10/09/19 Norma Sapp

Happy Highlife Harvest time in Oklahoma. Norma Sapp, Max Walters, Doctor Jack Snedden, Grizzly, Uncle Grumpy, Troy from Herbal House.

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Guest: 
Norma Sapp
Organization: 
YES on 788
Norma Sapp Buying Norma's Dream
Near Harvest Time in Oklahoma
Download: Audio icon FDBCB100919.mp3
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TRANSCRIPT

CULTURAL BAGGAGE

OCTOBER 09, 2019

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

MALE SPEAKER: It’s not only inhumane it is really fundamentally un-American.

CROWD CHANT: No more Drug War! No more Drug War! No more Drug War!

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.

DEAN BECKER: Hi folks, this is Dean Becker. The Reverend Most High. We’re reporting this week from Oklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plains and the waving weed can sure smell sweet.

We are here in Norman, Oklahoma, I am with my good friend Norma Sapp and her friend at this facility we are at. What is your name, sir?

MALE VOICE: Max Walters.

DEAN BECKER: Max, what is the name of this outfit here?

MAX WALTERS: The Friendly Market.

DEAN BECKER: Now you just celebrated a five year recognition of existence I guess is the way to put it, right?

MAX WALTERS: Yeah. We have been open for five years. We started selling pipes and accessories and tapestries and incense and things like that.

DEAN BECKER: And as of now there’s hemp flowers and hemp products galore. There’s some actual high THC marijuana, there’s hash and other goodies and a good crowd came to attend this opening or recognition –

MAX WALTERS: Recognition by the Chamber of Commerce. Yes.

DEAN BECKER: -- You are right and the Chamber of Commerce was here to recognize this which brings to mind I think the whole point of this interview that this boom if you will in Oklahoma, due mostly I think to marijuana is really enormous. It is having a huge impact is it not, Norma?

NORMA SAPP: Oh yes. I actually call it a renaissance because like we were talking about a while ago there is real estate now that hasn’t been occupied now for decades, there are new jobs, the ancillary businesses and employment is unreal. Garden centers – can you imagine what they made this year? So yes, it is a renaissance for Oklahoma – and good paying jobs.

DEAN BECKER: Give us some more jobs – more occupations that have benefitted from this in this past year.

MAX WALTERS: Even chefs that have been trying to get out of their old business are starting to get a new fresh look at life, a lot of them because they can actually run a kitchen like they have wanted to over the years. Also A/C repairmen because they have big warehouses that need to be temperature and humidity controlled, all sorts of electricians and building majors and engineering students are now probably getting more jobs to build a lot of these grow houses and things like that so it’s just really good for people to get in to an industry and then also get experience in to something else that might progress even if they don’t stay in the cannabis industry.

DEAN BECKER: Right. To throw out a couple more – you need lights for indoor growing, you need people to man the counters to sell the product. All kinds of new jobs are booming here.

Now Norma, you were very instrumental – one of the ramrods who made this all possible.

NORMA SAPP: Well that’s what they accuse me of.

(LAUGHTER)

DEAN BECKER: I think it is something to be quite proud of and I just want to say that what Oklahoma has done, and I have talked about it on my show many times is I think better than the legalization in many states because you can just tell the doctor that marijuana might help you and that he will then write you a recommendation and there you go. It’s just the fact that the Chamber of Commerce was here recognizing this – unafraid to embrace the idea of this facility existing and of the work that they are doing here. I would assume it is just one of many hundreds, maybe thousands in Oklahoma?

NORMA SAPP: Well yeah. We have got 2,700 dispensaries and I forget – like almost twice that much in grows. But Norman – this town here, 150,000 people – 69 the last I counted.

MAX WALTERS: It was 70 I thought.

NORMA SAPP: 70 dispensaries and last I heard there was a106 licenses so the rest must be grows and processors.

DEAN BECKER: Well that is one for every two thousand people if my math is right. Wow, it is something!

