tv K PART 1 - Political Leaders Activists Journalists and Industry... CSPAN June 4, 2022 1:05pm-3:37pm EDT
good morning everybody. i would like to welcome you all to the national cannabis policy summit at the ronald reagan building in international trade center. first i would like to start by thanking our host venue, it is safe to say for a lot of advocates seven years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago we cannot have imagined having a conversation about cannabis policy reform and cannabis legalization at the ronald reagan building. i am very happy to be here with you all today. i would like to thank our sponsor weedmp -- weed maps. it's a company that understands how important it is that we support and provide access to events that do not cost people money to attend. need to make sure that cannabis education is free.
i would like to think we'dma -- weedmaps for their support. i would like to thank our viewers on c-span today. thank you so much for being here today. it means a lot that we are allowed to share this information with such a broad audience. before i get started i have two more thank you's. i would like to thank the advisors to the national cannabis policy summit, justin, gordon, michelle, bob, amber and morgan. their advice and important support has been critical to the success of the event over the years, and i would like to thank you all for your time. most importantly, i would like to thank the member organizations of the national cannabis festivals advocacy commission. since its obsession -- inception we had a group of nonprofit advocacy organizations who have not only advised and helped work with us on the education
programming for the festival, but they have helped keep us focused on the issues that matter the most. in doing so they have allowed us to provide further education to our audience to help relieve bush issues around cannabis -- push issues around cannabis legalization forward. if you have not already stopped by their table today, they are directly outside of this room so you can chat with them during networking time or at the weedm aps perception this evening. i do not have to say too much about this but two years ago the world changed. many people experienced profound lost whether it was in business, personal, or with personal health. it is arguable to say in our own lifetimes we may not truly understand the impact of what we have all gone through in the past two years. along with all of the loss and hardship that many of us face over the past two years, there are also some bright spots. for me, i hope for many of the people in this room, some of
those bright spots included the work of the nonprofit drug policy organizations, who never stopped work, whenever stop trying and who never stopped pushing. in the past two years, while we were all being spun around in the pandemic, these nonprofit drug policy groups past the more act. the expanded medical programs and access to cannabis for patients. they legalized in new york, new mexico and virginia. so, it is for these reasons and more that i am truly thrilled to be back here in person with you all today, convening unlikely allies, sharing ideas, but most importantly, we are gearing up for the next big push towards cannabis policy reform. so, as i was preparing for today's summit, i found myself watching a lot of videos from the campaign. there was a big campaign when i was in elementary school and growing up. i remember it very well.
i was struck by how such simple words, just say no, were used to demonize entire populations of americans. words are really an interesting thing. it's funny how time and circumstance can take words, the same words, and make them feel different or have different meanings. i found myself reading over a lot of the things that nancy reagan said during the just say no campaign, i was struck, how the same words, with a few minor adjustments could be reapplied today as part of the case against the war on drugs. so, before introducing our next speaker, i would like to leave you with these thoughts, from nancy and for me -- from me. i want all of you today to help create an outspoken and tolerance for the war on drugs. each of us has to put our principles and consciousness on the line, whether in special settings or in the work place,
set for standards and stick to them. the war on drugs has taken away the dream for many children's hearts and replace it with a nightmare and his time -- it is time that we in america stand up. for the sake of our children, i am for each of you to be inflexible to your opposition of failed drug policies. now, it is my extraordinary pleasure to introduce our next speaker. if you've worked in drug policy in the past five years there's a good chance you've encountered justin. he has served as the political director of normal for the past five years before recently leaving, to start the ball packed which you will hear much more about this weekend. he oversaw the most critical times for cannabis policy reform as well as national legalization in canada, and mexico. some have described justin as one of the most efficient brawlers in the fight for cannabis reform.
if you ever encounter him in working group meeting or hearing, will probably agree. not only is justin an official brawler, he is one of the most sincere and supportive people i have ever met. it has been such an honor to work with him on the national cannabis festival advocacy commission -- committee and a joy to watch and develop the legalization pack. so now i would like to introduce you all to justin. [applause] >> caroline is giving me all the claps here. good morning, national cannabis policy summit. this is a really exciting time. this is an exciting day. the summit holds a very special place in my heart, considering how it has evolved over the previous years, when we used to hold it at the museum. the significance of us having this conversation in this place, in this building, given its
namesake, makes everyone assembled here today, a radical. we need to readjust the language and flip the script. as caroline just articulated, by just changing a few words from nancy reagan, we can redefine the debate. it is radical that marijuana has been prohibited for the last 85 years. it is radical that it has been a schedule one substance in the controlled substance act for 51 years. it is radical that 41 years ago, the president of the united states, declared that drugs were a national security threat. we have a lot to talk about today. today, i am very proud of the program we have put together. because we chose, not what is easy, for what is hard. what the problems of this policy reform faces, moving forward, in a divided and barely partisan
senate and a house that seems to flip-flop back between the political parties every two to four years. we have a lot of work ahead of us. today i want to talk about some of the reasons why we chose these panels, that way you understand how these pieces all fit together. because these contentious topics are good problems to have. left and right institutionalist and reformers, we need to come together to find consensus for -- if we are ever to navigate the weaponization of the filibuster in the united needs. -- states. the first panel will be on interstate commerce. we have some of the for -- most thoughtful and brilliant tenacious individuals in this country who are going to be talking about the complexity and nuance of how do we balance allowing small businesses the space to compete and grow and thrive and access to consumers from producers, when we see
ounces in oregon for $40 and ounces for medical patients in pennsylvania for $400. how do we also prevent something that is very complicated? in this country, all that happened -- all to happens often carb or --, happens -- in this emerging economy deserve something different. i hope you'll all pay attention to that panel it is very important. next up, we are doing an environmental panel. we are doing it differently than we have in previous years. there is a very important aspect as to why we are. for too often, other industries in the u.s. built up and scaled, things like energy efficiency, renewable energy, biodegradable products, none of these things were considered. at a time and day and age where we see catastrophic wildfires to the west, where we see
hurricanes like sandy, maria and those who have yet to be named. businesses have to take into consideration how they will be able to acclimate to a rapidly changing climate. so, cannabis can lead the way and serve as a better example, as far as how industries can evolve and we can get it right from the start. we have some amazing talented individuals who are going to talk about the work they are doing. a note of appreciation to natalie, because she is going to be moderating that debate. she wrote one article that started more conversations on the intersections between the environment and cannabis reform that i have seen in my entire time working and lobbying to congress. then, we will be hearing about returning citizens issues. i hope this is something everyone in this room will agree to, but also appreciate the
significance of the emerging left/right center coalition, that has normalized the concept that when you and the criminalization of something, you end the collateral consequences that so many millions of americans still have to carry, like a scarlet letter, when they apply for jobs or housing. it prevents them from being able to get access to health care. it prevents them from being able to get access to higher education. we are really pleased to be joined by both the aclu and the americans for prosperity to talk about where the alignment is and how absolutely critical it is that we address these issues when we address comprehensive reform. then, i'm very excited, we will be talking about something that a lot of people throw around. i think we need to do a much better job of the language we use, which is the term, social equity.
i am very excited to hear from both ambers. moderated by one of my favorite colleagues, marissa of the drug policy alliance to talk about the landscape, what is working, what is not and how we can make things better. last but certainly not least, we have a banking panel. banking, banking, banking. part of me, likes to say that i want a bill to get there so i don't have to talk about it. many in this area are figuring out how to thoughtfully address as we normalize this industry, what that looks like, and that we don't leave people behind and we are going to have a conversation on that. that is our program for today. i hope that, when you hear these topics being discussed, you keep in mind the challenges that we
face in the u.s. congress. because it was only 31 months ago that the safe banking act was brought up for a vote in the house of representatives. in those last 31 months that bill has been passed by that chamber in additional five times -- an additional five times. it has only been 17 months since the house of representatives has passed the marijuana opportunity and expungement act. that would actually address the underlying criminalization and prohibition of marijuana, incentivize states and localities to set up programs that promote local and diverse ownership in the emerging industry, as well as incentivizing them to facilitate records of expungement and resentencing. when we look at the united states senate, does anyone have the love --does anyone have love for the u.s. senate?
does anyone not have love for the united states senate? [applause] it's a very challenging time in our country. as someone who thinks about marijuana policy reform on a daily basis, i have to keep reminding myself that we do not exist in a vacuum. we exist as part of the broader public discourse. things are bad right now in the u.s. senate. as i previously mentioned, the weaponization of the filibuster makes addressing any kind of problem that faces our community and society as a whole, is incredibly challenging. we don't have much margin for error once we open up the pathway forward. we are now on the precipice of opening up a pathway forward. so, 91% of americans support the legalization of medical marijuana, at a time when 60% to
62% of americans support the adult use. i am excited about this next poem warmer -- number. at a time when it 44% of the american population currently lives in a legal state where marijuana under state law is legal for adults. we still see, one arrest every 90 seconds. since i started talking, on average, six people would have been arrested and had their futures jeopardized. so, the late paul wellstone used to say, we all do better when we all do better. i have hope. you will see it on these panels today. the cast of characters. the tenacity that these organizers and organizations and individuals are bringing from
the libertarian right to the leftist of the left and everything in between. we can do better. we absolutely must do better, if we are to ever end the prohibition and criminalization of marijuana. so, with that, after i disparage the senate, it is my pleasure to introduce our first video from a lawmaker, who many of you are familiar with. i don't think he needs an introduction but i'm still going to give him one. years ago, this individual who was a senator, supported the prohibition and criminalization of marijuana. but thanks to the hard work of tenacious, dedicated, radicals like yourself, who kept engaging in that conversation with him, who kept lobbying him, who showed up to his office sent to his events, who threaten primary challenges earlier in his career, he started to listen.
