Ep. 402: US Congressman Don Young

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep. 402: US Congressman Don Young

Ep. 402: US Congressman Don Young

US Congressman Don Young joins us and shares the dangers of cash only transactions in the cannabis Industry: “Under the federal law, you couldn’t deposit your money. In fact, the taxes we collected in Alaska – quite a some of money had to be paid in cash. And the loose cash causes much more harm than people realize. It creates more crimes. It actually effects the community. And so I said they should be able to borrow. They should be able to deposit. They should pay their bills and expand their projects as they wish to do so.”

Transcript:

Seth Adler: U.S. Congressman Don Young joins us. Welcome to Cannabis Economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Download episodes on Canneconomy.com. That's two N's and the word economy.
First, a word from MedMen, and then U.S. Congressmen Don Young.
MedMen continues to expand it's 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 45,000 foot high tech cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facility in Nevada. The company has reached $1 billion valuation, making it the countries first cannabis unicorn, and it's just the beginning. Learn how MedMen is building the future of cannabis today at Medmen.com.
We're in an office here, Congressman Young, where there are ... I mean, your wife is here, and that's wonderful to see. You've got a couple staff folks here. But there are many more eyes that are around.

Don Young: Really? Are these the dead eyes that you're talking about?

Seth Adler: The dead eyes. It's stunning. How many ... What are we doing here?

Don Young: I think there's 38 heads in this office. We got about 30 in the other office. So, like I say, if you don't like dead eyes, don't come to my office.

Seth Adler: Fair enough. And as far as a decision making joke here in Washington D.C., is there something that goes, "If these guys could vote," or something?

Don Young: I don't know. I think they would all vote for me because I was very merciful. Everyone in this room was taken with one shot.

Seth Adler: With one shot. That's you.

Don Young: One shot.

Seth Adler: Okay.

Don Young: And I always thought, and I pride myself. I mean, still able to shoot. I've been shooting since I was five years old.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: And I was raised on a ranch, and my father offered me a 22, which I took, pump action 22 and a box of ammunition. He says, "Now you're shooting for the table. Let's remember everything you shoot, we got to eat." Well, I made a big mistake. I shot a mud hen or a coot you call it. It's a sea bird.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: And I picked it and I cleaned it. I was part of it, and my mother cooked it. But it's the worst thing God ever created, and I learned a lesson. I make good and sure anything I shoot is good to eat.

Seth Adler: You got to know what you're shooting.

Don Young: Right.

Seth Adler: And you got to eat it. So what would Dick Cheney do, right?

Don Young: Dick got a bum rap on that. Both people were involved in that. The gentlemen he shot was wrong because he got out of position, didn't clear it with Dick, and Dick of course made the big mistake of locking his eyes on the bird. He was shooting quail. Quail shooting is the most dangerous of all sport's shooting. That little bird causes more damage by hunters to hunters than any other bird because of that. I actually was on a hunt where a guy got shot in the chest with 28 shots, bullet pellets. Knocked him down. Didn't die. But I learned something too. They didn't take him out either. They just let them come out in time. So anyway, that's not what you're here for.

Seth Adler: When you're not hunting, maybe it's safe to say that you're either in Alaska or here in Washington D.C. for 40, how many years?

Don Young: 45. I'm on my 46th year.

Seth Adler: 1973. Longest serving.

Don Young: Longest serving dean in the house now, and in March, I'll be the longest serving member, Republican member in history. I will beat Joe Cannon who is the longest serving Republican until I beat him this next in March.

Seth Adler: And the Cannon Building is named after him.

Don Young: Named after him. They're not going to change the name of the building after me. But they did him.

Seth Adler: Okay. And why is this do you think? Maybe a little too much free thinking, Don, is that what it is?

Don Young: Well, I don't know. To be honest with you, I've always prided myself in being an independent thinker and pretty much telling everybody what is reality instead of fiction and it's got me in trouble sometimes. But we have a tendency to be politically correct all the time, and sometimes in doing so, you don't convey the real truth of the matter. And so I know I survived some tough elections and I survived some tough ones. But I've always been pretty prideful of our ability to get the job done, and we run for office, it's up to the voter. Our contract comes up every two years.

Seth Adler: U.S. Congressman Don Young joins us. Welcome to Cannabis Economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Download episodes on Canneconomy.com. That's two N's and the word economy.
First, a word from MedMen, and then U.S. Congressmen Don Young.
MedMen continues to expand it's 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 45,000 foot high tech cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facility in Nevada. The company has reached $1 billion valuation, making it the countries first cannabis unicorn, and it's just the beginning. Learn how MedMen is building the future of cannabis today at Medmen.com.
We're in an office here, Congressman Young, where there are ... I mean, your wife is here, and that's wonderful to see. You've got a couple staff folks here. But there are many more eyes that are around.

