Q3 Column Highlights

October 5, 2019

Housing – U.S. Congressman Ro Khanna

  1. “Currently, rent control ordinances allow little security for renters. I’d like to repeal some of those laws, because our communities need reasonable rent control for its middle-class workers. We’re also working with HUD to allocate funding for public housing and affordable rent. We must continue to push for affordable housing.”
  2. “There needs to be a massive investment in public transportation. By allowing people to commute into the big cities like Cupertino or Sunnyvale, we’re giving them an opportunity to live outside the most expensive parts of Silicon Valley while earning a livable income and residing in affordable housing.”
  3. “Silicon Valley is a great location for tech headquarters but distributing some of these jobs opportunities across the U.S. will benefit the country at large and have the added benefit of driving down the housing prices in the Valley.”


The Future of Multi-State Operators – Kris Krane

  1. “Multi-state operators (MSOs) are gaining momentum. From an advocacy perspective, that’s a good thing. Brand recognition is the path to the ultimate legitimization and legalization of cannabis. Citizens are going to start building affinities toward certain brands in the same way they do with soda or sneakers.”
  2. “MSOs also benefit the cannabis economy because they have a lot more capital to invest into R&D. More money means more research. Just like a food or drug manufacturer refines their processes so their product can be consistently recreated in every manufacturing location, it is imperative cannabis companies dial their processes in to ensure they’re operating under state protocols.”
  3. “Right now, the cannabis economy is playing out like the board game Monopoly. Success is defined by building as many houses and hotels on as many properties as you can. States with limited licenses are the Boardwalks of the country. In the future, the cannabis economy will play out more like the board game Risk. Sure, the dots on the map are still important, but the strategy and execution against the map is going to be the most surefire path to victory.”
  4. “It’s safe to say that Wall Street will eventually take over the cannabis industry, as they have with most other industries. It’s already starting to happen. That’s why safeguarding our cannabis laws with considerations for the people we’ve left behind is imperative. These people deserve to be taken care of financially. It’s a small price to pay to the ones who paved the way.”


Jack – Debby Goldsberry

  1. “Prohibition halted the development of farm machinery used to make fiber from the hemp stalk. Before that, it was a big fiber crop until the 1950s. You can still go see the hemp rope on the U.S. Constitution in Boston. Hemp rope helped us win wars.”
  2. “Cannabis advocates have a huge voice across the United States. Now we’re using that voice to get to the crux of the inequalities in America. We are opening our eyes to the fact that a few have always ruled the country. We, the people, should be in charge of our democracy through our votes and our voices. Marijuana is forcing us to wake up to the current political climate, because the inequalities surrounding it are too blatant to ignore. We’re being slapped in the face with the realities of America’s inequity, but we are fighting back.”
  3. “We’re beginning to talk about—and make laws toward—equity in ownership. It isn’t enough to simply offer operating licenses as a means to make amends to those who have been discriminated against by the war on drugs. Even if they are able to gain ownership, they’re faced with laws that further increase the barrier to entry. To get into the cannabis industry on the retail side, it costs millions of dollars just to get the door open. If you manage that, it will cost millions more before you start to see a profit. Who has that kind of money to spend? The already wealthy.”
  4. “No longer is the mantra: ‘Hemp for food, fuel, fiber, and medicine.’ Now, it’s shifting to: ‘Hemp for equality, social justice, and the environment.’ The message has evolved. We thought the acceptance and legalization of hemp and cannabis was going to be enough. Now we’ve broadened our mission, and in doing so, further reinforced Jack [Herer]’s age-old belief: hemp can save the planet.”


Reinvestment & Reconciliation – Shaleen Title

  1. “The war on drugs disproportionately affected minority communities, and now is the time to right our wrongs through reinvestment and reconciliation. When we legalize and regulate cannabis, we’re not starting from scratch. We’re making new regulations on an industry that has existed for decades. We must consider the criminal justice implications holistically if we don’t want to repeat the past.”
  2. “The ACLU put out a statisticthat says black people are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than white people, despite equitable use. We need to explicitly acknowledge in new cannabis laws that, when it comes to criminal justice and business provisions, we take that unfair treatment into account.”
  3. “History shows us that, as new laws pass, enforcement and over policing will simply manifest in new ways. After slavery, we had the Jim Crow laws, for example. We must acknowledge that openly, watch for it, and talk about it publicly.”
  4. “Those harmed communities must have a seat at the table. We don’t want to talk for them or at them. At the heart of reconciliation is discussion, open communication, and a willingness to come to terms with the harm we have caused and work toward fixing it.”


Monitor & Adjust – The Paxhia

  1. “When sailing, the moment things start to go wrong is usually the precise moment they start to move very quickly. And it’s the same in cannabis. Everything starts to accelerate in the direction of the thing that’s going wrong. If you don’t pay very close attention to the conditions and to what’s happening in that moment, you can find yourself, at best, very uncomfortable; at worst, in quite a bit of pain or in real trouble.”
  2. “Just as in sailing, we should look out for over-correcting and overreacting in the cannabis industry as well. In both, it’s all about using the information you have at hand to make fine calibrations in what you’re doing.”
  3. “Those conditions are uncertain, and we need to continue to navigate them. It’s important to just remain calm, move quickly, and use the information you have available to you to monitor and adjust through these tricky times.”