now, he is one of the most thoughtful legislators that we have in the congress. while, i know many of us were discouraged by the recent announcement that they are delaying introducing their formal legislation, i assure you, that i appreciate it. i would rather them do it right, then do it quick. as they announce, they are still looking into how drug testing policies will work, how we make sure we include indigenous people as part of the economic opportunities of the legalization of cannabis, how we make sure we respect workers rights are -- as we are unwinding this ball of prohibition in intersects with every aspect of american policy. i'm very excited for you to hear and for us collectively to continue to work with senate majority leader chuck schumer. [applause]
sen. schumer: hi, everyone. thank you to the national cannabis policy summit for the chance to share a quick message. years ago, a summit like this would have been difficult to imagine. people across the political spectrum and from all walks of life joining in one force calling for cannabis policy reform. today hundreds of millions of americans live in states, blue and red, were cannabis has been legalized in some way. make no mistake i am working diligently with my senate colleagues, every day, to make sure that the federal government finally catches up. as i'm sure many of you know. i have joined with colleagues to develop the cannabis administration and opportunity act. not only will this legislation and the federal prohibition on cannabis, it would expunge records of federal offenders and finally reinvest in communities
decimated by the war on drugs. nearly a dozen senate committees are working hard to helping draft this bill. it will be comprehensive and i promise we will introduce this important piece of legislation before the august recess. it's the right thing to do. it's about individual freedom. the war on drugs is one people and overwhelmingly on people of color. not only do we need to and decades of over policing and overcome elevation when it comes to marijuana, we also need to create real opportunities for small businesses to legitimately participate in the cannabis industry. comprehensive federal cannabis legislation is critical to reaching that goal. it's not easy to get done but we are going to do it. i promise to keep working until we get it done. thanks for all of your work. have a great summit. [applause]
>> hello everybody. my name is morgan fox i'm the political director for the national organization for reform of marijuana laws. i am pleased to be here. it's one of those days. let's try this again. i am so pleased to be here with everyone in our nations capital to discuss the timely pressing issue of interstate commerce for the regulated cannabis marketplace and to be doing so in a much different context than in the past. couple decades ago when legal medical programs were in their infancy, interstate commerce headed towards a negative implications for cannabis consumers. the idea that a single person's cultivation and use of pedicle cannabis could affect interstate
commerce was used by the federal government to justify the ability to arrest patients regardless of state law. this was affirmed by the supreme court. the concept was also brought up frequently by politicians opposed to medical cannabis, claiming even the most limited and tightly controlled programs would lead to out-of-state diversion. in the year since, as regulated cannabis markets has spread throughout the country, the idea of interstate commerce been permitted is so remote and theoretical that it was rarely explored. however, the nature of individual state markets crated by outdated federal laws have led to a relatively singular considerations and pressures when compared to the market for other products which in turn have led to the unique challenges for regulators, businesses, and consumers. with the prospect of ending federal prohibition, increasingly within our grasp and momentum building a congress to de-criminalize congress -- marijuana -- cannabis.
and how different approaches would affect the interest involved. some advocates are in favor of ripping off the band-aid immediately, arguing this will lead to immediate improvements and drive down prices and open up new markets for existing businesses. some states are not waiting for federal change and are pursuing an approach of interstate commerce contact between individual states. still, others worry that allowing interstate commerce all at once will be too disruptive to existing state markets and make it easier for larger more well-funded operators to cut costs and quickly dominate the national market. they suggest a more measured approach. what is certain is that this is a very nuanced issue. one we must tackle without delay given the potential social impacts of the decisions we make now. that is why i am excited to introduce our panelists. michelle, senior policy analyst. with the alliance for central markets. tom, native american advocate
and owner of carlisle consulting. and the cofounder of the. center. the panel will be moderated by a d.c. correspondent. and the former president of the national press club. thank you. [applause] >> good morning. our panel today will address interstate cannabis commerce, even with states legalizing cannabis, setting aside licenses and funding to ensure small businesses, especially minority owned can enter the new cannabis industry, many advocates are concerned about the best laid plans may fall victim to some national producer that will be the walmart or amazon of the cannabis industry -- just as it has killed, family-owned businesses break -- so too is they're concerned that the growth of legal cannabis sales will attract interstate giants that will dominate the industry.
i work for the new yorker cannabis insider, we did a conference in new jersey, there was a big concern on what is happening in washington, that was on everybody's mind. we want our panelists to say a few words and we will get into questions. let's start at the end. >> hi, everybody. i want to think the advocates who have been in the space for decades, fighting, debating, thinking about these issues much longer than i have. i want to thank them for their work at length the groundwork and for maintaining an impressively open dialogue. it's depressing how rare this is in american politics these days. they really welcome new voices and perspectives to the conversation. i consider myself one of those newer voices. i work for the competitive
enterprise institute, which is a nonpartisan free-market economic think tank. what it stands for is free markets. it's not because it's not for me or something inherently great about businesses or free markets, it's because we believe that freer markets benefit consumers, individuals and society. to put it in more negative terms, a lesser free-market harms individuals and society. that is my expertise for most of my professional career i focused on alcohol, gambling, food, cannabis, tobacco, these are all, what they share in common besides being vices, as they have all experienced big grand moments of emerging markets. whether it has opened up in some big way. what i have noticed is when that happens, there is a rush of special interest that always flows in to try and protect
themselves, to try and corner part of the market to become gatekeepers. that has all of these harms a special on consumers. i hope that is what i can add to the conversation, to talk about how that can be avoided. how we can make sure that smaller businesses, local businesses have enough flexibility to be able to grow and compete, and we don't allow a few large businesses to granted themselves the favors that would allow them to keep out competition. >> good morning everyone. i am here representing the alliance for sensible markets. the reality is, interstate commerce already exists. the longer we delay addressing this in a meaningful manner, the longer we will continue to criminalize black and brown people. the longer we will have farmers, retailers and distributors throughout the country facing criminalization. the alliance of sensible markets is not waiting for federal
legalization. or scheduling what we are adding -- asking the doj to do is to take a tolerant stance on interstate compacts between legal and state. california, oregon, washington, they all producer states. we also have to consider the distributors and retailers that exist on the east coast. a lot of the markets that are legalizing. what we saw yesterday in new jersey were adult use open up for a select few business owners is highly inappropriate. it is absolutely what we should not be doing. as we move forward, we need to think about the existing world-class supply chain that exists today and how we empower those folks to really create the industry that we all want to see. when i was the president of the minority cannabis business association, we started having real discussions about what interstate commerce would mean for the existing social equity programs that were failing people at the time.
we started thinking about the fact that a lot of mergers and acquisitions that were happening and being able to delay interstate commerce for the existing nso, to continue to take over market share, to continue to not support the versa fine our industry -- diversifying our industry is unfair and it is something we cannot continue to do. in the last several years i have had the opportunity and pleasure of working with businesses of all sizes. . in the space what is important for us to think about is how we collectively work to ensure a place for every size the business in our industry. >> good evening. good morning, ladies and gentlemen. i was at montana yesterday so i have my times mixed up. my name is tom rogers. everybody say it. there you go.
now we set the spirit right. i have been involved, i am half irish. i always tell people i am extremely well-balanced because i've a chip on both shoulders. [laughter] a dear friend of mine says tom, your mother was native, they were the first ones and the only ones to encounter lewis and clark and threatened them with bodily harm. and i am irish catholic on my father's side so he says, few had been born 100 years ago you would've been shot or hung. which is probably true. it probably applies to today. i have had a wonderful life. i represent the people that i love, indigenous people across the u.s. and in the first nations of canada. we never respected -- i know we call it borders in polite, white society, we call the medicine lines.
good medicine, bad medicine. we don't call it the border, between canada and the united states. we say is that good medicine or bad medicine. we did not draw the lines. coming out of this incredible public policy debate, it's good to see jonathan here. jonathan and i have known each other for a while. jonathan worked with me on the scandal. for those of you who are no are of a certain age are saying what was that? well, it was a very sad affair were native americans were referred to in email as sub humans. as -- even his associates on capitol hill would go back and forth in their email and said, what is actually a --? to read that about yourself and the people you represent as they cash their checks and made fun of us.
we have always had our nose pressed against the mirror of this country. we are islands of poverty. we are not the south park caricature you may see on tv, that we are casino loving slot machine, generating. that is a minority. that is not the majority. most of us are extremely poor. my tribe, 85% unemployment in the winter. during the height of the great depression, the unemployment rate in this country was funny 3.5%. multiply that by three and a half times. the largest cause of death in this country for native americans is suicide. suicide. the absence of hope. so, as it relates to our topic today when it comes to commerce, the commerce clause and how it
relates to the native people, the first nations need, weatherby on voting rights, abuse by pharmaceutical companies, they wanted to test the opioids on us first. look at the emails. let's use native americans as the first ones. so you dehumanize us, you use us as test cases like guinea pigs, and then he put us in the attic. recall them reservations. -- we call them reservations. because americans cannot confront what you've done to the first nations. so you need to put us out of mind. so that is why it is so important that this country have a reckoning with its history. and understand what they have done to the first people of this country and to protect them.
