09/25/15 Aaron Justiss

Cannabis Conf II with Aaron Justiss of Buds & Roses, Berto Torres of Gfarmalabs, Eric Branstad of Forever Flowering, Calico Castillo of The Weedblog, "Seth" a private grower, Ron Bush GBox Tech, Darcy Bomford of TrueLeaf dog food, Clark Metcalf of CannabisBuyer.com, Dean Becker wants YOU to Call the Drug Czar

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Friday, September 25, 2015
Guest: 
Aaron Justiss
Organization: 
Buds and Roses
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CULTURAL BAGGAGE

SEPTEMBER 25, 2015

TRANSCRIPT

DEAN BECKER: Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.

DR. G. ALAN ROBISON: It is not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally un-American.

CROWD: No more! Drug war! No More! Drug War! No More! Drug War!

DEAN BECKER: My name is Dean Becker. I don't condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison, and judicial nightmare that feeds on eternal drug war.

Hello, this is Dean Becker, welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. Again, this week, we're going to tune into the recent international cannabis business gathering in Los Angeles.

AARON JUSTIS: Aaron Justis, Buds and Roses Collective in Los Angeles.

DEAN BECKER: Aaron, you just gave a presentation here at the cannabis business conference. Give us a few minute summary of what that was about, please.

AARON JUSTIS: Well, I went into the background of how I got into the cannabis industry, and that had a lot to do with back in the late 90s, when I started J-Wear Hemp Clothing Company, and met people like Keith Stroup, Jack Herer, into down the road, where I met people like Steve DeAngelo, and they helped me and guided me to get a dispensary in Los Angeles.

DEAN BECKER: And, that's a rather unique thing about this industry, it's not as cutthroat as many others.

AARON JUSTIS: Yes. Yeah, what I love about it is a lot of people work together, and they encourage basically what would be competition, because if there's not enough good, responsible operators, it will never work. So there's definitely a camaraderie, and because we're fighting for a bigger cause as well.

DEAN BECKER: Right, and I think that bigger cause kind of underscores it again. The fact of the matter is, California just came up with new regs, new scenarios. Tell us how that's going to impact your business and the overall business.

AARON JUSTIS: Yeah. Specifically with Buds and Roses, a lot of people think that we're good with this new policy, but it actually doesn't do anything for us, because we're not authorized to operate, we just operate under limited immunity, so we actually have to craft a new ordinance with the city of LA. We don't know what that's going to say yet, but we're working on it so that we can get licensure with the state. As far as beyond Buds and Roses, it just means a lot for anyone in the cannabis industry because it gives state guidelines for localities to finally open up and start licensing people that can turn into state licenses, so the opportunities are endless.

There's testing licenses, there's nursery licenses for clones, retail cultivation, there's some distributor licenses, but I think that's going to more non-cannabis people, so I can explain it real quick. If a cultivator makes a deal with a retailer, they can make that deal, but it's the distributor who has to pick up the product, has to lab test the product, and then deliver the product to the retailer. This is going to have to do a lot more with logistics, so warehouses, trucks, not necessarily cannabis expertise.

DEAN BECKER: And, this brings to mind, how long has it been, there is no testing in California, how much is that going to impact the price of the product?

AARON JUSTIS: Well, I do not think it will impact the price that much. I don't see prices necessarily going up. I see just more efficiency coming into it. I guess compared to a lot of dispensaries, say in LA that operate what I would -- illegally, there are some pretty low prices for patients. I'm not sure of the quality of that product, but there are places that have like thirty five dollar caps on eighths. That is going to be difficult to sustain. I think the more regulated shops that are anywhere from twenty dollars an eighth to sixty dollars an eighth are still going to remain there, I don't see eighths going above sixty, even for the highest quality, and I think that there will be more competition as far as regulated shops throughout the state and in more localities, so hopefully we don't see a price increase, we see a decrease.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and that's what I was going to ask next, is that, over a period of time, I would think that it would, and as more states get on board, it would tend to lower the price in the coming years.