The Kibbutz – Mike Gorenstein

  1. “Originating in 1910, kibbutzim – plural for kibbutz – started as small communal living establishments in Israel whose intent was survival through shared living. Since then, kibbutzim have evolved into successful economic communities. Their reach extends into agriculture, manufacturing, and even high-tech enterprises. While kibbutzim have become big business, where you’ll find highly educated individuals and the privatization of multi-million-dollar companies, they still maintain their focus around community and communal living.”
  2. “We knew we needed a group of individuals who were experts in cultivation and manufacturing. We knew that we needed onsite management and local partnerships. I can’t understate how hard it is to roll all of that up into one central source.”
  3. “When Israel legalized the production and sale of medical marijuana, the government gave out few license codes for commercial operations. Most of them went to kibbutzim.”


2011 – 2013 – Ethan Nadelmann

  1. “The energy put into the winding path toward legalization shifted away from California after a legislative loss in 2010. Some activists focused on Colorado. Others in Washington. I had stayed out of the previous failed efforts in 2008, but I recognized the potential 2012 held.”
  2. “It is important to understand that the path to legalization support in Washington didn’t necessarily come from a place of pro-marijuana. It came more from a place of the potential positive societal and economic effects of decriminalization, along with the funding marijuana tax would bring in.”
  3. “The president of Uruguay, Jose Musica, was also interested in decriminalization. Culturally, the efforts in Uruguay needed to take a different form than the ones in the U.S. Their stumbling block to legalization involved convincing the general public, because only 40% of Uruguayans were in favor of legalization.”
  4. “Both Colorado and Washington showed that there were two arguments that would persuade swing voters—a key demographic. The first argument was that citizens wanted their police force focusing on more pressing issues than busting young kids for weed. The second argument was that they’d rather have the government taxing and regulating cannabis, as opposed to funding illegal activities on the street.”


Backstory: Part I – Don Fertman

  1. “I have three different ways I introduce myself. When I’m at work, I am the chief development officer of Subway. When I’m at an AA meeting, I am an alcoholic. When I’m speaking in forums about my recovery outside of AA, I am a person in long-term recovery.”
  2. “I had one drink, then two, then three. That third beer brought my whole being to life. Everything was bright. I was handsome, I was witty, I was all of the things I always wanted to be but couldn’t quite achieve. That third beer gave me the bravery to be myself—or what I thought was myself. I was sure then that I’d achieve my dream of being a radio star, a rock star, a rock god. I was all those things that day after that beer. It was a feeling I spent chasing until 1983. The third beer buzz was my driving force; my higher power for the next 10 years.”
  3. “It never dawned on me my drinking was a problem. It hadn’t dawned on me that I just went through an alcohol withdrawal. I was experiencing a classic case of denial. I made my way home to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life.”


Silicon Valley – David Hua

  1. “One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to take care of your cofounders. As with any relationship, communication is key. In order to work together in a way that’s best for the company and each other, cofounders should be equal. Check-ins are critical to keep the vision clear and the communication going. Listen to one another.”
  2. “Once a company scales, visits to farms and manufacturing plants may get left behind in the name of efficiency. From a quality control standpoint, having a relationship with vendors may be worth the time it takes away from rapid growth.”
  3. “The more we worry about what the other brand is doing, the more we’re going to try to counter and/or copy it. But does the ‘it’ even matter? What if the change that you’re making which is copying somebody else is adversely affecting the people that you serve today? Take that energy and put it into getting to know your client base personally. Talk to your customers.”
  4. “Because the cannabis trade doesn’t have the same amount and types of resources as tech, we need to come together, to pull together, and to have a united voice. Regulators, legislators, and local politicians only have so much time, so we have to be succinct with our message.”


Rock Climbing – Paige Figi

  1. “It’s not part of our culture in this part of the world to look at health holistically. We live in a microwave, quick-fix society. When we get a headache, our focus is on ridding the pain we’re experiencing. We don’t stop to consider our bodies, those big bag of cells that we carry around with us, and the root cause of our pain. By treating the symptoms, we’re not curing ourselves of anything. In fact, sometimes we’re masking an underlying issue. We’re also running the risk of dangerous side effects from the substance we’re using for pain management. We’ve lost touch with ourselves. We’re afraid of trusting ourselves. We believe we’re not smart enough to treat ourselves, because it’s been ingrained in us to look to doctors as the experts of our body, despite how individual each one of us is on a cellular level.”
  2. “Legislation and oversight are put into place to safeguard against the misuse of any particular product, but I don’t believe we should be safeguarding against the lowest common denominator. I don’t believe Tide Pods should face legislation because some YouTubers try to eat them. When the government restricts access for responsible consumers to protect the few who aren’t responsible, they strip us of our autonomy.”
  3. “Ultimately, our health is in our own hands. Whether we choose to treat ourselves with CBD or Advil, whether we choose to rock climb or knit to calm our nerves, we have to be given the freedom and trust ourselves enough to figure out what works for each of us as individuals.”
  4. “We all need to make space in our lives for the things that make us happy, in spite of the stress we’re under. Even if we never find our purpose or reach our goals, we must carve out bits of joy in our lives. We must push ourselves to the limit, do something exciting and scary, and appreciate our short time on this planet.”


