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,

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                               

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.
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.

COVID-19 Solutions Virtual Conference Page – Comments Requested

Day 1 – March 16, 2020  Decided late last night to run a virtual conference on COVID-19, see if I can’t lend my skills to somehow assist in the effort to win this war. I got some great advice – it needs focus, like vaccine innovation or The Road Ahead – What The New Normal Will Look Like. There was also a suggestion to keep it Colorado focused. Was advised that any topic will be moving a target because EVERYTHING with this virus is a moving target.

Day 2 – March 17, 2020 – 29 days out from the virtual conference. I’m concerned about pestering people on the front lines of this war, but they are the obvious “panelists.” Assuming, of course, it had a focus, which it doesn’t. Any feedback from the public is welcome. How do you see a virtual conference helping? Who do you want to hear from? If this becomes more of an educational webinar, what topics and experts are recommended?

What Did You Think Of Our First Conference?


As I sit down to gather my thoughts for the first time since the whirlwind of the last two days, I keep thinking – wow!

Wow, what an amazing turnout and level of participation for the first-ever 20/20 Growth Conference!

We hosted 18 sessions and one fireside chat, and a few themes emerged:

– Taxes are too high and IRS 280E is an unreasonable burden

– More research is necessary on the cannabis plant

– Single-use plastics are a scourge seeking a solution – we had a few ideas

– Social equity is a prime opportunity to deliver justice to victims of the War of Drugs

There were a number of other good proposals to emerge from the Cannabis Public Policy Conference. Look for Cannabis Public Policy Conference II in just 5 or 6 months.

What did you think of the conference? What can we do better next time? What did you like that we think we absolutely should do again?

Please comment below!

Niche Down To Grow Sales

Here’s Chapter Four from my upcoming book Building Something From Nothing – How I’ve Built Organizations From Nothing With No Money, And How You Can Do It Too:

4   Niche Down – The Smaller The Market, The Better

The first time I heard this, I thought it was stupid. I mean, c’mon, I might not have been a successful business person yet, but I could do simple math. The mortgage market was (I’m just making up a number here) $120 billion a year, and mortgages for teachers who like to play hockey might be $250 million. Maybe. Duh. I wanted to fish in the $120 billion market.


And so I did. Do you think I stood out? (That was a trick question, hell no I didn’t stand out. Quite the opposite. To say I didn’t stand out is to imply I was in the blur somewhere. I wasn’t even in the blur. I was, for all intents and purposes, nothing. No potential customers saw me. I was nothing beyond the presence I cast in the room and on the phone.)


I should have focused on teachers who like playing hockey. I like playing hockey. And I was spending a couple hours every week helping get a statewide initiative passed that would benefit education. Put yourself in the shoes (or ice skates if you will) of a teacher who likes playing hockey. You see me every Friday morning at drop in hockey. If you know I do mortgages for a living – this was another of my problems, few people I knew even knew I did mortgages! – and you know we have shared values, suddenly, don’t I seem like THE ONLY guy who should do your mortgage? You’d be at the bank, and some guy who blends in finds out you’re buying a home and he’s BLAH BLAH this and you hear “5.5%” and you realize my rate is 5.75 but also you like me and it was a LOT of paperwork and you don’t want to do paperwork and this guy is still BLAH BLAHing and you left the dog in the car and you really just want out of the bank. And he can’t believe you won’t do the paperwork! He’ll let you bring the dog in, he wants the sale, bring Poochie on in the bank! But do you? Sure, it’ll save a little money. But you’re already in the process with me. And more importantly, I made sense, I share your values.


That example is way too much about “me.” I think I only had one case like that. And I’m not convinced a lower rate at his bank wouldn’t have cost me the deal!


But that’s not the point.


The point is to niche down. Don’t make a dating app. Make a dating app for Jewish people in your home town and the adjacent localities.


Don’t open a restaurant. Open a farm to table restaurant for families with little children. (Actually, I hate the restaurant business. I don’t like blanket statements, but here’s one: Don’t open a restaurant.)


Don’t’ start a general interest Augmented Reality magazine. Find a niche in AR. Even if you’re not sure of the niche, start selling the ads now – you don’t need the actual magazine yet, remember – and see how you do. The market will lead you to an opening.


Don’t say you sell CBD. Tell people you CBD salve is perfect for firefighters with burns.


Niche down. Better to stand out in a room of five, than to be a blur to millions.

How To Make Yourself A Thought Leader In Your Industry

One of the strongest moves you can make to elevate your career – and just as importantly, your professional image – is to appear at a conference as a panelist or a keynote speaker. Here’s what we look for at 20/20 Growth Conferences when selecting panelists.

1  Demonstrate industry knowledge.  This may seem obvious. We all want to sit in front of experts if we’re gonna take a day out of our lives for professional growth. The knowledge you possess does NOT have to be your primary job. Maybe you do lab testing. You see we have a session on marketing. You are well versed in the legal limits they can and can’t advertise. That might make you an ideal panelist.

2  Search for “Call for panelist” and “Call for speakers” and use different words. If you’re in trucking, search those combos with the words “trucking” “shipping” “transport” “warehousing” and other industry words you can think of, particularly those of interest to you.

3  Demonstrate some humor. If you make me laugh, and the other person is staid, guess which one my audience wants me to put up on stage?

4  Pitch me. I love it when people reach out and say “Hey, I see you have this session on XYZ, I work in the area of XYZ and just wanted to see if you have openings on that panel?”  I love this for a few reasons. First, either I do have an open space, or I don’t. If I don’t, I can add you to the back up list. If I do have an opening on that panel, BAM, you just completed a task for me. Second, and more importantly, you’ve demonstrated interest, which makes you much more likely to be enthusiastic and highly engaged – what my audience wants.

5  Volunteer to jump in last minute to fill in a no-show. This doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen. And in a pinch, we’re praying you answer the call. This could be your entree to the biggest conferences of all. Try it. It can’t hurt.

6  Look for newer, or even better, first time events. The stage may not be the grandest, but you’re more likely to get on stage at first time events. This is particularly helpful for first-time presenters looking to start a portfolio. And if it’s a success, and you’re at least half decent, they might invite you back.

7  Offer to sponsor. Don’t be afraid to be specific. “I will sponsor the main stage.” This allows you to have a say in the look and feel of the stage. You may want to upgrade the stools to plush chairs. With your company name behind you side by side with the event name, this could be advertising dollars well spent.

8  Start a portfolio. If you have ever held a microphone in front of more than two people, and you have a picture of it, put it in a pdf or slide deck about you. I know, your Mom said don’t brag about yourself. Tell Mom’s voice inside your head you’re doing it for the team. Mom also said be a team player.

If you do get a panelist slot, make sure to get a complete video, starting before you go on stage, filming you walking on stage, film the whole deal, and film yourself walking off. This is gold content you can use for years. At 20/20, we offer a package of edited video clips of panelists walking on the stage, listening at the session, and of course, at least one clip of them talking at the session.

Also have someone snap some still photos of you up on stage. Consider hiring a professional photog to follow you around all day. Those still photos will be content gold. It doesn’t matter if the audience is small, most of the pictures won’t show the audience. If you do have a huge audience, shoot a selfie from the stage with the crowd behind you. And take some pictures of the crowd.

Conferences can be a huge boon for your image and your company’s image. We’re always accepting panelist nominations at 20/20 Growth Conferences – including self-nominations.

Don’t be shy. Every day you grow as a leader in your industry and in your community. Offer yourself up to conference in your area today!

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