Hagai Hillman takes us on a tour of the facilities of Breath of life; A pioneering producer of Cannabis Pharmaceuticals: "I think most of the people who are working in the pharmaceutical industry are meeting innovation only in papers that they appear from the R&D segment of the company. Most of them don't deal with innovation at all. Most of them are dealing with a traditional processing. We are different. We challenge them on a daily basis about how to make things better, how to make things much more consistent, much more valued And people over here are meeting innovation or have to deal with innovation even in the from low skill to high skill."
Eitan Kuperstoch Joins us and talk about the importance of medical grade Cannabis and industrial growth. "This is a new sector. The export of medical grade will actually bring more and more entrepreneurs to this new sector with more and more ideas. It goes into new drugs and maybe even new medical equipment. I mean, new ideas in curing diseases. As you mentioned, the sky is the limit."
Professor @ArnonAfek, on the 'medicalization' of cannabis "the most significant results we've seen in our clinical trial are the reduction of anxiety and violent outbursts." A pathologist by profession. Professor Afek graduated from Hadassah Medical School and then served in the army as a medical officer. He was the head of the classification branch at the IDF, which is responsible for the medical classification of all the young people in Israel. When he retired from the army and started his career in the hospital system, he was the deputy director of Sheba Medical Center and went on to the Ministry of Health to serve as the Director of the Medical Affairs, which is equivalent to the Surgeon General in the States. He's now back at Sheba.
Prof. Mauro Maccarrone joins us and shares his decades-long history in cannabis research. "The first paper was, in fact, published in 1997. And since then, as a biochemist for education, I could contribute, over the years, a few methods to measure metabolic enzymes and also some receptor activity. And year by year, I did consolidate this biochemical side of the story within the endocannabinoid field, and I could apply it to different medical problems through collaborations with clinicians. And we happened to show quite some interesting things over the years in two major sectors. One is reproductive events, human reproductive events. The other one is in neurodegeneration."
On the actual clinical trial research being done on cannabis now, Prof. Dedi Meiri, "we are starting with para-clinical. We first screen on cell lines from tumors, many types of cannabis. We have an ability to screen a lot. We have over than 600 different types of cannabis, and every one of them have hundreds of different compounds, and we know, in my lab, to identify all of them, to purify them if we need. So, we're starting with very wide screen."
On his awakening to the scientific value of cannabis, Ben Gurion University's Zvi Bentwich, now also the Chief Scientist for Tikun Olam- "I know enough to say, or at least think, that there was a common denominator. The common denominator was the central nervous system. So, if this plant, or whatever it contains, has an effect on appetite, which is via the central nervous system, then it's not that surprising that it would have beneficial effect on spasticity."
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.