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Episode #145 – Etienne Fontan, Berkeley Patients Group

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Episode #145 - Etienne Fontan, Berkeley Patients Group

Episode #145 – Etienne Fontan, Berkeley Patients Group

Etienne Fontan runs the storied Berkeley Patients Group in Berkeley California.  It’s right up the road from Oakland which is East of San Fransisco if you’ve never been…or looked at a map of the region.  Etienne takes us through his history which coincides quite nicely with the history of the cannabis movement.  Listen for stories focused on Jack Herer, Ed Rosenthal, Steve DeAngelo and one of BPG’s founders Debby Goldsberry among others.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Eitenne Fontan
Speaker 2: and if you were wondering how to pronounce it, that's how at the end, run to the store in Berkeley patients group in Berkeley, California. It's right up the road from Oakland, which is east of San Francisco. If you've never been or looked at a map of the region, welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on twitter, facebook, instagram, and 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 the itunes podcast APP and Google play. Eddie and takes us through his history, which coincides quite nicely with the history of the cannabis movement. Listen for stories focused on Jack [inaudible] and Rosenthal, Steve D'angelo and one of the bpg founders, Debbie Goldsberry, among others. That truck reversing in the beginning is only for a moment.

Speaker 1: How I want to start is I want to make sure that I and everyone else on earth understands how to pronounce your name. That's a fun with Etienne Etienne. Yes. Fontana, Fontana, Fontana, Fontana. So that doesn't sound. That sounds very americanized. Yes, uh, well actually the Basque spelling for Fontana, which is fountain or Fontaine in the French spelling, but found Fontanne is the uh, the best, but at the end. Yeah, it's definitely very French, very funny name. Okay. Comes from southern Louisiana. Southern Louisiana. That's the question. It's not France. No. And I'm from New Orleans, born and bred as we say no, but wouldn't you say New Orleans and Orleans? Yeah, when I, when I go there and needless to say because I'm still a season ticket holder to it because I love him. And you have the two tattoos as I have flirted Lee's on the base of both my palms.

Speaker 1: That's amazing. Yeah. So we've got a little bit of a beeping back here because we are in bpg headquarters, is that right? We are here at the corporate offices and actually that's a fedex truck. Oh, that's just a fad. Extra backing. And however you may occasionally hear train go by because we are right next to the train tracks every go. Um, you, how would you describe your role at bpg today? Before we get in the wayback machine? Uh, currently I'm a director at Berkeley patients group, came to Ppg and 2002 after running a opg oakland patients group, and then I'm managing Ed Rosenthal's operations for a few years. I'm like, good friend, Debbie goldsberry asked me to come into Berkeley patients group and assist her with a gross situation that they had at the time and unfortunately was in an unforgiving area and there is really nothing I could do, so I had management experience.

Speaker 1: So I came in pretty quickly and started in the weight room, a wing, a things down to the grams eighths and ounces and then worked my way all the way up to. I'm currently a director at Berkeley patients, so I've worked myself from the bottom to the top. Perfect. You name checked a couple of very important people, which we're going to get into. There was also a dog barking. We need to introduce the dog. Oh, that's holly. Holly is the shop dog. Basically our fedex protector. Excellent. Yeah, it's needed. Absolutely. In these days and times, I'm Ed Rosenthal, master grower. How would you describe who had Rosenthal is if someone listening doesn't know who that is and has been putting out grow books since the mid 19 seventies and is the most successful independent publisher to my knowledge in the United States because the topic of a cannabis has been, uh, so exclusive and was so stigmatized over the generations that it was the only outlet.

Speaker 1: So back when I was on canned cannabis action network tour, going around doing rallies, teachings, tourists in 47 states, we had ed's grow books, we had male France grow books. We've had that information out there to get out to the people because back then it was a only ordering from high times to get that book information because you couldn't go into most bookstores, much less a gross shop and get that information. And most people were afraid that you were going to end up on a list. Isn't that funny how paranoid we were and now today it's a reality. Yeah. And you're a marketing director. Victor was just telling me about all of the data initiatives that you have. So we've come a long way certainly. Oh, absolutely. I mean, we've come by leaps and bounds, but needless to say that that pervasive fear and warmongering that the drug war basically perpetuated.

Speaker 1: It caused such a tremendous fear that there was no access for people to gain information. Um, so we were on literally on the front lines distributing that information because we had high times magazine which was at that time the only magazine dedicated strictly to cannabis. We would have hemp products. Um, we had the old Jack career shirts with the ditch, you know, hemp facts on the back, which usually had a different print on the front, but all the same did, you know, facts, you know, one acre of hemp will save, you know, four acres of trees, et Cetera, et cetera. So, um, we were doing direct action by being out going to a college campuses and just touching directly base with people. And Ed was one of the earliest supporters of Debbie goldsberry and can, they had come to my university in 1989. Muntjac Herrera, not ed, but ed had his books and for you know, with the situation and Debbie, the original kind of bpg person or persona, Debbie was one of the founders of Berkeley Patients Group along with Don Duncan and Jim Mclellan.

Speaker 1: Jim Mclellan passed away unfortunately due to AIDS complications in 2001 we didn't know at the time, but he wanted a greater place where he could pass but a place that people could be respected. And uh, I was a gulf war veteran. I'm a combat veteran and I sustained injuries and was diagnosed with Gulf War syndrome. And which is ptsd essential oil. Well, it's one of it as well as nerve damage and all kinds of other fun things. Nausea, migraines. I had lesions on my feet for nine years. That wouldn't go away. Awesome. You know? Yeah. So I was told that was all in my head and I was crazy. And when I, I was kicked out of the military for positive peer analysis after my doctor recommended it's use and I lost all my benefits. And then when I went to the Va and told them I used medical marijuana, they physically removed me from the va facilities in four different ones around the United States because I was a known drug user and because I admitted my marijuana use, I was a willful known drug user and therefore it could receive no benefits and was physically removed.

Speaker 1: Eitenne Fontan
Speaker 2: and if you were wondering how to pronounce it, that's how at the end, run to the store in Berkeley patients group in Berkeley, California. It's right up the road from Oakland, which is east of San Francisco. If you've never been or looked at a map of the region, welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on twitter, facebook, instagram, and 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 the itunes podcast APP and Google play. Eddie and takes us through his history, which coincides quite nicely with the history of the cannabis movement. Listen for stories focused on Jack [inaudible] and Rosenthal, Steve D'angelo and one of the bpg founders, Debbie Goldsberry, among others. That truck reversing in the beginning is only for a moment.

Speaker 1: How I want to start is I want to make sure that I and everyone else on earth understands how to pronounce your name. That's a fun with Etienne Etienne. Yes. Fontana, Fontana, Fontana, Fontana. So that doesn't sound. That sounds very americanized. Yes, uh, well actually the Basque spelling for Fontana, which is fountain or Fontaine in the French spelling, but found Fontanne is the uh, the best, but at the end. Yeah, it's definitely very French, very funny name. Okay. Comes from southern Louisiana. Southern Louisiana. That's the question. It's not France. No. And I'm from New Orleans, born and bred as we say no, but wouldn't you say New Orleans and Orleans? Yeah, when I, when I go there and needless to say because I'm still a season ticket holder to it because I love him. And you have the two tattoos as I have flirted Lee's on the base of both my palms.

Speaker 1: That's amazing. Yeah. So we've got a little bit of a beeping back here because we are in bpg headquarters, is that right? We are here at the corporate offices and actually that's a fedex truck. Oh, that's just a fad. Extra backing. And however you may occasionally hear train go by because we are right next to the train tracks every go. Um, you, how would you describe your role at bpg today? Before we get in the wayback machine? Uh, currently I'm a director at Berkeley patients group, came to Ppg and 2002 after running a opg oakland patients group, and then I'm managing Ed Rosenthal's operations for a few years. I'm like, good friend, Debbie goldsberry asked me to come into Berkeley patients group and assist her with a gross situation that they had at the time and unfortunately was in an unforgiving area and there is really nothing I could do, so I had management experience.

Speaker 1: So I came in pretty quickly and started in the weight room, a wing, a things down to the grams eighths and ounces and then worked my way all the way up to. I'm currently a director at Berkeley patients, so I've worked myself from the bottom to the top. Perfect. You name checked a couple of very important people, which we're going to get into. There was also a dog barking. We need to introduce the dog. Oh, that's holly. Holly is the shop dog. Basically our fedex protector. Excellent. Yeah, it's needed. Absolutely. In these days and times, I'm Ed Rosenthal, master grower. How would you describe who had Rosenthal is if someone listening doesn't know who that is and has been putting out grow books since the mid 19 seventies and is the most successful independent publisher to my knowledge in the United States because the topic of a cannabis has been, uh, so exclusive and was so stigmatized over the generations that it was the only outlet.

