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Episode #143 – Steve DeAngelo, Harborisde Health Center Part II

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Episode #143 - Steve DeAngelo, Harborisde Health Center Part II

Episode #143 – Steve DeAngelo, Harborisde Health Center Part II

Steve DeAngelo, yes that Steve DeAngelo of Harborside & ArcView joins us to give us an update on him, MMRSA and the industry on the whole…he even let’s us know what he thinks might happen this summer and fall in electoral politics.  Steve covers his thoughts following the publishing and feedback of The Cannabis Manifesto, the importance of California’s imperfect regulations, the health of the movement and what 1968 might mean to 2016.
And if you’re so inclined, please take our survey: http://survey.libsyn.com/canneconomy

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Steve de angelo part two.

Speaker 2: Steve de Angelo, yes. That Steve D'angelo of harborside and arcview joins us to give an update on him. MMRS say, and the industry on the whole, he even lets us know what he thinks might happen this summer and fall in electoral politics. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on twitter, facebook, instagram, and our new youtube channel with the handle can economy. That's two ends in the word economy. We've got the new cannabis economy APP in itunes. You can get us through itunes podcast, APP and Google play. Steve covers his thoughts following the publishing and feedback of the cannabis manifesto, the importance of California's imperfect regulations, the health of the movement. And what? Nineteen, 68 might need to 2016.

Speaker 1: You louder though? Hearing me, I am louder. This is an unfortunate situation and I have to be, you know, I have to deal with every day is I'm allowed individual. Well, I always thought I was the loudest one in the room, so that's kind of strange. I think your were messages loud. Okay. I think that that's what it is. Steve de Angelo. Thank you so much. My pleasure. Here we are, uh, again. Um, sat down with you. Took a tour with you. Now here we are, a beginning of the second quarter, 2016. We haven't spoken to you since, uh, the manifesto came out. So I want to spend some time talking about that. Want to talk about Melissa and then I want to talk about the craziness that we have going on in politics. Wonderful. Well, let's, let's roll. So the manifesto. Thank you for writing it. Uh, as far as anybody that I've spoken to in the industry, everyone seems to like it. What kind of feedback did you get that was surprising to you? Right? You got it out of your mind. What was the feedback that you said? Oh, I hadn't considered that. Well,

Speaker 3: um, you know, what I was really struck by was the, the, the passion of some of the reports that I got back. So I was fortunate enough to go out on a book reading tour. I traveled around the country, gave readings, and uh, and I had people coming up to me really with tears in their eyes and saying things like, reading your book has changed my life, or reading your book, saved my husband's life and I wasn't really prepared for the level of emotional intensity, you know, the reason what is really trying to do when I wrote the book was, was number one, uh, empower people who already believed in cannabis reform to be the best activist that they possibly could be. Right? And then I also wanted to reach out to people who either hadn't really taken a serious look at cannabis yet or were wobbling on the fence, or maybe we're a little bit over on the other side of the fence and I could and I could swing them over maybe, hopefully.

Speaker 3: Right? So I think we accomplished that really well. Um, you know, Amazon, now I'm up to 85, five star reviews on Amazon. We had three. We hit number one in three different Amazon categories. And what I, the refrain I hear over and over again in those reviews is, oh, you know, I'm a much better activist than I used to be now, or my cousin, uncle, wife, sister, finally after me trying for five, 10, 15, 20 years has changed their mind. Excellent. So first goal accomplished, second goal accomplished that. That's wonderful as far as change my life, you know. And um, how is it different from a patient perspective, from the consistent feedback that I know you get from harborside? How was that different from them reading the book as opposed to being kind of taken care of at the dispensary? So as I drilled down and talk to people about what they, what they meant when they said it changed my life, they've, most of them really zeroed in on the chapter where I talk about wellness, not intoxication and challenge people to take a second look at their own cannabis use and, and decide, you know, am I really just getting high or am I actually being well?

Speaker 1: Steve de angelo part two.

Speaker 2: Steve de Angelo, yes. That Steve D'angelo of harborside and arcview joins us to give an update on him. MMRS say, and the industry on the whole, he even lets us know what he thinks might happen this summer and fall in electoral politics. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on twitter, facebook, instagram, and our new youtube channel with the handle can economy. That's two ends in the word economy. We've got the new cannabis economy APP in itunes. You can get us through itunes podcast, APP and Google play. Steve covers his thoughts following the publishing and feedback of the cannabis manifesto, the importance of California's imperfect regulations, the health of the movement. And what? Nineteen, 68 might need to 2016.

Speaker 1: You louder though? Hearing me, I am louder. This is an unfortunate situation and I have to be, you know, I have to deal with every day is I'm allowed individual. Well, I always thought I was the loudest one in the room, so that's kind of strange. I think your were messages loud. Okay. I think that that's what it is. Steve de Angelo. Thank you so much. My pleasure. Here we are, uh, again. Um, sat down with you. Took a tour with you. Now here we are, a beginning of the second quarter, 2016. We haven't spoken to you since, uh, the manifesto came out. So I want to spend some time talking about that. Want to talk about Melissa and then I want to talk about the craziness that we have going on in politics. Wonderful. Well, let's, let's roll. So the manifesto. Thank you for writing it. Uh, as far as anybody that I've spoken to in the industry, everyone seems to like it. What kind of feedback did you get that was surprising to you? Right? You got it out of your mind. What was the feedback that you said? Oh, I hadn't considered that. Well,

Speaker 3: um, you know, what I was really struck by was the, the, the passion of some of the reports that I got back. So I was fortunate enough to go out on a book reading tour. I traveled around the country, gave readings, and uh, and I had people coming up to me really with tears in their eyes and saying things like, reading your book has changed my life, or reading your book, saved my husband's life and I wasn't really prepared for the level of emotional intensity, you know, the reason what is really trying to do when I wrote the book was, was number one, uh, empower people who already believed in cannabis reform to be the best activist that they possibly could be. Right? And then I also wanted to reach out to people who either hadn't really taken a serious look at cannabis yet or were wobbling on the fence, or maybe we're a little bit over on the other side of the fence and I could and I could swing them over maybe, hopefully.

