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Ep. 393: Congressman Dana Rorbacher

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep. 393: Congressman Dana Rorbacher

Ep. 393: Congressman Dana Rorbacher

Congressman Dana Rorbacher is back for the third time to look back at his history on the front lines of cannabis legislation reform. Over the past 30 years in office he has been involved in the Cold War, technology issues, the commercial space industry, and foreign policy. But cannabis is a very special issue to him because it has such a dramatic and personal impact on people’s lives right here in our country. It’s about more than just criminal justice or medical breakthroughs; it’s about personal freedom of choice to decide what to do with their own lives.

Transcript:

Seth Adler: U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher returns. Welcome to Cannabis Economy. I'm your host, Seth Adler. Download episodes on canneconomy.com, that's two N's, and the word, "economy." Got a lot going on there now, and Congressman Rohrabacher returns for the third time, as I say to him, he was on the front lines when there was no cavalry, as far as federal cannabis legislation reform. So, very much appreciated talking to him. First, a word from MedMen, and then Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.
MedMen continues to expand its footprint on the cannabis landscape, opening new stores in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the iconic fifth avenue in Manhattan. They've also opened a 45-thousand foot, high-tech cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facility in Nevada. The company has reached a one billion-dollar valuation, making it the country's first cannabis unicorn, and it's just the beginning. Learn how MedMen is building the future of cannabis today at MedMen.com.
The dulcet tones ... You've got a pretty good radio voice.

Congressman R: Oh, well, there you go.

Seth Adler: The dulcet tones of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. It's a very unique and interesting time. Podcast land knows no time, but here we are, it turns out, in an exit interview of sorts.

Congressman R: It is moving day for Dana.

Seth Adler: I feel like ... I just said it to you, it seems like there's a ... You seem a little bit lighter, yeah?

Congressman R: I've been in this job for 30 years, and there's been all kinds of issues that I've been involved in, and I will have to say, for those who are turning into the cannabis broadcast today, that has been one of the more rewarding of all the issues. I've been involved with the cold war, I've been involved with technology issue, I've been involved with commercial space and developing our space industry, and a lot of foreign policy. But the cannabis issue has been a very special issue because it really has dramatically and personally impacted on people's lives in our country, and my constituents as well.

Seth Adler: U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher returns. Welcome to Cannabis Economy. I'm your host, Seth Adler. Download episodes on canneconomy.com, that's two N's, and the word, "economy." Got a lot going on there now, and Congressman Rohrabacher returns for the third time, as I say to him, he was on the front lines when there was no cavalry, as far as federal cannabis legislation reform. So, very much appreciated talking to him. First, a word from MedMen, and then Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.
MedMen continues to expand its footprint on the cannabis landscape, opening new stores in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the iconic fifth avenue in Manhattan. They've also opened a 45-thousand foot, high-tech cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facility in Nevada. The company has reached a one billion-dollar valuation, making it the country's first cannabis unicorn, and it's just the beginning. Learn how MedMen is building the future of cannabis today at MedMen.com.
The dulcet tones ... You've got a pretty good radio voice.

Congressman R: Oh, well, there you go.

Seth Adler: The dulcet tones of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. It's a very unique and interesting time. Podcast land knows no time, but here we are, it turns out, in an exit interview of sorts.

Congressman R: It is moving day for Dana.

Seth Adler: I feel like ... I just said it to you, it seems like there's a ... You seem a little bit lighter, yeah?

Congressman R: I've been in this job for 30 years, and there's been all kinds of issues that I've been involved in, and I will have to say, for those who are turning into the cannabis broadcast today, that has been one of the more rewarding of all the issues. I've been involved with the cold war, I've been involved with technology issue, I've been involved with commercial space and developing our space industry, and a lot of foreign policy. But the cannabis issue has been a very special issue because it really has dramatically and personally impacted on people's lives in our country, and my constituents as well.

Seth Adler: So, in the first person, it also has affected you. How's the arthritis?

Congressman R: Well, I had my shoulders totally replaced.

Seth Adler: Oh, boy. Are we still doing the topical?

Congressman R: No.

Seth Adler: So, we just replaced them?

Congressman R: Yeah.

Seth Adler: New parts.

Congressman R: Yeah, I now have metal shoulders and it's a little bit more difficult for me to go through to get on the airplane.

Seth Adler: Sure.

Congressman R: They always have to pull me aside.

Seth Adler: Sure.

Congressman R: But I do know many people who have used cannabis oil over the years, who have-

Seth Adler: Including yourself, right?

Congressman R: Including myself, who had some relief, and that's good.

Seth Adler: You have been on this issue for more than half a decade, so roughly about as long as me. You, probably longer. It's just that you've been out loud about it.

Congressman R: Actually, I have voted this way the whole time I was in congress.

Seth Adler: For 30 years.

Congressman R: For 30 years.

Seth Adler: Give us a sense of that history if you would, if you don't mind.

Congressman R: Well, it was just an impossibility to actually pass anything, but I did advocate for ... especially when the Republicans are in. But neither the Republicans nor the Democrats would even let this get to a vote.

Seth Adler: Right.

Congressman R: So, I'm out there advocating. People ask me what my position is, but I've always been in favor of letting people live their own lives and in this case, we were able to not just talk about legalizing cannabis, but legalizing cannabis and coupling it with, let the people of the states determine what the laws should be when it comes to criminal justice and especially when it comes to cannabis.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Congressman R: And that was the argument that I was able to actually bring to the floor. Beside that ... Before that, I wasn't able to get things on. I supported various bills that were submitted, but never were able to get to the floor for a vote.

Seth Adler: Once we tied it to the 10th amendment, other ears started to open up, is that what I'm hearing?

Congressman R: Well, that then became consistent with what Republicans said they believed in.

Seth Adler: Right.

Congressman R: Now, a lot of Republicans talk about the 10th amendment. How can they talk about the 10th amendment without allowing the states to make up their mind about criminal justice issues and cannabis is one of those issues? And by the way, of course, I think it's also much more than a criminal justice issue. It's a personal freedom issue.