NORMA SAPP: Ask this man, do you run out?

MAX WALTERS: We never run out. No. We always have stuff in stock and we always have people coming in even though there are four dispensaries within three blocks of us. We still always have people coming in so it works. We were close to running out a few days ago but we just got some in yesterday so we were almost out – but I was finally able to get a couple of pounds in the other day. We always still have something.

DEAN BECKER: Well and it is early October and I am sure going in to November there’s going to be plenty coming forward, right?

MAX WALTERS: Yeah.

DEAN BECKER: Now tell us one more time – the fact that this place exists – that it is favored by many in your community – do you get hassled by the cops? Is there any situation like that existing anymore?

MAX WALTERS: No. Not at all as far as I can tell. Everything has been good. We actually had officers show up trying to figure out if they had a call to that area and I had a good conversation with them rather recently and it has been all good.

DEAN BECKER: Alright. Once again, the name of this place?

MAX WALTERS: The Friendly Market in Norman, Oklahoma.

DEAN BECKER: Well here in Norman, Oklahoma we have been touring all of the various facilities and looking at their THC buds, and hemp buds and talking to good folks about all the good progress and the jobs and the progress here in Oklahoma around this newly recognized industry and I am here with Mr. Jack Snedden. He is an MD, and he is set up here today to meet some patients here in Norman. Jack, how is it going?

JACK SNEDDEN: It’s going great. We kind of have to stay on top of the rules and regulations and the legislation as it is being passed and watch and make sure we don’t have any missteps in the process.

DEAN BECKER: Sure. You have got to jump through the hopes as they are set in place but as I understand it Oklahoma did not make it as onerous, as difficult as it has been in some other states. Is it working out fairly smoothly for your behalf?

JACK SNEDDEN: Oh absolutely. Because there are numerous beneficial, physiological things that go on with medical marijuana. Not just for seizures, but the things that you can address are vast. They are almost endless, so the Oklahoma law did make it easy for the physician to do just that – be a physician, talk to the patient, identify the problem, and make a determination whether cannabis is appropriate or that or not. They didn’t say you have to do it for any specific diagnosis so they are letting the doctor be the doctor.

DEAN BECKER: Earlier we were talking about how in Texas there is a very limited application of who can apply for CBD itself – there is not allowance for THC, but the fact of the matter is that you guys have a wide range of maladies and/or options or reasons why you can make a recommendation is that correct?

JACK SNEDDEN: That is correct. Yes.

DEAN BECKER: Now, my guest, you were not a medical doctor before – what is your prior experience?

JACK SNEDDEN: Before medical school I was doing breast cancer research in exercise physiology and nutrition in Denver, some of that was NIH granted research that is published out there and before that I was a professional student until I got my undergrad degree which opened the door for me to go to medical school.

DEAN BECKER: Here in Oklahoma I am aware that the realtors are happy. That so many occupations are really making great strides these days. How has it been for you – are you making an income?

JACK SNEDDEN: Yes. We definitely have to watch our P’s and Q’s, and make sure we cover all of our bases and have all of the appropriate malpractice insurance in place and things like that but yeah, we have to run it – it is a business. We are paying the bills.

DEAN BECKER: And that’s the obvious thing we gotta do, all of us. Jack, how long have you been doing this and do you see it as a career at this point?

JACK SNEDDEN: We are endeavoring to figure that out. There is still thousands of people that need their medical recommendations and until that process is changed by legislation, it is going to be business as usual. Of course there certain things that come in to play that make it more difficult to see the patient and we figure a legal way to address that and still see the patient and get the cards in the hand of the people that need it.

DEAN BECKER: Now this is a modern era. It is important folks know how to reach you. Can folks find you on the web?

