0003: From Red Rock at the Phil Lesh concert

Cannabis CPA Jim Marty is at Red Rock before the Phil Lesh concert talking to Cannabis attorney Larry Mishkin. They reminisce about past Dead Red Rock shows and Jim talks about his recent cannabis lobbying trip to DC.

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Jim Marty:
Tell Larry as we get started here that today is a grateful day. That's always what I call a show day.

Jim Marty:
Because we have Phil Lesh in his family band Red Rocks. So I'm recording this podcast from the steps of red rocks and I'm looking forward to talking about some of the experiences I've had here over the years. So the Grateful Dead here a bunch between 1983 and 1987 but also substantively I think we should talk about my trip to Washington D.C. last week.

Larry Mishkin:
Yes that's what I want to hear about.

Jim Marty:
Very interesting. As I've learned more and more about Washington every time I go there there's my first time going there to lobby Congress with the National Cannabis Industry Association. And this you know you've got to leave your your reason and logic at the door in Washington D.C. because you know we come from the business world the cannabis industry in the business world in Washington economic issues really come into force. You know the first is will it help me get re-elected. We're going to send my donor base. Those are social issues that we have to deal with them. Congressman Steve Scalise call me one of my first thoughts here five years ago he said you know we know in Washington that we're five years or so behind public opinion and we are institutionally designed to do that. And to be that way we don't want to do anything on a knee jerk. We want to make sure all sides have been heard and all the arguments have been made before the federal government makes a change. So on the big cannabis issues federal legalization business deductions and utility Safe Banking I really think those issues might still be two or three years off. But the good news is they're taking it seriously. You know when I first started doing this they literally laughed at us.

Jim Marty:
They said Is there really a National Cannabis Industry Association. And today every politician in elected office are running for office has to take a position on cannabis and the tide is with us. So that was my big takeaway from Washington D.C.. We haven't got anything or big issues settled or passed in our favor but they're taking us seriously. There's bills before Congress they may not make it. The bills may not make it this Congress or this year but it's coming. And people are lining up with their issues and their financial issues are tax issues. Will there be an excise tax on marijuana if it's federally legal. How much will that be. I heard a lot about social justice. Was that surprising when asking for support for our best Safe Banking Bill and our two easy fix. We got pushback from the left I won't mention. That's a very important congressman and senator said no you know we're not supporting the bill as it stands right now. Not until we have more of our social justice issues addressed.

Jim Marty:
And what they're looking for is what they need. They make some good points. I'm not against any of that. They want. They don't like the cannabis industry be all what they wanted to be. People of color they want carve outs and preferences on licensing toward minorities. They want access to capital maybe through government grants for inner city cannabis businesses. So those those are the social justice issues that are out there.

Larry Mishkin:
We'll know what you're talking about is is this fascinating. And it's you know it's unfolding on the national level and we're sitting here watching it similarly unfold on the state level in Illinois as they go through addressing the new adult useful that Governor Pritzker introduced just recently and they're facing a lot of the exact same issues on a statewide level that you're talking about on the federal level. And interestingly enough on the social issue comes up as one of those issues that everybody seems to think should be included but nobody can agree on how it should be included. And it's been very interesting to watch it play out here on the state level because in Illinois certainly in Cook County the African-American and Hispanic populations make up a significant portion of the population in that area. And without the support of those communities this kind of bill will have a very hard time passing by now. So at least the initial idea has been put into place. People are finding out it's not so easy to engage in that type of legislation. So it's interesting to see it play out everywhere. But what I really like most importantly about what you just said is the change in attitude. Experienced over the last five years and the fact that people now take you seriously they're willing to have this conversation with you is significant. And even if they're not giving us the answers that we're looking for right now the fact that at least they're taking the time to talk to you and take you seriously is a huge step in the right direction.

Jim Marty:
Yes and the question is how do you get it done. That's my big takeaway is that the federal government is not going to give us the cannabis industry on a silver platter.

