420 is a perfectly natural holiday for the cannabis industry. It’s also a great opportunity to look back on past episodes of this podcast, what we’ve learned along the way, and to examine the state of the industry.
We started this podcast in September of 2019 to explore the cannabis industry, to educate ourselves, and to bring others along on our journey. In this special episode, we’re touching on themes that have come up time and again with our guests: issues of representation, the restorative justice that needs to come with full legalization, and which of our guests’ predictions have come true.
We also dig into what the next year will look like for The Green Repeal, who we want to talk to in upcoming episodes, and how we see the perception of cannabis changing in the years to come.
- How women are becoming a growing force in the cannabis industry much faster than in spirits or alcohol.
- How access to capital has made the modern cannabis industry overwhelmingly white – and what needs to change to open access to minority entrepreneurs.
- What needs to happen with the word “stoner” and the stigma it carries.
- Our guest’s predictions on when federal legalization is going to happen, why it hasn’t happened yet, and what needs to change in order for it to happen.
“There is still an unbalance. And there’s a lot of work still to be done.” – Lauren Yoshiko
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Rick Kiley: Hello, everyone, and welcome to a very special episode of The Green Repeal. It’s kind of like, when we watch Blossom back in the day, it’s like a very special episode.
Jeffrey Boedges: I was going to say like very special Facts of Life.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s a good one, too.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. I get to be Trudy, by the way.
Rick Kiley: Was Trudy her name?
Jeffrey Boedges: I think so.
Rick Kiley: Tootie.
Jeffrey Boedges: Tootie! Tootie!
Rick Kiley: Alright.
Jeffrey Boedges: It’s been 30 years.
Rick Kiley: It’s been a while, it’s been a while, but this is our very special 420 episode. What is 420, you say? Well, if you have to ask, you’re probably listening to the wrong podcast.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. This is a podcast about cannabis, not about money.
Rick Kiley: And in the world of let’s create holidays where there are no holidays, this is a perfectly natural one for the industry.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yep. As long as your card is printed on hemp, it’s all good, man.
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Jeffrey Boedges: Get your Hallmark holiday card.
Rick Kiley: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, we…
Jeffrey Boedges: There’s an idea there.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. And in the booze world, we have a lot of invented holidays that are becoming booze holidays, like…
Jeffrey Boedges: The more co-opted. They do have some legitimacy.
Rick Kiley: But now there is National Margarita Day.
Jeffrey Boedges: That’s true.
Rick Kiley: Right. And there’s like– there’s Cognac Week or something like that.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, that’s true. Well, today is National Zoo Day.
Rick Kiley: There’s a holiday for everything, everyone, but we are launching this. This episode is dropping on 4/20.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. Just take out the Zoo Day reference, please. It’s 420.
Rick Kiley: Well, yeah. Hey, everyone, we’re not recording this live. This is great stuff here. Well, what we’re trying to do today is a little like look back on our podcast to date. We decided to do a little retrospective. It’s our first one without a guest. So, it’s just me and Jeff, I’m sorry. And we’re basically just trying to recap what we’ve learned, maybe talk about a few surprises we learned about along the way and hopefully, just do a little recap of the state of the industry as a whole. Do you think we can pull that off?
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, I think so. And I think if you think about this as a greatest hits, I think then you start to maybe…
Rick Kiley: Right.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, it might be more attractive, I guess, maybe with the way we should market it.
Rick Kiley: Right. Okay.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, what’s volume one?
Rick Kiley: What’s the best greatest hits album, by the way?
Jeffrey Boedges: That’s a good question. It’s a really good question for 420. Best greatest hits.
Rick Kiley: I mean, the Beatles have their one, which is 27…
Jeffrey Boedges: The problem with the Beatles is that like every album is like a greatest hits album.
Rick Kiley: Yes.
Jeffrey Boedges: So, when they take them out, you’re like, oh, you left off.
Rick Kiley: Right.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yesterday, how could you leave that off the greatest hits?
Rick Kiley: Well, the top selling greatest hits album of all time, I believe, is the Eagles.
Jeffrey Boedges: Oh, right.
Rick Kiley: Which is Unfortunate, maybe from my position.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m a little bit more harmonious with the Eagles than you are, but yeah, I agree. I don’t need to listen to it very often.
Rick Kiley: So we’re not going to answer this question because it’s going to take too long to discuss. What we’re here to talk about today is the world of cannabis. Look back over the past year plus, because we started this, I think, 18 months ago, 16 months ago, something like that. And I think what I wanted to do is start with Jeff, if you don’t mind. I think you and I, we entered into this podcast with this idea of charting our own education, getting more educated ourselves and bringing people along on the journey. So, I just wanted to start off with sort of talking about what thing or things did you find most surprising in all of our interviews and everything we’ve done to date?
Jeffrey Boedges: Well, I mean, there were a huge number of surprises, and I guess that’s what hopefully makes this worth listening to, but I think if I had to sort of peg it on the biggest surprise, I would say the last year was really the growing influence of women in the industry. And I shouldn’t say growing because the whole industry is growing. So, everything is sort of nascent at this point, but I thought the power and the dynamics of women in cannabis were really, frankly, way ahead of what I’ve seen in alcohol. And remember that we are still kind of comparing this to the wine and spirits industry or beer industry.
So, while they’re still, I think, underrepresented, I think it’s still a very male-dominated industry. We were fortunate enough to meet many women from the cannabis industry. And quite frankly, on the whole, they were very impressive. The presence in the industry basically is somewhat, again, situational, but most of it seems to stem from what I would call a desire for natural products.
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Jeffrey Boedges: And living naturally overall. That seems to be something that comes up a little bit more often with women than it did with men. And I feel like that’s something that is a trend that will be more and more relevant. I mean, I think we’re seeing it really through all of everything from the lockdown where people are really much more interested in where their food comes from, how it’s grown, how it’s marketed, how it’s brought to the table. And I think that same type of thing we’re seeing in cannabis. And frankly, it didn’t come up nearly as often with the men that we spoke to as often as it did with women.
