Ep. 389: Podcastland

December 19, 2018

Our host Seth Adler was recently asked to be a guest on MJ Today and the Green Rush. He was also asked to be a panelist at the Cannabis Media Summit. Each was an opportunity for him to take a seat on ‘the other side of the microphone.’ And so we’ve compiled each appearance here in one episode.


Seth Adler: Podcast land.

Seth Adler: Welcome to Cannabis Economy. I'm your host, Seth Adler. Download episodes on canneconomy.com. That's two Ns and the word economy. A lot going on there.

Seth Adler: Now, I was recently asked to be a guest on MJ Today and the Green Rush. I was also asked to be a panelist at the Cannabis Media Summit. Each was an opportunity for me to take a seat on the other side of the microphone. And so I've compiled each appearance here in one episode. Thanks to Kristin Jordan of the Cannabis Media Summit, Lewis Goldberg and Anne Donohoe of the Green Rush, and a very special thanks to Shea Gunther, host of MJ Today Daily and the producer and sometimes host of MJ Today and the guy who conceived of what became of SSDP.

Seth Adler: First a word from our sponsor, and then a whole bunch of me.

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Seth Adler: You know that's the ... I'm so excited to sit down with you because we kinda do the same thing, and what's great is that we absolutely also don't do the same thing.

Shea Gunther: Yeah, yep.

Seth Adler: You know? There's Chris, there's Shea, there's Seth, and that's not your ... Once you hear one of their voices, it's not gonna be what the other one does.

Shea Gunther: And I don't think there's a person in the world who's like, "Oh I listen to Seth, exclusively, and not those guys."

Seth Adler: Right. So I can't listen to Shea's daily thing because I'd listen to Seth's weekly thing and Seth's weekly thing, completely different than what Chris does.

Shea Gunther: Yep.

Seth Adler: And there's a rabbit hole there. You know?

Shea Gunther: Oh, totally.

Seth Adler: With the feeds. So it's like, one you go down it-

Shea Gunther: Well, and podcast listeners like to listen to podcasts. You know?

Seth Adler: Absolutely.

Shea Gunther: They're not just finding one and ... So yeah. And it's certainly a growing pool, but it's still relatively small. So-

Seth Adler: And these Green Rush guys?

Shea Gunther: Green Rush, they're awesome.

Seth Adler: Right? Come on.

Shea Gunther: Totally biased there.

Seth Adler: Kumbaya.

Shea Gunther: Yeah, yeah. No, totally lifting boats, we're all small little boats being lifted.

Seth Adler: You're the only guy that's doing a daily that I know of though.

Shea Gunther: Yup.

Seth Adler: Right?

Shea Gunther: Yeah.

Seth Adler: I mean that's gotta be a-

Shea Gunther: Well yeah, so Russ Belville, I think used to be a daily publisher.

Seth Adler: Absolutely.

Shea Gunther: So-

Seth Adler: Absolutely.

Shea Gunther: But he's not ... I think he's out of the podcasting game right now.

Seth Adler: Got it. Also though, different-

Shea Gunther: And way different. Yeah, totally. Yeah, he ... Radical Russ. You know? I mean, he's great, but yeah, he's definitely a little bit more ... I'm just a nerdy news guy.

Seth Adler: Right, exactly. There's Tall Shea as opposed to Radical Russ.

Shea Gunther: Exactly.

Seth Adler: But daily, I know that they're not really long episodes, but it is every day. That's gotta be a grind.

Shea Gunther: Yeah, but it's the best grind though. You know? I mean, I've done over 600 episodes. I forget the exact number-

Seth Adler: Sure.

Shea Gunther: Maybe 620 or something, but-

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Shea Gunther: So it's the same exact process every single day, but the particulars are different, so it's interesting.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Shea Gunther: I'm never bored.

Seth Adler: Sure.

Shea Gunther: It's just ... But the process is beautiful and predictable and I could do it in my sleep.

Seth Adler: Got it.

Shea Gunther: You know, so-

Seth Adler: Wake up, coffee.

Shea Gunther: Wake up at 5:00, headlines, newsletter by 7:00, figure out from the newsletter ones down to the 10 by 8:00, 8:30, writing by 9, recording by 10:00, up by 11:00. That's the ideal. I don't always hit that, sometimes by noon, but yeah. But that's the-

Seth Adler: What have you ... 'Cause you started doin' daily, what would it be? How many-

Shea Gunther: Two and a half years ago.