Seth Adler: Yeah. Of course. Of course. And so, as I was kind of intoning, I want to try to celebrate you a little bit because over the at least past half-decade, and now you're saying 30 years, you were on the front lines on this issue when there was no cavalry. So, we're starting to notice ... left, right, it doesn't matter ... there's a whole bunch of folks that, all of a sudden, are voting this way.

Congressman R: Yeah. Sure.

Seth Adler: That wasn't always the case.

Congressman R: Well, and also, because we have had medical marijuana emerge ... See, when I was younger, and the issue of whether or not someone should be able to smoke Marijuana, it had nothing to do with medicine. No one talked about medicine. They were talking about freedom.

Seth Adler: Even when I was a youngster. I'm from the East coast. You guys on the West coast knew better than us. But, it was not really a medical conversation. Now that, you know, you're seeing the farm bill. We're talking about the farm bill and the legalization of industrial hemp and CBD and any use?

Congressman R: Well, sure. Yeah. But back to medical.

Seth Adler: Yes, sir.

Congressman R: Now, you've got senior citizens who go ... and I took a busload of them, during my campaign, just to thumb my nose at my opponents, saying, "Look, I am proud of the position I've taken on Marijuana. I took a whole busload of senior citizens to a cannabis medical center." That was great. It got a lot of attention, but that's fine. I wanted the public to know that's what I was taking the stand on.

Seth Adler: Kind of firmly standing, here I am, absolutely I support this.

Congressman R: Yes, and I didn't see ... In fact, I don't know if any other congressman has done that.

Seth Adler: Take a busload of folks? I don't think so.

Congressman R: No.

Seth Adler: There is more legislation than ever. I want to bring us back to, not the legislation but the amendment, right? Rohrabacher-Farr, Rohrabacher-Blumenauer, call it what you will. Have you, by the way-

Congressman R: It was first Rohrabacher-Hinchey-

Seth Adler: Yeah, all the way back.

Congressman R: ... who is a Democrat from New York, and he was ... I'll tell you, he's a fine man. He retired a while ago. That was the first Rohrabacher [inaudible 00:07:19]. Then it's Rohrabacher-Farr and we ... that we've had a lot of good success with that. That's when we tied it to the 10th amendment.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That's when it actually passed.

Congressman R: Right.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Congressman R: And then we have Rohrabacher-Blumenauer, which is now, unfortunately, it's just going to Blumenauer or somebody else.

Seth Adler: Well, who would you nominate, if so asked? Because I'll go ahead and talk to Earl and-

Congressman R: Oh, there's a number of Republicans now that are on the right side of this issue.

Seth Adler: Of course.

Congressman R: And our friend from Kentucky, Massey.

Seth Adler: Uh-huh. Massey. Two s's, E-Y. Absolutely.

Congressman R: Massey's great. The gate's down in-

Seth Adler: Sure, Florida.

Congressman R: Florida is good on this. There's a lot of really good ... Even McClintock in California-

Seth Adler: Just spoke to him.

Congressman R: And so, you've got some really top quality people now, who ... I guess they were just waiting for somebody else to break the ice and open the door. They're there and I think the cannabis industry should be able to work with them, as well as the Democrats.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative). What are your thoughts on this new congress coming in, as a plain old, regular American like me? When you look forward to 2019 and again, we're talking about the farm bill now. I like to call it the hemp bill, of course, right?

Congressman R: Yeah, sure. Yeah.

Seth Adler: Let's just say, hopefully, that that goes through. What do you see as possible? Now that you can look at it a different way, from the outside so to speak.

Congressman R: Well, I think there's going to be ... It's a lot of work that's going to have to happen here. Because there are ... When you're talking about getting something passed, look how long it took me to get the-

Seth Adler: Just the amendment.

Congressman R: Just the amendment, right. But we have things that ... For example, when you're talking about hemp, we need to make sure that we can ... that our farmers can grow hemp and that you don't have the ... It's not just the DEA, that they would be considered a legitimate crop, because look what you can produce with hemp: paper, you can make cloth. I mean, everything.

Seth Adler: Yep. Anything you can make out of plastic.

Congressman R: The fact that we ... Right. And the fact that we, now ... I think it's a billion and a half dollars worth of hemp a year that we import from Canada. What is that all about? It's so stupid, and of course, what do we do with our farmers? We give them a subsidy not to grow something, so we end up spending billions of dollars on subsidies while at the same time-

Seth Adler: Importing.

Congressman R: ... importing hemp.

Seth Adler: That's one of the things that Congressman McClintock did bring up. He doesn't love that. That is in the legislation that subsidies would continue.

Congressman R: Yeah. Well, what we're going to have to do is try to work on a broad spectrum of cannabis issues, and hemp production's one of them. But medical ... This isn't just going to happen on its own because if you've got some substance that comes from cannabis and there's a medical claim on it, there's a plethora that you've got to make sure that people know exactly what the cannabis content is-

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Congressman R: ... of what they're consuming.

Seth Adler: That's the whole idea of legalizing it and regulating it so that we can see what's inside.

Congressman R: Yeah, right.

Seth Adler: So that we can see what's inside.

Congressman R: Right, and that's going to take a certain amount of people. So, we're now in the initial phases of something that's going to grow more complicated.

Seth Adler: Now, when you say more complicated, of course, you're talking about the fact that states like the great state of California have regulated it, are regulating it, but once we go ahead and tie it across state lines ... Is that what you mean here?

Congressman R: Yeah. I, of course, am trying. I've always advocated. We do our very best to keep the whole issue of regulation in the states.

Seth Adler: Uh-huh. So then why would it get more complicated if we are able to accomplish that goal?

Congressman R: Because you're going to find, with the Democrats in charge of the house, that you're going to have all kinds of legislation now that has all sorts of other provisions in it that are basically staking out territory for the federal government to be in the regulation of this new industry.

