Steve DeAngelo returns to discuss California since new regulations went into affect on January 1st, and his thoughts on the rescission of the Cole Memos which happened January 4th. Steve does commend the Bureau of Cannabis Control for hitting the 1/1 date as it did go more smoothly than he expected. That said, Steve notes that the real hard work happens now- between 1/1 and 7/1 as July 1st is the set date for temporary regulations and licenses to end and the new reality to begin. On the rescission of the Cole & Ogden Memos, Steve says he wasn’t surprised. But he says that a key part of any US Attorney’s job is to survey the totality of lawbreaking that’s happening in their district and identify that lawbreaking which is the greatest public safety threat and focus on it.
Former Deputy Attorney General of the United States and author of the Cole Memo’s James M. Cole returns to discuss the rescission of the Cole Memos and the Ogden Memo before it. We discuss the thought process behind creating each of the three memos, his first in 2011, the second in 2013 and the final memo released in concert with FinCen guidance on Valentine’s Day 2014. Now that the memos have been rescinded the state of legal cannabis is dictated by the Rohrabacher Blumenaur Amendment for medical cannabis. For adult-use cannabis, it’s now up to US attorneys stationed where adult-use cannabis has been passed. Central California which includes Los Angeles and San Diego and Northern California which includes the Bay Area both have new Attorney’s which have been appointed by AG Sessions.
Fresh off the Constellation Brands deal, Bruce Linton joins us and shares that one of the things that he has to do is look at other sectors. So he’s been watching alcohol, tobacco and Pharma- looking at structures and public statements. The only company in the alcohol space that seemed to be forecasting an interest in cannabis was Constellation. Bruce and his team reached out to figure out how to make it happen and found a company with an entrepreneurial spirit with a likeminded approach. For his part, Bruce see’s the producer of Corona Beer as a beverage manufacturer. He notes that whenever and wherever there’s a market for non-medical cannabis beverages any where in the world- Constellation is with whom Canopy Growth will be working.
Debby Goldsberry joins us to discuss raid preparedness. Debby has been in the industry since before it was an industry and highlights what she and her team are used to doing. These are principles which the entire industry used to do back before Colorado and Washington legalized adult-use cannabis. Since then, the industry has been operating under the guidance of the Cole Memos. Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memos yesterday. Incidentally, the 10th amendment reads: The Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States are reserved to the States respectively or to the people.
Recorded in Las Vegas at MJ Biz Con in November, Charlie Rutherford returns for Political Discourse IV. At the time the tax bill being debated came under the guise of tax reform. We now know that it became simply a tax cut. We discuss the benefit of corporate taxes coming down while unpacking the short-term middle-class tax cuts resulting in those middle-class taxes actually going up over a 10 year period. We discuss killing the State and Local income tax or SALT deduction and it’s effects. We discuss the realities facing the Reagan tax cuts- corporate profits being low and interest rates being high- the opposite of the current economic reality. We talk about that economic reality as a playing field for We The People. And we discuss the definition of a free market.
Adam Bierman joins us and lays out his priorities for 2018, those being money, markets and the mainstreaming of the industry. On the money side, he certainly noticed the Constellation Brands deal in Canada (it was of course precluded from happening here in the United States). On markets the Medmen fund investing in Canada in MedReleaf went better than expected. On mainstreaming cannabis. They’ve got 6 retail shops in Southern California which Adam sees as the biggest cannabis market in the world. He’s working with the stores and educating the public on the new reality on the ground as of January 1st. And to that end, on mainstreaming, he’s exposing Medmen and legal cannabis to a whole new market with pride and responsibility.
Jmichaele Keller returns to tell his personal cannabis story. Going back, he had cut out carbohydrates from his diet completely. But substantially increased travel had those carbs wade their way back into his daily plan. Which led to him finding himself in the emergency room. Over the past couple of years he’s been to the hospital four times. The reason for these visits was due to a GI “adventure” as he calls it which has him living in a constant state of inflammation. He had found that CBD solves this problem. He found a product that worked for him, but he didn’t have that product on the road which leads to what he calls an attack where his stomach becomes distended. On top of that attack, his body rejected CBD product which it turns out was not well tested.
