Podcast Diaries: The Cannabis Conversation E13

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The Cannabis Conversation. A European perspective on the emerging legal cannabis industry.

So welcome to The Cannabis Conversation with Anuj Desai, where I explore the new legal cannabis industry by speaking to the professionals that are helping to shape it.

Today's show is a great topic. It's on cannabis in the media, the rather excellently named Mike Power. Mike's a journalist who has written extensively about drugs over the years, and has most notably written for The Guardian and Vice on, not just cannabis but other drugs too. As we've seen in the last few years with Brexit and Trump and fake news in general, how stories come out in the media very much controls how we perceive things.

And so a changing in that narrative can have quite a dramatic effect. And I think that's definitely contributed in some way to the changing public perception of cannabis, in it's certainly more favorably looked at right now. It's not across the board, but certainly around medical and CBD. So I'm talking to Mike today a bit about how that narrative has changed. Anyway, let's get cracking. I hope you enjoy it.

Okay. So today's show is about cannabis in the media. I've got as my guest Mike Power, who's an award winning journalist. He mainly writes about drugs and tech. So I feel he's a good person to speak to about how the media narrative has changed in relation to cannabis. So welcome, Mike.

Thank you very much. Nice to be here.

Cheers. So look, I'm kind of going to be asking you questions both from your perspective as a media observer, but also as a journalist. Let's talk a bit about the history. What was traditionally the press coverage of cannabis like up until a few years ago, and what's changed?

I think the phrase that most typifies British media coverage of cannabis in the last sort of 20 years would be killer skunk. The skunk paranoia, the skunk terror, where people would speak about cannabis in this kind of fearful way, in a reefer madness way, in a really kind of Daily Mail way.

I remember, I think there was an organization called Cannabis Skunk Sense. When you actually say that name out loud now, it kind of sounds like a Chris Morris skit, you know what I mean? And it was traditionally a very fearful, judgmental, critical and ignorance actually, perspective on cannabis, on all drugs really. The British media is basically terrified of all drugs, for reasons we'll probably go into in more depth. So yeah, I think the key change that we've had is that we've gone from killer skunk or psychosis skunk, or any of the negative words associated with skunk that you can imagine, to suddenly the same plants, the same flower is actually now a medicine. It's now cura skunk.

The THC levels are exactly the same in Bedrocan, the dutch cannabis, which is being sold in the UK now as medicine, as high THC skunk, so-called, that was suddenly supposedly making people psychotic for many years. So, yeah, I think that the main attitudes towards cannabis, and all drugs in the British media has been one of fear, ignorance, prejudice, and moral panic, really. And thankfully that's changed. It's changing. It's a dynamic system, these things are going to be in flux for a few years, but at the minute it seems like we have a slightly more rational perspective in these sense, thankfully. That seems to be the way things ought to be right now.

Yeah. Loads of interesting stuff there, we've talked about it a bit before we live in a world of kind of polar opposites and things are either good or bad. And people really look at it in the shades of gray, which is hopefully what's happening now because to simplify to good or bad with cannabis when there's so many active components in it, that could do all these things that we don't actually know about is a vast oversimplification, I think, so...

Absolutely. I think that black and white thing is quite funny because I think very often within cannabis activism, you also have that same black and white thinking. You have this very reductive thinking, where people believe cannabis can't possibly be dangerous because it's only a plant. And it's like, well I can name you about 100 plants that'll kill you stone dead straight away. So to me, I think that that kind of black and white thinking is something that we need to challenge. But I think ironically, sometimes cannabis can make people slightly more manic, it can make them just think that cannabis is the only thing worth arguing for, thinking about, talking. I know people who have faced their political voting choices simply on a party's cannabis policy. And that to me seems really short sighted, there's so many more important things than cannabis.

However, I do think that drug policy is an area that really offers a great deal of opportunity for positive social change from everything. I mean, drugs are really intersectional, to use the phrase du jour. Drugs cover geopolitics, they cover everything from economics to criminality, to government policy, to everything. There's so many different elements from personal and individual freedom and agency in drug use, all the way down to biology and chemistry and euro chemistry.

