Let’s All Do More For Racial Justice In America

“With malice towards none; with charity for all; 

with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, 

let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds;…

to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.”  – President Abraham Lincoln at his second inaugural speech on March 4, 1865. 41 days later he would be slain by a white supremacist.

 

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s brutal murder by police, America finds itself deeper in the conversation of our racial injustice than ever in my lifetime. Let us endeavor to leverage this moment to achieve a just and lasting peace among ourselves.

 

The eruption of protests around the brutal state-financed murder of George Floyd has me questioning my actions and has me challenging myself to do more for racial justice in America.

 

I have always considered myself anti-racist, and while I have tried to coax along my fellow white folks, it hasn’t been enough. (In 2006, working with roughly 100 others in a local division of a giant financial services company, I suggested to management – all white, of course – that they really should have more than one black person in a workplace of that size. I literally got back nothing more than blank stares. It wasn’t enough.)

 

I was proud to put in hours volunteering for Barack Obama’s election in ‘08 and his re-election in 2012, and thank God he won those elections. (Oh, thank God he won those elections.) But it wasn’t enough.

 

In the buildup to our first Cannabis Public Policy Conference, someone suggested social equity as a breakout session and I thought it was a great idea! And we actually had two sessions. But it wasn’t enough.

 

I’ll never forget sitting at John Bailey’s Colorado Black Roundtable event in February. I may have been the only white person not running for office in the room. I could feel myself shrinking in my seat as John slowly read out a “list of actions that can get a black man killed in America.”

Running away from the police

Running toward the police

Putting your hands in your pocket

Pulling your hands out of your pocket

Jogging

 

He kept going and going. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. Why is America, the land that I love, so steeped in racial indifference and hatred? Why why why why why? And that question does no good, there’s no resolution or satisfaction in simply asking why.

 

Driving a nice car

Standing by a broken down car

Standing on a street corner

Walking down the street

 

I’m no expert on racially motivated murders. Many of you can cite far more cases than I can. But I kept thinking of Eric Garner, a name all of us should know. Eric was a black man in New York (Long Island I believe) who was selling individual cigarettes, or “loosies,” when police approached him and put him in a choke hold where he famously begged for his life – “I can’t breathe” – before being killed by police.

 

As John kept going, I kept waiting for “selling cigarettes” or “selling loosies.”

 

Whistling at a white girl

Talking back to their boss

 

Eventually the list would get to selling loosies, and mercifully, it ended shortly thereafter. I managed to make it through without breaking down in tears of racial shame. It wasn’t easy.

 

And I don’t share this story for your pity or for warm affection. I do at least recognize my position of privilege in this country. I share this for other white people. Perhaps you are where I was. Perhaps you feel like you’re not the problem. You don’t lynch black people. You never passed over a black candidate for a job. (Or would you qualify that and say you never passed over a qualified candidate, and it just so happens you’ve never had (what you perceived as) a qualified black job applicant?)

 

But that isn’t enough.

 

The next Cannabis Public Policy Conference, September 23-24 here in Colorado, will once again explore the issue of Social Equity in cannabis.

(You can see the report from the first conference here.)

 

It isn’t much, a breakout session at a conference. It will be whatever we make it out to be.

 

I promise to make it one of, if not the, biggest and most important sessions at the Cannabis Public Policy Conference on September 23-24. But I can’t do it alone.

 

We need your help. The cannabis industry needs your wisdom and experience. America needs us to make itself better. Lives literally hang in the balance, and if that expression is racially insensitive, I apologize.

 

There is a golden opportunity here to leverage the cannabis industry for a sliver of racial justice to oppressed communities. Cannabis has the right mixture of new – policies are still forming around cannabis – and applicable – communities of color were disproportionately targeted by the War on Drugs.

 

Let’s seize this moment to craft some victories for racial justice. Join us, this discussion is your discussion. Let’s all collaborate to create some wins for historically oppressed communities. Let’s collaborate for progress. America is an imperfect union. It will never be perfect. But the more you and I work at it, the better she gets!

 

Suggested Reading for My Fellow White People

 

Ta’Nahisi Coates makes a very elegant case for reparations. He is one of the greatest writers of our time.