AARON JUSTIS: Yeah, I believe so. I mean, regulation does keep it at a certain level, because of all the things that you have to do and people that you have to pay. I think that California is hopefully on the right path of not over-taxing medical. They, even Gavin Newsome, our Lieutenant Governor, said look, if we're really interested in public safety, and whether or not I believe with his logic, he said we can't make this into a money making thing, because if we do, then we're going to be encouraging people to use cannabis as a state, California doesn't want to do that. So I'm hoping that even for adult use, taxes stay around ten percent, and for medical, we eliminate them altogether. You will still have to pay sales tax most likely, but not an additional tax.

DEAN BECKER: Right. You don't want to tax it, or support the black market in essence.

AARON JUSTIS: Exactly.

DEAN BECKER: All right. Once again we've been speaking with Mister Aaron Justis of Buds and Roses, right here in Studio City, Los Angeles, California. This cycles me to one more question, and that is, you know, the reluctance of celebrities, the reluctance of maybe politicians, Jeb Bush 'fessed up to smoking pot just yesterday. But it is the reluctance of so many people to admit what they know to be true, or what they have done. There's a lot of truth that just hasn't been shared around this nation, right?

AARON JUSTIS: Right, and I think politicians and actors are kind of in the same boat, if they, they can lose their audience and they can say the wrong thing, so they're very careful about their image. I would like to see more of them come out though for the truth, but you know, mostly it's politicians and we know how they are.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and even in, your average joe and jolene, they're afraid to speak up at church, school, work, whatever, because of what might happen, and I think they'll find a better reception than they anticipate. Your thought.

AARON JUSTIS: Yeah, I think so, and I think, so it was Jasmine who interviewed me here, Jasmine Hupp of Women Grow, and I think groups like Women Grow are going to make a major difference because once women come around and they start showing how it's positive, there was an episode five years ago or so called Stiletto Stoners, and it was about professional women who use cannabis but have to hide it from everybody because they're going to be looked at the wrong way, and I think that Women Grow is on the road to change that. We also have the Minority Cannabis Business Association, so it's not just white men anymore, it's a diverse crowd, and I think that that's going to help more people come out as well.

DEAN BECKER: All right, once again, speaking with Mister Aaron Justis, Buds and Roses. Please share your website, any closing thoughts.

AARON JUSTIS: Yep. You can visit us in Studio City on Ventura Boulevard, or online at BudsAndRosesLA.com. And my only thought would be, wherever you are, get involved locally, get involved politically, change can happen in America, it just takes a long time and it takes a lot of work.

BERTO TORRES: I'm Berto Torres with G FarmaLabs, I'm the chief production officer for the company.

DEAN BECKER: And where are y'all based?

BERTO TORRES: We're based out of, our parent company's out of Nevada, but California and Washington.

DEAN BECKER: And, by that you mean, you're supplying dispensaries in California and Washington as well?

BERTO TORRES: California, yes. Washington, we have a licensing deal.

DEAN BECKER: Now, the fact of the matter is, Nevada is really opening things up, we're hearing that many states across the country are going to open up. This is a great opportunity for good folks in the business, am I right?

BERTO TORRES: Absolutely.

DEAN BECKER: Well, tell us about the growth of your company, please.

BERTO TORRES: We started the company in November 2013. We launched in Washington, actually we, Emerald Downs show, NCIA. And, after that, I mean, it's just been explosive growth from the beginning.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, and that's the point of this gathering, this cannabis business conference we have here in LA. It's an opportunity for folks across America to get involved, right?

BERTO TORRES: Absolutely. Absolutely. It's an exciting time for any ganjapreneur or entrepreneur. It's, you know, when we first started the company, we were dispensary-based at heart, and we realized that there was a change in the climate of the industry as more and more products started to become the popular thing. By products, I mean edibles, extracted oil, and all infused products across the board. So we decided to go with a brand, just like a RJ Nabisco or a Coca-Cola, basically. And we go through and we infuse products such as pretzels, chocolate bars, truffles, we also produce vape pens that we can smoke the extracted oil through. And that's basically, any, our future goal is basically anything you can find in a food store, we will, we look to infuse that. So, and make it taste good, and deliver consistent product across the board.

DEAN BECKER: I'm sure quality's got to be job number one for you guys. Talk about that aspect.