Alzheimer’s Disease – Professor Dave Schubert

  1. “Neurodegenerative disease, or disease which affects the neurons of the brain, has taken a spotlight in the quest to discover new cures from the cannabis plant. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most prevalent of the old age-associated neurodegenerative diseases. An estimated 50 million people worldwide suffer from AD. Despite growing interest and funding into Alzheimer’s drug discovery, little progress has been made toward its prevention, treatment, or cure. Of the 244 compounds that faced scrutiny in clinical trials between 2002 and 2012, only one was approved.”
  2. “CB1 and CB2 are two cell receptors in the endocannabinoid system. When functioning properly, CB receptors help regulate memory, appetite, and mood. But if they die off prematurely or are impacted by protein buildup, diseases like AD can take hold.”
  3. “We have demonstrated that some non-psychoactive cannabinoids have potential as AD drug candidates. Moreover, these cannabinoids are also able to stimulate the clearance of Aβ and protect nerve cells from three additional old age-associated neurotoxic insults. Importantly, they are functional in the absence of CB1 and CB2 receptors and, in some cases, show a synergistic neuroprotective effect with each other. We conclude that the cannabinoids are engaging currently undefined targets and that one or more of these cannabinoids could provide a lead compound for AD drug therapy.”


Woman-Owned – Julie Berliner

  1. “Running any business is crazy hard. Whether you’re the business owner or part of the c-suite, there are so many challenging facets to it. However, I’ve found with the cannabis industry, there is an underlying purpose and motivator that goes beyond profit.”
  2. “Because cannabis has a higher purpose, it’s easier to fight the good fight that comes along with the industry. It’s harder to walk away from, harder to throw in the towel and decide it’s not worth it, because the whole journey is rewarding. Sure, we help people have a better day, but we do so much more than that. Cannabis helps with epilepsy, chronic pain, and those coming off of chemotherapy. Research is coming out that indicates even more uses and benefits.”
  3. “The cannabis industry is being built in real-time, as we speak, and there is a lot of opportunity in that. I want to build it in a way that’s supporting women. I don’t think a lot of industries were build that way, because a lot of those industries were built in a time when women stayed at home and spent their time in the kitchen. In this case, we have an opportunity to create a new model. I hope this inspires other women in traditional ownership and leadership positions to seek out opportunities in cannabis.”


Fingerprinting – Charlie Bachtell

  1. “Sometimes the pendulum can swing too far. Regulation sometimes goes past the point where it needed to. Sometimes that’s okay, because such strict regulation works as a trial period to ensure that it’s something that can be properly controlled. Once the new normal is established, it’s easier to walk back certain parts of a legislation that were overkill or unnecessary and make the environment more flexible.”
  2. “In the case of mortgage banking, protecting the borrowers and making sure nobody was being taken advantage of was the main priority. On the cannabis side, there had to be proof that diversion and teenage use wouldn’t skyrocket. There had to be evidence that drugs weren’t going to be pumped into right into the illicit market. Once that was established, the administration was able to readdress some of the unnecessary facets of the properly functioning program and rework them.”
  3. “Be a good operator. Do things for the right reason. Put your customer and program first. Have a true intent to be a compliant operator. By doing the right thing, the transition to legal cannabis at the federal level will be as painless as possible.”


2009 – 2019 – Andy Williams & Sally Vander Veer

  1. “Early on in the legalization journey, people didn’t really care where they were buying their weed from. The sentiment was more along the lines of, “Hey, I can buy legal weed!” Customers weren’t selective at that time. They were just happy to be able to have access to marijuana and not get arrested for purchasing it. The bar was low in 2010. It has steadily moved up since, especially since 2014 when recreational sales were allowed in Colorado.”
  2. “The culture of legal cannabis in Colorado has evolved so much that clientele now has high expectations from any dispensary in Colorado.”
  3. “From our first iteration to our latest, one thing has stayed the same—we want our customers to have a good experience. In 2010, we did the best we could. We had to experiment a bit to figure out what a “best experience” looked like and learned along the way.”


Homelessness – Kayvan Khalatbari

  1. “Housing should be part of the conversation when discussing infrastructure investments. It is imperative to invest in the people of the city as well. That’s what makes Denver so great. The more people we push to the outskirts, the more people we displace, the more we lose what makes Denver special.”
  2. “Free markets should be allowed to thrive. However, I also believe that that should not be done at the expense of people’s baseline living conditions and quality of life. When affordable housing, education, healthy food, healthcare, and human rights are threatened, taxpayers pay for it in the end.”
  3. “What we spend on public works dollars and law enforcement to push these people around the corner every night, what we’re spending in these cleanups, what we’re spending trying to deal with people living outside, we could simply spend to subsidize their housing. We’d even have money left over to provide services such as mental health, healthcare, and substance abuse aid. It’s a harm reduction practice on the taxpayer’s wallet to simply help provide these baseline needs for people trying to survive on the streets.”
  4. “It’s incumbent on cannabis businesses and operators who have a lot of capital to invest in a solution to homelessness. In a market like Colorado and other licensed states east of the Mississippi, we’re seeing a lot of consolidation and big players popping up. We’re seeing all this publicly traded money get thrown around. That money needs to be a part of the solution, regardless of what our government chooses to do.”