 

There’s plenty we can do. Pick one or 10 from this list and then do it.

 

Here’s a data tracker demonstrating how COVID-19 is literally killing blacks at roughly 2X the rate as whites. Unacceptable!!

 

Most black people running are just jogging like you or me. They just have to approach it completely differently. Confront your fears America!

20/20 Growth – Jump Starting The Cannabis Industry

A networking event hosted by 20/20 Growth Conferences where we social distanced and more!

Last Thursday, May 21, 20/20 Growth Conferences held a networking event for cannabis professionals looking to expand their sales and grow their company.

And a year ago, that wouldn’t have really been newsworthy. But with America and the rest of the world slowly beginning to emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown, this was something of a first. 20/20 Growth will continue to lead the way, just like we did on May 21st.

20/20 Growth Conferences is planning a series of these events leading up to our next conference, the Cannabis Public Policy Conference on September 23-24. Our next event, June 11, we’re looking to connect 10 locations of 10 people!

David Wilkinson, Director of Global Strategy at 20/20 Growth Conferences, offered up some great advice to companies looking to Jump Start their business.

Hosting events as your community emerges from the lockdown won’t be easy. Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

– Use a questionnaire to screen people at the door for symptoms or recent contacts.

– Set the seats at least 6 feet apart. This makes for an eerily empty-feeling room but I think we’ll get used to it rather quickly.

– Remind everyone to wear masks. We didn’t wear ours the whole night. But we all wore masks into the building, per local public health requirements, in this case, Denver, Colorado.

On-line, or “virtual”, networking is suddenly more important than ever.  At 20/20 Growth Conferences, we’re working on developing a leading-edge tech experience for our community. And to be frank, we have room for improvement. To the 9 Zoom attendees who endured the delays and glitches, thank you. I promise we’re already working on adding more cameras for more views for you to view while sitting at home or where ever you Zoom. Does anyone Zoom anywhere else? And if so, where!? Most importantly, we’re going to test run a new program for introductions to meet other sales professionals so you can generate leads from your home.

Thanks to Cultivated Synergy for helping host this event. This has been a trying time for everyone, and Cultivated is no different. Events are a significant revenue stream for Cultivated, and we hope that revenue stream snaps back quickly!

That said, we here at 20/20 Growth Conferences are proud to have produced the two most recent events at CS! Let’s hope they don’t go another 10 weeks between events!

It’s OK to start moving around more America. We’re all being super cautious about it.

Seeking A Female Of Color For Tech Co-Founder

My name is Michael Scanlon, and my company, 20/20 Growth Conferences, is re-inventing conferences.

 

I have a vision for next generation virtual conferences. My conference community needs me to fulfill this vision so they can continue to grow. I am obsessed with making a better virtual conference experience!

 

I am seeking a Tech Co-Founder here in Colorado with experience developing XR. Our solution will be both AR complimenting a real live event, and VR, where some participants are completely virtual. We will blend both into one conference experience. 

 

The Tech Co-Founder I seek is the opposite of me. She is young (or at least young-ish) and from a community of color*. She lives on Colorado’s Front Range. And of course, she’s female. (Sorry guys.)

 

A rough analogy of the technology we are developing is VR Chat or Discord inside VirBELA or Matterport or Sketchup or Mozilla Hubs. Like everything else, it should work on a cell phone. And naturally, it will be more immersive with AR glasses like Spectacles or a VR headset like Oculus.

 

This is an entrepreneurial offer, a get rich slow scheme. You have to build the tech, I have to continue building the audience. As an equity stakeholder in the company, you will only get paid a percentage of any sales you bring in and/or a percentage of profits.** I already have some sales, and more lined up once the tech exists. This market need absolutely exists, the only question is if we can execute!

 

Conferences take years to build a large community, but once built, are very reliable streams of revenue. At least they used to be. I am confident they will be again one day. Right now there is a huge opportunity, a yawning gap yearning to be filled.

 

Zoom does not replace conferences! Not even close. We can do better.

 

Women interested in this opportunity can email michael@2020GrowthConferences.com to apply. Please detail any experience you have coding (required) and any business experience you have (not required). Do not include a photo of yourself. List your DOB and ethnicity*. Feel free to tell me any life experiences or other relevant information you want me to weigh when considering you for Tech Co-Founder.