JACK SNEDDEN: Absolutely. We have a website, it is: www.okcannabisdoc.com, and we do telemedicine – it is somewhat more difficult to do patient drives and see patients and there are a lot of patients that are homebound. I also want to be very discreet and not be seen out in public getting people on it there is still a stigma attached to it and telemedicine addresses all of that. We do have all HIPPA compliant software and hardware and we take care of business when we need to.

DEAN BECKER: I am a little ignorant here, telemedicine – what is it?

JACK SNEDDEN: Telemedicine is 100% online and it is a recognized form of establishing a bona fide patient/physician relationship. It is even reimbursable under Medicare and so we proceed with that but we do not process any Medicare payments. What I am saying is that if Medicare thinks it is a bona fide patient/physician relationship then everybody else should follow suit and think as well because that’s the way it works across the insurance industry.

DEAN BECKER: Now we are in Norman, Oklahoma. Is this your hometown?

JACK SNEDDEN: No. I am from Broken Arrow.

DEAN BECKER: And as I understand it that is a suburb of Tulsa some 50 – 100 miles?

JACK SNEDDEN: It is just over 100 miles.

DEAN BECKER: So you do tour the state a bit for those that maybe don’t have the web or access to that telemedicine.

JACK SNEDDEN: Absolutely. We are certainly open to patient drives. Of course we have to keep in mind the laws that we can’t physically be inside of a dispensary but there are lots of numerous ways to get around that to still get the patients seen that need to be seen but yes, we go pretty much all over Oklahoma plus the telemedicine. It is all about the patients.

DEAN BECKER: All right folks, once again we have been speaking with Dr. Jack Snedden. And once again that website is: www.okcannabisdoc.com.

DEAN BECKER: We are hear in Spavinaw, Oklahoma. I am here with one of the folks holding this event together. The Happy Highlife Harvest Fest of 2019. We are here with Grizzly. How is it going, sir?

GRIZZLY: Doing good.

DEAN BECKER: Tell us about this event. What brought you here?

GRIZZLY: Well I just wanted to make sure that something in my local area went over well and so I volunteered to work to make sure that things went well.

DEAN BECKER: So you live nearby here?

GRIZZLY: Yeah. I live about 20 minutes away from here. I have got a commercial grow in the industry and just wanted to make sure everything went well and everything was thought well of this event.

DEAN BECKER: Now you say you have got a commercial grow. It’s okay to say so now I would suppose. Were you involved in the trade before this new law fell in play?

GRIZZLY: Oh yeah.

DEAN BECKER: Tell us about your history of growth.

GRIZZLY: 2005 I went to Amsterdam and met a girl in a coffee shop, she taught me how to grow. I went to the hemp college – or the marijuana college over there and learned how to grow. From there I got some seeds in Amsterdam, I bought me a George Cervantes book and I have been doing it since 2005.

DEAN BECKER: Well you are, I dare say – one of many, maybe many thousand here in the state of Oklahoma succeeding. Is that a true thought?

GRIZZLY: I think so. I am doing pretty good. I just took about 180 of my 360 outdoor plants – most of them were about a8 – 10 feet tall.

DEAN BECKER: That is yielding oh about a pound and half to two?

GRIZZLY: I don’t know yet. I haven’t really weighed it yet. In fact we just cut them down and started hanging them. It was a nightmare job to be honest with you.

DEAN BECKER: Well to get it right – you damned right!

GRIZZLY: Yes. To get it right it was a nightmare.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. Now I see that smile on your face. I think there is some good weight in your future but that is legal, that is business right here in the state of Oklahoma. I keep talking to folks – it helps electricians, it helps doctors, it helps real estate agents. Everybody is benefitting. Let’s talk about how it is benefitting your community.

GRIZZLY: Well I got to buy a brand new air conditioner and put an air conditioner in my house. The guys that have the heating and air business – they sure appreciated it. I have gone down to the feed store and spent more thousands of dollars than I would have ever spent had it not been for this. I have been down to the hardware store more times than you can ever imagine and they all know you and appreciate it. They tell the same story – I am not the only one coming in spending this kind of money doing this. It has changed everything for everyone.

