bipartisan as well. I often times find myself trying to bridge the gap between both parties on issues like the environment, like immigration and also marijuana.

Seth Adler: Yeah, as I speak to younger members of Congress, I am starting to hear this kind of ... it doesn't sound like either left or right. It sounds like solutions.

Speaker 1: That's right. Solutions is the word. As a matter of fact, on the environment, we have a bipartisan climate solutions caucus that's evenly Republican and Democrat. We have over 70 members and what I'm noticing, which you've noticed as well as an observer from the outside is that the new generation of members that are coming in, Republican and Democrat, we don't buy into this zero sum game mentality. The us versus them mentality. Even on a very difficult issue here like gun safety policies. I've partnered with Seth Moulton from Massachusetts to just introduce legislation banning bump stocks. Doing things that most Americans agree with.

Seth Adler: Right.

Speaker 1: It is frustrating because this is a Congress still dominated by baby boomers, by older members. There's a lot more gray hair than black or blond or brown hair in this institution.

Seth Adler: I can tell you're a politician, by the way, because you didn't call them senior citizens. You called them baby boomers.

Speaker 1: No, no, no. Well right, right, but I do worry for that generation that their political legacy is going to be this decisiveness and just lack of cooperation on issues and I find that maybe with just a very few exceptions, all of the under 40s who are here, the under 45s we just reject that.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Speaker 1: We want to work together. We don't like that oftentimes our leaders try to prevent us from finding that bipartisan consensus.

Seth Adler: One of the things I did not understand when it happened. You mentioned caucus. The Hispanic caucus voting against letting you ... it did not make sense to me.

Speaker 1: Thanks for reminding me of that.

Seth Adler: As an American what?

Speaker 1: Yeah, this was odd. Just so that listeners know, there's an organization here in the Congress called the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. It is for Hispanic Americans who serve in Congress and in their mission statement it says that they are a bipartisan organization. Well, they're only Democrats in that caucus, and at the beginning on this Congress, I decided that it should truly be a bipartisan caucus, and that I really wanted to work together with my fellow Hispanic members of Congress who happen to be Democrats, on issues like immigration, education and others, so I applied to join. They didn't give me a response for months. Finally, when it became public that this was going on, they started trying to figure out how to handle this and late last year, they voted to deny me admission to the caucus.

Speaker 1: Which I told them at the time, I said, "What you've done for the institution of the house is horrible. What you've done for the caucus is horrible, because the message is that unless you're a Hispanic Democrat, you don't count. Hispanic Republicans, Hispanic independents are irrelevant to this group." That's a big mistake, because one of the things that they advocate for is diversity.

Seth Adler: Indeed.

Speaker 1: And an inclusive society that includes ...

Seth Adler: Diversity of thoughts.

Speaker 1: Hispanic Americans. Well if they truly embrace and support diversity, that includes diversity of thought, and I really believe that any Hispanic that wants to join that organization, no matter their party affiliation of their position on certain bills, should be allowed to join and the truth is, we have a lot more in common that what divides us, but this is a perfect example of people in this institution putting petty politics above a desire to truly work together and advance an agenda that most Americans can get behind. It's a shame and I told them, I'm going to keep trying to join, because it's just wrong.

Seth Adler: That's great. I support that. I think that that's fantastic.

Speaker 1: Thank you. Thank you.

Seth Adler: They did cite, or it was cited, you're Affordable Care Act position was cited essentially as a big reason. What is that position so we understand it?

Speaker 1: My position is that our country deserves better than the status quo on healthcare.

Seth Adler: I think we can all agree on that.

Speaker 1: Even though that bill was not perfect, there were actually a lot of portions of it that I really didn't like, there were some ideas in there that I thought, and that I still think have a lot of merit. For example, we wanted to empower every American by giving them advanceable, refundable tax credits. Meaning a monthly cash benefit from the government, so that with those funds they could go out and buy their own healthcare policies, as opposed to the government just deciding these are the healthcare policies you can choose and you really don't have any power to ... We're not going to treat you as a consumer, we're just going to pay for you. Well we wanted to turn every American into a healthcare consumer, so that with their dollars, of course with the support of the government for those who were lower income, they could go out to the marketplace and become consumers and say, "Well this is the policy that works best for me and for my family. I don't like this other one."

Speaker 1: Anyway, but back to the point of this caucus, just because we have a different view on healthcare policy doesn't mean that we can't sit around the same table and work together on other issues.

Seth Adler: Quickly on that point though, how important is taking down the state walls as far as healthcare in the United States of America? The fact that I can't buy something in New Jersey if I'm in New York, a plan offered to me from New Jersey, doesn't that spike prices right there?

Speaker 1: That's right. That idea of allowing competition across state lines would help. There is no panacea. There is no magical solution to healthcare.

Seth Adler: Right.

Speaker 1: But there a number of things we can do.