H2 2019 – The Paxhia

  1. “You can get away with mediocre behavior when you have an industry that has the strong tailwinds, but the challenge is that those tailwinds are not always as prevalent in such a hyper-localized market.”
  2. “The first half [of 2019] we’ve really gotten our money’s worth as far as seeing so much change, where in 2018 we were still living in a world of pro forma promises as acceptable for getting capital done and keeping teams in place.”
  3. “The E-cigarette space is a cautionary tale for the CBD space. Now, E-cigarettes are very different in many ways from CBD, but I would say that when you have bad actors and you have things that are in the product that are not verified, tested, true or following any kind of regulatory framework, we’re going to run into continued issues. I’m just waiting for a bad headline there.”
  4. “With Illinois becoming closer and closer to opening at the start of 2020, that’s going to bring back some more positive animal spirits, because that’s a fantastic market. Michigan as well. So, there’s some really good growth potential in the Midwest in this country. And then also looking to South where you have a potential legalization happening in Mexico, which I don’t think most people are truly appreciating at this point, but they will be when they realize that it is a very large addressable market that is becoming a fully federally legal medical market for both THC based products and CBD based products.”


Second Half of 2019 – Rick Trojan

  1. “2019 has already proved itself a big year for cannabis, but not without its fair share of hiccups. Once the 2018 Farm Bill passed, the industry believed it would make things easier. They figured banking would open. Federally, hemp was defined as all parts of the plant under 0.3% THC, which means allcannabinoids from industrial hemp under that level are legal. That was a big win for the industry, cannabinoids in general, and for your health. What we’ve come to discover is that there’s still a lot of misinformation out there.”
  2. “There is a complete disregard for correct information all the way up to the government level. We need to help the people and law enforcement understand that this plant has been a part of our human and global system for thousands of years. It has only been over the past 100 years that we’ve been sidetracked by misinformation and propaganda.”
  3. “We have a cannabinoid system that we feed with either phytocannabinoids from plants or endocannabinoids from people. We’re attempting to help the FDA understand that we don’t need new regulations for this old substance. We’re working hard to stop all of the fear and hullabaloo. I believe we can send that message home throughout the rest of 2019.”


Wasted Tax Dollars: Part I – Neill Franklin

  1. “Regardless of party affiliation, culture, background, and gender, there is one thing we can all agree on when it comes to working and paying taxes. If that hard-earned money is going to waste, something needs to change.”
  2. “What people don’t always realize is that, as taxpayers, we want as many people as possible contributing to that pot of tax dollars. In order for that to happen, people need to be working, buying goods, and spending the money they earn. That generates tax revenue in the form of sales tax, property tax, related fees, and so on.”
  3. “The average cost per year to house someone in the prison system is $35- to $60,000. Remember, those individuals are also not working, earning a wage in corporate America, or paying taxes. We’re spending tax dollars to keep those people housed behind bars. We’re cutting off the tax revenue we’d receive from them if they were free and employed. Not to mention, even once they get out, the scarlet letter of being a criminal makes employment nearly impossible.”
  4. “The war on drugs is upside-down. The substance abuse issue is a health issue, no doubt about that, but we’ve been trying to solve this health issue with the criminal justice system. It’s incredibly costly. The truth is, very few people who abuse drugs cause problems in society.”


Beginnings – U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton

  1. “Post-traumatic stress is a perfectly normal reaction to incredibly traumatic experiences. It’s built into who we are as humans. But humans are resilient. I want to make an even more important point that recovery is possible. We just need the right treatment for it when we come home.”
  2. “I’ve learned through the experience of my peers that cannabis—while in it of itself is not a cure—has been an effective treatment for a lot of veterans. It’s also a hell of a lot safer than opioids or other psycho-pharmacological drugs. Such drugs are addictive. They’re hard to quit, and when one tries, the withdrawal can be terrible.”
  3. “In many cases, cannabis has been proven to be a safer, more effective treatment for the very stresses and problems these drugs are prescribed for. Frankly, it’s great physical pain therapy as well. It makes no sense to outlaw a drug that is safe and effective. Our veterans deserve better.”


1090 Timeline – Chuck Smith

  1. “[1090] was quite complicated, frankly, in that you had a medical regime that was already in place and had rules around that that were well known. But now you’re going from 100,000 patients to a million consumers, and that took a minute.”
  2. “There’s a whole lot of work to make sure the guardrails are there, and the protections are there so that the consequences we get from 1090 are the ones we intended. That is: quality companies putting capital into quality businesses here in Colorado so they can continue to grow and act responsibly within this industry here in the state. And, ultimately, some of those companies will go outside of the state as well for their continued expansion.”
  3. “I look at 1090 very much the same way in that, if we do this right, what we’ll get is investment that comes in that allows us to take what we’ve built here and take it to phase two. I already know several companies that are really positioning for this to be, really, a research hub for cannabis, and that’s going to take money. But that actually allows new types of ideas, new investment capital, new ways of doing business that we can innovate here and then push out to the rest of the industry.”


