Hello all! In this special, two-part episode, we tackle the huge effort known as Social Equity in the Cannabis Industry. While we all can agree these programs are necessary, it seems the application is struggling to find its way into reality in nearly all legal states. We have compiled a great representation of the diversity at Cultiva, and we all weigh in on the war on drugs, what we see, and what we think is working. This is a massive topic with special guests, so our shows are a little longer and this one is broken up into two parts! With such an important subject, we had to take our time. Grab a snack, get comfortable at work, or settle in for a nice drive and lets talk about the subject barely otherwise discussed, in such brutal honesty.
Announcer: Information provided on this podcast does not, and is not intended to constitute legal advice. All information, content and materials available on this podcast are for entertainment purposes only. The views and opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Cultiva Law. Now, without further ado, here are your exquisite esquires, Mio Asami and Fabiola Jimenez.
Fabiola Jimenez: What up, squad?
Mio Asami: What up, squad?
Fabiola Jimenez: You’re back with Mio and Fabi for today’s episode, where we’re going to be talking about, well you know-
Mio Asami: It’s a whopper.
Fabiola Jimenez: It is a whopper.
Mio Asami: It’s a big episode. It’s going to be big. It’s a large topic with lots.
Fabiola Jimenez: And unfortunately it’s not like Burger King, where you can have it the way you want it. Is that how the saying goes? No. Well anyway, you know what I’m saying.
Mio Asami: Have it your way. Yeah, no, yeah, it’s have it your way. Right, yeah.
Fabiola Jimenez: Yes, have it your way. We’re going to have it your way in the real world, but not really. But we’re going to talk about ways to make this shit work. So we’re going to be talking about social equity today, which is…
Mio Asami: Boom boom boom. It’s a big ass topic, y’all know why. For those that don’t know why, you’ll find out.
Fabiola Jimenez: You’ll find out. If you don’t know, [crosstalk 00:01:10].
Mio Asami: If you don’t know what social equity is and the programs as it relates to cannabis right now, you will know by the end of this podcast.
Fabiola Jimenez: So being a podcast, you obviously don’t know what we look like, but we also have a guest today by the name of Ken. He is one of our newest associates at Cultiva, he is well versed in the area of tax. Ken, please say hello to our lovely audience.
Kenneth Ford: Hello audience, I’m happy to be here. It’s a privilege and an honor.
Mio Asami: And we’re super happy to have Ken, especially as it relates to this topic.
Fabiola Jimenez: Right, so like I mentioned, you don’t know what we look like because we’re on a podcast, but let me just tell you a little bit. I’m Mexicana.
Mio Asami: And I am Asian American, more specifically Japanese.
Fabiola Jimenez: And Ken?
Kenneth Ford: I am black.
Mio Asami: Plain and simple, that’s what it is.
Fabiola Jimenez: Plain and simple, there it is and this is who we are. So we’re a very diverse team at Cultiva and obviously a very diverse team here within this show. But this is going to be somewhat of a heavy topic, but we want to just talk about it. And with that said our weekly word is disenfranchised, which is really fucking real in this industry. So this episode is going to be split into two.
Mio Asami: It’s a two-parter.
Fabiola Jimenez: It’s a two-parter, so you guys are going to be with us for our usual 20 minute seg and then we’re going to do the other half, in another 20 minutes we can really give this topic a little bit more justice.
Mio Asami: Yeah, the time that it deserves.
Fabiola Jimenez: For sure.
Mio Asami: Because usually we got four points in 20 minutes, but we’re going to do four points in 40 minutes.
Fabiola Jimenez: That’s right. If you don’t like it, please stay, I like you, I want you to listen.
Mio Asami: How’s everyone doing? You good? You might need some water, you might want to chill for a little bit and listen to this one. Because again, like we said, it’s a big topic. It’s a heavy one, it’s a big topic.
Fabiola Jimenez: So kind of going over a little bit obviously, a lot of people don’t realize, everyone is blinded by the green rush of what is the cannabis industry, everyone’s like, “Yo, yo, yo, we’re going to make a bunch of fucking money, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that.” Then you start to really like, “Oh shit, who are the people that have all this fucking money?”
Mio Asami: Well we should also start like, a lot of people think that once cannabis became legalized it’s like, you know what? Everyone that was dealing on the corner is now going to own a shop and it’s all going to be grand and we’re all going to have the opportunity to be a part of this industry, the regulated industry.
Fabiola Jimenez: But ’tis not the real situation.
Mio Asami: That’s really not how it is.
Fabiola Jimenez: Which is awful because there’s still so many people incarcerated for selling dime bags, it’s just the most wildest scenario to be in, because and what we do on the business side, we’re dealing with multi-million dollar deals on a daily basis and our clients are massive companies. And you’re thinking, how is this person pulling in 100, 200, $300,000 in sales a month and yet my cousin was in jail for seven years for selling a dime bag. So you start to think about this, and it’s really upsetting when it really comes down to it.