So there's a huge area of academic study, which I think is really ripe for exploration in the next few years, once we get our heads around the fact that cannabis isn't going to kill you.

Yeah, it's certainly something we want to promote on the show is engaging with the issues, and it's not blanket, "This is the panacea for everything." It's, look, it's not going to be right for everyone. There are some things that don't work quite well. Let's acknowledge them, because if you pretend they don't exist, then you're kind of leading yourself down a blind alley.

Totally. Something that really made me laugh lately has been the claims made for CBD. And it's a wonderful anti-inflammatory. It's a wonderful drug for many things that we don't know yet, but some of the illnesses that people think it can cure or that it can actually help with it. It's a fiction and it's the new snake oil, in some ways-

Yes, definitely.

It's a huge new sort of snake oil market. And I think that we need some new definitions around cannabis. We need some new definitions around the drugs that, treat people as adults and treat people as, let's say, as consumers. And we need to have a rational drug policy that treats people as intelligence, rational people rather than deviants, which has been the way that drug policy always has been. So drug users have always been othered, they've always been marginalized. And I think that that's not appropriate when you consider the ubiquity of drug use. Everyone in one way or another, whether we can talk about tea and coffee and the rest of it. But so many people have either used illegal drugs in their life, or are using them in the lives without it having a hugely terrible influence on their life. That's not to argue for blanket deregulation of everything, but I just think we need to be honest and have a truthful conversation about drugs.

Yeah, yeah. And acknowledge the reality. I think, hopefully through the show, we're exploring the idea of how politicized drugs have been, particularly in relation to cannabis, but that would be a show for another day. So, I mean I think you highlight really well the male, Telegraph type view on drugs. What do you think has changed? I think people will naturally gravitate towards the Billy Caldwell case, but clearly things were happening before then, I think, in terms of the changing narrative. Do you think?

I mean, it's cash money man. Every time it's going to win, it's going to win every argument in a capitalist economy, without wanting to come at this with too much heavy Marxist theory. Capital needs return, capital needs return. And this is a new product class. This is product class which is a recreational relaxant, it's recreational stimulants. It's a wellness product. It's the health product. It's a lifestyle product. These are hugely profitable experiential markets. Capital knows that. Capital wants a slice of that.

And however we get there, whether it's through lobbying, whether it's through observation of zero negative effects for most people from Canada shoes, or whether it's through the medicinal arguments which are so key to changing perspective of cannabis in the world and internationally. Marijuana is legal for adults over the age of 21 in 10 US states. This is the home of prohibition. This is the place that told us we couldn't smoke cannabis. This it would send us all mad. And then medical marijuana is legal in, 33 States is it in the US?

I think something like that, yeah. Definitely over 30.

So the majority of the US can access medical marijuana. And I think that those arguments are the ones that have won us over. That is what changed it. And that's been going on for over a decade, if you look at the California case. Yeah, internationally we've had huge moves towards the dismantling of these outdated regulations. Let's not forget that these rules, how old are they now? How old are the international cannabis regulations?

70 odd years, I think.

And it hasn't done anything to reduce consumption or availability or increase the price of it. In fact, all of those metrics have gone the opposite direction than they should have done.

Yeah.

So it hasn't worked, demonstratively. And they're thinking of something new, and just at the time that the capital does need nice new return.

But if you think about it from the media angle, I frequently have this argument with friends. Who sets the agenda? Is it the media or is it giving the people what they want? I'm not convinced that it's... It's probably something in the middle, isn't it?

Do you know, I have a very deconstructive, or deconstruct view, of the media and news. And I think this is just a consequence of my experience in the industry. And media narratives are constructed narratives, news isn't always news. I think if we look outside the frame of the page or the screen, and we questioned the power relations between the author and the reader, the origins of those narratives emerges. And it's like, who is saying this and why are they saying it? And why are they saying it now? And seeing some of the cannabis campaigning in the last few years, it's been a fascinating argument to me. To see the confluence of lobbying power, political expertise, funding. Let's be frank. The funding is always required. And those things change the media narrative. To have a well-planned public relations, situationist intervention, which is essentially what we had in the Billy Caldwell cases, with the activists team that was behind Billy Caldwell.