Rick Kiley: I think it makes sense because in general, I find that women are more thoughtful about their health. I mean, let’s just say, there’s less, hey, watch this. And then, like, broken legs as a result.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. And I did feel like the guys were much more interested in really making money and frankly, getting high, whereas women, yeah, were definitely more into the sort of holistic approach to it, but everyone that we spoke to from Libby Cooper to Gillian Levy, even to Liz Whiting, they were really kind of also not just a natural part of it, which was a big part of it, but also the luxury part of it. They were really trying to make something that was not going to be perceived as downmarket or not going to be perceived as Stonerville stuff, so yeah.
Rick Kiley: Defining, I think, a new lifestyle that fits for them, right?
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, but they really seem to be the ones driving that more so than the men. And again, this is a gross overstatement, there are nuanced…
Rick Kiley: Sure, sure, sure.
Jeffrey Boedges: But that was just one of the things that I found really most surprising.
Rick Kiley: I think that’s great. I still think it’s remarkable for how progressive an industry it is, how still a lot of it is dominated by men. And we brought up that conversation a lot. And I think a lot of these entrepreneurs in particular who are women are sort of sensitive to not being defined that way, but also recognizing that there is still an unbalance. And there’s a lot of work still to be done.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, yeah. And I have a corollary to that one, as I think really still how underrepresented the African-American market is, and the Hispanic market, the minority market here is that it just feels like, and I think it was Chris Ball that was talking about like, yeah, he got the license, but…
Rick Kiley: Yeah, the social equity license.
Jeffrey Boedges: The social equity license, but the barriers to entry from a financial standpoint, from an access to knowledge standpoint, they’re not necessarily set up to keep any one person or one type of person out of the business, but as usual, these are sort of societal and they do tend to basically make this a much more approachable business opportunity for people who have come from more advantage, and typically, that means white men.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, people who have access to capital is like number one.
Jeffrey Boedges: And the people they went to school with, they know 25 lawyers and they know 25 people in D.C., where that might not be the same case for someone who’s coming up from a less advantaged circumstance.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, yeah. I think for me, I had two things that I was thinking about, and the one was really unexpected, but there were a number of times where we had a conversation about the war on drugs in the 80s and the Just Say No campaign and how much that influenced people’s behavior, and I think is even permeating people’s feelings about the illicit nature of cannabis, even when there’s now science coming out, sort of saying that that’s not the case.
Jeffrey Boedges: We’re all very, very properly brainwashed.
Rick Kiley: No, and it’s amazing. And we talked to people from lots of different backgrounds. You mentioned Chris Ball, but also Emily Dufton, who is one of our early guests on it. We kept talking about how that campaign and how those of us who are of a certain age grew up with that in our youth and how frankly effective it was. I mean, it’s a super effective advertising campaign. We can all see the eggs frying, we can all hear this is your brain on drugs.
Jeffrey Boedges: It was massive. And the surprising thing about it is, as you think about how effective that was in the 80s and how little anything was done about, like legal tobacco.
Rick Kiley: Right.
Jeffrey Boedges: Which frankly, is a hell of a lot more deadly.
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Jeffrey Boedges: There was nothing about like these are your lungs on nicotine.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, I mean, I do from a marketing communications standpoint, I think the folks that came up with Just Say No and put that campaign, like that’s one of the most effective communication strategies ever.
Jeffrey Boedges: That’s up there with probably with Just Do It and with an Absolut World.
Rick Kiley: Super memorable, but it’s really weird because it’s so discordant with the actual facts. And I’ll even say myself and a lot of others, you still feel a little bit off like it’s…
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, even an illegal market, you still look left and right before you light it.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, yeah, it’s a really strange thing. And I think that I had no idea that that was such a strong feeling that existed.
Jeffrey Boedges: Sorry, is that a wardrobe malfunction?
Rick Kiley: That’s okay. It’s all good. The second thing is just I had– I mean, I really just didn’t think about it, but I had no idea how much of a mess the industry is because of the murky legal status. I mean…
Jeffrey Boedges: The state-by-state legal status is just crazy.
Rick Kiley: And honestly, we keep asking we’re going to come to the predictions later, but we ask people to predict, like legal status, but I have no idea what this industry is going to look like in 10 years. Like, I really– it could go so many different directions, but these things that you take for granted, not being able to bank, right? You need to create state specific supply chains for your product in any place that you are, really burdensome licensing requirements where you have to have like every– you basically have to have created your product, found your factory, invested a whole bunch of money before you can even apply. And then when these states do come legal, it takes two to three to four, maybe more years to figure out how they’re going to try to administrate everything.
Jeffrey Boedges: Right. And I think one of the biggest ones for me, too, was just how big an impact not being able to deduct business expenses from your return, mostly because of the hypocrisy of it. So, they’re like, we’ll take your money, even though– this is the government saying, we’ll take your money, we won’t let you deduct your business expenses. That is speaking out of both sides of your face. And I guess that shouldn’t be terribly surprising given what I’m talking about, but still, it is somewhat shocking to me.
Rick Kiley: It is weird to have something written in the tax code that says if you are operating an illegal business, you don’t get to write off your business expenses. I mean, there’s an acknowledgment that people are doing this. It’s bizarre.
Jeffrey Boedges: I suppose Al Capone maybe would have thought the same thing like, well, of course, I’m not paying taxes, it’s all illegal money.
Rick Kiley: But it’s written in the law.
Jeffrey Boedges: I get you.
Rick Kiley: It’s bizarre.
Jeffrey Boedges: It is bizarre.