Seth Adler: Well, I'll push on ... the democrats that I'm talking to. I'll push on that. Because I don't know if that's a goal. You know? I understand the ethos, the philosophy, that usually goes along with that. But as far as this issue is concerned, I have not heard that. We'll see, though.

Congressman R: Oh, you will see it.

Seth Adler: You've been here for 30 years, right? And I've been here for five minutes, right?

Congressman R: Well, it's understanding that the basis of my belief in cannabis is not because I want to push people into using cannabis, even for medical purposes or just to have a good time. No.

Seth Adler: It's the opposite, right?

Congressman R: No. My purpose is only to provide people the freedom to make the choice on what they want to do with their own damn lives, for Pete's sakes.

Seth Adler: Exactly.

Congressman R: But that's not what ... And a lot of Republicans think that they think that way. They think that they do, and then when it comes down to the brass tacks with whether they're going to vote to let the states even do this, they have to fight themselves to get themselves to support freedom.

Seth Adler: Yeah. That's it. The issue seems to be on both sides of the aisle. You know?

Congressman R: Yeah, but the Democrats, the Democrats, however-

Seth Adler: Especially, is what you're saying.

Congressman R: Yeah. They do not ... They're not having to violate any type of basic concept of freedom or limited government.

Seth Adler: I see. As far as conservatives, as far as Republican, it kind of should read through as far as what you understand as a liberal philosophy doesn't necessarily mean that.

Congressman R: Yeah. The liberal philosophy from these guys are, let's help the people by controlling themselves, where they can't do it themselves.

Seth Adler: I'm going to bring that ... I'm serious. I'm going to use those words and bring that up, and I cannot wait for you to hear those interviews.

Congressman R: Well, I mean, you think that people who would vote to say that you can't offer a glass of soda pop that's a certain ... contains a certain amount of Coca-Cola or whatever it is, you think those people are going to hesitate to ... Excuse me, here.

Seth Adler: That's fine.

Congressman R: ... are going to hesitate to totally regulate cannabis and somebody's used to that, "I'll call you back." This is the White House. It's the President of the United States. Oh, my gosh. No, that was not ...

Seth Adler: So, you know, let's see what goes on. I wonder, when you take a step back, you're basically speaking of the town, right?

Congressman R: Yeah. Right.

Seth Adler: How the town works. Here, we've got these folks and we've got those folks, and we all get together and see what happens. 30 years ago-

Congressman R: Yeah.

Seth Adler: Okay? Bring me back to how the town functioned then versus how the town functions now. Forget left, forget right. Just generally, the function of the town itself.

Congressman R: Well, right now, we have a great deal more anxiety in the air or people ... I get along with people. I like my Democratic friends.

Seth Adler: You don't mind pushing them though, a little bit, right? Nudging them?

Congressman R: I do that with my Republican friends too.

Seth Adler: Treating everybody equally, essentially.

Congressman R: Right. I think that ... Right now ... I think I can still get along with people. In terms of cannabis, I think ... Interestingly enough, from what we're getting to is, cannabis may be an issue where we can get a ... because the Republicans now read the writing on the wall.

Seth Adler: Sure.

Congressman R: Cannabis is becoming legal all over the country, and the people in their districts are voting to make it legal, so how come they're bucking their own constituents who are voting the opposite way? So, if we can get the Republicans to vote ... to come along with that, but at the same time, here, try to make sure that we keep control over the liberal Democrat tendency to try to regulate everything for everybody's benefit.

Seth Adler: When you say "get along with people," I think about ... I come into this town and get to talk about cannabis, which, as you said, most people agree. Now, as far as adult use rate, it's 66 percent.

Congressman R: Now, sure. That's right.

Seth Adler: So, it's tough to find somebody that disagrees. So, I have that privilege. When I'm speaking to you or Congressman McClintock or I'm speaking to Congressman Blumenauer, these are not similar philosophies. However, we absolutely do agree. It reminds me of my friends and my family. I love my family. I'll leave them out of it. But my friends, I'm sure that none of them are perfect. I'm sure, actually, that I know the things that I very much dislike about each one of my very close friends, but I still am able to communicate with them. I'm still able to enjoy time with them. I still love going to dinner.
I feel like, that might have been ... I was only a kid 30 years ago. It felt like there was that collegiality here, from a distance. When I come here now, it feels a little tense. It doesn't feel like the collegiality's there.

Congressman R: I think that ... Well, I know it is with me.

Seth Adler: Okay. Fair enough.

Congressman R: Because I mean, here I am. I'm leaving. I lost my election. Everybody is patting me on the back and giving me big hugs, Democrats and Republicans. So, I didn't feel it personally. But, I think you get what you give. You know? If somebody's antagonistic, is too antagonistic to somebody on the floor in a debate, they're going to ... They're not going to be happy about the person who's doing something to them.

Seth Adler: I might have misconstrued your discussion on what you understand to be the Democratic philosophy, as antagonistic. But you're saying that were not ... You're not antagonistic.

Congressman R: No.

Seth Adler: You're just saying, speaking openly and honestly, this is what I think and this is what I see.

Congressman R: Well, yeah. And remember, I calculate that the liberal philosophy that I disagree with is based on a motive that they're trying to help people.

Seth Adler: So, it's with good intention is what you're-

Congressman R: Yeah.

Seth Adler: Fair enough.

Congressman R: So, if you're saying to someone, "If it's in good intention doing something that you think is harmful or not good," then it's easier for that person to look at you as a nice person, rather than what other people ... when you're analyzing things, you're giving the worst possible motives to your opponents, which I don't do that.

Seth Adler: Good. And I think that that is what we all need to do, the new folks coming in too. Let's just ... Hey, let's stake out the common ground and get some stuff done. Right?

Congressman R: Yeah. You can't call ... For example, we do have ... There's a lot of people who want to believe that perhaps it's the drug companies or maybe the liquor distillers or whoever who are-

Seth Adler: Or beer or tobacco.

Congressman R: Right, right.

Seth Adler: Because they're already in.