The case there was so urgent and the case that there was so undeniable, and so well-managed, that it was a masterclass in political lobbying and in radical new campaigning. And the Billy Caldwell case is what ultimately took cannabis over the line in the US as a medicine. There's still an awfully long way to go. And it's, in many ways, hugely disappointing I think, for many people who need this medicine today. But we are one step closer to that happening. How that happens, I think now is the time for us to stop and debate how that works. But that's the most recent change in British culture, through that media. And that entire media narrative, it was planned, it was entirely planned. And the salience and the art of story placing and the news mechanics, people would be shocked if they knew how the news ended up on the front page and on the television. If people understood news diaries, and if they understood agendas and lobbying, and if they understood the links between corporations and some newspapers, they'd be shocked, absolutely shocked.

So I mean, yeah. Look, it's highly strategic and incredibly well executed and a fair bit of bravery on the part of Charlotte Caldwell as well in terms of how it kind of came to light, et cetera. So in effect, is it the kind of corporate paymasters that are leaning on the papers to say, "Let's be a bit more favorable." Seeing the potential capital return?

I don't think it's quite as direct as that. And I don't think it's quite as overt as that, but I think that what you have is kind of a cultural atmosphere that's created through corporate opportunity, and you have a news agenda that is set ultimately by public relations companies at times, or by public relations activists. And from that, news is a self cannibalizing industry. You know, when I first got into journalism, I was really shocked. I thought the journalist went out and got stories every day, and went out and spoke to people and reported. And to see that the majority, especially in the online era, the majority of content is repurposed. It's picked up from somewhere. The Today Program used to set the agenda, The Today Program now follows the agenda of whatever's in The Daily Mail.

And all journalists basically, they kind of operate in this slightly fearful environment where they don't want to go first on a story, but they don't want to be last. So they're always kind of looking to catch the zeitgeists, rather than kind of set the zeitgeists. And so when a big story breaks through, like the legalization of medicinal cannabis, which activists that I've known have been campaigning for 30 years. When that happens, that was obviously a shift. And when you have a child that needs medicine and has it confiscated by British border guards, that's untenable. You can't continue with that as a public policy, you can't have a child dying on the Home Minister's watch. Sajid Javid would not have that child die.

You'd have a child die overseas in a refugee camp, you'd gamble that life quite happily with no problem whatsoever, because he's looking to be the leader of the Tory party. So I'm not actually ascribing any great humanitarian qualities to the man, but he did. He made the political judgment in that case and realized that he had to do something. And so he did.

A previous show, we had Alex Fraser who's one of the guys that set up the United Patients Alliance, which is an activist group for medicinal patients. And he said that he's a crohn's sufferer. And there were a fair few adults involved in the organization who have various ailments. And he said it was quite hard to cut through. But, like it's been in the US and in Australia, if you have a sick child that is actually what really grabs people's attention.

It really is. I think that now we're through that staging post, I think it's time now to have a more wildly compassionate view on this. I mean, it's ridiculous that people are having to pay £700 an ounce for cannabis, which has been sold in Holland for €5 a gram. So that's £130 pounds an ounce, £120 an ounce. So we're paying a five full premium on it because the British government can't actually grant enough licenses and they can't manage the import of a, essentially, harmless, benign flour. It's ludicrous. But I think if we limit ourselves, if we limit our compassion and our campaigning just to children and to sick children, they are a very important constituency. But equally, why should people in agonizing pain in the end of life care and palliative care be denied a drug that either relieves that pain or relieves their symptoms?

Even if they just have symptomatic temporary relief of cancer pain, of the various agonies of chemotherapy, why are we denying these people these things? Why are we still busting small medicinal growers in this country of someone growing one plant or three plants? Why is that happening?

