The legal cannabis industry is astoundingly white and astoundingly male – and the barriers to entry for everyone else are astoundingly high. Entrepreneurs of color struggle to raise funds, shake social stigmas, and become part of an industry that hasn’t fully reckoned with its history.
Entrepreneurs like Ashley Stallworth don’t just know this firsthand – they have a deep understanding of how to navigate these challenges and advocate for others to break into this industry. Ashley is the owner and founder of Present Naturals and Bio Fiber Industries. He is also on the management team of about 400 other companies including Pathogen Pros, High Standard Labs, and Wepa! Farms, as well as an active member of the Minority Hemp Builders Association.
Today, Ashley joins the podcast to share his unique views on the industry, where it’s come from, and where it’s headed. We discuss the challenges of entrepreneurship in the face of regulation, upcoming legislation, and what it means to be a Black man making a living in the cannabis industry in 2020.
- How Ashley keeps track of the many unusual tax rules and regulations that make operating cannabis businesses across multiple states so difficult.
- Why it’s so hard for people of color and diverse backgrounds to get into legitimate cannabis – and how this mirrors the lack of diversity in startup hubs and Silicon Valley.
- Why so many people of color are also afraid to get involved in legitimate cannabis – and how a rampant distrust of authority has made this even worse.
- How Ashley thinks states should approach legalization of adult-use cannabis – and why criminal records for nonviolent crimes related to cannabis need to be expunged at the same time.
- Why so many businesses are looking for the perfect banner ad instead of advocating for meaningful change – and how the Black Lives Matter movement has impacted Ashley’s work.
- Present Naturals
- Bio Fiber Industries
- Pathogen Pro
- High Standard Labs
- Wepa! Farms
- Minority Hemp Builders Association
- Have A Heart
- Last Prisoner Project
- Black Excellence in Cannabis
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Jeff Boedges: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome back to The Green Repeal with your hosts, Jeff Boedges, and my partner in crime here, Rick Kiley.
Rick Kiley: What up?
Jeff Boedges: There we go. Best caller man in the business. So, today our guest is a very exciting one, Ashley Stallworth. He is, by any measure, a cannabis industry empresario. He’s a Seattle native but he really has hailed from seemingly everywhere. He grew up on both coasts. He got his degree at Hofstra right here in New York, Long Island for those of you not playing along locally. He now resides full-time in Seattle where he loves the cloudy days and the sort of down mood that it brings along with it. He is the owner and founder of two businesses, I think at last count, owner and founder, Present Naturals and Bio Fiber Industries. He is also on the management team of about 400 other companies including Pathogen Pro, High Standard Labs, and Wepa! Farms.
Rick Kiley: Lazy, lazy, lazy.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah, dude. Geezus. Get off. Find something to do with your time. He’s also an active member of the Minority Hemp Builders Association, which I’ve never heard of but I’m very excited to learn about today. So, Ashley and I met about a month ago. We spoke a while about his views on the industry, where it’s come from, and where it’s headed.
Jeff Boedges: And so, Ashley, before we dive into a more in-depth discussion about the industry, is there anything you’d like to add about your resume, your experience, like the joke here? But Lord knows, you couldn’t possibly have any time left for anything else but you seem to have boundless energy and time just doesn’t seem to be limited to you. So, yeah, what else do you want to add? What can you tell us?
Ashley Stallworth: Well, I like to say thanks for having me on, guys. Jeff and Rick, you guys are awesome. Appreciate what you do, the value that you bring.
Rick Kiley: Thank you.
Jeff Boedges: Hey, five bucks is five bucks. That’s what we always say.
Ashley Stallworth: That’s right. I try to make it sweet, 5.5, 5.25.
Rick Kiley: Nice.
Ashley Stallworth: I would definitely say if I didn’t have to sleep to keep my body moving, I wouldn’t do it. We live in a time that’s really unprecedented like any other and it’s really guided by solutions and technology, and most importantly, the people that helped to make things happen. So, definitely, a lot going on. Keeps me like I said, if I could just staple my eyelids open, I would do it.
Jeff Boedges: Now, is this something you learned from your parents? Were they like, “Hey, get up, man,” and do everything today? Or were they the kind of people that were just A-type personalities getting things done? Or is this just something that came to you naturally?
Ashley Stallworth: Definitely, mix and mash. Definitely, from my folks. My dad is six, seven-day-a-week worker. My grandfather’s the same thing. If you’re up and you’re alive, you got the opportunity to do something. So, I’ve had a lot of people who have not made it this far in life on the life cycle where you could just take us so thankful to be here.
Jeff Boedges: All right. Well, that’s cool.
Rick Kiley: Fair point.
Jeff Boedges: Yep. So, let’s get into my questions here but you’re a serial entrepreneur currently running these companies or running a number of companies in a highly challenging and heavily restricted industry. You got unusual tax rules that are mandated by every individual state, so you can’t just take it from one place to the other. There’s different supply chain issues. So, what happened? Was running one too easy? What led you to take the route of being involved in so many different companies?
Ashley Stallworth: That’s a solid question. Ultimately, solutions. I had to come up with solutions and when I looked at the industry and when you’re dealing with compliance, regulation, like you said, all of the really sticky parts that really count when it comes to business, I really looked at it as an MSO, a multi-state operating type of position where much like manufacturing, you realize that a lot of restrictions and compliance things are built around causeways which are very much purpose-based for pipeline delivery. So, having a background in a little bit of manufacturing growing up and also right after my undergrad experience really allowed me to look at the industry with more clarity and especially being able to interpret law as well as business capability when it came to state guidelines and how those are getting out. To be honest, the real tricky part has really always been the human element and that’s kind of I hope that the industry can evolve like that. But it’s been a weird one. It’s kept me on my toes and it’s really forced the narrative of having to create other businesses to really help complement and make other things possible.
Rick Kiley: What do you mean by the human element? You mean just identifying the right individuals to lead these organizations and work there or is it something else?
Ashley Stallworth: Absolutely. That’s a strong part of it. I’d say about 70% of it being able to have the right infrastructure, the good fit, the good vibe, people who are qualified, people who have the energy to take it to the next level. And then probably the rest of the 30% is the technical detail being able to know, “Hey, do you know what good manufacturing practices are? Hey, can you read blueprints? Hey, can you put this together?” It’s really a global affair but domestically speaking there has been some challenges around that because the industry kind of shows itself not purely.
Rick Kiley: Not purely.
