The Director of the Israeli Medical Cannabis Agency, Yuval Landschaft returns to give both me and you a tour of Israel's cannabis economy. Yuval invited me to host Israel's medical cannabis event and while in town, he shared the latest on research, the market and how exactly the medicalization of cannabis is happening in Israel...and what that means for the rest of the world.
Dr. Hinanit Koltai joins us and shares what she's finding in phytocannabinoid research. "Not all compounds- the 400 or so present in cannabis- not all of them are needed to treat all different medical indications. But rather, for example, for colon inflammation we found the certain combination of compounds needed to treat this ailment. And we found and we published that as a scientific paper in an international journal, scientific journal, that did see the psychoactive compound of course is not needed to treat, probably is not needed to treat these patients. But rather reduction of inflammation may be done by a different composition of compounds all present in cannabis." Dr. Koltai notes that her research is able to be done based on the fact that through the Israeli Ministry of Health, she's growing cannabis right at the Volcani Center. "We can play and manipulate growth conditions to lead to different composition of compounds that the plant produces. We develop different extraction methods. Some of them are widely used, but some of them are unique and interesting."
California Cannabis Bureau Chief Lori Ajax returns for an update on the industry realities post July 1. She shares that the Bureau is listening to the industry and making adjustments as they go to ensure a healthy marketplace. She notes how important it is to participate in public comment to ensure your voice is listened to, heard and receives a response.
US Congressman Darren Soto joins us and gives us his thoughts on Florida and Federal cannabis policy. He also shares how his thoughts on states rights affect more local policy, "I do believe in local rule, and certain counties and cities should have the character that they've traditionally had, and this may be something they feel is inconsistent with it. Others embrace it. So I get that part of it. I just worry about how different Floridians have different access to one particular type of medicine when with every other type- they're not restricted by geography." And also how those same thoughts might affect federal policy, "we're in the Stone Age here in Congress, so if we even can get that done it would be a step in the right direction. But our main goal is to ratify and give legal cover to the various marijuana legal regimes throughout the United States based upon the different state laws."
Recorded before any mention of resignation- or reasoning for that resignation- US Congressman Tom Garrett joins us and shares what sound like sensible measures in addressing legal cannabis in the United States of America. Further Congressman Garrett discusses the importance of uniformly enforcing the law- tipping his cap to the fact that institutional racism exists and even stating that racial prejudice is at work. He speaks of laboratories for democracy in each state. And he speaks of caregivers and patients being able to make decisions for themselves. He also discusses the fact that the United States of America is "peeing away economic opportunity" but not leading or even participating in the cannabis global landscape. And finally he discusses the reform movement in the United States Congress being more about age than party.
Cannabis Caucus member US Congresswoman Dina Titus joins us and gives us her thoughts on cannabis in Nevada which has already generated $30M for the state. She also shares what's happening with cannabis within the walls of congress specifically in committee, "when you go to the Rule's Committee, that's where you offer these amendments, and they just didn't even hear it or didn't even add it." That surprises Representative Titus based on how many issues cross through cannabis, "you talk about taxes, talk about banking, VA use, persecution, Native Americans..." And back home in Nevada, she notes, "if you have a crazy idea in the morning, by afternoon you'll have a lot of people go along with you. So we need to be sure those privacy rights stay in place."
On his thoughts on cannabis, US Congressman Raul Grijalva joins us. Representative Grijalva shares his point of view on serving our veterans after they've served for us, "Professors doing evidence based, fact based, science based studies on the application of cannabis to veterans in terms of dealing with the stresses and mental issues that they brought back with them from Afghanistan and Iraq, therapeutic application, the veterans want it. Even establish veterans organizations that have been around for 100 years want it. And you had the legislature threaten to take away funding from the University of Arizona if they didn't stop the study and didn't get rid of the professor. Professor left, continued the study somewhere else."
On his foray into cannabis advocacy- first at the state level, US Congressman Matt Gaetz joins us and shares, "I knew that we would never convince an overwhelmingly Republican state legislature and a strident Republican governor to engage in cannabis reform if they didn't feel it in their hearts. I didn't think I could convey that in a two dimensional medium, and so I invited Paige Figi to come and testify before the Criminal Justice Committee I chaired. I remember the conversation I had with a Baptist preacher who served on the committee with me. I was worried that he might go into full meltdown when surprised with Paige's story, and so I told him what was going to happen in the committee. He just grabbed me by the arm and prayed with me and said he just couldn't be with me on this. By the end of the committee meeting, he was pounding on the desk saying, "God put this plant on earth for a reason."
US Congressman Earl Blumenauer returns to share the state of the Rohrabacher Blumenauer Amendment as well as his thoughts on the fact that over 20M people have a relationship with cannabis each month. This has led to a shift and hardening of public opinion in support of legalizing the plant. Congressman Blumenauer feels that there is a good chance that there will be movement specifically on 280E as there are so many 'tax vehicles' being discussed. And if you're listening and are a constituent of anyone in house leadership, the Congressman urges you to write, call and go down to that office to share your thoughts.