protect us from the states who seek to tax us and take our name -- land. the biggest fraud was manifest destiny in the u.s. your ancestors use the divine to steal from us. and call that manifest destiny. so, i hope at the end of this discussion, we want nothing more -- i never want to use history to -- but you should use history to inform you. hopefully we can educate and create a teachable moment for you all today so that you can go out and one by one educate people and inform them as to what the first people of this country are about. at the end of this conference, you can say, here's your second native word -- it is good. [applause]
how that bill approaches commerce,, and if you agree with that are not. you should have your own opinion but it should be an i hope that intentional and conscious i hope that is where we come away from one. today. >> michelle, let's start with you. we are talking about amazon of cannabis, the walmart of cannabis. that has all been done under a free enterprise system. do you think -- is there a role the federal government can play to make sure there isn't two or three national distributors that put everybody else out of business? >> there is a huge role, to make sure they do not functionally make that possible or allow that to happen. most monopolies are over consolidation in market and their temporary -- not temporary, it happened because somebody had new innovative technology or figured out logistics better than everyone else. pretty soon everyone else figures it out and competition
starts. we saw this in standard oil. they were 85% of the market in 10 years they were down to 60%. that was before government intervention. what happens with the government getting involved is they see opportunities to help themselves, help the people who pay them, help the people who vote for them, so the institute protections against certain businesses or give them subsidies or access to scarce resources, so other peak -- that other people don't have access to two creates monopolies that last. it protects them from competition. that is one of the things i would emphasize. he saw this with the beer market, where we tried to institute after prohibition. . the three-tier system we were worried about the brewers that made it through monopolize the market and bully distributors. what happened after couple of years, because unknowingly or knowingly, that created a very protected market for the distributor. they grew
into a huge political force. then managed to add in more, add any laws that required brewers, of all sizes not just the big ones, to forge lifelong contracts that they could not get out of. so they had total control over pricing and he kept a lot of people out of the market. it kept craft brewers out of the market. what we are seeing in the market now, they are up to 20% of the market share which is widely different than it was 20 years ago and that is primarily because the states have been chipping away at all of those protections that were put in, that were meant to protect the public health or to protect against monopolies that established monopolies that lasted for decades, a century almost. so by allowing smaller brewers, who can find a distributor because they're all taken up by established breweries that have lifetime contracts, you can soft distribute a certain amount of your beer and that allows them
to get established and find a distributor. where talking about a new market like the soon-to-be new legal market anyway, with cannabis, we want to make sure that the chuck schumer's of the world, they will always do what they do, which is they have the power and the powers for sale. the advocacy community needs to watch out for that and make sure that they are really defining the market and honestly need to watch out for the public health advocates as well. we were talking about big tobacco and juul. a lot of the juul scare -- i'm not going to defend it as a company they are not angels but they were looking at a market as a tribal community. in the u.s. the average adult smoking rate is about 13 14%. in tribal communities it is 40% or more. they are saying we have a safer alternative, where is that market? go with the smokers are so you can try to do transition
laws and make money. public health community which wants to benefit by becoming a gatekeeper, by adding barriers, the use stuff like that, they use the public health argument to scare people and say, this is big tobacco, this is why we need to control the market, we need to have them register with the fda. look at what is happening in the e-cig written market, after 11 years of fda regulation, their only two companies that the fda has approved. they are from r.j. reynolds, and british american tobacco. all of the thousands of companies have never been part of big tobacco, they have been denied or are still waiting and will probably keep waiting for a lot longer. the public health community will always try -- they'll have their own ends and we have to balance out. not that their ends are bad, but you have to be upfront about balancing against monopoly, thinking about
state markets, and the consumers. sometimes these objectives can conflict with one another. show less text >> one question on those lines. should there be special protections for minority businesses? in jersey it so long to implement legal recreational cannabis. there was a demand that you had to have a carveout. the communities were hardest hit by the war on drugs, cory booker will not protect the safe banking act. does there need to be a government regulation to make sure the minority businesses can compete against walmart and amazon? >> i don't know if there needs to be a protection, the best thing to do for it, whether it is a small businesses or minority business is to make the barriers to entry into growth as low as possible. whenever you increase the regulatory state -- stakes, the more complex it gets, the harder it is for small
businesses to afforded, to understand it and to do it. the more capital it takes to get into the market. that is one of the reasons flex abilities open. that does not mean there is not a role for the waita structured to make sure that -- for the way it is structured to make sure that these social equity programs are optimized. i think the most important thing is making sure the federal government and state governments are not adding in an advantage for other types of businesses. >> i will just add to that. in addition to the federal government having a role to play, industry has a role to play. when you talk about what is happening with craft beer it is because the larger players did lend their infrastructure and their experience, their resources to these smaller businesses. so we need to do the same in cannabis, what we have seen promised in a lot of states, by larger cannabis operators is they will incubate
a small or a social equity business or minority owned business. we have to create systems, programs that emulate what the small business administration would do for any other small business. right now we do not have any resources, especially at the federal level because finding -- finding private and public partnership to look a lot like what we saw with craft beer in the cannabis industry is of the utmost importance right now. a lot of the market share that we have seen acquired by these existing cannabis industry players comes at the expense of social equities, smaller businesses. it is not only up to the federal government. what we should also be looking at is is there oversight and some of those much larger industries where they have been able to manage mitigating that opportunity for all about police and monopolies. it is up to all of us, and i do not think anybody is going to be naive enough to think we can
depend on the federal government to ensure that black full and brown folk -- black folks and brown folks have access to this industry. we have to lower those barriers to entry. we have to increase the resources and we have to be open to what it looks like to partner with various types of businesses, various sized businesses to ensure that everyone has a lane in the space. >> on the question of protections, i wrote a paper with suggestions about how to prevent monopolies, hoping that other people with experience can refine those. michelle was one of those people. one of the suggestions was to prohibit integration. she suggested why not exemptions to the prohibition for certain businesses. it reminds me of a protection we have in massachusetts for delivery
businesses. a couple of years after when we were seeing the equity programs were not where we wanted them to be, we did a course correction. that is a good thing about transitioning, slowly into a regulatory structure is that you can make course correction. so, there is a small business, if you have a small micro business, you can cultivate and process and deliver, all under one license, you are the only type that can do that. can call it a protection or exemption to prohibition or a timing advantage. but, the opposite because it is for small businesses. but it is for the first three years. so, the company that made the first delivery, they are minority owned, they are veteran owned, they hire veterans to make the deliveries and they are thriving now, year after the started. they are the only type of business that can operate in this particular space and in this way. it is a great example
of how you can have a protection or something similar were of course we are to interstate commerce, to a place where all kinds of businesses can engage in deliveries but they had that head start and level the plane full -- and that leveled the playing field. >> thank you. this country is built on stories. from our founding fathers. to the discovery of yellowstone. yellowstone is coming up on its 150th anniversary. as you know, yellowstone park was discovered by a gentleman named -- by a white man. even though native people have been there for 20,000 years. it was discovered by white men. you should know
that you were never taught in school that that same man massacred 200 of my native women, brothers and sisters and children on a wintry january morning. he recorded in his report, he instructed his soldiers, that when you run out of bullets, use the pickaxes on them. you hear those 200 women and children running towards the river, the screams, yet, he discovered yellowstone park. that will be celebrated this august the 26th. i don't use history to imprison you but you should use it to inform you. it is always -- we have always been at war and battle, because this
country was founded on that. it has always been about the taking of the land. it has always been about the land, the homestead act, hear that in don't you feel just wonderful? it's called the homestead act. you're going home. come. we are going out west. find yourself. the homestead act was the largest land transfer in this nation's history. our most revered president, abraham lincoln, who could not love that man? he ordered the largest execution of native americans in this country's history. almost 40 lakota warriors were hung simultaneously at the same time. take that visual home. 40 minute dropping at the same moment -- men dropping at the same moment. the largest execution ever in
this country. we need the protection of our trustee. the supreme court, you saw yesterday with puerto rico, the only one who knows anything about native american laws is sotomayo -- i will never ever agree with antonin scalia. but he was right when he said this. when it comes to native american law we make it up as we go along. you see justice clarence thomas in -- when it comes to native american law. his latest opinions on native american are embarrassing. i clerked for a federal judge. i know how they think. there is -- they are as biased as you and me. they see the world through their own prison of experience and
education. justice is not blindfolded. and never has been. you cannot escape your own life experience. you cannot escape your own life education and you cannot escape how you view life. your parents, how the informed your life. -- they informed your life. to go before the supreme court as a native american is almost two commit malpractice. -- to almost commit malpractice. you don't play the patriots in foxboro and you don't go to the supreme court, this version. you will not find justice there. you will not find it with the states. the states have always been our adversary. they always wanted our land. and what they cannot take it by force, they text us -- taxed us. they had no
authority but they would have their tax options they would seize our land and dispossess us. the federal government would terminate us as a people. yes, ladies and gentlemen d federal policy in this country in the 1950's was called termination. it was not in arnold schwarzenegger movie. i don't tell you this because the history of native people in this country is the history of this country. it is extremely sad. so, when we examine this new industry that is developing, once again, we are like children with her nose pressed against the window -- our nose pressed against the window, we need a protection from the federal government. we cannot seek
solace with this version of the supreme court. far too many governors, too many attorney general's, just like they did with indian gaming, when the attorney general's and the governors of the state had a ruling from the supreme court at that version of the supreme court, said he did not have authority on the native land, stay out of it. they went running to congress. protect us from those native americans, they're going to gamble on their own land. sometimes life is poetry. now we are finding out . sometimes life is poetry and are finding that many native americans own the headwaters of all of the rivers out of the west. we know that we put you in these places, we control the headwaters. how is that for poetic justice? we need our trustee, you
promised us that he would take care of our health care. for that, we have pickaxes. we need protection. the agency and the food and drug administration, the department of justice handling this new industry? >> i agree that we need to protect small businesses, protect certain things. what i do not want us to be misguided into is protecting us out of the potential growth of real opportunity. individual business owners and as an industry. we need to be intentional about the protections and exemptions we are putting into place so that they are not misused and