Congressman R: Right, that they want to stop this cannabis and they've been the one stopping it.

Seth Adler: Oh, I see what you're ... I'm sorry. I thought you were going the other way with it.

Congressman R: Yeah. I really believe that what's really prevented us to have more progress in, basically, recognizing someone's right to consume cannabis ... The biggest problem, I believe, has been, yeah, people with religious convictions-

Seth Adler: That's you, by the way.

Congressman R: ... who think it's sinful. I do have religious convictions.

Seth Adler: Indeed.

Congressman R: But it's not based on forcing my religion on other people. But also, you have drug lords who have been financing the effort to prevent the legalization of drugs in the United States, because this is the way they make their money.

Seth Adler: I was going to say, you gotta make a living, right?

Congressman R: That's it.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Congressman R: However, I don't think that our own companies have been lobbying, meaning alcohol and tobacco, I don't think they have been lobbying against cannabis.

Seth Adler: Yeah. Well, there was a story about an alcohol association or group, basically, arguing for it, for legalization.

Congressman R: I think that they're going to have fusion drinks where you have-

Seth Adler: Of course. Constellation brands is already in.

Congressman R: It is.

Seth Adler: Ultra is in. Here we go.

Congressman R: Sure.

Seth Adler: Let's talk about a few of your prized accomplishments, right? We were talking about cannabis. Without question, you led the charge, as I said, without the cavalry. So, check that big box as far as accomplishments are concerned. I'm seeing ... THere's a bunch of ... I don't think these are active spacecraft-

Congressman R: No.

Seth Adler: But at least replicas.

Congressman R: Yes.

Seth Adler: Talk about some of your work there, why that was important to you.

Congressman R: Well, my father was a marine pilot.

Seth Adler: Thank him for his service.

Congressman R: Yes. He sacrificed a lot for his country, so I grew up around airplanes and war. I've seen war personally and I felt that it's really important for us to be technologically in the lead for humankind. One of the reasons why you want to be technologically in the lead is because there may be evil people in the world, and if they are technologically superior to you, you automatically are in danger. So, I have been very much supportive of keeping America the leading technological power in the world.
And interestingly enough, one of the ways, and I think I'm perhaps the proudest of, one is commercialization of space. So, it's not just NASA and government officials and government employees and bureaucrats who are in charge of the space program. But instead, I was in charge of the committee that wrote the legislation to commercialize space where possible so that we've got, now, private companies coming in.

Seth Adler: Certainly.

Congressman R: And I was part of that, but-

Seth Adler: Elon and Jeff and Richard all thank you, I'm sure.

Congressman R: Exactly, and they're people who, I think, have actually saved hundreds of millions of dollars for the taxpayers and brought new life and creativity to the space industry. But, one of the things about technology that I've been very much engaged in is trying to protect our patent system. We have these large, multinational corporations that have been trying to neuter the patent system.

Seth Adler: Right.

Congressman R: And the patent system has worked so well for our country that people who have come up with a new idea and they actually invent something new that's usable, that they have legitimate rights to control it for 17 years. That's been the way that we have motivated bright people and money to be invested in developing new technology.

Seth Adler: First to invent.

Congressman R: Right. Well, what happened is, over the years, they've been changing the rules of the game. I have been the one leading the fight against the basically-

Seth Adler: First to file.

Congressman R: That's right. They've changed what you said, right off the bat. The principle has always been that the first person that invented something gets the patent. So, they passed a law, and by the way, I fought this and fought this, they finally got it through.

Seth Adler: Right.

Congressman R: It was no, the first to file for the patent. Well, these big companies, of course, have the ability to file lots and lots and lots of patents.

Seth Adler: Who's behind that? Right? Because we're a nation of entrepreneurs, we're a nation of the little guy, come from behind. That's us. Do you believe in miracles? You know? That whole thing.

Congressman R: No, no. This effort to destroy the patent system comes from multinational corporations-

Seth Adler: But what elected officials do they have ...

Congressman R: They come across ... It's been the big lie, here. I have had to confront the big lie, people claiming that, "We passed the innovation act." Well, that sounds like it's pro-inventor. No, it's anti-inventor, and they have several of these bills that were misnamed, and it made it sound like they were ... And they go, "Oh, we've got to ... Innovation is so important. Invention is so important." And then they pass a rule-

Seth Adler: Under the table kind of thing.

Congressman R: ... that unless you know what's going on, that's going to screw the inventors. And that's what's been happening. I was successful for the first 10 years in stopping it, but as big business has invested more and more money into it ...

Seth Adler: My perception, again as an outsider, is that that kind of big business philosophy comes from the right side. Am I mistaken?

Congressman R: Yes.

Seth Adler: I am?

Congressman R: Yeah.

Seth Adler: So, it could be anybody, everybody, type of thing?

Congressman R: Yeah.

Seth Adler: And kind of check who donates to campaigns? Maybe that's a good place to start.

Congressman R: Yeah, that's right. But what's more important is that most of these members of congress, they won't even listen to anything about patents. It's not that they're buying them off from something they believe in-

Seth Adler: It's ignorance.

Congressman R: It's total ignorance, and somebody who wanted to talk to somebody about patents, they start yawning and it's too complicated even before you start.

Seth Adler: Nothing's too complicated ... Should be. Right?

Congressman R: But like cannabis, the idea of supporting our inventors, our little guys, who come up with the new concepts and ideas, that really is a bipartisan vision, as is people's individual freedom to do what they want in their personal lives and get the government out of that.

Seth Adler: A hundred percent. The last thing I want to know about is what you're doing in your house.

Congressman R: Yeah.

Seth Adler: Having said that, how are the triplets?

Congressman R: Well, they're doing okay. I got ... God blessed me and I was out fighting this battle. Actually, I was trying to defeat soviet communism for almost my entire life.

Seth Adler: So, now, here we go. Let's do this, right? Because you said you saw war first person. You're talking about mujahideen way back when-

Congressman R: I also did some time in Vietnam.