Jeff Boedges: Right. So, you mentioned that you had some exposure to the manufacturing side previously so a lot of people get into cannabis or hemp or any type of the industry, it seems like a lot of them either come and do it later in life so they started in what would be a similar industry, kind of like Rick and I in wine and spirits, and then there’s actually a number of people that are evolving from the illicit market. And we’ve had a number of those guests on the show that talked about, “Well, I sold it before it was legal and now I do it legally, where I grew it before it was legal.” Your path seems to be different than both of those. Can you tell us a little bit about what that exposure to manufacturing was or what that exposure to the causeway effect as you were talking about? How did you kind of come into that?
Ashley Stallworth: For sure. So, growing up, my grandmother owned a grain feed. She was one of the largest providers for horse feed. So, a lot of grains, a lot of fibers, a lot of weeds, a lot of things.
Jeff Boedges: Where was this?
Ashley Stallworth: This was in Sylvania, Washington. So, I grew up really by a train track and a lot of agriculture for two years and then I’d go back to the East Coast where I lived in the Bronx. So, I live between two different kinds of areas but the manufacturing, it was really in my face and really what got me into hemp, ultimately, was the gift of a friendship bracelet that I came to find out that was made out of hemp. And one of the journeymen at the scenes had told me, “Hey, if you look at this stuff growing around a lot of the barns if you look at this stuff that’s growing around a lot of the railroad tracks, that’s Indian hemp.” And it sent me on kind of this wild goose chase of looking up information. I was one of the kids who had the Britannica. the encyclopedias.
Jeff Boedges: Right.
Rick Kiley: Oh yeah.
Jeff Boedges: So, you had like a book?
Ashley Stallworth: Oh, yeah. With the weird smells.
Rick Kiley: Did you subscribe? Did you like answer the ad where you got like an edition sent to you every week or what was it? Now, you got the whole set.
Ashley Stallworth: I was a penny pusher. I don’t know. I saved up my nickels and my coins. I found a way. I wish. I did have them knock at my door once I remembered but parents are saying that “That wasn’t in the budget.”
Rick Kiley: “But, mom, it’s learning. It’s learning. It’s not video games. It’s encyclopedia.” “Sorry, son.”
Ashley Stallworth: I know. I think they were more concerned about the paper cuts. I think that’s what it was at that time.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. They’re watching out for you. That was good for him.
Ashley Stallworth: So, really just being around that and seeing how you take things from the field and learning about the different types of fibers and plants and how it was related to the cannabis plant itself really gave me a foundation for when getting into middle school and to high school and seeing the culture around cannabis, what it really was, and more people taking it for the kind of the high level, literally and figuratively, I guess, but then looking at it from the scientific side, the science stuff, not the biochem but the chemurgic side and how we can use plant-based materials and how we have historically really kind of set me up. I was definitely having conversations and talking about stuff that I think people may not have been that interested in at the time. It wasn’t like the hot topic.
Jeff Boedges: You were nerding out, dude. You just use the word chemurgic and I thought I knew all the words.
Ashley Stallworth: Yeah. Definitely, I may have had a pair of bifocals at that point in time with the head strap.
Rick Kiley: Oh, nice.
Jeff Boedges: Sweet.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. Did you have the braces with the whole headset too? Like that would have been the complete package.
Ashley Stallworth: Oh, man. No. They pushed but that wasn’t in the budget then either. I think after Invisalign.
Jeff Boedges: For those of our listeners who can’t see him, he’s actually a really handsome guy now. So, he grew out of his nerd stage. Yeah.
Rick Kiley: Wow.
Ashley Stallworth: Appreciate it.
Rick Kiley: Your state of mind, Jeffrey.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. Well, I get you, man. I’m just saying you might think from listening to him that he looks like it came from Revenge of the Nerds and he doesn’t. Yeah. All good. Okay. So, you’ve talked a little bit about like you’ve been exposed to a wide sort of swath of the different, what you want to call it, shall I call them disciplines of the industry? But most of the people we have on the show are really more on the THC side, a little bit more on some on the CBD, a little bit on THC, someone on the call it hardware to support the use of those two things but very few people, we’ve had been on hemp. So, do you have plans to just really specialize in hemp? Or are there plans to sort of take your companies into the broader spectrum of what hemp can mean from an industry standpoint?
Ashley Stallworth: Yeah. I think its natural evolution is the full spectrum effect. It really is. I think that there are definitely some focus points when it comes to hemp on the industrial side that allows me to kind of really be focused in very specific lanes when it comes to the industrial applications for the hempcrete, the insulation, the replacement of plastics but there also is the health and wellness benefit which is a derivative of the plant as well. So, definitely have invested in definitely the THC side once you start to get to the level of hot once it gets out of the legal calamity for the hemp but it’s really being able to see just the full potential of it. So, I’ve made investments. I started in medical with my brother delivering clones to market when it was medical in Washington and we delivered to places like Have A Heart, which is the first unionized cannabis company in the United States. But from there, then the law changed and they went to rec, didn’t allow any of the medical participants to cross over, turned it into a lottery. So, it forced me to really look at the laws and that was around the time when the Farm Act really came in and you realize, “Okay. Now cannabis has really been made legal,” because I think if we all do a quick wiki search, we all realize it’s hemp, cannabis, sativa at its root base.
Rick Kiley: Right.
Ashley Stallworth: So, definitely made some THC investments. I have another network called the Aficionado Solutions, definitely helping people to be able to get to market on that side. It’s being able to touch valid points and it helps for a better conversation, to be honest, a better party. I mean, people like to be able to do this to these industries. It can be fun.
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. I think that’s where it really got its start.
Rick Kiley: And the businesses you’re involved with, is your approach that you’re trying to find synergies between them? Or some people who are investors are looking to hedge? Is there one path you’re sort of following more than the other? Or is it a little bit of both?
Ashley Stallworth: Yeah. I would say, honestly, a bit of both. It really is a true DevOps cycle. It’s challenging because even if you start racing with one more than the other due to market conditions, due to laws, lobbying, messaging going out from the federal gov, habits, I mean, it can halter and stop certain aspects of it. We’ve seen certain lanes just catch fire and then all of a sudden, they just fall flat and you see a lot of business creation just get dropped. That’s a lot of money in cap growing effort and energy that people put in.
Jeff Boedges: So, right now you’re heavy in hemp and a little bit heavy in CBD? So, tell me about what you guys got going on CBD.