Rick Kiley: Alright, cool. Alright. Well, those are great. And the second thing that I kind of wanted to talk about were just, I think, the stories, the themes that kept coming up and not just what we’ve learned, but when you touched a little bit on the influence of women and the lack of access of minorities. And I think that leads us to the first one that I have here, but we had several topics that come up episode after episode after episode. And in my mind, social justice issues and social justice and criminal reform seem to be like the number one thing on everyone’s mind that needed to be addressed, taken care of, unlocked, whatever you want to call it, but it seems like it’s part of the recipe for states to be able to legalize, it’s part of the recipe based on just fairness of the moment and the day. I mean, the numbers behind mass incarcerations to members of the black community, specifically black men, are just outrageous if you dig into them.
Jeffrey Boedges: Way out of proportion with the number of Caucasian people that are in prison for similar crimes, but that’s unusual because the usage is very similar at rate. So, that clearly means that black people are being arrested, targeted more often, arrested more often, and certainly more successfully prosecuted than the Caucasian counterpart. And that’s crazy.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. I mean, the selective enforcement, I think is the way to frame it. It’s really been going on for so, so, so long. And every state that’s legalizing this, and we’re close to what’s been happening in New York and New Jersey, the conversation on, well, how are we directing our tax dollars that are raised from this to help these communities that were affected by the war on drugs. What are we doing about the people who have been unfairly imprisoned? Those are things number one and two that have to be addressed with every single piece of legislation.
Jeffrey Boedges: For sure.
Rick Kiley: I think it’s cool. So, New York is just– there’s a bill that’s hopefully going to become law. And in that, I read, it will expunge the record of any one who has been prosecuted in a way that would not be illegal under the new law. So, if you were, and the new law is like you can walk around with three ounces of weed and grow plants in your backyard. So, like if you were arrested for possession or something like that…
Jeffrey Boedges: If you landed at JFK with 75 pounds…
Rick Kiley: You’re still going to be in jail.
Jeffrey Boedges: You’re still going to be in jail.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, but if you had a pound in your car or if you had a few ounces, sorry, not a pound.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. Well, if you had like five cars with three ounces each, you’d still be okay.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, and I think that that’s great, and I think that’s probably what’s going to have to happen and that’ll end up being a template across the country. And I think those social equity licenses, like you mentioned, Chris Ball, that he was able to receive, those are going to have to be part of the solution.
Jeffrey Boedges: And I think you’re going to see even the people that did have 75 pounds coming into JFK, and even if they’re three strikes, you’re out. Those people are going to be out on parole.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, I think if it’s nonviolent, I think for the most part, those people are going to be, hopefully.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. And they got to be because it’s like, can you imagine being like there’s a show, there’s a couple of shows on moonshiners and that’s about people making illegal hooch, which essentially is what these guys were doing. They were just making illegal weed.
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Jeffrey Boedges: And I mean, they make a show of it, and no one’s going out and getting these guys because everybody kind of is like, what’s the point?
Rick Kiley: Yeah. And look, I want to do a shout-out to like the guests and all the other folks that we know are working in this area. We have Mary Pryor on who does a lot of advocacy for minorities, and Andrew DeAngelo has this Last Prisoner Project that is trying to get people out of prison who have been unfairly prosecuted. And there’s a lot of great work being done, but this is…
Jeffrey Boedges: Be sure to look these up. And when you’re looking for your holiday or year-end donations and charitable donations, don’t forget these guys.
Rick Kiley: Think about The Last Prisoner Project, for instance, and that’ll be really helpful in this industry. The second thing that kept coming up time and time again, and this is probably maybe the lengthiest discussion we’re going to end up having today, I would bet, is this idea around destigmatizing what it means to be a stoner.
Jeffrey Boedges: What? Yeah.
Rick Kiley: And it was really interesting, the different takes on this. I mean, I think there was a universal sort of acknowledgement that the imagery and iconography of the movies, the Cheech & Chong characters, the Half Baked characters.
Jeffrey Boedges: It’s got to be two people, though.
Rick Kiley: Fast Times.
Jeffrey Boedges: Bill & Ted, Cheech & Chong.
Rick Kiley: Fast and Times, Ridgemont and High.
Jeffrey Boedges: Right, exactly. Ridgemont High.
Rick Kiley: They go together, but it was very interesting that everybody had a very different take on it. Like we interviewed Ophelia Chong. She was a creative director and was focused very much on imagery, that all the imagery had been tie-dyes and VW Beetles and Volkswagen vans. And she was like, we need aspirational, beautiful imagery. And that’s where she’s focusing her energy. We had Libby Cooper on who was like, look, I like the word stoner. She said, I am a stoner, but I think being a stoner is this. So, we have like people trying to, I guess, reframe what the word means. And then we have others that are saying, no, let’s just avoid the word altogether. Gilly and Libby were talking about her brand being part of a wellness-focused lifestyle and not, I mean, she was like ignoring stoner, the stoner word.
So, I’m just curious if you have any thoughts on really, what you think needs to happen with, I mean, the word stoner, do we use it? The label stoner, do we reframe it? Like what do we think is going to happen there?
Jeffrey Boedges: I think because stoner, to me, it’s basically on par with the word alcoholic. It’s somebody who does it too much or that it’s somehow problematic and that it has limited their growth or limited their performance in what society would deem a normal, productive life. So, there’s a lot of subtext, there’s a lot of context that has to go into defining a word. So, I think, yeah, stoner, I don’t think it survives. I think that it has become something that people stop using. I think we joke about people who drink a lot because from the outside, people who would say, oh, that guy has a glass of very nice scotch every day. And even when you look at the technical definition, they would probably be called an alcoholic, but that doesn’t really make it so. I mean, these are just people that like a good glass of scotch before they go to bed at night, so they’re fine.
