• NCIA Cannabis Minority Report Sneak Preview-Diversity in Cannabis with Michigan’s Chris Jackson

    On this Cannabis Minority Report with Mike Lomuto: Chris Jackson, NCIA Board of Directors Vice Chair. Each week on the show, we highlight the journeys, successes, and challenges of Global Majority (aka Minority) leaders in our industry. Mike interviews a leader who has had to navigate innovatively and who believes in the potential that cannabis brings to the reshaping of our nation and communities. We also provide our take on select news stories, in particular how these stories impact diverse communities. On this episode, Mike and Chris dive deep on the latest efforts to bring equity to Main Street Cannabis coast-to-coast. They highlight some of the successes in Chris's home state of Michigan while discussing ways that policy efforts have historically fallen short. Chris witnessed how cannabis prohibition directly impacted urban America and is dedicated to reversing the negative damage caused.

    He is a member of various state and local boards that contribute to economic power and initiatives to drive diversity and inclusion. Aside from serving as Vice Chair for the Board of Directors, Chris serves on the State Regulations Committee for the National Cannabis Industry Association and co-chairs its Diversity and Inclusion sub-committee. His knowledge spans the complex intertwining of governmental and business cannabis issues, while also remaining at the forefront of the pressing interstate commerce issues in cannabis. Chris serves in a number of capacities within organizations that have a direct impact on small businesses and the inclusion of people of color economically including: Cannabis Regulatory Agency – Michigan (DEI Workgroup, Racial Task Force Workgroup), Small Business Association of Michigan (Leadership Council, Legislative Workgroup), AQUME Foundation (Board Chair), Main Street Pontiac (Past President). We record live every Monday, on NCIA's LinkedIn Live, at 10am PT / 1PM ET. So be sure to tune in, as well as to subscribe on your favorite podcast platforms.

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    20m | May 30, 2023
  • Cannabis Bed and Breakfast – Merging Tourism & Hospitality

    Chris Chiari is a driven entrepreneur and award-winning film producer with a wealth of experience in corporate strategy and regional politics. Skilled in marketing and messaging, he has engaged exclusively with the cannabis industry since 2011 and is a tireless advocate for cannabis policy reform and fostering industry growth. 

    Chris is a former Deputy Director of Colorado NORML, serving for over eight years. When not working on The 420 Hotels portfolio, Chris likes to stay involved with grassroots advocacy and advancing social reform

    Chris owns and operates Denver’s historic Patterson Inn, the keystone of The 420 Hotels portfolio. As CEO, he uses his expertise in hospitality, operations, and community outreach to address the stigmas and ignorance that still exist around cannabis use while creating a unique and upscale environment for cannabis consumption. The 420 Hotels aims to be amongst the nation’s first hotel chains where guests will be able to consume cannabis onsite in legally licensed lounges. 

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    28m | May 15, 2023
  • Veterans and Cannabis Equity in New York

    Justin Battles is a passionate advocate for service-disabled veterans in the cannabis industry. After serving in the Army for 8 years, including time as an airborne infantryman and quartermaster chemical repairer, he was medically discharged due to knee injuries from his airborne service. This led Justin to pursue his interest in horticulture business management and cannabis studies.

    His journey in the cannabis industry began with growing his own cannabis for pain management, anxiety, and ADHD. He intends to apply for a microbusiness license to further expand his involvement in the industry. Justin serves as the Co-chair of the Veterans Committee of the Cannabis Association of New York (CANY), where he works tirelessly to help as many veterans as possible find success in the cannabis sector.

    His primary goal is to ensure that veterans have access to licenses, resources, funding, and affordable cannabis products in a fair and equitable industry. With a vision for the future that includes equal opportunities and access for service-disabled veterans, Justin Battles is dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of those he serves.

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    27m | May 8, 2023
  • Advertising, Storytelling, and Content Marketing in the Cannabis Industry

    Ricardo Baca is a 20-year veteran journalist and cannabis futurist, widely respected in both modern media and drug-policy circles. He was appointed The Denver Post’s first-ever cannabis editor in 2013 and founded the news vertical The Cannabist, where he extensively covered the advent of the U.S. adult-use cannabis market and related issues around the world, as seen in the feature documentary Rolling Papers.

