Cannabis Legends Show
Cannabis Legends Show

Cannabis CEO Roundtable - Bruce Linton, Joe Lusardi, and Chris Walsh Talk Cannabis on Weed Talk LIVE

What do 3 legends of the marijuana business think about the post COVID-19 weed world?

Posted by:
Thom Baccus on Saturday Apr 18, 2020

Cannabis CEO Roundtable - Bruce Linton, Joe Lusardi, and Chris Walsh Talk Cannabis on Weed Talk LIVE

The CEO Legends of Cannabis Talk Marijuana in a Post COVID-19 World on Weed Talk Live from CannabisNet on Vimeo.


Weed Talk LIVE goes "legends" this week as former CEO of Canopy Growth Bruce Linton, current CEO of Curaleaf, Joe Lusardi, and CEO of MJ BIZ Daily, Chris Walsh, sit down to discuss the current state of cannabis, how COVID-19 is affecting their lives, and what they see for the future of the cannabis industry.  Jimmy Young of Pro Cannabis Media and Curt Dalton of lead a spirited and funny conversation about cannabis in the time of coronavirus.  Watch the YouTube interview about or you can read the full transcript below!

Jimmy Young:                  Hi, everyone. Welcome to a very special edition of Weed Talk Now. I'm Jimmy Young, the founder of Pro Cannabis Media.

Curt Dalton:                    I'm Curt Dalton, the founder of, your one stop shopping spot online for cannabis news, information and videos.

Jimmy Young:                  And we are very proud to be having our videos now on, and we thank Curt Dalton for that honor. Tonight, speaking of honors, we are honored to have three gentlemen who all in the cannabis industry respect and look up to. One of course, is Curt's really good friend, Bruce Linton. Tell me a little bit about Bruce Linton, Curt.

Curt Dalton:                    For those that don't know, he would be on the Mount Rushmore of cannabis business. Ex-CEO of Canopy Growth, received over five billion from Constellation Brands, he really brought legitimacy to this niche. He led the way for Canopy and bringing this entire stock market to its heights.

Curt Dalton:                    Currently he is involved, I think, with five different companies, we'll have to ask him, including MindMed, psychedelic medicines and mushrooms, so he is constantly having his finger in a lot of pots and hearing a lot of things, so I'm looking forward to see what he says.

Jimmy Young:                  And alongside Bruce Linton will be Joe Lusardi, the CEO of Curaleaf, a multi-state operator that is actually right here in Massachusetts where their world headquarters is, and they are the true MSO, the multi-state operator. And Joe is someone who oversees a very large company, has grown this company, and we really look forward to talking to both of them. And then after we're done with Bruce and with Joe, who are we going to talk to, Curt?

Curt Dalton:                    Favorite Wall Street Journal of cannabis editor Christ Walsh of MJ Biz daily. We're going to find out what's going on with his show in the fall, what is he hearing in the industry, when is this going to turn around, and is COVID actually good for the industry? Will it force or push legalization forward? So we get to talk to him.

Jimmy Young:                  And we will have all of that, but let's get this thing started now. Well we're back, here we are again, Weed Talk Now is the show. I'm Jimmy Young from Pro Cannabis Media. Joining me in the Zoom room here is Bruce Linton. To my left, Joe Lusardi from Curaleaf is below me, and Curt Dalton, you are diagonal from me, from Thank you guys for joining us. And what else did you have to do besides hang out for another day in your house anyway? So I appreciate that.

Bruce Linton:                   Well, it also it gave me a chance to think about what T-shirt to wear, and so...

Jimmy Young:                  So if you want to show it off the Bruce, feel free.

Bruce Linton:                   Right there.

Jimmy Young:                  There it is,

Bruce Linton:                   The glory days of Jamaica.

Jimmy Young:                  And the story of that goes that when Bruce was on one of our shows earlier, I was wearing a Legal's T-shirt. The Legal's Sea Food, fish. And he thought that was a really cool shirt. Look, Curt's actually going to hold it up. Roger Berkowitz is a friend, and he presented that to us when he came on our show back in September.

Jimmy Young:                  And of course, Bruce liked it so he's like, "I want one of those." So I carried it to MJ Biz in Las Vegas, and gave it off to Bruce, and he was very happy. And I am too. Bruce, you said you're getting a lot of good feedback from that?

Bruce Linton:                   Every time I wear it. I don't know if you could tell when Curt held it up, but the leaf is formed with a bunch of fish.

Curt Dalton:                    Oh, yeah. So let me take a better look here.

Jimmy Young:                  That's awesome.

Bruce Linton:                   Yeah. And so it is one of those shirts that everybody thinks is like all the rest, and then they realize... And on the back... Turn it around, Curt, so people can see that it's from...

Curt Dalton:                    Legal Sea Foods.

Bruce Linton:                   Legal Sea Foods. So the whole formation of the fish for the leaf makes a lot of sense, and I thought it's very clever.

Jimmy Young:                  It was clever, and it was all part of an ad campaign that Legal Sea Foods did in the fall. That was one of the reasons why Roger came on the show, is explain why they were using the 420 code to get your attention. And it aired just before every Celtics game, so I was watching it all the time in the fall.

Jimmy Young:                  Joe, if you don't mind, let's start with you. Hang on a second. And we don't need her... That's interesting. But anyway, let's start with you, Joe, and get your reaction to what has been a very... Everybody uses the word, unprecedented. None of us have ever gone through anything like this in our lifetime, as far as the COVID-19. As a CEO of a company, not just medical but also recreational, how difficult has this time been for you and Curaleaf?

Joe Lusardi:                     I mean, it's certainly been difficult. We've had to adjust our business on the fly and do a lot of things that we're not accustomed to doing. I have to say that, having looked back on the last couple of weeks, I'm currently proud of the team and how they've responded.

Joe Lusardi:                     And I think that actually, the fact that we're essential in every state we operate in, it's a huge validation for our business. So net, I think that the recognition that cannabis belongs as a part of our society for good is a positive step for the industry. Regulators across the country are letting us do things like online ordering, curb side pickup.

Joe Lusardi:                     They're relaxing rules on hiring... A lot of stuff that frankly was unnecessary. So my hope is that as we come through this, some of those things will become a permanent feature of our business, of the net positive. But obviously, it's difficult and everybody's going through challenging times, but I'm an optimist. I always try to find the silver lining in a bad situation.

Curt Dalton:                    [crosstalk 00:05:49]

Jimmy Young:                  We all need that as well. Go ahead, Curt.

Curt Dalton:                    I was going to say, you guys have raised billions of dollars, been in the industry from the beginning, seen the whipsaw markets. So I have to ask both of you, at this point in time, do you believe Carol Baskin fed her husband to a tiger?

Bruce Linton:                   I'm going with yes. There's no way [inaudible 00:06:12] their food source.

Curt Dalton:                    Joe, what do you think? I assume you've watched it.

Joe Lusardi:                     I'm only halfway through the season so I can't give you my conclusion yet. They all seem pretty nuts, so anything's possible.

Curt Dalton:                    Well, we could see the effects of COVID already on the two guys who have raised billions. One looks like the drug dealer from Breaking Bad, the other guy dropped off my pizzas a few hours ago. So it's having its effects.

Jimmy Young:                  Go ahead, Curt. I know you have a list of questions you want to ask, I'm giving you the floor.