Ashley Stallworth: Yeah. So, definitely heavy in hemp, definitely heavy on the fiber side for the raw, for the herd, the cellulose being able to help with the construction material, to be honest. I think that’s going to be a big boom right now and then very focused on CBD. We’ve been successfully running for about the last five, going on six years, now delivering health and wellness. We’ve formulated over 25 plus products and have created some of the world’s first that I know of and a lot of different formulations, whether it’s biotech or for naturopathic, and even tried some Western medicine remedies when it comes to how it’s brought to market. So, with Wepa! Farms right now and Present Naturals, it’s really been really outstanding to see how people are really starting to adopt and be open to the conversation, especially when you tell them that, “Hey, this isn’t going to get your mind up in arms.” Some people they’d like to have that choice.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. Interesting.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. So, tell me you said you got some of your products that are sort of first-in-class. What would be like one of your things you’re most proud of the first-in-class for CBD?
Ashley Stallworth: I got to work with, this was a team effort, was delivering transdermal technology for CBD in the form of patches, kind of like the NicoDerm approach.
Jeff Boedges: Right.
Ashley Stallworth: But for CBD. It would cross the blood-brain barrier much faster, higher absorption. The way that it works with the human body has just been fascinating, the way it really gets to the areas where people really have that need. The blood’s flowing in there, our body is a system, and being able to actually get in that way has been a really great one. The lozenges has been another really great one. We were also able to do around the teas very early in the game, so to speak, and tea is the second most-consumed liquid in the world. So, it’s a great thing. I remember having tea time with my great grandmother who recently passed at the age of 103 and some of the best moments I ever had was having tea and making two cookies last for more than an hour and having great conversation.
Jeff Boedges: That doesn’t go well with THC. You can’t make cookies last more than two minutes.
Rick Kiley: That’s true.
Ashley Stallworth: Give me the whole roll.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. I’ll take the whole thing of Oreos. All right. That’s impressive stuff. And you mentioned the construction stuff. That’s sort of a new one. I don’t think we’ve had anyone really talk about hemp in the construction industry other than maybe some guys enjoying some of it at lunch break.
Ashley Stallworth: I’m super thankful to talk about it. This is just going to be the rerise of applying a material that has been used with historic precedent. I mean, the presidents of the United States used it for clothing. I mean, the Navy jackets used to be made out of this stuff for construction. If you look at India, if you look at the Greeks, the Romans, the way that they made their concrete, this material is in there. It’s really bizarre. It’s a natural fire retardant. So, like the things that we see in California with the house fires, there’s about two to three houses that didn’t catch on fire. They’re still standing because they had hemp.
Rick Kiley: In the concrete.
Jeff Boedges: In the concrete or like on the shingles or both?
Rick Kiley: Yeah. In the mixture, right?
Ashley Stallworth: Yep. Absolutely.
Jeff Boedges: Again, it’s counterintuitive.
Rick Kiley: Yes, something that grows that doesn’t burn.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. Something that grows that a lot of people burn for enjoyment doesn’t burn when you build your house with it.
Rick Kiley: Well, it’s a little different. You wouldn’t want to waste the stuff that you smoke on house building. So, it’s a little different. I don’t know. Is the price per pound the same? Like I don’t know.
Jeff Boedges: I’m guessing not.
Ashley Stallworth: No. The price per pound is much less. And to be honest, when you grow, it’s a broadacre crop so it’s not specialized like the shaman or when our friend who’s growing the real sticky-sticky that got the lights pumping growing his Frankenstein plant, “Man, this thing is 26%. It’ll get you couch-locked.”
Rick Kiley: Right. But I think there’s an interesting like event idea that you have the house built out of industrial hemp mixed with concrete and then the house that’s built out of weed. And you see which one lasts longer?
Ashley Stallworth: I would say on the record and off the record, I’ve definitely put that to the test.
Rick Kiley: Wow. Both on and off, people.
Jeff Boedges: I was thinking we just start building dispensaries from it, just a fully integrated product.
Rick Kiley: That’s not a bad idea.
Ashley Stallworth: I think they will. I mean, there’s a lot of cultures that have historically done that and I think that that’s going to become more prevalent in this time.
Rick Kiley: It’s funny. I had heard and known that the textile benefit and even like the paper benefit and that sort of thing but I had not heard about building materials. So, thank you for educating me today so that’s cool.
Ashley Stallworth: Blessing in disguise.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. Well, thank you for all that. You’ve given us a great idea about the things that you’re working on right now. It’s all very exciting. We want to change gears a little bit and talk a little bit about a cause near and dear to our heart and that’s industry diversity. And so, really the show it’s called The Green Repeal and it’s about paralleling the journey of cannabis and its march towards federal legalization. And there’s a lot of similarities in our experience to what happened in wine and spirits with the repeal of the 21st amendment and how it got there but it’s not just the legal side of it. It’s not just its illicit past or outdated regulations. In our experience, it’s an apparent lack of diversity. We don’t really see a ton of diversity in the industry as it is right now. What would you say in your experience or would you say, in your experience, it’s harder for people of color or diverse backgrounds to get into legitimate cannabis backgrounds? Is it?
Ashley Stallworth: Yes. Short answer and long answer, yes. It’s because there’s a psychological aspect where people for the longest time have been told, “Don’t do this. This will destroy your life.” There’s plenty of examples in one’s family. When you look at it because being a person of color, when you look at even historically from the Silicon Valley or any startup hubs, the lack of diversity even in those areas are huge. And we’re talking about areas that are already pulling in billions of dollars. They did a recent Pew study, whereas it’s easier for somebody who’s not of color to raise up to 50 million than it is for a person of color to raise even 50,000 and even from the friends and family around for seed funding. A lot of people economically they don’t have that kind of capital power or they’re not willing to put their capital into a risky market that they know that, “Hey, Uncle James was arrested for, and did 10 years, and he came out, and now it’s challenging for him to get a job.” It’s very challenging for I think people of color, in general, just because of the historical nuances.
Rick Kiley: Yes. There’s a lot of social stigma that is applied by family and friends.
Ashley Stallworth: Absolutely. There’s no doubt about it. No doubt about it. Not to mention that the gatekeepers of the industry which I think we’re seeing in other systems in this time have a historical bias against people of color coming in and kind of reigning supreme or even taking ownership and I think really I’m a big history guy, minor in art history, and just kind of I like to look at the full depth of things to have a better understanding where we can take it. And this plant was grown in the point where we still had slavery in this country and when slavery was abolished, a lot of the IP was taken by the slaves and the farmers were pissed, the landowners rather. So, they stopped a lot of trade and that’s when hemp and other types of products were basically regulated. They stopped doing the trading around the Caribbean. They stopped doing the trading domestically. I mean, if you pull the records from Michigan, other places, even the Fed, there are receipts for this product being sold and traded, and all of a sudden, it just stopped. So, I think that historical precedents really impact today because a lot of those same families who are now getting in much like the wine and spirits industry hail from the merchant families.