Speaker 1: So back when I was on canned cannabis action network tour, going around doing rallies, teachings, tourists in 47 states, we had ed's grow books, we had male France grow books. We've had that information out there to get out to the people because back then it was a only ordering from high times to get that book information because you couldn't go into most bookstores, much less a gross shop and get that information. And most people were afraid that you were going to end up on a list. Isn't that funny how paranoid we were and now today it's a reality. Yeah. And you're a marketing director. Victor was just telling me about all of the data initiatives that you have. So we've come a long way certainly. Oh, absolutely. I mean, we've come by leaps and bounds, but needless to say that that pervasive fear and warmongering that the drug war basically perpetuated.

Speaker 1: It caused such a tremendous fear that there was no access for people to gain information. Um, so we were on literally on the front lines distributing that information because we had high times magazine which was at that time the only magazine dedicated strictly to cannabis. We would have hemp products. Um, we had the old Jack career shirts with the ditch, you know, hemp facts on the back, which usually had a different print on the front, but all the same did, you know, facts, you know, one acre of hemp will save, you know, four acres of trees, et Cetera, et cetera. So, um, we were doing direct action by being out going to a college campuses and just touching directly base with people. And Ed was one of the earliest supporters of Debbie goldsberry and can, they had come to my university in 1989. Muntjac Herrera, not ed, but ed had his books and for you know, with the situation and Debbie, the original kind of bpg person or persona, Debbie was one of the founders of Berkeley Patients Group along with Don Duncan and Jim Mclellan.

Speaker 1: Jim Mclellan passed away unfortunately due to AIDS complications in 2001 we didn't know at the time, but he wanted a greater place where he could pass but a place that people could be respected. And uh, I was a gulf war veteran. I'm a combat veteran and I sustained injuries and was diagnosed with Gulf War syndrome. And which is ptsd essential oil. Well, it's one of it as well as nerve damage and all kinds of other fun things. Nausea, migraines. I had lesions on my feet for nine years. That wouldn't go away. Awesome. You know? Yeah. So I was told that was all in my head and I was crazy. And when I, I was kicked out of the military for positive peer analysis after my doctor recommended it's use and I lost all my benefits. And then when I went to the Va and told them I used medical marijuana, they physically removed me from the va facilities in four different ones around the United States because I was a known drug user and because I admitted my marijuana use, I was a willful known drug user and therefore it could receive no benefits and was physically removed.

Speaker 1: And so between Jim's experiences of being an AIDS patient and my experiences of being physically removed the va for even discussing my information, we provided, um, along with Debbie's expertise and done Duncan's guidance, we put together a Berkeley patients group in a way that really personifies patient first. That really is a place where you could feel safe, that I could feel safe, that anybody that was a patient that could feel respected and have a safe harbor, truly safe access, true safe access, needless to say yes. And we were very fortunate to have the city of Berkeley, which has worked with us for many years. Uh, but that's because we've consistently worked with and Jim and Debbie and dawn taught us early to very much go out there and, uh, always maintain local access and to your city council, to your council members, to your mayor because you may think everything's fine now, but you get an election change and things can happen.

Speaker 3: I was a lucky enough, if you will, to be at the Berkeley, a cannabis commission meeting yesterday where Sabrina Federick your own Sabrina fender was. Yep. So, yeah, you've maintained that to this day. All right, so now let's actually get into the way back machine because you've, you've given us some dots along your way and I want to make sure to connect those. Okay. So, so we did, we started in Louisiana. Yes. Right. So where were you

Speaker 1: born? I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Oh, you are? I was born in New Orleans and at the age of eight. Um, let's see. My father was born at the age of. No, no, no. I was going. It wasn't just want to make sure that the age of Eight, I moved out of New Orleans area, tend to rural southern Louisiana about 90 miles to the west in small blinking light town. My graduating high school class public was 19 people in 1987. Wow. That's how rural we are talking. Wow. So there was no cannabis. There was no access to cannabis or anything else. It was just very much a drinking culture. And uh, I was taught how marijuana was bad and it was pretty dare. It was just, there was really started in 1986. I graduated in [inaudible] 87. Right. And so, but still light was, I recall back in the sixth grade, the, a local police officer coming through with the back then the briefcase of drugs when they open it up in, there was the vial of this and the vial of this and there was the token marijuana joint and the marijuana leaf and all those things that uh, and they are bad, bad, bad, scary, scary, scary.

Speaker 1: And like brought out this guy who was a former star, had fallen from grace through it. Drugs. And alcohol and he gave the speech of still do it and we're like a k and so it's just really all these confusing signals that society was giving us and because I think more than anything because it was such a rural town, there was no local access and I was never really turned on. It wasn't until I ended up going to West Virginia. I had, I had my father who was blind, which I was going through. I interrupted you. You were saying that your father was blind? Yeah. My father was born blind or blind, blind lawyer in Louisiana. He graduated from Loyola back in the sixties and inadvertently did some illegal things. Just barred himself when I was one. And so my mom left him and I had some minor intro interactions with him.

Speaker 1: And um, I uh, graduated in [inaudible] 87 and found myself a thrown overboard on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico and quit off shore. Came home. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I think we skipped a step. First off, I'm still stuck on your born blind father. Yes. So because right after this, after I quit the oil field where my stepdad worked, my reached out to my dad who was in West Virginia at the time. And so that's where this comes around and come circle circles because a, I wasn't sure what to do with my life. And after quitting the oil field, after I didn't want to drown in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, decided that, uh, there was nothing in the state of Louisiana for me because it was either welding or working at the global carbon black plant or oil fault. And I already checked out of the oil field, literally drop into the Gulf.

Speaker 1: I was on a crew boat during a storm and was hit by a rogue wave and was swept off the boat. And fortunately the engineering saw me and hooked me in, clawed me back in. And I got on the last helicopter, Christmas Day, 87 and never went off shore. And again, that was it. I was done for. And my stepfather, who I was living with at the time had worked for the last 40 years in the oil field. And so to come home at 18 a failure and now I've quit from the job he, he, he didn't hook me up with, but I was a failure in his eyes. He was your mother, you said living with him was your mother as well? My mother is a, she was just a mother. Uh, she didn't really work. She was a house mom. Um, and uh, at that point, uh, I realized I had no future in Louisiana.

Speaker 1: So I reached out to my dad in West Virginia. He was working because he was blind. This is pre internet shows, putting blind people such as if or any type of, um, a handicap if you were, say you were blind and you wanted a Braille fax machine that you had to find that actual company Pre-internet. So he was working for, with this thing called the job accommodation network in West Virginia University for the government that put people in touch with that technology. So whatever your handicap was. So you're missing arms and you need the technology that's latest to assist you in any way, shape or form. They had the access number and the point, so that's how I ended up in West Virginia and when I was in West Virginia, I want to go to school and go to school. I ended up joining the military because I wanted to do the Gi bill, so I was wide eyed, you know, southern boy joined the military as artillery. It didn't realize I joined the finest our chiller unit in the world. And two years later I would be sitting on the front lines attached to the French Foreign Legion, uh, doing the goal for us. The goal goal for thing. So, so let's

Speaker 3: you enter the military because of the Gi bill. Yes. When did they realize that you had a talent if you were in this unique

Speaker 1: unit? Uh, I joined the unit though it was the national guardian and having to be the first battalion 201st field artillery there in morgantown and Fairmont, West Virginia. And I just happened to randomly pick that unit. What happened to be in the town? Um, I scored very high on the Asfab and was told I should go military intelligence, but it's like, eh, it wasn't really feeling it, so I went for the low 30 and went for artillery. Right. Because, you know, I don't know why. Um, but because it was guns and you were young. Yeah, I guess that was pretty much things that go boom. And at the time, and this is still, this is cold war still, this is 1988, 89. So there was no way I was going to end up on the front lines, you know, and we're not actually going to Russia. Right, exactly. On top of that life expectancy or even as they told us was 30 seconds tops. Yeah. Because you know, you wouldn't even get around off before you're absolutely obliterated. So you're talking about nuclear war, nuclear war. Absolutely. So, uh, but I was nuclear capable in artillery. In fact, my unit was attached to the French foreign legion. So in case the is really was hit with a gasket, we were to turn back at quote unquote to glass.