DEAN BECKER: Your trips to these vendors – these commodities are in effect necessary to have a good quality product. It is something that is a requirement to get it right.

GRIZZLY: Yeah. Last night I had to go to the grocery store to get dry ice to do some stuff.

DEAN BECKER: Is it Co2?

GRIZZLY: Well I needed some cold for some of my plants so I was just dropping the temperature. It was just the easy way to do it – but yeah. The grocery store was helping out to grow some marijuana last night.

DEAN BECKER: The list goes on.

GRIZZLY: The list goes on. It doesn’t matter – there are so many businesses benefitting from this. Real estate people, the banks if they would get out of the way. They could make a—

NORMA SAPP: Packaging.

GRIZZLY: --Yes, packaging. Oh my god, packaging. That is huge business. If the government would allow it – advertising. Every one of these thousands of businesses need somebody to advertise for them but they can’t pay for advertising because you can’t deduct the taxes off the tax.

DEAN BECKER: Aren’t we leaving out one particular recipient that gets a hell of a lot of money. What is the tax rate on cannabis in these retail outlets?

GRIZZLY: Oh you mean the butt raping? The criminal tax raping of us at 40% - yeah, that’s right – 40% of your marijuana price goes to taxes – taxes alone. Taxes to somebody that does absolutely nothing to benefit this industry. They set a bunch of hoops that we had to jump through, a bunch of problems that it created for everyone in the industry but they have not provided one single thing that benefits us. What do they do to protect us?

DEAN BECKER: If I dare say, heretofore they wouldn’t mind locking you up and putting you in a cage, right?

GRIZZLY: And I get to appreciate the fact that now they are not going to lock me up and steal everything I own. That is what I get for my 40%.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Mr. Grizzly I thank you so much for your time. Is there a website or some closing thoughts you’d like to share?

GRIZZLY: Just stay safe and enjoy life.

It’s time to play Name That Drug By its Side Effect. Does your idea of a fun night consist of playing German board games and going to bed at 10? Do you avoid looking at the news because you know it’ll make you sad? Do you get angry just knowing that they are teenagers on VINE who have made more money in the past two years than you will in your entire life? Do you enjoy drinking a beer right after getting home from work just a little too much? If you answered yes to even one of those questions, chances are you might have Adulthood. A serious condition that affects 7 billion people 18 and older worldwide and there’s no legal cure!

DEAN BECKER: Once again back to the Happy High Life Harvest Fest here in Spavinaw, Oklahoma. I am here with a gentleman, Uncle Grumpy. How are you sir?

UNCLE GRUMPY: I am doing good. How are you?

DEAN BECKER: I am well sir. First off – the name, please. Uncle Grumpy.

UNCLE GRUMPY: Okay. Well I grew up around bikers. It is an old biker thing. Some friends wanted to upset me so they started calling me Uncle Grumpy. They came up with a bunch of other names first but they didn’t really stick and the minute they said Uncle Grumpy – I went over and said you know what, I am going to stick with that one and I went out and had a patch made that night. So it has been like that ever since. Now it turns out that Grumpy also stands for Government Refusal United Many People to say yes. So I am who I am supposed to be.

DEAN BECKER: Well fair enough. We are here at this fest. You and Miss Norma Sapp are going to be a couple of the speakers. If you would, give me a brief summary – a half a paragraph. What are you going to be presenting this evening?

UNCLE GRUMPY: Well I will probably give a little bit of my own story but mostly I will talk about what I have been talking to everybody about all day and that is what I do. I told the law makers in the beginning it’s not that I am grumpy, it’s that I have been riding around the state on my motorcycle listening to people and they are all grumpy and they want me to come up here to the Capitol and tell you why they are grumpy. So I will just try and convey some of that. I have been talking to people all day today about what is next for the state whether it be a petition for full access, which you may know is recreational or some other type of petition. I have been trying to get the feel for what the crowd here thinks. I do a show on Facebook where I talk about these things and Norma comes on there frequently and I will just get her up on stage with me and we will just kind of wing it. We will do like we do it on the show.