Industry veteran Paul Rosen joins us and shares that for cannabis he feels that Toronto is the most important city in the world as it’s the capital of capital. It’s gained that distinction based on a series of Canada constitutional court rulings which ruled that a patient had the right to the medicine of his/her choosing. The court rulings led to the first regulatory infrastructure- the Medical Marijuana Access Regulations or MMAR which was built around home grow. Prime Minister Harper’s government then put in the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations MMPR which ushered in the current medical industry. And set up the opportunity for Prime Minister Trudeau’s government to introduce legal adult use cannabis in parliament which goes into effect July 2018.
Chief of the Bureau of Cannabis Control for California, Lori Ajax returns by phone on the day that the first temporary licenses have been granted. The Bureau is directly responsible for Distribution, Retailer, Laboratory Testing and Microbusiness licenses. Manufacturing licenses are directly granted by the California Department of Public Health and were also on track. Cultivation licenses are being granted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and aiming to be granted just prior to Jan. 1st. At the time of the interview on 12/14/17, Lori takes us through the fact that there are roughly 1,900 applicants in the temporary licensing system and the Bureau is on track to deal with all of them on time. She continues with what to expect between January 1st and July 1st 2018.
On the day that the rules for temporary licenses in California were released Sabrina Fendrick sat down where we put her on the spot to discuss what was happening in real-time. She was bouncing from meeting to meeting with government affairs, regulatory advisory as well as supply partners. In real-time, Sabrina highlighted questions about packaging and labeling wondering if there were going to be grace periods and whether or not the regs would fit together with the trailer bill- which we subsequently learned- there are and they do. Questions do remain around supply chain and the ability to do business with different license types which we’ll cover in the very next episode. Sabrina does note that Lori Ajax has been supportive and transparent and understands the situation at hand.
Tae Darnell joins us and takes us through his background. Roughly 75% of the his brothers and sisters were adopted by his father- a musician that toured with Buddy Holly, who himself-that’s his dad- was adopted by the last traditional spiritual chief of the Lakota Sioux Native Americans. Tae was running around the studio with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Elton John and others as a kid. His father left producing to pursue spiritual medicine. Tae was a direct witness to the War on Drugs and how it’s really the only thing that makes gangs possible. It’s the ultimate catalyst for destabilization as he says. Tae got himself into college, went to run a record label. The music industry was digitally disruption and booted Tae to law and eventually, cannabis.
Neil Demers joins us and discusses the correct pronunciation and history of Diego Pellicer a boutique cannabis dispensary brand with an interesting ownership structure. Based on his background, Neil is road mapping the entire customer journey. He’s trying to understand how the customer came to the brand, what that customer sees when they look at the edifice that houses the store, the experience checking-in, shopping with the budtender, checking out at the cashier and even enjoying the project at home. He dives in on each of those touch points to ensure he’s maximizing the customer experience at each of those touch points. He also listens to the voice of the customer to understand how he can differentiate the brand and deliver a unique experience.
Returning from Episodes 26 & 155, Tim McGraw joins us from a cafe in California's Bay Area. After securing cannabis licenses in Illinois and building up operations there, he’s returning to his real estate roots while taking advantage of his cannabis operator acumen.
We discuss facilitating an opportunity to create thousands of jobs through cannabis in local municipalities that absolutely need those jobs. Tim notes that no matter where you are, the cannabis economy is already in your home town whether you have legal cannabis or not. If it’s not locally legal, rather than money spent on cannabis going back into your community- it disappears. He’s seen the import of the direct impact of cannabis dollars on a community that needs it. And that impact is immediately quantifiable.
Troy Dayton returns. We discuss the fact that cannabis should be America’s to lose, but that’s in fact what’s happening. Canada is of course burgeoning with capital, import and export. The international trade winds are blowing and Troy says it’s hard to imagine a situation where we don’t see 20+ compound annual growth rates for the next decade or more. The European investors are starting to get excited. Troys ays Asia investment is waking up with asymmetry knowledge to capital. But as noted, the fact that there’s an adversarial Attorney General in office, risk is still very much alive.
