As the chairwoman of the Small Business Committee, U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez is unsurprisingly passionate about cannabis business rights, such as safe banking. Because public opinion of cannabis is progressing, it is important to help businesses grow in order to positively impact local communities and local economies. In particular, Velazquez emphasizes that those who have been most impacted by the war on drugs must be given access to the capital and resources they need in order to enter the cannabis space. She firmly believes that “the potential is unbelievable, but we have to do this right.” Luckily, with public sentiment on our side, the future seems quite promising.
Seth Adler: Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez joins us. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Download episodes on CannEconomy.Com, that's two N's in the word economy, or wherever you currently get your podcasts. Got a ton of direct insight from policy science and business leaders up on the site as well as, one-on-ones on cannabinoids, and 2018 research supplements [within 00:00:20] the National Academy of Sciences, engineering, and Madison research from 2017. Congresswoman Velazquez did introduce her own bills after this interview was recorded, but first a word from MedMen, and then Congressman Nydia Velazquez.
Seth Adler: Med Men is the most recognizable cannabis retailer in the US, with operations across the country and flagship stores in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and New York. Recently, MedMen entered Florida for the first time, the third largest medical cannabis market where the company is licensed for 35 total stores. It's all part of MedMen's impressive footprint, which currently spans 86 licenses, including pending acquisitions. Learn more about how MedMen is creating a safer, happier, and healthier world at MedMen.com
Nydia Velazquez: Nydia Velazquez.
Seth Adler: Well, that's not as hard as I thought it would be.
Nydia Velazquez: No.
Seth Adler: All right. Congresswoman Velazquez, we have a lot to talk about and we'll try to cover as much as we can, but you have started the conversation with cannabis through small business. Thank you very much. On behalf of society, I guess? Global society, why not? How did this come to you? You're the chairwoman of the Small Business Committee. How did this become an issue for you to deal with through the committee?
Nydia Velazquez: Besides being the chair of the Small Business Committee, I am a senior member on Financial Services. And we held a hearing on Financial Services, regarding legislation introduced by Congressman Ed Perlmutter from Colorado-
Seth Adler: Of course, the banking app, yes.
Nydia Velazquez: To be able to provide banking services to this, to cannabis companies that are participating in that space. And then it occurred to me throughout the hearings that we conducted, and the legislation that we discussed. That one area that will compliment the legislation of Ed Perlmutter will be, to allow for small companies, because for the most part in the cannabis space, most of the people that are dealing with, are small companies or small businesses.
Seth Adler: That's right.
Nydia Velazquez: So I said to myself, "It will be good if we allow for the small companies that are the one creating jobs in our communities, to be able to access some of the small programs, small business programs that we have under the Small Business Administration." And so, as chair of the House, of Small Business Committee, I have jurisdiction over all those programs. And so, I understood that it was a good way to provide tools for small companies in the cannabis industry, to be able to start up, and expand their businesses.
Seth Adler: Excellent. You had a hearing, and I've spoken with your colleague, Congressman Evans, spoken with my friend, [Shanita Penny 00:00:03:45], who is one of your guests. What did you take away from that hearing? Just to have the hearing was big news in and of itself.
Nydia Velazquez: Yeah, well given the fact that public opinion is progressing in that space, and the people are changing mentality toward cannabis. I felt that it was very important to have this conversation, because if we could promote these businesses to be able to grow their businesses, we are impacting local communities. We are impacting local economies, and generally speaking, we will be impacting economy-
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