Speaker 3: Right? So I think we accomplished that really well. Um, you know, Amazon, now I'm up to 85, five star reviews on Amazon. We had three. We hit number one in three different Amazon categories. And what I, the refrain I hear over and over again in those reviews is, oh, you know, I'm a much better activist than I used to be now, or my cousin, uncle, wife, sister, finally after me trying for five, 10, 15, 20 years has changed their mind. Excellent. So first goal accomplished, second goal accomplished that. That's wonderful as far as change my life, you know. And um, how is it different from a patient perspective, from the consistent feedback that I know you get from harborside? How was that different from them reading the book as opposed to being kind of taken care of at the dispensary? So as I drilled down and talk to people about what they, what they meant when they said it changed my life, they've, most of them really zeroed in on the chapter where I talk about wellness, not intoxication and challenge people to take a second look at their own cannabis use and, and decide, you know, am I really just getting high or am I actually being well?

Speaker 3: And I just, I heard a lot of really moving comments. Uh, you know, one of, one of them came from a born again Christian who's very, very devout guy who goes to church several times a week and he said, you know, before I read the book, I was feeling really guilty because I liked to take a couple tokes before I went to church. I had a much better experience at church, but then I was feeling guilty because I was getting high before I went to church. And now, you know, I understand that cannabis has been used for many years and, and, and will lead to, in some cases a more fulfilling spiritual experience. So thank you Steve. I don't feel that guilt anymore, right? The plant has respect for you. You can have respect for the plant almost exactly many different ways. So it's like this, there's this sense of lingering stoner shame, uh, that a lot of people had and I think when they talk about changing, changing their lives and so it's sort of the lifting of that stoner shame.

Speaker 3: Absolutely. And uh, one thing that's certainly gonna help in, in California is a set of laws. How about that Murcia coming down the road, ready or not right? I'm ready or not, and I think by that you mean Murcia itself, whether it's ready or not. Yes, it's not perfect. It's not perfect and it was passed at the very end of the last legislative session, you know, with very little input. I don't think any of the legislators who voted for it, including the sponsors of the bills, knew everything that was in it or more importantly understood what the impact on the industry. Who would be. Let's first go with the positive. You know what, what is in there that does work that's positive that we like. Well, you know the. The most positive thing about mercy is that it finally exists, that it's, I think the voters of California when they passed prop 2:15 in 1996 right there in the text or the measure it says that the legislature shall implement, shall pass and implement regulations to cultivate and distribute medical cannabis.

Speaker 3: The legislator just ignored it for 20 years. I was going to say it only took 20 years. It only took 20 years. So they've, they've, they have now finally a done that and that's, and that's a great thing because amongst other things that will give us protection from federal interference and especially as we look at the new political season coming up, we don't know what kind of government we're going to have in Washington. We really want to make sure that we put up as many defensive barriers that we safeguard the freedom that we have in California to the jury with Canon and having statewide regulations. Uh, we'll do that. Um, they're uh, you know, I think that it's, that it is good. One of the really good things in Murcia is that finally, finally growers and manufacturers will be able to get licenses. So we've had this situation in California pretty much for the last 20 years.

Speaker 3: We're the only category of people in the industry who were really legally protected are they're municipally licensed dispensary, right? Oh, we don't have any cities that have have issued or very few that have issued cultivation licenses are manufacturing licenses. So growers, uh, continued, uh, all this time to, you know, be in very serious risk of being arrested. And thrown in prison, likewise people who are making extracts or edibles or anything else. So I think that, that the, the beyond the fact that it exists, the single most positive feature of Murcia is that it will allow all these classes of people who are in the industry who were unprotected to finally be protected. Absolutely. And, um, you are a big fan of beautifully sun grown cannabis. What do you think is the key difference in the language and the approach from last time to this time in terms of the cultivation community?

Speaker 3: The cultivation community for the most part seems to be on board here, whereas they weren't last time. What's the key difference do you think? I wouldn't say that it's true that the majority of the cultivation community is onboard. Uh, in fact, uh, I have yet to talk to a single grower from amongst the several hundred growers that supply harbor side who think that the way that the licensing is being structured is good for growers. Um, you know, enter Murcia growers will only be able to sell to a distributor. Here we go. So that we wanted to talk about this and let's talk about this specifically. Yeah. So, uh, you know, the way the supply chain of California works right now is a grower grows the cannabis. Now we know we can just name check the dogs here because many people know that the, about the dogs, right?

Speaker 3: And met the, have met the dogs. But let's name check them. Well these are, these are my beautiful little Chihuahua mixes, both foundlings, claribell and Goliath. So they often like to comment a little bit while we're doing interviews. Indeed, uh, both Chihuahua's, I think they're both true. Seventy five percent of the dogs in the shelters in Oakland are Chihuahuas, Chihuahua mixes. So many of our foundlings are or were a little lost to Elvis. And it also puts into a folks' mind how big Goliath actually is. Yes, yes. Uh, he, uh, he, he is big in spirit and Vegan heart indeed are. Sure. But as we were saying, cultivators now would need to sell directly to a distributor. Well, yeah, I mean right now cultivators can sell, you know, to anybody who is legally allowed to possess cannabis. So they can sell to a dispensary, they can sell to a manufacturer, they can sell to an extractor, they can sell directly to a patient, they can have a farm to table model where they deliver cannabis from their farm directly to the consumer in the city.