 

Yours Truly,

 

Michael Scanlon

Founder, 20/20 Growth Conferences

 

* I know claiming a race can be complicated. Tiger Woods never liked being boxed into one category. Barack Obama learned young that even though he’s half white – and indeed was raised by the white half of his heritage – that in America, if your race is a tie, well, you don’t get to pick. I’m not going to perform any blood tests, and frankly, if we did, we’d both be a mix of a lot of ethnicities. If you’ve ever felt discriminated against because of your skin color or appearance, you qualify.

 

I remember Ward Churchill saying only people who claimed Native American heritage were asked to take blood tests “like dogs.” I believe you are who you self identify as, and I will always treat all applicants, and everyone else, like the equal you are.

 

** And assuming we’re successful, many years from now, there will be the “exit.” We’ll talk exit strategy early, to make sure we’re on the same page. If one of us wants out in a few years, we will have a pre-arranged process for a co-founder exit – how to value the shares of the company, what the final number will be, what the payout process will be.

Celebrate Earth this Earth Day!

I’m fond of saying “Good planets are hard to find.” For years, I’ve agonized over our lands, our oceans, our climate. I sincerely hope the New Normal – the first time global attitudes all changed at once for a common purpose – will usher in a new spirit of “we’re all in it together” that will help keep Earth habitable for humans. (Earth is one tough bitch, we don’t need to “save” Earth. She was here billions of years before homo sapiens, and will almost certainly be here billions of years after we’re gone, but that’s another story.)

This Earth Day, here are some things you can do to help:

Buy local, farm fresh produce instead of meat. Here’s a directory for the state of Colorado.

Put a bee hive in your yard. Beekeeping 101: Should you raise honey bees?

Plant Pollinator-Friendly Native Plants.

Join your local CSA, Community Supported Agriculture. In Colorado, Colorado Community Supported Agriculture.

Thanks to Colorado Senator Faith Winter for emailing me these great ideas and links.

That’s one last thought for the planet. Elections matter. Vote pro-Earth next election!

Final Report of the Cannabis Public Policy Conference March 2020

Thanks to over 150 cannabis industry professionals, and over 50 amazing panelists, for helping compile all the public policy recommendations at the Cannabis Public Policy Conference last March 5-6 here in Denver! Here’s the link to the final report, and just to give you a taste, here’s the Executive Summary of the 30 page report:

Executive Summary of the Final Report of the Cannabis Public Policy Conference

On March 5-6, 2020 in Denver, Colorado, over 150 cannabis professionals and public policy makers gathered at the Cannabis Public Policy Conference with the goal of normalizing cannabis by advising the on-going improvement of public policies in this still-nascent industry.

The specific recommendations of the conference are spelled out in this report. A few common themes emerge from the conference:

  • The SAFE Banking Act would make dispensaries safer and is a smart first step toward legitimizing the business of cannabis.
  • Taxes on the cannabis industry are onerous, and while the industry welcomed taxation early as a path to legitimacy, multiple layers of municipal taxes can pinch, and IRS280E, with a 70% effective tax rate, is beyond unreasonable.
  • Federal prohibition was a failure and a clear majority of Americans want clean, safe, regulated access to legal, reasonably taxed cannabis.
  • The regulatory climate continues to mature. However, due to a lack of federal policy, or even guidance, every state is rolling out their own regulatory framework. The 30+ states allowing distribution of cannabis require 30+ different types of packaging and labeling, for example.
  • Burdensome laws from the federal government prevent research of cannabis. Colorado’s new program to allow state regulated research is showing early promise. One thing is clear – critics and proponents alike call for more research on this complex plant full of medicinal value.
  • Cannabis is uniquely qualified to make amends for the injustices the War on Drugs perpetrated across communities of color. The industry is a willing, if slightly reluctant, partner. This report attempts to define social equity, as well as propose potential remedies.
  • Expungement of past criminal records is one method to atone for the injustices of the past. But expungement alone is not a social equity program.
  • Single use plastic is a scourge across our society, and some regulations in cannabis could be eased to reduce the dependence on single use plastics. Additionally, biodegradable hemp plastic may be a potential breakthrough in the fight against the pollution of plastic.
  • Climate Change – As the climate crisis deepens, cannabis and hemp provide a number of positive effects on the environment, including carbon sequestration, low water usage, durability of products and soil remediation.
  • Hemp should be treated like a normal crop. “Hot” crops (over .3% THc content) should be allowed other uses, remediation or to be plowed under, not subject to costly destruction.
  • Collaborative efforts between industry and regulators, like Colorado’s MED Rule Making sessions and the Colorado Agriculture Department CHAMP sessions, create better outcomes and are a model not just for cannabis but all regulators.
  • Double standards abound for the industry. Virginia, the original tobacco state, recently legalized medical marijuana – but not smokable flower, which many consider the best, purest form of the plant.
  • Member associations like NCIA and NACB are powerful institutions, and industry participants are strongly encouraged to join and support one or more industry associations to accelerate the end of prohibition and the next phase.

