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Telling cannabis stories with pictures with Anthony Travagliante

Telling cannabis stories with pictures with Anthony Travagliante

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Welcome to another episode of the Cannabis Enigma! We’ve got something a little different for you today. We’ll be talking about how visual storytelling can be used in the cannabis space with Anthony Travagliante. Hear the tale of how Anthony came to work in the cannabis space, telling the stories of cannabis brands and making them accessible to non-users. Find out how he has overcome some of the challenges caused by COVID, what he enjoys most about the industry, and the strides it is making in business. Elana is uniquely positioned to review his services for listeners, having hired Anthony herself, she closes her conversation with him with a shining recommendation.

This is The Cannabis Enigma, cutting through the smoke to have informed, serious conversations for regular people.

Codi Peterson: Hi. I’m Dr. Codi Peterson.

Elana Goldberg: And I’m Elana Goldberg.

CP: Welcome to the show today. Who are we chatting with?

EG: All right. So the interview that we’ve got for you to listen to today was part of the same series that we’ve been going through for series two from the sidelines of MJBizCon, focusing on people who are doing it right in the cannabis space. We got something a little bit different today actually. We – I interviewed. We did not interview, Codi. I think you hadn’t arrived in Vegas yet for this one, right?

CP: Yeah. I was working the night shift probably at the hospital while you were doing this interview.

EG: Lazy. 

CP: Yeah, exactly.

EG: Yeah. I interviewed Anthony Travagliante. I apologize, Anthony, if I said your name wrong. I didn’t check with him how to pronounce it. But you know, I may still have gotten it wrong anyway. Anthony is the founder of the Trav Media Group. The reason I wanted to speak to him on the podcast is because the we work together on creating the stock photo bank for The Cannigma. We have this issue that I know a lot of kind of websites, and advertisers, and publishers and brands in the cannabis space have, which is that a lot of the images available, cannabis images are really stigmatized, like these images that either have this full hippie vibe or a very like druggie junkie vibe to them. We just wanted photos of regular people medicating in their homes, they’d be sitting and smoking a joint with friends, just normal looking people. 

We gave Anthony this brief with this crazy list of different ideas that we wanted some in dispensaries, and some healthcare providers kind of settings and some in home, this whole list. I think about two weeks after we agreed on this whole project, the whole world locked down. That was the first wave of the pandemic. 

CP: Oh, no…

EG: Exactly. But Anthony just did a fantastic job of working through it. What I wanted to talk to him about when I invited him on to the podcast is how visuals and kind of visual storytelling can be used in the cannabis space. Because I think as a writer, I have so much of a focus on the written word that I love kind of jumping to the other side and looking from his lens, mind the pun, because he’s a photographer.

CP: I get it. I like the pun. You can pun with me any time.

EG: Thank you. I won’t do too many spoilers here. We moved really pretty far from talking about just photography. Very well worth a listen, this interview if you asked me. We’re going to play that for you now and then remember to stay on after the episode. We’ve got a segment with Americans for Safe Access, talking a little bit about regulation and some current affairs. Let’s listen to Anthony.

EG: I’m here at the moment with Anthony Travagliante of Trav Media Group. Anthony, nice to meet you in person.

Anthony Travagliante:  Absolutely. This is a pleasure. It’s nice to create some content together upon our first meeting as well.

EG: That’s it. Indeed. Anthony and I have actually known each other for almost two years now, but not met. Because Anthony took the first stock photo bank, actually, the first and only so far stock photo bank for The Cannigma, and we started this pre-pandemic. 

AT: Yeah, it was. I appreciate you guys sticking through with us through the pandemic too. That was awesome.

EG: Yeah, wow. This was a project where we had, I think, seven different locations that Anthony needed to shoot on. Of course, all seven of them became basically unavailable as soon as we kind of signed the contract and wanted to move forward. We did a bit of kind of piece by piece every time there was somewhere where we could take some of the shots. Like for example, shots of people using all different cannabis devices. Anthony was able to do one shoots, sent that over and then we get stuck with another lockdown. Anyway, quite a journey and beautiful photos at the end. 