Speaker 3: So then let's connect those dots. When did you get that call? You just spoke of kind of the late eighties and then what was it? Ninety one? Ninety five,

Speaker 1: right? Nineteen 90. It was 1990 because I'm the Gulf War didn't start in [inaudible] 91, but the buildup was happening in 90. My unit was activated and we went to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Went through our training, were notified that we were going to be with French and then I was asked to be kind of a little liaison because I spoke a little bit of French, but realized I was way out of my league really quickly because I just asked you before we started, do you speak French and you correct. And I tried. I tried half acid, but needless to say, they, those French really knew their French. Sure. Yeah. Uh, so needless to say, uh, that didn't do too well, but um, I still got to play artillery men and did four different battles. Covered 350 miles inside of Iraq. Back where? Where were you bagged up outside of Baghdad.

Speaker 1: Got About 120 miles outside of Baghdad. I was a, if you look at the map of the actual movement, I was the farthest left with the 18th airborne corps, attached the French Foreign Legion at the furthest point to the left where we started off in the dead zone or a disputed zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. We crossed the border, uh, seven days before the actual war actually happened. So it was no actual three day war. We were well in there a week beforehand. We went in there, hit objective Brown, Jepthah blue, objective white, um, which were what they were battles back then they would, they didn't say, this is outside of the mine, you're going to destroy this town. It was objective Brown, it was objective blue is on Msrs, which are military supply routes, because we were running our large artillery pieces 26 ton howitzers. So yeah, had to refuel every once in a while, right?

Speaker 1: So, um, we softened up positions and did whatever we did, swung, got to it within 100, 20 miles of Baghdad. They realized no scouts were coming that way. And then they sent us over Taleb Azra and that's where we in place and that's where I sustained some of my injuries. So two things. Number one is, it is surprising to me how many people I've spoken to on this podcast that have a military background in this industry. Yeah. It's remarkable. Yeah, it really is. It's way above average for, I think, society. Well, we're not afraid of taking risk. We've already taken the risks, I think at a certain rooms resolve. And then especially combat veterans, we've have little steeliness to ourselves in DNA where it's not necessarily calling their bluff is they taught us to fight. Yeah. They never taught us to stop. And I'm. The worst thing that's gonna happen here is you're going to be put in jail, right?

Speaker 1: We're back in the military system again. I mean, when the. Yeah. Um, I was one of the recalcitrance seven for the Ed Rosenthal trial because when Ed Rosenthal was. Wait a second. Hold on, let's, let's stay stated that I stated that in court. I stated that in federal court that I'm an American citizen and I've been through the government system. I know what you can do to me and I've been your Guinea pig, so I'm not afraid of your jail. I said that in federal court as well as declaring my fifth and 10th amendment, you know, and this was actually thanked by the court four respectively and from what I'm told, what we, all of us did is taught now in law schools on how to be properly civil disobedient in federal court. Right. Because I was the first of the seven to go up. You said that they thanked you.

Speaker 1: I would imagine that it wasn't in real time or the judge actually, after we've given our statements and I'm threatened to put us in jail and all that other stuff for not complying, which we refuse to do. Each one of us. We all declared our fifth and 10th amendment rights. We all know the fifth tickets through the 10th. Of course, that's a states rights cases. My state access to state of California says this is my medicine, so I should not have to challenge or much less, you know, perjure myself in court to, you know, have my medicine and it's why I got involved just legal in my state. I got tired of making criminals out of my friends getting medicine I needed to survive back when I was in the military and then I was kicked out of the military, et Cetera. So I'm always kind of been at that access point or if I need access, other people need access to.

Speaker 1: And so that's where I've kind of always been behind the scenes helping and doing what I can. I'm in the trenches and had been in the trenches. So you continue to be. So let's talk about the actual trenches of warfare where you did sustain injuries. What, what, what happened? Uh, it's never fun to talk about. Uh, I had, uh, we were in a battle situation and uh, I had, uh, a private driving our howitzer who panicked. Um, and while we're in placing these large howitzers, they have these huge spades on the back of him. There's that train, there's a train telling, selling about and I'm, as that's fade, came down and caught my webbing and he accepted forward and when he did so my knee went the other way and grabbed your clothing forward, grabbed my clothing and dragged me forward and my foot was in place and it just, I can't argue with the 26 ton highlights are going forward.

Speaker 1: You lose that, you lose that battle physically. So I was between that and I had three um, heat strokes, needless to say because it was 130 degree weather, right? Um, but under the oil fires, 28 degrees Fahrenheit, how does that add up? Cold. I was sitting on my 50 caliber with an actual full down sleeping bag around me. That's, you know, that's, that's quite a visual, but it was very cold. You could barely see the sun under the oil fire. So I was, when I was a weird over by Al Basra where that was and where I've got dragged, so always med evac due to that. And um, while I was, uh, went the war ended, the got shipped back because that was separate from my unit. I went back through Germany and when I was going through Germany, that's where I had a military major tell me to try cannabis because on morphine for the pain and it was great if I wanted to draw over myself.

Speaker 1: But I remember I was in college at the time and I was in art school. I couldn't think it was great if I wanted to draw, like I said all over myself, I didn't think I couldn't be creative. I had no thought process and I told them I was like, I want to get off morphine. And he's like, have you ever tried hashish? And I laughed at him and because I was like, you're kidding me. And yeah, absolutely. And he's like, no, I'm serious. Have you ever thought about trying. It was military major. He never revealed name, but needless to say, say no to drugs major. Say No to drugs. I was, yeah, it was. Well then I was like, well where are. And he's like, you can't go fill up at the pharmacy, right. As like, okay, well where I was like, well, try off base bars right there.

Speaker 1: It was my first extent of trying to find medical cannabis, Germany, 1991. And uh, I came back and was very confusing time for me back state side and now it was confusing, I would imagine for a number of reasons. One is that now you have found a medicine that does work for you, which you cannot access. Uh, the other thing is you're now a veteran with you called the Gulf War syndrome and I had ptsd on top of that, which is part of it. So I had that as well. I had separation, like, you know, if you were my best friend and I'm looking right at you, I no longer knew you because of what the I had experienced and gone through. I didn't trust you anymore, you know, it was a very, I couldn't even, it took me five years to come back to my own family because once you go off to war, you're prepared for your own death.

Speaker 1: And I thought it was going to die. You don't anticipate your own survival. Well, when you're given 72 hours to say goodbye to all your friends, loved ones, et Cetera, et cetera. You don't have much time to think about you until you're there on the front lines and with the habits you're dealing with it, you know, next thing you know, bullets are coming at you and boom, boom. And everything's all going down. Nicotine, you know, you're back home. And it was very confusing one for the medicine too. I was just very confused over what went down and what I had done that I would add great shame myself. I mean, as much as there's great pride in the military, not a happy about everything and how it all the whole goal for went down. But. And this is the first one, the first Gulf War. A good one.

Speaker 1: This was considered the good one, right? Yeah. Needless to say, when the other one happened, I went out and I marched in the anti war protests and it was very liberating for me because my girlfriend at the time was doing that for me. While I was in the service, because she believes in servicemen, they don't believe in the war and somehow they use that rhetoric against them and you know, she got beat up and fucked with because you know, she was speaking out against the war and even back then, and that's when no one was, that's when there was 100 percent in quotation marks. Support. Correct. For, for that war. So. Okay. Uh, you are utterly confused. You are alienated completely. Uh, I had an all ages club in Morgantown, West Virginia called the machine shop and that had basically come to its fruition because I was in a band at the time as well.

Speaker 1: What is the band was called an instrument. Did you play? I play Bass and vocals. We were originally called harsh reality until we get sued by the drummer from blue cheer, uh, because he has the same name of abandoned California. So then we changed the name to tension and we recorded a little bit and you know, we played out a few times and kind of hardcore punk music before Nirvana and all that short in the, in the black flag type of absolute, right. Yes. Yeah. And that type of mold of hardcore punk, it a, uh, it was, you know, as you can see fault. Uh, so it was usually sharp, skinheads against racial prejudice, you know, so we went up and fought the Nazis and stuff like that. How does skinheads against racial president at prejudice work? What's that about? Because the whole thing about, back then it was a, the Geraldo and the, those, um, the Nazis came out and we're adopting the whole skinhead a motif which it goes back to the mods and the, you know, back in the eighties in England, exactly all shapes, colors and sizes.