Jim Marty:
They are going to get paid for it one way or the other and getting paid for it may not be in dollars. It might be in social justice issues and preferences for minorities. It might need a lot of structure. It might be to pay for a particular head of the committees could project some very smart lobbyists. I had a 20 minute meeting with them that turned into a two hour meeting and they said you have to understand how things get done in Washington. It is the Christmas tree where everybody gets to hang an ornament on the Christmas tree and everybody's pet project is very important they said to fix the tax deductions in the banking. You need to move that from a marijuana issue. You have a lot of congressmen and senators that don't want to stick their necks out there on the word marijuana. They said you need to turn it into a tax issue and make it into a revenue issue and that the senators and congressmen can get their projects funded with revenue from marijuana. So I'm learning a lot. I think I may have learned more this time than the other four times combined.

Jim Marty:
But it does seem like we're getting some traction and it does seem now the basic gist of things in Washington it is inevitable. It's when it's more when and how and no longer is.

Larry Mishkin:
I think that's absolutely true when and how. And that's what we're going to see it paid has shifted in a way that will not allow it to go back in the other direction which is great. But you know as I tell a lot of my clients the problem was an industry actually becoming legal is that now you have all of the other headaches and all of the other problems and all of the other everything that any other business has. And so while we're working our way through these issues again you know the thing that they just keep coming back to is how great is it that we're that we have these issues that we get to work our way through.

Larry Mishkin:
Right. Five years ago there were no issues because there was no business choice.

Larry Mishkin:
And now right now people are people experiencing what the rest of the business world experience is to some degree with regulation and working things out.

Larry Mishkin:
What's the best public policy.

Larry Mishkin:
You know the short answer is we don't really know because although it's been part of the public forever. It's never been part of the public in a way that the government was participating in and you know keeping an eye on it. Now they are so. OK well you know we'll see how it goes.

Jim Marty:
I'm going to talk now because I want to follow up on what you just said which I I agree with completely. If we get banking true financial services for the industry if we get tax deductions like any other normal business we'll have a real industry until then it still is the Wild West. It's changes every day. People who got along yesterday are suing each other today. You know you thought you were doing right. You're getting penalized for by a state regulator. Capital formation is crazy but our lives are not boring.

Larry Mishkin:
Well that's true. They're not boring and every time one of these issues arises and we have to deal with it you know what I call a good headache it's a headache that you want it out because it's a regular business mentality. and that's why you can never ask for it just because it's legal doesn't mean it's going to be easy.

Jim Marty:
Absolutely.

Jim Marty:
I'll switch gears here a little bit and talk about some of the experiences I've had here at Red Rocks Red Rocks holds about nine five hundred people. So it's a fairly small venue. It's not a stadium at all. The center of some of the most perfect acoustics of any amphitheater in the United States. There's a stage is literally a rock. It's actually called Stage rock and all the rocks have names. There's constellation Rock Ship rock. And during the day it's open to the public and you lot of people come here and exercise on climbing up the steps as you got to be in shape to go to Red Rocks as you're about 6000 feet above sea level. And there's a lot of climbing up. It's about I don't know probably 100 steps just to get up to the stage level and then the amphitheater goes up from there. So you see a lot of people winded and huffing and puffing coming up the stairs here. Anyway the Grateful Dead played their first show here in 1978 right around the Fourth of July. And those are some very famous shows Dark Star Orchestra recreated the second Grateful Dead. So it was July just 1978 here at Red Rocks last year. And they were one of the top rated Grateful Dead shows of all time and they did a wonderful job recreating that.

Larry Mishkin:
Last year last year those two shows were part of a larger box office and then released a couple of years ago. Five shows from their tour in 1978 including those two red rock shows and they are fantastic shows.

Jim Marty:
Huh. Somehow I miss that because I don't believe they have that in my collection. When I first read that show here was 1983 and my wife and I moved here in 82. So we didn't see the 82 shows but we did see 83 84 85 86 was when Jerry had his coma. So the shows got canceled that year and then 87 was the last year in 1987 that's when dark came out and the Grateful Dead just got really really dig nationally. And so they outgrew Red Rocks and that's so the there was way more approval at that show. And as I was that most of those shows between 83 and 87 and I was at the very last Grateful Dead show here in August of 1987 and it was so overcrowded. There's a hell behind red rocks where I'm sold out shows. They let the young people climb up there on the Hill. You can't really see the stage or anything but you can hear it just fine. It was to pull up on the hill behind red rocks. I'll never forget the last song that they played that night was Bob Dylan's Knockin on Heaven's Door and all the kids came down from the hill to the round parking lot at the top of red rocks and they all were dancing in the headlights of the cop cars.

