Chris Call, of the Northbay Credit Union, begins by discussing public safety by way of safe banking; after all, Northbay Credit Union is one of the only financial institutions in the Bay Area that accepts cannabis money. Call is committed to offering safe banking options in order to reduce the number of operators walking around with duffel bags full of cash, though unfortunately, this is still a reality for many. Call also discusses the nebulous legal status of accepting cannabis money: "There's still a law that says you can't aid and abet an illegal operation, which is what we're doing technically, but we are actually providing a really significant resource to law enforcement. We're providing a paper trail that otherwise would not exist."
New York State Senator Diane Savino joins us to discuss legislative procedures in New York and how, unfortunately, New York was recently unable to pass adult use. Savino notes that, when drafting a bill, it is important that you don't allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good: "You compromise and you start with what you got. And then you spend time working to improve it, because that's why laws are amendable." In this business, it is important that a bill has more than just a slim majority, as that is an indication to the courts that the support isn't truly there. Savino hopes that, over the next couple of years, New York can begin to stabilize, grow, and expand its medical program.
Based on her personal experiences, Mara Gordon, co-founder of Aunt Zelda's, has become passionate about using cannabis to treat patients with illnesses and injuries. Gordon notes that, based on her data, THC is the most medically useful cannabinoid, although she is also a strong proponent of medical-use CBD. She also points out that, typically, younger patients require higher doses, whereas older patients require lower doses. This could be due to number of cannabinoid receptors, metabolism speed, or mere differences in psychology. Besides science, Gordon believes that products need to be well understood with everything printed on the label.
Jeff Rhoades, Senior Policy Advisor of the Oregon Governor's Office, joins us to discuss the future of regulations in Oregon. Rhoades hopes that the cannabis industry will eventually be set up like the wine industry, and also anticipates that we will see a relaxing of federal regulations in the near future. Rhoades also touches upon equity in the cannabis industry: "We have populations here in Oregon, like other states, that have been disproportionately affected by the drug war and so, we want to make certain that those individuals aren't barred from entering into this business by virtue of some past conviction that the behavior would be legalized at this time."
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.
Tjalling Erkelens, CEO of Bedrocan, joins us in our July digital workshop to discuss clinical trials and global cannabis distribution. Erkelens believes that some type of harmonization among European regulations is necessary for the global cannabis economy to continue maturing; having different regulations from country to country makes it very difficult to create a unified industry. Erkelens also notes that when medical cannabis companies begin to dabble in adult use, they often do a poor job of continuing to prioritize the patients. Regardless of the direction in which the global cannabis economy eventually moves, we must make sure that we never forget the needs of medical patients.
While most of us have heard of the STATES Act and the SAFE Banking Act, fewer of us have heard of the Veterans Administration Research Act, of which U.S. Congresswoman Deb Haaland is a sponsor. As the daughter of two service members, Haaland believes that it is essential to go out, talk to veterans, and ask them what they want; what you'll find is that, by and large, veterans want cannabis as an option for their chronic pain and PTSD. Haaland also touches upon how vastly under-represented Native Americans are not only in politics, but also in sports, film, business, and much more. Haaland reminds us that "so much of our information rests on what the media decides to cover", so if we want to change minds, it is our responsibility to personally spread the word.
Neill Franklin, of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), talks with us about policy and policing. Franklin believes that the criminal justice system is largely based on "creating evil so then we can have all these good guys to go fight it", which needs to change. Franklin walks us through the nine Peelian Principles - the guidelines under which the police force must operate - in order to explore the best and safest ways to legislate and regulate cannabis. He believes that one of the best ways to prevent crime is simply by giving people the proper tools and the right information.
Shanita Penny, of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, shares with us that the MCBA is currently pushing for as much equitable cannabis legislation as possible. For Penny, equity means "ensuring that we address the social justice and criminal justice reform aspects, that we make sure small businesses and minority-owned businesses have a place in this industry, and that we also create patient access that is real and true." Penny notes that by removing certain barriers to entry, we are then improving communities that have been most affected by the war on drugs. She reminds us that, as long as we're making enough noise, a legislative loss may actually be progress in disguise.