that they do not turn into the loopholes that we have seen at the state level. insisting they are protecting a small business in creating an opportunity where a larger business only has to give you 1000 square feet to operate in, no guidance, no access to resources. they have the early access, you are out of the way and that even potentially take some of your intellectual property, customers, etc.. i wanted to be intentional about the protections we are selling voters as we look through pieces of legislation that will try to do that. try to do that. then, to your question, i think that now is the time, i believe that the trio said it, they are taking the time to go to committee, -- to work out the detail that we have never actually done. we have the opportunity to be collaborative with any or all of the agencies so that there is
oversight where it is needed. we are leaning and learning from the experiences that they have had with other industries but that there is not a requirement for a mom-and-pop shop to go through an fda process that they are never going to be able to afford, that is not necessary to protect consumers. i think it is important for us to have this out and government agencies, let us not hand them the cannabis agency to further mess this up. [applause] >> i will add to that. and may or may not be a good idea to have a separate federal agency here, but if the fda has anything to do with this, this is something that has not been talked about, there's been some discussion about which agencies should handle oversight for the national market, but congress has to make it very clear that what the fda's job will be is not to review every single product and give it a stamp of approval because that will take
decades. the fda does not like to regulate thousands of businesses. they don't have the resources. they want a few big ones, that is how you get monopolies. will congress should direct them to do is create safety standards. not worrying about, is this attractive to kids? what are the ingredients, what combinations are generally safe? and at a different agency, representative suggested this, and agency like the ttd, ttb, one of the things they process -- they look at the labeling for alcohol and the company tells him what the ingredients are and if they do not meet the standards of safety, they look at the labels and say all of this is good go for it if they violate it then we will come for you. that takes a turnover of a couple of weeks. there are thousands, and they do
that all the time. don't let -- i don't want the fda to be the gatekeeper because that it will be handed to businesses. >> from the state perspective, generally, new independent agencies are slightly better than existing ones. there's a balance there. but there is an important role for new agencies to look at data and make informed, educated decisions. i would suggest a new agency, because we do not have a central way to look at what all of these at different states have tried and how they are going. in new york we don't have evidence yet. we are in no way prepared to make decisions about what a federal regulatory structure looks like. the first job of a new agency would be to collect all of that
information, from the states, and then start to make a model. because absolutely, nobody now knows what it should look like and what works. if they say they do they are lying. we have to understand that if we take the experience that we have had. when we are talking about equity we are talking about maybe five years so far that we have tried. we can't make a final decision, flip the switch, start interstate commerce and and up with the amazon basics corporate weed and not be able to take that back. >> when the more act past, the republicans who voted a year ago or two years ago, the republican from ohio voted no. he said, you're not going to pass the bill to the senate where you need 60 votes, unless it is a federal regulatory part of any legislation. do you agree
do you agree that it's got to be required before you see national cannabis decriminalization? >> can you rephrase the question? >> do you believe that there has to be a federal regulatory part of any cannabis legislation if the federal government is going to decriminalize cannabis? >> someone is going to have to approve registration for it. >> if we want you to separate, and i think we should, the top priorities of legalizing possession and getting people out of jail versus setting up a structure to essentially regulate sales and make profit, which are important as well, one is extremely urgent and one is not. you could do one without the other. eventually we will have to have a regulatory sector.
>> i think once again the path should inform you. i have played a role in litigating against opiate manufacturers, and you see with the federal government is done there with the dea and fda. does that make you afraid? essentially the dea and fda worry turnstile to go to work for big pharma. that has been proven by court records. do you know what some of those opiate distributor said in their emails? we need to treat these white pills like doritos, get them out the door. one sales executive set i went to blizzard of white. can you imagine if your son or daughter died from an opioid overdose. i called at the goldilocks
moment. this needs to be just right. it needs to be perceived cautiously. the federal government has a role but states with local authority understands that but it needs to be reformed. we cannot regulate -- replicate what happened at the dea and fda . eventually opioid overdoses will overcome the pandemic. that needs to be informed. 30% of this country does not even know that native american still exist in this country. 30% think we are gone. when i encounter someone who has worked at the dea and fda for a number of years they have no cultural understanding of native americans, awareness.
you have to understand that is what our culture, our people are about. we are very environmentally conscious, extremely. we believe that climate change is a direct result of the rape of our land, the rape of our women. it is all interwoven, it is a thread, it is a tapestry. it is not siloed. once again, we need to educate public policymakers and provide the resources. because everyone thinks, oh my god, government has all of this money. for anyone it was worked on administration and capitol hill you're constantly starved for resources. we need to empower them, give them the resources and expertise that they need with a cultural awareness and do not let money
make you your master. that is what the opioid crisis was about, that is what the wall street crisis was about. another great line, money makes you do things you do not want to do. let's not turn the fda and dea into another turnstile for big pharma, because that is what it was. >> we need a regulatory framework that addresses the gaps that have been left by state programs. we need if federal regulatory framework that looks at what has been done well at the state level and what has not been done well, it more than anything, our existing businesses small and large alike need to federal government to take action on this, because right now businesses are in crisis. there are folks that cannot get
into this industry, there are folks who have gotten in and are drowning. i totally agree with you, criminal justice reform piece is a no-brainer, and had we been better engage with folks who were working on criminal justice reform and had not been in a cannabis silo as it relates to reform we might have gotten a little more from things like the first step back. what we need to do is look at what the federal government can come in and help us address today. these scheduling addresses a lot of issues for a lot of folks. whether you are thinking about criminal justice reform or what the industry looks like, what i know is that the federal framework should give creative space for and support all of our businesses, it could create a lane and the future for cannabis medicine, and right now we depend on the fda to make things like that happen.
there are consumers and patients that should be able to access this medicine the same way they are accessing a more toxic medicine today, and it does not happen until we are educating and influence of policymakers in a meaningful way with evidence-based data in science. >> we are almost out of time. if each of the panelists want to say a couple of words, anything i have not asked and any points you want to make before we adjourn? >> i went to agree with everything that they said. the decriminalization, the expunge the expungement records or something. what we are talking about is a complex issue but i do not believe any of us believe we have all of the answers. it is something that needs to be discussed carefully among advocates, but there is really no reason we should delay on stopping the police from continuing to arrest people and
run their lives and their family lives and not expunging records right now. you can still have the big packages when you come up with a really good client that includes -- plan that includes social equity. we need to act on that now. some of the things tom hit on are important because a lot if we are -- a lot of what we are talking about our incentives. for the most part people are not good or bad. there are always outliers, and also will be good people and people who are just evil no matter how good they have it, and for all of the rest of us who were in the middle somewhere, what really matters our incentives. how do we structure the market to incentivize small businesses, businesses owned by disadvantage people that have an opportunity in the market to be able to grow and thrive, feed into the
communities and those programs, and how do we diss incentivize both the government and larger businesses from doing what they are inclined to do. if a politician is out there saying i have control over this market like a bully, nice business you have got there, it would be a shame if something happened to it, it would be insane. even if they went do behave morally and just, it investors will return on that loving because the return on investment is big. how do we take that away from politician so they cannot sell that? how do we make sure that we are protecting communities and small businesses from the threat of the combination of a large powerful businesses with big lobbying firms and lots of
lawyers and the people who are the gatekeepers, our politicians who are supposed to be protecting us who say they care about small businesses and social equity but a lot of times we of both sides of their mouths. what they are doing are embedding things into policy that help them and the people that help them. when it came to internet gambling, ending a prohibition that had been in place with 25 years, one of the things he tried to do in his piece of federal regulation is he tried to functionally give the market to the nfl, which are housed, guess where? new york. they would have to rely on data from the nfl, which they had to purchase and could then sell at whatever price they wanted. these are the kinds of things
that we need to watch out for. this advocacy community is so vibrant and so open that i think it can be done. you have to be very careful about all that together their incentives are. >> i'm going to say a few things i've said before. interstate commerce is happening right now. we have a world-class supply chain, and we just have to end the prohibition that is preventing business owners from thriving in this space. radical collaboration is key. we have to be in the room where the conversations are being had. we have to have an opinion on policy to ensure that we are not signing up for something that does not benefit us. we have to ensure that we are doing the work, because we all have great ideas but we have to
make sure we are doing the work to ensure the solutions we are proposing, that they are constitutional so we are not further delayed because we had a great idea, somebody signed off and now we cannot go implement or there was a lawsuit venting us from implementing. i want to remind everybody that there are things that we can do in the meantime. if we are talking about business opportunities through social equity programs, interstate commerce is a solution. we have to be thought about -- thoughtful about it. i know a lot of people in this room are working on social equity. i want us to start thinking about what is happening california and oregon where policymakers are listening and we are in a position to go at the doj to let us start to solve these problems. in the meantime, federal legalization is going to happen,
we cannot continue to sit by idly and let the cannabis industry continued to grow the way that it is because the folks that are left behind look like me, look like you. interstate commerce is here, let's make it happen. >> i just got a time notice. >> we have all experienced great loss and death over the past couple of years, extreme loss and death. i lost my best friend and mother , went to cancer and one to dementia. they traveled to the wolfs trail in what you call the milky way. now they have become stars. i look up nightly and i will see my best friend and my mother in the milky way. what you need to do now that you can say anything, now that you
have experienced all of this death and loss and extreme pain, what are you going to do? now that you can say anything, what would you say? shakespeare had it right. he knew we would have demagogues and tyrants like we have right now. he believed the citizenry, the individual. i am completely released, now that i can say anything, as i note, i will. please take that message to you personally. you as an individual can make a difference, say anything you want, because at any moment you will lose the two most important people in your life. >> you get the last word? >> i guess i will pay homage to
the building we are in, got to get up interstate commerce given to profit maximization as a goal will somehow trickle down to consumers and workers and small businesses is not the way that it will happen. and i care about this because i'm listening to you, and i care about marijuana culture, i care about american culture and indian culture and the idea we could quickly turn it into where money is the master and to be here in a generation telling the story of how it all went wrong, we have to see how precious our opportunity is right now to make a choice. >> thank you very much, i think our panelists, and thank you very much for your time.