Seth Adler: You did do some time in Vietnam. Thank you for your service.

Congressman R: I was not in the military.

Seth Adler: Not in Vietnam.

Congressman R: I was in Vietnam and I was not in the military. That's all you need to know.

Seth Adler: That's all I'm going to talk about, there. But as far as the mujahideen, you're supporting and that was against soviets. Your time in the Reagan White House, which we've talked about, basically some of the brains, if not a lot of the brains, behind the Reagan doctrine, trying to prevent it, and then I hear ... We've never talked about this, but I hear, Rohrabacher, he's pro-Putin, Putin pays him. Where's the divide here? You know?
Because if you look at you in Afghanistan, if you look at you in the Reagan White House, it wouldn't make sense that you would be pro-Putin, but then you have said stuff recently, which kind of lends itself to that.

Congressman R: Yeah. I killed soviet troops in Afghanistan, so I fought. I did some work behind the iron curtain and I've been very active in defeating the soviet union. The soviet union no longer exists. Reagan won. The cold war ended.

Seth Adler: Sure.

Congressman R: Russia is not the soviet union. People used to be put in prison because they went to church or wanted to form a church in the soviet union. Churches now are all over the place in the soviet union. There are opposition parties in what was the soviet union. It is a corrupt, Mayor Daley-type heavy-handed government there.

Seth Adler: Currently?

Congressman R: Currently. Which is like, about half the other countries of the world. And of the countries of the world, there are a certain number of them who mean us harm. They're run by radical Islamic terrorists, who are now the number one enemy of our country along with China. And Russia should be ... We should cooperate with Russia when it is our benefit to do so, and in defeating radical Islam, because they are no longer our primary enemy.

Seth Adler: Russia is not.

Congressman R: Russia is not.

Seth Adler: The only people that I hear about that kind of try to mess with our election ... Actually, there are a few. But, biggest guy on the list is Russia.

Congressman R: No. That's all you heard about.

Seth Adler: Indeed.

Congressman R: Chinese have a much heavier hacking into our system, much heavier.

Seth Adler: Either way.

Congressman R: And most other countries meddle in other people's elections.

Seth Adler: Fair ... As do we, right? Or as have we.

Congressman R: Big time.

Seth Adler: Right. So, it's kind of the pot calling the kettle black or whatever.

Congressman R: Yeah. I don't have a ... When Russia was the soviet union, I had no problem in having a double standard saying, "Look. We may do some of the same things they do, but they're being motivated by an evil ideology that would replace democracy with atheist dictatorships in the name of communism." Well-

Seth Adler: Is that no longer the case? I think that they're still a communist nation, though, right?

Congressman R: No. They're not a communist nation at all.

Seth Adler: Really?

Congressman R: Yeah.

Seth Adler: Because Putin ran on the communism ... on communism.

Congressman R: No, he didn't.

Seth Adler: No?

Congressman R: No.

Seth Adler: Turning me wise.

Congressman R: Where did you hear that?

Seth Adler: He had the communist support.

Congressman R: No, he did not. There's a communist support ... There is a communist party in Russia and they are the opposition party.

Seth Adler: They are the opposition to him. So, he does not consider himself a communist?

Congressman R: That's correct.

Seth Adler: Very interesting.

Congressman R: But I'm not pro ... By the way, I'm not pro-Putin at all. I'm not pro-Mayor Daley. I'm not pro-any of these other heavy handed, authoritarian-type people-

Seth Adler: But you're not anti-Putin, I think, is what I'm hearing.

Congressman R: That's correct.

Seth Adler: And that's where it's a misunderstood thing.

Congressman R: Yeah.

Seth Adler: Because you are not anti, then you must be pro, right? It can only be black and white, it can only be a binary choice.

Congressman R: That's right. There are countries all over the world that are run by these heavy handed, what do we call them? I think the word "thug" has been overused.

Seth Adler: Fair enough. Not great guys? Not great gals?

Congressman R: Yeah. You've got these ... But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have a cooperative relationship when it's mutually beneficial to do so with those countries. And in this case, we have radical Islamic terrorists that want to kill us in big numbers and that's true with Russia as well. The Russians are targeted by radical Islamic fascist Muslims, and we need to work with them to destroy radical Islam where we can.

Seth Adler: Sure.

Congressman R: And those other issues. For example, getting to the space station. Once our own space shuttle went down, for a long time, we've been dependent on the Russians to get us to our space station.

Seth Adler: One of the ... Their latest piece that they launched, it had military implications, is what people were saying. Did you hear ... I'm sure you heard about that.

Congressman R: The implications was, is that it was rotten. They now ... Their level of expertise is declining and the actual stuff where we could rely on their space technology, it's becoming less reliable, and thus, we have to ... If we're going to have something, space projects, like that-

Seth Adler: Yeah. Got to raise the bar.

Congressman R: That's right.

Seth Adler: And they're lowering the bar. That's very interesting.

Congressman R: Yeah. But this idea that I was pro-Putin is just BS.

Seth Adler: What about the ... Let's just say, because you say, kind of, we do it, they do it, okay, fine. Let's say, tomorrow, no more interference. U.S. does not interfere in any elections.

Congressman R: No.

Seth Adler: We absolutely sign on the line. Everybody, left, right, up, down, everybody agrees. But then, we still see Russia interference in our elections. Obviously, you would be not so happy about that, right? If we weren't doing it and they were.

Congressman R: Of course. But every major country does that. I mean, I don't see-

Seth Adler: That's the problem.

Congressman R: I don't see that Russia does any more med-

Seth Adler: Do you see that as a problem, that everybody does it?

Congressman R: Yeah, I do. But I would think that ... I would hope that we could reach an understanding that we shouldn't do that. But let me put it this way. We overthrew a Democratically-elected government in Ukraine. We overthrew it. Nobody denies that.

Seth Adler: The U.S. did.

Congressman R: The U.S. did.

