Empowerment through Education, Part VII: Rescheduling, Banking, and Beyond

Published on: 

Columns | <b>Cannabis Voices</b>

Join us for the final installment of this multipart interview series as the co-founders of Cannabis Patients Pacific Northwest share how they envision the future of cannabis regulations.

In Part VII, Jeremy Robbins and David Benedicktus, co-founders of Cannabis Patients Pacific Northwest (CPPNW), share which current challenges cannabis patients and consumers face that they hope to see change in the next five years and why being in a cannabis business is a labor of love.

Catch up on past interviews or watch the whole series!

Empowerment Through Education, Part I: An Introduction to the Founders of Cannabis Patients Pacific Northwest

Empowerment through Education, Part II: 'It's a Big World of Cannabis Out There'

Empowerment through Education, Part III: ‘It’s Not Food Science, It’s Cannabis Science'

Empowerment through Education, Part IV: Medical Cannabis Grow Laws and Cultivation

Empowerment through Education, Part V: Navigating Medical Cannabis Regulations

Empowerment through Education, Part VI: Cannabis Courses and Outreach


Read a transcription of the interview.

Madeline Colli: So my next question was what would you guys like to see change in the next five years in the cannabis industry?

David Benedicktus: Rescheduling from Schedule One—that would that would be the next five years right, we're talking about that? Rescheduling, allowing the banking industry to take over, growers and dispensaries to have access to the banking industry, and federal legalization. The big thing for me is the federal legalization because of the social justice side of things. Some opportunistic law enforcement agencies are using this as an opportunity to do civil forfeiture possession of cars that are driving from Oregon or Washington through Idaho for example, which is a completely illegal state, and they just target you because you're coming from a different state. And then when they get out there, they create a reason to get the dog out and then they cause them to point at the car and then they take whatever money you've got and the car and seize it and sell it and they make you get a lawyer to say that there wasn't anything in there and in the end, and you have to go through the process of talking about how canines can be triggered to point at something, that they weren't reacting to anything that was in the car. Unscrupulous, corrupt, this has been documented in Politico, it’s been Mother Jones, all these articles on this and they’re letting that happen throughout the United States. That's why I don't drive through the South or into Idaho. Jeremy, go ahead.

Jeremy Robbins: You know, federal legalization would be great. I don't think that that's going to happen. Before that, though, if they could somehow or another figure out the banking, that would be huge. We are an ancillary—we touch cannabis, but we don't sell cannabis. And we definitely don't collect taxes on it. We still have a very challenging time with banking. We've been rejected by several banks—

Benedicktus: Our nonprofit.

Robbins: Our nonprofit, yeah. That word “cannabis” banks don't like. The patchwork of laws so you know, that people can get Delta-8 all over the place instead of you know, here and there. There are still places where cannabis is illegal, and people are still going to jail for it. And that's got to change. It is a plan. So those are those are my hopes over the next five years.

Benedicktus: And I would add to that, that all health care curriculum includes cannabis.

Robbins: Absolutely yeah, absolutely.

Benedicktus: Jeremy and I just recently attended an online two-day symposium by Stockton University. There were presentations on medical cannabis, on legal cannabis, all done in community education or university settings, classes. So there's movement in that. A lot of them on the East Coast: Cornell, Stockton in New Jersey, Robert Mejia, I think his name is. So we're gonna get involved with that and be part of that. Doing a talk maybe in the next quarter when they have it. But it was wonderful to see all the people talking and all these educators talking about what's happening their area, how they can grow hemp, and what the community's response to it is, the college or university response, and how law schools are teaching about medical cannabis, cannabis law.

Colli: Now, my last question for you guys before I take up any more of your time, is, if you have anything else you want to add that I didn't ask.

Robbins: Well, so I would say the “green rush” is over, you know, getting into cannabis to make a bunch of money is probably not the best thing for anybody to do at this point. You know, the price per gram of cannabis is cheapest here on the West Coast. And that's not talking bulk prices, so it's really difficult for a lot of companies to succeed right now and what we're seeing is a lot of consolidation. What that pretty much means is that large companies are buying up all of the small farms and what we know from just regular old agriculture is that having a few producers of products, if something goes wrong during that chain, yeah, it can have really disastrous effects.

The last thing that I'll add is cannabis really is a labor of love. It's an awful lot of work, you know, to produce a product. And so, at this point in the game, if you don't have a passion or a love, for what you do and for the people who you're doing it for, clearly you're in the wrong business. It's there's no money left in it. that was the intent for a lot of people I know at the beginning. It's something that, you know, I am in it for the long game. I don't know why they just can't put a permanent stamp on my medical card, but they like that $100 I give them every year, so here we go. But yeah, so thank you. I really have felt like this was an excellent interview. It's been really fulfilling to be able to tell our stories. We hope that you have been able to learn a little bit of something too.