Mio Asami: It’s a strange industry to navigate.
Fabiola Jimenez: It is very, yeah. And at the end of the day it really comes down to being a business, so if you’re business savvy, you’re going to be successful to be honest with you. You can understand that you have to form a business, you have to understand that you have to pay taxes, you have to understand a lot of logistics and a lot of real world knowledge about business that not everyone has had the luxury to be privy to.
Mio Asami: And especially within cannabis where every state is different and obviously y’all know I’m a California attorney so I know the California market, and they make it real fucking expensive to get into this industry. Financing is the biggest barrier to entry of this industry, which is ridiculous.
Fabiola Jimenez: 100%, yeah.
Mio Asami: But it’s what it is. At the end of the day we’re a capitalistic society unfortunately, that’s a different topic on my end.
Fabiola Jimenez: But to be honest with you, as things have gone on and as we’re continuing to move forward in this industry as it matures and we’re slowly chipping away at that stigma, and as you can tell with these past elections over the past few months, there’s been a lot of states that have legalized marijuana, and states that you would have never thought are changing their tune not only from a political standpoint but basically a lot of other standpoints too. States that were notoriously republican all the sudden are democratic, and it’s just wild. And so I think that we’re going to see a lot of change in this industry as time comes about. But nonetheless, is this real change? Is this real change, are people creating these “social equity programs” just to say they created a social equity program? Kind of yeah, y’all need to get your shit together. On the plus side, I can’t help but say I feel good or positive that at least that word is being thrown around.
Mio Asami: Optimistic.
Fabiola Jimenez: Yeah. I’m optimistic. Having that word thrown around, because it implies that there’s going to be some sort of-
Mio Asami: Efforts.
Fabiola Jimenez: There’s efforts to do this.
Mio Asami: We got to start somewhere, at least the acknowledgement of the problem is there.
Fabiola Jimenez: Is there.
Mio Asami: Is literally the first step.
Fabiola Jimenez: Yeah, exactly, exactly. So having three different ethnic backgrounds in this group, I kind of just want to start chipping away at that conversation a little bit. Ken, we’re going to start off with you as an African American, tell me a little bit of how you’ve seen cannabis during your lifetime, where you’re wanting to see it moving forward, let me know what your stance is as an African American in that United States of America in the cannabis industry.
Mio Asami: What does cannabis mean to you?
Fabiola Jimenez: Again, a loaded question.
Kenneth Ford: Yeah, that is a loaded question. I think that I’m not as optimistic as you two seem about it. I was born and raised in the south, and so with that being said, the south is kind of in last place when it comes to legalization of cannabis. And so because of that, it’s really affecting the businesses there and the people that want to get into the industry because it’s a race. And those people in those states that legalize it first, they got the head start, they got that little jump. And so when you look at the demographics of those states, they’re pretty low when it comes to the black population. So in that effect, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these were some of the first states to legalize it, I don’t think Georgia would have been the first.
Fabiola Jimenez: I don’t think Georgia would have been the first for a lot of things.
Kenneth Ford: California attempted to try to be the first, but they weren’t for whatever reason.
Mio Asami: We were for medicinal, but not on the recreational side.
Kenneth Ford: Right. And so I think that when it comes to the legalization and how America looks at it, they’re okay with white states legalizing it first and testing the waters.
Mio Asami: I never thought about it that way.
Kenneth Ford: [crosstalk 00:08:26] don’t disagree.
Mio Asami: I never thought about it that way.
Fabiola Jimenez: That’s a really good point, yeah.
Mio Asami: Yeah, I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of why that is, but if you could kind of expand on why you think that is, just for our listeners. Just because some people might not know.
Fabiola Jimenez: We’re in a bubble, [crosstalk 00:08:49]. Like Seattle proper, Pacific Northwest is in a bubble and until you leave that bubble and you go out and you’re like, damn, in Alabama y’all can legally marry your sister? That’s crazy, never would have thought about it before.
Mio Asami: But also it’s because, I say that because this industry brings in a lot of fucking clueless white ladies who are like, “Oh my gosh, I love CBD, you’re so hippy.”
Fabiola Jimenez: Good god, yes.
Mio Asami: “I put CBD in everything.” But they’re clueless white women, middle aged white women who don’t know anything about the history of what the prohibition has done. So again, that’s why I expand. I just think it’d be good to expand on that.
Kenneth Ford: Yeah, I guess tapping into just the history of why we have the prohibition on cannabis and just how it started from the reefer madness and the fear of just blacks and black men in particular getting high on the drug.
Mio Asami: Because some people might even think that the extent of why the prohibition started was like in Pineapple Express, you see in the beginning, they were testing it, Bill Hader smokes it, and then he goes [inaudible 00:10:00] and then they ban it.
Chris Girard: Sorry to jump in, this is Chris by the way, hey guys. Jazz music, remember the jazz music?
