Charlie Bachtell joins us to talk about the cannabis space outside of the more classic states of California, Oregon, and Colorado. He has been part of a growing geographical footprint in Illinois, with the mission of normalizing and professionalizing cannabis. In Illinois, safety has been the main concern over other aspects like revenue, and the recent surge in cannabis-related data has helped prove its safety through allowing increased education. This opened up the conversation about cannabis and led to a solid medical program on which others are now based in different states.
Ben Kovler gives a rundown about the reasons behind his involvement in cannabis, emphasizing the same core goals now that he had five years ago. He focuses on distributing brands of scale as a winning strategy, thinking of cannabis as a consumer packaged good in need of a consistent and authentic branded experience. Taking advantage of capital markets on both manufacturing and retail sides provides great opportunities during what is becoming the end of a sort of Prohibition 2.0.
Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky explains his unique views on cannabis and hemp. His appreciation of the plant stems from the need for a tobacco-alternative cash crop in Kentucky and surrounding agricultural areas, and extends to other aspects of states rights and personal freedom. Massie doesn’t vote based on pure party loyalty, but rather goes by his values and those of the people who elected him. For him, this means considering constitutionality, affordability, and state vs. federal responsibility in all issues, including cannabis.
Congressman Seth Moulton shares his experience as a Marine throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s and how it connects to cannabis today. Many veterans come back from service with heavy baggage, causing them to suffer physically and mentally. While cannabis can help with these problems, its legal status keeps veterans from having a conversation about it with their healthcare providers. The good news is that what was once a very partisan issue is now seeing more support from all sides, especially now that its benefits for veterans are coming to light.
Joel Milton talks about his journey leading one of the first cannabis tech companies through a selective startup accelerator and into the market in 2014. At the time, cannabis still held a lot of stigma for professionals, and his company was alone in the group of startups. Investors were hard to find, so the company met its fair share of struggles and hardships. But some early pioneers in the space gave both funds and advice, helping it find early success.
Cy Scott covers the normalization and de-stigmatization of cannabis from a data and analytics perspective. Increasing entrepreneurial tendencies in the industry have built up business through partnerships across the country, focusing on improving how retail systems work and how they interact with customers. The cannabis industry has unique opportunities for testing new ideas and new systems to really optimize the business side of things.
Jeannette Horton talks about the benefits that cannabis tax money can have by making investments in communities most disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs. This money can fund expungements, job training, and businesses. But it’s often distributed to the wrong areas, so it’s important to have oversight to ensure that the funds are doing the most good by helping to right the wrongs inflicted primarily on minority populations.
Neal Levine joins us for the first time with a microphone, featuring a guest appearance by Andy Williams. Levine talks about the various legislative actions happening at the moment, including a primary focus on the STATES Act. As Canada fully legalizes and Mexico plans to follow suit, these legislative actions are the key to preventing the US from getting left behind in the industry. But the STATES Act is just incremental, and needs to be followed up by other actions in areas such as tax policy.