Curt Dalton:                    Sure, I'll go ahead. Bruce first. Obviously, restructuring at your old baby, Canopy growth of 800 million, I think, Canadian. Pulling back some of your ideas basically, you could say, of the things you spent money on, do you look at it and say, "Oh, I would have done that or I should have... I would have done that?" Is it personal when you see [inaudible 00:07:01] pulling back on some of the things? What goes through your head?

Bruce Linton:                   Well, for the most part, I think worlds change pretty quickly. So I think part of the reason Canopy got to be where it was is, every time there was an opportunity, we were reacting first or before others identified that need to react. And so it's consistent.

Bruce Linton:                   Do you wish you were in South Africa right now, with a bunch of operations? Probably not. How about Colombia? It hasn't played out at all, as the regulators indicated, in the market size. So I think going asset-light is a good idea. And when we were looking at Colombia, it was really a hedge on... It was my view that we were never going to transit much cannabis from Colombia to anywhere.

Bruce Linton:                   But it's cheaper to have a hedge than to be wrong. And so now with that market played out that way, it goes that route. As far the Canadian assets, there's just so much product going to be or is available on the market from people who didn't spend any money on infrastructure to create finished goods. And so they're now in a situation where they have no access to capital, they have a bunch of [inaudible 00:08:07] basically.

Bruce Linton:                   So they're not essentially buying it cheaper and idle some of their resources. So I think it's regrettable for the people who lost their jobs, and as far as what is the actual number in real cash [inaudible 00:08:26], I think a lot of this account write-off does capture a lot of goodwill and other intangibles. And so the numbers I found look a little bigger than the actual reality of the core cash burden that was used to create stuff.

Curt Dalton:                    And Joe, Bruce brought up a good point, the supply is going to be there. We had run an article on that the Google searches on how to grow weed, how to sell weed are taking off as we hit a recession. Hence, people who need an extra $500 to $800, 1,000 a month are trying to figure out how to sell and grow weed. As the guy who's in multiple states selling legal cannabis, what are your thoughts, if we hit this recession and everybody turns on YouTube and tries to start growing illegally and selling illegally?

Joe Lusardi:                     I mean, first of all, I think cannabis is a great plant. And I think that people are going to definitely turn to it more for anxiety and other issues during a time of crisis. We've actually seen that in our own sales, so that's definitely an interesting trend that I think will continue.

Joe Lusardi:                     The reality is, in the U.S, the cannabis market's a $100 billion market roughly, no matter how you slice it. The regulated market's about 12 billion of that right now, so I'm not concerned at all. There's a huge amount of headroom for regulated operators.

Joe Lusardi:                     More interestingly, I think as states recognize the massive budget deficits they have, they're going to look more and more to create tax revenue in the U.S. And that only seems to bode well for future regulations. I'm absolutely confident that New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania states, all of them on the east coast are going to eventually turn to Cannabis for tax revenue.

Joe Lusardi:                     Because it's just not good public policy anymore to keep this stuff in the black market when it could be tax-regulated and add jobs and be a net economic contributor to a state that has a massive budget deficit. And I think New York's a $20 billion hole right now.

Curt Dalton:                    So Chris was [inaudible 00:10:22] the same thing, that the events of COVID will help federal legalization due to jobs, tax revenue. Do you feel the same way, Bruce?

Bruce Linton:                   Yeah. And even things like utilization and real estate. What do cannabis companies do? They tend to need to set up shop to produce. They're looking to do that in jurisdictions where there are already less costly buildings to grow in, so abandoned and derelict warehousing environments.

Bruce Linton:                   They use retail, and retail is going to be just destroyed after this. So the retail footprint of cannabis is pretty flexible. So congratulations, you're now a governor. What are you worried about? You're worried about taxes, employment, utilization of existing real estate assets. I think cannabis checks every one of those boxes better than any other option they have.

Jimmy Young:                  Joe, that must make you feel pretty good, perhaps coming out of this, at some point, we get back to some kind of normalcy, whatever that looks like. There seems to be a lot of movement and talk about how the cannabis industry can help the United States economy recover, add jobs and perhaps with a change of government, at the end of this year, perhaps some movement on the federal level.

Joe Lusardi:                     Yes. I mean, look, here's what I say. I never try to project what's going to happen at the federal level because it's impossible. What I'm supremely confident in is that every election cycle, we're going to continue to get people going to the ballot box and voting for cannabis.

Joe Lusardi:                     You're going to see Arizona pass adult use this fall. You're going to see New Jersey. You're going to see three or four more states adopt medical. The people are going to keep speaking over and over again. So the legislature is obviously way out of step already with the American people, I think this crisis will hopefully move them more in the direction, but we'll see.

Jimmy Young:                  Curt?

Curt Dalton:                    What excites you most, if we have some vision of the future? Is it federal legalization, being able to ship it from a Curaleaf? Or what do you see as, if everything broke the right way, would get you the most excited about the future?

Joe Lusardi:                     I mean, certainly full federal legalization at some point is the hope. Being able to have a very highly optimized supply chain where we're only growing in a couple parts of the country. Being a vertical operator, state by state, is obviously inefficient. So that's the goal.

Joe Lusardi:                     To be candid, I don't think that's around the corner. I think that may take a little bit more time. The United States is still 50 states, as we're learning through this crisis, where there's 50 governors that are making policy. So I think you'll see a States Rights bill first, and that will allow states to make their own policy legally.

Joe Lusardi:                     I think though full federal legalization is still some time off. [inaudible 00:13:18] way too many flyover conservative states in the country that don't have medical policies for the [inaudible 00:13:25] I think a full federal bill will happen any time soon.

Curt Dalton:                    And Bruce, you've moved on from this petty cannabis stuff, you're now the mushroom king. How has COVID affected MindMed and what you're doing with research? Is it going to be better on the other side for research into psychedelics that you're working on?

Bruce Linton:                   Well, I'd say research generally. So part of the thing I was thinking about when Joe was answering is, MindMed is doing clinical trials or research trials now in Perth, Australia. So when you're in Australia, you're doing... I don't know. I find that there's quite a bit of a similarity between an Australian human, a Canadian human and an American human.

Bruce Linton:                   And so if you have a dataset that is done on a really equivalent basis of an FDA but you could not necessarily have done it as efficiently or maybe even at all with the FDA. When that data turns up in America and it is convincing in the case of the trial [inaudible 00:14:27], I should say, or looking at derivative of [inaudible 00:14:33] as a way to basically get addiction minimized, that will be a, I think, pretty big evidence people can turn to.

Bruce Linton:                   But I think you're going to find that Germany right now has cleaned up from COVID quite a bit, and they're running things like using cannabinoids in certain transdermal delivery mechanisms to try and really effectively treat things like psoriasis.

Bruce Linton:                   And in Canada, prior to COVID, there were trials running on how do aged care homes deal with the four primary ails of being older? Your anxiety, your mobility, your inability to sleep and diminished appetite. And so I think you're going to start to see data land in the U.S from around the world that's going to be a very hard argument for the people opposed to it to stick with.

Bruce Linton:                   And so I'm mainly excited about this fact that we're on a big global planet that doesn't have equal regulatory frameworks because then, you can actually have data to change the bad frameworks. And I think we'd all agree right now, it is sub-optimal in the U.S.

Jimmy Young:                  Joe, what can you learn from the Canadian experience as far...? And I understand obviously having a federal legalization country of the United States is not the same thing that you have here in Massachusetts or in any of the other states that you operate in. But are there things that you can learn from our brethren in Canada?