Mio Asami: Yeah, exactly.
Chris Girard: That’s what this was all about.
Mio Asami: That’s why people may think there’s the prohibition [crosstalk 00:10:11].
Chris Girard: No, no 100% this was 1000% based in racial groundings. Whenever you have people on the Senate floor speaking and saying the exact words of, “It makes black men smoke it and think they’re as good as white men. It makes them believe that they can walk on the same side of the street.” These are actual…
Mio Asami: Actual things.
Chris Girard: I’m paraphrasing because I don’t have the quotes in front of me, but these are actual quotes that we were said on our Senate floor. That is fucking insane to me in this day and age. But it was commonplace back then. So absolutely.
Fabiola Jimenez: Yeah our amazing everything man at Cultiva, and he is our production guru on our backend.
Chris Girard: I’m the non-lawyer with lots of opinions.
Fabiola Jimenez: And lots of info man.
Mio Asami: But also, if you heard our hemp podcast.
Chris Girard: Total THC.
Mio Asami: That’s our hemp podcast.
Chris Girard: But yeah, sorry Ken. But I mean yeah, 100%.
Mio Asami: No please, please.
Kenneth Ford: You said it on point, and just essentially just throughout time the war on drugs has been really tough on black men in particular. And so because of that, it has really put a hindrance on us and not only that, just a stigma that we as blacks are struggling to wipe off on our own selves. And when you look even in still, I’ve been trying to get into a cannabis [inaudible 00:11:31] for seven or eight years now and in it, and just family and friends that everybody is a hands off approach, it’s like, “Oh that sounds nice, that sounds great, but I don’t want no part of associating my black skin with that green plant.” Because of just the stigma and how it’s been kind of for lack of a better phrase, been beat into us, that stigma. Yeah, that’s just kind of a little bit of points of it. And so when I look at when they’re talking about social equity, I just find it laughable because you’re asking capitalism to play nice, and it doesn’t.
Chris Girard: I’m glad we’re having this talk.
Mio Asami: [crosstalk 00:12:19] Before we dive more deep into that and how capitalism… We kind of want to go around into the different backgrounds that we all have. Fabi, you want to kind of expand on the Hispanic community and their history with cannabis?
Fabiola Jimenez: Yeah definitely, I have to say that we share the same type of treatment when it comes to our Hispanic men as well. You have a little bit of color in your skin and all the sudden you are a danger to society, all the sudden there’s all these stigmas that are just inherent in our culture and this American culture and it’s really hard. As a function of immigrants, my parents were born in Mexico, I still have plenty of family in Mexico, for me being in this cannabis industry and being a lawyer, it actually took my family a little bit of convincing as well because the last thing that they wanted me to do was be some narco princess somewhere. Don’t get it twisted, I’m pretty fucking gangster still, but my parents were so nervous about me smoking weed all day every day at the office. I’m like, “You know I’m a layer, right? I help my clients sell their shit, but I have to be sober as I’m working. There’s just no way around that.”
Fabiola Jimenez: And what is a big fear about it? It’s like, “Well we’re just afraid that you’re going to be a pothead and you’re just going to lose everything you’ve ever worked for.” I’m like, “Well first off, weed isn’t like heroin or meth so let’s just get this straight.” They’re like, “Well for us it’s been all grouped into this thing, this is all the drugs that are bad for you.” And as a family of immigrants, you are so afraid of even speeding because a speeding ticket or being pulled over can lead to you being deported. And so you have this innate fear of running into any sort of issues with the law. So it’s the same thing as marijuana was used as a way to keep Hispanic men in jail.
Fabiola Jimenez: And to be quite honest with you and I don’t think a lot of people know this, but actually Mexico had banned marijuana in a number of different states before America did. And so there were conversations had in Mexico already where weed was deemed a lower class drug, where it’s like, oh only poor people, only farmers, only people in jail smoked weed. And so it was very classist. Somehow someway that narrative moved up the chains into America and that narrative was discussed at the congress level to push and say, “You know what? Weed makes all the Mexicans or all our Spanish speaking people fucking crazy, I wish you guys could see what happens to them.”
Chris Girard: [inaudible 00:15:16]
Fabiola Jimenez: Yeah, I was like, no that’s not really… That’s wild, that’s such a general statement that a cigarette is going to make someone lose their fucking mind. Well granted if it was a meth cigarette, that is a very different topic. But that’s the thing, it’s like someone heart a little tidbit of Mexico banning marijuana here and there, for whatever reason grabbed that and just ran with it and was like, this is exactly what I need you guys to know, marijuana grows only in Mexico and if we allowed it here-
Chris Girard: Isn’t that where it was called marijuana, isn’t that where it got its name is from that beginning of it came from below-
Fabiola Jimenez: Yeah, it came below, yeah.
Chris Girard: Down south and it’s infecting all of us.