[applause] thanks to all of you for listening. we have the next battle coming up right next. >> one more round of applause for the incredible panel. [applause] you will look amazing, hello. i am policy council at d.c. justice lab. we are a team of policy experts researching, organizing and advocating for large-scale changes to the district about the biggest criminal system. we develop smarter safety solutions that are evidence driven, community rooted and socially just. we aim to make it a national leader in justice reform. today we are so thankful to be included in the national cannabis policy summit. it has been incredible day was so many wonderful ideas and thoughts from geniuses in our community. i am especially thrilled to be introducing our keynote speaker of the day. i've had the pleasure of hearing him speak before, and i am
always in awe of his wisdom and knowledge. lamont gary is a native washingtonian and resident of ward seven. we used to be neighbors. mr. carey seeks to remove barriers and empower residents to break the cycle of recidivism. insurers citizens are connected to essential programs and services in areas of employment, health, as a consistent and social services. as a returning citizen himself, mr. carey understands firsthand the many many challenges of returning home may period of incarceration, including building relationships with loved ones and friends and family, identifying safe housing, obtaining implement, and in permitting his plans was on personal success. in my previous role as a legal aid attorney and to my current role as policy council where i
advocate specifically for laws that will support returning citizens, i have seen firsthand how many barriers returning citizens face as they are reentering our world. the limits that criminal records by some people are our churches, and it makes it to come back and live the life that they deserve. our neighbors, our loved ones, our friends that are returning them for a person deserves so much more than what we have offered them so far, and i'm certain: be thankful for the work the director does to creating a more equitable world for them. the people that are so often overlooked and discarded. his work is critical to our community and to all of our efforts to see criminal legal system actually become a just system. it is my distinct honor and pleasure to introduce him. please join me in welcoming our keynote speaker. [applause] >> hello. my name is about caring -- la
mont carey. i am the director of the mayor's office on returning citizens affairs in washington d.c. let me tell you about the magic of question you see -- washington d.c. as it to criminal justice reform. we are progressive in a mandated office focused on assisting returning citizens that are released from prison to ensure that they get a fair shot and a clear pathway to the middle class. so i will tell you a little bit about my office. my office is made up of four different buckets i like to call them. we have this amazing case team that when a returning citizen gets released from prison and they come into our office they do an intake and assessment.
in this assessment they ask them trying to figure out what it is they need but also even more importantly what it is they want to accomplish. we assist them with the vital records, most individuals get released, social security card, or significant, we assist him with that. we assist them with being able to get an id, and if they have tickets that prevent them from getting an idea we assist them -- id, we assist them with that. in our other bucket, that the majority of individuals to get up in coming to our a job. some of them are not at that point yet where they are ready for direct employment. some of them need additional education, so we connect into educational opportunities, job training opportunities as well as employment opportunities, and
that we have the outreach, because individuals come voluntarily, they are not mandated, they were not forced. they have to choose to come to our office, and the most special thing about those individuals that walk through our door, we note that they are looking for help. if you have a family member or friend it is a returning citizen you know asking for help is not something that smoothie comes off of their lips, so when they walk through that door my staff are instructed because they know that these individuals are in search of some support, and that is what we do. we aim to support. might outreach team gets out into the community and try to reach those who do not know about our office. we just added peer navigators, and the responsibility is when the individual sees a referral
from our case manager, the responsibility is to contact them to see if they need contact with the referral, and if not, figure out what is the problem, help them troubleshoot so we can get them connected and move them forward. because it my eyes any referral that is not completed has a gap in their reentry plan, and my charge from my mayor bowser is i hope every individual that walks through that door get on the pathway to the middle class. you are probably saying how does this relate? all of this is important. three of the main things they're looking for are vital records, employment, and housing. as it relates to cannabis it
will help with all of that. because revenue that will be received from taxes will go toward those communities that were disproportionately impacted by the wars on crime. funding will go toward programs like the inspire program that teaches returning citizens entrepreneurship, so we are making away to remove all of the various that exist to returning citizens so that came -- that they can be safe, advance, and live their dreams. a lot of time people usher returning citizens into opportunities that have been known to welcome returning citizens, people like me.
i was never going on the construction site. i needed an entrepreneurship program because that is where my thoughts like, because i knew all of the various that exist at it i wanted the opportunity to excel. it is director of the mayor's office on returning citizens affairs one of my primary responsibilities is to advocate on behalf of returning citizens and to advise our mayor on what barriers exist for returning citizens. there is expungement for certain marijuana convictions, so we are looking at how can we move there if that will allow them to excel. here are some of the other great things we have been able to do and with the passage of her proposed bill it will give us more leverage to support
returning citizens. here are some of the things we have done already. in washington, d.c. you can vote the second that you walk out of prison. [applause] you are going to love this one. [laughter] we just passed a bill called restorative vote. if you are a d.c. resident you can vote in prison regardless of how much time you serve, and you can have a life sentence or you can have one year and three days. [applause] so what we have been able to see is that you give an individual the opportunity to change and to support they need if they take on this journey, more and more individuals will succeed.
let's get back to restorative vote. returning citizens can vote in prison. returning citizens can also run for election while serving time. [applause] last year we had an election, the gentleman had been in prison for 27 years, won a seat while still incarcerated. are there still barriers? of course there are. with the passage of her proposed bill help support not only creating a pathway for returning citizens to not only work in cannabis businesses but also own and operate their own business. that is what we are looking for,
out to be equitable, safe, empowering and transformative of communities. i will give you a few more things that we have done because i want you to go back to your states and demand that transformation takes place in your own cities and states. we have what is called the ira bill. they say our minds are not fully developed until we are past -24. i was originally convicted us a 16-year-old. d.c. recognized that, so we passed the bill, what this bill does, individuals that were sentenced to long prison terms that were under the age of 18 canal petition the court to get back reconsideration of the
sentences to be released. i think we were at 109 individuals who have regained their freedom [applause] . -- freedom. [applause] and some of these individuals have lied sentences -- life sentences, into the public is worried are they even deserving of a second chance? i will point out when individual who was released to deserve this second chance. this one you can google and you can see him. a young man that wrote books in prison like i did, came home, delved into visual arts. now this man is traveling around the world selling art for crazy prices because he was given an
opportunity and he took advantage of the opportunity and excelled at it. eso went expiring -- he is so inspiring. i have campuses, i am in their painting. i am trying to take advantage of all of the opportunities. when we look at what can be done, what is possible to transform and change the criminal justice system. you can look at washington, d.c. for examples of individuals who have been given opportunity and took advantage of that opportunity. they --ladies and gentlemen, not only can we vote but we can be directors in cabinet members.