Joe Lusardi:                     Yes, certainly. I mean, before I do that, I just want to pick up where Bruce left off. I think it's an important point. Bruce is, without a doubt, a visionary and I believe the new [inaudible 00:16:18] is as promising, if not more than, as cannabis.

Joe Lusardi:                     Let's be honest. In the United States, the pharmaceutical lobbying is massive and deeply entrenched, and they don't want this evidence of [inaudible 00:16:31]. We have well-entrenched, powerful, well-funded people that are going to try to suppress cannabis.

Joe Lusardi:                     And so I think Bruce is right, research around the world will hopefully overwhelm all the propaganda, but that may take a little bit of time. With respect to the markets, I've been saying [inaudible 00:16:48]... I'm sure Bruce will agree that the U.S is just structurally different than Canada.

Joe Lusardi:                     Bruce can speak more [inaudible 00:16:56] about Canada, but my observations... The difference we have in the U.S is we really control the supply chain. And as a result, controlling your distribution point, being able to brand, controlling your pricing, not [inaudible 00:17:11], really makes our businesses more advantage.

Joe Lusardi:                     So I think our friends in the north had a full federal program. The problem with that program is, it was implemented by the government. And so that's always a challenge, and I don't think it's going as well as people had hoped. A lot of the operators out there frankly got shortchanged by the government, [inaudible 00:17:33] out, how slowly they rolled it out, cannabis 2.0, all the differentiated products.

Joe Lusardi:                     The store roll-outs have been a mess in Ontario, so it's been a real [inaudible 00:17:44] out there. The irony is, in the U.S, we have no federal co-operation, but we have states that allow us to do what we need to do. Frankly, it's been better for us.

Jimmy Young:                  Got you. I'm just going to jump in here and play the role of the show host for a second. You're watching, or listening, to Weed Talk Now with Curt Dalton, the founder of and yours truly, Jimmy Young, the founder of Pro Cannabis Media. This is a podcast, and also a vodcast.

Jimmy Young:                  The podcast, of course, distributed in all the popular podcast distribution networks like iTunes and Spotify, and we also want to thank CLNS Media for being a pro-cannabis media site. They're a sport-centric, podcast aggregation site. We certainly encourage you to check them out.

Jimmy Young:                  And also, we want to help and thank our supporters from Rev Clinics, a local dispensary here. Maybe we'll get a chance to actually talk to the Curaleaf people to join the Rev Clinics alongside here at some point. But we have been with Rev Clinics since the very beginning of my podcast, which was in the weeds when it first started.

Jimmy Young:                  Now, of course, having Curt on alongside as Weed Talk Now co-host, we've taken a completely different step, a big step. And we also want to thank our friends at And if you haven't checked out the MAZE Pipe from, we certainly encourage you to do this because it will cool your smoking sensation, and we all know that there is a virus out there that loves to attack the respiratory system.

Jimmy Young:                  We're not saying it can cure it, we're just saying it can ease the influx of smoke into the human lungs. And if you do go to, WeedTalk2020 gives you a bit of a discount promo so that you could get yourselves a couple of percentage points of that. Now back to the discussion, and now I'm going to toss it over to Curt who's ready for another question. Curt?

Curt Dalton:                    Sure. Joe, you guys have a big and growing operation in Florida. Great market. Just what were you thinking, the spring break kids, the party, the people mingling with them a few weeks to go? As a businessman, owning businesses, cannabis businesses in Florida, what was going through your head as people were showing that on TV and protesting it and...? Any thoughts, just having all those businesses down there?

Joe Lusardi:                     Look, here's what I would say. I don't envy any governor or the president trying to deal with this. These are massively uncertain times, there's no playbook in this stuff. So it's really hard to overly criticize. From my perspective, the Florida Department of Health has been incredible partners through this crisis.

Joe Lusardi:                     They've deemed us essential. They're working with us to make sure that we can serve our customers, so our experience in Florida has been incredibly positive. What is interesting about Florida is that there's been a mass exodus of... New Yorkers are down in Florida. They're almost overriding the state right now.

Joe Lusardi:                     So I think it's really muddling the data and the spread of the virus because there's such a mix-up of the population. It will be interesting to see if it was the Floridians alone, how the state would fare, particularly given the [inaudible 00:21:06] while they're in a more outdoor lifestyle type of climate. But we won't know because unfortunately, they didn't shut off this picket fast enough and the state's just overrun with [inaudible 00:21:16] escaping the cold and the virus.

Curt Dalton:                    You're betting on... I don't know anybody in New York I [inaudible 00:21:24] that has a place in Florida, that isn't in it.

Joe Lusardi:                     Right. It's really crazy.

Curt Dalton:                    And Bruce, you had mentioned earlier, Canada doesn't seem to have the flare-up, the wave coming through. What did they do better or earlier, or what are you guys doing now that's...? What's so effective, compared to the U.S?

Bruce Linton:                   Well, we do have one massive advantage, that our country is a little bit larger geographically, and there's only 1 in 10 for every American, so isolation is natural. We're already pretty far apart. But I think just the whole thing, this is week five for me, where they've been pushing, "Just stay away."

Bruce Linton:                   And I think that's pretty much been it. I wouldn't say there's been anything else materially different. We didn't have a metro center like in New York that went off in a big way right away. It started in Vancouver mainly a little bit, then moved to Quebec and Montreal.

Bruce Linton:                   But when you get a place like New York which becomes the center of the action, that is a... I don't know how you contain that when you think about the traffic through that city. And I [inaudible 00:22:32] being there frankly randomly. I was out marketing our SPAC on the...

Bruce Linton:                   What day did they have the headline in the Wall Street Journal saying, end of an 11-year bull run and a pandemic declared? I think it was the 11th or the 12th. That's the day I began marketing my SPAC. Genius. There was no-one else on the road.

Bruce Linton:                   But we were supposed to go, the next day, to New York, and we did them all by the phone. And we ended up doing four or five more days of marketing by phone. And frankly, if you have a chance to have basically a buy side person who's stuck at their home, do a call and/or Zoom with you when you're stuck at yours, way better than being in your office.

Bruce Linton:                   We actually got to work through the whole deck, have a focused Q&A, and it didn't end in 10 minutes or 15 minutes. Every one of our calls went really well that way. So I'd say, Canada's been buttoned down but the reality is, until America is well, it doesn't matter if Austria or Germany is doing terrific, who are they going to do business with? They need the U.S back as a counter-party, and so we're looking forward to you guys getting all healthy and well.

Curt Dalton:                    For those that aren't familiar with a SPAC is, special investment vehicle. 150 million or it was even more. What are you looking to invest in? You're raising a shell to invest in... Everybody who's looking maybe for Bruce to invest in them, what are you looking for?

Bruce Linton:                   Even when we were doing it at Canopy, I'm more of an interested person in terms of what the potential of the whole plan is. You can do any digging in about the history of hemp. It's the most bizarre thing that it actually somehow by the 70s got banned because to the best of my knowledge, some of your very early currency was premised upon the necessary fiber permit.

Bruce Linton:                   And your first flags were made by it, and Mr. Ford had a fleet of cars powered by it. And so what we were looking at is, how do we take regions which didn't ban it and prohibit it, and the intellectual property that results from that?

Bruce Linton:                   So if you went to, say, the Netherlands, France, those jurisdictions unlike Canada and the U.S didn't overreact and ban hemp which meant in a not super spotlight, they continue to work away and say, "Well, how do we turn this into what it could be?" And if you do the analysis, there's about 225 categories of existing products that could be rapidly disrupted by hemp.