Fabiola Jimenez: Yeah, exactly, yeah, yeah, 100%. And so but again it wasn’t that big of a deal until America made it that big of a deal and then Mexico being like, oh fuck it all right cool we’re just going to roll with this. And hence the cartels. The same thing, it was used as a tool to suppress and discriminate against Latinos in general, anybody that spoke Spanish was deemed to be susceptible to smoking weed in some weird shape or form, it’s been a hard stigma to get over. Even me as a professional woman, as a Mexicana in this industry, even I have to deal with it on a day-to-day basis with family and friends that they’re like, they really do think I smoke weed all the time, all day, every day now that I’m in this industry.
Fabiola Jimenez: Which isn’t true, but it’s been so ingrained into our very own culture because of America instilling this fear that you, even run a slight amok of getting in trouble with the law and all of the sudden you are the worst of the worst and you’re in jail for 30 days for having missed your court date on a speeding ticket. It’s just this wild very snowball effect of coming from an immigrant background and what cannabis actually means to the Latino community. So we shared the same struggles as our African American brothers and sisters in this, and it’s tough. But to be honest with you and I think a topic that people don’t really talk about is actually what Asian Americans also deal with and the stigma when it comes to drug use or “drug use.” So Mio, do you want to share with the audience what that it?
Mio Asami: Yeah, yeah. Asians are super hard to talk about because there’s two different factions, there’s Asian Americans and then there’s Asian immigrants, like Asian Asians, you grew up in Asia and then you came over and you immigrated. So it’s really strange to be within the Asian American community, I identify both as an Asian American and as an Asian Asian, both by blood, both by ancestry, both by citizenship. So it’s really, I feel like I have a different opinion or a different perspective than what other Asian Americans might think. But back in the day, Chinese Americans or Chinese immigrants came to America in the 1800s building the railroads or building whatever the fuck, basically building American society, along with everybody else.
Mio Asami: And there was a lot of opium going around, different kind of drug obviously, but it’s a lot of drug use. And that’s really what was used to demonize the Asian community back then was the opium crisis or really like yellow peril, like oh my god, these Chinese people are all smoking opium and they’re going to infect the society, and that was what was used to demonize Asians back then. Granted, we live in a very different society now, where Asians, to piggyback off of the general race conversation when it comes to Asians is that we are the model minority, we are used by the white community to say, “Look, if these people of color can do it, why can’t y’all do it?” And they point to the blacks and they point to the Hispanics and they’re like, “Why can’t you do what the Asians do?” So we’re used in that sense.
Mio Asami: That’s literally what happens, that’s what it is to be a model minority. We benefit off of rights that were given to us by white people, but no one’s really talking about that. Again, I could talk about this for three hours. And so we live in a weird, especially Asian Americans growing up with immigrant parents, where we’re known stereotypically to be grown up in a very strict household. We can’t go out, we can’t do this and that and everything, you have to do exactly what your parents say and blah blah blah, and yet at the same time I’ve seen very many Asian American friends who great up with very strict parents like that, I see them do coke in the bathroom at the school.
Mio Asami: So it’s like, we live in this really weird dichotomous area where it’s like, yeah we are stereotypically the goody two shoes, but at the same time, I see y’all doing coke all the time and not getting caught for any of this and not really suffering any of the consequences that black and Hispanic people suffer. So it’s weird.
Fabiola Jimenez: I’m going to also say something, and it’s probably not right for me to say it, but I also think it has a lot to do with smells. So cocaine is very clean, in theory. I don’t know what cocaine smells like.
Chris Girard: It smells great.
Fabiola Jimenez: I don’t know what it smells like, y’all. All right, but I think it has a smell.
Chris Girard: But it’s not stinky, it doesn’t permeate.
Fabiola Jimenez: It’s not stinky, and that’s kind of fucked up to say, but when you start thinking about when you’re discriminating against people, it’s like, okay well Mexicans smell like fucking beans and rice and salsa, which smells great. Or when people are discrimination against people from India they’re like, this person smells like curry. And those aren’t true, but I feel like even the smell of marijuana, the essence of marijuana triggers people’s reactions-
Kenneth Ford: Minorities.
Fabiola Jimenez: And stigmas, yeah, oh minorities are around here. Which is so wild, because when you think about coke, it’s just like, oh shit coke doesn’t really… Well it shouldn’t smell like anything unless you do it right.
Kenneth Ford: Unless it’s crack.
Fabiola Jimenez: Yeah, unless it’s crack.
Mio Asami: I’m pretty sure statistically also white people do more coke than anybody else.
Fabiola Jimenez: That’s right. But it’s-
Mio Asami: They’re just not caught for it.