Speaker 3: They can have a farmer's market model where they set up a market and people can come and can purchase from them, which would be an actually appropriate use of the word artisinal yes. I mean we have many, many amazing artists and growers in the state of California. So now growers are going to be required to sell cannabis only to a distributor and then and then everybody else in the supply chain is required to only receive or send cannabis through a distributor. This basically is going to lead to a situation where the price of cannabis in California has doubled, tripled, or possibly quadrupled at the retail level. And the reason for that is, you know, right now it say a grower brings a cannabis to a, an extractor. That extractor brings the cannabis to somebody. The extract is somebody who manufactures it into an edible. And then that edible comes to the dispensary.

Speaker 3: So there's three steps in the supply chain. What would need to happen under Murcia is that the grower give that cannabis to a distributor who then takes it to the extractor, the extractor. Then after they do their thing, we'd give it back to the distributor who would take it to the manufacturer who would have to give it back to the distributor who would then take it to the retailer. And Oh, there's a testing thing that has to happen in there too. Right now at each step. And I've talked to the distributors, I know these guys, right? They're going to charge 15 to 35 percent of the value of the product, each step, each step of the wholesale value of the product. So that means, uh, in this case, say the lowest possible percentage, 15 percent. You've got three steps in the supply chain, uh, and, and you go from three steps to six steps in the supply shirt.

Speaker 3: So 15, 15, 15, 45 percent. And it gets to the dispensary dispensaries. In order to make a profit, we need to stay alive, need to keystone or double the price like every retail store he does. So you've got a 90 percent increase in the price. We can't have a doubling essentially in the price of cannabis. And added to that, it was the fact that there's probably going to be a 15 plus percent tax that's added by the legislature before this has all been done. So on top of, to 80, on top of everything. So, um, and now imagine that it's not 15 percent. Imagine it's 30 percent, right? We're talking about basically a quadrupling in the price of edibles on the shelves of, of cannabis dispensaries in California. And I don't think that's sustainable. We have a parallel unregulated market and if the price of cannabis goes up to a thousand dollars an ounce in the listed market, we're going to have people who are just going to go down the street and get it from their neighbor for a couple of hundred dollars an ounce just because the price is just so dramatically different.

Speaker 3: You know, you know, we, we know already that if there's a huge, if there's really just a significant price differential between the licit, the regulated market in the unregulated market that we see outflow because if you're in the regulated market, you need to pay for Insurance and testing and licensing fees and safety and security, a bunch of stuff that, that makes it more expensive for you to operate than a guy who's standing on the corner. You know. Uh, and so what we've seen at harbor side for example, is during harvest season when a lot of folks leave, the city was working as trimmers have north and they may come back and they're all paid in cannabis. So for a few months everybody's running around town selling cannabis to each other, right? The price in the illicit market dips by like 25, sometimes as much as 50 percent.

Speaker 3: Sure. Well that's irresistible. You know, people aren't gonna aren't going to pass up an opportunity to get cannabis at half the price they would at a dispensary. And so those months at harbor side are always the lowest sales months of the year for us. Very, very, very predictably how holiday season almost, uh, is a, a flipped for for cannabis in California. Exactly. And, and, and we still have the same thing in Washington state, so in Washington state they didn't have this ridiculous distributor system. What they had was a 25 percent tax at each step between the supply chain. So essentially the same, same happen type of thinking. They couldn't give away these licenses for retail stores because nobody was going in the retail stores. And to this day I'm the legal cannabis system in Washington is remains far smaller than the illicit market. Yeah. I just had a couple of conversations that we put together with John Davis.

Speaker 3: Um, so it's, uh, always, uh, building the plane while they're flying it up in Washington state. Right? Yeah. So that's, you know, that's what will, what will happen if mercy has not changed, how can we do that? So I've spoken with Amanda Reiman who's obviously, um, you know, in important in terms of what's happening, how can we change it, how, what, how can we make sure that, uh, you know, a change is made at least. Oh, it's really simple. As soon as you get done listening to this conversation, uh, you pick up the phone and you call your elected representative and Sacramento, both your state senator and your assembly person. You make an appointment to go visit them. You go in, in person, uh, and you tell them that you want cannabis to be affordable and this distributor, a mandated distributor requirement needs to be removed from us that they are still working on mercy.

Speaker 3: We can still fix it. We can still change this. We do have time, but we're really going. It's going to take thousands and thousands of patients saying, no, this is not okay with us. It's going to take thousands of growers saying, no, this is not okay with us. It's going to take thousands of other people in the industry to say no, uh, we are not going to have to. And here's the tragedy and a travesty. This whole thing doesn't come out of any inherent need of the industry. It's like we have distributors now and that's great. They're optional. You don't have to use them. Sometimes people do, sometimes they have wonderful, right? This is being driven by special interests from outside the industry industries like the alcohol lobby, uh, and the teamsters union and law enforcement. And unfortunately, you know, even some of the leading a grower, quote unquote grower organizations like Cga are also supporting this.

Speaker 3: Why is beyond me, because I haven't talked to a single grower, thinks this is a good idea yet, now that, that doesn't make any sense. And you mentioning folks going to a lawmaker's offices, uh, in person, uh, reminds me of something, a smart man once said, uh, if, if one of us do it, you know, they'll think we're crazy and they'll just kick us out. But if a lot of us do it, they'll consider it a movement. And, um, his movement was a, of course, the Alesis restaurant movement. I'm talking about Arlo Guthrie, but, uh, this is, uh, a little bit more important, uh, and, and a little bit more actual frank. Well, uh, it's, it's, uh, it's, it probably all sort of part of that same movement. You know, it's taken us a long time to, to get where we are. And, you know, one of the good things that we have now is that as a people would be engaging with their elected representatives, know that I and that other people within the movement are working behind the scenes and having more private conversations with those legislators mean every time that a legislator gets an email or a phone call and a personal visit is really, really the best thing.