Bruce Linton:                   And that can be the fiber, it can be the hurd, it can be the protein, it can be ultimately, potentially the CBD. But our whole model is not CBD first, but CBD last, and monetize the plant in a way that makes sense. And so I'm hoping the 2021 agricultural season in the U.S, by that point in time we're going to have processing facilities that will allow people to be on the fields, farming the diversity types of hemp.

Bruce Linton:                   And [inaudible 00:25:26] all the assets that converted in the value-add elements that disrupt HDPE pellets for plastics, to carbon fiber combos, to things that would have the ability to convey electricity and de-weight electric cars. And so the plant is way more exciting if you plant the right ones and don't turn it into CBD first and only.

Curt Dalton:                    And that would right to check, to ask Joe something. Joe, at Curaleaf, what's the breakdown or what are you seeing on the hemp-derived CBD or just people coming in and saying, "I just want CBD, not the THC"?

Joe Lusardi:                     Well, I mean, we operate regulated dispensaries primarily. So the massive [inaudible 00:26:07] is people that THC. But I will say that a lot of our [inaudible 00:26:12] products, so products that do have CBD in it, are also very popular. A small percentage of our customers come in for CBD only, but that's because you can buy it now in the gas station. CBD [crosstalk 00:26:25]

Curt Dalton:                    Which we have a story about, don't buy it there, by the way.

Joe Lusardi:                     No, I hear you. But I mean, the CBD market is so overcrowded that... I agree with Bruce, if you're farming hemp for CBD, it's probably a challenging proposition, but the plant does show huge promise for the environment and for so many other reasons that...

Joe Lusardi:                     I also do believe in that crop [inaudible 00:26:46]. Ironically, I think at some point, CBD might wind up being the source of all cannabinoids. It's so cheap to farm, and it's [inaudible 00:26:57] CBD and the other compounds in that plant, and the TCH in other products that that may be the mother crop, and that all TCH and everything comes from at some point, down the line.

Joe Lusardi:                     It's so early in the cannabis industry, and that's... We want to emphasize. All the stuff Bruce is talking about, around the science and everything, this is the first at bat and the first inning. We don't know anything. We are just barely scratching the surface at what these plants can do to the human condition. So there's a long, long course of delivery we're going to go through together.

Curt Dalton:                    And that makes me [inaudible 00:27:35], first time we met if this a scratching of the surface and the first inning of things. I think we met in a WeWork space in New York City.

Joe Lusardi:                     Yes, that's right.

Curt Dalton:                    If I recall correctly, because we were having a discussion, "Which bank do you like?" And I said, "Well, that's not a possible answer. There are none that you should like, but which one can you find a potential utility?" It was a room big enough to fit Boris, you, me and I think one other guy, but it wasn't much bigger than that. [inaudible 00:28:04]

Joe Lusardi:                     Yes, that's right. [crosstalk 00:28:06] That was probably two and a half years ago now, it was a good while ago.

Curt Dalton:                    Yeah. You're doing pretty well, but I wouldn't want to see how that WeWork space is going to [crosstalk 00:28:17]

Bruce Linton:                   Just going to say that, you're doing better than WeWork already.

Jimmy Young:                  We've since moved out of that. We moved to 420 Lexington Avenue, believe it or not.

Bruce Linton:                   Nice.

Jimmy Young:                  So we have a New York City there. I'm sure you agree, Bruce. This is just the early, early days. There's no conclusions to be drawn. You can't really pick [inaudible 00:28:38], there's just so much on the horizon, which gets me excited. That's why I love the industry because I think there's so much untapped potential and promise in it.

Curt Dalton:                    [inaudible 00:28:50] me, man. Hey, [inaudible 00:28:55] called and he is looking for the edge. Hold on.

Bruce Linton:                   I'd say, Joe, I think part of what you're experiencing is what I experienced, that once you build the biggest one, that's moving the fastest, it's hard because a lot of folks in the sector probably would prefer to see you trip because that makes them think they're doing better.

Bruce Linton:                   But you guys are big enough now, and doing well enough that you've got the burden of being the leader. And so I like the way you're speaking about the regulators. There's always a chance to throw a negative, and you did not throw a negative ever, you reflected positively. And usually, it's true.

Joe Lusardi:                     Yes. I mean, Bruce, the reality is, I was consistently... I don't believe that the other operators are our competition right now. This is a $100 billion market. We represent 12 billion today, there's enough food on the table for all of us to eat.

Joe Lusardi:                     So we try to cooperate as much as we can with other operators, give them a hand, support operators and wholesale and markets. We support GTI in New Jersey, and [inaudible 00:29:58] in other states. We believe that the industry is only going to thrive if we all work together, and we really try to get more favorable regulations.

Joe Lusardi:                     And so we definitely feel the burden [inaudible 00:30:09] leader and trying to create a cannabis industry, but we don't really fear other companies that are our competitors. And we frankly hope they all do well. It's just a very big industry.

Joe Lusardi:                     And I think that as an industry, we need to demonstrate to regulators that there's professionalism, we can do this the right way, we can make safe products. And that's going to break down all of the bullshit and the propaganda we've been up against for the last 100 years in our country.

Jimmy Young:                  Well, we're going through something now that none of us have ever gone through. And I know, Joe, you mentioned food on the table. I'm guessing most of us are not having issues with that, while we have hundreds of thousands of people actually having those issues. I want to ask you guys, you're all working out of your houses. How's that work/life balance working for you guys in your households these last couple of weeks that we've all been holed up?

Curt Dalton:                    Go ahead, Joe. You actually have a job.

Joe Lusardi:                     This is the [inaudible 00:31:08] where I bring my wife in, and tell me how much she enjoys me being home 24 hours a day. I suspect it's not very good. I went from never being home, to being home way too much [inaudible 00:31:20]. My kids are like, "Who the hell is this guy? Why's he...?" So we're all struggling through... Home front is probably a bigger challenge than my job right now.

Jimmy Young:                  And you're working out of your house full time, right?

Joe Lusardi:                     Yeah. We have to respect the governor's orders, we have to set an example. So we're going out for groceries, and that's about it. For me, the people that are the real heroes in our company are the people in the front lines every day, interacting with customers and working through these uncertain times.

Joe Lusardi:                     We've got 57 dispensaries around the country, and people showing up to work every day to deliver products and so, I'd be amiss if I didn't thank all of our [inaudible 00:32:03] for doing that, and for getting out there and carrying on the mission. It's now more important than ever. So frankly, I wish I could do it. It's no fun being home.

Bruce Linton:                   And the way I did it, when I had an office, every Monday I'd have 11 phone calls with different people from Europe through different parts of the U.S and Canada, and finish on the west coast. And then I began by adding a call to parties in Australia, which is at 6.30 PM my time on Monday. So I always had Monday to get a view of what was happening, and I've kept that.

Bruce Linton:                   But today was Thursday, and it involved me... What I've done, Joe, I live in a property, it's about two acres and has trees around the edge. And some of them are not as healthy as they should be. So I allow myself one tank of fuel in my chainsaw per day, and I cut down and cut up the trees.

Bruce Linton:                   But this time of year in Canada, none of them have a leaf. So if I'm feeling like I need another tree, I just deem that one unhealthy and down it [inaudible 00:33:06]. But that's been it. I laugh when you say, Joe, you're never around, then you're around too much.

Bruce Linton:                   Last year, we had about 130 days on the road and a whole bunch of red-eyes going to Germany [inaudible 00:33:20]. I've now been in my house for five weeks and in fact, this room, I've spent more time on this call with you guys in this room than I had in the prior 17 years.