AT: Thank you so much. It was a pleasure. The challenge actually created some creativity. I don’t to use create twice, but even the dispensary shoot we did for you guys, we actually took my brother’s head shop while it was closed down and actually built a dispensary within it. That was kind of – it kind of pushed us to be more creative in certain ways. It took longer, but we had some fun kind of having to work around those challenges as well.

EG: Yeah, I feel like that kind of like – this is a sentiment that I hear echoed and I experience as well across the cannabis industry that the challenges that are put in front of us make us to think in a more innovative and creative way. I love that.

AT: Yeah, I like it too. I’ve always been good with kind of bobbing, and weaving and working with challenges like that. So I feel like I was very suited for the cannabis space even before I came into the cannabis space.

EG: So let’s start there then, if we kind of take a few steps back. How did you end up working in the space?

AT: Kind of by sheer luck. I’ve always been a user of cannabis. I’ve always believed in it as a medicine. I have a lot of brothers. So if I say brother a few times, it sounds like this person does everything in the world. They’re different people, I promise.

EG: We could use their names also.

AT: But my brother Danny – I will because I’ll plug his company, Lemur Genomics, he’s actually working on selling these genetics he’s been working with for over 10 years as a caregiver in Michigan. I’ve always been in on the use of it, and I’ve always used it myself. It just never occurred to me that like – not even that I can make a living there, because I kind of have no aspiration to grow or sell it. That’s not what I do. It’s like, I know I’m very talented at marketing, and photography and stuff like that. But it was like the two worlds never kind of came together. Then I had an opportunity to come out here at MJ. I think it was 2018, 2017 or something. I was hired. I just left the agency I worked for and was hired as a contractor by someone. 

Then I came out here and it just was like bells went off like, oh my gosh, I can apply my skills here in an industry that really needed it. Because I mean, even in marketing, I’ve always viewed myself more as like a storyteller. I’m not a marketer, but I like to tell stories and I just do it for brands. So with cannabis, it’s like there’s a lot of stories to be told. Rather, it’s the history of0 it. Rather, it’s the patients and the things. Rather, it’s where we’re going and destigmatizing it, and moving it into the future. Then I went there and I started an agency to focus in the cannabis space. We were named differently back then now with Trav Media Group. We’ve now brought in a little bit because of COVID. I mean, we had to do what we had to do to keep the lights on if you will. We’re still very involved in cannabis. We’re also involved in some other things. But it wasn’t as brilliant of an idea as I want to make claim for it. It was definitely kind of like – but it’s also something I’m very passionate about. It added to the passion I already had with working in marketing and telling stories.

Now it’s like, this is a product I really care about. And even the people here, it’s like yourself and others I work with are like – it’s everyone’s good people, for the most part, it seems like. I’m sure there’s your sour apples in the in the mix of things. But I really like the people, I like the way business is done in this industry. I think it’s – I think on top of all the work we’re doing with cannabis, I think the industry doesn’t get enough credit for what it’s doing to business. Even in marketing working – it’s like, I work with another agency as well, who’s in more traditional agent companies, I guess they work with. It’s crazy how different that is than – the people here are so much more forgiving, and empathetic and even you guys with COVID and understanding like, Hey, we’re trying our best, but we can’t use these. Especially a lot of our stuff was medical, and it was like, you ain’t even looking at a hospital. Even now, you can’t really get into a hospital without certain coverage or like – even the vaccination doesn’t really cover you know to get in the hospital. To have people who are that empathetic, and understanding and willing to do business in a different way is really refreshing.

EG: Yeah, I found the same thing, really. I’ve been in the industry for a couple of years now. I think it’s about common sense of purpose that everyone has underneath whatever profession we’re working on. When you said that you first came to MJBizCon, this was as a photographer?