Fabiola Jimenez: Yeah, it’s a “clean drug.” Like you can do it in the bathroom stall, you can wipe your fucking face and you can walk down and be like, yo. Obviously from other signs of you doing coke, you can walk scot free. But when you’re doing weed, that shit can get a little stink, if you get the good stuff you get a little sticky icky, you got to roll, it’s a whole process. And then it smells because you’re smoking it. Smell is a real trigger for a lot of people, so I think that’s also part of the stigma is that it’s not as easily hidden or as clean as some of these other more fucked up toxic drugs that are out there. So yeah, it’s pretty interesting. It’s kind of the same thing I consider it with pills, only rich white ladies in the middle of Mercer Island.
Mio Asami: Okay.
Fabiola Jimenez: Shout out the rich area of Seattle.
Chris Girard: Not inaccurate.
Fabiola Jimenez: But you can think about the pills, it’s a fucking problem because that is high end opium bullshit happening, but it’s clean. It’s a powder they crush in their fucking smoothie in the morning and just go about their day. So it’s a wild, interesting, industry to be in when you start thinking about some of the smallest… With the associations that even the smell I think has a lot to do with it.
Mio Asami: And kind of going back to the difference between Asians and Asian Americans is it was interesting Fabi that you mentioned in Mexico it wasn’t a huge deal until America made it a huge deal. And I’m Japanese so I’m going to speak within the Japanese community, but we have weed naturally growing in our country. We used hemp to make our clothing that soldiers wore during World War II, a lot of our Shinto ceremonial robes and things like that are made from hemp. We have these things naturally in our culture, but it was prohibited and outlawed by America. America decided to come in and be like…
Chris Girard: The UN or something.
Mio Asami: Yeah, America came in and was like, yo so y’all are doing really well with this hemp stuff, we don’t like that, so we’re going to outlaw it. And that’s really the only reason why Japanese people today have this idea that marijuana is exactly like crack, it’s exactly like heroin. It’s so bad and it’s on that level of hard synthetic drugs. America is going around and just fucking shit up is what it is, that’s my spiel.
Fabiola Jimenez: So speaking of America, Chris do you want to talk about being [crosstalk 00:24:20].
Mio Asami: Talk about being a white American in this.
Chris Girard: Yep, yep, hold on let me get my hat on. Too late, too soon. But we do want this to be a completely balanced show.
Fabiola Jimenez: Chris is white.
Chris Girard: I’m only part white, but I’m the closest thing that’s here that’ll get on the podcast.
Fabiola Jimenez: That’s true, that’s fair.
Chris Girard: No actually I’m half Swiss which makes me super white, it’s like full white at that point regardless of what the other half is. The other half’s Portuguese, which is the whitest Hispanic you can get.
Fabiola Jimenez: Yeah, it’s pretty close to it.
Chris Girard: So I’m not here to talk about any disenfranchisement or anything but mostly to comment on some of the things that have been said and talk about the perspective of a healthy young Caucasian male in the cannabis industry and how that really plays out, really. Fabi, you talked about the smell of cannabis, it makes people think that oh no, somebody seedy’s around, something sketch is going around. I used to actually, I’d wear a suit whenever I came to work every day and I would stand downtown in a group of people, mind you, in Pioneer Square where they’re doing tours and there’s all kinds of people around during this time, pre-COVID, pre-crazy homeless crisis, all that.
Chris Girard: And I’d be standing there smoking a joint in my suit and I guarantee you, everybody was looking around. Every single time, nobody ever looked me dead in my eyes, and I was the one standing there smoking a joint. They were all looking for what I would assume is somebody that looked completely different than me smoking a joint. And I never got in any trouble for it, I never got confronted for it, it was nothing, which was ridiculous. I have intentionally tried to get a ticket for smoking weed in public just to frame it to say, oh my gosh, it’s now just a ticket. We don’t go to jail for this anymore. I’ve wanted to do that for years, and guess what? Me and two other people that match my complexion have tried to do it, none of us have gotten it.
Chris Girard: So take that against decades of you match a description or all of that, it’s insane the difference that’s actually there. Whenever we look at things like privilege, it’s used a lot these days. But in the drug context, especially drug war, it is extremely appropriate. Ken talked about the south and how slow they are to go, it is because of the demographic, it is because of laws they have in books. And because of that, the entire south is disenfranchised from an industry. And we’re not even talking about skin color here, we’re talking about a whole geographical area that’s been cut out because of this. That’s insane whenever you think about a free and open market is what we’re supposed to be.
Chris Girard: Oh my gosh, the opium. So yeah, the Europeans made opium in Asia then flipped out about the Asians using it and then said, “Look, they’re all on drugs.” So we’ve pretty much done this, on behalf of all Caucasians to every single myriad of race that’s out there. Not even just specifically, sub-races we’ve even gone after. And it’s wild and I really think the drug war is one of the last few hold outs, not to say there isn’t other terms of racism of course. But the drug war is fueling one of the last hold outs of a serious, deep racism. And when we look at social equity and things like that, it’s not that different. It just opens up a whole new pool of fish for all the sharks, that’s really all it does.