Speaker 1: So were skinheads, so it wasn't just white. And so we had to literally go to shows as sharp gangs as sharps and then run into Nazis and get into fights and do stupid shit. And um, it was, it was young. I was young, I got ya. Impressionable military, you know, I felt into a trump rally. No, I gave up on that stuff when I moved to California in [inaudible] 92. Um, hold on, let's go back to 89. Wonderful. Because in 89, uh, the most fortuitous situation happened, my drummer in my band was like, hey, they're going to have a hemp rally in town and we're going down there and I'm rolling a joint. We're going to smoke this joint. And I was like, you're high. No Way. I'm smoking a joint outside in public. That's crazy. In morgantown is great. It's going to be 10, 10 of us standing around smoking a joint.

Speaker 1: They're just going to kick our heads in. Yeah. And by that you mean the police? The police? Yeah. And there we were on the quad with a joint her with about 10 of us as Jack Career Gut, unless little speaker and started pontificating about the emperor wears no clothes. And of course if you ever knew Jack, he had just had an enamoring personality. And the book itself is fascinating. And then I remember this hippy girl who turned out to be Debbie Goldsberry is standing there with this piece of hemp cloth in her hand and I just pick up a copy of Jack's book and she says, touch this. This is hemp. And as I touch it, it was like this epiphany, like, we, you can actually make stuff from this. I can't just get high from it. Really. There's a conspiracy about this. And then I took that fucking book and then I was the most obnoxious person at parties.

Speaker 1: My girlfriend, I had a girlfriend I've converted, immediately, sucked it all up, made copies of it, went and talked a, gave a college paper in my English one class on. It was just like, hell yeah, I'm all about this cannabis. And then of course when I did the English one on one class, they like, you only cited two things. Emperor wears no clothes and high times magazine I'm going to need a couple of more periodical. They're like, oh shit. But there were none really none at the time. And he let it slide anyway. And I ended up hooking him up with weed at a party. So the funny thing. So it works out. Yeah. I learned quickly that the military does not cover all your bills and covers basically the a year tuition and everything else you had to do. So I worked usually as a scrubbing Mexican restaurant dishes and then I discovered pot and then I became pot dealer and I learned to sell pot, but I was low.

Speaker 1: I was just smelling crappy. I'm a Schmuck, really complex tax, seated Brown, Coca Cola press. Just the worst of the worst. It was terrible. And I feel ashamed to even say that because now I sell some of the best, the best. Right. But back then, uh, I had lost the club. The band had fallen apart because after the war I really had a hard time with the band and just being in practices and doing all that. I just had our tired with everything. Well, because it does it even though it's a band or a lot of personalities, it takes a lot of egos, especially when you're a bunch of punks. And you know, we had a black lead singer, we had the guitar, has had long hair and the drummer was this amazing drummer was just amazing energy. It was just always agro. So it's a lot to emotionally manage, a lot to emotionally manage and I couldn't handle it.

Speaker 1: So in [inaudible] 92, uh, my best friend at the time, Nathan said, I'm going to California, do you want to come with me to California? And I was like, okay, no, I thought you were going, okay, fair. And I was. But initially I said no. But after sitting around I realized that I'm going to end up a lush in this town. I love Morgan town. It's a great town, but it's one of those little vortexes and you can just end up there. And I just knew that if I didn't get out now it was never going to get out. And I did. And it was fortunate I did because in December of [inaudible] 92 as I got off, I went to San Francisco, first experience, got off the bus there at South Hayden, I see the cannabis center and an emporium, which back at the time it was owned by Ed and Dale Geringer and a couple other people and it was a statue of liberty and the spikes were pot leaves and me and my friend were going to looking for pot and until we figure we're going to go to the history because back, this is a grateful dead.

Speaker 1: Kids were hanging out. So it was known. You go to the Ben and Jerry's at haight and Ashbury, you're getting wheat. Okay. So we were playing at the time, right? Yeah, exactly. And we see this cannabis center and pouring. I'm like, Oh shit, we know we're going to get pot there. And of course we go in there and it's nothing but retail jeans, shirts, etc. And debbie is there. I don't reAlize it at the time. And she hanDs me a flyer. It's like, sorry, we don't have pot here, but we're going to do a um, we're having a meeting in a couple of weeks in berkeley. Uh, we're going to have this guy Dr. Todd mikuriya speak and I'm come on down. And of course I took it, put it in my back pocket, kind of grew up and left and went up to north, hates, got my weed and went home and a week later, a couple weeks later, I was literally walking in berkeley and at the time we had a cannabis action network set up to six by six tables on telegraph and channing and one guy was standing there barking and he's like, hey, and a half hour we're having their first annual canvas action network meeting.

Speaker 1: We just moved out here from Kentucky. We're goIng to do our first meeting here. And I was with my other two friends and we're like, oh, there'll be pot there. Sure. So we showed, we fly, right? So we went to the office, they're on ashby and there was people sitting and Dr. Todd mikuriya stood up and showed his book, which was the medical marijuana papers. And it was all this compendium of information he had done for the federal government for the army. And I was like, you're guy, I had been searching for you. I didn't even know I was searching for you. Correct, but here you are before me. And he was like, okay kid, come on, let's talk. Yeah. And he took me under his wing. He's like, okay, let's diagnosis, let's look at it. He looked at the sores on my feet. He started dealing with my tremors and documenting my gulf war syndrome and my medical use because for him it was fascinating.

Speaker 1: And as he was a doctor and he knew his shit and I knew he knew he should because of the compendium of a book that he had. So I knew I wasn't dealing with just anyone. And fortunately I'm. Debbie had a sign up list and was like, we need volunteers. So here's a signup list. And four of us signed up. And then the next day I'm the only one who showed up. And it was to make phone calls for the first can event, which was with the multidisciplinary association of psychedelic studies. It was the 50th anniversary of lsd on April 13th, 1993 at the unitarian church in san francisco, and yours truly got to work the front frickin door and because debbie and monica at the time who were are can sages were being interviewed for a mademoiselle or something like that, a magazine, and so they needed somebody to be responsible.

Speaker 1: I was, since I made all the calls over the weeks, I was deemed to be the responsible one, so there I was sitting at the front desk handling at the time, 1993, $100 ticket for one day. OkAy. So I was responsible for a lot of mines, a lot of money. It's a big ticket. Everyone came in and was like, do you want to try my 50th anniversary of asset badge? And of course I'm like, absolutely. however, a hold on and I spent half the time getting napkins and then the other time asking people for their cellophane wrappers for their cigarettes so I could take the pen and then slide the acid into the cellophane without touching it and came away with the most amazing asset collection for a couple of weeks. On top of that, I basically, I met everyone. I was where I met ed rosenthal. You met everyone who's anyone in cannabis?

Speaker 1: Tom flowers at the time. Jack was there. I'm sure. Jack, everyone, everyone in, anyone. Uh, alex grey brought his artwork and literally all a huge paintings in the unitarian church in the grand cathedral there was spectacular. So the energy was amazing and I would spend the next 20 years reading about all the people I actually checked in with us to say at the front because I didn't know what I had gotten into much less how deep in the culture I was on much less how really deep I was immediately indeed. And because you're just looking for a joint plan is just looking for a joint and I'm just to get by and back before can hired me. I used to work in an ice cream parlor, get off at 10:00, catch a bus to the north berkeley bart, get to the transfer station at macarthur, get to san francisco, get off at market, catch the five of the 72 up to haight street where the deadhead kids were at haight and ashbury at the ben and jerry's.

Speaker 1: Take the bus all the way there with my transfer. Get off and then go over to them. This was an eighth, which is pinkie two pinkie finger to finger. Two fingers was a quarter that with their quarters and that was an ounce and they would do that on the baggy. You'd hand him the cash and I would get my uh, you know, transfer, get on the last bus to catch the last bart to catch the last train to the east bay and then walk a mile home. And that's how I used to score my weed. So it was very frustrating because why involved in cannes is because one day, one of my guitars and my band unfortunately had a heroin addiction and I came home one day to everything gone and I'm sitting there in a corner looking at a high times magazine, freshly cut off the high times, literally like I was at the distributor.

Speaker 1: They just cut the thing off and took the high time and I went and I sat in a dusty corner with the light on in the house at the ceiling and just started looking through the high times and as I'm reading this high times, I'm realizing that all these articles or three months behind and in the torch I know is true. Correct. And then look at the cover and it's like, it's this month's issue. Everything in here's three months old. If that's three months old, that means something's happening right now. And so that's where it was fortuitous that I came across the campers. He was like, hey. And then that would then immerse me into being a full can activist. Debbie and tim asked me to come on after that and lived. we lived in a very small house in berkeley and I lived in a closet with her two dogs and another guy, kid you not.