AT: Yes. Also, I was hired by this marketing agency as a consultant to kind of help, or not a marketing agency. It was a recruitment agency in cannabis. They were a startup, so they’re very new, and they kind of just had me out here marketing. I’m not really like selling on the floor, like I was just meeting people, getting cards, building connections, but I always usually have my camera with me. Which I found out that’s a pretty good talking piece. People want to know who’s the camera guy. Another thing that helps me a lot is I’ll take photos of people for free here. Here’s your booth, I highlighted your booth. It’s kind of a nice like icebreaker and it’s also – it’s also like – I like giving value first kind of thing when the opportunity is there. But I was here just kind of as a visitor the first year.

EG: Yeah. That’s what I use the microphone for, exactly the same thing you say. So use the camera for it. Let’s talk about the visual side a little bit. Because at The Cannigma, a lot of what we’re doing is telling similar stories of the plan, but often through the medium of podcasts, articles and videos. I guess you do a lot of videos as well.

AT: Yes,

EG: What do you see as your role when it comes to kind of telling the cannabis story through these visual mediums?

AT: What I try to do, and I’ve never really thought of it as my role, but What I try to do it and I’ve never really thought of is my role, but what I try to do in the space is – I don’t want to. There’s kind of the way it’s been done, which is, there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s like kind of that counterculture style of doing things where it’s like, our goal is to make it more accessible. So the way I tried to approach it is kind of visually taking away some of the stigma as much as possible, which is like a weird like thought, but it kind of comes down to just how you present the product or how you shoot it. Even using cleaner stores and dispensaries, even with what we were doing with you guys, it’s like we picked very – normal is a bad word, but like clean setups, clean houses. We stayed away from the 420 Bob Marley stuff, and it’s not that I have anything wrong with it. I’m a Grateful Dead fan. I like that whole scene as well. But it’s not that I have anything wrong with what has been done, but I think I’ve understood that narrative that’s trying to be changed, needs to like come across visually and it needs to come across through whatever platform. It’s like, I can’t just go into the way things have been done. I guess like I try to encompass that.

Then another big thing, which I think everyone should do, so I don’t feel massively special about it. But I went to school first for filmmaking, so I kind of learned, I guess storytelling and like archetypes, and beats and all that stuff. That’s the other thing I try to relate to it, is to tell a story that people can relate to. This is more so with video, I guess photo. This gets a little subjective. But with video, it’s like telling stories other people can relate to. And I’ve always felt this way, even with the music, and stuff I’ve done in my life is like, I like change – I won’t say changing the minds, but I like catching the attention of someone who isn’t the person who normally be caught the attention to. It’s like, we can do a video on cannabis that like if you’re a cannabis user, you’ll probably watch it. But it’s like I want that grandmother who is in pain, who is afraid to make that decision, or the younger person who doesn’t understand it. It’s like, I want those people who could pique their interest a little bit that wouldn’t normally pique their interest. 

I tried to apply more classic story arcs to what we do, as opposed to the – even some of the narrative in cannabis and like the destigmatizing stuff, it’s been done so many times where it’s like, we have to try to do it differently. I don’t know how to necessarily do that. Like it’s kind of like – not an experiment, but it’s like a different challenge with every company we work with and stuff. But it’s like I said, I want it to be – not just keep telling that story of like, “Oh, it helps me feel better, but it’s like, how has it changed your life? How has it changed the life of people around you? And how has it changed your perception on it as a whole?

EG: Yeah, definitely. I’m thinking back to the photos that you did for us with The Cannigma. I do think that there’s something to that visual storytelling, even in skills. I’m picturing like a simple image that you did for us of a first-time patient or she looks like a first-time patient or first-time cannabis consumer, speaking to a bartender, it’s in like a fairly sterile environment, like you mentioned. She does not look like a standard cannabis user. She’s like middle-aged, slightly overweight, white woman with short hair and not what you would picture as like, “Oh, here’s someone buying weed.” Even in that still, you tell a story. You make this kind of situation, you’re sketching out accessible to other populations that you generally have in that kind of stock cannabis photography.