Chris Girard: And so you look at the disenfranchisement of literally any minority race when it comes to cannabis and it’s there. You can look that shit up on the internet, you can see it’s there, there’s no question about it. I would like to find five articles about how Caucasians were mistreated because of cannabis.
Fabiola Jimenez: [inaudible 00:28:03].
Chris Girard: I ain’t got no money to give out to anybody that can find those.
Fabiola Jimenez: But I will give you a big ass Snickers, bro.
Chris Girard: But this is real.
Fabiola Jimenez: Yeah, it’s a real problem [crosstalk 00:28:14].
Chris Girard: I have-
Mio Asami: Info Wars, is that a thing?
Chris Girard: Right?
Fabiola Jimenez: [inaudible 00:28:18]
Chris Girard: People come to me and trust me ahead of others, and honestly I know it’s because of my skin tone. And that’s fucked up.
Fabiola Jimenez: I thought it was because of your big boobs.
Chris Girard: No it’s my ass really.
Fabiola Jimenez: Oh it’s your ass.
Chris Girard: It’s that big booty.
Mio Asami: The definition that’s been going around at least, privilege isn’t the idea that you don’t struggle, it’s the idea that you don’t have additional struggles because of your race.
Fabiola Jimenez: And it’s hard.
Mio Asami: You still struggle, but there’s different-
Chris Girard: Oh yeah, I wasn’t born rich, I was born broke as hell, I was born in sketchy ass neighborhoods where I woke up to gunshots, I saw a dude get stabbed to death when I was six. Government subsidized housing all the way, my mother moved me to a place called [inaudible 00:29:05], which is the antithesis of where I was. And I tell you what, I stayed out of trouble because trouble wasn’t around me. It didn’t have anything to do with race or anything like that, it was just because all them hicks just went out and drank beer in the woods, and that was it. I didn’t really like going out in the woods and drinking beer, so I stayed out of trouble.
Fabiola Jimenez: Yeah, but people really don’t understand what privilege means, they really do. And then what’s funny to me is that people have now tried to use the same word as privilege as a way to say, “Now you’re attacking me.”
Chris Girard: Undeserving or something.
Fabiola Jimenez: It’s like, what the fuck? Yeah, bro, you’re the definition of fucking privilege when you’re trying to use it to say you’re being attacked. Fuck you, Karen. What the fuck, it’s wild. But like I mentioned earlier, the social equity word is being thrown around and thrown around and thrown around. Like I said I was positive that these programs are going to be built out the way that we’re expecting them to be built out, but to be quite frank with you, Washington started discussing the plan of doing a social equity for the cannabis licenses within the state.
Mio Asami: Still discussing.
Fabiola Jimenez: Still discussing.
Chris Girard: Been discussing.
Fabiola Jimenez: It was supposed to be solidified in December of 2020, we all knew that was not going to happen and it didn’t. So COVID, supposedly COVID. And then it didn’t, so they’ve continued on to have these discussions. But you know the fucked up thing that I have discovered and I have seen having these discussions is that within this grand beautiful word of what is social equity and what makes all these people fucking jerk off into the sink or some shit, they’re like, “I’m so excited for social equity, this is the best thing.” What they’re really doing is pitting minorities against each other, which is the most fucking wildest thing.
Chris Girard: It’s modern day gladiator sports.
Fabiola Jimenez: Yes, it is.
Chris Girard: Yeah, 100%.
Fabiola Jimenez: Like damn bitch, instead of actually using social equity and saying, “Okay, y’all are all affected.” It’s like okay, well who’s affected more? And so now you’re coming from a space of scarcity instead of a space of abundance. And that’s what really causes a lot of conflict, which is so fucked up because now I have to justify why Mexicans are more disenfranchised by marijuana than African Americans. So now me and Ken got to fight and figure out who’s going to get this one license.
Chris Girard: Just so you know we’re going to have that on our video podcast that’s upcoming.
Mio Asami: We all get scrappy down here, a little scrappy.
Kenneth Ford: I don’t want no smoke.
Mio Asami: Ken don’t want no smoke, that’s on record y’all.
Fabiola Jimenez: But that’s another thing, that’s that danger of what comes around with creating these programs that are supposed to be helping the minority people in this industry, and it’s not run by minority people in this industry. Because I guarantee you, any of the Latinos, any of the African Americans, any of the Asian Americans that are trying to get involved in this industry are not wanting to fight against each other. Everyone was coming in saying, “Hey great, this is a great opportunity for all of us to get something back from this community after so much was taken from us.”
Fabiola Jimenez: And within this program it’s like, all right, well it looks like the African American people are really the ones that suffered more, are really the ones that need to get grander, faster reparations. And it’s all bullshit, it’s all bullshit. It’s all made to create chaos. Ultimately I don’t think the social equity program is going to be this amazing program as I was first really hopeful about because they’re purposefully doing things that are jeopardizing the actual spirit of what does social equity mean.