Yeah.

It's unjustifiable to me. So to me, the sick children sort of sector is extremely important. But to me, it's a question of fairness across the board. You know, why should people who are vomiting from chemotherapy, I mean imagine suffering with cancer and having daily chemotherapy, and you're denied a plant that would, if you were to just vaporize a couple of milligrams of it, stop your vomiting and make you eat and make you hungry and have people to wait on, and actually possibly aid your recovery.

And people with dementia, I read an amazing study on dementia just recently about, one of the lines in it was superb. It said that the nurses in this hospital in Geneva noticed the people they've been treating with a small quantity of THC and CBD were smiling more. And as a metric, that to me is valid. I don't need the double blind placebo population scale test of a plant's efficacy or not. It's like, is it harmful? No. Does it make them smile? Yes. Are they better than they were yesterday? Give it to them. There's no justification, there's no argument. It's like denying people antibiotics or aspirin.

Yep. And equally in the pharmaceutical drugs that people are being prescribed often you're prescribed a section of drugs to deal with the side effects from your original condition. So it's not like we aren't already doing this in a different way.

I mean, we're prescribing opiates at a higher level than we ever have. We're prescribing drugs like pregabalin. I mean, I suffered a little while back a terrible bout of sciatica and I was prescribed pregabalin and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. It made me forgetful, it made me anxious, coming off it was awful. And I was on it for a couple of months as I was out of work for a couple of months at the time. And to be honest, cannabis wouldn't have been any use to me. And I didn't want it, but the fact that drugs such as these are being dished out in the thousands.

I mean, if you just look at a condition such as insomnia. It's like, if someone has insomnia and you give them a strong indica cannabis to smoke or to vaporize or to eat an oil of, they will sleep that night, and they will sleep the next night and they'll sleep every night successively after that. If you give them zoplicone or diazepam, it'll stop working after a bit and they become dependent on it and they need the higher dose.

And then they've got the problems with withdrawal, which can possibly kill you in the case of benzodiazepines. So why are we not prescribing cannabis as an insomnia remedy? It's better and safer and more effective.

Yeah. I mean, there's tons of applications on here. But one of the things, just to step back a bit, one thing that you talked about, and is kind of pin up for this area is the Billy Caldwell case. How close were you to that? Because you obviously covered it for The Guardian, but generally around it, and I think you've alluded to health?

Yeah, well the people behind the Billy Caldwell case were originally a think tank, which was originally a magazine called Volts Fass. And I produced a document for them, I produced a white paper suggesting how cannabis could be sold on the internet. And the guys behind this think tank are very active and very diverse activists. And they ran this campaign. I didn't really know about it until the kind of second to last minute. Knew about it, realized what had been achieved and just like any other journalist, called them up and said, "Can I come and meet?"

And I did a short film and I wrote a piece for The Guardian, which yeah, I was really pleased to be able to do that. Charlotte impressed me hugely as a campaigner. And she impressed me hugely as a woman, as an individual. And the guys behind that campaign are incredible activists. They got cannabis legalized for medicinal purposes in Britain. However they do it and whatever else, I'm not really that interested to be honest, they just did it, and that's good enough for me.

Yeah, so it was effective and-

And new and radical. I mean, the drug activism feels very often can be something of a talking shop, and you can preach to the choir and people are just recommending things that people already believe. And really I think, it's like politics isn't it, to win elections you have to convince people that initially don't agree with you. And to change minds, the art of persuasion is to bring people on the journey with you. And to do that, I think you need to reach out to everybody and you need to incorporate all viewpoints and acknowledge that some people are scared of cannabis and are scared of legalization and are scared even of cannabis as a medicine. And so you have to acknowledge those fears and not dismiss them and certainly not deride them, or judge them. Bring them in.