And I think the same type of thing, and we’ve called them enthusiasts. And I think it’s a sort of euphemism. I think we’re going to end up with some type of term like that. I don’t think it will be enthusiasts, but I think you will see some of the words might make the jump from wine and spirits from connoisseur. And we’ve talked about how the budtender is very similar to a sommelier. So, you’re going to find some of these words, they’re going to be some new terms that really sort of start to permeate into the cannabis world that are of much more positive slant. And it’s why I said I don’t think stoner survives. I mean, I think it will still survive, but it will mean something within the category of a range…
Rick Kiley: It’s interesting you bring that up.
Jeffrey Boedges: …of spectrum.
Rick Kiley: I agree with you. I agree with everything you’re saying that stoner has a ton of negative connotations and baggage. I mean, the only thing is, you know, alcoholic is a clinical term. And I don’t think there’s a clinical term for someone who is addicted to weed, I think, perhaps because it’s not quite as addictive as some of these other things like tobacco and alcohol. So, that term maybe doesn’t exist, but I think you’re right. I just don’t know what the word is.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, I’m just talking about the societal interpretation of the word, not the real meaning.
Rick Kiley: But I think there’s room for invention, I don’t know if that’s the right word, but like what is, you call someone a wine snob or a wine geek or.
Jeffrey Boedges: This could be our question for year two. So, instead of actually asking the prediction of when cannabis is legal, we’re going to say, what is your positive slant for cannabis enthusiasts?
Rick Kiley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s a good one. Yeah, I think it’s just a really interesting conversation and really does set up, I think, the interesting marketing challenge, which is how do you reframe what cannabis means in a more positive, more balanced way that shows that it’s part of someone who is successful human beings’ lifestyle that it fits in the lifestyle.
Jeffrey Boedges: Canathlete.
Rick Kiley: A canathlete. Yeah, I think we need to make up a song for that.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, but I just think about with– well, I’m losing my train of thought, probably because I’m a canathlete, but, yeah, I think we’re going to see a whole new vernacular start to flower.
Rick Kiley: Awesome. I agree. I’m all in for it, too. So, the next thing that I sort of teased out and looked back and everything is just something that seems pretty self-evident, but there is such a need for education around this category. And I think you were here for a conversation we had with someone in the industry that told us from a trade perspective that we’re in the second inning of the ball game, which means from a consumer perspective, we probably still have the leadoff hitter trying to bunt on base.
Jeffrey Boedges: We’re in the parking lot.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, the game, they’re still singing the national anthem, which isn’t quite true. I mean, I think there are some people who know more, but this plant and these products, and we have to remember, it’s not just THC cannabis we’re talking about, I mean, the plant is developing. It’s used for textiles. There’s all these CBD products out there as well. I mean, we have such a complex array of things that can be produced from the cannabis plant, the hemp plant. And I think that the science of today is going against what we were all taught by Nancy Reagan. And I think we really need to undo a lot of that work. We really need to change people’s minds persuasively, with data and science. Now, I know that people believing data and science is a hot topic in itself.
Jeffrey Boedges: Let’s assume that we’re heading into a world where data and science are not vilified and that we can just say, alright, statistically speaking, we can believe in probabilities, and probabilities come from intelligent, scientific, applied research.
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Jeffrey Boedges: Right, but I do think the first and foremost, the biggest problem is, is that because it was schedule one, there’s been almost no research done on a federal level. I mean, there are so many more obscure topics out there that are well researched, that are better researched than cannabis. And given what you were just saying and what we started with was just how massively useful this plant really can be, how many different ways it can be used in a productive fashion, there’d be almost no research done is clearly that that was a byproduct of the war on drugs, but it’s a miss. It’s a real miss, but it’s that miss that makes a new opportunity.
And whenever I think about this business, I think about those old black and white videos where they show them opening up the land grants in Oklahoma and all those people flying across in their wagons to go create a stake. And I think that’s kind of what we’re seeing right now. And that’s why there’s so– what seems proliferate is the number of products, the number of intakes, the number of usage occasions, the number of need states, all these things that we would normally associate with regular proper brand marketing are happening at once. And it’s a Wild West.
Rick Kiley: Well, and there’s a new innovation coming out every day. The science is advancing faster than I feel like that I can keep up with it anyway.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, the brands and products are definitely going faster, but a lot of it is applying old technology, like the Listerine strips you can get now where you can have a sublingual. Unlike other edibles, it goes right to the bloodstream, so it doesn’t take so long, but even like that, like, oh, well, that makes total sense, that’s just a Listerine strip with THC on it, of course, that works, but still, everybody is out there saying, what can I make today? And who knows? Maybe it’s a tennis ball that gets you stoned.
Rick Kiley: No, we had someone tell us about the football.
Jeffrey Boedges: Right. The football pipe.
Rick Kiley: The football pipe, which is a Nerf football with a tube carved out of the middle where you put it like a lit joint or something, and you throw it to your friend. It fills up the football and you pull on the end of the football when you catch it.
The sort of fourth, which is really the final area that I have here, which was just I wrote. Area four, simply the sense that the 2020 election was going to be very important to the industry. I mean, you kind of say maybe duh, but like we lived in a world that was at very different leadership a year ago than it is today. So, in that sense, it’s kind of obvious, but everyone had the sense that the Biden administration would be much more favorable to the industry.
Jeffrey Boedges: Ironically, I needed it a lot more the last four years.
Rick Kiley: Well.
Jeffrey Boedges: Is it just me?
Rick Kiley: I don’t think you’re alone. I don’t think you’re alone, but we do know some things. We know that before the election and the run-up, when he was running, Biden said he would support decriminalization federally.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah.