Speaker 3: Then my ability to get them to negotiate is strengthened. So together we can get this thing done. There we go. Okay, excellent. Good to know, uh, that, uh, that you are in there. It's not a surprising thing to, to consider it all. Uh, so we, we just brought up the movement. Um, and you know, you were just talking before this interview about how uh, the movement is accepting new players, new players are accepting the movement, uh, and everything in between.

Speaker 3: Where are we as far as cannabis is concerned in total? So we just talked about Melissa and California, how we doing here, you know, so I'm asking you this with, you know, your Steve de Angelo hat on, which everyone is familiar with, but also your arcview a hat, which I think is the same hat, but you get my point, where are we as far as business and cannabis? So I, you know, I would say that we are not quite, midway through the transition, probably about 30 percent through a very unique transition, right? We are in the process of changing from a social movement into an industry is a very unique thing, right? I mean, think about how many industries grow out of a social movement and that's what's happening with cannabis. And so, uh, you know, in the very earliest days of the industry, the folks that you saw coming in, we're just activists.

Speaker 3: Nobody else was crazy enough to do it, right? Um, and, and at least in California, after the activists came in, um, uh, and there was, there was no regulation when the first activist open dispensaries in California. None whatsoever. It was like a really crazy thing to do and they didn't have much business experience, but they started doing millions of dollars in business, right? And then a second wave comes in and these are folks who they liked the fact that it's not regulated, you know, they're really into making money and, and they, they, they make a bunch of it as quickly as they can, some ways that some of us want to be a little bit ugly. The second wave. Then in California we started seeing the first passage of local municipal regulations and that's when you see this third wave that came in, uh, folks like myself who came out of the cannabis community.

Speaker 3: But I also came out of a business background. Um, and with the passage of regulations, we saw an opportunity to create real cannabis businesses that were, that were more professionally conceived of and managed. And so you see places like harborside spark piece in medicine, uh, that, that sort of third wave a step up and professionalism without court. Now this is very interesting thing is happening where with the passage of the statewide regulations, we're beginning to see the entry in California have folks who do not come out of the cannabis community who come out of the professional community. They may or may not have some familiarity with cannabis. They're not opposed to it or they wouldn't get into it, but it's not their passion in life. They've spent 20, 30, 40 years being passionate about marketing or finance or compliance or systems or hr. Uh, and, and now we see those kinds of folks who are beginning to come in and, and enter the industry.

Speaker 3: And, you know, it's, it's, it's very interesting. You might even come from these corporate backgrounds, very traditional business backgrounds. We're seeing a lot of investors coming into the industry now. There's a for profit industry in California. There's a lot of investors who are coming in. Um, and uh, you know, for the most part, they come from more traditional business backgrounds, corporate backgrounds. And so the questions, you know, really coming up, uh, is corporate America going to corporatize cannabis or is the cannabis community going to cannibis corporate America? And I know what I want to see happen, right?

Speaker 1: Uh, and in terms of this kind of new wave, this current wave, um, how do you think we're doing h, how do you think, um, you know, uh, the new folks are reacting. So I find myself in a, in an interesting situation in that, you know, I've been, uh, involved since 2013, which is now for awhile. You know, I, I know you've got many, many years on top of that, but as far as, you know, this current wave two, 2013 is a long time ago. So, you know, do you think that the new folks, and I do mean, um, you know, maybe some of the folks that you speak to through through our q or some of the folks that you speak to, uh, you know, as far as the business side of Harborside, uh, understand the movement side of cannabis.

Speaker 3: I think it's all over the map. Um, uh, you know, we're, we are now beginning to see the entry of some pretty large, well-financed, sophisticated brands coming into the market. Uh, some of them are, have an articulated social mission and, and are devoting some resources to implementing that social mission in a way that fairly consistent with cannabis values and for other companies that's, it's completely absent a, it's not even part of their thinking. It never even occurred to them. Right. And so you're, you're really, you know, seeing both kinds of approaches. Um, my, my bet, at least my hope is that the brands that are really going to resonate with the cannabis community or brands that reflect the values that we've developed over the years of our relationship with this plant. And, and for me that means things like being inclusive and welcoming diversity because that's kind of, you know, who we are as a community and, and being generous because well, you know, if you're in a room and you're consuming cannabis and there's somebody there, it doesn't have some, what do you do is share it with them.

Speaker 3: Right. You know, it's just, it's part of what this plant brings out in people as generosity and kindness and gentleness. And so I think that brands that express that value of caring and generosity, um, are, are going to really resonate and are going to be more successful and those that try to take a traditional strictly profit making approach, I think that they're not going to get as much traction with cannabis users as they would have people who don't use cannabis. Right. We named checked during our tour of harborside. You have a painting a over one of the doorways of Jack. Um, what do you think he would think about this reality? Would he even recognize it? Would he be fascinated? Would be he'd be gleeful. What, what do you think? Oh, Jack would be absolutely joyous to see overall if the changes that are happening and then he would have a whole list of gripes and bitches that needed to be fixed and probably a lot of his grapes and bitches would kind of sound like the gripes and bitches that I, that I'm talking about.

