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Ep.337: Jim Borghesani

June 10, 2018

Jim Borghesani returns as a follow-up to running the ballot initiative that passed in Massachusetts in 2016. He does review the days and weeks leading up to the vote and share what it was that in fact worked to capture the win. He mentions media endorsements of course didn’t hurt, but it was gathering the physician community together to share their support of medical cannabis that most likely had the biggest impact. Jim also notes that the opposition used the some old arguments which may have backfired in a state like Massachusetts. Of course, those same arguments worked to great affect in the state of Arizona on the same day- so go figure. Jim also gives an update on the state’s legislature’s actions before the vote and after and what to expect moving forward.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Jim Borghesani returns as a followup to running the ballot initiative that passed in Massachusetts in 2016. He does review the days and weeks leading up to the vote and share what in fact it was that worked to capture the wind. He mentions media endorsements, of course, didn't hurt, but it was gathering the physician community together to share their support of medical cannabis that most likely had the biggest impact. Jim also notes that the opposition used the same old arguments which may have backfired in a state like Massachusetts. Of course, those same arguments worked to great effect in the state of Arizona on the same day. So go figure. And finally, Jim updates us on the state's legislature. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends in the word economy. Jim Barzani enough time for coffee, but not much else. All right, so Jim Borg is Ani. Uh, it's, I guess it's easier to pronounce than you would think if you were looking at the name on a piece of paper or something. Right?

Speaker 2: Luckily for me,

Speaker 1: yeah, it, it just, it seems like there might be some extra letters there, but you know, we'll leave that alone. I guess, right,

Speaker 2: I guess. Yeah,

Speaker 1: yeah. All right, so thanks for kind of checking back in with us. I last spoke to you before the vote and of course we know, you know, what happened and so I kinda wanted to get a sense from, from your perspective, you, you know, you, you ran the ballot initiative and it was successful. I guess just going back in time a little bit, um, to, to catch us up to now and then we'll talk about now and maybe even what you think about the future. How, how did it come to be that you actually had the votes? How confident were you going into an election day?

Speaker 2: Fairly confident that we have seen some overnight polling and some tracking polls that showed, um, things breaking our way. Uh, there was a fairly small undecided voters near the end of the campaign, which is just what you want. Um, and the, and the daily polls were telling us that the adapt the undecideds war breaking out away. Um, so there, there were some other things that happened. We got some, a few endorsements in the final weeks that helped for overall, I just think that we put together a good argument that Massachusetts voters used to when they went into the voting booth.

Speaker 1: Just quickly on those endorsements, who, who do you think kind of helped push it over the line? Understanding that what you're saying is that you might've been able to do it without these endorsements?

Speaker 2: Yeah. You know? Yeah. It's, it's, you know, political consultants go back and forth and whether endorsements help it all. We got a couple of people got a bunch of newspaper endorsements and the Boston Globe, which is the largest, the paper of record, the Massachusetts, they endorsed us. Several other newspapers endorsed. We've got the Senate presidents a two window us and that was fairly big. Yep. Then we had 100 doctors who did a press conference where we had, um, we're all 100 doctors, weren't there roughly at 100 doctors, medical doctors, um, sign a letter and sign endorsements, pledges. Um, and you know, that got quite a bit of publicity because a lot of people thought, well, if doctors are saying that this is not anything that's overly harmful, then you know, what are we so worried about? So, um, all of those things played a hand in it.

Speaker 1: Yeah, no, that all sounds great. I think I knew about the newspaper endorsements. I don't remember the, the doctor press conference. Forgive me for being a New Yorker about your Massachusetts News, if that makes sense. Right?

Speaker 2: Yes. Yeah. Got that.

Speaker 1: As far as well,

Speaker 2: talk to the scene as, you know, some opinion leaders, people generally trust Dr. so that was good for us.

Speaker 1: Yeah, no, as far as doctors, I mean that is essentially, I was doing a little bit of self-loathing here for, for our program in New York. The, one of the main issues is that we do not have the physician community and we've introduced the fact that nurses can now um, you know, kind of give them a recommendation. How did you work through and understanding, it might not have been Jim and only jim doing this, but, but how did you set that up and how did you get that going? That sounds like a great idea for other states is my point.

Speaker 2: I would advise. It took a long time. It took us months to build up that list of doctors and I should point out the Dr Organization in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Medical Society, they officially opposed, but you know, their opposition was so shallow. It was, uh, so, um, the, the, the, the fact checking there was so sparse. It was all just the stereotypical things for hear all the time. Um, that it almost backfired on them. Contrast that to the California Medical Association. They actually looked at this and they came to the conclusion that prohibition was as much more harmful than, than candidates ever could be held at the societal danger of prohibition. The, the unequal enforcement, the ruined lives because of arrests and convictions. Um, so they took a real look at it. Riff and mass medical society just took this curse and look at it and came out with boiler plate stuff. We did, did. We put together a bunch of people and we just kept chasing doctors, you know, references. It took us about probably four months to, um, that's one of the things you do on a campaign and you just work on one project for a long time until you get a critical mass. We reached 100 doctors and we thought that was pretty, um, uh, you know, that was somewhat of a milestone for us.

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