BERTO TORRES: Absolutely. I mean, right now, we're consistently looking for methods that are one hundred percent organic in controlling any funguses or pests in the grow rooms. We're completely vertically integrated as a company, from seed to sale, so every aspect, we quality control every single aspect, from seed to sale, by consistently testing, by consistently posting results, and as we go forward we keep looking for, we realize that as more states come on line there's going to be tighter and tighter regulations as far as pesticides are concerned. So right now we're currently working like in our actual grow rooms, where we're not -- we're trying to not even use any pesticides at all, even, whether they be organic based or not, and we're implementing natural predators to go ahead and take care of any mite situations and stuff like that, and then just keeping consistent temperature control so we don't create any funguses in the room or any microbials that might be damaging to one's health.

DEAN BECKER: Website? Closing thoughts, Berto.

BERTO TORRES: Yep. GFarmaLabs.com. GFARMALABS, so farm as in a farm, and please check us out. We're producers of Liquid Gold, Karma, and G-Sticks.

ERIC BRANDSTAD: My name is Eric Brandstad, I'm with Forever Flowering Greenhouses from Grass Valley, California.

DEAN BECKER: You know, Eric, the heck of it is, there's so much burgeoning industry going on, it's all, a lot of it brand new and it's certainly, I think, what I'm hearing is that your technique is new as well. Tell us what you guys do.

ERIC BRANDSTAD: Well, we pioneered the light-dep greenhouses, and what that means is light deprivation is to change the photoperiod or control the photoperiod within the greenhouse for the outdoor environment. Indoor growers have a timer to adjust the lights to do, you know, 18 hours of light for vegetative cycles, then down to 12 hours of light for flowering cycles. We can do the same thing in a greenhouse, but we can't turn off the lights. What we do is we use curtains to close the light out, basically, and so we can also use artificial lights inside, if there's not long enough daylight hours. So we kind of get the best of both worlds, it's not necessarily an indoor hybrid grow room, but the technology's been around a long time and we've just been perfecting it professionally since 2006.

DEAN BECKER: It also saves a lot of money from the grow lights as well, doesn't it?

ERIC BRANDSTAD: Definitely. The overhead savings is really where it's at, first of all, and then secondly is the product is now starting to surpass indoor quality materials, and that's also being quantified by the testing agencies, so now people can look at testing results from, you know, outdoor, light dep, greenhouse light dep, indoor, outdoor, all these different ways of looking at things in growing can all be tested and matched up together, so I look to the, you know, people to do their due diligence of looking at the greenhouse companies, looking at the testing data to see where things are going. It's also due to the methodologies in the greenhouse. Just buying a greenhouse doesn't mean you're going to have a better product.

DEAN BECKER: You know, I've often wondered why it is the indoor's given such respect when the truth is the sun does a hell of a job if you just don't have the rain and the wind and get them beat up so bad, right?

ERIC BRANDSTAD: Correct, and you know, traditionally prohibition started making outdoor people hide and go into the shade and the shadows more, so now as prohibition's decreased, and legalization's getting stronger, people are coming back out into the full sun. Now we're starting to realize that the higher temperatures with these warmer weather droughts, things that we're having, the intensity of the sun is even greater than it used to be, and so the techniques with the greenhouse applications that we follow through diffusing the light and creating more light optics, but calming down the sun's intensity at the same time, is really showing, proven to be great for cannabis, and that's what's showing that the quality's being enhanced even more now because we're not restricting the light with shade cloth, we're actually diminishing the sun's intensity but creating more light with the greenhouse covers that we're now using.

DEAN BECKER: Eric, website, closing thoughts, please.

ERIC BRANDSTAD: Yeah. LightDep.com, we also have demo greenhouses up near Sacramento, California, so people come see them all the time. So we recommend people check out our website and see my videos, come to a presentation or come see a demo greenhouse.

KALIKO CASTILLE: My name is Kaliko Castille, and I work for TheWeedBlog.com.

DEAN BECKER: Tell us more about Weed Blog, what's that about?