we can be fathers, mothers, everything that you will dream of for yourselves because we also harbor the same dreams. we just need the opportunity, so i applaud you for being here it up for a transformation with cannabis so that we can add access, that we can have records expunged, that we can open, grow , feed our families, transform our communities disproportionately impacted by this industry. i applaud you, and i ask of you if you do not take away anything that i've said, know that your voice matters because individuals like me that live in
states that you may live in that do not have ban the box, that do not have the right to vote, of being forced into the shadows over misdemeanor, minor drugs, marijuana convictions. so we need you, and i know sometimes it will be long, it will be hard, people are going to see things that are discouraging for you. people will be looking for certain situations to say see, they do not deserve an opportunity. there was a minimum of 109 individuals that would not be on the street today if we did not enact the ira bill that are thriving. with that i tell you, you matter , we matter, and let's come together and continue to
transform this country. when you give a returning citizen a real second chance, a real fair shot, public safety increases, education of our children increases, and so i ask of you, continue to fight for us so that we can stand next to you and remove all of the other barriers that exist, that prevent us from being your neighbor, your son, your cousin, because when you put us behind walls and gates that separation keeps us from coming on and being assets to our community. so i thank you for this opportunity. take care. [applause]
>> good morning. i am president and ceo of the marijuana policy project. this is the leading cannabis legalization group in the country regarding force berating most policy reform that have been enacted across the country over the last 20 years. we played a leading role in enacting end of the 18 ballot initiatives for adult use and 14 out of 37 medical legalization states. today possibly a speaker cannot be here with us, but he has provided a special video message in lieu of his presence. this division was but a fierce advocate for federal cannabis decriminalization proving once again the bipartisanship of this issue. he serves as cochair of the congressional cannabis caucus and a sponsor of two federal cannabis to criminalization bills come at the bipartisan help act which aims to allocate federal funds with state-level expungement of kindness --
cannabis offenses, and an act which will allow the u.s. to bourbon physicians to prescribe medical marijuana for ill or injured veterans. against also cosponsor of an act which will allow financial institution to provide services for cannabis businesses at the state level without federal overreach. ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure for me to introduce you a special video message by u.s. representative david joyce. >> hello, everyone. since 2013 i have fought for achievable cannabis to perform it were to educate lawmakers on my side of the aisle in order to pave the way for broader republican engagement. i've seen a big shift in this issue. the reality is continued cannabis prohibition is neither tenable nor the will of the american people. with over 91% of the american
public that supports cannabis legalization in some way, it is past time for congress to act. just a few months ago i teamed up with youngest woman alexandria ocasio-cortez to introduce to help act which encourages states to expunge cannabis offenses with federal acts. the overwhelming majority of cannabis convictions actually exist at the state and local level. the holdback seeks to end the war on cannabis and send a clear message, sensible cannabis reforms should pass this otherwise divided congress. if a conservative former prosecutor and a progressive can find common ground on the issue it makes the question why hasn't congress or the president acted? congressional leadership is perpetuating federal cannabis prohibition and allowing unsustainable patchwork of federal and state cannabis laws. this lack of parity not only
threatens public safety, it also prevents research burdens the creation of federal revenue. the federal government's needs to respect the will of the states which have been enacting various forms of legality and preparing for an inevitable end to probation. congress should help states to begin to remedy this. furthermore, while lawmakers debate various regulatory and commercialization proposals president biden should immediately down schedule cannabis via executive authority. we are standing at the brink of a critical inflection point when it comes to cannabis privacy -- policy. we are going to lose this opportunity. i can assure you i remain focused on advancing achievable, impactful cannabis were formed that congress can pass and get to the president's desk to become law. i hope you enjoy the rest of the
national cannabis festival and policy summit. >> let's give it up for representative torres. [applause] thank you for being here, my name is jason ortiz. we are the world's largest youth led drug policy organization in the world. we have when it projectors in the united states and 30 internationally. for us protect our planet is vitally important because we all have to share the same planet and organize together to create a more just society. we will be introducing our growing green panel shortly. there is been someone left out of this conversation, but are good buddy president joe biden. he recently released drug policy statement he is going to be continuing to not support cannabis legislation and a number of other environmentally detrimental policies are the
world. we currently fund efforts to use aerial crop eradication to eliminate cannabis plants and cocoa plants. we are spring toxic waste over the rain forest of latin america, including indigenous farmers. that is a policy by a policy by our president and something we can force them to change. it is important we are learning from other movements. when it comes to the environmental movement, the sunrise movement has been a fantastic example of escalating the urgency of our issue and taking real direct action to make sure that we get what we need, because we can have fantastic ideas and sensible plans, but if we do not have the power in urgency to actually make them into law we will not be able to change it and save our planet. we are encouraging everyone here to put aside our differences for this particular issue of saving our planet and changing the world, it we want to make sure
you have the opportunity to do that. any info to the audience that would like to start a chapter, join us, and to be in power every young person to change the drug policies in their communities from the local space to the state space to the federal and international, because it is going to take all of us to actually end the war on drugs, on our communities and make sure to we do it in a way that actually brings an environmental justice to our urban, suburban and international communities. we are going to be hearing fantastic ideas from the slopes of the panel, but we have to make sure as the grass would support that can make this happen, we take their ideas did apply real pressure to d.c. in the white house to make it a reality. with that i'm going to introduce her fantastic battle. we will be hearing from kelly crawford, we will hear from bob gunn, a ceo, derek smith, and we will have our moderator,
natalie, the federal reporter of cannabis at politico. [applause] >> all right, we are live. and you guys were being here today, i am natalie fertig. i am very excited about this panel, it is something that i have done reporting on in the past, the environmental impact of cannabis is something from my own reporting i found is being talked about at the state level, it is federal reporter i went up to capitol hill, asked a lot of senate members in congress about it and pretty much no one had any idea what was going on. it was to me like may these lawmakers who are talking a lot about the environment and to learn about cannabis, there is not an intersection yet.
i am excited we are having to spend right now in washington, d.c. i will start by letting you guys introduce yourselves and tell us about your work in cannabis and the environment. >> thank you. my name is bob gunn, i am coming from the pacific northwest. i come in the electric utility sector. when cannabis became legal in 2014 i naturally showed up and said what are people doing, what is the dialogue around energy? are they making energy-efficient investments for the long-term weather we had this opportunity to transition from illicit market to regulate market with purpose bert facilities. it was a pivot point in my career for now seven and eight years we have been specializing in helping cannabis growers approach their utilities with hopes and dreams, leds, can you
work with me to offset? we have done 35 utilities, over 330 cannabis objects have been funded by utilities to help them invest in energy efficiency. we work in many different states, medical states. we love the incentives to help make these investments in energy efficiency policy -- efficiency. policy can help these programs. that is an official introduction, i am glad to be here. >> kelly? >> thank you for having me today, my name is kelly crawford. i serve as a state control officer for d.c. i would like to welcome you all to my hometown. d.c. occupies the unseated land
-- i am happy to be spent it here today talking about the impacts of the cannabis industry and to share what i've learned over the past couple of years. i was in one of our national association meetings a couple of years ago, and we had one of those went up was where the other directors were showing this is what is happening in my state, and i had a really interesting conversation with the regulator for maricopa county arizona talking about how we were dealing with issues of with cannabis growing, and that kind of opened the door to pay more attention to what was going on in arizona and colorado especially as medical marijuana cultivation tenders were getting open and running in d.c., so i am happy to help my agency be at the forefront of addressing this issue. >> i am derek smith with the resource innovation institute.
we are a nonprofit organization based in portland on the pacific northwest. we were founded in 2016 to address primarily energy impacts of cannabis, which was just coming on in oregon following colorado and washington, and to be noted that the federal government would not be able to play the role that he usually plays in an emerging energy intensive energy, which is to capture data, help utilities think about program design and develop a system that can support producers to become more efficient by coordinating all of those entities. they tried to get then was that we would start with cannabis, and then we would recognize with this whole field of controlled environmental agriculture was also coming on. this is basically any crop grown
in the greenhouse our warehouse. we purposefully did not put cannabis in our name. we know that there would be money into research coming down the line to study indoor agriculture and we would leverage that investment to support the cannabis industry even further and then have the ability to compare cannabis to other crops as well as different types of cultivation to each other so that there can be informed decision-making by policymakers and other key market actors. at this point we have funding from the u.s. department of agriculture, and we are excited to make the connections between cannabis and the rest of their cultural sector. >> can you start first? start back on derek? what about the scope of this. when i started reporting on this is a non-environment reporter people kept throwing numbers at me. what is this compared to let us?
the other things that we talk about when we are talking about energy policy. >> a lot of people think they get a visit is amazing and it has zero environmental impact. other think that is the most evil and damaging industry on the planet. it is somewhere in the middle and it is a relatively large continuum of them depending upon practices, technology, etc. people like to make these claims without data and also not know really where to compare the industry in terms of its performance on environmental issues. if you want to look at a horrible damaging industry look to aluminum smelting.
cannabis does have a range of impacts. there is no one average thing you can say it performs like this it has to be broken down, defragmented. but if you look at the indoor sector and the greenhouse sector and you compare it to other crops grown in those environments, food and floriculture combined, cannabis is eight times more energy intensive on a square foot basis and in greenhouse gas basis, which is a straight line from one to the other. cannabis is also leading on environmental issues, and we need to look to outdoor generative farmers, legacy farmers that have been doing this for a long time are doing amazing stuff and rebuilding
soil, sequestering carbon, being water efficient, being relevant to their local environment. and then this interested as funded the r&d of the horticultural industry bringing led lighting technology and other efficient technologies that utilities are providing incentives on. this industry brought that to the rest of the agricultural sector that is not using that at a minimum to create a more resilient future for humanity where we are dealing with climate risks that are impacting agriculture. now farmers can have backup crops, genetics protected, and all of that was trail blazed by the cannabis industry.
environmental issues are complex and dynamic, but most important is that we capture data for what is going on inside these various grow environments and make decisions from there, not to rely on salacious, unsubstantiated information. >> so, at one of the things i think that is complicated environmental impact and to quantify it is the fact that cannabis is federally illegal, so every state that wants to sell cannabis must also grow its own cannabis. that is something that have been talked about a lot. they grew outdoors in california, went to new york or new jersey where they have a lot of people buying cannabis so they need to grow it themselves. so that creates a lot of indoor cultivation, and we are going to get into the drama of indoor
versus outdoor later, but washington d.c. is not a place where there are a lot of farms. it is all indoor cultivation. as a city regulator, what are you looking at? what are the concerns the city is looking at with all of this indoor growth? >> d.c. is an eight non-obtainment area, we do not meet national air quality standards for ozone. ground-level ozone is produced in the atmosphere as a combination of oxide with nitrogen and organic compounds together in the presence of sunlight and creates ground-level ozone. at ground-level it is harmful to human health, it is like sunburn for your lungs. anything that contributes to ozone formulation it is with the air quality division is focused on. it is our responsibility to reduce emissions as we try to
achieve national air quality standards. just last month epa proposed to pump up the non-obtainment area from a marginal amount of obtainment because we did not meet the deadline of 2020 for reducing our parts of ozone. coming into that we are looking at whether the sources within the district that contribute to ozone formulation. most of our ozone formulation, contributors inside the district comes from the transportation sector, vehicle traffic, really is the largest source that is homegrown. we do not have industry, oil and gas, so the sources that are in the district that we can actually regulate are very limited. one of those being the cannabis cultivation centers? in the district, say this is an air pollutant. we are faced with that we have an entirely new industry that we have to develop a permitting
system for. there is not a lot of data on how to quantify emissions, so i've engineers used to calculate the emissions from boilers and generators working the cities to try to quantify emissions from cannabis plants. the commissions on the plants themselves but also emissions during the drying extracting process, and further than that transportation of the product itself contributes to what we already know is one of our biggest contributors to air pollution. >> bob, tell us about the other things that indoor growth -- that cities and states are looking at regulating with energy and water. >> with regards to energy and water, not just dates but often a local city council or department of health or the cannabis control commission, whoever has been tasked with looking at cannabis, and it comes out of left field.