Don Young: Really? Are these the dead eyes that you're talking about?

Seth Adler: The dead eyes. It's stunning. How many ... What are we doing here?

Don Young: I think there's 38 heads in this office. We got about 30 in the other office. So, like I say, if you don't like dead eyes, don't come to my office.

Seth Adler: Fair enough. And as far as a decision making joke here in Washington D.C., is there something that goes, "If these guys could vote," or something?

Don Young: I don't know. I think they would all vote for me because I was very merciful. Everyone in this room was taken with one shot.

Seth Adler: With one shot. That's you.

Don Young: One shot.

Seth Adler: Okay.

Don Young: And I always thought, and I pride myself. I mean, still able to shoot. I've been shooting since I was five years old.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: And I was raised on a ranch, and my father offered me a 22, which I took, pump action 22 and a box of ammunition. He says, "Now you're shooting for the table. Let's remember everything you shoot, we got to eat." Well, I made a big mistake. I shot a mud hen or a coot you call it. It's a sea bird.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: And I picked it and I cleaned it. I was part of it, and my mother cooked it. But it's the worst thing God ever created, and I learned a lesson. I make good and sure anything I shoot is good to eat.

Seth Adler: You got to know what you're shooting.

Don Young: Right.

Seth Adler: And you got to eat it. So what would Dick Cheney do, right?

Don Young: Dick got a bum rap on that. Both people were involved in that. The gentlemen he shot was wrong because he got out of position, didn't clear it with Dick, and Dick of course made the big mistake of locking his eyes on the bird. He was shooting quail. Quail shooting is the most dangerous of all sport's shooting. That little bird causes more damage by hunters to hunters than any other bird because of that. I actually was on a hunt where a guy got shot in the chest with 28 shots, bullet pellets. Knocked him down. Didn't die. But I learned something too. They didn't take him out either. They just let them come out in time. So anyway, that's not what you're here for.

Seth Adler: When you're not hunting, maybe it's safe to say that you're either in Alaska or here in Washington D.C. for 40, how many years?

Don Young: 45. I'm on my 46th year.

Seth Adler: 1973. Longest serving.

Don Young: Longest serving dean in the house now, and in March, I'll be the longest serving member, Republican member in history. I will beat Joe Cannon who is the longest serving Republican until I beat him this next in March.

Seth Adler: And the Cannon Building is named after him.

Don Young: Named after him. They're not going to change the name of the building after me. But they did him.

Seth Adler: Okay. And why is this do you think? Maybe a little too much free thinking, Don, is that what it is?

Don Young: Well, I don't know. To be honest with you, I've always prided myself in being an independent thinker and pretty much telling everybody what is reality instead of fiction and it's got me in trouble sometimes. But we have a tendency to be politically correct all the time, and sometimes in doing so, you don't convey the real truth of the matter. And so I know I survived some tough elections and I survived some tough ones. But I've always been pretty prideful of our ability to get the job done, and we run for office, it's up to the voter. Our contract comes up every two years.

Seth Adler: Right.

Don Young: And people don't understand that we don't have the luxury as the Senate side. I made my decision many years ago not to run for the Senate because I like being in the body that does more than any other body. Sometimes I think we made a big mistake when we created the Senate and people say, "What do you mean?" I said the House created the Senate. They forgot that ...

Seth Adler: The concept of the House created the Senate, right?

Don Young: Well, no. Really, remember, the Senators were appointed. There was a Senate body, but they were appointed by state legislators. The legislators in the states, and they can be recalled anytime they wanted to do so. That is also interested. We have these luxury of time. They can make some very stupid votes, and the public doesn't want them to vote that way. And I'm saying they couldn't do that if under the old system because they would have been withdrawn and appointed by another Senate body.

Seth Adler: This six year term is somewhat new.

Don Young: Somewhat new.

Seth Adler: Now, of course there's two Senators from Alaska. There's only one Congressman.

Don Young: Yes, I love it.

Seth Adler: Biggest congregational district that there is.

Don Young: Yep. Biggest. They take about the size of Alaska. We only have 750,000 people, which is about average for a congregational district. But you think about the body of land, you take all the land from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Coast to the Atlantic Ocean.

Seth Adler: The Atlantic Coast, not the Pacific Coast.

Don Young: No, the Atlantic Coast. You take all the land east of the Mississippi to the Atlantic Coast from the tip of Maine to the tip of Florida, that's part of Alaska. In that area, they have 253 Congressmen and 52 Senators. So we're pretty big.

Seth Adler: That's ridiculous is what it is because I went up there and I know that you guys like to poke fun at Texas because you got the state of Texas and the actual size. You fit that within Alaska.

Don Young: Easy.

Seth Adler: Easily. Right.

Don Young: Easy. Two and a half times. The one thing they do have we don't have is roads. They can communicate, and we have to do a lot of flying. Most of our area is connected by airplanes.