And these merchant families know exactly what the deal is. There’s only a handful of players. So, when you’re going to tell them, “Hey, we’re going to let some guys come in,” who historically, they just haven’t, it kind of still impacts today. Not saying that there aren’t people who aren’t trying but that weight is there.
Jeff Boedges: Do you have any personal experiences that you would share that you think kind of illustrate that point? If you had any specific instance where you felt like you walked in and people are like, “Who’s this guy?”
Ashley Stallworth: Yeah. I think I’ve faced both sides early in the game, so to speak. I was one of the very few people of color who would show up, who even knew the event was there or that could afford to even be there to be quite frank because some of these events $500 to $2,000, $3,000, $8,000 just to even show up having conversation but now when it comes to funding because I’ve been doing funding rounds for some of the companies, it was about two-and-a-half years ago, I still remember this. It was gut-wrenching, man. I go in this boardroom and there’s a guy. I won’t even mention his name but he’s somebody that people definitely know. He’s worked with the best, the Disney’s, the large groups, paintings, he’s got everything, and he looks at me in the eyes and he goes, “Are you ready to have a new master?”
Jeff Boedges: Bullsh*t. Really?
Ashley Stallworth: And I was like, “Yeah.”
Jeff Boedges: That’s a f*cking quote. Geez.
Ashley Stallworth: It’s one of the hardest hits I’ve ever felt, straight in the gut, and I tried to keep a straight face and kind of work around it, some good active listening drills, but it was heavy, man. And he was very, very, very straightforward with if they were to back financially, this is what this means, this is what your limited capacity will be, and this is what we see it as, basically saying we’d be a token. I mean, I would be a token essentially and it’s a very, very, very challenging moment to be quite frank.
Rick Kiley: I’m f*cking sorry, man. It sucks. I’m just trying to like put myself like try to put yourself in the position where you’re like, “Oh, I’d walk out of the room,” but no one f*cking say that to me. So, yeah, that’s brutal.
Jeff Boedges: I have been privy to conversations where I’ve heard people who I respect or have previously respected, I should say, that come out and say things that I think are blatantly frankly racist. I will usually speak my mind, which is never something I’ve had a problem with but thank you, Rick.
Rick Kiley: You got to know the man.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah, you don’t have to guess what my opinion is. So, I can see it happening but I guess I’ve never been maybe on the receiving end of it and I can’t even try to imagine what that must feel like. And especially to do it in a ball face manner like that. I would have thought we were past it and sometimes I have to, like you, I get the gut punch and say, “Oh, we aren’t past it.”
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Ashley Stallworth: It’s a challenge. I had to call my dad after the meeting and my dad lived through a time, he tried to give me some advice but it was one of those moments that I will always remember for sure. This is what you call humbling is.
Rick Kiley: That’s not. You shouldn’t take it as humbling. It’s just like the other f*cking sh*tty people. I’m curious. How long ago did that happen? Just merely curiosity. Was it recent or like several years ago?
Ashley Stallworth: Yeah. That’s about two-and-a-half years ago.
Rick Kiley: All right.
Jeff Boedges: We call that recent.
Rick Kiley: That’s recent.
Jeff Boedges: All right.
Rick Kiley: I was doing, yeah, never mind. Another story. One thing I want to ask is I’ve done some reading, Jeff’s done some reading. We’ve heard some other guests on this podcast and talking about people who are from minority backgrounds and black men in particular that they’ve been weary of getting involved in the legit cannabis industry because they or their community has kind of been unfairly targeted and vilified in the past. So, there’s like a weariness in trust of the system, I think, is kind of how it’s explained. I’m wondering if this is something that you could speak about or perhaps debunk? I’m not sure the degree of truth to this.
Ashley Stallworth: Yeah. I’d say it’s a bit of a mix and mash but definitely a little bit more lopsided. The historical community impact is very, very real that people are in fear of even being around cannabis even in legal states when police roll by, even having it still in their pockets and know that’s legitimate or even when it comes to having an active business license or anything like that, they think that they will be the first somehow to be caught by some technical legal jargon and will face the consequence while others seem to just sail on by just because that’s how it’s always seemed to be. And that’s kind of the word of mouth like effective marketing but now, this experience has now impacted the human psyche, the minority based psych to the point where they’re just not sure that they should engage, even though they may have all the skill sets, all the energy, maybe even the capital to even do so but they stay on the fence. A lot of people that I find who want to get in, of color, they’re always like, “I got to do more research, I got to do more research.” And then they get two, three years down the line and they’re missing the boat when they could have just jumped in.
Jeff Boedges: There’s just sort of a rampant distrust of “authority” at this point. I’ve been hearing recently a lot about just having sheriffs, marshalls, different police at voting stations is a huge method of voter suppression in predominantly black or Hispanic or any kind of minority area and I think it’s because of the same reason. They just don’t trust them. They think they’re going to get picked up on some hopped up bullsh*t charge. So, that doesn’t surprise me that happens on an industrial scale here but it is unfortunate. And we’ll talk a little bit about social justice in a minute here but these communities that have borne the brunt of really a crazy drug war against marijuana, that shouldn’t have happened, they now are the ones that are not really participating in its benefit. So, anyway, we’ll come back to that in a minute. So, what advice would you give or maybe you do give through your involvement with Minority Hemp Builders Association to people that want to follow in your footsteps? How are you helping others that want to basically walk in your footsteps?
Ashley Stallworth: Thankful to be able to walk and also to be able to run at times. One of the things that we use for the slogan for MHBA would be to be inclusive, include people. I think we see in really every business practice, the more that you include people, the more that they’ll show up and the more that you’ll probably have a higher rate of success. Another one I tell people is be willing to take risks, learn a new skill set, and do what you desire most. Importantly, treat other people with respect. I guess one thing I take from my grandfather that he used to always say is don’t overthink it. Just don’t overthink it.
Jeff Boedges: I like that. I like grandpa’s advice. That’s in line with mine.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. Well, we have the fail-fast approach in our world or paralysis by analysis, which when you said that folks that are doing research for three years, I think that they do miss the boat but sometimes you just got to try something and if it doesn’t work, great. Learn from it and so you can try the next thing. Getting something up on its feet is more important than critical analysis, I guess.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah but it’s a weird thing when you’re analyzing. It’s one thing to say, “Well, analyzing because I don’t want to lose money.” It’s another whole thing altogether, “I’m analyzing because I don’t want to lose my ability to be a free person and to be un-incarcerated.” Look, everybody wants to take risks. It would take a huge amount of influence or a huge amount of upside to say, “Well, I’m going to risk going to prison to start a business, even if it’s a legitimate business.”