every state has their own. the cannabis control commission -- >> it makes a cannabis journalist's job really fun. >> they are trying to advise the customers on what they can and cannot install. from an led standpoint, when you were talking incentives and the big energy mandate is mostly focused around lighting because it drives the country profile. indoor or greenhouse. they are looking at the efficacy of the fixtures themselves, that is an appliance standard. put a brew photons -- put more photons per watt. that is limiting other technologies that are very common like fluorescent lighting. maybe good riddance.
then you get into technology that is 90% market share and that is going to greet rj. some girls say if -- i am a formula one race or know i need to use an electric car. i need to plan ahead. efficacy standard and derek mentioned the footprint, how many lights you installed per table. on a room like this many of them want to install 100, massachusetts you can have 36 watts per square foot so you can only put 80 lights in. those are some of the approaches to regulating energy efficiency. >> is anyone regulating water? >> wastewater, yeah. they are starting to regulate nutrient concentration in wastewater. >> we are going to talk about
benchmarking i hope because it is critical to get this data. you need to measure your water. >> three of us here are from the pacific northwest accidentally, we did not blend this, but washington state uses a lot of water, we are known for it. states like new mexico and arizona has very different water situations there. are you hearing those places start to talk more about regulating water usage and cannabis growth? >> it is sometimes difficult to get a water permit if you do not already have one. a lot of technology has been happening with wastewater recapturing, treating the water, you need to treat that so you can use it, a reverse osmosis system and that can be i efficiency or low efficiency. water districts will pay you for
a high-efficiency reverse osmosis system. when you water your plants, jurisdictions or think you need to recapture that we will give you incentives to up univest in the equipment but also the dehumidification system. most of the water evaporates. dehumidification system scribe that -- systems trap that it abusive. you are seeing systems to offset the cost of those. that is a big one. there is not been a lot of advancements. this is one where i think the cannabis tech industry has not applied pressure but it really as encouraged the dehumidification industry. adding a drive and motors to equipment and making it twice is sufficient as it was five years
ago. >> go ahead? >> do you want to keep on water? >> let's come back to water in a bit. if anyone is feeling overwhelmed by the words, this issue is so complex. all of the things you were saying just now, a lot of very cool fancy words like dehumidification systems, those are all indoor grow and that takes us into the next thing i want to talk about which is indoor versus outdoor grow. and i first started looking at this issue there was this concept that outdoor grow is the best because you have got sunlight, rain, these things are already coming out of the environment so you are not overusing those things, but things like dehumidification systems are kind of changing the
indoor this is outdoor, sometimes indoor can conserve things like water better than going outdoors. derek, i would like you to start, but this is an open for everybody. what are we looking at? >> the local context is really important. if you are in california or arizona or new mexico, california right now as 50 counties in emergency drought. there is evidence that if you are growing outdoors in an arid environment and you were not watering in a precision away you are using a lot more water than in an indoor environment where you can do circularity, so the world that we are heading in with climate risk is that the local context is really what is going to matter until you
integrate certain technologies and practices in a coordinated way, and you have policy that is helping drive technology options and utility incentives. all of that needs to be coordinated, because it happens one of sheer and there -- here and there and it is too late. we need to study this asap and figure out regional strategies that make sense. it is easy to throw out indoor is bad, outdoor is good. the reality is outdoor agriculture is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions. it is not that simple to say things like that. we need to be thoughtful about the way that we think about our agricultural future and where we are heading as a humanity and
how to ensure that our resources are protected, and cannabis can do a lot to lead to all of that and it has. >> from an air quality perspective what are the things it is really different about indoor growth in outdoor growth, which we do not have any in the district because we are very small, there are things that cannot be controlled, in particular you cannot control odors. for indoor growth we have a lot of technology and knowledge about how to control the oc's that are applicable to indoor growth so we have an opportunity to control odor and limit emissions from the cultivation of cannabis. another thing to consider is that some growers use carbon dioxide to help accelerate the growth of plants, and in an indoor environment you can take efforts to capture the carbon dioxide in the it does not contribute to air pollution. there are more opportunities
from an environmental standpoint to control energy intensity, you control air pollution from a growing operation in an indoor environment. if we had outdoor growth operations in an urban environment there is no way to control those odors. a lot of jurisdictions are faced with missing that point when they legalized rapidly not accounting for what will you do when this cannabis farm is next to this line yard and they do not want their odors affecting their obligations -- operations? >> i'm glad you -- >> i'm let you mentioned co2. plants need co2 -- >> i'm glad you mentioned co2. plants eat co2.
you can get twice the guilt, so you get a positive return on investment. that's great, but some benefits with outdoor are true sunlight -- that's the biggest one. there's a couple cons of outdoor growing. supply chain. food miles -- i work with a lot of veggie growers as well. a lot of my clients are growing lettuce, vertical racks in major cities across the u.s. in their slide deck, they say 80% of the farmland is taken up. land tends to be not wear population centers are, where these micro licenses tend to be issued, so access to supply chains are more fragile. time-to-market, a percentage of
the food spoils from the time it goes from market to a person's plate. they claim 90% you -- 95% less water use by doing it indoors, as was mentioned. capturing that, treating it, putting it back in, so if that continues, we will be doing a lot more indoor cannabis cultivation. >> you know, water use and outdoor cultivation -- we cannot have the panel without talking about the illicit market because that is still very present especially in cases like northern california and southern oregon. you got california, you have the drought issues. there is a big environmental impact of the illicit cannabis
market. can you kind of give us an overview of that and what that is compared to the legal market right now? >> the illicit market is where you would find the most damaging environmental impact. obviously, completely unregulated, and there's no intention to try to figure things out to do good, right? we see dramatic pesticide use, dramatic water use from illegal sources of water, and, you know, devastating energy, climate impacts. they are just trying to grow and get their product out and no real understanding of what the impact is, though, unfortunately because it is really hard to measure when the producers will not give you their data, but we have seen studies like california department of fish
and wildlife that have come out aced on very few samples of illicit growing and say that the average water consumption of cannabis because they had one extreme data point in a model from the illicit market, and then they conflate that with the regulated market and say this plant is consuming six gallons per plant per day, which is nowhere near the reality, and we know that because we produce cannabis water records, we have vetted by a whole bunch of stakeholders and did our best with limited data we have available thanks to berkeley cannabis research center and our other partners in that and i hope bunch of producers and supply chain folks who helped us do the best we could. we really need more data. we need to be able to compare the regulated market to the illicit market in some way, but we know without uncertainty that
the illicit market is far worse from an environmental standpoint. >> there's no incentive for the illicit market to be environmentally sustainable and there's also no regulatory authority -- i can speak for the district -- we don't have the regulatory authority to regulate those operations if they are in the district. i will reemphasize the need for data. from an air quality perspective, a lot of people in my position are barred from even investigating the cannabis industry. we have medical marijuana licensees in the district. we regulate those. so we are working together to develop the study to give us better information about what the emissions profiles of these facilities can look like. we know it is highly variable. it depends on the strain of the plant, the size of the plant, where it is in the growth cycle.
it depends on if they are using closed-loop extraction and condensers. there are so many variables and every operation is different, and no one wants to share their trade secrets, right? we know that the growing conditions are very specific to individual growth, so we are looking for ways to normalize and standardize how we evaluate emissions. as far as i'm concerned, it is a black box, not really what is going on inside of the source. it could be a boiler in there, a generator in their. one thing that we know is that carbon is a very good control technology. it also -- we are asking a lot
of questions like how often are you changing your filters? is it working? is it not working? we have a lot of anecdotal evidence of what is working but now we are looking to get down to brass tacks and be very scientific about it so we can be fair and equitable and also make sure the industry is not holding us back from reaching our larger climate goals. >> do you see it as also in a very unique space? there's this great market that is not really legal but not really illegal -- during the pandemic, like, four to six dispensaries opened up on my road. you are not really able to regulate that, right? >> from an air quality
perspective? >> right. we respond to complaints on odor. it does not matter what the odor is. if there is an odor -- sometimes we have had odor issues when we discovered it came from an unregulated facility, we can go in and address that. if it is an illicit operation, it is not save. my engineers in those situations never know what we are walking into. the regulated market share, we do it in close conjunction with the marijuana task force. the other inspectors are in the facilities more often. that really helps us to make sure that we are building on each other's work and that we
are not over inspecting or over regulating facilities. >> do you have any worries about the ozone production coming from the gray market? >> we don't know yet. we don't have enough information to know how much of its impact it is. the atmosphere is chaos. there's a lot of disparate factors that go into ozone formulation, and a lot of it is outside the control of the district. 90% of our ozone is transported from outside the district, but we are also left with we have a responsibility and obligation to regulate air within our borders, but we also advocate strongly to make sure that our neighbors are good neighbors. >> i'm glad you asked about the illicit industry. i feel like the transition from the illicit to the regulated market is one of the largest conservation opportunities.