Bruce Linton:                   So this has become my office. It's actually an arcade, that's a pinball game behind, and this is sitting on an old-school hard top Pacman game. I think the effect of things like Zoom and this, and a bunch of the businesses I'm involved in, they are now probably going to shrink their actual physical office space to about a third of what we were carrying before. And there will be gatherings, but there won't be offices all the time for everybody, and there will be cycles where we get together, rather than carry a huge burden for real estate. We don't need them.

cannabis ceo legends show

Joe Lusardi:                     Hey, Bruce, I was going to actually ask you that because I was feeling the same way. It's really amazing. I really believe this will change how companies operate. Even in our business, we have people traveling all around the country, [inaudible 00:34:24] I think we're all saying to ourselves now, "Does that make sense? Is that even necessary, with technology? Does it need offices to do stuff the way we used to?" I mean, I think it's going to force us into thinking about that stuff more clearly.

Bruce Linton:                   When you think about it, you and I are not going to have a sit-down meeting until there's a vaccine. But I bet we talk again before that.

Joe Lusardi:                     Right.

Bruce Linton:                   So the effect of this is, we're going to get used to doing things over the next 6, 12 months. This isn't just the last five weeks. So I'm fairly upbeat about some of the tech I'm involved with, because of that. I feel quite down on things like office space.

Bruce Linton:                   I don't know how WeWork's going to come out the other side of this. They have hard contracts, it's really their advantage. When you are a member, whatever they call it, they set the hooks into you pretty hard. And so other than that, I think a lot of people are just going to give up on the spaces.

Joe Lusardi:                     There was a power of the face-to-face meeting that's been now replaced by this kind of technology. Is that going to change the deals that are made?

Bruce Linton:                   I don't know. I bet you're still going to need face-to-face to do all the final deals, but getting started on something historically has been a problem of trying to figure out when you can get together to start on it.

Joe Lusardi:                     Right. And certainly, that's not going to be a handshake deal anymore.

Curt Dalton:                    To continue what they were saying, I think this technology is going to get real interesting. One is, Joe and I live in the Boston area. Traffic, could we get it where we take 25% of the cars rotating? Maybe big companies take a Tuesday, and the next big company... To alleviate traffic, which will help the environment and secondarily, higher education.

Curt Dalton:                    As I know, Joe's got kids... Sorry, Bruce has kids there. Is this the breaking point for the $70,000 a year colleges? Which has gone up faster than anything, even inflation. Is there something coming where this is the tipping point?

Curt Dalton:                    Video conferencing. Maybe half your time at a dorm or school, but the price has now come down to where you can get a legitimate college education or post-degree through video and through online classes. It's much more legitimate after COVID. So yes, who knows what happens to some of these big industries in a year or two?

Joe Lusardi:                     Yes. Curt, I had the conversation with a buddy of mine whose kid goes to USC at $267,000 a year. We all recognize the education is being delivered in an antiquated way right now. You could have a professor and 3,000 kids take a course over a computer and stuff.

Joe Lusardi:                     My kids aren't college age yet, they're a year years out. But I'm hoping there's actually a shift in the way that education is delivered, and it becomes more economical because frankly, it's a bit of a relic of the past now, the way it's being done.

Curt Dalton:                    I've got two young kids too. You would be [inaudible 00:37:33] going, "Just bring that [inaudible 00:37:35] project from Stanford. Make it tech-ready here for college, we're in."

Joe Lusardi:                     That's it.

Jimmy Young:                  And of course, I'm the old guy in the room right now but I am teaching using Zoom at Emerson College this semester. And I've got 30 out of 31 kids every Monday and Wednesday, noon to 1:30. And to be honest, if you really do understand how teaching is done...

Jimmy Young:                  And I'm a big proponent of experiential learning. I want to give assignments, I want these kids to be reading and writing, reading aloud, writing, speaking, all those things that have disappeared from that face-to-face in our own human communication.

Jimmy Young:                  I put those into my courses because they'll do it. First of all, they're bored out of their minds, they're happy to make the time to go to class. And second, it's the kind of assignment that you need to have beyond just this. We know that the next few years, we are going to see a lot of changes.

Jimmy Young:                  And I think everyone in this room agrees that the cannabis industry certainly is poised to take advantage of some of the new ways people are going to be doing business, some of the new products that will be entering the marketplace, and also how to create jobs.

Jimmy Young:                  The industry's a little baby. You guys were talking about how we're just at the very beginning of it. Well, we all recognize, you can tax it, you can bring jobs in, there's so many positives to it now. And if everybody would just get away from the stigma... Are you still dealing with the stigma on a daily basis in your business, or has that...?

Joe Lusardi:                     Every day.

Jimmy Young:                  Every day?

Joe Lusardi:                     Every single day. Look at Massachusetts. I mean, we have a governor that doesn't recognize that cannabis should be as legal as alcohol right now. One example...

Curt Dalton:                    So Joe, wait. We've written about this a lot, where governor Baker's decision was, we don't want New Yorkers coming over the border. [inaudible 00:39:34] New York [inaudible 00:39:35]. To me, with the ordering systems that are out there, there could have been a compromise.

Curt Dalton:                    I like to call it the five guys' compromise where you can order ahead, have it taken out to your car. Couldn't we have found some common ground to get rec...? Obviously, I hope you vote yes on that. But does Baker have anything to stand on, as far as saying, "Well, the lines are too long at rec."

Curt Dalton:                    We now know that's his fault for dragging his feet for a couple of years, but can't go back now, we have a virus here. Why couldn't we get a solution? Why couldn't we get a compromise on the, "Hey, stay in your car. We'll bring it to you. Let Rec go, but don't stand in line."

Joe Lusardi:                     Curt, in Massachusetts, there are 1,600 liquor stores. We estimate there are 350,000 transactions happening every day for alcohol. 40 stores in the Commonwealth can't operate safely? I don't believe it. Everybody gets ID checked, we can very easily limit it to people that are residents in the Commonwealth. The reality is, it's just what we've been dealing with, that cannabis has not been accepted, it's not being recognized as part of the mainstream. And so it's easy to make those decisions.

Jimmy Young:                  One of my biggest beefs with this whole thing, guys... And I don't know if you ever listen to the podcast but I talk about, there's no public service announcement. The only stories that the traditional media here runs are the negative stories about the industry.

Jimmy Young:                  There's no positive, how cannabis has changed my life, how cannabis has saved my life stories. Anchorage tried to run one during the Superbowl last year, and CBS nixed it. That spot that they ran had three incredible stories about how cannabis has saved, I believe one was, a veteran's life, one had cancer.

Jimmy Young:                  I mean, there are stories out there, but there's no balance in the reporting of it because you guys know if it bleeds, it leads in media. But there are so many compelling human interest stories, and they're not being told. Frustrations for you guys not to see a public service campaign?

Bruce Linton:                   For me, I think the bias indicates that there's still an opportunity that's bigger than allowing everyone in. A lot of the major corporations stay away because of the perceived negativeness. So I think it gives guys like Joe and myself a chance to keep building businesses where that bias is annoying.

Bruce Linton:                   It's actually like a barrier to a bunch of rational actors who should come in. As far as the media coverage, what I found... So I've been watching everything from how's the view in Ohio, so that doctors can have better access to prescribing without having to see people, to what does Ontario do?