Nicole Smith joins us and shares that after a transformative year she’s excited to be leading Evolab into it’s next decade of existence all the while innovating their product lines. We discuss goal setting in that rather than beginning with the end in mind, Nicole sets up the structure so that the means justify the ends. She describes it as a funnel. Whereas she did operate in a more linear fashion in years past, working in the cannabis industry doesn’t allow that luxury. Having to work through 5 banks, 3 Facebook pages, 15 credit card processors and 4 401K programs will wrest you from a linear mindset. Cannabis executives must continue to make progress in a linear fashion using circuitous routes.
As we make our way into what will be the fourth year of adult-use cannabis in Colorado, Colorado Harvest Company CEO Tim Cullen returns to share how things have changed and how things have remained the same. For Tim, 2014 was his fourth year in operation, so while it was a transformative moment for the industry and the world, in some ways Jan. 1 was another day at the office for Tim. That said, operations were set for 2 or 3 customers at the time and 1500 people showed up. Moving into today Tim says that the water has found it’s level and the cannabis business has evened out.
In a two-part interview, California Assemblyman Rob Bonta joins us. In part 1 recorded at his office in Oakland, he shares why when we had Prop 215 in place we needed MCRSA. He notes that for nearly 20 years there was no regulatory framework to protect the health of the patients and to guard against diversion. It wasn’t because it hadn’t been tried, it tried and failed. As the Chair of the Assembly Health committee, his goal was to make sure that everyone had true access to high quality affordable healthcare. In part 2, Rob shares what’s happening on the ground in the lead-up to Day 1. And shares the reconciliation process between medical and adult-use legislation.
California’s Chief of Cannabis Regulation Lori Ajax joins us in a two part interview to share what’s happening with California Cannabis Regulations. In the first part of the interview, recorded in Sacramento California, she notes that she has monthly meetings with all state agencies involved in cannabis regulation. Lori feels that all of California’s involved State Agencies realize the importance of cannabis legalization to the state. She notes that each of the agencies needs one another to ensure success across the board. In the second part of the interview Lori shares updated branding information as well as online resources available to the industry.
Tjalling Erkelens joins us and shares that Bedrocan’s growth is breathtaking. From a 200 kilo annual production, Tjalling’s operations have grown to now 5,000 kilos of annual production with an ability to quickly scale up to 9,000 kilos of annual production from his two sites in the Netherlands alone. Rather than call it cannabis, the team chooses to refer to the product as an API- an active pharmaceutical ingredient or flos- which is latin for flowers. In some way, Bedrocan is now working on product for Australia, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Italy, Germany, Finland, Poland, Macedonia, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Israel and for testing purposes, the UK. And in short order- Denmark & Greece.
Jmichaele Keller returns to discuss domestic and global cannabis testing. He notes that each Country and US State alike is crafting unique and custom regulations from a scientific basis. Some localities have a level of expertise, some don’t and eventually as Jmichaele sees it, cannabis is going to be legal across the board and when that happens, the real rules will be presented. He feels that it’s important to write the global regulations now. If we don’t, all of these specific rulesets regarding pesticides, yeast and mold, medical vs. adult use, etc. will find operators on a number of completely different pages and then the industry will find itself in a state of upheaval.
Alex Rogers returns from Episode 230 by phone this time to share his thoughts on among other things, the cannabis economy and changing laws in Germany. We discuss the fact that international import/export is happening and how the US is truly falling behind. Alex discusses his event that’s coming up in Hawaii and so he discusses the cannabis program which just opened up there. We discuss what’s happening in cannabis and otherwise in Spain in Madrid and Barcelona respectively. Finally we discuss what’s happening in Canada both federally and provincially. And on Hawaii, comedian Doug Benson will speak and Grammy winning reggae artists Morgan Heritage will play.
Brian Beckley joins us and shares his journalism background. His thinking is that most journalists are hired guns and back in the day due to his being in a punk band- he resisted. Brian started covering government writing for a print publication and then moved from upstate New York to Seattle and in a suburb of a suburb kept writing, eventually becoming an editor of a local weekly. After discussing his thoughts on the current and future news journalism landscape, Brian dives in on cannabis. His entry to the market was when he sat down with the publisher of Marijuana Venture and it was an instant match. Brian notes, his and the magazines focus is squarely on the business of cannabis.