Seth Adler: Why are you starting with Ukraine? We could go to Iran, you could go to-

Congressman R: Well, yeah. That's it. Sure you can. But, with the Ukraine, it's different because what we did ... There was a democratically-elected government and they were trying to have ... The guy who got elected was more, "We want to be active and pro-active with Russia rather than the EU."

Seth Adler: Right.

Congressman R: And so, we went in-

Seth Adler: We didn't like that.

Congressman R: We didn't like that, and we went with Merkel and we overthrew that government.

Seth Adler: Merkel's German. She's not Ukrainian.

Congressman R: That's right.

Seth Adler: Oh, we went with her ideology.

Congressman R: Right. No, we went with her as a partner in overthrowing-

Seth Adler: Oh, to there. I understand.

Congressman R: And now, Ukraine's right there on the border with Russia, and we're overthrowing the government because it's pro-Russian?

Seth Adler: Doesn't make sense, but would you then be also against the usurpation of Crimea? From Russia?

Congressman R: Well, when it came up in congress, my position was that the people of Crimea should be given an election in which it's internationally supervised and whatever they decide, Ukraine, Russia or being independent, that's what we should do.

Seth Adler: And we did. And to borrow a phrase, I've been told that it was rigged.

Congressman R: Yeah, it was a rigged election. Oh, of course.

Seth Adler: Okay.

Congressman R: No, no. I wasn't saying that we should recognize their election.

Seth Adler: Understood.

Congressman R: I think we should, very much so, we should OSCE ... By the way, the OSCE guaranteed the election in Ukraine was a lawful election, and then we overthrew the government.

Seth Adler: After that election, right.

Congressman R: Yes, right. Okay. So, the Crimea was given to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev.

Seth Adler: Well, now you're going back. Sure. Yeah.

Congressman R: Okay. The Ukraine, that was not historically where ... Crimea was not historically Ukrainian, but the people of Crimea should be making that decision.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And some do support Russia, some didn't want to be part of Russia, whether the election was legitimate or not.

Congressman R: I happen to have traveled all over Crimea, and over the years, I've been the chairman of the subcommittee that oversees that part of the world. That's what most people don't understand. It's that I actually have responsibility to know what's going on and have been doing that for years and years. And in Crimea, what you'll find, is the native people are called the Tatars, and the Tatars were slaughtered by Stalin. So, there's only about 10 percent of the population now that are Tatars. The rest of them are whom?

Seth Adler: Russians?

Congressman R: Retired Russians. Especially retired Russian military personnel. So, I'm sorry, they're the ones ... Whoever's the majority in that country now is going to make that decision. But, for us just to say, "That should be given back to Ukraine," even though we had just overthrown the Ukrainian government that was pro-Russian-

Seth Adler: Forget that part, just think about this part.

Congressman R: I think that we've been very belligerent and we shouldn't be belligerent. But that doesn't mean we close our eyes to the fact that Putin's a crook, or at least his regime is a crook.

Seth Adler: Right. So, there is evidence of that is what you're saying.

Congressman R: Oh, of course.

Seth Adler: Right. People dropping dead because of poisons, that's a problem, to say the least.

Congressman R: Yeah. Do you think there was any dead bodies concerning any of our people, like Mayor Daley or any of these people over the years?

Seth Adler: You really have it in for Chicago.

Congressman R: Yeah. Well, no, it's just that in Chicago, I remember Mayor Daley's regime, just like a lot of other big city machines, were so corrupt. And then, the Democratic party tried to have a convention there and they sent the police out-

Seth Adler: '68.

Congressman R: ... beat the ... The police beat the hell out of all of these kids who were just out there demonstrating. This is .. So, that's sort of exemplifies the corrupt, heavy-handed type of things that happened, even in our own country. That, however, is the norm in Russia, I believe.

Seth Adler: Got it.

Congressman R: So, they don't reach the standard of having that I would have, but then again, I would certainly like their help in taking out radical Islamic terrorists who want to kill us by the thousands.

Seth Adler: Or, any other number of things. Right?

Congressman R: Right.

Seth Adler: So, now let's go finally to the current White House, because it's my sense that we haven't really had anyone that truly kind of, once elected, does grab everybody, does hug the entire country. We haven't had that for quite a while, and I sense ... Oh, what word can I use? Again, it feels tense coming out of the White House.

Congressman R: It's very tense.

Seth Adler: I know that you supported the president in election. What are your thoughts?

Congressman R: Actually, I was a Cruz supporter until-

Seth Adler: Ted Cruz.

Congressman R: Yeah, Ted Cruz, because Ted Cruz was someone who was just as what I consider to be limited government type of person, and he also was much more ... how do you say, he was more respectful of other people's opinions and was more proper. But-

Seth Adler: But his father had something to do with JFK's assassination.

Congressman R: It's craziness, right?

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Congressman R: So, I was supporting Ted Cruz, and then Trump won the nomination and I certainly have supported him since.

Seth Adler: Okay. As far as that kind of, hey, let's work with Russia, let's ... Democrats, Republicans, let's work on cannabis, let's work where we can, what are your thoughts on the approach and maybe how we could smooth some of the edges down, right?

Congressman R: Well, Trump does believe in liberalization of cannabis issues, which is more than we got from ... Let's say, after eight years of Obama, what did we get?

Seth Adler: Well, we got the Cole memos, which were rescinded by your friend, the attorney general. Right?

Congressman R: Yeah. Well. But we could have had a lot of-

Seth Adler: We could have had a lot more progress, without question.

Congressman R: I don't think we had any progress.

Seth Adler: Well, we didn't have any legislative progress.

Congressman R: Yeah. That's what I said.

Seth Adler: Indeed. But that's the legislature, that's not executive.

Congressman R: And Trump ... Well, no, no. If the president of the United States, Obama, wanted it, we could have gotten that done.

Seth Adler: It could get done.

Congressman R: The Dana Rohrabachers, where I was there, but we had ... I had a lot of people I could have worked with at arranged meetings and arranged compromises, but I didn't get any sense at all from the Obama administration that they wanted anything to do with cannabis.