KALIKO CASTILLE: Sure. The Weed Blog is just basically a marijuana news and information site. In terms of traffic, we're the largest marijuana website around, getting a little over six million pageviews per month. It was basically started as a blog, just on my buddy's couch, because two of my friends had like bad run-ins with the law, dealing with marijuana prohibition, and wanted to be able to do their part to basically get back at it. So they started TheWeedBlog.com, just basically as a way to let people know and to get the information out there about why marijuana's illegal, why it shouldn't be illegal, and what we can do to change that. And so, they've really just grown it into this really large entity, and they're continuing to use it to kind of give nonprofits and the drug policy reformers, specifically marijuana policy reformers a chance to have an ability to get their voices out there and get their message heard.

DEAN BECKER: Now, you've also worked with my compadre, Mister Russ Belville. Tell me about that association, and your involvement there.

KALIKO CASTILLE: Oh absolutely, I appreciate it. I started actually with, as an intern for Russ, when he was at NORML as the outreach coordinator in 2011 when I was going to school at Western Oregon. I was a political science student, I wanted to get into politics, but I smoked and I didn't want to keep my mouth shut so I figured I couldn't really go and apply for an Obama fellowship, having all of my things on social media saying the things I say about marijuana prohibition. So I was able to join up with Russ as an intern, started doing his daily radio show and podcast as a producer, went on and basically from there was able to start a political action committee raising money for Measure 80 in Oregon in 2012, went on to start a dispensary and now at The Weed Blog, but ultimately, Russ is what got me into the movement, he was the one that brought me in and really brought me under his wing, and I've learned a lot and gained a lot of connections from Russ, I mean I think that he is definitely one of the undervalued media assets in marijuana, so I definitely appreciate all of the things I've done with him.

DEAN BECKER: Oh, I can't say enough about Russ, he is a go-getter, always trying to expound, expand the envelope. Your website, some closing thoughts, please.

KALIKO CASTILLE: Yeah, absolutely. TheWeedBlog.com, basically right now heading into 2016 elections with maybe as many as seven to 12 states looking to legalize in 2016, we really just want to be the hub for people who need information, we want to be able to let the activist networks be able to link up, and to know what's going on in their state, so if you guys are anywhere across the country and need to know where legalization is in your section of the country, go to TheWeedBlog.com, we've got all kinds of news and information for you, and you can stay up to date with the latest in marijuana reform.

FEMALE VOICE-OVER [from CBC's "This Hour Has 22 Minutes"]: Ever have a slight headache? Or woken up with a stiff neck? Do you get cold when it’s chilly? Hungry if you don’t eat? I know I sure do. Until recently I thought I was perfectly healthy. That’s when my doctor told me about Pretendatrin. Pretendatrin alleviates the symptoms of MDD, or Mild Discomfort Disorder. It changed my life, and it can change yours too. With Pretendatrin, I’m confident that whatever’s not wrong with me is being treated. That’s only half the story. Research has shown that good health is genetic. I worried that what was not wrong with me could also be not wrong with my kids. So I’m relieved that now there’s Pretendatrin Junior. And, coming soon, Pretendatrin Pets.

MALE VOICE-OVER: Pretendatrin is not for everyone. Side effects may include nausea, dizziness, false sense of security, bleed outs, and shortness of breath.

FEMALE VOICE-OVER: Thanks to Pretendatrin I can do all the things I used to be able to do but now with the added confidence that I’m doing them while medicated. Pretendatrin, because everybody deserves to be on something.

DEAN BECKER: Much of this reorganization, I guess you're undertaking, is the result of what was just brought forward by the California legislature last week.

Oh definitely. We've kind of been planning for, you know, going on almost a year now, so we've definitely been keeping a close eye on all of that, and kind of keeping our fingers crossed at the same time, too, so. And it looks like things are finally moving forward the way they should be, so, and, you know, hopefully they're not going to do a few of the blunders that they did in Washington, so, yeah, fingers crossed on that, so. We're excited, very excited.

DEAN BECKER: Introduce yourself, your organization, please.