    Ricardo launched Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency in 2016 to work directly with business leaders in highly regulated industries, from cannabis and psychedelics to spirits and healthcare. Grasslands is a journalism-minded marketing and public relations agency working with bold brands in cannabis and psychedelics.

    Named one of Fortune’s 7 Most Powerful People in America’s Marijuana Industry in 2016 and Marketer of the Year by AdCann in 2019, Ricardo has received numerous accolades for his trailblazing work.

    They talk about the challenges of advertising in cannabis, social media plays a crucial role in this. Recently Twitter sort of “opened up” some of the cannabis advertising capabilities so we dive into that and much more. 

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    30m | May 1, 2023
  • From Woodstock to Wall Street: Challenges in Cannabis Financing

    Andrew J. Kaye is a chief commercial officer at Sweet Leaf Madison Capital. He has been involved in all aspects of the financial services industry, working as a fund portfolio investment manager, investment banker, family office investor, and attorney. Kaye has worked with startups on their first raise and supported global enterprises undertaking billion-dollar stock offerings. He also has significant investment experience in the cannabis industry.

    Financing cannabis is a myriad of challenges. Not only raising capital for a federally illegal business but also regular banking issues for businesses that are regularly losing their bank accounts or struggling with those services. We talk about some other financial challenges cannabis businesses are facing.

    It’s an exciting but challenging industry, especially as each state operates independently due to the federal status, so we dive into how federal legalization would impact how states are operating in addition to solving what we call the cannabis banking crisis.

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    29m | Apr 10, 2023
  • Insight into New York State’s Cannabis Industry Framework

    Axel Bernabe serves as Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Director. Axel is responsible for standing up and overseeing all aspects of the Office of Cannabis Management. Prior to this position, Axel spent 6 years as chief health counsel to Gov. Cuomo, overseeing all legal and policy deliberations in the health portfolio. 

    As part of his cannabis responsibilities, he led the expansion of the medical program, directed the launch of the State's cannabinoid hemp program, and drafted and negotiated the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA).

    The New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) was established upon passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) in March 2021 to implement a regulatory framework for medical and adult-use cannabis and hemp in the state of New York. This includes but is not limited to production, licensing, packaging, marketing, and the sale of cannabis.

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    30m | Apr 3, 2023
  • Main Street Cannabis Returns to Washington, D.C. in May

    Last year we began to emerge from the restrictions of the pandemic and we were able to return to Washington D.C., but in the interim, we hosted some VIRTUAL LOBBY DAYS to fill the gap. And then returning in person, finally, in September last year, it was just like riding a bike, but with a few limitations. Mainly the security protocols for getting into the various House and Senate buildings, but things went mostly smoothly, so we discuss our guest's experience. 

    Some of our goals at Lobby Days have been consistent since Day One, which is generally educating Congress as to why cannabis should be federally legal, and of course, licensed business owners who want to see banking protections and 280E tax reform. 

    It’s important that we keep doing this work and keep adding to the conversation as it becomes more complex and sophisticated. We discuss the possibility of newer issues or topics that we’re bringing to Capitol Hill more recently or at this next Lobby Days event and much more.  

    Aaron Smith is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the National Cannabis Industry Association, Prior to launching NCIA, Aaron distinguished himself as a public advocate for marijuana policy reform. First under the auspices of a California-based medical cannabis advocacy group, Safe Access Now in 2005, and then as the California state policy director for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project until founding NCIA in 2010.

    Monica Gray is from Nice Guys Delivery and is also an NCIA Board member. Nice Guys Delivery was incorporated in 2016 by Monica Gray-Fong and her husband Adam Fong. Nice Guys Delivery is a knowledgeable, high-level delivery service that offers the highest-grade flowers, edibles, lotions, teas, tinctures, and more. The couple owns and operates Nice Guys Distribution and Nice Gals, a CBD online retailer. 