Speaker 1: It was a house that had been raised on stilts I guess illegally and I didn't realize we were kind of squatting at the time, but uh, when I moved in I realized that was scotty at the time. But beforehand I was like, I'm going to go live with a kid. What were the goals that. But like, what was the mission at that point? Planting seeds, planting seeds of knowledge, who are the big thing for cameras to go around and educate people. And so I would then spend the next two years going around to college campuses on free speech areas and talking, taking jack's book and copies and flyers of information and what your freedom was and took it directly to the public. Took it directly to you. and what we did then is then we would find these people on college campuses like, hey, I can do this.

Speaker 1: And we're like, you're one of us. Their graduations and grants. What we're going to do, we're going to budget with this literature and this information and then we get their contact information and then we stay in contact with them and so go tell other people, correct. Go tell other people then go do your rally and then we're going to come to your rally and then we're going to tell you what you did right and what you did wrong. And so we were able to give them these activists positive and negative feedback based off of you didn't fly enough. We didn't have enough people here. We understand it's a small town for every flyer you put out, you know, for every 10 you get one person to show up. There's all kinds of just bizarre statistic says of the metrics of fear and paranoia because the dealers aren't showing up at the rallies and you know, fuck you, you know, I'm on there and all these kinds of things.

Speaker 1: It was pervasive throughout and so back in [inaudible] 93 and 94, we were hearing all the time this ever happened in my lifetime. And so I'm reveling in today's reality of when's it coming to my state and I just bought my first legal marijuana in insert state here. So, um, so let's, let's bridge the gap of 94 to 2016. Um, let's stay in the nineties though. When was the next kind of click? Next click was after two years of being on tour, I found myself at jack, her, uh, steve deangelo's house in dc for a dpa summit. And I'm, Jack Herrera was there. Dennis Brown was there. They were just buying. This is a 95. They were both vying for their initiatives, uh, had just done jack's last two initiatives in 94, 95 one and failed. Right? And so I find myself, I'm sitting in between jack and dennis as trying to be an arbitrator as they're just, you gotta understand dennis is ex air force and jack has a sailor mouth.

Speaker 1: So it was needless to say, I'm roUgh, rough. But it was trying to make them understand and also to be fair. And I found myself very young, but there, because I was a veteran, they had a lot of respect for me because I've been on the front lines. I could sit in between them and do that and it's correct. And so roll joints talk it out. And so I'm. Steve saw this di angelo [inaudible], we weren't steve angelo house and he took me aside and he's like, what's up kid? What'd you do? And I was like, dude, I'm burned out. I've been on the road for two years. I did a tour. We did 47 states and doing rallies and teachings and education and I need to just be somewhere for awhile. And he's like, well kid, I just started this evolution, hemp company here in dc, why don't you come out?

Speaker 1: And I was like, well my female partner is with me. I need her to come with. And he's like, what experience? She says, she just did a 40 state tour with me. He's like, absolutely bring her. She's absolutely. AnD because we knew anyone and everyone in cannabis, we knew The stores and where they were, and so I could call theM up and say, hey, would you be interested in a collusion hemp genes? And that's what they had developed. A went to eastern europe and steve de angelo and eric [inaudible] showed, developed this, uh, the denim jeans and the other products. And then we took them immediately in 96 to the trade shows. They're at the jacob javits center there in New York and started bringing our hemp where's, and got lots of snickers and gIggles. And uh, you know, the first couple shows, I think we took, we took five figure orders in orders and then they can just continue to grow.

Speaker 1: And we took a company from what, 40,000 a year to three point 5 million sales. And we did the adidas hemp shoe. We did the evolution, you know, jeans and the jackets. And unfortunately, um, they never secured the raw material originally. And as the company grew, so did the middleman. And so did the price. And eventually, um, after living in dc for three years, I was finally burnout and I took a fortuitous vacation to California to go visit my, my best man in my wedding, todd mccormick, because when I was married at the high times cannabis cup in 1995 with my then wife, rachel doesn't. Yeah. See stephen gaskin did the ceremony. Jack was there. Everyone it was on the stage. They're at the high times cannabis cup. Um, and so todd invited, she and I out to come visit his castle there in bel air and we flew to the castle.

Speaker 1: And next thing I know I'm meeting woody harrelson, larry flynt showing up because that's when, what he was doing, the people versus larry flynt saying, I know. WhAt do you sitting on? Larry's laugh. They're smoking joints and cigars and laughin. Here's Jack Herrera, here's peter mcwilliams. Um, and we're all hanging out. And todd's like, hey kid, why don't you, um, come out to California again? I'm like, fuck fucking bag. Went back to dc and said, steve, I love you and my wife and I, we both love ya. But uh, I got to make it back to California because I can't take this police state of dc anymore. It was cool. It was a great experience and weather and all. But I prefer to go back to know whether in California, it, it turns out that he agreed with you. I agree with me. And he's like, yeah, all right, why don't you go out and set up a eco aleutian west?

Speaker 1: Because we had the distribution on the east coast. So we were gonna set up the west coast distribution, which never came to be a, it came up for, for short term. But then unfortunately evolution went under. but as I came back and as I was getting ready to literally move all my stuff from California, I mean from Virginia to California, I got a phone call from our secretary at evolution saying, um, do you have a friend in California by the name of todd? I'm like, yeah, absolutely. I know todd a castle in bel air. I was like, yeah, how do you know that is? Because it's on the news right now. It's on cnn and everything. He's been busted on. Oh shit, that's not good, that's not good. And literally moved across the country, got back, he was still not there and the house that I had seen before was absolutely destroyed.

Speaker 1: All these amazing genetics that were there that he was perpetrating was just absolutely just destroyed. So we cleaned up the house. So when he finally got out of jail and unfortunately when he collusion crashed, I found myself without a job and todd was doing his best to stay afloat and I couldn't afford. We couldn't afford to live there anymore. So I ended up taking a job at a friend's head shop. So I ended up working at one of the largest head shops in the United States at galaxy gallery in los angeles back in the late nineties. And so I sold high end glass back when, you know, a couple thousand dollar pieces were real high end glass, real high end golf course selling the original drone bakers that were huge marble things for, you know, hundreds of know hundreds of dollars if not into the thousands. Very common there in la because it was late nineties.

Speaker 1: So everybody had disposable income. And unfortunately my ex wife and I, we just, uh, became the ex parte and I moved from a la todd, went to jail unfortunately at that time for the finally he did a five year stint and I found myself not knowing I was rudderless and I called my friend debbie goldsberry and said, hey, I, I need a place. And she's like, I got a spare bedroom you can have for a month, like cool. And I moved up with nothing but the clothes on my back and her couch because her ex boyfriend actually lived with me and he left the couch. He's like, I want the couch. So I rented the smallest view hall, like a get drove up with her couch and my clothes and started in. Yeah, I stayed in the spare bedroom. And then I started working. My first came in and my friend Richard Lee had just moved out here and was like, hey, I've found this spot.

Speaker 1: It's an ethiopian restaurant and it's a dirty job. It's been abandoned for a year and a half. I need you to pull it out. Is that Richard Lee [inaudible] I'm going to make this place called the bulldog and I'm the one who actually did the dirty job of pulling that entire ethiopian restaurant out because he said it was a dirty job, right? Yeah. And I said, hey, I needed the work. And so, um, then I ended up working for him and some of his other projects because he realized I was trustworthy then I could work on, uh, on this flower projects. And needless to say, when you're in the upper management, you around those. It's a small world. So that's how I ended up getting a call from my friends at opg and said, hey, come here. I want you to manage our dispensary here. And because I'm working with richard leave oaksterdam university. Yeah. Well this is pre oaksterdam, makIng sure that, uh, that was said yes, he is of the infamous oaksterdam university and uh, was very, uh, glad to help him out because if you don't know richard, he's wheelchair bound so you can only do so much and such as. Even the grill at the bulldog back at the time supposedly was a, you know, downstairs you can't get downstairs elevators. Let me ask you this.