AT: Absolutely. I mean, that even speaks larger to stock photography of like –I’ll use the word diversity, because it’s showing different people. I specifically didn’t ask my friends who smoke, and like a ton and stuff in that scene, because it’s like, that’s just not what we’re trying to accomplish. Especially with you guys, we took time to understand your brand and like what you guys are trying to accomplish, what you guys aren’t really that either. Not to shy away from it, but you’re doing –

EG: There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not like –

AT: Yeah. Again, I guess to repeat myself, but it’s like, that’s just so important to me to understand. I don’t like when I come across people who are so like protective of it in a way where it’s like – it’s not – we were the originals, and this is – it’s like – that has its merit and it’s part of the story. It’s a character in the story. But it’s like, if we want this thing to be record legal, whether we’re here in the United States, overseas, wherever. It’s like, we have to move it beyond that in order for people – to more people to understand it because I’ve kind of went through this, like with film. What’s interesting to cannabis is the same concept of like, you have your creatives in film that are – the indie filmmakers we’ll call them for a broad term, where it’s like, they like those niche films that tell those niche stories. It’s kind of like, they discredit your Marvel Disney type films. But it’s like, there’s something to be said about those films too, and you could go into marketing budgets and stuff, but it’s like – those films speak to more people. It’s like, they might not be the people you’re associated with, and might not be what you want. But it’s like, there’s something to be said about like a Dwayne The Rock Johnson who can do movies that speak around the world to not only Americans, but like, they do big overseas and all the different markets and stuff. It’s like, there’s something to be said about that. It’s like taking that same principle bringing in cannabis. That’s how we change the world when it comes to the cannabis industry at least.

EG: Right, and increase your influence.

AT: Yes.

EG: Yeah. Super interesting. Tell me, what are the challenges for you at the moment? What’s kind of in your way as a visual cannabis storyteller. I know you do a lot more than that, but [inaudible 00:15:58].

AT: What’s in the way the most is legalities. We’re from the state of Ohio, and it’s like, we can’t really do video there. We’ve done a series with a cultivator on soil, and it didn’t get cleared. It’s like so – that’s one of the biggest things is like – we can’t, which is also influenced, expanding a little bit out of cannabis, is like, we can’t do that everywhere. It’s like even being out of state, then creates financial issues with like – it costs money to fly me and my team out to Colorado, or to California, or to Vegas. It’s like, we don’t get as much freedom, and that could be an Ohio thing too. Maybe if I lived here in Nevada, I’d have a little easier time doing it. That’s one thing. I think other than that is kind of just, want people – some brands don’t want to break the mold. They’re stuck in certain mold. I think that sometimes is a challenge to, at least personally to try to present something a little different, where they end up wanting something a little more traditional, which is fine. I mean, that’s their brand. I view my job always as someone who is to tell – I’m here working for the brand. I’m not working for myself kind of thing. 

But I think legality issues is probably the biggest one we face, just because it shoots so many good ideas down to where you’re – you’re also – you’re backed in to – you’re backed into the wall of like – it’s like your idea starts up here, then you end up just doing your classic thing because it’s all that’s allowed. Even going in – like in Ohio, we have to do –like a lot of times, we release the content we do because we can release it. No one else can. But yeah, it’s probably still are – and it changes every state too. That’s the other thing here that’s complicated. It it’s like, what I can do here, I can’t do there, and I can’t do it over there, but I can do it here. We ourselves – but that’s kind of what a part of our value is, is that we understand that and we do our best to work around those things. Events are always easy to do, like live events. It’s kind of what we’re here for, with the Grasslands. Grasslands is one of our clients. We’re here with them and their team supporting –

EG: Yeah, yeah. Big party tonight. [Crosstalk 00:17:58] MJBizCon.