Seth Adler: What do you call the planes?

Don Young: Well, bush planes.

Seth Adler: Bush planes. That's it.

Don Young: Bush planes or sea planes.

Seth Adler: All right. So let's get down to it. I was first made aware of you explicitly when you joined the cannabis caucus.

Don Young: Caucus.

Seth Adler: Yeah. And that was quite some time ago. That was when Congressmen Polis was not governor elect Polis, for instance.

Don Young: Well, actually it was Dana Rohrabacher.

Seth Adler: And Blumenauer, of course.

Don Young: And Blum-

Seth Adler: Indeed.

Don Young: I'm an individual who believes, like I said before, of states and states rights. When Alaska voted overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana ... By the way, it wasn't the first time. We were actually legal for 11 years, and then we ...

Seth Adler: Because of a court case.

Don Young: And we were legal.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: And then we criminalized marijuana because we couldn't get any of the money to do the enforcement for any other form of drug. Be careful of the carrot because sometimes it does more damage than people realize. So when the state voted for this, I made a decision because I'm one that believes if you're going to be legal, and they are legal, then they're businesses and they're entrepreneurs, and they should have rights to banking.

Seth Adler: There you go.

Don Young: Under the federal law, you couldn't deposit your money. In fact, the taxes we collected in Alaska, quite a some of money, had to be paid in cash. And the loose cash causes much more harm than people realize. It creates more crimes. It actually effects the community. And so I said they should be able to borrow. They should be able to deposit. They should pay their bills and expand their projects as they wish to do so.

Seth Adler: And deduct accordingly just like every other business.

Don Young: Like every other business. Yeah.

Seth Adler: You talk about 280E, you're talking about banking restrictions, which are still in place.

Don Young: Well, they are federally and we're ... I'm optimistic. We tried to introduce legislation that never went anywhere. We never got any votes on it. Frankly, a lot of our people said, "We're going to leave that in place." And I'm not ...

Seth Adler: When you say 'our people', do you mean Republicans?

Don Young: Republicans.

Seth Adler: Okay.

Don Young: And I will say there's a possibility now because McGovern has said he will allow votes on cannabis.

Seth Adler: There we go. As opposed to Pete Sessions.

Don Young: That right.

Seth Adler: Okay.

Don Young: And I respect them all. I just say that I think we should debate the issue, and vote up or down what should be done. I will say the present law is so confluted when it's federally against the law and the states have said they can do it, now go back to states rights. I don't like the federal government telling us what to do and what not to do. And under federal law now, and I'll give you an example, if a person has used marijuana although legally in the state, if he's tested because of federal law, you can be prosecuted under the federal government. And that's not correct. So I believe we're going to have an opportunity to change that this session. At least we're going to give it a shot.

Seth Adler: Yeah. You're speaking of the States Act I would imagine. At least first to begin with, right?

Don Young: Probably.

Seth Adler: Okay.

Don Young: That's what we'll try to do.

Seth Adler: Let's talk about ... Because it's called the States Act both in the Senate and in the House. Let's talk about the House version. What do you like? What do you not like so much?

Don Young: Frankly, I think the bills a pretty decent bill as its written. There will be some additions to it or some subtractions. Remember, I've introduced an awful lot of bills. In fact, I've had more bills signed into law than any other Congressman in the history of the Congress.

Seth Adler: That's pretty impressive no matter what.

Don Young: People don't realize that.

Seth Adler: That's work getting done is what it sounds like.

Don Young: Well, you do. When you introduce a bill, it's the beginning. And then you have the hearings, and then you'll have testimony, and some people come up with some pretty good ideas. And that's our job, as we should, analyze presentation. We were procluded from doing that in the past eight years. So I think this will be an opportunity to discuss this issue and to solve I think some problems that could be addressed correctly.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Don Young: And let people handle this issue as individual states and not let the federal government interfere with it.

Seth Adler: Now you bring up the last eight years. I think you're talking about the last administration, right? But it's not like before that we were talking about it either.

Don Young: No, no. That's not new.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Don Young: I go back to my premise about individual rights and the right of individual freedom.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: And when a state has made that decision, we ...

Seth Adler: And that's within the last eight years.

Don Young: That's right.

Seth Adler: Okay.

Don Young: And you see this last election, I believe now we've got eight states now have legalized it.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative). If you include ... By the way, we're going to talk about the Farm Bill. There's only five states that don't have anything.

Don Young: Yeah.

Seth Adler: So, I mean, here we are in a different reality completely.

Don Young: And that's why I'm optimistic that this issue of who has authority over the growing of marijuana and distribution of marijuana is the states.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: And actually the state and the cities too. That's something ...

Seth Adler: Jurisdiction, municipality, whatever you want to do with it.