Ashley Stallworth: That is absolutely. I feel that and I’ve heard that so many times and it’s crazy because you go to some of these events too and you can always tell the people who have done time, They’re looking around, head on the cloud like, “Oh, my gosh.”
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. That’s what I think about Rick whenever I see him. You can always tell a guy that’s been in prison.
Ashley Stallworth: Well, it’s wild because like you’re saying, people look at it because if you know somebody who has had a felony charge like I’ve talked to judges and lawyers who don’t realize that if you have a felony for a drug charge, you don’t even qualify for food stamps. There’s fundamental things that are taken away from people penalized for life. Not just like them getting convicted and then done their time, it’s over. It’s for life now. They’re starving, they can only get minimum wage jobs, and that’s just the perpetuation of probably other illegal activity because humans have been known to have a knack for trying to get ahead, trying to do what they got to do. So, it’s very challenging but I remember sitting on a panel with a judge from Chicago and she wasn’t even aware of that. I was like, “Have you sentenced people? Do you realize what the ramifications are of what you’ve done? You got people starving out here.”
Rick Kiley: Yeah. And I think we’re moving quickly into the social justice section here but it’s interesting that there are people who probably have felonies for cannabis. And one of the disqualifications, I believe, for getting a license to have any sort of cannabis business is having a felony. And so, there are people who are perhaps incarcerated with a felony for like possession of a small amount and they’re going to be prohibited from perhaps ever benefiting from this after sort of the war on drugs has really f*cked with their life in a way that is, I mean, in retrospect, extremely unfair.
Jeff Boedges: It’s irreversible. I mean, it’s permanent and I think that’s the biggest, well, I mean, you could probably get out of it but it would take extreme measures and have extreme resources that the average Joe probably doesn’t have.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. I had one thing I wanted to say and I totally forgot. So, we’ll move on and I’ll hopefully…
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. Well, let’s talk a little bit about social justice. It’s Election Day. Well, actually, it’d be over by the time this airs.
Rick Kiley: We are recording a week away. Six days away.
Jeff Boedges: Prior, yeah. And while the presidency is on everyone’s mind, there are a number of states including my own here in New Jersey, that have ballot initiatives aimed at advancing the legalization of cannabis, and some states it’s med. Here in Jersey, it’s actually to go from med to rec. Are there any of these states that you’re paying particular attention to? Anything that has really caught your notion?
Ashley Stallworth: That’s a great question. I appreciate it. Really all of them. There are five very specific, I believe it’s Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana, and Mississippi. But if I had to pick probably two of them that really stick out, I’m following all of them but two specifically, I would definitely say South Dakota. It’s very super suspect because of Amendment A which allows for medical but also for anyone 21 plus to be able to have control, to be able to transport it, to be able to do a lot of things. So, when I look at industry, this is a setup for pipeline delivery for logistics. Because if we look at oil and other industries that pass through transport especially by rail, a lot of them run through the Dakotas. And if we understand the Dakotas, we understand there’s been a lot of tax evasion historically run through there. I think it was up to like 1987 like South Dakota wasn’t even incorporated technically as a state. A lot of people didn’t really realize.
Rick Kiley: Wait, what?
Jeff Boedges: That’s what I keep an eye on. I only see 49 states.
Rick Kiley: But there was a star on the flag, right?
Ashley Stallworth: Hey, if I go missing, you’ll know why.
Jeff Boedges: Maybe you shouldn’t go to Sturgis this year. I’m just going to throw that out.
Rick Kiley: Well, there are a lot of reasons not to go to Sturgis after the whole virus this year but I don’t know. South Dakota mob might catch up with you. Yeah.
Ashley Stallworth: It’s real out there. It’s real out there. I mean, you can see even all the way out to the reservation. So, I mean, it’s pretty sparse and a lot of challenges but between that, I would also look at Mississippi. Mississippi is one of the cradles I think of Big Pharma. They are looking to push medical big time but they’re already in cahoots with a lot of the pharmacology groups that are making synthetic blends. And when I was looking at how some of the lobbyists down there are pushing to get it to go, the big aspect for that usually is the money aspect. So, in comparison to some other states, we’re talking about a 29, maybe 50 million increase annually that they’re forecasting for the next two to 10 years. But when you look at Mississippi, they’re projecting 750 plus million. So, if anybody knows how healthcare is running in the United States right now, we know it’s a big rip off and they just raise the price on everything. So, if you get a bunch of people who are just hooked on, they got their Monday through Sunday pill box, and now you’re just including synthetic blends of cannabinoids for a primo price even if it’s on insurance which they want to be able to get there because most people don’t pay for anything, if their insurance is a baggage especially if you’re living on fixed incomes. So, you’re pretty much bringing the cattle to the trough. And I think that this would be a play that they would try to emulate throughout other states throughout the south and try to push.
I don’t think the West will have it at all but I think it’s one of those areas where you’re going to see some of the big boys try to come in and just kind of money grab it. I mean, we really kind of see it in the medical stuff but you already even see it in the CBD side. The South wants it back. They always said the South will rise again so I would look at the way that they rolled out some of these laws, I’m like, “Yeah, I think you’re right.”
Jeff Boedges: We’re using code names today by the way. Ashley Stallworth is not his real name.
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Ashley Stallworth: That’s not my name.
Jeff Boedges: All right. Yeah. We’re all going to have some folks after us I think after this one but, all right, so do you see like Mississippi, though? So, you don’t think they’ll ever go rec? You think they’re really just trying to aim it to have it sort of as a monopoly in the medical space?
Ashley Stallworth: You know, this is definitely insights that I gathered that I would share. I think that they will. I mean, I think it’s one of the things that we’ll probably get into is when is everywhere going to be federally rec or legal? But right now, technically it is. Technically it is but I do think that they will be one of the ones but their messaging will subvert where it’ll be they’ll probably have it where you add the stuff that you can get on the aisle but then when you want the real strong stuff, that’s when you got to go to the counter with the prescription. And that’s where I think we start to see the margins when it comes to pricing and how that’s going to impact the commodities market. So, I’ll be very interested to see how states like Mississippi, and Georgia, and Tennessee really kind of arm up so to speak, and, obviously, Arizona and New Jersey. Arizona because of where it’s located, the historic precedence with the mezzo communities and drug traffic. They’ve really been labeled as like, “This is where it happens. They tunneled through. They bring pounds,” and everybody needs to get gunned down at the wall like these really extremes that we’ve seen.