US Congressman Carlos Curbelo joins us and discusses his point of view on cannabis which extends from his belief in federalism and states rights. He was first made aware of cannabis as an issue through Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code which states that cannais businesses may not deduct otherwise ordinary business expenses from gross income associated with the trafficking of Schedule I or II substances, as defined by the Controlled Substances Act. Now well versed in the subject, Congressman Curbelo also discusses the wellbeing of patients relying on cannabis.
US Congressman Ro Khanna joins us and shares his initial reaction to AG Sessions rescinding the Cole Memo’s. On personal liberty, he continues the conversation from our last episode with US Congressman Tom McClintock which brings up the similarities between guns and cannabis in regards to concealed carry. On cannabis law enforcement he discusses racial equity. On spending federal funds to go after cannabis businesses, Congressman Khanna supports both the McClintock Polis and Rohrabacher Blumenauer Amendments. On jobs, he discusses bringing the new economy to every corner of the US. Further to that point, he notes that we’ve got to come together- in order to compete with other nations moving forward “we don’t have a person to waste."
Half the namesake of the McClintock Polis Amendment which seeks to protect adult-use cannabis businesses the same way that the Rohrabacher Blumenauer Amendment protects medical cannabis businesses from the federal government, US Congressman Tom McClintock joins us to discuss his reasoning for sponsoring the bill. He also notes his general philosophy of governance as it relates to state vs. federal government.
I only met Mac Jones twice. Once, when we did the interview and once, at Andy's wedding. He was an unbelievably warm human being. He was also a banker. And he had cannabis clients. Andy introduced us, so we thought it would be appropriate to celebrate Mac after his passing through a conversation with his son Brad. The full interview with Mac follows the conversation with Andy and Brad. You can donate to Ark Valley Hospice in Mac's name.
"Jeff Sessions, as much as we disagree on all sorts of topics, he's right. Marijuana is federally illegal and marijuana needs rules and protections in place by states like Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, need to come together and stand up for these businesses that they collect tax revenue from and give us something better than a flimsy piece of paper with a couple rules on it that any administration can pull away. And until that happens marijuana and Jeff Sessions, it is illegal and Jeff Sessions is right."
Brian Vicente returns to provide updated perspective on the state of the cannabis economy in the state of Colorado. We also preview how the upcoming election might affect legal cannabis across the United States.
Khurshid Khoja joins us and shares his deep history in the cannabis industry. He notes how he’s been approaching the California market in 2018 based on the myriad changes stemming from the first week of the year.
Providing an update on all things NCIA, Aaron Smith returns to discuss what the association is seeing.
Former NBA phenom Al Harrington joins us and shares the valuable lessons learned from his pre-pro coaches. He discusses his career in the NBA, what he learned from the veterans when he got there and what he learned from the former commissioner when he left. Al also of course shares what led to his foray into the cannabis economy and why exactly one of his company’s is named after his grandmother.
Constance Finley joins us following a successful career in finance. She’s been in cannabis for the past 10 years and has evolved with the industry, now well-licensed as we make our way through this next reality. Constance is now focused on providing a pharmaceutical grade product with verified results from physicians.
Of Cypress Hill, Muggs joins us and shares how his east coast upbringing led to initial west coast success. He remembers that his relationship with cannabis led to inspiration and action, which was different than what he heard about the plant. He does feel that the group had something to do with the way the majority of society who accepts cannabis views cannabis. And how that informs his business endeavors in the space.
Roger Volodarsky joins us and discusses the nuances of the New York vs. California markets. Going back, Roger was an avid fan of the plant but his parents didn’t differentiate between cannabis and any other substance, with the exception of alcohol. For them emigrating from the old Soviet block alcohol was just fine, where as cannabis was certainly not. Roger’s use made them feel as though they failed as parents. Growing up in New York didn’t help as the state had no legal medical cannabis framework in the 90’s so the plant was essentially just as stigmatized as it was in "Refer Madness.” And it hasn’t necessarily gotten too much better as evidenced by our current medical program which is why Roger has moved on to Los Angeles where the cannabis culture is a bit richer.
Helen Cho joins and and reminds us that Hawaii legalized cannabis in the year 2000 and it took seventeen years to open the first dispensaries. But two years ago, thanks in part to State Senator Will Espero, legislation passed, for said dispensaries to in fact open. There was a certain threshold of capital heft needed to attain one of those eight licenses. As a reminder the system is somewhat conservative. There is no wholesale market meaning that market participants cannot assist each other with supply and demand during shortages or overages. And in other news, the testing requirements are strict- which of course is an absolute positive. Regarding the consumer- Day 1 sounds like it was just like Colorado but unlike Colorado there were a few issues with the seed to sale technology which hadn’t been tested before that day.
Lukas Behal joins us and provides his background in events which has led him to organize one of the world’s largest trade shows in the Czech Republic. He notes that there were better times in the past- decades ago, just after Czechoslovakia split, homegrow was prevalent and public consumption was not an issue. Since 2010, he’s been building the trade show within the context of legal cannabis.
And based on Lucas’ personal experience, we also get a chance to discuss the differences between socialism and communism. And we come away thinking the true enemy of society being laziness coupled with an aversion to conceiving of original thought.
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.