AT: That’s a fun one for us to be hired for because that was actually my first experience in the cannabis space. As I landed that year I came here and we went to the Grasslands’ party because we knew someone. And it’s like, now we’re full circle kind of where we work so closely with them and stuff, so that’s also fun for me in a space, is kind of watching these relationships evolve.

EG: Yeah, it must be super [inaudible 00:18:21]. I want to circle back on to something you said before. I know you have all these ideas, and then they don’t get approved. Approved by who?

[00:18:29] AT: Speaking specifically in Ohio is you have to submit things to the board of – I don’t want to misspeak, but I think it’s the Board of Pharmacy, but there’s a board that all these people have to submit stuff to and there’s these weird like, they have so many days to turn it around, they can just deny it. It’s all these different processes. So like, with like this particular client, they sent it to the state and they shut it down or it’s like, you can’t do that or they will be like – you got to remove this, remove this, remove this. It’s like every piece in most states have some form of this. But every piece of collateral has to be proved through the state. Whether you’re putting out a flier, your website, different things, they have to approve a lot of that stuff. 

EG: Just the advertising itself.

AT: Yeah. The advertising laws are very slim, especially in Ohio specifically, but then in many other states as well. But it’s so – that’s what’s so interesting, as you drive out of Ohio, two hours in Michigan, and there’s billboards everywhere. It’s like in Ohio, there’s no billboards. It’s like one of those things to where it’s like – it’s playing. And a lot of the billboards then too are the particular brands who do it, like cookies and stuff like that, have their billboards, which are pretty much traditionally the same across the states. So yeah, it’s usually the – like whatever board is running the advertising laws, which they have them even like in Canada and stuff. They’re just different up there.

EG: Yeah, yeah. I think it’s impossible to be on top of all these regulations in every single different jurisdiction.

AT: We need the federal government to ultimately step in because that’s like with – they need to at least regulate the marketing space. Because with alcohol, it’s not like you don’t have regulations, but it’s across the board. It’s like, we don’t have to play guessing games. Especially when you’re working with a company who has multiple state locations, like a cure leaf, or cookies, or something. It’s like, what they do here, they can’t do elsewhere. It’s challenging for them to like fully – I mean, it benefits us in some senses of being an Ohio team. But at the same time, it also – 

EG: [Inaudible 00:20:23]

AT: Particularly for us, it’s [inaudible 00:20:25]

EG: Yeah, for sure. If any of our listeners want to get in touch with you, your services. Can you tell us a bit more about what you offer at the Trav Media Group across the board? And also, who your ideal clients, who should be speaking to you?

AT: Yeah. Well, generally, we offer web development services, video, live event photography and video. Then we also do a lot of consulting. We do have the network for everything. Like we do, do – we might not push video as hard, but we offer it. We can do social media, we can do all the different stuff. But to find us, you can go to travmediagroup.com. That’s T-R-A-V mediagroup.com. You can find me @AnthonyTrav_22 on Twitter, and Instagram or LinkedIn at Anthony Travagliante. Very reachable on there.

Client wise, we generally look for – I mean, not to be cliche, but someone who has a good like a story to tell and someone who’s open to letting that process happen. Like with a website – and it kind of changes who it is. But with a website, we’re looking for people – on the process, we kind of offer just the short end of it as much. We try to simplify the web process, traditionally, like a lot of – like especially WordPress sites are very hard to manage, especially when you have a lot of content in them.

EG: Right. You’re the Webflow fan, right? I’ve seen this all over LinkedIn. You did it.

AT: I did it. We love it. Webflow for life. But we do WordPress sites too. But our product – we’ve – you know, I work with my brother Dustin, who can be found – what’s your new thing now?

EG: Dustin is just sitting on the other side?

AT: Yeah, he’s here. I want to plug you properly.