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    30m | Mar 27, 2023
  • "Balancing Regulations and Compliance in Future Federal Legalization - Verde Compliance Partners, Harry Bernstein "

    The cannabis industry certainly has a plethora of regulations to follow, so compliance is crucial. In fact, some operators like to joke that cannabis is “more heavily regulated than plutonium”. We talk about some of the complicated or challenging regulations already happening at the state level since it's currently illegal at the federal level.

    So that begs the question of the next stage or next step in all this, as we all look toward federal legalization. We dive into what they see happening on the regulatory side once that happens. Will the states that are more established with a cannabis market need huge changes, or will there be a smoother way to adapt to federal regulations? Harry Bernstein joins us today to discuss all this more!

    Harry Bernstein - executive director of Verde Compliance Partners. As general counsel of a beer and wine wholesale distributor for nearly two decades, Harry handled all legal matters including, contracts, franchise agreements, labor negotiations, as well as state and federal licensing and compliance. For the past 19 years, as an attorney, he has assisted individuals with health care matters and special needs including representing clients at federal administrative hearings at the Social Security Administration.

    Verde Compliance Partners is a national consulting firm focused on guiding clients through federal cannabis permitting and regulatory compliance. The firm prepares and navigates cannabis growers and processors through the regulatory, legal, and administrative requirements necessary to comply with current and future federal regulations. The team consists of senior-level experts with decades of experience consulting in federal, state, and local permitting, regulation, and compliance in the cannabis, alcohol, and tobacco industries. 

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    29m | Mar 6, 2023
  • Equity Financing Challenges and New York Insights

    Charlie Alovisetti is a partner at Vicente Sederberg and chair of the firm's Corporate Department. He is recognized by Chambers & Partners as one of the top cannabis lawyers in the United States and is the co-author of The Business of Cannabis: Understanding Law, Finance, and Governance in America’s Newest Industry (Routledge, 2020). 

    Prior to joining VS, Charlie worked as an associate in the New York offices of Latham & Watkins and Goodwin, where he represented public companies and private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies in a range of corporate transactions.

    “Receivership” - So bigger picture here, cannabis companies have a myriad of challenges in operations and financial issues, and banking. Some cannabis companies are finding it difficult to operate and keep their heads above water in a sustainable way for their businesses to survive. Considering 280E and banking issues, this is a tenuous situation so we dive into that and much more.

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    28m | Feb 13, 2023
  • The Complex World of Cannabis Payment Processing with Gary Strahle

    Gary Strahle is a Technical Architect with over a decade's worth of operational cannabis industry experience. 2023 NCIA Retail Committee Chairman. Avid surfer and golfer with a passion to help others.

    Cannabis Cloud - Applications, Consulting & Payments. Founded in 2015, providing service to over 2,500 cannabis businesses. 

    Specialized as a Salesforce Partner innovating industry standard solutions from seed to sale, Cannabis Cloud’s payments integrated Retail Point of Sale hosts a robust API for connecting external menus such as Weedmaps or Leafly, and much more.

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    28m | Feb 6, 2023
  • Under The Microscope: Cannabis Plant Genetics

    Angel is a plant scientist at UC Berkeley in plant genetics and molecular biology. He is also a recognized researcher and scientist specialist in plant genomics and molecular breeding. As our CEO, he is committed to delivering the promise of revolutionizing the Industry by applying all his knowledge, time, and effort to developing innovative solutions to break the barriers that growers and breeders face.

    MyFloraDNA is a genomic laboratory based in Sacramento California, delivering modern genomics for the Cannabis Industry. Services include Trait detection (cannabinoid profile and sex/gender ID), Pathogen Detection, and Genetic Validation Services.

    We start by looking into the microscope and taking a closer look at the cannabis plant, beyond even the terpenes and cannabinoids. Angel explains why the genetics of the cannabis plant is important, and what information we can get by looking at the genome of the plant.

    When we’re cultivating cannabis, we think about sunshine and water and the basics of agriculture, but there are clearly some very high-tech aspects to growing cannabis. Our guest defined the genetic makeup part of it. We dive into what is “molecular breeding” and how is it different from traditional or “classic” breeding of plants.