Speaker 3: Um, based on your experience with your dad born blind, um, how much of that did you use, you know, your experience with and kind of working with someone with a disaBility? Uh, to work with richard, it was bound to a wheelchair because further than just my father,

Speaker 1: my brother was born blind as well without eyeballs and autistic. So I spent a lot of time taking care of him. So I had a lot of patients and I learned a great deal of patients between my father, but mostly I took care of my brother. So he's three years older than me. Uh, he works for the lighthouse, for the blind in new orleans and he's a functioning society member. he can't live alone. He has to live in a, a group living situation because we sent it most blind or handicapped people go to the living skills center where they put them in a living situation and see if they can live in how they can live in. They then determine what level that person can live at, etc. For him it was deemed that he can, he can only live in group situations. You can't live alone.

Speaker 1: So I learned a great deal about patients and understanding and how to deal with special people. But Richard Lee is not a handicapped in any way, shape or form. And he won't let you ever feel that way. oh no. I'm simply talking about the wheelchair because that's all it is. But I, of course I had no, no, no issue, uh, helping anyone have any special needs because I had always been around it. My mom started american council for blind parents because there was no outlet for a congratulations. You had a blind child where you get this information regarding. So all of these experiences helped shape to when I finally got to be pg. And then when I started off at the bottom, worked my way quickly to management and then to director, um, presenters mentioned you went to oakland patients group and then directly, right? Well, no, I went to ed rosenthal in between I to work for him.

Speaker 1: I was, his general manager were produced clones and genetics and seeds and we did all kinds of different things. We had six different rooms. We did different types of experiments with drunk growing in different ways because it belongs to all these different botanical society, so he gets all these newsletters and all these little tricks and things that. So I learned all kinds of different ways to grow and not grow. And um, I was a fascinating laboratory because I wasn't just strictly growing one way. It was growing all different types of ways from oil indoor. So I grow soils, soilless water drip method, consistent water methods, suspended root method, just all kinds of different ways to learn how to grow. We would take such as one room and we'd have just to genetics and give it a different types of fertilizers, each one segmented so that we did an article so we could find out what was the best growing fertilizer in a market.

Speaker 1: What was the best tasting. Of course, the best growing bizarrely enough was actually a miracle grow and it was the worst tasting. Sure. The best tasting and the best growing was a diner grow and dinah bloom at the time and so it was just different. He was looking at ways to write articles and because of that he was always thinking outside the box of growing and so it was a a robust, robust learning experience for myself to get a better understanding. Now, on top of that, we were providing clones in genetics to all the dispensary's around, so I had been the actual seller and I went out and saw how absolutely terrible we were treated. We were treated with disrespect money thrown at us, you know, made to wait forever and ever and it's very frustrating and so all of those experiences helped shape berkeley patients group into what it is that we learn to actively listen to our buyers, to also give them feedback.

Speaker 1: We knew initially with organic septic testing, which is your sight sound, smell that we were definitely knew what we were doing, but in 2006, 2007, debbie and I got kind of respiratory infections from something that we smoked and we realized that what we were seeing we could see, but there was something we weren't seeing. And so we started to, we became pioneers in the science. We realized that there was no one testing, um, steep hill was still just a blink of an eye and the thought, so try to put them and other people in touch with other experts around the world and try to find who could get here and start calibrating labs. And I found that person and that person was over in the Netherlands and brought them here and got them into a laboratory. And then we had thc. We had the calibration.

Speaker 1: We finally had it. And I did. I did 1500 tests myself with a laboratory over here that never went forward. That does regular overflow testing for other companies. But in the end, they're owners of all these huge machines you can understand that he's hplcs ubh people see as can cause three quarters of a million dollars a piece and they, you have six to 10 of them. That's a huge investment. And so I'm back then it's still a fear of tests was a $10,000 fine per test. And so that's a steep fine if you think about the thousands of thousands of tests that we were doing at the time. And so their backers stepped away and we've found fortunately other laboratories and we started to ring testing because once we had one laboratory, then we could send things out, give them the testing solution so that they could find it and not have it.

Speaker 1: We found cbd and we found the other thing. So, um, take great pride in that we have kind of been in not only a activists on the front lines, we've incubated ideas that have challenged science and now science has benefited just from our curiosity over. It's just a simple thing of getting a respiratory infection. Because I didn't want to give somebody a respiratory infection that caused them an illness or even worse, you know, and I don't want to even think of that as possibility. So I became the ethics and the efficacy of our ways as a responsibility that we've always taken as the leaders that berkeley patients group has done. We have set the standard from the beginning and always self improved, you know, steve de angelo, everybody we said come on and come learn what we do, you know, and everybody took it and took it and did better with it and we've learned from them as well.

Speaker 1: But that's been the front line activism and the direct action that we have chosen to do his patients because we realized that yes, I have my medicine. However, I know that other people are suffering and we have to get it to them now. We can't wait for our government [inaudible]. I learned that with the va. I learned that with anything else is that I can't wait around for it if I don't do it, who else will? And so constantly leading by example, such as back when we sold, we suit diebold and one, we actually had an election, berkeley patients did that happen in 2004 berkeley patients group wanted its actual business permit. We wanted our actual permit from the city. And kiddie city kept saying yes, drawing line in the sand. Yes, drawn line in the sand. Yes. And we were like, okay, fine. And James Anthony, who's a pro predominant lawyer here, cameras and said, hey, let's take us to the people.

Speaker 1: So we actually did it initiative saying that we wanted to do that and we wanted to start the bmcc. Okay, as well as a few other things. And we got to the election in 2004 and we lost by less than one percent of the vote. Now, if you know anything about election law, if you lose by less than one percent of the vote, recount, pay for a recount. And that's what we did. We paid for the hanging Chad reality that we got here in berkeley and we are years later the big three, three of the dispensary as we paid the money to do so, and we watched the most horrific display of the realities of actual people handling the ballots. And What we wanted to do is we wanted to see inside the individual voting machine and they said, no, you can see inside what we download them into.

Speaker 1: And we said, no, we want to see inside this. And they said, fuck you. And we said, no, no, no, no, no. Fuck you. And why? When we were getting ready to throw in the towel, we were given a phone call from these lawyers who said, hey, you've got the perfect storm. Can we have your storm for like, go right ahead. Yeah. Here's our storm. And they took, it sued a diebold. And um, the county of alameda are two employees at the time. Donald tolbert rest in peace and michael goodbar became the co, uh, the complainants. And, uh, in 19 in 2008, it was deemed that the county of alameda had, could not, nor diebold would admit to what happened to I kid you not 420 voting machines can't make, I can't make that up. And then it was judged and default that, um, because they couldn't prove that we won.

Speaker 1: And so they put our ballot back verbatim on the ballot in 2008 and we won by over 64 percent of the vote. And uh, from that secured our permit, it started the berkeley medical cannabis commission out of it. Of course the city was not very happy. And in 2010 past another measure 10 measure s one a taxing us, our overall sales two point five percent. And then our wholesales, we've, which we can taKe for the actual city and the state, um, two point five percent there. And then they threw us off the bmcc and then the city council then have appointed people because we wanted, we were the experts. We are the experts. We knew we were talking about we want it to be represented as such. But however, that's a democratic process, but out of it, uh, we won and we got our permit and out of it we did see in 2010 we received our 10th year anniversary from the or 99 from this $2,000 from the city of berkeley.

Speaker 1: It Was declared berkeley patients group day and we received a declaration from the entire assignment, an entire city council and the mayor. And then in 2015 we received another one. And along with that, um, we had a representative from the government show up and give us a, the only congressional recommendation for a dispensary. Uh, you know, that currently exist that I know of which is hanging on the wall will be more than happy to which we will certainly look at Barbara Lee. There was one thing that happened which is a, that you had to move. Yes. So all of this is happening. All the congressional recognition. No, that's happened before the grant in 2012, the sugar goes back to 2007, 2007. We originally got letters saying, stop what you're doing, right? We're like, no.

Speaker 1: Then 2012, we received an eviction letter from our bank. Basically the government went directly to the bank and to the landlord saying, you got to go. If you don't, they're taking the bank. They're taking the bank, they're taking the bank, they're taking the bank. And the bank's like, oh, you know, they can go. And the reality is the government decided that as the crow flies, we were 980 some odd feet from a french school. Just sort of A thought just short. But if you did it as you walked in, it was over a thousand feet, but they decIded arbitrarily was a thousand. And I'm just in case, just in case there is a attending school. I had to gut wrenchingly released 50 employees close that location. Uh, we reopened as a delivery service providing to our patients. Then we had to find a new location, which we did.