And then you have New Jersey, which in the Tri-State, New England belt which all the illicit and legacy market stuff is really kind of passed through there. So, how did these markets transform and how did the people who are there retrofit themselves into that? And then how is the executive style going to impact those union bodies? I’m very curious. So, when I look at all the five that are on the ballot right now, they all hold very significant balance. Montana is just a broadacre state. So, I think that’s where the big shots are going to go. I think that they’ll have a strong medical community, which they do because you get a lot of the people much like Colorado who kind of travel these similar trails based on lifestyle and stuff. Yeah.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. Outdoors lifestyle. So, you’ve mentioned broadacre a couple of times. Can you explain that to me?
Ashley Stallworth: Yeah. So, broadacre, as a farmer, is when you’re growing probably 300 plus acres up until like a couple of hundred thousand acres. Think about wheat production, barley, malt, corn, those are the broadacre. When we’re talking about like medical and recreational cannabis, even the CBD, those are more specialized crops. So, the broad acreage I foresee for fiber.
Jeff Boedges: That’s more the hemp market.
Ashley Stallworth: Exactly.
Jeff Boedges: Okay. That makes sense.
Rick Kiley: Well, and so just going to try to pull this back around to the social justice piece. New Jersey is very close to where we are and it happens to be a state that we follow closely. They’re a little bit in competition with New York and sort of who’s going to legalize it first for adult use. It looks like New Jersey is going to win that race. I think it’s expected to pass. Right, Jeff? You live there.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. I voted seven times for it.
Rick Kiley: All the voting is on the up and up.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah.
Rick Kiley: For whoever’s listening, it’s not…
Jeff Boedges: That’s just me being sarcastic. I can’t vote seven times.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. All right. Thank you. It’s not something we can joke about now.
Jeff Boedges: No. I think everybody knows I’m a sarcastic SOB. That’s part of my charm.
Rick Kiley: But one of the issues that’s been talked about a lot in New Jersey, which has held it up the last couple of times it’s come up has been how to handle the social justice elements. Both the idea of what to do with the individuals who’ve been incarcerated but also where to direct some of the tax revenue. I think a lot of the people who are the representatives of those communities that have been targeted, I guess, by the war on drugs feel that they should be benefiting from the new legalization. I’m curious if you have any thoughts on if you were a legislator in New Jersey or another state like…
Jeff Boedges: When? He’s got all that extra time. Isn’t it time you ran for office?
Rick Kiley: But then he’d have to put all of his businesses…
Jeff Boedges: True. True.
Rick Kiley: Well, no, you just have to have Ivanka Trump run them.
Jeff Boedges: She can do it.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. But I’m curious as if you have a view on how you feel states should approach the issue when trying to sort of put say adult-use and make it legal at least. There’s a lot of stuff to deal with there, obviously, but specifically around social justice if you have an opinion.
Ashley Stallworth: Yeah. It’s a big ball of wax so to speak and I would imagine the current Governor Phil Murphy there has got his hands full. I was at an event called Propelify about two years ago and he was guaranteeing, he’s like, “This is going to pass,” and people were definitely raising their hands asking, “Hey, what are we going to do about the people who are still hurting?” And he had a lot of smiles but not much answers and he does have the gift of gab but nobody’s been able to nail down a specific plan. So, that’s one of the challenges but I do think that there isn’t a need for that step further by mandating some of those things because when we look at the tax revenue, how can that tax revenue impact? I mean, we look at things like resources, things like housing, community development, health and wellness, being able to rehabilitate people who have been historically destroyed by having a criminal record. And it goes back to the types of things where it’s like not qualifying for food stamps or not qualifying to get that job because you were working with them for three months but the background report came back up, and now all of a sudden, corporate saying, “Hey. this isn’t a good look for us right now. We’re going to need to let that person go.”
And that’s happened numerous times. I’ve known a lot of people who have been down that road and it’s very, very challenging. So, when we look at the way that the USDA and the FDA right now are making their investments for crops and really investing in farmers throughout the land, we’re talking billions of dollars. This is an opportunity to really get a re-achievement for the dietary application of humans but also people who have been historically destroyed. Look at COVID, it goes for people who have historical ailments or diseases or things that are human-made, excuse me, that wouldn’t naturally exist if these people didn’t have these types of diets for the last couple hundred years, which you can peg the historic precedent to it. So, I think that there definitely needs to be an appropriation that can absolutely be justified. It’s not just, “Hey, let’s give these people money.” Yeah. I mean, we’ve even seen it though like there are places around the world that there’s so much extra tax revenue.
Look in the Middle East with the oil, they made so much money that if a family is in need, they can go to a bank and they’ll fill their coffers because they’re like, “Hey, you don’t have to be poor because we’re a wealthy state right now.” And I think that’s what a lot of this tax revenue, which we’ve seen already in Washington and some of the other recreational states, I mean, we’re making record-breaking numbers right now. We have enough money to fund a lot of programs. So, I think allocating absolutely, yes.
Rick Kiley: It feels like the expungement of criminal records for non-violent crimes relating to cannabis is like the table stakes, though, right? I mean, that has to happen.
Ashley Stallworth: It’s got to. I mean, there’s no way. I mean, that’s an injustice in itself if states continue to roll out cannabis and not do that. I mean, it’s to the point where we have independent groups funding to have lawyers able to go in and do expungement. How are we not getting funding from the Fed? It makes zero sense.
Jeff Boedges: In the state, yeah, for sure. Yeah.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. I mean, we’ve talked to someone who’s running this Last Prisoner Project. I don’t know if you know about them and that’s what they’re trying to do. But, yeah, it seems strange that you have to have essentially nonprofit entities capture donations to hire lawyers to help people get these prison sentences expunged. It’s bananas to me.
Ashley Stallworth: It’s absurd and we don’t have enough judges. And even to get all those cases, I mean, they’re doing better with data collection but then we get the IT precedents. We all know that IT on the technology side is not cheap. So, that’s another expense that the state looks at. So, yeah, it’s a challenge. I really commend individuals who like the Last Prisoner Project and other ones, Hempfest, and a lot of other groups who pour in tons of money and energy to really to do the right thing. We still have people who are in jail today.