Speaker 3: At least I hope that's what I'm doing. I'm trying the best I can to channel my old friend Jack, you know, my nickname for you and I'm trying to push this is the ID of the industry. I don't know if anyone else has come back to you with that yet, but that is certainly a, my nickname for you, uh, for that very reason I think. Well, thank you. That's a little bit more comforting than Godfather for a guy whose name is dangelo. Right. I'm sure there's a, there's both sides of that equation I guess. Right. Um, all right. So, so there we have a kind of your, your take on the industry it sounds like, um, of course you remain excited. Um, it sounds like you are frustrated, I don't want to say annoyed by some of the things in Murcia. Is that fair? Yeah, I'm, I'm, I, I am beyond frustrated.

Speaker 3: I'm really deeply concerned about some of the things in Murcia, particularly at the price increases. We know, uh, because we deal with thousands of patients that one of the first things that's impacted when people fall ill is their financial situation and it's just a, it's unconscionable to me. If this was any other medicine, nobody would be thinking about implementing a system that would cringe. Drupal, the price of medicine and pharmacies. Are we going to start regulating pharmacies in the state of California in such a way? So the prices in them are going to imagine the outcry. So we should have an equivalent outcry here because this is the single most valuable and important medicine that people can access anywhere today. What's interesting, and I don't know if we, uh, want to go down this rabbit hole, but there have been stories recently about price gouging in pharmaceuticals, but that price gouging has been done by the manufacturers themselves.

Speaker 3: So I'm not looking to get into a debate on that. I'm just saying that it is the manufacturer who has chosen the price of the medicine. Yeah. Well, look, I'm a. One of the things that cannabis consumers should expect and demand as we move into a more and more legal market prices, lower and lower prices, uh, but, uh, at least some sort of floor to make sure that operations can continue, obviously. Yeah, I mean, but the, you know, the market will find what that floor is and uh, you know, I think that allowing the free market to do his job with cannabis is going to be something that's really good for consumers. Uh, you know, a let a variety of business models flourish. Let them compete with each other and the people who are most efficient who can produce the best products and offer them at the lowest prices, who are most adept at understanding what the needs and the tastes of the market aren't supplying those needs and tastes at the time that the market needs them are going to thrive.

Speaker 3: Should a pretty good system. Yeah, exactly. Maybe you should teach a business course. Um, and so actually, have you thought about doing that once the university is kind of open up to cannabis programming, that it probably is a good place for you? Hey, I'm waiting for my professor Ameritus a word, uh, somewhere. Uh, so now I seriously, I really, one of the real pleasures of my life now is that, is that I get opportunities like this to share some of what I've learned about cannabis and in writing the book and, uh, it's very, very rewarding to me. So I hope that that moving into the future, uh, I can spend less time on business operations and spend more time on, on education and messaging.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Excellent. Uh, we hope that you can do that too. Um, so that's a, you in the, in the cannabis world. Let's talk about you just on earth, uh, last time, not last time we spoke, but the first interview we, you know, you mentioned that you were at the march on Washington, which is still mind boggling. Um, but that would mean, uh, that you were of a certain age in 1968. And the reason that I bring that up is that more and more here, as we get into the second quarter of 2016, as I mentioned, there is not only talk of one contested or brokered convention, now there's starting to be talked of both being a contested in Brooklyn. And I'm a while each of the conventions wasn't necessarily contested or broker in 1968. There was chaos at each. So the, you know, the Democratic convention in Chicago is better known for the ridiculous chaos, but there was certainly chaos. I think it was here for the Republicans. Right. Um, first off, before we get to what's going on now, take us back if you would. What do you remember from 1968 as far as politics?

Speaker 3: Well, you know, 19, 68 was still quite a youngster at that time. And so I, I largely look at it through the lens of history. I was 10 years old in 19, were only 10. I the math didn't. Okay. Yeah. Arizona we tend in, I was 55 at the time of the march in Washington. Right. Uh, and so I wasn't actually at Chicago, but I, it was something that was important to me because Chicago was famous for a, there was the Democratic convention there, uh, it was at the height of the Vietnam War and an organization which I later became a part of the hippies, a called a huge demonstration in Chicago and literally tens and tens of thousands of young people came because the Democratic Party was continuing the war in Vietnam and, and, and we had thousands of people who are coming home in body bags for no good purpose whatsoever.

Speaker 3: Right? And there were a lot of angry young people in the streets outside the convention. And within the convention there was a struggle going on between a pro work candidate, Hubert Humphrey and antiwar candidate, Eugene McCarthy. Uh, and so there were fireworks in the street, there were fireworks inside the convention center. A lot of people got hurt. Um, the police went on an absolute madhouse riot, a clubbing people and journalists. Um, and uh, there was, there was not quite that level of violence inside the convention hall, but it got very heated there as well. At the end of the day, Hubert Humphrey was nominated and of course he lost, yes, a and m, the subsequently to that, there was a trial where, you know, of course you do, couldn't indict the police department who was really responsible for that riot. So they indicted eight yippies and there was a very famous trial called the Chicago eight trial after they removed Bobby Seale, who was the one black panther who was part of it, it became the Chicago seven trial, one of the really famous show trials in American history.

Speaker 3: So, uh, Chicago for me is, you know, this memory of, of this incredibly tumultuous, quite violent, a political convention. I was sitting around with some friends of mine around the same age that I am last night, uh, and we were commenting to each other that Cleveland is probably going to make Chicago look like nursery school. So you do think that. So now you're talking about the republican side of things and obviously it's, it's moving forward in a way that it's certainly going to be contested in brokered and there's going to be, you know, that imagination, uh, and there has already been the threat of violence and so you think that it will be that bad. Well, there hasn't already been the threat of violence. There's already been violence at the Republican front runners rallies and, and it's violence that, that he deliberately incited and called for.

