TDR Exclusive – Rescheduling Reflections from Cannabis Leaders 

In this blog post, we share exclusive interview highlights from the reaction of three cannabis leaders regarding yesterday’s big news. Yesterday, it was announced that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration plans to reclassify marijuana, signalling a significant policy shift. This change acknowledges its medical benefits and a lower potential for abuse compared to some of the most harmful drugs, according to The Associated Press. Following this announcement, three cannabis leaders joined the “TDR Trade to Black Podcast” to discuss their reflections on the news. They shared their thoughts on the implications of this development and their perspectives on the future.

Cannabis Leaders #1 – Don Murphy – GOP Lobbyist with The American Cannabis Collective

Don Murphy expressed a mixture of surprise and vindication following the announcement. Although he had anticipated the change, the reality of its occurrence overwhelmed him due to its potential implications. “It’s really big to anyone who’s a patient or has been a patient,” Murphy explained, emphasizing the significant relief it brings by altering the legal perspective on their status—effectively ensuring they are no longer viewed as criminals. Murphy candidly admitted his inability to fully grasp the magnitude of what had unfolded, despite a long-held sense that change was imminent. He reflected on the emotional response from the community and stakeholders, highlighting the mixed reactions ranging from elation to strategic recalibrations among opposing factions.

Murphy also touched on the broader implications for advocacy, hinting at the financial dynamics influenced by both positive and negative developments within the industry. “Bulls make money, bears make money,” he noted, illustrating how various players profit from shifts in policy and public sentiment, regardless of the nature of the change.

Referred to affectionately as ‘the Don’ by his peers, Murphy shared a poignant moment when the weight of the situation brought him to tears, a sentiment amplified by the public recognition and support he received during a committee meeting. This personal recount underscored the deep emotional and professional investment of advocates like Murphy who have spent years pushing for change. Murphy was quick to deflect personal praise, emphasizing his small role relative to the larger movements at play and the unexpected ways in which the announcement unfolded. He stressed the importance of understanding the patient’s perspective, something he feels is often overlooked in the broader political and regulatory discussions.

Cannabis Leaders #2 – Jesse Channon – President of The Cannabist Company

Jesse opened the discussion with a note of optimism, reflecting on the day’s events as “a little wild” but overwhelmingly positive, having received no adverse reactions so far. His sentiment underscored the collective relief and excitement permeating the industry, setting the tone for what many perceived as a turning point toward greater acceptance and normalization.

Jesse elaborated on the strategic implications of the announcement, noting its role as a “significant stepping stone” toward inevitable federal regulation and normalization. He emphasized the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice behind what many might see as an overnight success, painting a picture of the dedication that drives the industry forward.

Jesse highlighted several transformative aspects of the announcement for the cannabis industry. He stressed that the new regulatory environment would allow legitimate cannabis businesses to compete more effectively against gray market and illicit products by normalizing business expenses and fostering a safer, tested, and reliable product market. This shift was seen as crucial for both consumer safety and industry competitiveness.

As the podcast drew to a close, Jesse shared his optimistic outlook for the industry’s future. He noted that recent events, like the one celebrated that day, were likely to provide tailwinds for the industry, pointing to upcoming regulatory periods and potential rule implementations that could solidify the gains seen.

Cannabis Leaders #3 – Brady Cobb – Founder and CEO – Sunburn Cannabis

Brady Cobb provided an emotional account of the day’s events, which he found overwhelming and joyful. He reflected on the extensive journey and the numerous obstacles encountered by early figures in the cannabis industry, acknowledging individuals like Jesse Channon and his team for their persistence and dedication. According to Cobb, the event was not only a celebration but also a significant moment of reflection for those involved in the industry’s development, highlighting their survival and resilience.

Brady Cobb is the son of Clyde Walton “Bill” Cobb, who, in the 1970s and early 80s, operated a large marijuana smuggling operation in the Florida panhandle. He utilized various methods, including shrimp boats, aircraft, and old Prohibition-era moonshine routes, to transport more than a million pounds of marijuana. Reflecting on his father’s legacy, Brady Cobb imagined his father’s pride and his early belief in the potential of the cannabis industry. This personal story added a human element to the broader narrative of cannabis reform, connecting past generations’ challenges and insights to today’s accomplishments.

Cobb emphasized the critical role of advocacy and the behind-the-scenes efforts that had propelled the industry to its current state. He acknowledged the work of fellow advocates like Don Murphy, highlighting the ongoing necessity of strategic lobbying and engagement to influence policy effectively.

Drawing an interesting parallel, Cobb compared the current moment in cannabis reform to historical milestones in the alcohol industry, suggesting a similar generational impact. He expressed a nuanced view of President Biden’s role, balancing criticism of the political delays with acknowledgment of the administration’s eventual actions.

Looking at the business aspect, Cobb discussed the significant impact the day’s developments had on companies within the industry, from operational challenges to financial performance. The discussion also reflected on the broader societal impacts, suggesting that the reform would benefit not only businesses but also individuals who had been adversely affected by previous laws, particularly highlighting the poignant stories of individuals like Weldon Angelos.

Cobb elaborated on the potential of cannabis to reshape the health and wellness landscape. He pointed out the shifting public opinion favoring cannabis over alcohol and anticipated significant strategic shifts within major consumer packaged goods and alcohol companies in response to evolving cannabis policies.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s rescheduling of marijuana represents a significant change in cannabis policy, influenced by years of advocacy. This adjustment is likely to facilitate wider acceptance and regulatory standardization. Industry figures such as Don Murphy, Jesse Channon, and Brady Cobb express optimism and preparedness for the new challenges and opportunities this change introduces. Their insights highlight the profound effects this shift is expected to have on patients, businesses, and the general societal perception of cannabis. Want to keep up to date with all of TDR’s research and news, subscribe to our daily Baked In newsletter.

Marijuana reclassification by DEA prompts Cannabis Leaders reflection; leaders discuss on TDR Trade to Black Podcast.

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