Bruce Linton:                   Which is, they de-stigmatize cannabis because it's federal and state legal. They start opening stores, and then they close the recreational stores for about 10 days, which were the 10 best days, I'm sure, for the illicit trade because you've de-stigmatized something and told people, "Now that you've got used to it, you've got to go buy it from the guy in the puffy coat."

Bruce Linton:                   So I see weird moves like that, but I continually see progress. And when I say that, this government that I'm talking about, in Ontario didn't necessarily want to have the stores open, but there was enough of an outcry to say, "No, it has to happen," that they went back on their word and changed their position.

Bruce Linton:                   And so I'm curious, Joe, a lot of times I'm hearing and obviously seeing curb side and all these things, but what about format? When I think about places like New York and Minnesota, it's not just access, it's what you get to buy.

Joe Lusardi:                     Right. Right.

Bruce Linton:                   Are you having good discussions where regulators are looking at, or thinking about that a bit more progressively in this weird state?

Joe Lusardi:                     I think it's a good question, Bruce. It's probably a little too early to tell, but I would say that I'm encouraged that more manufacturers will come in. New York's a good example. If you look at New York, there's [inaudible 00:43:42] million in New York, in amount of population, almost the exact same rules.

Joe Lusardi:                     Except factors in New York are a fraction of what they are in Florida. So you see this massive growth in the market. You have flower, you have vapes, you have concentrates in Florida. And you have five skews in New York, that don't include flower, can't compete with the guy in the puffy coat.

Joe Lusardi:                     But I think that we've made some progress. We launched the first chewable in New York last quarter, so that's progress. We launched a ground flower product late last year, so we're definitely having long gains. But I think more form factors will come in, particularly as people think about the COVID impact on people's lung health.

Joe Lusardi:                     I think that's a strong argument for allowing of the form factors. It's topicals, edibles and different forms of administration. But we'll see. Again, I'm optimistic but progress is never linear, and it's just not fast enough for...

Bruce Linton:                   What about labs being constrained? Are you finding any flexibility in terms of self-testing or limiting the total obligation of testing?

Joe Lusardi:                     No, we have not seen any relaxation of testing. But I think some of the most positive and encouraging signs are that... Again, there's a recognition now by many of these government... People really rely on these products. Cancer patients can't go a [inaudible 00:45:13] without getting these products.

Joe Lusardi:                     And so I definitely feel encouraged in that way. The biggest shame, in my opinion, about what happened here in Massachusetts is that there are a lot of people, including veterans in particular, that use the adult use channel to buy cannabis legally, and those people [inaudible 00:45:34] on the program.

Joe Lusardi:                     In the United States, 20 veterans commit suicide every day. Millions of veterans are addicted to opioid. Mental health is a huge issue in the veteran community. And there's a complete lack of regard for that population and their state. And so on one hand, you have progress. On another hand, you find yourself massively frustrated with the lack of recognition.

Bruce Linton:                   Yes. And if VapeGate taught us nothing or anything, it should be that the safe channel is the regulated channel. And as soon as you close it, you basically enhance the risk for people.

Joe Lusardi:                     Yes. There was a study that came out... Sorry, Bruce, to interrupt you. But there's a study that came out a little while ago, that showed people that had serious illnesses during the Vape crisis. There's 10 to 1 in states without legal cannabis.

Joe Lusardi:                     So it was very clearly coming from the... Not the [inaudible 00:46:33] channel. There's been no evidence that it ever came out of the legal channel, and so by banning vapes in Massachusetts for a couple months, all you do is force people right back to the source of the problem. And we're doing the exact same thing again.

Jimmy Young:                  Absolutely. Curt?

Curt Dalton:                    Let me ask you, what's one thing when this thing gets lifted, that you want to do? What do you miss the most? Give me a couple things, whether it's personal or business, that you want to go do when they say, "It's all clear." Go ahead, Bruce.

Bruce Linton:                   I like eating in a restaurant. Just going with a group and socializing. As much as it's great to have... We get halfway through breakfast, and we start the discussion of what's for dinner currently... I just find the whole process of getting together with a group of people and having dinner and enjoying the evening... I didn't realize how much that was an important thing.

Jimmy Young:                  Have you done a Zoom meeting, Zoom dinner with any friends yet?

Bruce Linton:                   Yes. Sometimes you forget the Zoom is on and everybody's scrambling around for stuff, and it comes back... Those will be memorable events, and they're fun. But just going for dinner with a group of people and being at a decent restaurant and having a couple of hours where the time passes, that's something that I look forward to again.

Jimmy Young:                  I miss sports [crosstalk 00:47:57], Joe.

Curt Dalton:                    [crosstalk 00:47:58], Joe.

Jimmy Young:                  How about you?

Joe Lusardi:                     I'm the same as Bruce. The human interaction and being able to just share an intimate moment with people, and have conversations. That's the thing I miss. I think that's quite true for a lot of people. You don't realize how connected we are to each other, until you can't be. And then you're like, "Shit, I really..." Even going to the office. I just miss being around people in the office, and banter and all that. [inaudible 00:48:26] kids all day is not that mentally stimulating, frankly.

Curt Dalton:                    On a personal note, is it much easier to be locked away with your family, you're sitting on that huge bale of marijuana you're sitting on, or the huge bag of mushrooms Bruce has off-camera, does it help?

Joe Lusardi:                     I'll trade Bruce some cannabis for some mushrooms.

Bruce Linton:                   I will say, one of the things that happen [inaudible 00:48:49] is that Canopy launched their [inaudible 00:48:52] about three weeks ago. And they're now starting to fill the channel. So these are actually amazing beverages, they only have two milligrams, they're crystal clear and they have no calories, no carbohydrates. Someone said, "Bruce, you look like you're a little thinner. Are you exercising a lot?" Well, that may be a contributing factor, but I think no calories in your beverage is also positive.

Curt Dalton:                    I thought the COVID-19 was the freshman 15. I went the other way.

Joe Lusardi:                     Me too, unfortunately. A lot of stress eating.

Curt Dalton:                    Yes, seriously.

Jimmy Young:                  Well, guys, I've got tell you, listening to both Bruce and Joe talk to each other was fascinating to me. I think both of you are leaders in this industry in so many ways. I really think that the leadership of the industry is in good hands, and I want to thank you guys for that.

Jimmy Young:                  I'm the oldest guy in the room. I'm the guy who's at risk for COVID-19, I get it, but I've lived a long time to finally see this happening in my native state. I never thought I'd see 12 championships in 20 years in Massachusetts, and have cannabis legal. It's just a crazy, crazy time.

Jimmy Young:                  But I want to thank both of you for taking the time out, time away from your families... I know how tough that must have been for both of you, especially at bedtime, for anybody who has any young kids, to join us for this discussion...

Bruce Linton:                   No, it's like, "Honey, honey..." "No. No. No. I'm still on."

Joe Lusardi:                     Keep it rolling, Jim. I can go another hour.

Bruce Linton:                   Yes, it's two-hour show tonight.

Jimmy Young:                  That's right. Well, we can do this again in a month, guys. It's [inaudible 00:50:36] night, you get together and do these things, excuse me, every month. And we look forward to having you on any time. I like to wave the flag so that the cannabis industry has a place to go, to tell their own stories. And we support that effort here at Pro Cannabis Media, and I know Curt does as well. And Bruce, you liked this when we first met back in September too, in Jamaica.

Bruce Linton:                   Yes. No, thanks for organizing us. I don't think Joe and I would have gotten around to getting connected properly again, so this has been very beneficial. Thanks, guys.

