Deadhead Cannabis Show 0020: Remembering Robert Hunter

Robert Hunter, the Grateful Dead's genius song writer recently passed away,  Jim Marty and Larry Mishkin pay tribute to his inspirational body of work and share stories about the meaning of many of his wonderful lyrics.  They also discuss the recent House of Representatives passing of the cannabis banking bill and what's next.

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Jim Marty:
Hello, everybody, and welcome to the deadhead Cannabis show, Jim Maadi here from Longmont, Colorado, speaking with my partner Larry Myshkin up in Chicago. How you doing, Larry?

Larry Mishkin:
Jim, I'm doing great. Always nice to hear from you. Always makes me a little bit envious that you're sitting out there in long months and I'm sitting here in Evanston, Illinois. But, you know, I can I can get over that.

It's always nice to talk to you and hear what's going on. We've got a lot to talk about today.

Jim Marty:
Yes, we do cause the passing of Robert Hunter. This would be the first Deadhead Cannabis show since Robert Hunter died unexpectedly. And we also have a lot of Cannabis things in the news this week with the Safe Banking Act passing. I think you have some information on the application process for adult use in Chicago and Illinois.

Larry Mishkin:
Yup, yup. There's a lot going on after lots of lading and nervousness and anxiety. On Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Responsibility Regulations excuse me did published the applications for Illinois adult use dispensaries. And so those are now out and about. We have 90 days to complete them. They're due at the latest on January 2nd of 2020. So the clock is ticking. And suffice it to say, things have gotten very, very busy in Illinois.

Jim Marty:
And when do you think the state will turn those around? Mid 2020.

Larry Mishkin:
So what they've told us is that these licenses will be awarded by May, by May of 2020. They will make the announcements of who gets the licenses. And in fact, the notes might come a little bit earlier than that because this time around they've changed things up a little bit with the dispensaries. And you no longer have a requirement of having identified your property at the time you reply. In other words, there are going to be issuing what they call conditional licenses, a sort of if you do not have your property yet, you will then have some period of time, somewhere between 180 and 365 days to secure your property within the region in which you had applied. So, for instance, the Chicago land Cook County area is getting 40 southern dispensary licenses and you will go ahead and apply. And if you win and you don't have a location yet, you'll go choose your location within the Cook County Chicago land area. We're, of course, advising our clients to get their real estate in advance, not only because it makes the process go a little bit smoother, but just looking at some of these questions in the same section where it says in boldface, you do not need to have your property at the time and having your property will not give you extra points. The very first question about your facility.

Larry Mishkin:
Tell us the number of rooms in the square footage reach, and that's not really something you can do if you don't have your property.

Jim Marty:
Sure, sure. But still, you know, from an accounting point of view, that's really good news for the applicants because they don't have to pay rent on empty buildings.

Larry Mishkin:
Correct. No doubt about it, there's there's definitely advantages like that. And, you know, they can't be tonight, but it's just an interesting way that they're doing it. You know, we'll go through the process like we always do, and I'm sure we'll work out the answers.

Larry Mishkin:
But, you know, it's just the initial initial comment is that the stuff came out and hit the scene and everybody's trying to figure out what's going on now and where we're out. So it's an exciting time.

Larry Mishkin:
We're looking forward to this process really getting going. I'm working with some exciting groups. I know that there there's a number of other really good groups out there. The social equity piece is going to be very interesting, but we'll see how it goes.

Larry Mishkin:
So we will update this as we go forward.

Jim Marty:
Yes. Yes. Because as we've discussed, they're allowing the existing medical cultivation facilities to get a head start on the inventory build. Zach? Correct, Larry.

Larry Mishkin:
That is correct, in fact, a number of the existing medical dispensaries have already been awarded. There are additional licenses. The first one is to allow them to convert their medical facility into a dual use facility. And the second one is where a second standalone adult use license as well. So those licenses are already starting to come out and the medical people are ramping up so that they will be ready to go in January 1st.

Jim Marty:
Well, just say January 1st, but it will not be dispensaries open on January 1st for adult use, will there?