Larry Mishkin:
That's funny like that that you know kind of sticking it and really sticking it back in the face but let them know that you may be here but we're having a good time too. Well I was only there once to see the Grateful Dead and that was in 1984 and a group of us drove out from Ann Arbor went up there to see the shows. We've heard all about red rocks. We never seen that before and got there and was just amazed by it. And you're right Jimmy. In reality it holds just under 10000 people. When you get there. When you first walk in and you look up and it just kind of seems to go straight up forever and then when you get to the very top and you're looking out over the stage and over the foothills and over the city and out onto the plains and you know if you're lucky and there's a storm far enough out in the east you could see all the lightning and everything and it's just wonderful. And we had a great time. But speaking of the weather the second night we were getting ready to head to the show and we got stuck in a hailstorm. And my wife who was my girlfriend at the time was driving her brand new Ford Ford Escort. And there was four of us in addition to her so five of us crammed into this car and you know there was no place to pull over.

Larry Mishkin:
They had never had any kind of protective covering we pulled into the parking lot of a gas station and sat there while these shell balls turned it off for power. It was a hatchback in the middle of the hatchback window was a steal your face Stitcher. and all of a sudden a little square piece of flat held together by the school your face sticker popped out. And then we knew we were in trouble and 30 seconds later the whole. all the glass broke. We scrambled half glass out of there and put it the back of the car. We we still made our way up to Red Rocks. We got there in the middle of the first shot it was pouring down rain. It was a great show and the second set heading into drums they were playing Ship of Fools as the moon came out. And Jerry was playing the guitar solo at the end of the song and the moon was coming out from behind the clouds and you know the way that only Jerry could do he hit the last note right as the moon made its full appearance and everybody was just kind of blown away. But the real fun was the third night and they broke out. Mr. fantasy for the first time.

Larry Mishkin:
And we were all you know it was it was crazy right.

Larry Mishkin:
They were shipped out into the street playing in the band and they were just jamming jamming jamming without really much of a musical intro righteous started singing. And Jerry picked up with it and by the time they got it around the second time where they were cranking on it and we just couldn't believe it. The people that brought the house down there. But he was so excited to hear it and it was just you know we should devote some time to talking about those breakout moments when you know certain songs get broken out for the first time and how cool it is and that was one of them about a month later I was with my dad had bodies in the Midwest they're playing and jamming and it was like What song is this. I was like soul guys when you grow up with your fantasy and you know and you know he's doing it it just shouldn't be able to call the next song correctly as a big thing.

Jim Marty:
Right. Right. And of course that's how Steve Winwood song Dena. traffic.

Jim Marty:
I've always had a degree related to that verse of that song. Please don't be sad if he was a straight life you had we wouldn't have known you all these years.

Jim Marty:
I kind of late that to my career. You got to do what I wanted. The self-employed could go to all the shows I wanted to go to but I was heading up the business end of things too.

Jim Marty:
But it was good to was really good to be here at Red Rocks and I'm listening to let's say we're going to get a Rolling Stones tonight I'm hearing on the soundtrack.

Larry Mishkin:
That's awesome. Well it's going to be great for you guys. I want to hear all about the shows and you and I'll have to these things you'll give me the scoop in case you saw my e-mail and I'm trying to get myself out there for Delta Company too so we'll talk about that also.

Jim Marty:
Yeah it helps. I hope you do it. We plan to do a podcast from my barn to during the debt and company run at Folsom Field so that to look forward to and I have some guests lined up for that. Some people front sobriety community the people who do the rehab and what their take is on legal marijuana and how they see that is either a plus or a minus with the work that they do mostly with alcohol. The big drug of course is alcohol and that causes more problems than anything else. So yeah I'm looking forward to future podcasts and doing the ones who didn't come. All right. I'm going to go. Thank you all very much.

Larry Mishkin:
We have a great time tonight and I hope you hear what you want to hear.

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