Seth Adler: Iterative changes.

Speaker 1: That would make the healthcare system more affordable, more accessible and improve quality. One of my big issues in healthcare is price transparency. Healthcare is, I think the only product that you can try to purchase, and when you ask how much it costs, they'll tell you either they don't know, or they'll say it depends.

Seth Adler: Right.

Speaker 1: Imagine if you go to the grocery store and you want to buy apples and say, "Well we don't know how much it costs. Take it and you'll get a bill later, and by the way, someone else will pay it. You don't even have to pay it."

Seth Adler: I'm laughing, but that's exactly what the system is.

Speaker 1: It is totally convoluted. There's a lot of waste. There are a lot of ... I call them the healthcare incumbents. The powerful organizations in healthcare. Big hospitals, big insurance, pharmaceuticals that really don't support this concept of a true marketplace. Those of us who did economics 101 in school, we know that in order for a true market to exist, we need information.

Seth Adler: Indeed.

Speaker 1: Consumers need to know.

Seth Adler: Milton Freedman will tell you right?

Speaker 1: Well that's right and if I don't know how much something costs, I'm lost. I'm hopeless as a consumer. Anyway, that's something that I think is very important in healthcare as well.

Seth Adler: Speaking of costs, as far as budget is concerned. We just had the tax bill that passed, which brought ...

Speaker 2: So, as far as budget is concerned, we just had the Tax Bill that passed which brought the corporate rate down and other rates as well. We all know, or can see, how the corporate rate kind of puts us in better competition with other countries. As far as the deficit, as far as the debt, really, I know that you're a big budget guy ... Or, excuse me. Not a big budget guy.

Carlos Curbelo: Well, that's correct.

Speaker 2: And so, you know, how do you square that Tax Bill with what it does to the debt and what we actually need to do, here, in terms of spend.

Carlos Curbelo: So, I'm 38 years old. So this issue of our national debt really concerns me, because a lot of times you hear politicians here in Congress say, "Oh, we're worried about our children and our grandchildren." Well, I'm worried ... Sure, I have two daughters. They're eight and six. I'm worried about them. But I'm really worried about myself first, because if we don't address this, it's going to affect all of us here in the pretty near future.

Carlos Curbelo: So, the Tax Bill obviously adding about a trillion dollars, assuming that we don't get even greater growth. If we get really strong growth, an average of three percent per year for the next ten years, then it will not add at all to the debt. But, you know, current estimates are that it could add about a trillion dollars. And obviously that just means that we must have an even greater urgency, now, to address our fiscal sustainability as a country and tax policy is a part of that, but we know that mandatory spending is the big issue.

Carlos Curbelo: Now almost 80% of our federal budget is mandatory spending. That means Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and what I've always said is for current beneficiaries and those near retirement, we need to keep the promise, no changes. On the contrary, strengthen the system to make sure we can fulfill those promises. For people in my generation, we really need to reimagine these programs, because otherwise they're not going to be around for us and I want to ... You know, I pay into Social Security every month. My wife does, all of our friends do-

Speaker 2: Sure. Raising the age seems to be such an easy thing to do, right?

Carlos Curbelo: We are living so much longer. What a blessing, but obviously that means we have to change some of these programs. My grandmother passed away last year at 95. Amazing. Awesome. What a-

Speaker 2: What a life.

Carlos Curbelo: What a blessing for her to live 95 years, but that means that she drew from these programs for over 30 years. So, we really need to redesign these programs so that they fit the new reality. And I'm committed to doing that and that's what's going to truly help solve the issue of our national debt. And tax policy can be a part of that, but tax policy and cutting discretionary spending, that's just kind of working around the edges.

Speaker 2: Also, I mean-

Carlos Curbelo: The real problem-

Speaker 2: I'd like to throw in defense, here, because you know the next 10 countries, we dwarf them. You know?

Carlos Curbelo: That's right.

Speaker 2: And I understand that China and Russia might be spending money that we can't see, but still, I mean-

Carlos Curbelo: Well, on defense, we need to spend smarter.

Speaker 2: Right. There you go.

Carlos Curbelo: We can never take for granted that we have the strongest military in the world. There's a great value in having that. It's impossible to quantify how important that is.

Speaker 2: That's the big stick that [crosstalk 00:25:30].

Carlos Curbelo: That's our big insurance policy.

Speaker 2: Yeah, exactly.

Carlos Curbelo: But there is a lot of waste at DOD. John McCain, who's one of the greatest advocates for DOD on the Hill, for years has been raging against the inefficiencies and some of the wasteful spending there. And Secretary Mattis has agreed to address that. So, yes.

Speaker 2: We're working on it.

Carlos Curbelo: All of this is part of the puzzle. But again, the central issue when it comes to the debt is our mandatory spending. Again, almost 80% of what we spend every year.