Jimmy Young:                  Sure. And speaking of Jamaica, Bruce, of course I still have my [inaudible 00:51:13] that I had and dreadlocks going here. I only pull it out now when I'm talking to you, for some reason. Or going to a party of some kind.

Bruce Linton:                   I feel like I'm on the Brady Bunch show. Which square is not a drug dealer? Because I can't tell on this side.

Jimmy Young:                  And for those of you who are listening and watching, we also have 15 more minutes, a bonus conversation with Chris Walsh from MJ Biz Daily. They just cut a deal with Leafwire, and of course they are always hosting the largest cannabis convention in Las Vegas in December. And for now, that is still on, and let's hope we can all meet down there in December of 2020 and continue this conversation. Well, here we are with a bonus part of Weed Talk Now. I'm Jimmy Young from Pro Cannabis Media.

Curt Dalton:                    And I'm Curt Dalton from

Jimmy Young:                  And joining us as well is Chris Walsh of MJ Biz Daily. And Chris, welcome to Weed Talk Now.

Chris Walsh:                    Thanks for having me on again. I appreciate it.

Jimmy Young:                  No, happy to have you here. Last time we talked, we were in the middle of MJ Biz Con, the biggest one. I believe it was your sixth, in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Man, does it seem like it was only a few months ago? A lot has gone on between December and now.

Chris Walsh:                    Yes. We have a term pot years in the cannabis industry, since we started nine years ago. And every two or three months, as anyone in this industry knows, feels like a year or two. I can tell you, that has been accelerated with all the chaos going on now. So every day feels like three or four months now, and every month feels like a year. So yes, a lot has changed.

Jimmy Young:                  In fact, even this past week or the last few weeks, a few things have changed with MJ Biz Daily. I understand that you formed some kind of a promotional partnership with Leafwire, our friend Peter Vogel out there. And you guys in Colorado, man, you guys know how to make deals.

Chris Walsh:                    Yes, we've been talking with Peter and Leafwire for a while, trying to figure out if there was an opportunity to work together, and how. And we were able to find a nice path forward that really is going to, especially in this environment, help professionals and executives and leaders in the industry better connect with each other.

Chris Walsh:                    And get the resources and information that we provide, to help them navigate this situation, and grow their businesses and keep their businesses afloat, and really find their tribe together in different segments of the industry in what is now a digital world.

Curt Dalton:                    Chris, what's the plan? I'm sure you're making contingency plans. You guys had layoffs, just like everybody else in the industry. But if Vegas can't happen in the fall, is there a virtual plan or hosting in a different time and place? What is your long-term plan, if we get that far?

Chris Walsh:                    We had some furloughs recently as we navigate this current situation. We don't really have any idea of what's around the corner, like most of you out there. And so we're really moving cautiously now to make sure that we can continue to be the leading resource for connections and information in the industry, and that we're going to come out on the other side of this in an even stronger position.

Chris Walsh:                    As we look forward, we've run a bunch of different scenarios for what can happen. A lot of this is out of our control, it's out of everyone's control right now. And again, with that uncertainty, we have various ways we're going to move forward to continue serving as this resource for the industry.

Chris Walsh:                    So we're moving ahead with MJ Biz Con now in December, and we're going to start allotting space to exhibitors on the floor soon. There's still a lot of interest, not only in the U.S but from companies in China and globally. And I know that sounds odd right now in the situation we're in, but cannabis industry is starving for information, for connections to do business together.

Chris Walsh:                    And so we hope to bring that... We're going to bring that to people, one way or the other. So no matter what, we're going to have a digital and virtual component to MJ Biz Con. We have some plans we're going to announce here in the next couple of days about our [inaudible 00:55:28] strategy, and what we're doing on the editorial side to provide everyone content and information and as I said, connections.

Chris Walsh:                    So yes, we're pursuing multiple paths, and hopefully we're going to see everyone in Vegas in December. And if something prevents us from doing that, we have great backup plans to still give everyone that value, in just a different format.

Curt Dalton:                    You're a guy that travels around the world. I think I've sat next to you at probably shows in four countries now we've covered. All of us are feeling locked in, but what's it been like for you? Because you are on the road, you are a road warrior. Has it been hard at first? You enjoyed it for a little while, and now you're ready to get aside? Or where are you at?

Chris Walsh:                    Yes, it's been tough. And Curt, I've seen you at many events in different countries. Like a lot of people, I had a lot of big plans. I was going to take my daughter to Disney World, and by the way, my daughter's really upset with me so I hope she doesn't [inaudible 00:56:20] this. I took her computer away. She's young and has been on the computer a lot, so she's very angry at me right now. So apologies if there's interruption-

Curt Dalton:                    Welcome to the club, buddy.

Chris Walsh:                    Exactly. We were going to go to Disney World, but for work I was going to go to Brazil. We had an event in Denmark, we had lots of travel coming up of personal and for our business. Traveling is my personal passion, and it's been fortunate that I've been able to do that for business as well.

Chris Walsh:                    So this has been hard for me on that end, but I always just ground myself and center myself and say, "A lot of things could be worse. There's a lot of people in bad situations." I don't know anyone personally who's been affected by the virus, and so I thank my lucky stars for that. And as hard as it is, it's something I can adapt to obviously, because it could be worse.

Jimmy Young:                  Well, I'll tell you what though, Chris. The cannabis industry alone, without the COVID-19 virus is challenging enough. Now you throw in the fact that nobody in the cannabis industry is going to be able to get any kind of federal stimulation money or anything like that...

Jimmy Young:                  And here in Massachusetts where we record this program, we produce this problem, the governor Charlie Baker once again won another battle in court this week, where the judge has actually upheld his ban of adult use cannabis recreational stores from opening during this stay-at-home order. Have you ever thought that the challenge would be including all those things that have to go on with cannabis, because it's still federally illegal... Now you throw in the virus. How much more can you guys handle?

Chris Walsh:                    That's a great point. This industry's resilient. Since we started in 2011, the amount of pressures and stresses and unexpected developments and challenges this industry has faced have probably been as much, if not more than any industry out there.

Chris Walsh:                    What I've learned over time is, it's resilient and it comes back, and it comes back stronger. And the silver lining in a lot of this is that although we see what's happening in Massachusetts, which is very unfortunate, a lot of states have basically said cannabis businesses are essential.

Chris Walsh:                    And if you just think about that in the context of this, it's pretty amazing when you think it's illegal federally, and there's still a stigma around it, and there's still opposition to it or people that are afraid of it, and you have all these states that are saying, "No. No. No. There's only a couple businesses that are allowed to remain open, and one of them is medical marijuana dispensaries and in some cases, recreational."

Chris Walsh:                    That is pretty amazing, and that gives me hope that when we come out of this, there's going to be a lot of pain. And businesses can't get federal stimulus money, some of them can't sell, they don't have as big of a market, consumer spending is going to drop. It's going to be painful for the cannabis industry too.

Chris Walsh:                    I think the industry is going to fare better than a lot of other industries. It doesn't mean that it's going to fare great, but it's going to fare better. And so those companies that can survive this, can adapt, that embrace the change and understand that business has to be done differently, and they've got to get through this period...

Chris Walsh:                    I think the industry, as a whole, is going to be in a really good position to come roaring out of the gates when we get out of this mess. And I do think it is going to help legalization and acceptance efforts. I absolutely believe that, down the road because we're going to need to jolt this economy. And people, governors and federal politicians are going to be looking at, "Where can we do that?" This could be one of the ways.