Rick Kiley: So, he kind of punts the whole legalization issue. And if you do recall, even the Obama White House, they were not pro legalization, for those eight years, like it was kind of put in…
Jeffrey Boedges: It’s political kryptonite, though. What they…
Rick Kiley: Especially for the first black president of the United States.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, exactly. And also, in a deeply divided country as well, where frankly, I think a lot of conservatives still are very afraid of legalized cannabis. I have some family that are deeply in that space, and they actually, because of The Green Repeal, have called me and said, “Not my state.” And I’m like, well, it’s coming.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. Well, it’s funny. In the New York law, which you were talking about a minute ago, there is a provision in that law that will allow municipalities and counties, parts of New York to opt out. So, like we have dry counties for alcohol in some parts of the country that that’s going to happen, too. So, maybe not in their state, but maybe…
Jeffrey Boedges: You will not be able to get weed on Staten Island. It’s just not going to happen.
Rick Kiley: Oh, I’ll take that bet.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, you think?
Rick Kiley: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think, I mean, go upstate New York, maybe not, but.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. Alright. We’ll see.
Rick Kiley: But I think Staten Island, it’ll be okay. And then, I do think though that with federal decriminalization, though, it should do a couple of things. It should eliminate the fear that the DEA is going to come knock on your door and shut down your operation, which people still live with. They don’t talk about it that much, but they do. And it should…
Jeffrey Boedges: Theoretically.
Rick Kiley: And it should really help pave the way for some of these, like normal business operations, things to happen, banking in particular, and that safe banking legislation also has strong support, and I think that should get signed this year, right? And then, I think, we have big states, New Jersey and New York, legalizing for recreational use, which is just going to keep pushing the momentum that way federally.
Jeffrey Boedges: Absolutely. And you and I had this discussion. I kind of feel like as California, well, California obviously paved the way, or Colorado and then, the northwest, now the southwest, and now you have basically the eastern states going that way. I mean, at some point, and it’s probably not very far off, we are going to have more than 50 percent of the population in the United States living in legal markets.
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Jeffrey Boedges: So, once that happens, then I don’t really see how you can have the majority of, this is well, it’s a bit of the American League versus the National League, how one can have the designated hitter and one can’t? Designated one hitter in this case, and yeah, yeah, yeah, again…
Rick Kiley: I wish I had like a laugh track button here.
Jeffrey Boedges: I want to like a cashier.
Rick Kiley: Cha-ching.
Jeffrey Boedges: I want ka-ching, because that’s another winner idea.
Rick Kiley: Nice.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, the designated one hitter.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. And I don’t have much to comment on if the election had gone the other way, but I know that that was on other people’s minds. And if the election had gone the other way, I mean, I’m not sure we would still be doing this podcast, to be honest.
Jeffrey Boedges: We might be in the prison someplace, but.
Rick Kiley: I don’t know, prison, but we probably still are under some sort of COVID lockdown, that sort of thing.
Jeffrey Boedges: And it’s all so far stood.
Rick Kiley: Alright. Part 3, and this is, I think, going to be fun because we’re actually going to pull in some old clips from some of our earlier episodes, but I thought we kept joking with our last question that we put people’s predictions up on a big board, like a baby pool.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yep.
Rick Kiley: So, I thought it might be nice to revisit a few of those.
Jeffrey Boedges: We should have like a reveal party, though, when it goes legal.
Rick Kiley: Like a gender reveal party?
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, like a gender reveal party, and let’s try and like, accidentally catch something on fire.
Rick Kiley: It’d be crazy. Well, it would be green, so the colored cake is going to be obvious.
Jeffrey Boedges: It’s going to be gross, too.
Rick Kiley: You know, maybe it’ll be on St. Patrick’s Day at home. Just work.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, yeah. Maybe combine St. Patrick’s Day and 420. They’re not that…
Rick Kiley: They’re close.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, they are close. We should have like a…
Rick Kiley: A month of green.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Rick Kiley: It’s an idea.
Jeffrey Boedges: 420 needs more parades.
Rick Kiley: Oh, that would be a slow parade.
Jeffrey Boedges: It’s just a bunch of people walking aimlessly down different streets.
Rick Kiley: But here’s the thing…
Jeffrey Boedges: I’m leading the parade. No, you’re not.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, here’s the thing. We would get like, Phish or some other jam band. They would just play one song on parade. It would be like three and a half hours long.
Jeffrey Boedges: And that’s a stop right there in front of the judges’ things, so like the parade just doesn’t move. It’s like a quick song.
Rick Kiley: So, we looked back, we went all the way back to episode 1, and I kind of found that everybody really fell into one of three categories, and then we had one person who went off the grid. So, we’ll talk about that later, but first, we have the group of people who are already wrong.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yep.
Rick Kiley: Congratulations.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yes, we have a case of Turtle Wax for you, you can pick it up on the way out.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, I’m going to call them the prognosticating challenged, but to be fair to them, a lot of them were our earlier guests. So, it’s easy for someone to say something would be legal by– not say something would be legal by the 2020 election if you were interviewed, say, a month ago. That said, we did have a group of people who thought who we interviewed probably between nine months and 18 months ago, who all thought it might be legal by the 2020 election, by the time, this past fall. We had Dan McKillip, Mark Thornton, Jennie Leuzarder, and Mary Pryor, all said it would be legal by now. In fact, and I don’t know if you remember this, Jeff, but we have a clip about how strongly Mary Pryor felt about it.
Jeffrey Boedges: I remember.
Rick Kiley: Here’s the clip.
Mary Pryor: Cannabis is going to be legal in 2020.
Rick Kiley: Federally?
Mary Prior: Federally.
Rick Kiley: Wow, that’s the most bullish prediction so far.
Jeff Boedges: Man.
Mary Pryor: I bet everyone on this podcast $100 each.
Rick Kiley: So, Mary.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yep, our address for the check.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, if you’re listening, I’m going to take one crisp Benjamin, and Jeff said to be totally fine if you just drop 10,000 pennies in his driveway.
Jeffrey Boedges: For sure.
Rick Kiley: Did you see that guy?
Jeffrey Boedges: I did, I did. You can Venmo me. hindsightis2020@JeffBoedges.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. Hindsight is 420. Ka-ching.
Jeffrey Boedges: And we gotta get that.