Kenneth Ford: Well yeah, I absolutely agree with that in the social equity aspect of it and what they’re trying to do. Just when you look at it, there’s a lot of wiggle room and manipulation that is in there with how they decide what a social equity applicant is. So just even my initial research into it, I wouldn’t qualify as a social equity app. I’ve never lived in a disproportionately affected geographical region, I never lived, I lived in the suburbs most of my life. I didn’t have necessarily a family member who got a cannabis conviction. I had family members get other types of arrest but I didn’t have that. So where it stands-
Mio Asami: It’s like a bingo.
Kenneth Ford: Right, so where it kind of stands now is Chris would be more apt to be a qualified social equity applicant than I would because I don’t meet the qualifications. But was I, am I still affected by the war on drugs? Absolutely. Is things far more harder for me to get into the industry? Absolutely. And it’s like, just unfortunate.
Mio Asami: Literally, the way I see it is it’s like trying to quantify something that can’t be quantified. So it’s like, we’re trying to list out these criteria for what deserves social equity, but there’s no way to do that. It’s just so widespread, the effect of the war on drugs, it’s so widespread and it’s so innately ingrained in different communities where like you said Ken, you could live in the suburbs all your life but still be affected by the war on drugs. But the fact that they have one of the qualifications that you have to live in a disproportionately affected area would disqualify you.
Fabiola Jimenez: Which is kind of crazy because I grew up out in the country, out in the farms, in the boonies of eastern Washington, my bougie ass now lives in a real nice fucking apartment in [inaudible 00:34:52]. But it’s like, again that doesn’t mean I wasn’t affected by it. You’re limiting these opportunities for people that have made it out of these really awful neighborhoods.
Mio Asami: It’s really extreme, it’s like you’re either bottom of the barrel or you’re the cream of the crop. You got to have all the financing, you don’t need social equity, or you’re bottom of the barrel like you suffered all your life, you’re still suffering, you’re still struggling, and that’s the only people I’m going to help.
Chris Girard: And then you don’t have the money to do it.
Mio Asami: Yeah.
Fabiola Jimenez: Yeah.
Mio Asami: Exactly. So it’s like this whole entire middle section where it’s like, I would like some love too, it’s being completely left out.
Chris Girard: But don’t you think there may be an over-arching, not direct competition per se, but at some point they want to get the most compelling story so they can then drape it out in front of people and go, “See look at the people we’re helping through cannabis, look at what we’re doing.”
Mio Asami: It’s literally what happens.
Chris Girard: They want that super, duper impoverished person to come so they can hold and be like, look at this person’s story, look at what we’re helping.
Mio Asami: They just want a token nicety.
Chris Girard: That’s not good stuff, man.
Mio Asami: Social equity is kind of akin to affirmative action, the intent is there, it helps a lot of people but at the same time, people of color who get into college, more prestigious colleges or whatever, a lot of them deal with the fact that white people would tell them, “You only got in because you’re black. You only got in because you’re Asian,” or “You only got in because you’re Mexican.” Like yeah, affirmative action helps certain people and definitely the intent is there but at the same time, it comes attached with all these things, it’s like they took a nicety and then the school is like, look we’re diverse. We are so diverse and we’re so good [inaudible 00:36:31]. But that’s not a solution.
Fabiola Jimenez: I think these so-called social equity programs that are being built out or discussed, they have a lot of growth to do. Again, I think we a step in the right direction but I really don’t know where they’re going to land, how truly helpful they will be.
Kenneth Ford: I do want to make this point before we get too far deep into it, just because we’re talking about man, all these minorities have gotten discriminated against and they need to get into the game. But I think also aspect of it is this like, why decide the discrimination should be awarded this opportunity. And one of them is I think culturally, I feel like nobody wore it on their shoulders more than Cheech and Chong. Those two said, despite the stereotypes and how you feel about cannabis and how you feel about cannabis in the hands of a minority, I’m going to wear it, I’m going to smoke it, I’m going to talk about it, I’m going to put it out there constantly because I know, despite what you may feel about it, what this drug, what this plant can do and why you shouldn’t fear it. And so when I look at it I think just like hip hop man, nobody talked about weed more than them.
Fabiola Jimenez: That’s right, that’s right, yeah.
Kenneth Ford: Nobody smoked more.
Mio Asami: Let me be real. That doesn’t exist, that doesn’t happen.
Fabiola Jimenez: No but you’re right, because I had a friend who doesn’t smoke and I was just like, I was talking to them about being in weed, he’s like, “Oh my god, Jay-Z just started up his own weed line or his own weed brand.” And I was like, “A, old news. But B, do you know how many other people are in this industry that are actually passionate about this industry, not just another nugget of I just want to get into it because it’s an option.” [crosstalk 00:38:33] Do you know how many people are actually really good bud tenders and have these amazing strains? Do you know anymore than Jay-Z is now investing in cannabis? Get the fuck out of here. It’s so ingrained in hip hop and in those cultures so yeah it is, that’s a big topic of conversation to be had where I think a lot of people are just on the superficial basis like, “Oh it’s cool now because Jay-Z.” Like yo honey, I’m sorry but Jay-Z has been smoking for a really long time.