Seth Adler: That they were ready to move.

Congressman R: Yeah, nothing.

Seth Adler: Okay. Just on cannabis, let's keep it there. Fine. Okay.

Congressman R: I mean, they didn't even back me when we initially talked about it being a state's rights issue. But Trump, during the election, we got to him. I actually talked to him and he agreed that cannabis ... What he said, he's had three different occasions on the record, where he said that yes, cannabis should be ... Medical Marijuana should be legal and adult use of Marijuana should be left up to the states.
So, that's the way he put it. Yeah. It's pretty hard. He's in this whole ... I happen to believe that he won the election fair and square.

Seth Adler: Okay.

Congressman R: I don't think the Russians had ... I think they had almost zero influence on the outcome of the election.

Seth Adler: I'll meet you there. And the reason that I'll meet you there is because I'm here looking at my country, our country, and there's a fair amount of folks that feel like they haven't been listened to. That candidate was speaking directly to those people, just on that basis alone.

Congressman R: Yeah. Well, they ...

Seth Adler: Having said that, there was definitely influence. It just feels like, this is crazy. There was definitely stuff going on with Facebook. You can't ... He was here.

Congressman R: Zuckerberg.

Seth Adler: Basically saying it. You know?

Congressman R: Well, I think that you had that going on. You had all sorts of people trying to influence an election. That's what happens when you try to have an open system. People are going to come in to try to impact where the flow of power's going to go.

Seth Adler: Democracy is messy.

Congressman R: Yeah, and it's not just American people. It's people from all over. As I say, almost every major country tries to meddle in other people's elections, and that's especially true of the United States.

Seth Adler: So, if you and I are both patriots, along with your friend Earl Blumenauer and everybody over there and everybody over here and everybody in between, what's the way forward here? Now that you can see things as your primary role, which it always should be as an American, how can we get together? How can we Kumbaya a little bit and start to agree and get away from this nonsense of yelling at each other back and forth?

Congressman R: Well, you have to remember, my belief and the reason why we've turned up this way, is because the day of the election, the Democratic party and their allies in the media, the various, what the president calls fake news, all decided-

Seth Adler: Corporate media, right?

Congressman R: Well, there's corporate areas too. But the fact is that a significant number of people who believed that they were going to continue with the Obama administration for another eight years under Hillary, that they decided that they would disrupt this president's right to be president of the United States, and to exercise his authority. What we have had, the turmoil we have had, has been based on something specifically outlined for them. They want to disrupt it.

Seth Adler: But, I got McConnell, the night that Obama's elected, saying, "My main goal is to make sure he's one term."

Congressman R: Yeah, well ...

Seth Adler: You know what I mean? That's what I'm saying. It's like, just all please be quiet and let's just work together. You know what I mean? I'm with you. Over here, over there, just stop it.

Congressman R: Well, I don't remember us trying to suggest that the president's ... That President Obama's election was illegitimate.

Seth Adler: But there wasn't Russian interference in that election.

Congressman R: That's what they're claiming. The Russian interference had nothing to do with the outcome of this election.

Seth Adler: With his win. So, if we take my philosophy, which is, I understand they were trying to meddle, but he's got a legitimate win. Start there, is what your point is.

Congressman R: No. It's even more. It's much more than that, because what you've got is a creation of a myth that the Russians meddled in this election to the point-

Seth Adler: You don't think that it did happen. I thought we agreed-

Congressman R: No, no, no. In collusion with Donald Trump.

Seth Adler: I'm not using that word. I'm just saying that the Russians meddled.

Congressman R: Okay, but that's not what this is all about.

Seth Adler: No, I understand we got an investigation, the whole thing, and have some fun.

Congressman R: The disruption I'm talking about has nothing to do with-

Seth Adler: Yeah. Is that.

Congressman R: Yeah. It has nothing to do with the meddling, because everybody understands, big governments meddle all the time in other country's elections. We know that.

Seth Adler: What happens if we do ... He keeps on going, Mueller we're talking about, he's got the guilty pleas and all that. What happens if he does find something? What would you ...

Congressman R: Well, I'm waiting to see.

Seth Adler: Let's see. Yeah. I'm with you. I'm waiting to see. Let's wait and see.

Congressman R: Yeah. Well, but in the meantime, they have used this to totally disrupt this president's lawful authority, and it's based on what I consider to be ... Okay, I predict it's based on a lie.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Congressman R: And the lie is that there was some sort of collusion between Trump and the Russians to help him with the election. The ultimate example was the hacking of the Democratic party's national committee, their machines there, so-

Seth Adler: You mean the burglary?

Congressman R: The emails.

Seth Adler: No, this one is different.

Congressman R: Yeah. That was ... The emails. The emails were done and hacked away by the Russians in order to help Trump, and that was in some way a collusion with Trump to do that. I don't believe that's the case. Now, if I'm proven wrong, I'll look at it. I'll [crosstalk 00:46:25] my mind to that.

Seth Adler: Sure. Right.

Congressman R: At this time-

Seth Adler: Doesn't feel like that to you.

Congressman R: Well, I've talked to a lot of varied people who are varied specialists in this type of intelligence work, and they tell me that it's all bologna, and that there's no way that that could be hacked, because it would take so long to have hacked all of those emails, and it was a download. And we all know that there were some people in that organization that were really upset with Hillary because of what they did to Bernie.

Seth Adler: Oh, you think it's like a Bernie/Hillary thing.

Congressman R: That's right. And then, somebody in there ... And we also know, one of the guys was vociferous and articulate guys who were upset about this-

Seth Adler: This is the guy who's family tells people to stop talking about him, right?

Congressman R: That's right.

Seth Adler: He's got my same name. The first name.

Congressman R: Yeah.

Seth Adler: The man that was killed. Right?

Congressman R: Yeah. So, you have a young man who was murdered, and then, they don't even look at his-

Seth Adler: Body of work or whatever?