Rick Kiley: Alright. Okay, so group two, and there were a lot of people in this group, and it was mostly people who said that this would be legal within the first two years of the Biden administration. So, it was a lot of Biden needs to be elected, and then, by 2022, we have Ian Lindemann. Chris Ball is waiting. Brooke Burgstahler, and Libby Cooper, amongst many others all talked about how they thought it was going to happen in the next couple of years. I like Libby’s conversation. So, here’s what Libby had to say.
Libby Cooper: I think it’s definitely in the next four years. So, right now it’s 2021. By 2025, it’s going to be federally legal like it has to be. No excuses, everybody. If it was up to me to really crystal ball it with no real idea, I would say two years. I think we’re 24 months out.
Rick Kiley: Two years. It’s the second time we’ve heard that.
Libby Cooper: I’m very optimistic, though. So, take it with a grain of salt.
Rick Kiley: Cool. And what I notice about this group of people, Libby included and Chris and Liz and Ian, these tend to be all the entrepreneurs.
Jeffrey Boedges: They also tend to be interviewed fairly late.
Rick Kiley: Ian was our 10th or 11th guy, but these are all people who I think probably are more prone to taking the optimistic view of things.
Jeffrey Boedges: I read yesterday that optimists are like 10 times more likely to be wealthy.
Rick Kiley: Really?
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. So, again, guys, just take a look at these guys and maybe invest in their company.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, if you got the chance.
Jeffrey Boedges: Well, actually, you should invest in the group one, they were really optimistic.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, but no, but most of those folks were, I think they were on a different side of the business, like outside looking in.
Jeffrey Boedges: Right.
Rick Kiley: So, I think it’s interesting that this group that’s really trying to build their business, one, they’re probably paying very, very close attention, closer than you or I, but they’re definitely optimistic. So, group three, these are the negative Nellies.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yep.
Rick Kiley: These are the people that have a lot of time to win their bet. And these are some really, really smart people, so do not ignore what they have to say, but basically, this is a group that says within three years and 10 years. And we have Rick Kimball, Dr. Mimi Vo, Keith Villa, Emily Dufton, Andrew DeAngelo, and that team that we interviewed from Evergreen Cannabis in Maine.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, the team.
Rick Kiley: It was the first time we did a three person.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, that was fun, though. We should do more groups.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. I do think that the sentiment was best summed up by Charlie McElroy of Goldleaf, who we have a quote from. Let’s listen.
Charlie McElroy: All right. Well, okay, so assuming Biden wins, he’s not pro-legalization so I think he will do decriminalization by March 2021. That’ll be partially a response to the kind of the disparity that cannabis has shown in the incarcerated individuals. That’ll alleviate that but he is not pro-legalization so I don’t think he will do that in his term. But his vice president when she has her term starting in 2024, I predict the federal legalization to happen probably early on in that term. But decriminalization is going to lift up so much red tape for all these businesses. So, it’ll go pretty quick after that, but I really hope/predict that Biden will do that, at least to that step.
Rick Kiley: Honestly, I only played this clip because I like the fact that he predicted basically that Kamala Harris was going to be president in 2024, and I just thought, wow, that’s really specific.
Jeffrey Boedges: I have a bumper sticker already.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, but who’s her vice president candidate then going to be?
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, it’s a good question.
Rick Kiley: Maybe Cheech Marin is available.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, yeah. Here we go. Yeah, a lot of actors become politicians, and I have no problem with Cheech.
Rick Kiley: That’s true, that’s true. Finally, as promised, we have one guy basically go way off the grid. I don’t know if you remember this, it was Ashley Stallworth. And when he was asked to predict federal legalization, here’s what he said.
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…
Rick Kiley: Okay, so he went totally off the board. It’s already legal, and I mean, I suppose, he has a point because I think he’s also very well involved in some of the non-THC-related parts of the business, but I think, everyone thinks of hemp, cannabis. They first think of the psychoactive drug, they think of that. And there’s so many other products that are out there, and there’s a huge market for hemp and CBD, so.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, he was…
Rick Kiley: I guess he’s right.
Jeffrey Boedges: He is right.
Rick Kiley: Is he the winner?
Jeffrey Boedges: If we’re going to switch questions and we close the pool, I think it’s too early to close the pool because we get bets out there.
Rick Kiley: Okay.
Jeffrey Boedges: I can’t really.
Rick Kiley: That’s true, that’s true. So, he’s got technical.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. He’s kind of up there with the– because already legal would probably be the same that is never.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. He also strikes me as someone who’s probably read a lot of contracts like this, probably. Yes, it is part of the legal meaning of the contract, but is it the true spirit of the question would be my question.
Jeffrey Boedges: Well, and my name is spirit, technicality. Like, hey, look, this is BS, you have me up. Yeah, I had 75 pounds of weed in my truck, but the truck next to me had 5000 pounds of hemp, the same plant. How can you differentiate? So, yeah.
Rick Kiley: Well, they have tested you.
Jeffrey Boedges: Well, I’m just saying. It’s just I think you could get off on a technicality because it would be arbitrary, perhaps, to a degree.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. Alright. So, one thing I realized, and Katie pointed this out to me, who works with us on this podcast.
Jeffrey Boedges: Thank you, Katie, for everything, and keeping us.
Rick Kiley: Absolutely.
Jeffrey Boedges: Organized and together.
Rick Kiley: You’re the best, but she also noticed that neither you nor I have ever gone on the record with a prediction.
Jeffrey Boedges: Right.
Rick Kiley: So, we’re going to end that today.
Jeffrey Boedges: Right.
Rick Kiley: I hope you’ve thought about this.
Jeffrey Boedges: I’ve put a great deal of thought.
Rick Kiley: So, when is it going to be federally legal?
Jeffrey Boedges: 2023.
Rick Kiley: That’s it.