Don Young: Yeah. And that way ... And that's why I'm optimistic there will be a solution to this problem. But most every state, like you said, is effecting it as medical. And, by the way, I've had a lot of testimony about the effect upon veterans. I'm big believe in the use of it for veterans. A lot of times epilepsy. Different things can be beneficial. Again, I sound like Bill Clinton. I've never inhaled. But I've never actually ever smoked marijuana cigarette. Now I have been around a lot of people who do.

Seth Adler: Right.

Don Young: Been around a lot of my, quite frankly, relatives that use it today. But I just have never wanted to do anything like that. I was an athlete, that was number one. So I didn't smoke cigarettes either.

Seth Adler: Wait, number one in what field?

Don Young: Well, I played about everything. But my favorites was football. I'm still ...

Seth Adler: American football.

Don Young: Oh yes.

Seth Adler: You're not talking about soccer.

Don Young: No. No. By the way, I was a goalie in soccer.

Seth Adler: Oh really?

Don Young: And I was in military. I was in Army soccer team.

Seth Adler: Thank you for your service.

Don Young: Thank you. Actually was a pretty good goalie. I tried outfield and that was not good.

Seth Adler: Okay. What about football, American football? What position did you play?

Don Young: Defensive end and tackle.

Seth Adler: Okay.

Don Young: I loved defense because you got to hit the guy.

Seth Adler: Sure. There you go. That's where we got you.

Don Young: I love to hit him. That was a hoot. I tell you one story about that. One time there was a hit. One of my colleagues, a runner, and a ball popped up there and I caught it. And, boy, the dream of every lineman is to make a touchdown.

Seth Adler: I think I know what's coming.

Don Young: I was running like a bat out of you know what, and one of those suckers hit me.

Seth Adler: Oh, okay.

Don Young: And you don't know the difference between hitting someone and someone hitting you is immense. I mean, it actually hurt. I said, "I'm not going to do that anymore."

Seth Adler: No, going to be on defense from now on.

Don Young: Defense. Because it's fun to hit them, but it's not fun to get hit.

Seth Adler: I thought you were going to say you were running the wrong way.

Don Young: No, no, no, no.

Seth Adler: So we're running the right way as far as cannabis legalization, how about that?

Don Young: Yeah.

Seth Adler: When you bring up veterans, there's a bill now for simply for research. If nothing else, can we push this through? What have you heard about the new leadership? We talked about Congressman McGovern. He's going to allow votes. Can we get leadership to do you think do these reasonable things like allowing the VA to research the plant?

Don Young: Oh, I'm confident that's going to happen because one thing, it's wrong to say the world's flat when you can prove it's round.

Seth Adler: Okay. I'm with you. I also believe that it is round.

Don Young: What I'm just saying that there is ...

Seth Adler: Or spherical.

Don Young: ... too many people that have actually will testify and has helped them immensely, and to say no, well at least you ought to have the facts behind it or the science behind it.

Seth Adler: If you're going to disagree with me, bring some facts.

Don Young: One of the bright sides is coming up. If you watch in the Farm Bill now, we have ... We're going to legalize the growing of hemp.

Seth Adler: Industrial hemp. 0.3% or less.

Don Young: Yeah.

Seth Adler: Of THC. Yep.

Don Young: And it's going to be, I think, a godsend for a lot of agricultural areas because it's not a new product. It grows well.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: And it's going to be a new crop that we can use for a lot of things, and we have to buy now from Canada. And I'm just saying it's a real step up. Now we also get the highest hemp oil from hemp itself, which has really been utilized in a lot of medical fields that does prove that it does work. Not the marijuana plant itself. But we all got wrapped up in this hemp. It's not all the same hemp.

Seth Adler: What do you mean? I'm losing you.

Don Young: Well, no. They say marijuana is a hemp, and it's not. It is a hemp plant itself is what creates burlap sacks.

Seth Adler: Yes, sir.

Don Young: Hawsers, which I used on my tugboats. You see one on the wall.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Captain of a tugboat if I'm not mistaken.

Don Young: That's right. But I didn't have ... We didn't have access at that time to plastic hawsers. We used hemp hawsers. Three to six inch hawsers, which tie your rigs up. It was hemp. It was a product.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: The burlap sacks the same way.

Seth Adler: Yep.

Don Young: And no one got hurt or killed or anything else. It was a good crop.

Seth Adler: Well, you'll at least remember reading about the World War II hemp for victory.

Don Young: No. I know what you're saying. I remember that, by the way. I was just sitting here thinking the other day on December the 7th, I was nine years old. Let me see, eight years old when they bombed Pearl Harbor. I was out fishing with my father, and we come in and turned the radio on. Then they announced that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. And he was not a happy camper. He was a isolationist at that time. He belonged to the Charles Limburg party.

Seth Adler: Oh, wow.