Speaker 1: Then it turned out to be a abandoned property for 25 years. It was the old a and w root beer stand over on san pablo. And it was apparently had at trucking a part of it and uh, that they had leaks inside the ground that caused it to become a superfund site because of it was cleaned up, but it was abandoned and so we found a landlord that was willing and then we spent five months building up this new location and we found and we were the first ones to find and move into a new location. And in December, 2012 we opened our doors and we've been open since. And of course right at that time then the government decided to go after my current landlord, but to draw a new arbitrary line in the sand to say that a preschools and daycare centers. whereas previously it's k through 12.

Speaker 1: So we ran that through our, our fact check a reality and armed ourselves with council and had been suing the government since 2012. So yeah, we're suing the government for our right to currently exist where we are as they're trying to seize the property where we currently are and we're low locally licensed. The city approved as we are, meet all the criteria within the state. In fact with the new laws, we will be one of the first licensed by the state because we are have a local licensing on top of that. We have been the predecessors and testing currently. There's nothing on our floor that is untested. The city of berkeley and uh, october of last year and made it mandatory that everything has to be tested. So the other dispensaries have the same responsibility. And so that has caused quite a few companies that we thought were doing good products to disappear off our menu unfortunately because they don't meet the criteria now, be it that it is the science that is very restrictive because it is new science.

Speaker 1: We had a, when we were lobbying with the city, they were going with the milk standards and we had to make them realize this is not milk. It's not because it's not milk. And the reality is is that there are standards that we aren't, aren't quantified yet and they don't understand. At that point we didn't even have cbd. Now we've found cbd and now we have cbd and understanding what that is, now we're finding all those genetics as high as or as much as we can so that, because we've now isolated this spike. So now what we found cbg, we found cbn, we've sound others and we're continuing, but we do screenings for microbials. So regino they do plate count and all those types of things for the products. Uh, So we saw a loss of a lot of, uh, water hash. I was told that even the local municipalities water would, would fail the microbial test.

Speaker 1: Okay. So if you use the water for the water hash, you've already failed before you've already started. Did anything because of the testing standards that currently in place. So it just shows the still need for science in that it's not perfect. We just found thc and now they're trying to apply all these other standards from other businesses that are not applicable. We're dealing with a completely new new thing and we have to approach it that way, but the only way they know how to is through regulation. So we just had mercer that was passed here in the state of California, which will allow for me to get an actual permit and being licensed by the state. I'm already at tax bangs. We were the actual test case for the state board of equalization for the taxation of cannabis as well. So, uh, we have a long history within the state and working with the state and helping set the standards but shape the standards, but also be the guiding light for them to approach as to work with, as such, as we had the state board of weights and measures come out and say we want us calibrate your scales and it's that.

Speaker 1: Okay. Right.

Speaker 3: Absolutely. Come on down. So am I hearing you right in that you might, uh, you're entering a world where you're going to be a potentially mercer compliant, yet still a so state compliant yet still in a, a local lawsuit, federal lawsuit after lawsuit. Federal lawsuit. Federal lawsuit, yes. Yeah. And the person who actually went after him, he was already stepped out and walked away. And so I'm caught in the last swing of the dragon's tail and I have to deal with the realities of whatever that encompasses. So we're, are we with, I mean, how much can you just

Speaker 1: share? Right now we're kind of in Suspended animation because, uh, we have other cases. One is the harbor side case, which is just ahead of ours, which has some aspects of our case, but not all the aspects of our case. Um, so, um, we have to wait for some findings there on top of that. The new rohrabacher amendment has stole our, has absolutely stalled situations over the last couple of years. it doesn't mean things haven't moved forward or are, they still aren't hearings, et cetera, et cetera. But things have definitely slowed exponentially. Sure. Um, but the, you know, I still have, the lawyers don't need to be paid monthly hours situation. So what about, what about the dea, uh, looking into rescheduling? Um, do you hAve that is troubling, you know? Well, as opposed to scheduling is your point, right? If you move it to schedule to attend a game for the entire industry because then it's only pharmaceutical companies and I wouldn't be surprised we see with, with penalties for absolutely and see people like gw pushed for that because they now have that, uh, that single cell molecule that they can get in and out that they fda wants.

Speaker 1: And that single cell convention treaty that it currently resides under right now, the biggest thing is people are hitting the un for the four slash 20 because there seems to be a large movement from a central american south american countries and now european countries and even Australia going with medical cannabis seem to see a large functional shift potentially with the, uh, 1961 convention treaty which is constantly up for a reassessment. And that's what's happening here is they want to change it because it basically says if you're receiving money from the feDeral governmenT, you have to have a cannabis eradication program going on in your country. And uh, we've enslaved in countries this way and see this drug board, which we saw richard nixon's own Man come out and say it was just out of manipulation a, his cost millions of lives but on is coming up at around four to around 4:20.

Speaker 1: And so people reach out to your union representatives and make them aware of your tired of the drug war and spreading it's mentality because there's going to be a large faction of people. They're trying to affect the general assembly in a way that they can get some traction, uh, because if this treaty is effected, it will open up some countries like Canada, which trudeau is saying he can't access because the treaties and they're using those as excuses. And when those treaties are no longer, there is excuses and we can see the fall. I mean, we saw Australia just come recently. We saw Germany is going the way of, you know, uh, and now I'm seeing Canada and Mexico go the way and surround us would be a quite exponential. But at the same time we're in violation with Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska. And currently as well as the other, uh, medical states, so we're causing our own confusion and we're our own worst enemy, needless to say, uh, but with the taste of freedom that these other states are having and they're seeing the money come in, other states are looking to those realities.

Speaker 1: So it's going to be a very exciting year with 2016, with a, you know, potentially Florida, Ohio, California and Nevada. A lot of excitement. But more than anything we have to realize the war is not over. We're still playing specifics. We still have our hand on that boulder going up this rock. We're not free yet. People are still going to jail every single day and people then say, well, what it's going to have with ppg and medical marijuana once, you know, legalization hub. And it's like, have you looked at the cancer rates was one and three. Now it's one and two. You really think we're going away. You really think medical marijuana is gonna just be hidden? No, we're just found out. We've just proved right that it's actual medicine. Now we have to have the studies and the efficacy behind it so that we can take it forward so that even more patients, because as the access has happened, look what's happened.

Speaker 1: We've seen the study done by dr amanda reiman at our facility. Backdated used to work with us what it does for alcohol. We see whAt it does for prescription drugs, uh, and lowers. So we'll see constant fights from the alcohol industry which saw its, uh, its numbers go down, we'll see fights from the pharmaceutical industry which saw an exponential drop in pain meds and things like that. We're going to continue to see the prison industries and those that deal with low income manufacturing still fight us. So if you think this is all over and we can all sit and rest on our laurels, you're kidding yourselves. And that's one reason why I was taught to fight and we'll continue to fight because there's still people going to jail every single day. People call me saying, hey, new orleans just decrement the other day. You're excited about that.

Speaker 1: I said, absolutely not. You know why? Because if you read the law, it's still at the cops discretion and to what happened to the rest of the fucking state. okay. I'm from Louisiana. that's my baby. I'd love to go back there. But they created a bullshit law that is unworkable and that the university of lsu gets to grow it and there's no distribution points are access points. Uh, it's great. It's decreased them. But at the same time, the reality of patient access means, as I tell people, move to a state where it's legal because I get people, I do a thing called hash church on sundays with a bubble man and all kinds of other people and where do 80 episodes and we get people all the time who are constantly asking, you know, where, what do you know who I'm going to school, what do I do?

Speaker 1: I want to get into this industry, what can I learn? And there's so many different things from botany to, you know, greenhouse management to the whole science aspect to getting in, getting in those pipettes and doing, you know, real cell biology and cell science and things like that. So there's a whole host of things people can go into because this is a whole industry and with industry comes a whole slew of ancillary realities and jobs and jobs and that's the reality that people are seeing in Colorado and the tax money and these other states are starting to get envious. And now seeing that there's other states that sued Colorado, lost their suit and now see that wasn't even recognized. It wasn't even recognized. But now we'll see, you know, as we know, we still have to affect by the numbers. We didn't get the reality of medical cannabis to.

Speaker 1: We had more than uh, more than half the states. We're actually medical that they were like, okay, apparently you guys are onto something here. This is A thing, this is a thing. It's a real thing. And then they started to get the tax but, and they're lIke, wow, this is a real thing. And then legalization happened in like, holy shit, this is a real thing. And colorado's just reaping the benefits. Whereas Washington state drug its feet, Oregon decided not to drag its feet and is already benefiting from it. That's Alaska dragging its feet. They're there, they're doing a little bit better than Washington, a little better because they're on a straight, but you know, It's still that perception that just because it's happened that, oh, it's all over. Everything's done, everything's fine. It's not the reality. And that's even with such as here with murcia in California.