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    27m | Jan 30, 2023
  • The Legal Perspective of Constructing Cannabis Facilities

    On the construction side of the cannabis industry, before the facility or dispensary opens its doors before any plants are growing before any customers walk in the front door, is an important side to the whole process. After a certain number of years here of legal cannabis in the U.S., there are certainly some best practices, as well as best practices in all even non-cannabis construction, some DOs and DON’Ts that you've seen in this process.

    Andrew Halbert, a member of the firm’s Cannabis Law Practice Group, counsels clients on structuring, vetting, and closing purchases and sales of licensed cannabis businesses and provides guidance on regulatory compliance in Illinois and other states where cannabis has been legalized. He also advises clients in cannabis and other industries on a full range of corporate transactions, including debt and equity offerings and corporate governance.

    Ron Williams is a seasoned construction lawyer who has advised numerous businesses, including major players in the cannabis industry, on the legal, contractual and operational aspects of major construction projects throughout the U.S. and abroad. In short, Ron helps clients structure and implement construction agreements that mitigate risk and facilitate efficient, on-time completion of projects.

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    28m | Jan 23, 2023
  • The Elements of Designing a Cannabis Dispensary - Part 2

     In the previous episode, we focused a lot on the customer experience, but there are other aspects to a cannabis dispensary, like how design impacts those who work there. There’s the front of the house, so to speak, where the employees interface with the customers, and then the back of the house where they maybe store their lunch and hang their jackets. I remember 20+ years ago working in restaurants and retail, and the employee “break” area could vary wildly. Some were dumpy/junky areas with very little to offer the employee, versus other places with more robust break rooms, maybe a coffee machine, soda machine, and so on. We dive into how the front-of-house design impacts employees and much more in today's episode.

    Kevin Quinlan is an entrepreneur and serves as a Principal of Mintropy which specializes in Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection design consulting services in support of cannabis cultivation and retail facilities. Mintropy’s design approach strives to find ways to incorporate our technological advancements back into harmony with mother nature. 

    ​​Brian Anderson is a founding Partner of Anderson Porter Design, with over 25 years of experience, and focuses on Cannabis Industry projects. Brian has now designed facilities for cultivation totaling over 3 million SF, and he has designed nearly 50 retail dispensaries. He has developed a proven process of project delivery in the Cannabis Industry. Brian is an active member of the Lean Construction Institute and implements lean methods in facility design and the construction process.

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    30m | Jan 16, 2023
  • The Elements of Designing a Cannabis Dispensary - Part 1

    Mintropy specializes in Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection design consulting services in support of cannabis cultivation and retail facilities. Mintropy’s design approach encourages cohesiveness with nature, and we strive to find ways to incorporate our technological advancements back into harmony with mother nature. 

    Kevin Quinlan is an entrepreneur and Principal in the built environment and building design industries with a 16-year track record of success in quality on project design, engineering execution, and quality assurance. He currently serves as a Principal of Mintropy, which provides mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection consulting engineering services across various market sectors and industries. 

     Larina Scofield helps create welcoming and memorable experiences for many cannabis customers and employees alike. From starting on the retail ground floor in 2013 and then moving into management and operations over the past several years, Larina is now serving retailers outside of the store these days as the Director of Customer Success for Sweed POS. Sweed is an all-in-one retail cannabis solution designed for large cannabis retailers that deliver powerful POS functionality, analytics, marketing and loyalty, e-commerce, and so much more. 

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    28m | Jan 9, 2023
  • Cannabis Policy Reform Update with NCIA's Government Relations Team

    Michael has been at NCIA for over 9 years, and Michelle is close to her 9-year anniversary working at the organization. That date back to when two states, Colorado and Washington state, was just rolling out their adult-use cannabis laws for the first time. So with this, we discuss the tone and temperature when it comes to pro-cannabis policy reform in the halls of Congress at that time.

    Lobby Days is easily our favorite NCIA event, and we think many people share my sentiment. Pre-COVID pandemic was always encouraging to see, year after year, the number of NCIA members grow and grow, reaching over 300 in 2019. So now we see more and more Congressional offices take our group and our concerns seriously. We talk about what are our guest's reflections on that and much more!