Speaker 3: Um, and I believe continues to call for. I mean, every time he says no violence, no violence. I mean, I think to his supporters that reads okay, you know, get your shotguns ready boys. Sure. So, uh, I don't know whether a more afraid of trump winning or losing. Yeah, right. Because I don't think he loses. I don't think people go home now peacefully. Right? So looking ahead to Cleveland, we've got a situation where it seems almost inevitable that the republican establishment is going to try and take this thing away from trump. Uh, he will have thousands of, of people inside the convention hall who are going to be really, really angry and disruptive. He will have tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people outside the convention hall who are going to be considerably less restrained, added to that is going to be the tens of thousands of people who feel specifically targeted by the trump movement of people of color, um, uh, people who care about peace and economic justice.

Speaker 3: And so the potential for, for battling both within the convention and outside the convention is, is really, really high. Well, that's a, continues to be disconcerting. Um, what about on the democratic side? Uh, what are your thoughts there about how that's going and you know, I don't know how much you want to share, but. Well, I don't mind sharing it all. I'm a one issue guy. Um, you know, what I really hear about is cannabis and the. We finally finally have a candidate on the presidential ballot who has a shot of winning, who has embraced a publicly the complete legalization of cannabis. And that's Bernie Sanders, right? So, you know, no question about where my support goes and I urge every single person who cares about cannabis to make that same choice, what's going to happen, difficult to say, uh, you know, what I hope happens is that folks in Maryland and New York and West Virginia, uh, uh, get the message and deliver the kind of landslide victories to Bernie that he's going to meet a need to really clench this thing.

Speaker 3: It still is mathematically possible for him to clinch it. It's just going to require a lot of people going to the polls and voting for him. I'm still hopeful that that can happen. If he goes into the convention, I'm close to the number of votes that, uh, that Hillary Clinton has a then I think that, that, you know, we are probably, again looking at a quite a heated situation within the convention hall. Hard to tell how that would play out. I haven't been invited to the convention so I probably won't be able to play a role there, but I don't think that you have the same potential for violence that you would on the republican side. So, um, I think the high high prop, I would say at this point, there's a probability of some violence at the Republican convention and, uh, and, and it remains to be seen what will happen to the Democratic convention flashing forward to November, uh, assuming, because we have to at this point, even though there are all of these caveats that we're talking about a, that it is a kind of, uh, uh, trump Clinton choice.

Speaker 3: I spoken with others who have said, you know, trump actually isn't necessarily bad for cannabis on the ballot. What are your thoughts on that? Uh, I think that when it comes to politicians have a normal stripe and I would post put trump and Clinton in there because I think that both of their agendas is attaining personal power and aggrandizement. Um, I think that you don't listen to what it is that they say because they will say whatever they need to say in order to get into the position that they want to be. I think what you have to do is take a look at their constituency. And so when you take a look at Donald Trump's constituency, okay, you're talking about people who are racist. Sure. People who are homophobic, uh, you were talking about a people who are xenophobic, who are militaristic, um, generally, and I don't want to paint with a total total brush here, but generally people who have those attitudes are also unfriendly towards cannabis.

Speaker 3: Uh, now I have met trump supporters who are cannabis reform supporters, and I've asked them, [inaudible] met a very engaging young men, uh, at my, a trip down to Tampa, Florida. Really, really passionate about cannabis reform, equally passionate trump support. And I was like, so how many of you are view are there, you know, and he takes this. He's like freight. It's just me. And I'm like, oh, okay. Right. So, you know, I, I think you have to look to the constituency. I don't trust Donald Trump's constituency on our issue, a Hillary Clinton. Um, I have zero trust for Hillary Clinton. I remember very well that it was under the Clintons, that the size of the federal prison system was tripled. I know the anti cannabis laws that were signed on their watch, uh, we are still suffering under some of them today, uh, and so I have zero trust for her or either of the Clintons personally, but I think that they too are creatures or their constituency.

Speaker 3: And so I think that their constituency is such that I don't think hillary would dare to try and push our movement back in an aggressive way. I think that what we can expect from Hillary Clinton basically as benign neglect, benign neglect. And so then that brings us past the election and, uh, through to whoever does get elected, um, what is your sense of the movement being, uh, pushed back? What is the ability of legislators, whether they be state or federal now, uh, based on the fact that we do have working systems, uh, and the sky hasn't fallen, what is your sense, how could it be rolled back, I guess is how I'll put it to you? So I, I think that absent some of the intervention of independent variables, uh, I don't think that we're going to see a rollback. I think that, that no matter what happens in November, uh, the worst thing that we're looking at is possibly a slowing down of progress positively as severe, slowing down a progress.

Speaker 3: I don't see a rollback. Um, I don't think that, I don't think that, that, that, that is, is possible anymore. And the main reason that I say that is because if you take a look at what Congress has done on the cannabis issue, one of the most notable things that's happened is the passage of the far warbuck room in which prevents the Department of Justice from spending any funds to interfere with state cannabis laws. That amendment has passed over and over again, I believe it's past three times now, and each time that it passes passes with very significant republican support, 65 slash 70 republican republican, something like that. Um, and they're voting on a states rights issue, of course. And so I don't see the states' rights caucus within the Republican party losing steam anytime soon. Right? Uh, and um, and I think that they will continue to support cannabis reform, uh, and, and, you know, and then we are beginning to see, you know, other rulings that are, that are moving in that direction as well.

Speaker 3: How do you mean? Well, you look at judge [inaudible] ruling, uh, for example, um, uh, so, you know, we're beginning to see that law, the effect of that law actually taking place in court cases. Take us a step lower just so that everyone's on the same page. Right? So, uh, so in a judge Bryer, uh, recently ruled that the passage of the Pharma brocker amendment precluded I'm a sue, a federal action against another dispensary and hopefully that will have some, some precedential value, uh, for us. And then that does bring us back to, uh, to, to California and I kinda wanna start to end where we began, you know, northern California and southern California are very different places, uh, me as a New Yorker have, have had to learn. Um, but I have learned and as far as, you know, attacks on dispensary's and businesses in southern California still definitely really happening.

