The International Cannabis Business Conference is holding its latest seminar at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco on Feb. 15-16. The opening day keynote will be delivered by Columbia University Prof. Carl Hart, who previews his speech in an exclusive interview with CelebStoner.
What do you have planned for your presentation in San Francisco?
Dr. Hart: "I want to encourage people in the industry that once its booming and doing OK that they make sure their employees are reflective of our diverse society. In many industries in the United States – Wall Street and so forth – there’s no color. The question to me is: Do they need to be held to a higher standard? This industry is going to get push back that other industries don’t get pushed back – because it’s marijuana.
"Another thing I’d like to talk about is to help them to be able to evaluate some of the critique that they’re going to get about marijuana. Push back, like marijuana causes all these brain changes in young people and causes all these problems, and we’re worried about that. I’m going to show them how to evaluate the science in a way that’s not complicated, in a way that lay people can understand. I’m going to show them how they can cut through the bullshit."
You’ve been critical of how white the drug-reform community is. Do you feel there’s progress being made in this area?
Dr. Hart: "No. When I think about progress I think about Minnesota NORML. That’s a model. Those folks out in Minnesota actually have some real diversity – even more so than what we have at the DPA (he's on their board of directors). But by and large, the industry? No.
"When you think about the drafting one of these (legalization) initiatives, one of the things that people talk about is we’re going to exclude people who’ve been previously convicted of marijuana felonies. What you do is you make sure that the industry remains white. People have to be hyper-vigilant about the drafting of all of these initiatives. They have to be careful about these exclusions that they put on in terms of hiring people. The same kind of thing still exists in Colorado and Washington. It’s a problem."
Hart is one one of many drug-reformers and cannabis experts who'll be participating in the SF-ICBC. Other speakers and panelists include Ethan Nadelmann, Rick Steves, Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, Stephen DeAngelo, Amanda Reiman, Debby Goldsberry, Dale Gieringer, Troy Dayton, Ed Rosenthal, Dale Sky Jones, Anthony Johnson, Doug Fine, Kyndra Miller, Aundre Speciale, Rick Pfrommer, Stanton Peele, Amber Senter, Ricardo Baca, Ngaio Bealum, Elise McDonough, Dan Rush, Robert Jacob, Alex Rogers and CelebStoner's Steve Bloom.
Check out the agenda here.