Chris Girard: Jay-Z used to sell crack.
Mio Asami: Sorry, that’s where he started. His empire started there yes.
Chris Girard: He used to sell crack, I’m pretty sure he smoked weed once or twice.
Mio Asami: Maybe just once. Just once, he tried it but he didn’t inhale.
Chris Girard: If I’m selling crack I’m definitely smoking weed.
Fabiola Jimenez: So yeah, so no I 100% agree. And again, cannabis is just one of the most interesting crazy ass mother fucking industries I have ever been a part of, and so here we are.
Mio Asami: So y’all now know in the beginning why I said this is a whopper episode. But that was point number one, y’all. We dabbled kind of into our other shit, our other points that we are going to talk about.
Chris Girard: Oh we didn’t even get-
Mio Asami: No, we haven’t even gotten into point number two, what is social equity? Y’all have been listening to it. No yeah, we’ve been talking about for the last fucking what, half hour?
Chris Girard: Now that you’re excited we’re going to-
Mio Asami: It’s been a fucking minute, but let me just roll it back, we’re going to roll it back. Social equity, what is it? What is social equity? So social equity, I’m going to take the first stab at it. Social equity is the idea that the industry and the regulators that do, for lack of a better word regulate the industry, want to somehow give reparations for the war on drugs. That’s the intent, that’s usually the mission statement that’s used in every social equity program that you see out there right now is that you know what? There are certain communities that were disproportionately affected by war on drugs and so we have the social equity program to try and make up for those harsh consequences. That being said, social equity in California is not the best.
Mio Asami: Specifically, so I work out of LA, LA specifically is dealing with an entire shit show of the social equity program. They have three tiers but really two that mean anything, and each of those kind of like what Ken said, each of those require certain things that may not translate across all the people that could benefit from it. That’s kind of at least the general idea of what social equity is. In California it’s city specific, so there’s no state-wide social equity program, it’s really depending on the city and if they want to participate in something like that. LA has one I know for sure, obviously I don’t know every fucking city in California and whether they have one. But LA has one, SF has one, those are kind of the bigger ones that I know of. Other cities, other smaller ones claim to have one, but it’s kind of like we’ll maybe wave some [inaudible 00:41:46] type of thing.
Fabiola Jimenez: With that said, yeah this is where we’re at.
Mio Asami: That’s the extent of our social equity program is what it is. That’s kind of what it is at least in the way that I understand it, if anybody else wants to add anything to what social equity is.
Fabiola Jimenez: I agree. Again, I just have the small experience of dealing with the social equity program that’s being pushed through Washington State, and again it was supposed to be finalized and we were supposed to have applications ready to go for anybody that was interested back in December. There is still a social equity conversation being had right now through different participation, they’re doing a lot of Zoom meetings, and they’re all trying to really figure out how to implement this, the best way to implement this. And I think they have a really long way to go before it’s an actual sustainable, actual equitable program geared towards what is social equity within the cannabis industry. So I don’t know how, when, soon is that situation going to clear up and for all of us to have a clear answer like okay, this is what they’re doing for the minorities in the state trying to get into the cannabis industry. I don’t know, I can’t tell you.
Mio Asami: And from the California standpoint at least I don’t think that’s a terrible way to go, to be cautious about how you’re implementing it because like we talked about, it has vast consequences based on how you do it. And I’ve seen it be a shit show in Los Angeles, it is a shit show, it’s still a shit show. [inaudible 00:43:18] it’s a shit show in Los Angeles. They tout this really robust social equity program, but they’re still having problems with licensing and the fucking first round of licensing that they tried to do.
Mio Asami: I get calls pretty frequently from people who are like, “Hey I want to invest in this person that’s a really good candidate for a license because they’re part of the social equity program and I want to do this, this, and that.” And I say, “Sorry, you can’t do that.” The social equity program in LA has their requirements about ownership, profits, voting rights of the company that really deters investors from investing. Again, so that’s capitalistic society. Social equity, like what Ken said, you’re trying to make them play nice and it doesn’t work that way right now. Yeah.
Kenneth Ford: That’s capitalism at its finest.
Fabiola Jimenez: All right y’all, so it looks like we had a really fucking long ass conversation, come back for part two where we’re going to be discussing some actual examples of what is social equity and then kind of what our optimistic-
Mio Asami: The future of social equity.
Fabiola Jimenez: The future of what is social equity. So come back for part two of the segments. In the meantime you know where to find us, you can find me on Instagram @fabiatcultivalaw, follow us on Facebook as well, Cultiva Law.
Mio Asami: You can find me on Instagram, @mioatcultivalaw as well.
Fabiola Jimenez: So we’ll be back soon y’all.
Mio Asami: Yeah, all right, thanks, bye.