Jeffrey Boedges: Now, he’s…
Rick Kiley: Like January 1st or?
Jeffrey Boedges: No, I think…
Rick Kiley: 4/20.
Jeffrey Boedges: I think there are a couple of things that need to happen. So, the first is that this current administration, I do agree that it can happen to this administration, while Biden did kind of punt it, as you said, and just said, I will decriminalize it. I think he’s being cagey. I think he’s easing into the water. He’s not trying to throw everybody into the hot tub right out of the gate. So, that’s why I will start. And I think his plan will be to legalize it, but I think it’s for academic reasons, not for any deep-seated belief that Biden wants to go on on 4/20 with his buds and throw the Frisbee around.
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. And I think what will happen is we need to get through, we need to finish getting through COVID. And that is going to take us to the end of this year and probably, a fairly decent amount into next year. Now, if things will look normal, but there’s still going to be a lot of people that need to be helped from financial reasons to health reasons, to what have you. So, that is going to be this administration’s sort of first priority. The economy is going to be second. That’s where you start to see this start to make sense. So, after we kind of get triage here, then I think you start to see, okay, we need jobs. This will provide jobs. We need tax revenue because we’ve just spent all the money in the world times 12 to bail ourselves out of this frickin mess we’ve been in the last year, right?
So, that money is going to have to come from somewhere. And I think any reasonable politician is going to be like, yeah, let’s go ahead and make this a cash crop for us where we can get it. And then, I think, as we approach the following election, the next election, I think he’ll use that as a bargaining chip. And I think it becomes a platform issue, yeah.
Rick Kiley: Alright.
Jeffrey Boedges: That’s why I say 2023.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. Before we started this podcast, I was much more bullish on it getting done quickly. And I think more conversations we have, I remain optimistic because I’m an entrepreneur at heart, but I do think a lot of the things that you mentioned, just all the challenges that are going on in the country from the health crisis to, let’s not forget about this whole, like, what’s the deal? Global warming.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, there’s that going on, which these existential threats are really going to be taking up the lion’s share of attention.
Jeffrey Boedges: If we can just make a car that runs on joints, this whole conversation is over.
Rick Kiley: I think Willie Nelson’s got one. Sorry, ka-ching. Anyway, but I do…
Jeffrey Boedges: Call us, Willie. We can get you on the show.
Rick Kiley: I think it’s going to come more slowly than I would like, that a lot of us would like, but we’re going to see some sides. I think the SAFE Banking bill is going to pass. I think the federal decriminalization will pass by 2022. And then, I think when New York and New Jersey are both up and running, now, that’s different than legal because it’s going to take two years to get people…
Jeffrey Boedges: I’m still bitching about Maine, dude. I go to Maine every summer and that’s correct legal there now for two years, but you can’t get it.
Rick Kiley: Exactly. And so, I think we just have to recognize just how slow the progress is to put all these things together, and it’s going to take some time. I do think there are some questions that need to be answered that I don’t know that we have the answers to yet, that also are going to need to happen before federal legalization happens. One thing is medical versus recreational, like I don’t know what’s going to happen there. Are there going to be medical and recreational programs in all 50 states? Are they going to exist together? Is a recreational use going to consume medical use?
Jeffrey Boedges: The only reason I say that, and this is not my idea, this was one of our guests, and forgive me for whoever answered this was the impact the insurance company or the insurance industry has on medical weed, because right now they don’t cover it.
Rick Kiley: Is it going to be treated like a pharmaceutical product where you can absolutely get your healthcare insurance to cover part of it? And if that happens, then, yeah, there’s probably room for it as a medical program, but if that never happens…
Jeffrey Boedges: I just believe it will have to. And the only reason again is because it’s like what you can use cannabis to treat is such a huge spectrum of disorders, and it’s just a shitload cheaper.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. I think there are some really powerful entities that are in league with the insurance companies, and I’m talking mostly about the big pharmaceutical companies, and I don’t know to what degree they are concerned with it, and…
Jeffrey Boedges: Well, that’s a good question.
Rick Kiley: And certainly, the makers of opioids are concerned. I don’t think they want to see their opioid margin eating into it, even though they’ve been addictive as hell, but I don’t know, and we’ve seen– and my opinion of pharmaceutical companies, especially…
Jeffrey Boedges: Careful, man. My wife works there.
Rick Kiley: No, I know, but like that they’ve done some amazing science this past year.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yes.
Rick Kiley: I mean, they’ve seen these vaccines come to life for COVID in under a year’s time is nothing short of magnificent. And so, like, I think there’s probably room to make it happen, I just don’t know how it happens. What’s going to happen with the tax code is the other thing. Holy moly, does that need to be figured out? And if I think about prohibition to bring this whole thing back, we’re going to need a certain amount of states, I think, on board with recreational use. And I think we probably need at least one more big one to fall. And I think if Texas ever goes recreational legal, then I think it’s done. I think that’s the last big, big state out there.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, Texas is kind of like Mexico north when it comes to weed, though. Sorry, Texas.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. And one thing I just was thinking of now, and we haven’t talked about a lot, but in alcohol beverage, there are tests to enforce like DUI. You can give someone a breathalyzer.
Jeffrey Boedges: They have it. They have a weed test.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. It’s not…
Jeffrey Boedges: It’s not really foolproof.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. And it’s not widely used as far as I know. I think it was developed in Canada and they’re using one, but…
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, there, they just ask you to sing a Rush song backwards, and if you can’t, that’s it.
Rick Kiley: Wow.
Jeffrey Boedges: Off to the pokey.
Rick Kiley: Those time signatures are rot.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. It’s not an easy one.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. Which one is it? Red Barchetta?
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, exactly.
Rick Kiley: Cool.
Jeffrey Boedges: It’s YYZ.
Rick Kiley: Oh, that would be…
Jeffrey Boedges: Impossible. especially since there are no words.