Don Young: And people forget that. But we did 55% of the nation was admirably opposed being involved in the war.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative). In retrospect, do you agree with your father or do you think we made the right call?

Don Young: It's hard to say because everybody ... You can't go backwards. His theory was he fought in World War I.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: And that was supposed to be the last great war.

Seth Adler: The great war. Yeah.

Don Young: By the way, they drafted him again, and that did not make him happy. He didn't serve because he was a rancher and he was 45-50 years old.

Seth Adler: Okay.

Don Young: But they did draft him in that time because we didn't have a fighting force. But I was thinking about that how times have changed. That occurred. The whole world has changed ever since.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: Some pluses, some minus. I will say one thing, during a conflict, there's more advancements of things that men and women use in the sense of medicines. It goes back to medicines and marijuana. Medicines, transportation, communication, all these things are accelerated when you have a what we call a conflict.

Seth Adler: Innovation comes out of conflict.

Don Young: Yeah. I don't advocate that. I just say it. If you look at the history, that does happen.

Seth Adler: That is what happens. Okay. So you remember World War II. So I usually when someone brings up the financial apocalypse or even 9/11, I'll ask for personal anecdote. You said you were fishing on December 7th. Do you remember the change in either your family narrative or the national narrative around? How much did that change us as a nation? I mean, I very rarely get the opportunity to ask somebody that.

Don Young: Remember, we were in a repressed state at that time. President Roosevelt had already started WPA, the CCC programs, but we were still in very serious challenges economically. We were fortunate because we were raised on a ranch. So we had plenty of food.

Seth Adler: But coming out of the depression was everybody else.

Don Young: Yeah. And not much money anywhere.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: Now the media changed for a young boy was that we had within two days, there were talking about incarcerating the Japanese Americans. If you were Japanese, you were evil. Within two days. I remember up north we had a big pumping station that one Japanese fellow working there and he was the enemy. So they put him in prison.

Seth Adler: Right. The internment camps.

Don Young: Yeah. Internment camps. Well, they didn't have camps. They just put him in prison.

Seth Adler: Okay.

Don Young: And then they create an internment camps. One of the black guys on our society.

Seth Adler: Sure.

Don Young: And the second thing that always tickled me in a way, we had lookouts, night watches. My father and a neighbor had to go up in this tower and was a big thing if I got to go along because everything's blacked out. There's no lights. And then we kept listening for airplanes or looking for airplanes in the dark. I never could figure out how in the dark. But that was our job to report in the phone to somebody in case they were coming in to get us.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Don Young: And then we had victory guards. I will say what was good for America was everybody participated. There's none of this like we going now. We've been in Afghanistan 15 years. I think 15, maybe 17.

Seth Adler: More.

Don Young: Maybe 17. Longest war, by the way, we've ever been in. But it's not a war, it's a conflict.

Seth Adler: Right. I see your point there.

Don Young: But that changed. We had victory guards. We collected aluminum. That was a marvelous thing to do to collect aluminum for building airplanes. But we're all involved. The victory guards, every school. We had one room school but every school had a victory guard. We had rationing. Everything was ration. All your gasoline was rationed. Your food was. Sugar was ration. Like I say, we were lucky. The things we was short on mostly was sugar. But the people lived in the urban areas, suburban areas, if there was suburban areas at that time.

Seth Adler: Right.

Don Young: They were pretty hard to ...

Seth Adler: That was kind of created after World War II, right?

Don Young: Yes. Because of World War II.

Seth Adler: Ration.

Don Young: Rationing of sugar. Gasoline I say was very crucial. Either you were limited at 35 miles an hour. You really get ticketed heavy if you're 35 miles and over because you consume more fuel as you went faster.

Seth Adler: Now we're weaving. This is an interesting ... I would love your take on this. One, you're talking about the nation coming together around a common goal. You're also talking about a pretty heavy rule set imposed by the federal government but in support of a great good. I'm just going to leave it there and let you talk about it.

Don Young: Well, keep in mind, remember what I said what happens under threat of pain or threat of death.

Seth Adler: Yes.

Don Young: You respond differently, and like I say, my father did not want us to go to that war. He really abhorred the idea of going to war again. Go back to that, the general public though, as I say, as soon as we were attacked, then there was immediate response. Well, you saw a little bit of that in the 9/11.

Seth Adler: Sure. Absolutely. Directly after, and then it kind of fell away unfortunately.

Don Young: Unfortunately, you have some residue from that. So you can't change those things. I just wish people though would have an idea that maybe it goes back to the idea of federalism. It's not the federal government. It's the independent states and the right to do.

Seth Adler: And so here we are, right, and cannabis has that opportunity to bring everybody together. 66% that enjoy the opportunity for adult use as you guys voted in, right? And even more supports to medical.

Don Young: Oh no. I think it's the right time to do the things that I think the public wants done.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: I don't think this will be the unifying effort for everybody because I don't know.