AT: Inhalabes smoke shop in Brunswick. They were the location of the dispensary, but he helped build that and launch that. But he’s worked a lot on websites over the past decade. I’ve had my experience with websites and like they’re just a pain in the ass sometimes. So we kind of are – for websites, we’re looking for brands who – we don’t like to work with massive ecommerce stores, or people who have these complicated backends. But we’re looking for brands who are either mainly content solution, like content brands, or just people who need a simple working website. It’s like, there’s a lot of what we do that speed your site up, gets you better SEO, all that stuff. We’re kind of looking for small to mid-sized companies who are looking for a good branded site. With photo and video, we love live events. Any of these cannabis conferences, whatever. We love those – we do like with you, was not a live event thing. so we do a lot of different stuff, but we do look for live events or anyone. Stock photography’s obviously something we sell, and small videos and stuff locally we do.

Then with consulting, just the two of us have had so many years of experience, whether it’s in marketing. Inhalable is a headshop. Dustin has years of experience launching a retail space, working within regulations of pipe, CBD, all that stuff. Then I’ve just – I manage through other contacts I have, I do social media for these restaurant chains with 10 locations. It’s like, we have this databank of knowledge where we just want to be able to help people wherever we can, as opposed to – I don’t think we have the infrastructure to offer some of those services to the fullest extent I want to like. I don’t want to just be like, “Hey! I’ll do social media for you. But it’s like, we don’t even really have a dedicated person to it. It’s just kind of those things.” But like I said, we do work with Grasslands and our sister agency, Dallas Circle Media too, where we can sell those services as well.

But we like to work with anyone who’s ready to – I’m not very picky. I don’t want to sound like we don’t have a target audience, but it’s like anyone who I can sit down and have a good conversation with and like our goals and values kind of align. We like to kind of simplify. I think our overall thing is simplifying the marketing process a little bit and not making it so complex from a budgetary standpoint. Not so complex from a – even photography, it’s like one thing I don’t like to do is a lot of photographers will loop in licensing. It’s like, you have to pay every year for and there’s all these contracts and stuff. And it’s like, we hand over the raw images, we do whatever, it’s like – we want to help you not just loop ourselves into these like long-term contracts and relationships, I suppose.

EG: Yeah. Well, as a former client, I can tell you there’s definitely a very simple process.

AT: Appreciate it.

EG: Receiving the material materials. I highly recommend working with Anthony and his team.

AT: Thank you.

EG: We’re going to put all those links in the show notes [inaudible 00:24:37] can find you. Enjoy the rest of the show.

AT: Absolutely. It’s a pleasure meeting you. Yep.

EG: Yeah. Glad to finally meet you.

EG: All right. It’s time for our regular ASA segment. Today, I’ve got ASA’s Director of Government Affairs, Abbey Roudebush here with me? Hey, Abbey.

Abbey Roudebus: Hi. Thanks for having me.

EG: Of course, glad you could come on. It’s pretty good timing for our segment this week, because I understand that Americans for Safe Access has just released an annual report, the State of the States Report.

AR: Yep, just came out this week. We are very excited about it. It’s a report of the medical cannabis laws across the United States. We look at all 50 states, and five territories, and we grade them all on 120 metrics. At the end of that, we come up with a score and a grade for the mall.

EG: Yeah, that is a hefty dataset, I’m sure.

AR: Oh, yes. A lot of research, a lot of reading went into it. But we’re so excited that it’s out now. It’s a great resource for people to be able to look at. It’s sort of like a one-stop shop, to be able to see what kind of medical cannabis laws there are across the country. Because every state and territory is responsible for setting up their own programs. Nothing is consistent across the United States. This is a particularly important resource for patients as well as their thinking of traveling or visiting other states. It’s an easy resource for them to flip to the state where they may be visiting and see what is and is not allowed in that state. So I am very excited that patients have this resource to use as well.

EG: Yeah, definitely. And I see most of numerous different professionals working in the industry, this must be very useful.