Rick Kiley: Oh, yeah. I did remember my earlier question and I’m not exactly sure how to ask it but it kind of comes back to that really terrible experience you spoke about earlier. But I’m actually curious that since we had the pandemic and then we had this real sort of rise in awareness, and I’m going to use you can’t see me necessarily using air quotes but awareness around the Black Lives Matter movement. And what I’m curious, because I’m not in this industry day-to-day and I’m not a black man, has that movement impacted your work in any way? I’m just curious if there is an actual difference since that’s all really started up.
Ashley Stallworth: Yeah. There has been and I think a lot of it has been more on the B2B and partnership relationship aspect when it comes to working with other companies, as well as on the funding capital strategy for a lot of these companies because now they need the perfect banner ad. They need to be able to be like, “Hey, we are with social reform. Hey, we are with Black Lives Matter,” but the question is, does the tire really hit the road? Does the rubber hit the road so to speak, right, so we can get some movement? That I have not seen. I think that the social equity play when it comes on the communication, it does really good but the social equity like we look at historical precedence, they’re starting to merge groups which I think everybody should have a seat and should have a voice, women, LGBQT, and blacks. And I don’t think that there’s an even split between that because when we look at it and I don’t want too many people be angry at me but I see that historically, people of color, they’re going to get left out again, much like during the Civil Rights, much like during women lib, much like during certain things. They don’t get the equity ploy. They still don’t get the bottom dollar. You get other people who still kind of get better representation and this time they get the funds.
I looked at a lot of the people who were putting up even in the VC world because a lot of the hub zones and OZ funds were just sitting stagnant. There’s billions of dollars just sitting there and they’re talking about, “We want to do this. We want to do that,” but they’re still not funding groups that are qualified. And then when people find out like, “Hey, the money’s here,” they don’t realize or they don’t know how to actually get themselves in a position to do it to do even government contracting. How did they do that? Most people don’t know how to do that.
Rick Kiley: When you say they are not funding groups that are qualified, are you aware that they are funding groups that are not qualified?
Ashley Stallworth: Yes.
Rick Kiley: You looked? Okay.
Ashley Stallworth: Pardon. Pardon. Yeah. And I’m not trying to knock anybody who’s willing to do the work. Yeah.
Rick Kiley: No. But I think my worry and sort of struggle and awareness with this issue is like how does one make change that is real and, as you said, is more than just sort of lip service and visibility but helps make the rubber meet the road? I’m a brand builder and so is Jeff. Awareness is a big, big, big part of the strategy but you have to go from awareness to engagement, to advocacy, and to converge.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. Until the rubber has to hit the road.
Rick Kiley: I’m curious if that’s happening. I mean, maybe it’s a longer, longer curve but it seems to have been a long time coming. So, thanks for answering that.
Jeff Boedges: And you mentioned the process of actually getting into one of these legalized businesses at the state level and I know that it’s incredibly complex. We’ve talked to a lot of people about that. I know it can be actually really expensive by the time you’ve paid all the lawyers. I kind of feel like what I don’t understand and so, Rick and I, we deal with large corporations pretty regularly and even today, I’m filling out a survey from one of my largest clients about what we’re doing from a sustainability standpoint but what we’re also doing from a social responsibility standpoint. They mandate that we work with a certain number of female-owned or minority-owned businesses. They don’t mandate it but they strongly encourage it and if you don’t do it, they may not work with you. And I don’t know if I see the same thing happening at the state level when they’re giving out licenses. I mean, wouldn’t it just make sense to say a certain number of these licenses are going to go to minority and women-owned or other things, businesses, or people who are applying for the license? Do you know if that’s happening at all? I have never really heard of it happening. It may be already.
Ashley Stallworth: Yeah. No…
Rick Kiley: Look, I vote for you, Jeff. I’d vote for you, buddy. It’s a good platform. Start running on it. I mean, somebody should.
Jeff Boedges: Well, it could do worse.
Ashley Stallworth: Yeah. You’re right. It’s a loaded one because I definitely have a lot of feelings around this. There are states who do the talking, who say that, “Hey, we’re supposed to do that,” like Washington, for instance. They rolled that out. They even created a committee to do it but still to date, they have not done it. They do a lot of PR frenzy stuff but the LCB, the Liquor Cannabis Board, and even the Department of Ecologies, they don’t stand up to what they’ve said that they’re going to do. So, California makes efforts, mostly Oakland, I think. They’ve been able to do some social reform down there on equity. And Massachusetts is a great example of how they talk a good game, get a lot of people on the board, but really no action still. You have people who in that state who have two licenses but yet somebody a person of color still has none. Very few in those states. Washington State still has, I mean, they just have a big PR frenzy right now was Shawn Kemp. You guys familiar with the SuperSonics?
Jeff Boedges: Oh yeah. Of course. Well, the old SuperSonics. The rest in peace SuperSonics but yes.
Ashley Stallworth: You know it. Hey, still on my Sonics but so they try to do a PR.
Jeff Boedges: I was an X-Man fan, by the way. Xavier McDaniel, a friend of a friend.
Ashley Stallworth: Oh, here’s the truth.
Jeff Boedges: Yep. Sorry. I had to get that out.
Ashley Stallworth: You’re good. So, they tried to do a PR flip saying that Shawn Kemp was the first person of black cannabis dispensary owner in Washington about two weeks ago. Lo and behold, he is not. They paid him for the brand. He maybe got like 2.5%.
Jeff Boedges: For the license, yeah.
Ashley Stallworth: Yep. Because technically, he wouldn’t even qualify because he has a criminal background. You know what I’m saying? So, it’s a challenge because you get these deflection pieces going on within the states. Washington’s being sued right now. I work with a group called Black Excellence in Cannabis led by a guy named Aaron Bassinet and he has religiously been going at the state. They were supposed to appropriate. I think they’re missing 35 retail licenses that still have not been delegated to people of color. And they haven’t moved. They literally have had three sessions within the last three months and have made zero movement. There are people who are ready to submit to get their applications. And this is just only one state and one instance. So, that’s why when you first asked me, I had to really take a deep breath because it’s a loaded question in these states.
Jeff Boedges: It sounds like, one, it needs to be a 60-minute piece and, two, any of our pro bono lawyers out there looking for a good cause to get behind, this is one. This is one we should be taking on. We should be creating groups to attack this issue.
Ashley Stallworth: Yeah, absolutely.