Larry Mishkin:
Well, there will be a few of these these these are medical ones that are getting their licenses right now, are putting themselves into positions so that they can, you know, either they're dual purpose, a license will be available, you'll be ready to go. Or maybe they're off site location or maybe both of them. I know groups that are working really hard to be ready to flip the switch on January 1.

Jim Marty:
And that's very exciting.

Larry Mishkin:
It is we're really looking forward to it. And like I say, I'll keep everybody on this enterprise as to what's going on. And it should be an exciting time for us.

Jim Marty:
Yes. Yes. I'm looking forward to 2020. In Chicago, Land and Illinois. Switching it over to music. We need to talk about the passing of Robert Hunter, the great one, Gregg Tiller of Rock and Roll. One of the pros go down in history as the most one of the most amazing lyricists in rock and roll history. Now, his song, so many of them are written as true English sonnets, very Shakespearean. With so many words to line, so many lines to a verse and so many versus to a song. And, you know, those lyrics are just true poetry and so great loss. At age 78, not saying much about how he died that I've heard other than he was recovering from surgery and that's when he passed away. Larry, what do you got?

Larry Mishkin:
Well, I heard the same thing about about his past. You know, it's very interesting because Robert Hunter is the kind guy who, you know, almost sometimes gets forgotten about. Right, when Jerry's up on stage singing those songs. You know, typically I was not sitting there focusing on the fact that they were written by Robert Hunter. You know, I was focusing on the fact that Jerry was making them come alive. And we had a whole the whole system here of really go into these shows here in these songs. And, you know, just being blown away by the words that were coming out of Jerry's mouth. And of course, we all walked through our table to the jury saying this is a party song, which, of course, was partially true because they wrote the music. But it left out John BARLOW. It left out Robert Hunter. And although we already talked about BARLOW, how many bands in the hot can say that they had their lyrics written for them? I really to just amazing geniuses. And Robert Hunter was a poet. The beauty of the Grateful Dead songs is if you take away the music and just read the lyrics, there's still great songs.

Larry Mishkin:
They still they do tell a story. They they bring you in. They speak to events that we all know about and about events that we never really knew about. And just imagine the way they were. But it was the way that he could turn of phrase. It was the way that he could take a song and make it so simple, yet so powerful in its message in a movie. My favorite Robert Hunter story of all time is the day back in 1970, maybe 1969, when he sat down one afternoon with a bottle of wine and cranked out in one afternoon the lyrics to Rebel Broke Down Palace and to lay me down, which, you know, maybe three of the greatest songs he's ever written. And to think that somebody had that ability and that that that creativity and that energy to come up with that kind of stuff. And, you know, it's just absolutely incredible. I think he was a genius. And I know we've talked about this before, but since we talked about fish on the show, we can only imagine what it would have been like if Trey had a Robert Hunter writing lyrics for him.

Jim Marty:
Yeah, yeah. We've talked about the fish Grateful Dead lyrics. But back to Hunter. Some of the stories I wanted to share that I've heard over the years is how prolific any of these bursts of productivity were. He wrote, you know, he sat down with Jerry, 71, 72, road sugary deal and loser. Maybe not all on the same day, but in the same week. Well, he and Jerry were in the studio. So that's one story. Same thing, I guess. When they were on one of their first trips to Europe, he wrote Scarlet Begonias and a couple other Grateful Dead standards, again, all in the same day. Isn't this how this productivity was? And then the. He was very fussy about changing his lyrics. So when he handed Jerry a set of lyrics, there were no changes. I heard recently that he's towards the end of his life. He worked with Bob Dylan just probably the last year or so. He'd let Dylan change his lyrics, but he said really, nobody else. And that was actually a falling out with Bob Weir. And it was actually over Sugar Magnolia. Now, these, again, stories that I've read where, you know, Bob Bob was changing around the lyrics to. Sugar Magnolia. And goes that. I'm done. And that's when he said to barlas, I had he's all yours. I'm done. And then that's when he switched over. And pretty much just for Jerry for the rest of his career. Another short story I just heard, you know, until the end of his life. He did tour and play small clubs, just solo, acoustic, which were very well-received. And recently he played in Denver. I was not at that show, but I heard that after the show, the owner of the bar went up to him to give him his cut of the take at the door. And I just said, no, no, no, no, you keep that for yourself. I'm doing just fine living off my my royalties.