DEAN BECKER: Well fair enough. I like to think about this – being grumpy. Letting these officials know – in Texas we have a problem. Everybody comes up very softly begging please sir – will you allow it? We know we need your cooperation. Without any influence – without any real determination. Just depending on the kindness of strangers so to speak. I have made a few enemies by saying we need to be bolder, we need to talk a little sterner. We need to expose their failings, their lack of knowledge in this area rather than just allowing them to stand there as pontificating idiots. Your response to that?

UNCLE GRUMPY: Yeah. I understand you guys have it differently down there. You don’t have the same petition process so you are kind of at the will of your government. But you are at that point as we are also back at that point again – we are at a tipping point where we can either let them try and appease us and tell us to calm down that they will fix things a little at a time.

DEAN BECKER: Trust them.

UNCLE GRUMPY: We just relax – and trust them. Government works slow – I love that one. The government works slow. We are at that point where we can say okay, we don’t want to upset them. I sit at the table with these people. I don’t’ want to make enemies but what choice do I have? They are not listening. They are not leaving us any option. So at this point we have no choice but to run over them with another petition. Down there in Texas unfortunately you guys don’t have that option. Now whether or not a petition here of any kind stands a chance at the ballot, we don’t know yet. But at the very least – as a chess player, we need that piece on the board during this session in February. So we will make sure that that happens.

DEAN BECKER: Well that is good to know. Everywhere we go today – we visit dispensaries, we are gonna talk to some growers again tomorrow. We are gonna visit some grow sites, look at some drying racks. I am sure it’s going to be a different day for me coming from Texas where that just doesn’t happen. It hasn’t happened in about 100 years – at least not legally and I guess the point I am wanting to get to is that you guys give me courage with what you did. You showed that even in the south it is possible and I want to thank you for that. Any closing thoughts you would like to share, Uncle Grumpy?

UNCLE GRUMPY: Yes, there is. You have got a whole lot of people in Texas and we have got a whole lot of people in Kansas that don’t have programs yet that need them and we have Arkansas which has issues. So I think Oklahoma needs to start figuring out ways that we can help our neighbors and I think you need to be looking to the CLA – the Cannabis Liberty Alliance, to help push those ideas during the next legislative session. I think we are going to have a way to solve this problem. I really do. I don’t want to let too much out of the bag right now but like I said, just watch the CLA. I think you guys will be pleasantly surprised down in Texas what is coming up in Oklahoma.

DEAN BECKER: Uncle Grumpy, I want to thank you. I think just the success I see here, the progress, the commerce is going to prove to a lot of other legislators that the sky didn’t fall.

UNCLE GRUMPY: That is right. No one is running through the street naked screaming. It turns out Reefer Madness IS the Reefer Madness. It’s not that you use cannabis and go crazy. It’s that if you don’t understand cannabis you are somewhat crazy. So it is a little backwards, but we are working on that.

MALE VOICE: So we are a medical cannabis dispensary here in Oklahoma. We have been here for about two months. Cannabis has been legal here for about a year and we came right in at the right time I think.

DEAN BECKER: It looks just amazing. Very professional and clean. Something to attract future customers. We are here with one of the leaders here in Oklahoma, Norma Sapp. Norma, I appreciate you taking us around and showing us these folks. We are from Texas where hemp is now legal. Where our district attorney is now saying well we can’t tell the difference between hemp and marijuana. We are just going to quit arresting people. The whole point boils down to Reefer Madness is dying down. It is dissipating is it not?

NORMA SAPP: Yes. Except for in a few small towns in Oklahoma that I guess haven’t read the newspaper.

DEAN BECKER: That would hold true in Texas as well. Can I get your first name?

