Alex Cooley returns and shares that the goals in Washington State and the city of Seattle are the same as they’ve been for the last two years. This is the third year running where we’re discussing delivery and consumption. Testing protocols and standards have changed and remain an evolving reality. We’re now up to the basic questions of how are the regulations that have been put in place affecting business. Which brings us to taxes- that’s the large looming issue du jour. The excise tax is now 37% which is actually lower than it was. But that’s still astronomically high. On top of that, local and state taxes-which in Seattle add up to 10.1%- need to be paid. Competing with the black market is tough if you’ve got a 47% surcharge.
Michael Bronstein returns to discuss the fact that he sees the state legislature of New Jersey legalizing adult-use cannabis within 2018. Governor Murphy campaigned on the issue and there’s no question where he stands as far as support. That said, there’s not necessarily agreement on a timeline. What Michael does know is that the New Jersey State Senate President is for it and wants legal cannabis adopted. There’s more of a question in the House. Michael further notes that important bridges have to be built, just like on any legislative agenda. In his view the ultimate legislation must of course speak to licenses and product availability and may also speak to social justice. On product, the lesson has been learned from New York and he feels that there will be flower available in New Jersey.
Nick Kovacavitch joins us and shares his background in college basketball and how he takes lessons learned on the court to the board room. Lesson one as he says is figuring out how to work together. While you can develop deep relationships on a team, you don’t have to necessarily like everyone as long as you’re all committed to the same goal. You’re all working for the same purpose. Work together to benefit those who have specific skills and put them in a position to succeed. None of that is different in business. The competitive nature of sports is also hard to get away from in business. Recorded at MJBizCon, Nick notes that his competitive spirit has him wanting to compete and win. But he balances that gut response with the fact that the cannabis industry must have collaboration and will have consolidation.
Dr. Rachel Knox returns and as a commissioner on the Oregon Cannabis Commission. Medical Marijuana has been in existence since 1998 in Oregon and was originally overseen by the Health Authority. With the onset of Adult Use cannabis in the state, Oregon’s Governor Brown sought to ensure that the medical marijuana program was well structured and well run and at the forefront of cannabis research, so she developed the Commission to oversee it. She looked for capable and committed folks like Rachel and two other doctors, a patient representative, and regulators from both the Health Authority and from the OLCC who oversee adult use. The goal is to ensure that the program is robust, features patient advocacy and is focused on further research in Oregon.
Recorded on the day of the Cole & Ogden Memo’s rescission, Jonathan Blanks from the Cato Institute joins us and shares that from his vantage point, the Sessions Memo reverses a very sane practice of limiting the federal government’s power to intervene in state legal cannabis. In his words “the people of Colorado think we’ve spent too much money, wasted too much energy and jailed entirely too many people for smoking marijuana, so we’re not gonna do it any more, the federal government shouldn’t come in and interfere with that." So that puts us in a place where the voters asked for legal cannabis but instead of tax dollars from that industry going back to building that community, that communities tax dollars are being used in enforcement against the very will of we the people.
Dot Colagiovanni joins us and shares that she’s got a PhD in toxicology which she put to use in the biotech industry for 20 years until she became disillusioned with the FDA working slowly but also hedge funds coming in to biotech and driving decision making as opposed to the science. She wanted to bring medicine to market sooner at the same time as her son had to have a liver transplant. During the wait to find a liver, Dot wanted to be present and so she and she alone self medicated with cannabis after her son went to bed. She had never utilized cannabis medically and she says, cannabis helped her cope. She put two and two together and realized the cannabis industry was where she needed to be.
Comedy duo...and twins, the Lucas Brothers join us and share that there was an easy transition from being quiet off stage to being quiet onstage. Kenny and Keith were on their way to being lawyers until they realized that they hated it. And of course stand-up comedy was the next best option. From Newark, NJ which they pronounce like Pork…from Newark they separated for the only time going to Duke and NYU respectively which precipitated them coming back together and staying that way. As it’s said, comedians are today’s philosophers so we find our way to discussing the relationship of women to men and vice versa. We discuss how economics and race have played into our current global geopolitical construct. And we do discuss thoughts on the proliferation, growth and acceptance of cannabis.