Seth Adler: Two and a half years ago. It's so funny cause I was gonna say a year and a half 'cause cannabis years are dog years.

Shea Gunther: Oh yeah, totally.

Seth Adler: And sometimes it feels like it was recent but it really wasn't. But what have you noticed, I guess in six months segments, these past six months, how different are those dailies from the first six months? Beyond your process and beyond you just getting better at it. I mean the news itself.

Shea Gunther: The news itself. Wow, everything's speeding up. Everywhere.

Seth Adler: Right, yeah.

Shea Gunther: I mean it's a little crazy that every single day there's 40 to 60 relevant headlines that I find every single day.

Seth Adler: Actually relevant.

Shea Gunther: And I do that Monday through Saturday.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Shea Gunther: Yeah! And not like. "Some guy got busted with 14 pounds on K Street," you know? It's, "These two companies merged," or ... There's so much going on.

Seth Adler: Yeah, yeah.

Shea Gunther: And I mean that was definitely the case when we started, but with all the states coming online and everything, the industry's just speeding up.

Seth Adler: I think also the news is bigger maybe, because you've got-

Shea Gunther: Yup, yeah. Well there's hundred million dollar deals all the time.

Seth Adler: Exactly.

Shea Gunther: My reader and I are like, "Ah 27? Man, that's not news. Come on. Come back to me when we add another zero," whereas a few years ago like, "$27 million in legal-"

Seth Adler: Couldn't even ... Yeah, exactly.

Shea Gunther: I mean my first conference was Arcview conference outside of Boston, four years ago. Like not that long ago. And the trade show for ... I'm doing air quotes ... Was a small hotel convention room and I was like, "Holy shit. There are booths. Someone made a poster for a legal marijuana company."

Seth Adler: Right, exactly.

Shea Gunther: That's what I was blown away by. And now this place here, it takes more than an hour to walk by all the booths. Last year, it took me an hour to casually stroll by every single one.

Seth Adler: Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, first year in Vegas was obviously big, but nowhere near this size. Right? I think we have to say we're at MJBizCon-

Shea Gunther: We are. Oh yes.

Seth Adler: On Podcast Row, right?

Shea Gunther: We're on ... Exactly. Love it. This has always felt the same size.

Seth Adler: To you.

Shea Gunther: To me, yeah. The first year I was like, "Holy ... " It's just big. It's like big Vegas. And so even though it's definitely ... Well I think, actually now that ... The difference, I think, the Rio is split up into two big spaces.

Seth Adler: That's true, too.

Shea Gunther: I think that was a jump. When we came to the convention center, it was all once space. That was like, "Oh my god." 'Cause I don't know if you went, there was a place on the trade show floor last year where you could get elevated and kinda see the whole floor.

Seth Adler: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Shea Gunther: And not elevated like the industry usually gets elevated.

Seth Adler: That would be up to you. Yeah, exactly.

Shea Gunther: Yeah. But no, they'll actually put you 30 feet up, yeah.

Seth Adler: [crosstalk 00:06:43] to physically elevate, yeah.

Shea Gunther: And it was just the scale of it, was just ... Holy wow.

Seth Adler: So your SSDP days. Right?

Shea Gunther: Yep.

Seth Adler: All the way back then.

Shea Gunther: Yep. '97.

Seth Adler: Just legalize it, is what I think ... Sensible policies, and let's just try to get out of our own way, here.

Shea Gunther: Yeah, well I-

Seth Adler: 11 years later, do you believe this from putting on your 1997 hat?

Shea Gunther: 11 years? '97 was a few more than 11 years ago. Feels like it was 11.

Seth Adler: Well, I'm not good at math.

Shea Gunther: Yeah, I know. Well it's like ... No, it feels like it was five years ago.

Seth Adler: That's what I feel like, so I-

Shea Gunther: Yeah, yeah. Two years ago. But no, it was 20 years ago!

Seth Adler: 21 years ago, yeah.

Shea Gunther: 21 years ago, 24% of Americans thought marijuana should be legal.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Shea Gunther: And now it's 60%, 60% plus.