Speaker 3: What's going on there? So the situation that we see in southern California is largely due to the refusal of the city of Los Angeles to properly regulate medical cannabis, but at the same time to tolerate illegal operators. Right? So what has happened in Los Angeles as you had a situation where people who are, you know, who, who really want to put up sophisticated, reputable, legitimate, dispensary's are unable to do it because there's no system of licensing and you're not going to invest the half a million to 3 million, 4 million, $5,000,000 it takes to build a facility like that unless you know that you have a license at the same time the city has done essentially nothing to enforce against people who open without a license. So you have virtually every flavor of organized crime that you can imagine that has opened up store fronts in the city of Los Angeles. They're just, they opened them up, they closed them down when they need to.

Speaker 3: It's basically a couch and a TV and a cigar box and bags of weed, right? Um, and uh, and the image of, of, of quote unquote medical cannabis in southern California has really become one of, it's just a sham, you know, this is just a bunch of people who are selling weed. You don't have facilities like harborside health center or spark or a piece in medicine or places that look and feel like a real wellness center. And so when you take a look at the politicians in that area, when you take a look at business leaders, when you take a look at community leaders, they've not had the same benefit of being educated about the real benefits of cannabis that has happened in northern California. They haven't seen what the city of Oakland does scene where, you know, the, the level of crime in the neighborhood of a dispensary says dropped two to one 10th or one slash 20th of what it was before the dispensary's open. They haven't seen a, the bus loads of senior citizens, uh, going from their senior centers to dispensary's because the medicine is so effective for that. Uh, so, you know, I, I think that it's this chicken and an egg kind of situation where because there hasn't been any licensing, um, and there have been these really fairly unreputable operators for, for the most part, disreputable operators, uh, that there hasn't been an opportunity for the kind of public discourse and education and change that we've seen up north

Speaker 1: and that does affect some of the business owners that, that we know that are rated for no reason. Uh, if you've got that element on one side, then you know, the, uh, listed as you say, a element is also affected. And that set.

Speaker 3: Yeah. So what happens in, in southern California is that at the same time you've got folks who are totally flaunting, you know, any kind of regulation. In Los Angeles, you have other people who are attempting to make cannabis extracts or make cannabis edibles or vape pens. They're doing it 100 percent in compliance with California law. There's nothing illegal about what they're doing. They're keeping all the records. They're paying all the taxes, they're doing everything they're supposed to do. And, and the local cops decide that they're going to read them and bust them and uh, and they have the ability to do that because there's no local licensing. And so, you know, this just happened to one of my dear friends, James Sladek and Metro West, uh, down in San Diego and, uh, we need desperately a affective regulation. This is why you say that the best part about Murcia, there's the fact that people like my friend James of will finally be able to be protected and will have the benefit of being protected by the law that the people of California passed 20 years ago in order to protect them.

Speaker 3: That's it. Uh, and we will make what is imperfect, a little, at least a little closer to perfect. Although we're, we're used to dealing with imperfect, right? I guess. Well, here's the real deal. You know, we're going to be going up to the legislature every legislative session now for the rest of our lives. You know, the deal. There's always gonna be something they're going to regulate. There's going to be something we want or something we don't want. And it's just, this is part of life now it's part of being regulated and there we go. No, here we go. We asked for it. I

Speaker 1: got it. You have it. Exactly. And so to end where we began, I want to go back to the book now. You know, we talked about in the beginning of this conversation kind of reflections from other folks. What about self-reflections? I mean, this is something, how many you, 25 years in the making at least, you know.

Speaker 3: Okay, fair enough. Well, I've got 42 years into the movement in the Industry today and happy anniversary was this as easy to do as we think it might have been to you just put the pen to paper and then two weeks later you were done. Or Oh, this is a book. What's selling? You know? Uh, my whole life I've wanted to write a book. I had all these things. I've cared passionately about all these amazing experiences. And my pace of my life is just going so rapidly. I never really had time to stop long enough to write it down. But I always said to myself, wow, it's going to be great one day I'm going to get a chance to sit down and write the book. It's going to be so fabulous. I get all this stuff out. Writing that book was probably the single most miserable experience of my entire life.

Speaker 3: Okay. Is that hard? Oh, it is. Grueling. Well, here's the thing about writing a book, right? You write it and you got about halfway through it and then you go, yeah, I should go back to the beginning and check it out. See how well I did that. And I start reading the first. I don't like, oh no, this does not work at all. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Go back to the drawing board. Well, you go through that process three or four times, five times, and at a certain point you realize you could keep on doing that forever and ever. Right. And so at a certain point you just have to let go of it. Right? And so I did. I mean, I could've kept on writing it for another few years and that let God. Has it been a cathartic kind of experience? You said you may have mentioned it was tough to do it, but now you've done it. It's out there. People responding. That's fantastic. What about you personally, you know, will now have a tremendously satisfying, fairly used with myself.

Speaker 3: How important was it to start at one specific question about the book? How important was that to start with? Uh, with Oaksterdam? I mean, that's, that's basically the, the opening scene, see if you will. Right. Um, well I think that opening scene was the opening scene from the very first draft of the book and it remained the opening scene of all the way through. Um, I, you know, I, I included it in there because first of all it was, it was a really, it was a, it was a experience that had a deep effect on me personally. And so I wanted to share it, but I also thought that it really just encapsulated the incredible idiocy of what's been going on with cannabis enforcement that, you know, here you've got a 50, 60, 70 federal agents and you know, an equal number of Oakland cops to protect the federal agents from the hundreds of people who are pissed off because they're doing what they're reading a university.