Looking Forward – U.S. Congressman Ro Khanna

  1. “The Marijuana Justice Act is great in that it legalizes marijuana so that kids aren’t being jailed or developing arrest records going forward, but we also need restorative justice. We need to expunge these convictions which destroy lives. The trajectory of the life of an individual who gets convicted at the age of 20 or 21 is forever changed.”
  2. “Marijuana advocates need to make sure they’re picking one or two key bills to rally around, then talk to their legislators to get them on board. [The STATES Act] is one of them. When it comes to pushing a vote across the finish line in the House, the more cosponsors the better.”
  3. “We need to go after the big agra business. They are getting 77% of federal dollars which is making it impossible for family farms to earn a sustainable living. There’s a ripple effect as well. These family farms care a lot more about the soil and the environment. By looking out for family farmers and having a thoughtful agricultural policy, we’re improving our environment on a global level.”
  4. “Artificial intelligence is going to be an extraordinarily positive thing for this country […] AI is making enormous strides when it comes to medical procedures. It is also going to displace folks. It can be abused. We need ethical guidelines and we need the investment to think about what jobs it’s going to create.”


2010s – Debby Goldsberry

  1. “We’re at a very crucial time in the history of prohibition where it’s become safe enough for people outside industries to come into the industry. They have more skills, more business skills, they have more money, often, they know how to get permits, they know compliance. They often come from highly regulated industries. And 2010 started the process of cannabis being safer for business people. So, the small business people, the pot growers and the pot dealers started getting knocked out of the game in 2010. That’s what happened. Everything started to change.”
  2. “We’ve seen that people of color find it nearly impossible to break into the cannabis industry. Even though they might’ve been selling cannabis themselves for 20-30 years, it’s impossible to get into the regulated industry if you don’t have a lot, a lot of money – millions of dollars in free-flowing money, enough runway to last three years. Who’s got that? Only wealthy people from outside of the industry, because all of us have been afraid to accumulate money all this time because it’s been a risk. We couldn’t accumulate our assets. We brought in cannabis sales, money from cannabis sales, and we spent it in our communities as fast as it came in. We were never able to land on any wealth or any assets.”
  3. “We’re at a disadvantage, people who have been in the industry a long time. This is what’s going to happen in the next decade. We’re going to fix that. It’s not fair. Government sees it. It’s the talk of the town: the cannabis industry is not equitable; the cannabis industry is unfair. The cannabis industry is not open to people joining who have been long standing participants or who were really targeted by the war on drugs. So, I think the next three to five years, we’re going to see more regulations regarding the cannabis industry, equity and permitting, and we’re going to see more governments wrestling with the idea: how do we balance out this factor? How do we make sure that the permits for cannabis businesses, which can be worth millions of dollars, are given out in a way that is equitable?”
  4. “If people like me do our jobs right, over the next couple years, big business, when they come in, will have to use the same vocabulary and they’ll have to be mission-based and they’ll have to be working for equity and they’ll have to be working to solve the harms of the war on drugs.”


Backstory: Part II – Don Fertman

  1. “I don’t recall a lot of the lessons in rehab, but the graph left an impression. It was the typical timeline of an alcoholic. They start working and enjoy a bit of success. They start making money, they have a career, and things are on the upswing. They discover alcohol, that enhances life, and things go up even more. Then the graph plateaus. Eventually, the alcohol starts to work against you. The graph goes down, down, down, until it hits a bottom.”
  2. “The answer to the rock bottom question is this: you hit it when you decide to stop digging. Once you stop digging, if you also stop drinking, things start to get better. They get better and better until they pass the peak of the graph, and they get better, still. As long as you’re sober, you’re going to have a great life. I stopped digging that day in my office. “
  3. “Addiction can take hold, take over, and when it does, strength in the form of willpower is futile. The type of strength it takes to combat addiction is the willingness to recognize that there is a problem and ask for help.”
  4. “We’ve got the opportunity every day to live a good life. Sometimes, however, some of us can take a certain substance, whatever it might be, and if we feel too good […] watch out. That’s your first warning sign.”


Healthcare – Kyle Kingsley

  1. “If you go in with a broken ankle to the emergency department, the standard is, right now, you’re going to get an IV morphine or something that’s going to treat your pain. That’s a very appropriate place for opioids. The problem is as you start to wander into chronic use and chronic pain. That really is sort of an example of the failure of the interface between the medical establishment and the pharmaceutical industry in the United States.”
  2. “The opioid crisis as we see it really was preventable, and there’s just a few aggressive moves on the part of pharmaceutical companies that really pushed the Oxycontins of the world into chronic pain management, which was a big mistake.”
  3. “Companies are very incentivized in the United States to be on the cutting edge in the pharmaceutical realm. The downside is those economic interests can directly conflict with the patient’s best interest sometimes.”
  4. “23,000 people plus die each year in the United States from prescription opioids. This is your Percocets, your Vicodins. This is not stuff that’s coming in from Asia, it’s not these potent geo fentanyl components that are killing people, it’s not heroin. This is just prescription opioid overdoses leading to 23,000 deaths. That is a catastrophic expense, not just to humankind, but also to society. It’s very expensive to have people overdosing on opioids. Swamping down on cannabis is a very compelling, even if it’s just a little bit of that goes away. It’s a very compelling economic case. It’s very affordable to make cannabis, and most cannabinoid-derived medications.”