RON BUSH: Okeh, my name is Ron Bush, I'm a representative here for G-Box, grow smarter. What we have to offer is we have a fully environmentally self-contained portable growing facility. So, what that means is it's basically, you know, picture it as like a 20 foot by 120 foot shoebox, I'd say, 14 feet tall. So that's the base shape, so, you can ship it anywhere. Once you get it to where you want, it turns, it pops up into a two-story level growing facility for a total of 400 square feet of growing space, and it is fully self-contained in terms of temperature control, humidity control, and CO2 control. Additionally, we offer full spectrum lighting, what we've come to find is that customers typically growers for whatever they may be growing in this are particular about their particular, their type of lighting, so they may want to put in there their own.

What we do is, we have it fully wired and electrically capable for 120 volts, 280 volts, three-phase, single-phase, whatever they need, we can install a, you know, fully functioning water system, we can, whether they want the RO, the nutrient balancing, any of that, that's another thing we found that particular growers are particular about, they just want to have a water source. So we have that.

DEAN BECKER: Let me interrupt you here to ask, you know, you mentioned the overall length, a hundred and was it, fourteen feet. It's like, could be shorter, could perhaps be longer? Or is this a set length?

RON BUSH: No, one, the, one of the key drivers of the size of this box was to be able to ship it on a standard low-bed truck, like you see all over the freeway, all the highways, without any special Department of Transportation permits or anything, so you don't need the police escort, so this is just like shipping anything else. You call any trucker up and they'll ship it. Ten thousand pounds, so we just use a typical forklift there, Dean.

DEAN BECKER: Any closing thoughts, your website, perhaps?

RON BUSH: Yes, we do have a website, www.gboxtechnology.com, that's gboxtechnology.com, one word. And then let me just, you mentioned the convenience of it. Since this is a stamped and licensed piece of equipment, there's no need for building permits or any of that. You mentioned the legitimacy, if someone wants to start growing tomorrow, they can.

DEAN BECKER: All right, again, reporting from Los Angeles, the international business conference, I'm walking down the hallway here and I see some gentlemen assembling a sign, got a beautiful golden retriever, I guess that is, on a sign says "True Leaf: New Opportunity," and it talks about cannabis medicine for pets. And I'm speaking now with the CEO, Mister Darcy Bomford. Hello, Darcy.

DARCY BOMFORD: Hello, Dean, how you doing?

DEAN BECKER: Darcy, this industry is just expanding, it's extrapolating almost on a weekly basis, isn't it?

DARCY BOMFORD: Yep, it certainly is.

DEAN BECKER: Tell us about your product, True Leaf.

DARCY BOMFORD: Our product is a hemp-focused supplemental chew for dogs, and we have hemp as one of the active ingredients, plus some other natural plant-based active ingredients for different functions.

DEAN BECKER: And, you know, I would imagine a dog with a bad tummy or older dogs with a malady of arthritis or something, is that the focus of the product?

DARCY BOMFORD: Yeah, that's correct. There's three ranges, one's called True Love, which is antioxidant support with DHA and Omega 3 from hemp, and also polyphenols from antioxidants. We have True Spirit, which is for joint support, for like as you mentioned, older dogs with joint problems. It has plant-based glucosamine and tumeric root extract, which is known as an anti-inflammatory. And our third product is called True Calm, and it has a blend of plant-based calming ingredients, and also 500 milligrams of hemp.

DEAN BECKER: You know, you don't want your dog to get into your edibles necessarily, it will just knock them out flat. That's not what your product does, is it?

DARCY BOMFORD: That's correct. We're just using hemp so there is no THC, and our product in particular has no CBD as well. So we're just focusing on the benefits of hemp and the anti-inflammatory properties. It's also high in omega 3, has omega 6 and omega 9, and it's also known to have salicylic acid, too, which is similar to what's in aspirin, so it's known to be an anti-inflammatory. Cannabis has many known benefits. We're focusing here on the nutritional and medicinal benefits of hemp, and of course as time goes on I think the efficacy of, I guess, marijuana as you say, in some aspects of it, for example THC or CBD will become known and be more accepted by the medical community.

DEAN BECKER: Well all right. Well, Darcy, if you would please, share your website, maybe some closing thoughts.

DARCY BOMFORD: Sure, yeah. Our website's TrueLeaf.com, and if you look on there there's a little separate section for True Leaf Pet. And we're launching these three products actually in LA this week, and in Canada next week. So they'll be available to the market in October. Retail price point is fifteen dollars for about forty chews in one package.