i do believe that it is a traditionally commercially built purpose-built facility uses less energy than an illicit girl. i will give you a couple of ideas. >> that would be, like, and indoor -- >> yes, indoor illicit grow. oftentimes, we will compare energy use of a cannabis grower to a resident. when i worked at a utility i think 10 years ago, i had access to customer data and we could pretty quickly sort energy use divided by square footage, and it was obvious to us who was using cannabis -- i mean, who's growing. it was obvious. and we did not bust them because that wasn't our job. we were not deputized to arrest
people, but was very clear, especially if you see 12 hours on, 12 hours off. [laughter] we knew. are job is to not share customer information. fast forward to now, that same utility, they can look at that, sort these growers, and now they can knock on the door and say, hi, i'm a utility, i'd love to see what type of equipment you have. maybe these lights, might extend your some terms to help you finance this equipment, and then one year payback after our incentive, so that is a conversation we can have in the regular market that we could not have before. also growers' investment time frames are much longer. clients tell me they build to grow, try to get money back on the first one, terror down and move to the next house. now investors are looking at they have investors, so it is a
different type of conversation and it is much more productive and definitely results in fewer energy dollars program, per square foot, and per dollar revenue. >> i just want to add to bob's point of the opportunity of transitioning folks to the -- from the illicit to the regulated industry. policies and energy codes and other things coming into the market within that context, in california, they have energy codes that will require as of january 1 for not just indoor and greenhouse cannabis facilities but for any indoor agricultural facility, so this will create a blueprint for how energy use is regulated in indoor growing environments globally. it was inspired by cannabis but now applies broadly to agriculture.
the cannabis context is that when a government requires certain restrictions on energy use or certain uses of technology, it makes that the new baseline. that is what is now required. utilities above can no longer provide incentives on those technologies. you are basically forcing upfront costs on technology in the absence of financing, particularly if you are an undercapitalized producer who cannot get financing because you are a person of color or disadvantaged in some way. there's a ripple effect down to its absorption of compliance basically that the illicit market does not have to bear.
if you are not addressing the illicit market and the ability for people to transition, we are going to be where we are, right? we will make the regulation industry more efficient, but we really have to bridge it so there is incentive to come over to the regulated market, to get that bigger conservation opportunity. i don't want to steal your thunder. i know you have other things to talk about. >> no, not at all. that was great. in california, they were suggesting making efficiency standards really high for growers, adding $60 per square foot, about 600,000 dollars extra for a 10,000 square-foot grow, and that is a dealbreaker for many farms. many growers i spoke with, that's the straw that breaks the camels back, forget it, i'm not going there.
utilities can help you with offsetting some of that incremental cost if you choose to do so. they've set these bars really high, and it just increases the cost, and other utilities say great, now i don't have incentives. i'd rather say i would like to help you buy this stuff, but i cannot help you do this anymore, so they no longer have a seat at the table in the conversation about energy efficiency and improvements. >> with leadership, it can happen. you can do both. >> please, argue about regulation. >> the district has aggressive global energy standards. we cannot get there just by expanding renewable energy sources. we also have to get there by reducing energy intensity, and we have some of the most aggressive energy performance standards in the country.
there's an opportunity for the industry to come along with us on that journey and by optimizing growth and optimizing efficiency in these operations, the practice will be blocked -- broadly applicable to other sources, other high energy intensity operations. >> where does the federal government usually come in in regulating energy and saying to small businesses around the country, here are incentives? those broadly would not be available to the cannabis industry. >> usually, it is setting a new model code often formed by international codes, and so where they set the targets, they just have a reference point, so it is important to support the states, and it is important also to make it easy to adopt codes.
again, there's opportunities for incentives, technical assistance. the reality is it is hard to use this technology. as bob said, to go from an hbf lighting grow environment to an led grow environment, you cannot just swap one light for the other and expect different results. you cannot even expect energy efficiency. you really should be thinking about indoor growing environments more like an industrial process than an office building. you need to be thinking about how much product is being produced per unit of resources consumed, right? not just on a square foot basis. it actually does not make as much sense in the environment. there's a lot of thoughtful rollout all the way down to the systems that needs to happen. >> i would just add energy
benchmarking is a big one. >> i did not understand any of those words together. >> the portfolio manager is essentially a database of all of the energy usage for a particular facility. it will be this is how much energy we are using it for the district, we have been collecting data for a couple of years now, so we do also get fossil fuel usage for facilities that use generators and things like that. just reemphasizing the local contact. every state is going to be different and the energy profile of a facility over the energy impact of a facility is going to depend on how green the grid that that energy is being drawn from is. we are aggressively increasing renewable energy portfolio.
the environmental impact may be different for a place that does not have renewable energy as part of their energy mix. >> certain jurisdictions might require in the real estate market mandatory energy disclosures is pretty common. it is really nothing building that matters. it is the industrial process you are measuring. derek has done great work in promoting the collection of data like that where we can compare and learn from best practices. imagine if the refrigerator code was different by every zip code. it would be ms and best buy did
not -- would not know what they could sell to different customers. that is where we are now. >> you currently have funding from the usta to look at how other plants are grown indoors, but you cannot apply any of that to cannabis, so what kinds of depth and knowledge does even just that create for the cannabis industry? >> it actually creates an opportunity because we can leverage this federal investment into the cannabis industry, which we are doing. federal government is -- the thing that is missing in the market is a voluntary leadership recognition standard, a certification system, like you could say a lead for weed certification system. the federal government is funding us to bring that to the controlled environment, agriculture environment, right? but not cannabis, but there's so much we can set up in terms of
infrastructure that then the cannabis industry can benefit from. taking on the workforce side, we have a tremendous opportunity to connect, job creation opportunities and indoor agriculture, to energy engineering, the design and construction, all of the architecture. all of that needs to benefit from pre-apprenticeship programs, workforce strategies, to lift people out of poverty and into career pathways. we have the opportunity to connect those who have been impacted by the war on drugs to get into that job pipeline and to get on a career pathway that kind of gives them a living wage and we can do that in a coordinated way through the federal government and leverage what they are already investing in in workforce and indoor agriculture. there's no reason why we cannot
make those connections and really roll it out when we get to regulation. >> from a regulatory standpoint, there's a lot of regulators that are barred from even thinking about it or investigating or sending money to address issues with regard to cannabis because it is still largely an illicit market, so we missed the opportunity to apply to get great scientists and engineers that already know a lot about quality and how to control and missions to have the opportunity to really investigate best practices, to look at how these emissions are affecting the environment. we don't get the opportunities to do the research that will help drive innovation. by limiting our ability to participate in that process, it is really and mystery, these are the things that are working and these are the things that are not. it is driven by the industry and we are learning from that. >> that kind of reminds me. i talked to a regulator in
colorado once who told me she has to separately keep her hours different because part of her research is funded by the federal government. she has to mark her hours down to make sure they don't lose their federal funding for other air-quality quality and other environmental research things while still being able to look into cannabis. that's, like, a lot of work. >> it is. did you want to add anything? >> taxes. the energy benchmarking, but i'm not going to talk too much about it. if you are anything but a cannabis grower and you make your building more efficient, you can take good tax deductions. if you cannot, take any deductions and leave it at that. i don't know what the solution is.
>> can we really quickly run through -- there's three major issues, and we talked a lot about them, but just so people have a good idea of what the major points are or pressure points are in water, energy, and air quality? can you kind of give people an idea what we're looking at? >> for air quality, we are looking at voc emissions from drying, extraction facilities and we are also looking at local or hyper local air quality impacts for not just cannabis operations but all operations and kind of taking a better look at where these facilities are cited and which communities they are in because local air quality impacts have significant outcomes.
they have much higher rates of diseases attributable to poor air quality solutions. those also happen to be the same areas where industrial zones are cited. we see this doubling down on environmental injustices were communities of color are bearing the brunt of air-quality omissions, not just from grow operations or illicit grow operations but run any and all air pollution sources in the district. >> something you and i have talked about before is odor. it is not just the funky marijuana smell you're talking about when you say that word. explain what you're talking about. >> the oversight we are more worried about are the odors from the grow operations. imagine if you go down the street, you smell a bus go by and smell the exhaust smell, but you go to the gas station, you get one drop of gasoline on your shoe, you are tasting it for three days after. that's the difference you get from someone smoking marijuana versus what you get from these
grow operations. we are thinking about that raw odor, it lingers, it travels farther. if you don't see someone smoking, that's probably not where it is coming from, so finding the odors and tracking them down becomes problematic when you have a large market because again, you have inspectors who are going to the regulated facilities and showing that it is not them, but beyond that, it is about all we can do. >> you bring up a good point, but remember when we wrote this story at politico? everyone was like, why is smoking weed bad, and it was like, that's not really the core thing here. bob, really quick. >> energy benchmarking. let's transition through this market transformation business
plan that exists. the transition growers, but without mandating them out of existence. >> and then really quick. >> i think we just need to study it more. i think that at the end of the days the issue and we need more data. yeah, it is all over the board, the usage. >> thank you guys for being here. thanks, everybody. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2022] >> we are just about done with the morning session, but for those of you who heard my remarks earlier today, i may or may not have made some disparaging comments about our elected officials, so i want to bring out the cannabis voter project. everyone give them a round of
applause. >> just wanted to let you all know that even though the midterm elections are a little over six months away, primary season is about to begin, so make sure that your voter registration is up to date. you can find out if it is at cannabisvoter. info, the home of the cannabis voter project. you can also look up where every member of congress stands on a number of cannabis-related issues. just want to let you all know to keep voting even though it is not quite the midterm elections. thank you. >> thank you, sam. we are not done with the morning session. please, please, please try to find a good seat starting at 1:00. we are going to start on time at 1:15 with our moderated conversation with louisiana democratic candidate gary chambers. grab some coffee, grab some water, introduce yourself to someone you don't already know, make a new friend, make a new ally.