Seth Adler: Yeah, 66%.

Shea Gunther: So yeah. That's what it is, yeah. It's 66%, yeah. [inaudible 00:07:40]. And medical, it's 95%.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Shea Gunther: There's no ... What issue do 95% of Americans agree on about anything?

Seth Adler: No. Breathing.

Shea Gunther: Yeah. Not punching kids in the face.

Seth Adler: I don't know if you got 95% on that. 90% plus, maybe.

Shea Gunther: This is true. You might get ... Yeah, maybe 94%, yeah. Some parts of this country, shit. Maybe don't kick babies.

Seth Adler: Don't kick babies.

Shea Gunther: I bet, "No, don't kick babies," gets at least 95%.

Seth Adler: There's gotta be a website for kicking babies. Not that we should look for that,

Shea Gunther: Yeah. There's a website for everything.

Seth Adler: Yeah. So it's a totally different world, right?

Shea Gunther: Totally different world, yeah. I mean, everyone thought I was crazy. I mean, people who thought marijuana should be legal, but people're like, "What? That's crazy."

Seth Adler: Why did you care about it?

Shea Gunther: So I was a big giant nerd in high school and bought the whole DARE thing. You know? The DARE lion, that marijuana would kill you, it would do ... Just, drugs were bad. Okay? I bought that. And when I went to college, there were some guys in my dorm room floor who asked me, they were like, "Hey, wanna go smoke pot in the woods," like college freshman do.

Seth Adler: Sure.

Shea Gunther: And still being a nerd, I went and did some research to see if I was actually gonna ruin my life by going and smoking pot, and I discovered that all of it was a bullshit lie. And I have super big problems with authority, especially authority that ... If you're lying to me and you're an authority figure? Oh, that makes me so mad.

Seth Adler: Yeah. I didn't like you to begin with, what with the rules and all.

Shea Gunther: Yeah. But now you're lying to me? Like [inaudible 00:09:12] that. So when I ... That was my freshman year. I transferred schools the next year, and honestly, I was the Rochester Institute of Technology, and I didn't know anyone. And so half of it was like, "I'm so mad about this marijuana prohibition and I wanna end it," and half was like, "I kinda wanna meet some other cool kids on campus." So I hand drew this poster up, and it said, "Do you feel that ... " I forget. What does it say? I forget the exact wording, but it was basically like, "Do you think pot should be legal? Come and meet here Friday at 4:20."

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Shea Gunther: And 25 kids showed up.

Seth Adler: First time?

Shea Gunther: Yeah.

Seth Adler: That's pretty good.

Shea Gunther: Including Kris Lotlikar.

Seth Adler: Look at that.

Shea Gunther: Yeah, host of Marijuana Today. And if you don't know Kris Lotlikar, he's 6'7" and-

Seth Adler: Even taller.

Shea Gunther: He's tall, yeah. He's tall. He's too tall. But at the time, he was still 6'7". He was probably 40 pounds lighter. Real thin. He had terrible dreadlocks. Terrible white guy dreadlocks, just ... I still make fun of him for it. But he came into the room and I was like, "Oh, wow. That guy's tall." And he ended up being one of the officers, one of the most productive members of the group. And that group, we were the Rochester Cannabis Coalition. That was the name of our group. That turned into the first chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policies. So the next year, there was the name change.

Seth Adler: Crazy.

Shea Gunther: And then from there, Kris Lotlikar went to Washington, DC, and then chapters sprung up in ... I think it was UMass Amherst, Georgetown, maybe SUNY New Paltz was the first year. RIT. There was four or five founding colleges. And I think I'm probably forgetting one or two, so apologies, any SSDP peers from those schools. Hampshire College?

Seth Adler: Right.

Shea Gunther: Definitely Hampshire College in Amherst.

Seth Adler: Got it.

Shea Gunther: So yeah. And then it just took off.

Seth Adler: Exactly. And Betty's doin' a great job with it now. Betty Aldworth.

Shea Gunther: Oh yeah. Betty's awesome.

Seth Adler: I wonder, when you meet kinda new SSDPers, folks that are still on campus or just coming out, versus that initial kinda group of folks, what's the initial difference that you see between today's SSDP and kinda the initial run?

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