Former U.S. Congressman Carlos Curbelo returns for a conversation on politics and legislation. Curbelo explains that, because of all the noise amidst impeachment and the Democratic primary, congressional campaigns have flown largely under the radar. He also discusses the political cost of switching parties and emphasizes that reelection is everyone's biggest priority. Curbelo talks about the STATES Act versus the SAFE Banking Act and believes that, between the two, the SAFE Banking Act is more likely to pass in the near future. He also notes the newfound absence of cannabis as a political hot topic: "The fact that cannabis is not being discussed a lot in the context of primary elections is actually wonderful news because that means it's not a sharp weapon anymore, in a negative sense."
Bridget Conry of Companion Botanicals joins us to discuss different anti-inflammatory drugs and the various ways of managing chronic pain. She describes the problem with pain medications: "You want to feel pain. We have pain because it tells us stop doing that or something's wrong. And the reason it gets so dangerous when we mask it is that all you're doing is stopping your body from doing what it would normally do to deal with some sort of trauma. It's a signal something's wrong." This is exactly where botanicals come in, although Conry notes that each botanical does something different, so it's still important to consult with a healthcare practitioner and to know what works for you specifically. Conry distinguishes between the different types of botanical medicines, discusses the products that combine botanicals and CBD, and explains why CBD doesn't help everyone fall asleep.
Jessica Assaf, co-founder of CBD beauty brand Prima, begins by sharing with us her thoughts about the potential of cannabis to be a women-led industry: "This is really first time in history that women have the opportunity to design, build, and lead an industry from scratch, with no glass ceiling...cannabis is the opportunity to redefine feminism." She also discusses the different views toward cannabis in California versus New York, the benefits of having seasoned business people in the industry, and the necessity of having the right protocol and safety standards. Assaf notes that CBD has the potential to fix some of our biggest problems, like stress and chronic pain.
Torsten Kuenzlen of Sundial Growers begins by discussing how welcoming Alberta, Canada has been toward the cannabis industry, allowing the province to truly be one of the country's industry leaders. Kuenzelen shares with us Sundial's intentions regarding the future of global operations: "As soon as we have the ability to export and then import into the other countries, the world's our oyster." He believes that there will be many developments with all the hundreds of lesser known cannabinoids in the near future but is most especially excited about the breadth of CBD opportunities coming our way. Kuenzelen also discusses hemp, fuel, and the urgency of sustainability.
Nancy Whiteman, of Wana Brands, discusses operating in multiple markets that don't behave like one another -- for example, California and Illinois. She shares that "you have to approach every market kind of like the opposite of Groundhog Day. With a brand new set of rules. While you hope that there are learnings that you can bring from one market to another, sometimes you just have to say, my God, I'm on a different planet now, I'm not quite sure what I'm doing." Whiteman warns of the mindset of wanting to grow as quickly and as broadly as possible, as lowering prices to get on the shelves is a decision you can't step back from. She also discusses what might be next for Colorado now that House Bill 1090 has passed, the profound importance of picking exceptional partners to work with, being strategic about the markets you choose, THC v. CBD, and more.
Peter Barsoom begins by sharing with us his thoughts about why CBD is so popular, one of the reasons being that people are interested in cannabis as long as it doesn't get them high. This insight is one of the main influences for Barsoom's business philosophy: that it's not about getting high; it's about feeling a particular way. Barsoom discusses the science behind his company's sleep aides as well as the ideal future he envisions for the cannabis industry: "One of the things I think that's going to emerge is, why do I have to walk into a dispensary to buy cannabis? Why can't I order it online? What's the difference between cannabis and alcohol? It's regulated for people who are 21 and older. As a consumer, consumers are going to start asking that question." Barsoom also talks about the value chain in food production, the industry's desperate need for federal legalization, and more.
Harold Han discusses using emulsion technology to deliver cannabinoids into liquids. Han explains why this is a superior way of consuming cannabis: "I think everybody had this horrible experience of eating a brownie, didn't get high, and get hungry and eat another one until they got hit by a bus...This is a new whole category. Consumers, I think, are looking for two things: consistency and predictability." He then takes us through the nitty-gritty aspects of making a consistent beverage with cannabis emulsion, and shares that feedback from clients is one of the main factors in deciding how to manufacture the products. Han also discusses the importance of data, the historical fear of cannabis, and the necessity of educating the public.
Betty Aldworth returns to join us for a discussion on what 2020 will mean for cannabis policy reform and for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). She strongly believes that 2020 will be one of the biggest years for legislative reform the movement has ever seen: "In 2020, we are looking at as many as 8 or 11 valid initiatives in states plus another 8 or 11 states taking up viable marijuana legalization legislation in their state houses or assemblies for either adult or medical use." Besides state legislation, Aldworth also says that 2020 should be a big year for federal reform as well. Although the STATES Act has gotten a lot of attention from cannabis activists, Aldworth believes that the MORE Act is what we should be focusing on, as it is more likely to get passed. She also discusses exciting work happening in Oregon and other states, access to medical cannabis, homegrow, and more.
Ray Gracewood, of Organigram Inc., joins to discuss the effects of federal legalization in Canada, the long process of getting the industry to a solid place, and where the rest of the world is by comparison. "It even gets more interesting when you start to couple the realities in and around how governments work and how we have to manage government relation and expectations and how we have to be an engaged partner in a lot of that process. And I think as an industry we've been able to do that." Because of all the bumps along the road, Gracewood notes that everyone involved in the industry has had to learn to become nimble and focused on solutions rather than on problems. Gracewood also discusses business and how to maintain profitability even in the face of compliance issues and supply issues; for him, it's a matter of sticking to strategy and not becoming distracted by too many new opportunities.