Speaker 3: I mean, this is the United States of America. We have this thing called the first amendment. People have died, died many people in order to protect it. And we have cops who are rating a carting out boxes full of books and textbooks. Are you kidding me? All right. And then at the same time on the other side of town, 14 Montano's worse for people die and a bunch of other people are wounded. Uh, and there's not a single cop there. Right? And it just, it was like, so because the carrying books out of a university carrying books out of a university, you know, they, they don't have time to go chase the guy who shoots for people down. Who gets away, right? This guy gets away while they're carrying books out of the university. It's like, are you kidding me? This is crazy. So it, it, it just, it just really summed up the whole absurdity and the waste and the tragedy of it for me.

Speaker 3: So have we come a long way? I guess that's the, that's the real question. We've, we have come a, a considerable distance. We still have a long way to go. Uh, there are only four states in the United States of America. Three and the district of Columbia that allow free access to the most valuable plant on the planet. I don't mean to correct Steve de Angelo, but it's four plus DC. Oh, four plus DC. Okay, there we go. So four plus DC. You're right. One, two, three, four. Um, uh, so we've made a little bit more progress than I was crediting. Um, uh, but you take a look at what's going on in the rest of the world and there's, you know, it's pretty grim. We still have a regularly people who are being put to death for cannabis in places like Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, people who are getting very, very draconian prison sentences.

Speaker 3: People were doing 20 years for cannabis in China. People who are, you know, even in places like Japan being locked up for years for simple possession of cannabis. So we have a long, long way to go yet. Um, but I think that, you know, if I died tomorrow, I would be confident that the cause that I've spent my life on would ultimately be successful. Please don't do that. Uh, and I'm pleased. I'm pleased to hear that. That is your, uh, your position though. I'll, I'll be slightly morbid, Steve, but, uh, but fair enough. Your, your point is taken and, and to, to age, um, you know, uh, I apologize for plus plus fiving you. I gave you five additional years. I thought you were 15 in 68. But, uh, what are you going to do now? I was 10 years old, but you know, I'm proud of every year I've got.

Speaker 3: There you go. All right. So, uh, we're, we're now at the final question. I, I don't know if we did a highlight, uh, the soundtrack of Steve Deangelo's life, one song that had to be on that soundtrack last time. Even if we did, I want to another song, it might even be the same song. So we ask everybody this on the soundtrack of your life because I asked you what has most surprised you in cannabis and what has most surprised you in life? I asked you that last time. We'll leave those questions, but on the soundtrack of your life, what's one song or one track that's, that's gotta be on there? Oh, it's got to be seen. Steven by the grateful dead. That was very, very quick. By the way, that was. You've been thinking about this movie for a long time, you know, so I know the opening scene, the rose into and out of the garden.

Speaker 3: He goes, right? So is that a tell us why, I guess, I know that you're a big guy, a big fan of the group, the grateful dead. Well, you know, um, you know, in, and out of the garden, he goes, um, uh, the people, uh, wherever he goes, the people complain. You know, I've, I've, I've, I've traveled around this country and around the world and I've had a lot of people complain about what it is, uh, that I've been talking about and trying to do a, like a fleeting Arrow, a sharp and narrow, um, uh, what, how many fleeting matters have you spurned? Um, so that's about struggle. You know, it's about dedication. It's about having spent an awful lot of time in the trenches instead of on the beaches. Um, you know, um, uh, the, uh, seasons and they're treasons. Uh, you know, I've seen an awful lot of seasons in the cannabis business. I've experienced, uh, certainly my fair share of treasons along the way. Sure. Uh, so, uh, there's just a lot of the, of the lyrics in that, in that song that really resonate with the course of my life. Saint Stephen, I love the grateful dead. There you go. Yeah, well that a I K now. Now you sat up, it's going to go out, but now we got one more question. Your favorite show that you were ever at

Speaker 3: my favorite show that I was ever at favorite grateful dead show. Yeah, it would, it there. It would probably actually be, um, RFK stadium.

Speaker 4: It must've been 90

Speaker 3: somewhere in the nineties. Oh really? Wait, wait, wait.

Speaker 4: 80 nine.

Speaker 3: It will help to know, you know, I don't think that I can. All right, that's fine. The thing about the shows or you know, it's like you're there, you're at the show. It's kind of this eternal, timeless place that you're at and they all blend together. There are certainly moments that I can remember, but if I had to pin down exactly which show that moment was at. Yeah, I probably have a pretty tough time doing it, but I will tell you that I, you know, I had the opportunity to be at the last show of the grateful dead in California, uh, the um, uh, fairly well a tour down at shoreline amphitheater. And as I started walking, I was outside. Um, uh, my, uh, my medication, I'm not medication, I was just beginning to come on and the sky was sparkling and I was really feeling the depth of my soul and the depth of the moment and I turned around and I looked up on top of that stadium and I saw the flag of the United States just thought the flight to California and I saw the rainbow flag and I knew that in that moment that we had really come a long, long way.

Speaker 3: You see that rainbow flag flying over that stadium in San Jose, California. You know, I really felt like a, the journey that we started on the way back in the 19 sixties, um, uh, has, uh, has really brought a lot of the changes. Not all of them. We're not there yet, but it's brought about a lot of the changes that were important to us. So it was a very fulfilling moment. St Stephen de Angelo, the ID of the industry. Thank you so much. Thank you sir. Always a pleasure. Yeah, that one's still moves me. Oh my God. And there you have Steve de Angelo.

Speaker 2: He shed a tear there at the end, so it's quite something to see and uh, always really good to talk to Steve, as I say, the image of the industry. Really appreciate him and you can't say enough how much we appreciate you listening. Thank you.

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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.