Speaker 2: We could spend the rest of the day talking about that. Unfortunately, you don't have that kind of time, so we've got three final questions for you. I'll tell you what they are and I'll ask you them in order.

Carlos Curbelo: Okay.

Speaker 2: The first question is, what has most surprised you in cannabis? Second question is, what's most surprised you in life? And the third question is, 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?

Carlos Curbelo: So, as I've really gotten to know the industry and a lot of the companies, I've been so impressed by the degree of sophistication that these executives have. I think just a few years ago, and for some still today, there was this perception of the industry that it was really not sophisticated, people who maybe didn't understand business, who were-

Speaker 2: Not if you meet them.

Carlos Curbelo: Exactly. And, you know, a lot of the people in the industry were actually very successful in other industries, and to get to know them has really kind of just educated, or helped me form my opinion of the industry. And I always tell them, make sure you go and meet with other members, because I assure you, especially some of our more senior colleagues have a perception of the industry, maybe what it was 10-15 years ago, that is just completely off.

Carlos Curbelo: So, definitely just the degree of professionalism, the commitment to really regulating the product. I mean, these people take very seriously all the protocols, you know, the rules that each state have in place. They work tirelessly to make sure that they not just meet those standards, but exceed them. So, again. A wonderful example of how we can take this substance, really use it to benefit society, and keep it away from those who shouldn't have any access to it.

Speaker 2: Absolutely. What's most surprised you in life?

Carlos Curbelo: Surprised me in life? You know, I'll tell you and I think about this maybe once a month here. I am the son of refugees, people who came to this country poor, had to leave everything in their homeland, Cuba. Really didn't speak good English, and they just started working and were able to make a life here. And then just one generation after that, someone, their child, can serve in Congress. That is just-

Speaker 2: Remarkable.

Carlos Curbelo: ... fascinating, and I think of that phrase, "What a country." You know? What a country where that can happen. Not too many countries in the world would open those kinds of doors for newcomers.

Speaker 2: Just quickly. How do we look at immigration as a solution, as opposed to a problem? Because, you know, there's a lot of rhetoric out there that immigration and immigrants are the problem. How do we just-

Carlos Curbelo: Yeah, and that's just ridiculous. Immigration is not just a solution, it's necessary. Think about our country if we had shut the doors a hundred years ago. We would not be the most powerful, dynamic country in the world. Not even close.

Speaker 2: No. Wouldn't have ... By the way, we wouldn't have Facebook, we wouldn't have Google, we wouldn't have Apple, we wouldn't have-

Carlos Curbelo: Nothing. Today our economy is growing. I give our Tax Bill some credit for that. It was already growing, but I think we've just kind of doubled down on that growth and people are feeling better. Wages are going up. That means we need more people, right? Unemployment is so low. There are going to be so many new job opportunities in this country, and we need people to fill those jobs. So, immigration, it's not a problem. It's not even a solution. It is a necessity. It is the lifeblood of this country. Now, that doesn't mean that we just say, "Anyone who wants, come on in anytime." It has to be orderly.

Speaker 2: Got to have rules.

Carlos Curbelo: It has to be controlled. We should try to shift our immigration system a little more towards an economy-based immigration, because we have a lot of positions in our economy that are going unfilled. So, that's all fine. We need to debate all of that, but the idea that immigrants are the problem in this country, that's antithetical to who we are as a country.

Speaker 2: On the soundtrack of your life. One track, one song. What's got to be on there?

Carlos Curbelo: Gosh. The soundtrack of my life? That's tough. I don't know. [crosstalk 00:30:43].

Speaker 2: I mean, wouldn't we go with something like-

Carlos Curbelo: I have this really strange, eclectic taste in music-

Speaker 2: But, like, a Tito Puente? A Celia Cruz, certainly, right? Anything off the-

Carlos Curbelo: Pitbull. [crosstalk 00:30:53].

Speaker 2: Oh, sure. Mr. Worldwide, right?

Carlos Curbelo: Celia Cruz. I, you know, "Azucar." That was her signature line. "Sugar." I don't know. I guess today I'm just in the mood to say, she's got a song called "La Vida Es Un Carnival." Life is a Carnival. I'll choose to honor my roots, Celia Cruz, today. "La Vida Es Un Carnival."

Speaker 2: I love it.

Carlos Curbelo: You kind of need to think that way in Congress to stay sane and happy.

Speaker 2: That's fantastic. Absolutely. Hey, listen. You know, understanding that I follow Groucho Marx in saying that anyone that would have me as a member, any group that would have me as a member, I don't want to be a part of. Understanding that's my position, please keep trying to join that Hispanic caucus. I'm not kidding.

Carlos Curbelo: I'm going to do it. Thank you. I really enjoyed it. Let's do it again.

Speaker 2: And there you have Congressman Carlos Curbelo. Very much appreciate his time, very much appreciate yours. 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.