Provisionals – David Hua

  1. “AB228 is a bill that’s currently being looked at and in committee that allows the infusion of industrial hemp CBD into food products and also allows any license holder within the regulated cannabis supply chain to be able to grow, sell, manufacture and distribute cannabis hemp.”
  2. “The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill really allowed states to create their own structures on growing hemp, and furthermore, extracting CBD and it not being classified as an adulterant. So, we’re seeing a lot of movement within the hemp world where acres and acres of hemp are being grown, extracted for CBD, and being infused into products that are, quite frankly, being shipped across the country. But California is pretty strict on not allowing CBD hemp infusions or just CBD infusions hemp into food, so it has to be legislated to allow for that. And 228 is what opens up that path.”
  3. “If you do not or if you are not able to secure a provisional license before the expiration, you pretty much have to cease operations […] We had over 9,000 dispense or cultivators coming into 2018, and now nearly 6,000 plus licenses have expired. Then 2,500 that have gotten a provisional. So, there’s a significant decrease in the number of operators from the cultivation side that’s being represented.”
  4. “Even though you were licensed two months ago, now you’re not, and now you’re subject to enforcement. There’s 113 million dollars being put into enforcement this year.”


Mindset – Bridget Conry

  1. “We can make an argument that all systems of medicine – all modern systems of medicine – have actually come from traditional systems of medicine that were herbal-based, plant-based […] 75% of the population on the planet actually still does have an herbal system that is core to their medical system. It’s really kind of Western civilization that’s moved away from it and more towards allopathic, which is based on Pharma and surgery, basically, and based on scientists and doctors directing us on how to be healthy.”
  2. “Cannabis, in the conversation that we’re having now, is kind of bringing back this idea of personalized medicine and the anecdotal evidence that came that developed it. Before, everything was anecdotal. We learned by doing, and then we shared the learning, and certain people were the keepers of that learning. It got passed on from generation to generation.”
  3. “We can call cannabis the Gateway Herb again, because it’s a very powerful plant that interacts with our system in many different ways. I really think of it, too, as the Gateway back to personalized medicine and that concept of, ‘Hey, everyone’s going to respond differently. We have to acknowledge that.’ Clinical trials, they don’t study things that way. They are looking for the same results by the same active ingredient, or two active ingredients, to do the same thing every time. If it doesn’t, then they say it doesn’t work and that they’re not going to validate it for public consumption. That’s too bad, because we’re stopping this from moving forward the way that we need it to.”
  4. “People aren’t coming to cannabis because their doctor generally is telling them it’s the right thing to do or that it may have benefit for them. They’re coming to it because they have a family member or a friend who’s had success. It’s a powerful story, so it opens their mind up to, ‘Hey, maybe there is benefit. Maybe I should try it for X, Y or Z.’ That just kind of creates this chain reaction of looking at that complete herbal apothecary.”


Post-1090 – Julie Berliner

  1. “One of the things that Colorado was behind on is that we weren’t allowing for these external resources to come into Colorado and support the businesses that are here. So, while all these other states are coming online and legalizing cannabis, I think it’s been hard for Colorado-based businesses to keep up, because we haven’t had the same resources that other businesses have had.”
  2. “It’s not just about money. Obviously, that’s incredibly valuable to me. I know it can help me do a lot of things that I haven’t been able to do in the last 10 years. It’s always about working with the right people. It’s finding good people to work with that have money that can support the business, but also understand business, that come with other and additional resources besides just their pocketbook.”
  3. “It seems like most of us that have been in Colorado for the last decade, or around a decade, are starting to focus outwardly now – it’s not just about Colorado anymore; it’s about what’s going on outside of Colorado, because Colorado’s been a tough market. It’s the most well-established, and the regulations are clear, and for the most part not changing as often as they used to when I first started. But it’s very saturated. It’s very competitive. There’s a lot of downsides to being in Colorado. It’s good to be one of the most well-established, of course, but these opportunities outside of Colorado are kind of what Colorado was 10 years ago, six years ago, five years ago.”


Wasted Tax Dollars: Part II – Neill Franklin

  1. “The first step is to learn from lessons of the past. We now understand how costly the prohibition and the criminal justice system is. We’ve come to terms with their failed attempts at managing a complex issue. It’s time to look at the foundational issues of drug abuse and spend our money there. By investing in treatment and education, we’re spending less and doing more. Education is fundamental, but it has to be effective.”
  2. “It takes advocates who have done the research and who have been in a particular line of business to continually educate our elected officials and help them make the right decisions on policy.”
  3. “We are instituting diversion programs to shift people away from the criminal justice system and into the hands of healthcare practitioners. If we can put these programs in place without using the police, let’s do it. If we can get people in these programs without going through the courts, let’s do it. Let’s cut out the middleman. Just like in business, if you want to save money, cut out the middleman. It benefits us all to get services directly to the people who need it.”