MALE VOICE: My name is Troy.

DEAN BECKER: Troy, how is business?

TROY: It is great. I have been in the industry now for about a year and I have never been happier. These guys that I am working with right now here at Herbal House – I couldn’t ask for a better team.

DEAN BECKER: Well we have been talking to a few folks and talking about how it is just great for employment here in this state. There are all kinds of new jobs coming forward. In your back room I see signs of new construction, workers busy as heck making noises back there. There is a lot of potential, right?

TROY: Oh yeah. There definitely is. It is funny how far and wide it stretches. It is everything from electricians at grow houses to if there is some sort of niche that you think you fit in to this cannabis world – I am sure you can fill it. I had someone come to me the other day and they were like hey I had this idea – this thought about this thing that I would really like to do and I think it would be really specific for the cannabis realm and I told him you might as well try it because no one else is doing it yet. I think as far as economic growth in the state of Oklahoma I think it has been nothing but a plus. I just hope that our state spends the money right.

DEAN BECKER: Wisely.

TROY: We don’t have a great track record with that yet.

DEAN BECKER: I hear you. Look it is my hope that the success here in Oklahoma and other states as well, but there has always been this competition. They don’t play each other in football every year anymore between Oklahoma and Texas it has always been an ongoing, macho thing but Oklahoma seems to have won this – not just the battle – they won the war!

NORMA SAPP: For sure. I had a Facebook page that was Oklahoma and Texas who will legalize first, and we won. Yay! Boomer Sooner, all that.

DEAN BECKER: No, you are right. It’s just another example of how wrong-headed the drug war is because it is nearing 50 million people arrested so far yet the only people that have profited in the past were criminals. Mexican cartels in the early days. It’s just a situation that never had any real benefit and you guys are proving benefit. What is your long term goal? Are you going to open up a chain of these?

TROY: I think if you had asked us a year ago that might have been the case. I think right now we’re happy with our flagship store here in Norman and we are just kind of taking it slowly. I think a little slower than I think we intended to initially but we are happy with our growth and where we are at right now has kind of given us the opportunity to be really hands on with the patients that we work with on a daily basis and to continue to go above and beyond as far as accommodating them. It never really feels like we are over reaching. I feel like we are always playing to our strengths here.

DEAN BECKER: Right. Well I know that harvest time is here. I am predicting the hemp prices are going to fall. That is just my economist perspective on this – that there is going to be a huge over supply. Heck I understand in Oregon, weed is down to $50 an ounce because they have a million pounds of surplus so I am just urging you guys to be careful and sneak up on this. Any closing thoughts, sir?

TROY: In regards to what you just mentioned. We have got all of these outdoor grows – or greenhouse grows that are about to be harvested and I am sure those prices will be dirt cheap. The thing that I have yet to see in Oklahoma – there is plenty of good cannabis out there but the supply of it actually is not as large as one would think and so I would be really interested to see in the coming year how that develops and how fast it takes Oklahoma to catch on with that. Because once that expands then the prices can really come down across the board, but right now I can only think of a handful of companies that are really putting out top tier quality medical cannabis and as it stands with so few competitors, they are allowed to keep the prices high. It will be interesting to see how that changes over the course of the next year. It will be interesting to see where we stabilize as well. A lot of what if’s.

DEAN BECKER: There are plenty of them I am sure. Is there a website you want to recommend?

TROY: How about the most obvious choice here – you can find us at www.herbalhouse.com, you can also keep track with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Weed Maps. We are just Herbal House here in Norman, Oklahoma.

DEAN BECKER: Well that is about all we can include this week. Be sure to join us next week. We will have more from Oklahoma. We will have the story of Mr. Will Foster, who went from 93 years in prison to growing Norma’s Dream – that wonderful weed.

Once again I remind you because of prohibition, you don’t know what is in that bag. Please be careful!

To the Drug Truth 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 any abyss.