Completely. It's exactly what we were talking about earlier. And it's that balance and acknowledgement of the issues and not trying to hide them or pretend they're not there. And in fact, the United Patients Alliance, I think they were born out of activism for cannabis in general, as in recreational, and actually decided that the effective way to lead to that is to split out the medical side of things and start with that, because it's a much more convincing argument. I think so.

Medical cannabis has always been the bellwether for recreational cannabis legalization. And I think that people who fear recreational cannabis legalization, they look at the medicinal legalization industry and they see it as a kind of Machiavellian thing. And I think they're wrong. I think they're wrong to do that. And I think they need to go and talk to some people who use it as a medicine to understand how wrong they are. Money is money. Capital is capital. There will always be crossovers and money involved and people making money. That's just the way it is. To me the bottom line is, it's a useful medicine and it should be available on the NHS, simple as that.

Yeah. Absolutely. So a big signifier of it is when Daily Mail starts to be more warm to the idea of CBD and medicinal cannabis, which I think is definitely happened in the last, they're still petrified of recreational obviously, but that starts to make it more accepting. Have you found that you've got more work available to you? So be candid.

Oh man, I've never got enough work. I could always do with more. Yeah, it's been a busy time. For me, the real tender point wasn't so much the legalization of medicinal cannabis or even recreational cannabis. For me the turning point was the publication of my book, Drugs 2.0, which documented the emerging digital drug culture. And that was really the thing that flipped my stock into a high value bracket, really.

But yeah, it's sometimes been a long furrow, drugs journalism in the UK. There's not that many of us, there's me and Max Daily, my editor now at Vice. We've dedicated ourselves to a fairly, I mean radical is a strange word to use about your own work, but certainly an alternative approach to drugs journalism, to just go, "Look let's talk about this in terms of harm reduction, in terms of policy change, in terms of unintended consequences, let's look at this as documentarians, as investigative journalists." And we've done that, and that's what's led me to do the stuff I've done really.

So yeah. You know, the weather is with us. The wind is with us right now and we're sailing along nicely. Sailing along very nicely. Been a fun few years actually, watching everyone start to contradict themselves.

And I suppose Vice is a great platform for that, isn't it? They kind of actively seek those alternative perspectives. So there's no wonder you're writing with those guys I'm sure.

You know, there's one thing I wanted to say, which was I just think it's amazing how creative people can be when you're not locking them up. If you lock them up, they're not going to be creative. If you accept that they have a different view to you on cannabis and that society has a wider view on cannabis, look at the flourishing of cannabis culture in Canada and in the US. It's a huge industry.

There's so much money to be made, there's so much creativity and so much just everything from technological advances, to biological advances, the fact that you have like auto flowering cannabis, now you can get two crops a year growing outdoors in the UK. If you buy feminized auto flowering cannabis plants from Dutch seed banks, you can grow in the United Kingdom cannabis in your garden, in this terrible weather with a small greenhouse, very easily. Everybody listen in to this, for £10 you can be self sufficient in cannabis for a year. There is no need to buy cannabis, it's a weed, it grows freely. And it's a fun hobby.

I should say that we don't endorse any illegal activities. It's all at your own risk.

Neither do I, but simply the information is offered without comments.

Of course, of course. Really interesting. I mean, there's a much bigger field as well beyond the remit of the show, which touched on your wider work I'm sure, of the changing attitude towards hallucinogenics and psychedelic drugs in relation to mental health. But I think that as you say, the whole agenda is changing and actually realizing maybe we can use these things that we've sort of been forbidden, or that the government has told have been forbidden, in different ways.

So yeah, we kind of touched on this. How important do you think the press is in driving this change? And I guess what further change would you like to see?

The changes that I'd like to see would be a wholesale dismantling in the United Kingdom of the misuse of drugs act, complete dismantling of it. And I would like to see a regulated and controlled market in all intoxicating substances, along with a public health campaign to actually reduce use and to help people avoid use. And I think that the two drugs we should start with for that would, after cannabis be, psychedelic mushrooms and also MDMA.