Larry Mishkin:
Oh, that's wonderful. Yeah, he's he he did play with them, as I recall. He played some sets during intermissions of the 2015 Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago. All right. But I have to tell you, you're absolutely right to bring that up, Jim. And he didn't always get enough credit for his own musicianship. And I'm just always pulled back to one of my all time favorite Jerry Garcia band shows. And that's a show that was recorded at Keene College on February 28, 1980. I love it because it's a great show all the way through. And it has an absolutely amazing version of After Midnight Insecurity Playing ELEANOR Rigby without singing it, playing it. And then back to after midnight. But when you get a little bit farther into the show, he'll point. Jerry says, OK, well, I'm going to step aside and we're going to let Robert Hunter come out. And he plays, you know, two of my favorite songs that he wrote that never recorded, which is Tiger Rose and Promontory Rider. And then he came out and just jams on those tunes. And it's like, wow, this game, he's not just the lyrics. This guy's a musician can sing. And when I was when he was singing and telling the story with his song, you know, he was he was inflecting in a way as if he were actually telling a story and not necessarily singing. It was it was just fascinating to hear and to see him perform. And, you know, I guess the simplest thing to say is that every Deadhead in the world, really almost any musician of the world knows this guy is that of gratitude, because he created all of this without his lyrics, without his words, without his contribution. You know, it could be argued that there is no Grateful Dead and that in that respect, he was just as important a member of that organization as any of the musicians in any of the other guys.

Jim Marty:
Oh, yeah, absolutely. He was a solid member of the band for all these years. And yeah, for those who want to get a feel for Robert Hunter and how he interpreted Grateful Dead standards and arranged them differently, you can listen to some of his solo work. And I agree with you, Larry. Promontory Rider is that rider or rider?

Larry Mishkin:
Right. All right

Jim Marty:
Yes. That really gives you a feel for what, a solo Robert Hunter concert or arrangement is.

Larry Mishkin:
Yeah, it it it's just it's it's truly a tremendous song. Everything he did is good. I would mention this as well. There's a book that came out years ago and it's a book of Robert Hunter lyrics. And, you know, so you it's like you can buy it. You can read it slowly, fast, you know, figure out the words of the songs. We didn't know what the words were. But it's great. I sit down sometimes and I just read it. I just read it with a learing that it's got a little storytelling on the side. And it's really tremendous to get a sense of who this guy was.

Jim Marty:
Right. Right. Yeah. One of the prized possessions in my library, it's called the Grateful Dead lyrics, annotated guys, all the lyrics by year. And then little explanations over on the side. And he gets so much out of that. I never quite unwound the lyrics in the sun. Name a song. Come to me a second. But it talks about the four lean hounds the lighthouse keep.

Larry Mishkin:
Oh, Franklin Tower.

Jim Marty:
Yeah. Turns out Franklin's tower is a real tower from ancient Greek mythology. So that's some of the things you can dig out of Grateful Dead lyrics if you happen to have their book, if you ever see it at a book sale or a yard sale, snap it up because it's a great history. I think it's out of print.

Larry Mishkin:
It might be, but, you know, for that reason, he took took other signs regulated like Stagger Lee, which was a traditional blues tune, every girl recorded in a number of different variations. And then he took the traditional tune and he arranged it into the modern version, the world. You know, we all do built very well from, you know, Jerry singing it all the time. So he had a history of an understanding of where he could have a higher or things.