Seth Adler: Well, I'll take 66% of the country anytime. I mean, come on. Name something else that 66% agree on. Seriously.

Don Young: I don't disagree with that.

Seth Adler: Because I don't even know if we can agree about the round earth that you brought up earlier. So we've got some legislation. Do you think the States Act passes within the next Congress? Is it possible?

Don Young: I think it's real possible. Again, when you say ...

Seth Adler: Is it probable, I wonder.

Don Young: Well, i think it's probably. But now when you say ...

Seth Adler: That includes the Senate, by the way.

Don Young: No, no, no. That's the problem now.

Seth Adler: Okay. All right.

Don Young: Now we got to the dark hole. Remember, I said about the Senators. We created the Senate. It's a dark hole.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Don Young: And we're really the spokesman for the people. The House of Representatives.

Seth Adler: Directly so to speak.

Don Young: That's exactly right, and what they do, I don't know. Now that's going to be up to the people. If the people demanded enough, they'll respond because there's a chance to say some of them won't come back. But this going to make an effort.

Seth Adler: Some of the Senators won't come back if they don't allow the vote or whatever.

Don Young: At least allow the vote. I mean, I always said before, allow the vote.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: And if it goes up ... I mean, if you win, you win. If you lose, you lost. But don't not have the chance to voice an opinion for your constituents.

Seth Adler: How did we get here with the not allowing the votes? Is that ... Because, let's go back again to 1973. You remember the town back then. It feels like I only know it from kind of my childhood and reading that everything did seem to at least work better than it does now.

Don Young: Well, there's ...

Seth Adler: Or am I mistaken?

Don Young: No, no. You're absolutely right. There's been numerous things that happened that causes this. One is the constant exposure, and people say, "What are you talking about? Transparencies good." Not always. Because when its so transparent, you can't move with everybody getting on social media, Facebook, or something and criticizing you. This is viscous stuff.

Seth Adler: Because you got to react to the minute, the second, and you can't have a longer conversation.

Don Young: We didn't have that. There was not real discussion. There was no real debate anymore.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: Now I would say it really started with, again, Rich, bless his soul. I love him to death, but he did not like the idea of power being dispersed. When I was first elected, we had the great chairman. I just got a book there from John Dingell who I served with Ray Fonda, and he was a Democrat. I was a Republican. But we had one or two things in common. He helped me out tremendously. We worked together to solve problems.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: Because for the benefit of the country. Well, Newt decided you better have more power was within the speaker's office to take in, make a stand for a party and not for a solution. When Nancy got elected, Denny was pretty good. Denny, he was ...

Seth Adler: Hastert.

Don Young: Yeah. He was ...

Seth Adler: Hastert.

Don Young: Hastert. He was pretty good. He let the committee chairman run the Congress. But they kept saying he needed to have a majority of the party to do it. Every chairman would come to us on the minority, like I mentioned John Dingall, Murphy, Jack Murphy, Mo Udall, all these chairman would come to me because I was the minority. But we would work on a bill. When it came to the floor, it'd be a committee bill solving a problem.

Seth Adler: Right.

Don Young: And that's what would occur. Well, when Nancy got elected, bless her heart, she believed in centralizing the power to propose the platform for a party.

Seth Adler: So she continued that kind of Newt Gingrich philosophy.

Don Young: Yes, and then, bless her heart ...

Seth Adler: And then we continued it from there it sounds like.

Don Young: We kept it up. And Baner promised he was the chairman, promised not to do that. Power's hard to give up once you have it. People whispering in your ear. You can't do that. There's too much freedom. There'd be no discipline. We don't have ... Well, what's happening, we have a hard time governing now. That's on the House side. It's hard.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: Then we get something done, we send it over to the Senate side and it does.

Seth Adler: It stays there. Yeah.

Don Young: It dies.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Don Young: It's not good for the country. My argument has been all along if you want to govern, you have to remember there are three equal branches because when we don't govern, the presidency, the executive branch governs.

Seth Adler: Yup.

Don Young: And when they do that is without the wishes of the people.

Seth Adler: Yeah. It feels like to me that over my lifetime, and by the way, you've been here too long, two year ... You've been here in the D.C. two years longer than I've been here on earth. But it feels like to me that we kind of run against each other, and that seems to be what the goal is. So is that what the original philosophy is? Because you said you love Gingrich to death but he kind of consolidated the power and then made it about the party. Was that the intention that we don't get stuff done?

Don Young: No. I don't think it was the intention not to get done. But they didn't realize that our nation will never be totally unified and always be differences of opinion. Right now we really don't debate the issue. We're not debating this cannabis issue. We don't really try to solve problems, and you look at the votes on the floor and I'm thinking, "Why are we doing this?" It's 100% Democrat or it's 100% Republican. I unfortunately don't think that we're going to change that much. Remember, power is hard to give up.