Curt Dalton:                    That's exactly the next question I had, based on an article we wrote for you, but you just covered that. So [inaudible 01:00:05]. This isn't your first rodeo, I can tell. As I described, for people that don't know who you are, you're a magazine, you're the Wall Street Journal of cannabis.

Curt Dalton:                    And you really have your pulse on worldwide. What's some of the good things you think will happen? Obviously, you we just covered legal [inaudible 01:00:21]. What can we tell the cannabis industry, from your perch, about the [inaudible 01:00:25] to look forward to, and what you think will happen?

Chris Walsh:                    To reiterate, I... No-one can predict the future, I've learned in this industry you can be very foolish very quickly by trying to say what's around the corner. But having been involved intimately in this industry for a very long time, almost a decade, I'm very optimistic that it will lead to federal change faster than if this had not happened. And it may convince other states to legalize, again, as we come out, as they're looking to help the economy.

Chris Walsh:                    So that's one potentially very big silver lining. And then in every crisis, you have to look for the opportunities. And so the companies that do that, and the leadership teams that are able to get their head around that things aren't going to go back to where they were two months ago and it's all going to be the same, you've got to think about where the puck is going down the road, and position yourself to be there.

Chris Walsh:                    So I think the industry and companies can come out of this stronger, and that's what I'm trying to do with our company. Jury's still out on if we can all navigate through this, but I think there could be some good fundamental changes to how businesses operate, and the innovation that has to occur in a time like this so you stay afloat.

Chris Walsh:                    And then when you get out of this, that innovation carries forward, and the industry might be doing things that it wasn't doing before, that are really beneficial for customers, for patients. And one example is, some cities or states have loosened restrictions or bans on delivery.

Chris Walsh:                    So when you look down the road, if those stick, that's a whole new business model and a whole new way to get the product to people, and a whole new connection you can make with patients and customers. And if that works okay, that might be another lining in this, is that that will be permanent in some areas, and may become a bigger part of the industry in general, which again I think is a good thing to have more options, creates more business opportunities.

Chris Walsh:                    And I do think cannabis... Is this thing going to affect the long-term demand for it? Consumers will have less money, so we all have to prepare for the fact that even though they really want it or need it, they might not have the funds to get it, or to get as much.

Chris Walsh:                    So if we can weather this storm, circle the wagons, get through it, this might even increase demand down the road, and get new people into the fold because they are at home and they don't know what to do with themselves. And on the recreational side, maybe some people are saying, "I might try this. I don't know what else to do, I'm just sitting here." On the medical side, maybe they're more willing to try this to help them, so that's how I'm viewing it.

Jimmy Young:                  Is there any way that the industry itself can perhaps come up with some way to help and aid some of the little mom and pops, and the little grow farms, and the little people that are in the cannabis industry? We all know there are investors out there, and we know that investment is always a gamble, especially with a federally illegal product. But is there any movement at all, of a private bail-out fund out there for the cannabis folks, the little guys?

Chris Walsh:                    That's a great idea. And I'm not aware, and doesn't mean it's not happening, as I've had to retrench and focus on our business... I'm not aware of any big efforts to do that. I think unfortunately, we're hit with a double whammy. I think if this was a recession or a downturn, I think we'd all gladly welcome that versus the current situation where there's a recession/downturn and the uncertainty and unprecedented nature of this right now where no-one knows what's around the corner.

Chris Walsh:                    No-one can predict safely what's going to happen in four weeks, in two months, in four months, in 18 months. And so I think it's very hard for people, even when you're doing okay financially, even if you have a big buffer, to commit to something like that.

Chris Walsh:                    And so I think it's a noble cause, and maybe if we can get some leaders in a room to talk through that, we can come up with an idea. I know now the sense is, everyone's... Again, if you have money to spend, you are protecting it and you are sitting on it.

Chris Walsh:                    And as much as you want to help others and smaller businesses and those that might be struggling to survive, even if you're an investor, everyone is afraid right now. And so maybe as we go down this and get more clarity, an idea like that can take off.

Curt Dalton:                    What's your opinion? You mentioned not knowing, and you're right, no-one knows the future. There seems to be [inaudible 01:04:57] thought, one is, we can open up around May 1st and start playing basketball and football games, and see how it goes. The other is, we'll see you in 2022. Just as far [inaudible 01:05:08] and what you think is the more future look that you would agree to?

Chris Walsh:                    As the CEO of our company, I have to look at all possible scenarios. So I've been very, very close to this and trying to figure out how we should go forward. So for us, it's preparing for it anyway. I don't think that things are going to magically open up in the next couple weeks.

Chris Walsh:                    The problem in the U.S is, every state has handled differently so people look to Europe and say, "Oh, well, Germany is opening back up, and Italy." But you have to compare Europe to the United States. If Europe operate as a group like this, it would look far different.

Chris Walsh:                    And so the U.S, while states are going to operate that way, it's not going to be like the U.S opens back up like in Italy or Germany or Denmark, it's going to be a California does it that way, and this state might be behind. And that's the hard part of this, is they're all going to be moving at different speeds.

Chris Walsh:                    And that's going to affect each other's economies, and the cannabis industry. So the way I'm viewing it is, there's going to be hopefully a gradual loosening, and we just all have to, again, button down the hatches. There's not going to be something...

Chris Walsh:                    If anyone is, again, thinking that in three or six months, their business or this industry is going to look like it did in January, I think they're going to have a hard time adapting. We just all have to adjust to this new reality, and know that we don't know the answer.

Chris Walsh:                    So my personal way of doing that is saying, "We're preparing for all scenarios. We're being conservative because we don't know," and I can't sit here and say I know. I don't even have a feeling, except that we're going to have to get the economy going at some point. And what that looks like? I don't know, but we want to be ready for whatever that looks like, and however that rolls out.

Jimmy Young:                  Well, we certainly know we're in a historic time. We thought we were just trying to keep that green wave moving through Washington and into business, and now we've got this big... A big, "Oh, a pothole," in our world, that we've got to figure out a way to get out of. And Chris Walsh, I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day, and I really hope you'll be a kind dad and give your computer back to your daughter.

Chris Walsh:                    Oh, it's a constant battle. And just to close out, we did furlough 30% of our staff, but we did it because we don't know what's around the corner, and we hope and expect to bring them back with our new plan forward, and our enhanced plan. And so we're betting on a way to navigate this, and hopefully get back to normalcy over time.

Chris Walsh:                    If we were approaching a really dire mood, this would have looked different for our internal moves. And I know a lot of businesses out there are considering what to do and how they approach this, we're all in this together, and we're all going to get through it together. And I think we're going to learn a lot through this, and we'll be ready for what comes down the road.

Jimmy Young:                  Fair enough. All right, Chris Walsh. Thank you so much again for joining us. For Chris Walsh and Curt Dalton, I'm the host of Weed Talk Now. From Pro Cannabis Media, my name is Jimmy Young. Remember, it's a whole new world of weed out there. Use it responsibly, stay safe and stay sane.

Announcer:                      Weed Talk and In The Weeds are two productions of Pro Cannabis Media, supported by Revolutionary Clinics, one of the top medical cannabis dispensaries in the Massachusetts area. Now with three locations in greater Boston, two in Cambridge and one on Broadway in Somerville.

Announcer:                      Rev Clinics has a patient-first mission. They will customize your needs as a medical patient, with the proper titration and combination of strains, flavors and products. Rev Clinics, where the patient comes first. We are Pro Cannabis Media. (silence)





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