Congressman R: ... his laptop. His laptop. They don't see. You know, if they were going to try to really get at this whole thing, they should go to the laptop and say, "Oh, well, this idea that he in some way downloaded all of this and sent it off to the Russians or sent it off to ... not the Russians, but to Julian Assange, we're going to disprove that by looking at his laptop. They never looked at his laptop. Why is ...
And people like me have been saying, "Look into the laptop and tell us."

Seth Adler: I gotcha.

Congressman R: So, that stinks. It smells. It stinks. It's still there.

Seth Adler: I got an idea, right? Because we talked about the last guy, I'm going to get him, he's going to be one term. And we talk about this guy is another issue, so it's always a problem, going back and forth. Bickering. Here's what my idea is: we get just everybody in the country has to come here and be ... Next year, it's I'm the representative, then the year after that, it's my neighbor that's the senator. And we take ... Just everybody's got to serve. Everybody's got to serve in the government capacity, the folks that are in the state department and everywhere. We just get the regular folks to do the work. Forget about elections and all that. We just rotate. Just like volleyball team. What do you think of that?

Congressman R: I don't think that you'd be able to have any long-term policies.

Seth Adler: Okay. Well, we don't have any long-term policies now. One guy gets in, he does it, then the next gets in and he takes away what he did. You know what I mean? We're already there, as far as long-term.

Congressman R: Well, I think that there are some long-term policies that are in place that, if you had-

Seth Adler: Well, the constitution's in place, that's pretty long-term, right?

Congressman R: That's it. Maybe you get people who didn't believe in the constitution.

Seth Adler: Well, there's this ... They want to have a constitutional convention.

Congressman R: Yeah, I know.

Seth Adler: What's that about?

Congressman R: Well, I'd be very suspicious of that.

Seth Adler: I don't like that idea at all.

Congressman R: That's right, because you wouldn't have any say, even through an election process-

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Congressman R: ... as to what the people at that convention are going to say. I've been kind of concerned about that.

Seth Adler: All right. So, we end on the same spot. Here's what we do for returning, returning guests, because it's been my pleasure to interview you more than once, and I can't wait to come interview you back home, where it's beautiful. You know? I mean, you live in one of the most beautiful places in the United States of America.

Congressman R: Well, I'm moving out, you know?

Seth Adler: From there? Where are you going to move to?

Congressman R: I'm moving to Maine.

Seth Adler: What? Really?

Congressman R: Yeah. That's it.

Seth Adler: Well, you're a Maine kind of guy, right? Because it's Alaska and Maine are the two states that are basically like, if you're not from here, we don't want to hear from you.

Congressman R: Well, they're sort of ... They're a little isolated from a lot of the insanity that's taking place. But my wife wants to be an oyster farmer.

Seth Adler: So then, you're an oyster farmer. That's why I have a dog. My girlfriend wanted a dog, so I have a dog.

Congressman R: That's it. Happy life means a happy wife.

Seth Adler: There we go.

Congressman R: But also, I'm a writer by profession and I've got-

Seth Adler: Well, songwriter, right? Old folk song days?

Congressman R: Well, also I'm a screenwriter. I've written a number of scripts and a couple of them are being looked at very heavily right now. And also, in Maine, I am an hour and a half from downtown Washington, and-

Seth Adler: By flight.

Congressman R: By flight.

Seth Adler: That's a vote, by the way.

Congressman R: And I get right here and that's in Maine. So, I can be down here and maybe I'll try to work ... I'll try to do my best to do behind-the-scenes to help-

Seth Adler: No, do it out front. You're better out front. Do the rabble rousing. You know what I mean? Just get down here and do it out front, out loud.

Congressman R: Okay, well, I will, if the ... It depends on what the cannabis industry wants and if there's people in the cannabis industry that will let me play that role-

Seth Adler: Oh, boy.

Congressman R: I will be happy to do so.

Seth Adler: Ken's going to be getting calls. We've got the vote coming up. Three final questions. I'll tell you what they are. I'll ask you them in order.

Congressman R: Okay.

Seth Adler: How you doing?

Congressman R: Oh, I'm doing great. I'm feeling great.

Seth Adler: How's everything else, do you think, generally?

Congressman R: Generally, in the country or in my office?

Seth Adler: It's yours to answer.

Congressman R: I think, generally, people are better off, but there's a little bit of ... But the animosity in the air is a higher level than I'm comfortable with.

Seth Adler: Yeah. I think that everybody, across the board, CTFD. You'll figure out what that means after we.

Congressman R: CTFD ... I know ...

Seth Adler: Everybody should do that. Everybody should just CTFD.

Congressman R: I knew there was so many ... Everything is gonna be all right.

Seth Adler: That's also fine. That's Bob Marley.

Congressman R: What is the ... that says ...

Seth Adler: Three Little Birds?

Congressman R: No, there's initials to that. Everybody's going to ... EGBAR.

Seth Adler: EGBAR.

Congressman R: Everything's going to be all right.

Seth Adler: Okay. Now is that ... Are you going to do Three Little Birds for the soundtrack of your life, one track or song that's got to be on there? You know that's always the last question. What song would it be?

Congressman R: About three ...

Seth Adler: Well, Three Little Birds is the Bob Marley song that we're kind of intoning with.

Congressman R: Okay, okay.

Seth Adler: Everything's Gonna be All Right.

Congressman R: All right.

Seth Adler: But is there a different song that you'd like to share?

Congressman R: Oh, boy. I don't know.

Seth Adler: All right.

Congressman R: I don't know which.

Seth Adler: What song do you like to sing?

Congressman R: What song do I like to sing?

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Congressman R: (singing) Show me the way to go home. I'm tired and I want to go to bed. Well, I had a little to drink about an hour ago, and it went right to my head. So, wherever I may roam, land or air or foam, you will always find me singing this song. Show me the way to go home.

Seth Adler: Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Thank you so much for your time, as always.

Congressman R: There you do.

Seth Adler: And there you have, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Very much appreciate his time. Very much appreciate your time. Stay tuned.

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