AR: Oh, absolutely. I think the main audience for this ideally is policymakers across the country. In this report, not only do we grade every state, but ASA went through, and we provided recommendations for state lawmakers and regulators on what they can do now, what they should put priority on to fix the law in their state. Those are all individualized recommendations for the state based on what they’re missing. It’s a great policy – or sorry, a great report, not only for them to look at for their own state, but to see what other states are doing and what works in other states. We’re really hopeful that with this report, maybe we can get some kind of standardization across patient rights throughout the United States, even though there’s not sort of one overarching entity looking over all these states. We are hoping the report can sort of serve as a starting point to get some sort of consistency across the country. At least that’s the hope.

EG: Yeah, well, super important. We’re with you there. Tell us a bit about you know what we found out this year.

AR: Yes, very exciting. I’ll start with our highest scoring state. This year, Maine was the highest scoring state. They received a 76.14, which is a B on our grading scale, the two lowest scoring states were Idaho and Nebraska. Both of them received a 0%, because they still have a total prohibition on cannabis. They do not allow medical cannabis in any form at all. When we look at all of the states and territories that we graded, the average across the country is only a 44.38%. That’s a D on our grading scale. That really highlights that even though all of these states – even though the majority of states allow medical cannabis of some kind, there are still huge improvements that need to be made.

I also want to mention about this year’s report card. We totally revamped our grading scale and our grading metric. We looked at previous grading scales and the previous metrics that we were grading. We saw that there was a lot of emphasis on having a law on the books, but it didn’t really capture what the patient experience was in that state. This year’s report card has been totally revamped to focus on things like patient rights, and civil protections, product safety, consumer protection, affordability, health and social equity. We also have a category for penalties, where we took away points from some states when they were doing things that were especially harmful for patients. This is sort of a new starting point for us, a new baseline because we revamped the grading so much. And in future years, I look forward to seeing how much states improve or move up in the rankings based on this new report. Like I mentioned, the average scores only a 44% across the country. There is a lot of improvements that they could make. And overall, the average score is a D. About 21 states fell in the C range, and 13 states fell within the F grade range. Majority of the states are not doing well at all, unfortunately.

EG: Wow. Yeah. That’s pretty stark, thinking of like the highest grade being a B. It makes me wonder how countries around the world would kind of stand up to the same grading system. 

AR: Yeah, absolutely.

EG: I know that’s not an ASA’s focus at this point, in any case.

AR: Right. I mean, it’s an ASA’s focus. But I have to say, as I was going through and grading this, I thought, I wish there was a resource like this in other countries as well, because I want to see how the United States stacks up against some of these other countries. I totally agree with you, I would like everyone to make a report like this.

EG: Yeah, absolutely. And to use that same standard so that we could actually make a comparison. Abbey, if our listeners want to dig further into the report, kind of look through all this data, read up a bit more, where can they access it?

AR: You can access the full report at safeaccessnow.org/sos. So like state of the states, SOS. That will have our full report, it’s up there in a PDF version. You can also visit safe accessnow.org/rubric. That’s where you can read all of the details about what we graded the states on and why, and what metrics we use to assign grades to the states.

EG: All right, that’s great. We’ll include those links in the show notes as well, in case anyone didn’t manage to jot those down, so that they can easily access it. Any other last takeaways you want to share with us before we finish up?

AR: The big takeaway I really want to share is that, no state program is perfect. I think some people have a gut reaction of thinking, well, a state passed medical cannabis law. So that job is done and we can move on. But I think this report really highlights that the job has only just begun when a medical cannabis law has passed and there is a lot more that we can be doing for patients.

EG: Yeah, definitely. We’ve got a way to go. Well, thanks so much for joining us today, Abbey and we’ll talk soon.

AR: Yeah. Thank you so much. 
EG: I’m Elana Goldberg. This episode of The Cannabis Enigma podcast was executive produced by myself, with production assistance from Dr. Codi Peterson and Ed Weissman, and edited by our friends at We Edit Podcasts. If you enjoyed the episode, feel free to like, rate and share. It helps other people find the podcast and it’s really nice for us as well.

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