Rick Kiley: It just strikes me as also one of those things where it’s like, I mean, the larger governmental issue right now is lack of governing and I feel like somebody was like, “Yeah, let’s put this idea. We’ll get it out. There’ll be a lot of energy,” but then the people when they like come time to do the work, they’re like, “Nah, I don’t really like this,” so I’m just going to not do anything. I’m just going to ignore it. “Oh, no, it’s not because we don’t want it to happen. We’re just busy opening a new strip mall.” I don’t know what it is but I feel like we’re seeing that sort of like governance by not doing anything happening in a lot of different places and that sucks that that’s being applied in Washington in regards to this.
Jeff Boedges: Well, I do think every problem really, again, guys, and I’m going to sound like my fifth-grade teacher but it’s an opportunity too. I think there is an opportunity. I think it just needs to be. We need to figure out a new way to address it. And I’ll figure that out in my spare time, Ashley, because your plate is full.
Rick Kiley: I don’t know. I thought that I did earlier. I mean, Ashley, I think we can roll some of this up into a platform for you to start thinking about your governmental run.
Ashley Stallworth: You know, I really appreciate that, guys. I will say that I am a representative of the 36th district of Seattle. So, I have a PCO so I’ve considered taking it to a level because what it is to be able to represent, especially for a lot of people who don’t have that opportunity nor the time to? So, it’d be a great blessing to be able to do that, especially with you guys.
Jeff Boedges: I’m on the team then. I’m sold. I’m on the team. You call me. I’m your guy.
Ashley Stallworth: If you have solutions, yeah.
Rick Kiley: We got the platform written, man.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. Not just that. We got the ability to go organize. We’re organizers. Alright. So, well, that’s good. We’re going to move to the closing questions now. We’re already over our hour.
Rick Kiley: Well, we started late. Remember, we had that microphone issue.
Jeff Boedges: Oh, yeah. Sorry. My bad.
Rick Kiley: It’s okay.
Jeff Boedges: But anyway, as with every guest, we invite you to put your name in a square up on the big board with a prediction of if and when cannabis will be legalized at the federal level. So, give us your prediction and why.
Ashley Stallworth: It is in my professional opinion that it is already legal. I think that the rest…
Rick Kiley: What? No.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah, man. Definitely, you got your own board. You don’t have your own square.
Ashley Stallworth: I like shapes. Yeah. As soon as hemp cannabis was made legal with a legal tolerance especially when dealing with Delta 8, Delta 9, we have entered a time where cannabis is legal. They’ve already made it. The DEA has already said, “Hey, we can trade this across state lines. We can deal with commerce. All of my licenses say that is directly tied to commodities.” This is going to the exchange. So, as we move out of the debt market to the commodities, this already has a place. There’s already tax codes to this even to the USDA. So, what I think when the full messaging will come around, will probably be about two years as we start to grow and as the USDA finalizes its laws around hemp compliance, and how much the height of THC can be before it goes hot. What’s good for market? Because it’s just going to come down to like any other regulated industry how it’s dealt with, the food handlers, the GMPs, some of the basic stuff. But I think that’s really what it is so it’s definitely, in my opinion, that it’s legal right now. I think a lot of people who are making very big money moves and making big investments, especially in the VC world have that knowledge as well because they’re players to have been doing it. I mean, when you see a Mitch McConnell willing to advocate for something like that, even within his own state, I mean, Kentucky has got basically a head start on everybody.
Jeff Boedges: Putting the grass back up in blue grass.
Ashley Stallworth: Oh, my gosh. Oh, yeah. It’s pretty up there.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. That’s a new slogan. Mitch, you have that one for free, buddy.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. Because it’ll help you when you’re a minority leader. Sorry. I keep putting politics on this thing today. Guess what’s on my brain, everybody. Sorry to pick your answer apart a little bit. Are you also taking the approach that the psychoactive drug of THC is also legal? I just want to make sure I have that that we’re not using a cannabis isn’t THC answer here.
Ashley Stallworth: Yeah. No, well, I mean, there’s a legal tolerance. There is technically because if you talk to people who even use chia or hemp seed for their protein, they know that their body is being impacted but we can understand omega 3, 6, and 9s and we’re getting a good balance and it helps our body run right then you better believe they understand that hemp has impacted their body. So, the psychoactive where we’re talking about like the high-high, no, the super high tolerance is not allowed but if you talk to somebody who’s ever smoked a CBD joint, I’ll tell you what, they’ve felt something.
Rick Kiley: Right. I think we got a plot for a Christopher Nolan movie here right now. It’s like, “It’s been illegal the whole time.”
Ashley Stallworth: Straight up.
Rick Kiley: Super good. Cool, man. Alright.
Jeff Boedges: And then, where do you see yourself in 10 years? This is not a question we ask everybody.
Rick Kiley: Governor of Washington State.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah, exactly. Where are you heading? Where is all this heading?
Ashley Stallworth: I was thankful to be able to forecast out hopefully alive. That would be a great thing.
Rick Kiley: It’s sad we have to say that out loud. Oh, man.
Ashley Stallworth: It’s the truth. But I see myself geographically between here, the United States domestically, and probably South America. There are great trade routes. I see myself having more kids, being able to create more public service announcements because I think we’re just critically lacking that across the board to help really bring us all up-to-date to be able to understand as more commonalities and differences and how we can get through those and also building more sustainable communities and products while still funding things like education because there’s just not ever enough of that, especially for deprived groupings like we talked about historically. So, if that shows itself in the form of being able to lead from a governmental side or leading, continuing to lead corporations, and be able to put other people in positions to lead as well and really be more inclusive, then I’m all for it. I think I’ve always been drawn to modes of communication. So, I think somewhere along those lines, thankfully, because I do believe that there is a brighter future, I really do, and I think we’re just in such an amazing time. It’s just not like any other time. We can literally time travel in this time. I mean, think about that. I mean, we can do amazing things.
Rick Kiley: What?
Jeff Boedges: You have my vote, man. I see you’d be in business, governor or nothing, president.
Rick Kiley: Wait. You built a time machine out of a hemp farm? Sorry. It’s a bad joke too.
Ashley Stallworth: We’re talking graphene. We’re talking advanced materials.
Rick Kiley: Alright.
Jeff Boedges: Alright. I’ve learned a lot today, man. Certainly, my vocabulary has increased so thank you for all that.
Rick Kiley: Ashley. It’s great talking to you, man.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. You’ve been an amazing guest, man. Couldn’t ask for better.
Ashley Stallworth: Hey, Jeff and Rick, appreciate you guys. Keep up the good. Looking forward to connecting with you, guys.
Rick Kiley: Cheers.
Jeff Boedges: Absolutely.
Ashley Stallworth: All right.