Jim Marty:
And, you know, he's the most amazing person like should agree is a rearrangement of a traditional song from the old south that the I believe this is from Grateful Dead lyrics annotated. But the slaves would sing songs similar to Sugar Read when they were working in the cotton fields and re-arresting. Peggy Lowe was a traditional Scottish marching song that was rearranged for rock n roll. So anyway, a lot about Robert Hunter. He'll be greatly missed.

Larry Mishkin:
Well, let just said, Jim, because I think to quote Mr. Hunter himself and with his passing for some reason, this really kind of chills. Yes. That company is still out there, and that's wonderful. But, you know, for Gerry to be gone, Robert Hunter to be gone, John BARLOW to be gone. It's really the old guard here and those connections that were losing it. And really who could say it any better than Hunter himself? Such a long, long time to be gone. Hemp to be there.

Jim Marty:
Such a long, long time and shocked to be there.

Dan Humiston:
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Jim Marty:
Yeah.

Jim Marty:
So moving on, we have more meth, marijuana, things to talk about and then we'll wind it down for this episode. But in spite of all the rancor and partisanship and talk of impeachment and all that's going on in Washington, D.C., we actually had a bipartisan bill passed and even made the Tucker Carlson Carlson show on Fox News that virtually all the House Democrats and one hundred and eleven. They have my number. Right. House Republicans voted for the Safe Banking Act, and now that will move on to Congress. So there's not a little bit more than a bit of irony in that. In the middle of all this political sportsmanship and gamesmanship in Washington, D.C., they're able to come together on marijuana. So how about that, huh?

Well, you know, it's funny you say that because, you know, that's that's something I've been talking about for a long time. You even walk back out the sea, a forum and right from a few years back. Dana Rohrabacher was a Republican. And, you know, he got this bill passed by a house. Was like you say, they couldn't even agree on what day of the week it was. And they were able to pass the war by Kafar Amendment Right, which basically said to the DEA, stay the hell out of here. That was amazing. And now we've got the safe banking you that's been kicking around there for a while. And I can, you know, look, in all fairness to them, they have to find the right time or the place to do it. But they did. And you're absolutely right. It got incredible bipartisan support. And now it's on its way to the Senate where, you know, the Senate, I think will probably move a little bit lower on it. Obviously, there's a lot of big issues floating around of the federal government right now that it has the Senate's attention. So it's not entirely certain exactly when they will address the issue. But the reports that I'm hearing are that whenever they decide to address the issue, that they will have enough votes in the Senate to get this passed. And the implications to the Cannabis industry are staggering. If all of a sudden banking services are available.

Jim Marty:
Yes. Well, it's a public safety issue. You know, the numbers aren't going down. The sales continue to grow into the billions. As I've mentioned many times, co.'s fortune, we have five or six financial institutions around the country in Colorado openly banking the industry. We also keep a list at our shop at Bridge West of all the banks that are servicing the industry around the country. And we know about that because people write checks. And so look at this bank is now one of our lines in Illinois or Massachusetts. But back to the Senate. Yes. What's absolutely critical is that it gets out of committee. There's very powerful committee people chairs in some of the key committees to get this bill onto the floor that are very anti-marijuana. And it comes from both the right and the left, although I have to say, I believe Mitch McConnell is no friend of marijuana and he's in no hurry to see the students of the house. But we'll see. So, yeah, if you want to apply pressure and influence to your Congresses, me or your senators, people listening to this show, you know, just ask them to really get this on to the House floor for a vote. That's what's critical. I agree with you that it would pass the Senate on a floor vote. And then I always say his name wrong. But the Treasury Secretary Manoogian, I think, is how you pronounce his name is very much in favor of the Safe Banking Act again. As a public safety issue, the government has the federal government or state and local have no interest in billions of dollars of cash floating around outside of the system. And so there's a lot of pressure from even the prohibitionist side of Cannabis to say, hey, this is one thing we really need to do, even if we don't really like the adult use program for our state. So, yeah, that's what's going on there.