Speaker 1: We virtually have, even though it's now the head of the former abc, is the head of our department, uh, they're reaching out to us and they're willing to reach out to some work with us because they know that we're the experts and they realized they're the novices and they're going to listen to our experience and hopefully it will affect the change that we want to continue to, to see, to happen. So that our patients will continue to have access so that we won't see what happened in Washington state, where the dispensary is a last thanks to murcia. We wIll maintain this reality and will continue to. Because we serve thousands of patients. And the reality is, is I don't know if today is somebody's first day or their last day, but I know that we're going to treat them with respect they need, whether it is or not.

Speaker 1: There you go. So here we are at the beginning again, right? Yes. So three final questions, right? Knowing that we're just at the start of this whole thing, I can't wait to talk to you again because hearing all of that with all of those names was fascinating. Every rich history indeed. Three final questions. I'll tell you what they are and then I'll ask you them in order. what has most surprIsed you in cannabis? what has most surprised you in life? and then on the soundtrack of auntie anne's life, what is one track, one song that's got to be on there? So first things first, what has most surprised you in cannabis?

Speaker 1: That we're seeing what we were told we could never do when we were doing this 20 years ago and were told will never. That will never happen in my lifetime. My friends and I bought that whole reality and made it a reality for all of us, so I'm proud to just have a hand in it. I Can't take credit because there's thousands of us who made it all happen, but I'm glad to have put my money and my freedom where my mouth is in stood my ground and can live of free and happy. there you go. Exactly. What has most surprised you in life? Speaking of that free and happy life.

Speaker 1: The persistence of human nature. I've seen it from many people who survived or didn't survive their cancers or their treatments and um, even I dunno, just the persistence of life, even in the aspect of staring in the face of death because we're all going, going there. We're all going to end up there some way, shape or form. That's one thing that's certain that is certain and I think as much as it scares us all, it fascinates us. All in our world is surrounded with death and we've done hospice. We've done various aspects to not find out our patients have died or worried that they had to worry about getting cannabis on their death bed. So the persistence of people to consistently drive to change the laws wherever they are through their own suffering to help others has been one of the most inspiring things. And I'm happy to carry my torch as long as I can. Amazing. And thank you. Thank you for the work and the sweat and the blood and the tears. It's been A lot of it on the soundtrack of your life. One, one song, one track that's got to be on there.

Speaker 1: One song, uh, I guess it would be rushed. Time stands still. Look at you. What's the. is that on a roll? The bones? No, it's the red cover. I can't think of it off the top of my head. No, no, no, no, it's, it's, it's, it was in the mid eighties. Okay. Um, but, you know, there's so many times we're in moments and we would just want to hold them a little bit longer. You know, we find ourselves just in that moment of victory or 19, that moment of loss, you know, you just want to cherish those sometimes just a little bit longer, you know, such is life, you know, appreciate those times. Appreciate those friends that come and they go and life is very fleeting, but don't be afraid to live your life on this little blue dot because you only get one shot at it. So I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees. Look at that. Etienne. Thank You so much for your time. I appreciate it. Look forward to the next time. And there you have at 10 fund tan.

Speaker 2: Good, good guy. A really appreciate his time and his history. Remarkable. The uh, the patsy has trade. Anyway, thanks to him, thanks to you for listening. Very much appreciated. We do have a ps if you're interested in listening, and that's coming up right about now.

Speaker 1: They know those guys. I love those guys. A peanut from 3:11 is a good friend of mine. His wife and my ex wife went to rival high schools in Louisiana. So tHat band that you were in was good.

Speaker 3: I may never took no back with cannabis action network or musician back when brought a tour and all that. What about, I have a couple of base basis questions for you. I have had the pleasure of interviewing John Paul Jones in the, uh, in the past. Yeah. When I was on college radio. Um, what, what would you say is a basis a few lines on, on John Paul Jones? I mean a master, right? Absolutely. I mean, uh, I mean him and, uh, him and paul. John bonam. No, no, no. You want to go with a rhythm section? I'm thinking of beetles now. Those two bass players. Sure.

Speaker 1: Paul mccartney. I mean, those to really set a lot of that early standard. I mean a John Paul Jones. Jesus. I mean,

Speaker 3: wow. What about staying in that same area as well? You know, but I grew up with iron maiden. So steve harris was a big fan. Billy sheehan, I'm really into a juggle. He, so of course. So I was gonna. So I pronounced that jacko pistorious sow. So shall kill the passenger. yeah. Whatever. Jocko is really all you need a weather report first and then went on his own. Right? Absolutely. So is this the guy

Speaker 1: as a bass player? Yeah, without a doubt. He's the guy. He's the guy that I still know, session musicians and the greats. I was living what will, uh, what's his will leave, who's the bass player for david letterman's band for many years. She was still talking about how he still learning and figuring out jockos links to this day. I mean chicago was the jimi hendrix space and so he took it in other directions. He made his own fretless from his, you know, own fender. But look at Carol King, you know, look at, you know, james jamerson from back in motown. I mean, go back to uh, uh, mingus, you know, I grew up in new orleans. I grew up in or around charlie mingus. Yeah, absolutely. You know, the greats, you know, these people held the roots, held the foundation, but then also wrote their songs and that was the fascinating thing about jocko, you know, did Donald Lee and then all these other fantastic voyages, but he could just do the staccato picado and then really just blow your mind and then put a false harmonica in here out of nowhere and you're like, how the hell would you do that?

Speaker 1: And you realize later on is because he was dealing on a fretless bass that there was no way you could replicate that with a fred had base no matter what. You knew the instrument. and there's no, there's nuances to a frettless. Then as sort of fred, you know, I've learned double, I've, I was stand up, just stand up and you know, fretless which, which those are, but it's a totally different animal because you're not in between the frets. You're on top of tHe fret where you would be. So even your placement on the bar and the bridge is completely different in a complete different understanding. And jocko took that and it was like, boy. And he was such a fleeting moment. I mean, there's still other great bass players that are, you know, living today, victor wooten and sure, you know, others, but they never had the complete work that he had at his age, I think because, you know, he did that crazy disco stuff, but he did that flamenco and he did these sweeping arpeggios and just all kinds of different things that, that really didn't hit the regular regular listener. But for bass players were like, oH, that's cool.

Speaker 3: Speaks to you. That's the pedestal. Do you know the, the, uh, the birthday concert. So you. So that, that first song on the birthday concert. So that's him with just like jazz greats of the time. The brecker brothers are on that and it's just amazing. That first song, the first track is awesome. Okay. Without a doubt. The, I don't know if it's in that first one, I can't remember. It's been awhile. He breaks into third stone from the sun, from jimi hendrix on the base, which is.

Speaker 1: Well, I mean that's, I mean, that's the great thing about jazz. They did that back in the thirties where they would just, you know, whenever they would have, you know, a measure of which was open, everybody was expecting, then they would put something that would still fit in there, in there. So I mean that goes back to take another song and throwing it back in reggae, they do the same thing without throwing a bar, et cetera, but he could take those obscure ether ethal nuances and then switch it up and somehow it all still worked out and you still came away going, how the fuck did you do that? How did he do that? Because he's sitting there just flowing on it and his eyes are closed and you know, has been as flowing with that. That hair would flow around. It has huge bell bottoms and he would nail every. No, he was never out of tune, never out of sync. And he was always that quarter measure are right there ahead for weather report for weather report. I mean you're talking jittery and everyone, other greats, right? I mean top line stuff. Absolutely. And he held his own all the time and then excelled. I mean, there's very few livinGs that can say and do that,

Speaker 3: you know, I mean, well, one more thing on base, uh, I don't know how well this is known. Um, but, uh, there's jazz band, so colin hodgkinson who played in, I think whitesnake was in a jazz band before that, uh, and called eighth street or something like that. Or maybe that's the name of the album. What's that? I saw white snake. All right dude. Well, but I'm not talking about white snake. Colin hodgkinson does aversion of 30 to 20, which is Robert Johnson song on just base and just rips ruined. Wow. So it's 32, 20 blues with colin hodgkinson essentially screaming into the microphone with just a freight train if you will have a base behind it. So maybe let's go listen to that right now. How about that? Hell yeah. That sounds fun. Thank you so much for this base conversation. Absolutely. Keep the low end tight and keep it on time. There you go. Yeah.

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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.