    Michelle Rutter Friberg is deputy director of government relations and has worked at NCIA since 2014. Michelle graduated from James Madison University in 2012, where during her studies, she held a year-long internship with Virginia House of Delegates member Tony Wilt (R).

    Michael Correia is the director of government relations for the National Cannabis Industry Association. Prior to joining NCIA, Michael spent many years working on Capitol Hill, including working for Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA), who retired in 2010, and the House Committee on Resources, serving three different Chairmen. Previously, he was director of federal affairs for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and senior project manager for the Committee for Responsible Federal Budget.

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    34m | Dec 12, 2022
  • Covering Cannabis Companies Risk Management and Insurance Committee

    Many people rely on insurance professionals to navigate the complicated waters of protecting their businesses, and there are a lot of different types of insurance that a cannabis company should consider. We start with the basics here of the types of insurance that almost any cannabis company should immediately secure. We also dive into more nuanced insurance types that people may not think about immediately. We always think of the phrase “acts of god” which is sometimes covered in insurance, which is interesting to see in an insurance policy. 

    Matthew Johnson serves as QuadScore’s Vice President of Risk Services. QuadScore has grown to become one of the largest cannabis insurers over a short four years, with a specialty in covering the considerable assets of North America’s multi-state operators and publicly traded companies. At QuadScore, Matthew’s role is to manage risks for America’s premier cannabis operators, helping protect businesses from preventable claims

    David Rahn with S2S Insurance is a highly specialized insurance professional with deep cannabis industry knowledge and experience. As an All-Lines Insurance Broker with strong analytical skills, he performs detailed risk assessments for both start-up and established cannabis companies, and develops customized strategies and solutions designed to minimize risks, safeguard and grow their business.

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    30m | Nov 28, 2022
  • NCIA’s Hemp Committee Lobbies Congress in D.C. - James Granger and Chris Hope

    Live from DC, Lobbying for the cannabis industry, most were talking to Congressional offices about SAFE Banking, 280E, and comprehensive reform like the CAOA. We discuss what was the focus of the hemp team during their meetings with members of Congress. As wellas, what was the guest's overall strategy? 

    James Granger has built an extensive career focused on the blooming medical and recreational cannabis industry and holds a deep knowledge of cannabinoid effects, extraction, and processing, cannabis chemistry, regulation, management, consulting, politics, operations, product development, and more. In 2018, James joined The Clear (Now Clear Colorado Group) team to re-build and streamline operations, Now, as Chief Political Officer of Clientele Capital, a Denver-based venture capital firm that provides funding and strategic consulting to growth-oriented companies in emerging markets, James spearhead’s the company’s goals of staying ahead of extensive regulatory changes, challenges and nuances the company may face in the new developing cannabis industry.

    Chris Hope has 20 years of experience in the cannabis industry. He founded, Sequoia Wellness (SW), a retail cannabis delivery service in 2013, serving the Los Angeles area. In 2016, he founded Sequoia Management Group (SMG), as a cannabis & hemp business development and consulting company. Today, SMG is focusing on the burgeoning industrial hemp industry with a focus on fiber, food, grain, seed, and building materials. Chris was, a founding member and Director of Member & Sponsor Relations for Angeles Emeralds (AE), a cannabis advocacy and lobbying group for Los Angeles County. As a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) since 2015, and In 2020, Chris became the Committee Organizer for the Hemp Committee (HC) with NCIA for the 2020/21 term. He now serves as the Chair for the HC, as well as contributing to both the NCIA Sustainability Collaboration/Council and the Novel, Synthetic, and Minor Cannabinoid Collaboration. 

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    29m | Nov 14, 2022
  • Insights Into The Cannabis Real Estate Market In The U.S.

    Today we talk about real estate in the cannabis industry with Bryan McLaren of Zoned Properties. Real estate is a weird topic these days in the housing market but we talk commercial real estate for cannabis. We discuss why this aspect is important in the grand scheme as we move toward federal legalization and sensible regulations. We've got about 10 years of history under our belt to look at as far as how the cannabis industry has experienced commercial real estate services. Knowing that we are highly regulated, there are very specific rules so it’s not as easy as just buying a building. We dive into if it has gotten any easier or more straightforward over the years. Currently, we have 37 states with some form of medical cannabis, and 18 with adult use, and every year it seems, we see those numbers increase as we head toward federal legalization. We talk about if there’s a difference in real estate needs and processes when it comes to medical versus adult use.