I think that the fact that these drugs are being used now in therapy and they have passed human safety checks and medical checks in the US in terms of the FDA's recent approval of MDMA as an excellent treatment for post traumatic stress disorder. And psilocybin in the [inaudible 00:24:00] study in London. I think that if you look at that as a cure, in many cases, for depression, likewise with ketamine, it can cure depression in some people more effectively than SSRIs. I think that there's great way to do in those fields.

I think if you look at the damage that alcohol does to our society, if you look at the cost of it, and if you look at the media narratives around it, if you look at the kind of the jokey complicit drinking mums kind of vibe and wine o'clock bullshit. This complicit tacit approval of alcohol over every other substance, it's kind of unjustifiable to me. I drink myself and I enjoy it. But I look at reporting on alcohol in the newspapers, and I look at advertising of alcohol in the newspapers, and I think if drugs were advertised in this way, if cannabis was advertised in this way, if MDMA was giggled about in this way, it would be unthinkable.

Bank holiday newspapers, when I'm in The Guardian, when I'm doing editing shifts in The Guardian, I look at every newspaper every day. You open The Sun when it's bank holiday weekend and every single supermarket's got an advertisement for like, "One liter of vodka, £15." It's like, is the entire point of a bank holiday just to drink all weekend?

There's something inherently British about it, for sure.

There's definitely something in there, but yeah. What do we need to do next man? Let me stop rambling-

Well I mean, from a media perspective, what do you think?

I think a great thing to have in the media would just be to approach drugs with something less, something of a less cliche, less hackneyed kind of spirit and approach. I tweeted the other day that if in any story anyone is involved with the synthesis or extraction of any drug in any way, invoke Walter White from Breaking Bad. I mean, that story was about a Japanese professor making MDMA in a lab, not about guy making crystal meth-

In his garage.

In his garage. Just the illiteracy of drug journalism in the UK, it's appalling. People don't have the first clue what they're writing about in most cases. So I think really some education on the part of most journalists towards the nature of drugs and drug abuse, but I think as well, I think that what we need is the normalization of drug abuse and harm reduction.

I mean, I love work by organizations such as The Loop, who've completely normalized the fact that drug testing at festivals, it's a really effective way to stop people taking dangerous drugs. I think if we have, as we do, a market which is controlled by gangsters, then we need the public sector between the public user, between the end user and the gangsters. We need to have some kind of safety barrier in there. Nobody drives a car without a seatbelt on, nobody goes rock climbing without a mobile phone. It's like, if people are going to make risky choices like driving a car or climbing a rock face, then we need to protect them from some of the consequences of their actions, either by having emergency services to collect them and they fall or firemen to cut them out of the car when the crash hit the driver too fast.

And I see this normalization narrative that's actually being pushed by wonderful people, such as The Loop and other harm reduction organizations internationally. That's an interim development that I think is really positive.

In terms of media?

News just likes novelty and horror and incidents. And the internet kind of encourages that. So I don't know if the media is the answer really. I think really the answer is public activism. And I think if you look at any change, it's through campaigning. The people who've made the changes in things like gay marriage, or the people who've made the changes to medicinal cannabis or any other piece of progressive social policy, it's only ever been fought and won by activists, by direct activists. By people saying, "This is what we want, and we are many and you are few." And that's the way that things change. It's through inserted direct action, generally I think.

I mean the Extinction Rebellion crew, they might dance really, really badly. Really badly. But man, they're out there, they're doing something. They're trying to change something. They're not just sitting on Twitter cussing people out.

Yeah, yeah.

And that's the way you do it. You get on the streets and you do something.

Very wise words and a positive message. I mean, the mainstream media might zone in on sensationalism, but hopefully platforms like Vice are more likely to take a brave move and cover these things from a different angle. And obviously their constituency is the younger demographic. So hopefully that will lead to change in voting, et cetera. Okay, cool. So we're getting towards the end, my traditional last question, and I'm not sure how relevant it is because you've been doing this for a lot longer, but how did your family, parents, react when you first started writing about drugs?