Seth Adler: But how do we get back to ... If we all agree ...

Don Young: It's going to take ... What's going to happen.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Don Young: What's going to happen.

Seth Adler: Sure.

Don Young: And I'm wishing Nancy a lot of luck that she doesn't listen to the far left as we listen to the far right. That's always been the problem. Too far one way or other is not good for governing.

Seth Adler: Yeah, that's it.

Don Young: Ronald Reagan said something one time. He said, "The only time we'll ever be unified again is when the little green men come down from Mars."

Seth Adler: Sure.

Don Young: It's a mutual challenge.

Seth Adler: We got another enemy that we can all agree on.

Don Young: We can all agree on.

Seth Adler: Right.

Don Young: And then that may happen. But, again, though it worries me as we govern less, it gives more power to the executive branch. On my side of the aisle always says we're over regulated. You know where the regulations come from? They come from the executive branch.

Seth Adler: It feels like the power has gone to the executive branch over the course of my lifetime. I interrupted myself before.

Don Young: You're absolutely right.

Seth Adler: And it doesn't feel like that makes sense no matter who's in there.

Don Young: No. It's not party. I mean, I just very frankly ... I'm a little frustrated now with the so called Progressive party. They ought to stay on one thing. What they're proposing, it sounds good. It's like eating candy. It's really good.

Seth Adler: Oh, the free ...

Don Young: Oh, free this, free that, and free ... Someone's going to have to pay for it. And they've never shown me yet where it's ever worked. They keep saying, "Well, how about Sweden," or, "How about some of the ..." They're a quasi socialist but they're a capitalistic base. Society ...

Seth Adler: In Sweden you're saying.

Don Young: Yeah.

Seth Adler: So here's my take on the kind of free healthcare or medicare for all. It seems like whatever math is offered is the same type of math that I get offered when I see a tax bill. You know what I'm saying? Well, you do the algorithm and then ... We got it. Everything's fine.

Don Young: It's not going to happen. No. I'm quite interested in healthcare. That's one thing we got killed, our party got killed in healthcare proposals. We didn't appeal Obamacare. We didn't offer a solution. That's not good.

Seth Adler: Well, I think it's ... Isn't it the second thing first?

Don Young: Well, no.

Seth Adler: The solution. I'm speaking to you. You're telling me about solutions. Here's the solution. Then we repeal it.

Don Young: Well, that's right. One thing I would like to suggest is the healthcare issue itself, you watch, even now they're going to talk about providing healthcare and funding it but they don't ever treat preventing it.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: And I argue that if you were to in fact watch where their problem occurs and why, obesity in this country is disastrous.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: Housing, believe it or not, is part of it.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: You have to have a prevention so you don't have to treat the disease. We're spending tons of money treating diseases that are avoidable.

Seth Adler: Yeah. Absolutely. Let's start at the beginning.

Don Young: That's right. And hard to get people to quite understand that. I'm hoping they will. I'm working on it. See what happens.

Seth Adler: All right. Good.

Don Young: She's looking at me.

Seth Adler: She's looking at you. We're running out is what's happening. Okay. So we'll just quickly because you brought up housing. HUD just had an interesting quote. We got to even out what the states and the federal laws state as far as cannabis. You had the FDA commissioner had two quotes, one of them specific saying this is inevitable. You had the surgeon general saying, "Hey, we got to get some research." That's all, I think, in the last week, and that we concludes we're definitely going to be voting on this Farm Bill. It's insane how much progress is being made now from the outside. Do you feel the same way 1973?

Don Young: No. Well, 1973, no. Remember, this is an evil thing.

Seth Adler: Right. Well, you missed the Controlled Substances Act vote, didn't you? Just by a few years.

Don Young: I did. I have to tell you the one story about the ... When Ronald Reagan was elected, he was a great president as far as I'm concerned. But he had drugs are bur. I think that was correct.

Seth Adler: Aaron Burr.

Don Young: And he ...

Seth Adler: I'm kidding.

Don Young: No, it wasn't Aaron Burr. But he insisted on enforcing the bill you just mentioned.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Controlled Substances Act.

Don Young: And I have a community in Alaska that is very high at that time in illegal utilization of marijuana.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: And substances. And they never voted for me, but it goes back to what I said before. The guy was enforced. He started enforcing the law to the extreme because it was federal law. We have a policy in Alaska, and it's mostly nationwide. If you're a crewman on a boat, you sign an oath that you do not have an your possession nor are you using marijuana or anything other substance.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: You're a crewman. Well, this was a fishing community. What was happening, they were going to enforce it, and bearably, there was a crewman caught with a joint. And they would seize the owner's boat.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Don Young: And I'm sitting here. There's something wrong with this principle. The idea, this guy signed the paper. He said he hasn't had it. He's caught with it, and the guy that hired him loses his boat. So I went to bat and I got that reversed.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Don Young: I took that community by 80% the next election.