Top 50 – Sally Vander Veer

  1. “[The family spirit is] really important for us as we continue to grow. When you hear about things going on in the news, we have to keep that family thread. Otherwise, what we’ve built our legacy is for naught if we don’t have that.”
  2. “There was never really a time that we all sat down and said, ‘Hey, how do we make everyone feel like a family member?’ I think it’s really just has been ingrained in us by our mother to treat everyone as family, to have respect for each individual and to respect what’s going on in other people’s lives. Through that, there was never a conscious decision to say, ‘This is a family. This is how we have to act as a corporate culture.’ It’s just organically grown that way. We have people who’ve been here for seven, eight years and they help us keep that feeling alive. We support that with monthly lunches and rewards for outstanding performance. We’re involved in each other’s lives. We go to weddings. We go to funerals – we’ve had a lot of funerals this year. Those are things you do as a family to support a family. There’s no secret sauce that we have written down in some sort of a spreadsheet somewhere. It’s just really about respect.”
  3. “What I saw as a common thread with all the companies [on the Top 50 Best Places to Work list] was really a care for the individual, a care for their community or an involvement in their community. It comes down to respect and kindness. A lot of those companies were doing that right. Whether it was through special programs for their employees, benefits, volunteer time off, those types of things. We took a look at that, and we’re pretty happy with where we stood up against all those places.”


Jobs – Former U.S. Congressman Carlos Curbelo

  1. “We have this industry, which is thriving despite having all of the odds stacked against it. If we were to unleash it, we would see massive job creation, many opportunities for people all over the country. It’s up to Congress.”
  2. “Nothing is easy in D.C., but as tasks go in D.C. [regulating industrial hemp is] going to be fairly smooth. The main reason is that there’s political consensus. Republicans, Democrats, the White House, the House, the Senate are all in favor of these new policies and laws regulating hemp. This is just a bureaucratic issue, not a political issue, and that’s good.”
  3. “We’ve already seen what a difference a simple law change, with regards to hemp, what a difference it has made, all the jobs and opportunities and the investment that have come as a result of that. With cannabis it would just be 10, 20, 30, I don’t know, 100 times the impact. Who’s going to benefit, obviously consumers, employers, employees, families. A lot of young people, who I’ve found as I’ve traveled throughout the country, like to work in the industry. This could be a great antidote to any kind of economic slowdown that might be approaching.”
  4. “Right now, the American cannabis industry is exiled in Canada. People who invest in American cannabis companies are essentially sending money to Canada. We can start the process of bringing that industry, or welcoming that industry to its home, to its country, to the place where it’s actually operating. The possibilities are endless. I think any economic impact study that has been done out there cannot fully capture the growth, the opportunity, the level of activity that we would see surrounding this industry.”


Growth Mode – Mike Gorenstein

  1. “We still see all the growth ahead of us, but we’re at a phase where it’s about showing that we can productize that we have products that consumers want. As that will continue on to the next two phases, I think what you’ll start seeing is distribution. You’ll start seeing brand recognition. You’ll see the different product formats. You’ll see regulators come in and really start changing things where it needs to be data driven.”
  2. “In cannabis, there is this vertical integration concept, which is really taking people in different paths because it’s rare to have this many growth opportunities where you see, wow, I have to retail, cultivation, extraction, factoring, branding. There are so many opportunities, but you don’t have to go after all of them. It’s where do you fit? What are you best at? I think if you stay disciplined, especially in an industry where there’s not a ton of discipline, it becomes a real opportunity.”
  3. “You have to look and say, “What do we believe is the right path? What is the best path and how do we go there?” Whether or not the industry is in a recession, is in a boom, still, your business model has to work. If you have a business model that works really well in a boom, chances are it’s going to work well in a recession. Your business model doesn’t work in a boom, recession could be worse, could be better, but it’s not going to be great.”


Japan – Boris Blatnik

  1. “One new territory that we’ve had our eye on for quite some time, just didn’t know how and when to approach it, is Japan. Japan has legalized the consumption of CBD, but there are some caveats: CBD has to be produced only from stems and seeds, which is a very rigorous process. And, also, it has to be THC-free, so we have to pass it through a lot of chromatography in order to do this, to be able to achieve this, let’s say, quality that the Japanese will be able to consume.”
  2. “Another very exciting event happening next year is the Olympics. So, we’re looking to make sure that our product and product range will be advertised in an effective manner before and during the Olympics. Because WADA, the international doping agency, has allowed athletes to use CBD for recovery and for other aspects of their recovery.”
  3. “Another big opportunity in Japan is the vape liquid or e-liquids. I think that’s something that we’ll be doing, or at least helping a few third-parties come up with some solutions, to distribute in Japan. It won’t be under the KannaSwiss emblem, but they will definitely be some mentioned that’ll be powered by KannaSwiss.”


Legislation – U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton

  1. “Veterans are interested in a way to combat issues related to war as effectively and safely as possible. Cannabis provides both physical and mental relief to veterans. Still, the laws have yet to allow for its use on a federal level. However, currently, there is a package of three bipartisan bills that work as a good start to providing for those in need.”
  2. “The more we understand about veteran usage, the better we can serve our veterans. Science and governments can use the results of this survey as a baseline for further testing and reformation. As an open democratic society, we should strive to make fact-based decisions as opposed to propaganda or fear-based decisions.”
  3. “Veterans should be able to get the healthcare they deserve. Instead, as I can attest to through my interactions with my platoon on Facebook, veterans are crowd-sourcing their information and attempting to advise each other. None of us have a medical degree. We ought to be able to go to the VA and get sound advice.”