CLARK METCALFE: My name is Clark Metcalfe, and I'm the CEO and founder of CannabisBuyer.com.

DEAN BECKER: I find it very intriguing, Cannabis Buyer, here in these United States, that this is possible. Tell us how it works.

CLARK METCALFE: Well, it, we're a legal, not-for-profit, mutual benefit corporation, and we're in the state of California, and we have tax ID and seller's permit. We work with cultivators, we work with dispensaries, delivery services, and consumers. And we're a national distribution company.

DEAN BECKER: I guess there's four states and maybe, well not Washington, DC, they can't sell it there yet, can they?

CLARK METCALFE: I'm not sure really what's going on in Washington, DC, because I haven't been there, but there are a lot of markets that are available and markets are opening up all the time.

DEAN BECKER: I understand in the next couple of election cycles a lot of states are going to be voting yea or nay, that should portend bigger business for you guys, would you think?

CLARK METCALFE: Yes, I think that 2016's going to be a pivotal point in our journey with the cannabis industry, and we'll have legalization for adult use and we'll also have all our medical laws squared away by then. So I do anticipate really good forward growth in the future.

DEAN BECKER: Give us a little idea of how it works, you know, a-b-c-d, the functionality of your system.

CLARK METCALFE: It's very simple, really. We have our cultivation contracts for cultivators, so they can legally cultivate cannabis for us, and then we take the material, repackage it, and distribute it to consumers, to delivery services, and to dispensaries.

DEAN BECKER: Okeh. And this, in essence, gives them a brand name, perhaps a little more respect for their product and certainly ensures distribution, right?

CLARK METCALFE: Absolutely, assures distribution and I keep an eye on the quality and then let them know how they, you know, what the public thinks about their product so they're always able to refine it.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, we've been speaking with Mister Clark Metcalfe of Cannabis Buyers. They're serving consumers and collectives around the US. Any closing thoughts, Clark? Your website, please.

CLARK METCALFE: The website is CannabisBuyer.com, and just want to say, it's a great time in the history of the cannabis industry, and everybody just needs to go out and vote.

DEAN BECKER: The most recent edition of Free Press Houston contains a 2,000 word article written by yours truly. They named it "Dean Becker Wants You To Call The Drug Czar." It's absolutely true, you see, for more than 15 years I've been trying to chase down the top dogs at the DEA and ONDCP, the drug czar's office. But sadly, too many in positions of power have remained steadfast in proclaiming the need to continue this war on people who use certain plant products. Our legislators have remained steadfast in embracing ignorance, superstition, and hysteria, and so the drug war just continues funding terrorists, cartels, and gangs, despite the recognition of the futility of continuing to do so, because they're so entrenched in these values, if you will, that they thus far have remained unable to even speak of the need for change, let alone describing what that change ought to be.

So, I've decided rather than focus my efforts on all the local and state officials in trying to, I don't know, get that truth out of them, I'm going to focus on one man: our nation's drug czar, Michael Botticelli, the head of the ONDCP. Here is where you come in. You already know the drug war isn't winnable, yet you remain wary of speaking up for fear of consequence at home, work, church, school, or otherwise. Please, rest assured that most likely your spouse, boss, minister, teacher, and the majority of your friends and associates agree that the drug war is a hopeless cause.

But, in order to bring focus to bear, to ensure the authorities who believe in drug war must validate this drug war, I need you to call and email the drug czar to motivate him. You can contact our nation's drug czar, the head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy through the White House switchboard. That number is 202.456.1414. Then, ask to speak to Press Secretary of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Mister Zepeda. Mister Zapeda's email is mario_a_morenozepeda@ondcp.eop.gov. Ask Mister Mario Moreno Zepeda to please arrange an interview for his boss, drug czar Michael Botticelli, on my Cultural Baggage show as soon as possible.

The link to the article on Free Press Houston is available at the top of my website, DrugTruth.net. And as always I remind you, because of prohibition you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful.

To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the unvarnished truth. Cultural Baggage is a production of the Pacifica Radio Network. Archives are permanently stored at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. And we are all still tap dancing on the edge of an abyss.