The first times I started writing about drugs would be when I was working in Panama, Panama City. I was working as a correspondent for the Reuters' news agency at the time I remember there'd just been a huge bust of cocaine. It was like six tons of cocaine, or something like this. A vast bust, and I called my boss up and I said, "Look there's been a bust, it's been six tons a coke." And he went, "Six tons? We're not going to cover that. That's too small."

And he said, "Unless it's in the president's car, check who's car it's in." And I was like, "Well it's in the truck, it's six tons." And then after that I started writing about cocaine in Panama and Colombia. There was a story I did about the Kuna Indians and these guys were kind of the Colombian sort of narco traffickers were speeding along the Panamanian coast across this idyllic island environment, and the traditional indigenous people that lived there.

They were finding 40 kilos bales of cocaine washing up on the beach. And I saw them carry 13 off on a canoe. So they had 250 kilos of cocaine that they carried off a canoe into a small hut, like literally a thatched hut. And I was down there doing a story on an albino shaman, this is the kind of thing that I was doing. And I thought, "Okay I'll cover this cocaine story." And my parents, first of all, were worried I was safe. Because I was walking in on a quarter ton cocaine deal. But it was all fairly legit and they got the story out and it was following on from that that I, after returning to the UK, that I just carried on following the story really. And I did pieces for Druglink magazine, which was a specialist magazine, about cocaine eradication, manual cocaine eradication.

I went to like coca farms with the Colombian army and the United Nations and yeah, they were sort of pulling up coca plants in cocaine plantations. And it was amazing to see, it was a bit sketchy. I shouldn't really have done it if I'm perfectly honest. It was a bit moody. But got the story, got away with it, got out safe. And then I've just always been interested in adventure of some kind. And in Latin America, there was a huge opportunity for hijinks to go and do this kind of thing.

So I did and then carried on in Britain. And then through that just met some amazing people, because drugs are counter-cultural, you meet really interesting people that live outside the law and that think outside the box and they're really creative. Incredibly entrepreneurial people, some of them.

Yeah, yeah. And I think it's definitely a theme that I want to highlight is, the amount of snide or sniffy remarks you get when talking about cannabis and reducing it to stoners eating crisps and stuff. I really want to change that, because as you say when you scratch the surface, there's a huge amount of people now that are emerging and working in this new industry, really talented people, very smart. And it isn't this cliche that the poor journalists portray, it's far more interesting than that.

And I think this is where the US is so far ahead of us. I mean, if you look at a site like Leafly, the cannabis reviewing site, if you look at that the branding on it, it looks like a bottle of eco-friendly sort of toilet cleaning. It looks like Ecover, doesn't it?

It's really clean and bright and fresh and friendly and really cool. In the US, Whoopi Goldberg is selling cannabis infused sex lube. She's selling lube man, Whoopi Goldberg is selling cannabis lube. That to me is the pinnacle of cannabis culture.

What a fantastic way to end the show. Cool. Well with that, I will say thank you, Mike. It's been really great to hear really expert opinion on what's going on in the UK. And I'd love to have you back on the show at some point when we can hopefully talk about the next big announcement that comes out.

Yeah man, it's a pleasure. Thanks very much.

Cheers.

What a way to end the show. I guess the less said about that the better, but just goes to show you that there is some wonderful, weird new products coming out from this new industry.

Thanks for joining me for that show, I hope you've enjoyed it. Mike and I got on very well, clearly he's a very good guy. But it was a really fascinating topic in general, I just think the media portrayal of not just cannabis but of everything, is a very interesting angle to cover. And I'd love to do more shows in this area, actually. So if there are any journalists out there or anyone in that sort of space who would be up for chatting, just drop me a line.

As ever, if you're enjoying the show please do subscribe to it and share and like and all that sort of thing. Not quite sure what the show is going to be next week actually. I'm kind of umming and ahing about a couple of episodes I recorded. So that might be a bit of a surprise, but yeah. Have a great week and I'll catch you on the next episode.

 

Show Notes:

Understanding how and why the media narrative on cannabis has changed