2014 – Ethan Nadelmann

  1. “The big victories in Colorado and Washington State legalizing recreational cannabis took place in 2012. However, they brought with them questions like: how will those laws be implemented? What are the feds going to do?”
  2. “In 2013, Congress released a memo giving Colorado and Washington a qualified green light. Then came about the question of: what’s next? Where else should we look at for future initiatives? Despite the surprise victories in Colorado and Washington, the consensus was that passing future initiatives would have their best chance in 2016, an election year where more young people were coming out to vote. The odds of winning were larger than doing it in an off-year election like 2014.”
  3. “D.C. was also the first initiative in which racial justice arguments made it to the foreground. Our earlier polling showed us that only a minority of African-Americans supported the initiative. We decided to put virtually all of our funding in the mobilization of the African-American community. We framed the argument to emphasize the racial justice component. It made a pivotal difference.”


Three More Myths – The Paxhia

  1. “What we’re seeing in 2019 is kind of a test of a lot of company theses. One of them that comes to mind immediately would be the missed execution of what their stated estimate of their performance was going to be.”
  2. “There’s probably seven, eight large multi-state operators. And so, people are like, ‘Oh, they’re those big established companies in our industry. They’ll always have access to financing. These are safer companies to be investing in because of that.’ That’s the myth.
  3. “How old is General Electric? That company could be going away. If you would ask someone 15 years ago, no way would anyone ever believe that that company could just go away. It was such an established institution for so long, but there’s some really valid questions about that company right now. And so, it never stops. And that’s just part of the innovation, is if you don’t continue to push further and develop and invest in innovation, you’re going to get passed by those that do.”
  4. “The animal spirits are starting to shift. If we start to see retrenchment there – I mean, this is the economy, the stock market, it’s a psychological analysis. It does start to impact the willingness to take risks and the willingness to spend, and then that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”


Immigration – Neill Franklin

  1. “We created the policies of drug prohibition and we pushed it out to the rest of the world. It began here. We pushed it out to the United Nations, to the rest of the world. We placed sanctions on countries that did not follow along with our game plan. And not only did we push these policies of prohibition out, but it then moved this drug market into an underground business which becomes very dangerous as people fight for territory.”
  2. “Throughout Central America is beautiful, is rich with resources, not just for tourism but for other types of businesses and industry, but we’re just not going to get the businesses to invest because of the violence. So, it is the policies of drug prohibition that have created the violence. Government responds to the violence, creating more violence.”
  3. “The illicit market, in a sense, controls the regulations. They set the prices. They establish the trafficking routes. They establish the distribution points. They establish who’s going to sell and who can sell, which is usually kids because kids are easier to control. They don’t cost as much to employ, right? So, if your goal is to keep drugs out of the hands of kids, you just struck out right from the beginning.”
  4. “You want to make the cartels disappear overnight? Regulate this stuff. You want our neighborhood gangs and crews to shrink dramatically? Regulate this stuff. And then we’re only focused on one thing, and that’s a health issue dealing with how people are attracted to and using these drugs. It’s a mental health issue first and foremost.”


Environmentalism – Amanda Reiman

  1. “The legalization of cannabis, and all of the press and attention that has been dedicated to it in the process and the aftermath, is an opportunity to be a jumping-off point to revitalize and reimagine other progressive social movements that are touched by this phenomenon of cannabis.”
  2. “All of the things that we thought were working, like recycling and all of these lovely feel-good approaches to environmentalism, we’re finding really are not giving us any long-term results. So, I think that now we’re opening the conversation up to larger paradigms, such as food production and the way that businesses operate.”
  3. “It’s really time that we are building a cannabis industry to say, ‘What opportunities do we have to infuse some of what we’re learning about how businesses can best impact the environment and how the cultivation of products and plants can best impact the environment?’ And see if, while the cement is still wet in cannabis regulation, we can’t infuse some of that directly into policy, but also into the ethos and culture of the industry so that it becomes the norm to seek out sustainable packaging, or to use solar power. I think that the time is right to look at how cannabis regulation can inform environmental policy.”
  4. “What’s helpful is to visualize where we want to get to. We want to get to a place where cannabis cultivation is causing as little impact on the grid as possible, where it is bringing the most benefit to the land in which it’s farmed as possible. So, if we want to get to that as an outcome, we can identify the current policies and structures that are getting in the way of that.”


Bioavailability – Bridget Conry

  1. “In herbalism, I’d like to think of the body as being like one big antenna. It’s receiving in all kinds of information through the five senses and processing all that information. If they’re good inputs, then we are in a state of health. If we’re overloaded with too many things, it could put us out of balance. If we’re put in a bad diet full of sugar, carbs, fats, those sorts of things, we can make our body less receptive. Our antenna is no longer able to receive quality information.”
  2. “The endocannabinoid system is a series of receptors throughout the body. Those receptors might not be that receptive if we’ve got issues going on in our body that we need to clear up first. We can use plants, diet, exercise. We can use prescription drugs too, and those are necessary in certain cases, but we can use some pretty simple things to try to clear those things out, make us more receptive to cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, all the different pieces of information that plants can offer us.”
  3. “No matter what you bring into your body, and it could be a cannabis edible, if we’re going to take it back to cannabis, cannabis edibles might not work for you because your digestive system is slack. Your digestive system has become like a poorly trained athlete and doesn’t know what to do anymore. It’s slow. It can’t break things down, so it just kind of moves things through. That might be a reason why edibles don’t work for some people.”