Rick Kiley: You could barely do it forwards.
Jeffrey Boedges: That’s a trick question. Can you sing YYZ backwards? And you’re like, there are no words. Alright, you can go, but if you don’t know that, yeah.
Rick Kiley: You’re in trouble.
Jeffrey Boedges: You’re in a deep shit.
Rick Kiley: Anyway. So, that’s a long way of saying it, I think that frankly, like the 2024 timeline probably feels about right, just given election issues, the current state of the world, and the other things that are in front of us.
Jeffrey Boedges: This is like The Price is Right. You should say the first month of 2024.
Rick Kiley: Right.
Jeffrey Boedges: So, it’s like one dollar over the lowest bid.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, so first hundred days, Kamala Harris presidency.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, exactly. The Kamala Harris, Cheech Marin.
Rick Kiley: Cheech Marin.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yep.
Rick Kiley: What a ticket. So, I mean, really, that’s what I wanted to get through today, Jeffrey. And I think just– we should just talk about what’s next for the podcast. What’s the next year going to look like for The Green Repeal? Do you have any thoughts on that?
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, I do. And you were actually– I was really thinking that first and foremost, we talked to a lot of people in the wine and spirits industry, and it’s been interesting to watch the evolution of their perception, their interpretation of what cannabis will do to the wine and spirits industry. And at first, I think I kind of put them into two camps and probably, I guess I still do. One camp was very ready to embrace it, when you look at the constellation brands of the world who sold off a humongous part of their portfolio in order to be able to reinvest those dollars into cannabis-related industries. So, they were bullish on it.
And then, there’s a number of wine and spirit companies that were like, this is not going to impact us. We’ve already seen the studies and people who smoke weed don’t drink. And you and I have largely been of the opinion that that’s probably not accurate, and we have our rationale behind it, but I think, one of the things that I would like to do in the next year is really bring in– we’ve had everybody that has been really on the cannabis side of the fence.
Rick Kiley: Sure.
Jeffrey Boedges: And we haven’t really talked to anyone, which is, again, sort of ironic given our relationships out there than the alcohol side of the fence, because I’d love to hear what they think about it.
Rick Kiley: Shoot.
Jeffrey Boedges: And it’s not just like is it a threat to them, but I’d like to get their input on all the things we’re discussing here from social justice to women-led businesses to things that I think that wine and spirits can frankly learn something from the cannabis industry, instead of the other way around. And then you just brought up the other piece, which is, yeah, we should have somebody in from pharmaceuticals.
Rick Kiley: Absolutely.
Jeffrey Boedges: And really start to get their opinion, and maybe it’s from the insurance company and industry, if we can find somebody who’s willing to, well, one, spend their time with a couple of enthusiasts and two, hopefully not get themselves into trouble with the mothership.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, well, I mean, I think medical insurance is going to be single payer in four years anyway. Oh, sorry, that’s another prediction. Gosh, different show.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. A show that no one listens to.
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Jeffrey Boedges: I think no one wants to listen to a podcast on insurance.
Rick Kiley: I think the part that I’m excited about for the future, when we started doing this, I was like, well, let’s get educated on cannabis, but what I realize is this opportunity for marketers and communications experts, and we’re like in this nascent stage of this industry that is just trying to figure out how to get itself in order. And we’ve made a living trying to break down barriers to entry to so many brands, and I think it’s exciting to sort of try to define what the future of cannabis lifestyle is. Like, I don’t know what it is yet, but I think there is going to be a point when you go to somebody’s house for a party and someone is toking or taking edibles, and it’s not being done on the DL, right?
Jeffrey Boedges: Right.
Rick Kiley: Like it’s just an accepted social norm. And I’m really interested in sort of what needs to happen to get us there and how we do that. So, I’d love to really keep that conversation going.
Jeffrey Boedges: It’s a really interesting topic, you bring– I think about it all the time, like I don’t smoke in front of my kids, ever.
Rick Kiley: Of course not.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, but we’ve gone 180, because I grew up…
Rick Kiley: But you’ll have a drink.
Jeffrey Boedges: I take it from my parents.
Rick Kiley: Right.
Jeffrey Boedges: And now, I’m the parents hiding it from my children.
Rick Kiley: Right, but you will have a drink in front of your kids.
Jeffrey Boedges: Oh, yeah.
Rick Kiley: You’ll have a beer out, while you’re cooking.
Jeffrey Boedges: Could you imagine going to a barbecue or having pictures from a barbecue that didn’t have beer in it? It’s like it doesn’t really exist in my world.
Rick Kiley: Well, now they all have hard seltzers.
Jeffrey Boedges: Oh, well, whatever. Well, as long as they’re THC seltzers.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. So, that’s great. I just want to say thanks, Jeff, for being my partner in this over the past year. I have been enjoying it quite a bit. I hope next year’s great.
Jeffrey Boedges: It’s been a lot of fun. And it’s weird because we idea that this sort of thing together, and I was thinking, oh, you know, we’ve got to do something that’s– we got to put a bunch of blogs up, a bunch of writing, and you’re like, yeah, dude, that’s lame. Let’s do a podcast.
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Jeffrey Boedges: And I was like, oh, that would be much more fun. And it has been.
Rick Kiley: It is more fun. I’ve enjoyed the conversations, and just anybody who’s listened to us jabber all these times for 10 minutes of one episode or all of them all the time, thank you so much for listening. We hope you stick with us.
Jeffrey Boedges: And if you have ideas or topics, or if you feel like you’re a potential guest, please reach out to us. Do we have an info line for Green Repeal yet? We should.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, we should.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. Alright, we’re going to say reach out to us at GreenRepeal.
Rick Kiley: @sohoexp.com.
Jeffrey Boedges: @sohoexp.com. And we’ll arrange a pre-conversation with you.
Rick Kiley: Absolutely. Thanks, everybody.
Jeffrey Boedges: Signing off.