Seth Adler: There we go. Exactly. If you sign something, you got the joint, it's your issue not my issue.

Don Young: It is not my issue.

Seth Adler: I want to come back and talk to you again. If it past is prelude, you'll be here. So I've got the three final questions in the meantime. I'll tell you what they are, and then I'll ask you them in order. What's most surprised you in cannabis? What's most surprised you in life? And on the soundtrack of your life, Congressman Don Young, one track, one song that's got to be on there.
But first things first, what has most surprised you in cannabis?

Don Young: The input from the public and how they have actually seized this moment and done it in a very professional way.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Don Young: It's not cast now. I think the veterans hopped out. It's not cast as something evil. It's cast as something that can be helpful. It can be abused as anything else can be abused. But there are lots of benefits that should be considered. That's where your study comes in.

Seth Adler: Yeah. So we're pushing you guys, right?

Don Young: I hope so.

Seth Adler: Lagging indicator is what I've been told about Congress.

Don Young: Yeah.

Seth Adler: What's most surprised you in life?

Don Young: My happiness. I've been blessed with two lovely wives.

Seth Adler: Yeah, you got lucky twice.

Don Young: I got lucky twice, and that's rare. My Annie now takes good care of me. I'm a little bit spoiled but that's her fault. And she can take credit for every moment of it. I'm going to make her pay for every moment of it too.

Seth Adler: You can hear the love, folks. So what would it be on the soundtrack of your life, one track, one song that's got to be on there.

Don Young: Amazing Grace.

Seth Adler: Oh, that's a good one.

Don Young: Yeah.

Seth Adler: That's a pretty good one.

Don Young: The life's been good. I'm going to continue it because as long as the Lord wants me to be where I am and we'll see what occurs. I've never ever been looked back. I try not to ... One thing that burns me up is the public now worries about yesterday. And this sounds very cold blooded. But when people tell me about, "Oh my god. The earthquake. The earthquake." I just went through one of those.

Seth Adler: Yes, you did. We hope everybody's at least okay there.

Don Young: Well, what I want to talk about is thank God they're there to clean it up.

Seth Adler: I gotcha.

Don Young: We're going to go to the future and not think about yesterday. We spend all our time worrying about what ... And you never get yesterday back.

Seth Adler: Well, the only caveat I would say because we brought up World War II, that kind of philosophy, those kind of symbols, I'm seeing those around a lot more than I used to ever in my lifetime. What are your thoughts on that?

Don Young: Well, one thing to keep in mind, I hope we don't have the little green men come down from Mars.

Seth Adler: I think that's better than the symbols for me, for my money. You know what I'm saying?

Don Young: If they just become more aware, can stop most any catastrophe. I thought of a bill I really want to introduce. I probably won't because nobody will ever support it. I call it the conflict tax.

Seth Adler: Okay.

Don Young: The last time we declared war was when?

Seth Adler: Oh, we haven't don that in a while. We've been in conflict, not wars. Right?

Don Young: No, we declared war in December of ...

Seth Adler: Iraq.

Don Young: No. December of Pearl Harbor.

Seth Adler: That's the last time we declared it? We didn't even do with the Iraq the first time?

Don Young: No. We have never declared war.

Seth Adler: Since then. Since World War II. Not Vietnam, not anything.

Don Young: No. It's always been ...

Seth Adler: It's all conflict.

Don Young: It's a conflict or that type activity. They call it a conflict and by the commander-in-chief.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Which we discussed.

Don Young: We have to be very careful of that. When I would suggest the conflict, if the president decides it's worthwhile and declares a conflict, immediately everybody is taxed 10% on all their income.

Seth Adler: I love it. I'm with you.

Don Young: By the way, I go a little farther though. And anybody that receiving benefit from the government, loses 10% of that benefit.

Seth Adler: I'm out on that. But we'll talk about that behind the closed doors.

Don Young: No, you have to understand the reason for that, that means everybody's involved.

Seth Adler: Everybody loses essentially.

Don Young: Well, everybody's involved.

Seth Adler: Got it. I got you. Everybody sacrificing something.

Don Young: And the only thing that will repeal that is if the Congress declares war.

Seth Adler: Yeah, and then we're fine. Everything's back to normal.

Don Young: Back to normal. But anyway, it won't go very far.

Seth Adler: Oh, come one. We can get McClintock, I think, right?

Don Young: Maybe. I don't know.

Seth Adler: Congressman Don Young, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time. I look forward to checking in with you down the line. Oh, and I'm just really glad ... Just one more thing, sir. I'm just so glad that I was not attacked by an [inaudible 00:37:36].

Don Young: I'm not even going to mention that.

Seth Adler: And there you have U.S. Congressman Don Young. 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.