Larry Mishkin:
Well, you're just one thing I'll throw in there because you mentioned the. And that you're you're absolutely correct about that. The current Senate banking here is Senator Mike Crapo. Crapo. I don't know enough last names from Idaho. He is a Republican, but he said that he is committed to having a committee vote on the Cannabis banking measure and that he believes that the support that the Republicans gave it in the House makes it bode well for the Senate, too. In terms of addressing this type of issue. But, you know, I've said this before, Jim, and I'll say it again and I'll probably say it again some more after this. To me, what we're beginning to see as a society and actually on the world stage and, you know, maybe maybe I maybe I see things a little too rosy, but I see marijuana as the great the great healer, if you will. The thing that which people all agree, Democrats could hate Republicans and hate conservatives, liberals, gay people, straight people, black people, white people, you know, people, Muslim people. Everybody likes marijuana. And it's not surprising. In fact, it did.

Larry Mishkin:
We should take this as a sign that we have a dysfunctional Congress the way we do for people, you know, can't even agree on whether a telephone poll took place or not. Everybody was more for granted or not. Everybody, but very many people like marijuana or they know people that like marijuana. Still, there are it were we're going to hit that stage, you know, that gay marriage eventually hit where the public opinion just kind of tipped the ball inevitably in favor of legalization. But but it shouldn't be lost on all of us in today's highly contentious society. I will tell you this. I've got friends, I've got a brother, I've got cousins who are on the exact opposite side of the political spectrum than I am on that. You know, we can all get together and we can talk about all sorts of stuff. But inevitably, some power politics will creep in. And although, you know, we all well, we're not good to talk politics. He said something. You say something back. Now you're getting into it. How do you get out of that?

Larry Mishkin:
Right. Like in politics.

Jim Marty:
They wanted to be buried in the one dark cloud, of course. And I think this might be a lead in for our next show, because maybe we'll know more about the Big Ten crises a year from now very suddenly on our next program in a week or so, because that hasn't gone away. The lung infections seem to be getting higher. We've had gotten, you know, one or two more deaths in the last couple of weeks. Is it related to the pens? Is it THC related? I still think it's too soon to tell. But we're seeing a very swift movement by states that are banning all e-cigarettes.

Larry Mishkin:
Well, they are. And as we talked about a little bit last time. You know, my concern here is that overreaction, right? And I still have a hard time believing this is being caused by THQ, which has been smoke for thousands of years. And I have a hard time believing that it's the fact that you're vaping THC because people have been vaping forever. And I truly believe that we're looking at contaminated oils with the vitamin C acetate or leaching off the metals into the oil. And you write based on the history and everything that we know about this stuff, this is not consistent with anything we've seen before. But nevertheless, as we say every week when we talk about this, somebody has to come up with the answer in the industry would be well-served by leading that charge.

Jim Marty:
And my concern to tie it back to the safe banking is for senators who are on the fence. This might give them a reason or an excuse to vote against it. So I am concerned at the timing that this has come about at the same time as the Safe Banking Act putting closing. I would say politics makes strange bedfellows because now the marijuana industry, the banking industry is going to be walking hand-in-hand with the tobacco industry to keep cigarettes on the market. So and obviously they need to be safer. I don't know if it's related to node's. Certainly not 100 percent of the cases of illness are THC related.

Jim Marty:
Many are people who never touch the THC side of the product, but enjoyed day 10s for tobacco. So I think towards the end of a landslide. Larry, did you have anything else you want to say?

Larry Mishkin:
No. You know, it is as you and I were talking right before we hopped on, there's so much going on these days that if we don't keep an eye on the clock, we could probably talk for hours. But we've got some big topics coming up down the road with workwe. Next time, we'll talk about the Tenth Circuit recent ruling that says that the Fair Labor Standards Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, which creates the minimum wage, applies to the Cannabis industry. So we need to talk about the impact that that's going to have on the musical side, the giant stadium park that has come out. So I've been listening to a feverish rally and there'll be lots to talk about that. So you don't go out and enjoy your day. Everyone in full, look forward to talking to you again next time.

Jim Marty:
All right. Goodbye, everybody, from the Deadhead Cannabis Show. Thank you. Thank you, sir.

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