    Bryan McLaren is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Zoned Properties, a leading real estate development firm for emerging and highly regulated industries, including legalized cannabis. Bryan has a strong professional background in the social, economic, and environmental development of complex business organizations. Over his professional career, he has successfully implemented large-scale projects for corporate and community organizations. Prior to his role at Zoned Properties, McLaren worked as a Sustainability Consultant for Waste Management where he led the strategic development and operational implementation of zero-waste programs for Higher Education clients. 

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    28m | Nov 7, 2022
  • The Rise of Cannabis Consumption Lounges: Risk and Opportunities Part 2

    In Part 1 we covered Cannabis Consumption Lounges, what purpose they serve, as well as how the business models compare and contrast to other industries. We began to dip our toes into the liabilities and risks associated and how consumption lounges can protect themselves from something going wrong, or what to do if and when something does go wrong. We pick back up there with Jodi Green and Matt Grimes, as well as What else comes to mind about the risks associated with cannabis consumption lounges and more!

    Jodi Green is a business attorney in Miller Nash LLP's Los Angeles office, focusing on cannabis and policyholder insurance recovery. Jodi is a member of NCIA's Risk Management and Insurance Committee and was named by Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” in insurance coverage for five consecutive years. Miller Nash's 140-member law firm has nearly 30 attorneys practicing in its nationally-recognized cannabis group alone. Miller Nash's cannabis team serves cannabis companies operating in all industry verticals by providing advice in all legal practice areas, from corporate formation to employment, insurance coverage and litigation, and everything in between. 

    Matt Grimes is the principal of The Grimes Law Group. He sits on the Risk Management and Insurance Committee (“RMIC”) of the National Cannabis Industry Association (since 2019), currently serves as the webinar content Chairperson for the RMIC, is a Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Cannabis Law & Policy Committee (since 2021), is a member of the International Cannabis Bar Association, and is involved with several state cannabis industry associations and advocacy groups.

    For more NCIA's Cannabis Industry Voice go to CannabisRadio.com

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    28m | Oct 31, 2022
  • Veterans Action Council Lobbies with Etienne Fontan, Michael Krawitz

    NCIA is talking to Etienne Fontan, and Michael Krawitz of the Veterans Action Council. Being in D.C.s recently with NCIA for our 10th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days event, lobbying for the cannabis industry, most were talking to Congressional offices about SAFE Banking, 280E, and comprehensive reform like the CAOA. We discuss what the VAC members' focus was on during their meetings with members of Congress, and how those meetings went.

    Then we dive into the current bills out there that our guests are drumming up support for and how, if passed into law, would impact the lives of Veterans in the U.S. During the press conference, Etienne spoke at the podium set up in the Senate Swamp. He said shared very poetic and real sentiments about the sacrifices Veterans made with their lives and how important it is for Congress to act on their behalf.

    Etienne Fontan is Vice President and Co-Owner of Berkeley Patients Group (BPG). BPG is the nation's oldest continuously operating medical cannabis dispensary, established in 1999. He has an extensive background as an engaged activist and public speaker seeking to make cannabis legal and safe. Starting in 1993, he was a director of the Cannabis Action Network. He is an Army combat veteran of Desert Storm and served in the WV Army National Guard. He now lobbies nationally and internationally on veterans' behalf for the use of cannabis and natural medicines.

    Michael Krawitz is a disabled United States Air Force Veteran and serves as Executive director of Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access [VMCA] as well as other board and advisory roles. He successfully negotiated the first ever VA medical cannabis policy in 2010 and has since overseen the WHO process in Geneva and then the United Nations process on the WHO cannabis recommendations, ultimately removing cannabis and cannabis resin from the Single Convention Treaty's "most dangerous drug category”. He also serves on the Virginia Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council.

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    31m | Oct 24, 2022
NCIA Cannabis Industry Voice