All these recommendations, and those that follow in this report, are the common themes which emerged from the work of many people across multiple facets of the cannabis industry. This report is a good-faith attempt to counsel and advise policy makers on the current state of the cannabis industry. Included are possible paths to bring the future forward faster!

To see video of many of these sessions, visit our You Tube Channel.

To download a copy of this report, visit our website, www.2020GrowthConferences.com.

At 20/20 Growth Conferences, our Mission is to foster collaboration between the private sector and government. By hosting collaborative conferences and awarding The Govies, 20/20 Growth creates opportunities for increased productivity and unleashed innovation to bring the future forward faster!

20/20 Growth Conferences, 2901 Walnut St., Denver, CO 80205                            (303) 929-4503

www.2020GrowthConferences.com                                         info@2020GrowthConferences.com

My New Book Is Available For Free

I’m excited to announce the pre-published availability of my new book Building Something From Nothing.

I’ve been working on Building Something From Nothing – How I’ve Built Organizations With No Money And How You Can Do It Too for about 8 months or so, and it took on a real urgency with the COVID-19 Virus Crisis. To do my part, I’m making the Google Doc version available for free immediately. Over time, I intend to polish up the book, which right now, is really just a manuscript. Please allow me a month or two to develop some graphics, design a cover, figure out the index, all that good stuff. Then I’ll publish it as a pdf, and probably as an e-book as well.

More to come. For now, here’s the promo text I’ve come up with in the early going:

Out Of Work?
In a down economy, you have two options. The traditional route is pounding the pavement, chasing every job opening with the hordes, hoping for a break at a job with limited earning capability which you’re likely overqualified for.
or
Build something for yourself!
For enterprising souls with courage and grit, option two will be the most rewarding path!
In my book, How To Build Something From Nothing – How I’ve Build Organizations With No Money, And How You Can Do It To, I spell out, in detail, various methods and techniques I’ve used in the past to build organizations from nothing.
Create income for yourself while raising your stature among your peers and family.
Make more than a living – make a difference in your community!
By starting an organization like a member association, or my favorite, a chamber of commerce, you can build credibility for yourself and wealth for you and your family.
By starting a company, you can launch your innovation to the benefit of society.
You have a choice. Sit around feeling sorry for yourself, waiting for a job to open up, then hustle over to wait in the lobby with dozens of other job seekers hoping you’ll be the one they select – all so you can go to work building someone else’s dream.
Or, you can start today building something for yourself!
The choice is yours.
At 52 years of age, I’ve struggled along the path of making ends meet in a down economy more than once. I predict you’ll see a resurgence of “jobs” in the 1099 category, meaning instead of a paycheck and benefits you have “unlimited” compensation – as long as you make sales. Many 1099 independent contractor status positions also have the distinct chance to pay zero dollars in any given month, especially early on.
I can’t guarantee you’ll make a living out the gate. I can’t even guarantee you’ll make $100. But wouldn’t you rather build something for you and your community in a worst case, no income scenario, rather than spread the word about someone else’s company at no income?
And why assume you’ll make nothing? If executed properly, you can have your organization up and running in 2-6 months. It may take a couple of years to get to full time income, but income should start flowing shortly after launch. In the book, I explain it all, step by step.

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