Talking weed in Appalachia, Small businesses, and JD Vance with Cornbread Hemp
March 26, 2021

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Chuck and Big John sit down with Jim Higdon, co-founder of Cornbread Hemp. Cornbread Hemp is a USDA-certified organic CBD company based in Kentucky. We talk about the status of legal cannabis (or weed) in Appalachia, how his small business has survived the COVID-19 pandemic, and just a little bit about good ol’ JD Vance running for Senate (You can use our exclusive promo code “APPODLACHIA” to get 20% off your order at checkout when you go to Cornbreadhemp.com).

An intro about the recent attack on Asian Americans in Atlanta

Chuck: We talk briefly about the recent attack and Atlanta primarily targeted Asian Americans during the show I wanted to drop in here to talk a bit about the victims because that’s something that we neglected to do during the show.

And we feel as I’m sure many of you do that, the victim stories are often the ones that are not told enough. So I wanted to share a little bit about them before the show starts. I pulled a lot of this information from a couple of different articles. There’s information about some more so than others, and I will do my best to pronounce these names as best since I can.

Delaney, Ashley won well as it was 33 years old. She was the mother of a 14 year old son and a nine month old daughter and had worked at a waffle house, just a few doors down from the spa. She was recently married in August and leaves behind her husband. Paul Andre Michaels. He was a local business owner who had been married for over two decades and it was a former army veteran.

And the business he owned was an elector. Your company, shell. Oh, G tan of 49 years old. She was the owner of Young’s Asian massage and was a licensed massage therapist who immigrated to the U S from China several years ago. Dal you thing, 44 years old. I wasn’t able to find very much about value at the time of this recording, but she worked at Young’s Asian massage and she was highly regarded by a lot of her colleagues.

grant 51. John was a Korean immigrant who also worked at gold spa. She leaves behind two sons who did not know their father soon. Check him 69 years old. She worked at gold spot and enjoyed line dancing in her spare time, was a grandmother married for over 50 years, and was also an immigrant to the U S from Korea and said she did so to quote, provide us a better education and better life.

That was according to a family member who was quoted for the article soon Chung park, 74 years old park, worked at the gold and had lived in New York before moving to Atlanta young, a you 63 years old. You worked at aroma therapy spa across the street from gold spa. She was born in South Korean, met her husband Mac there who are now forest when he was stationed there and the army, they had two sons and their families remain incredibly close even to this day.

And finally LCS Hernandez or T’s 30 years old now will see us. I believe was a survivor. Although he, I think is still in the hospital. They’ll see us immigrated from Guatemala 10 years ago and had been married to his wife floor for over time, 10 years.

These are not fun to read. And they’re important though, because these stories often never get told. You always hear about the shooter about how he was having a hard day or whatever, but you hardly hear about the victims and it’s important to highlight their voices because they were people. And a lot of them were immigrants trying to make better lives for themselves and their families.

This is awful. And it’s something that we hope to continue shedding a light on, on this show. In addition to the things we talk about, because we don’t want to stay silent about things like this. With that being said, I hope that you’ll joy the rest of the show. It’s a really great one. We have a really great conversation with Jim.

We have really great conversation about this topic, several others. So stick around and, uh, We’ll talk soon.

Sandwich U isn’t a real university

let’s start by. Can we talk about sandwich? You sandwich, university 

Big John: sandwiches, not even a real university. I double-checked. Yeah. 

Chuck: And it’s not, it’s not where you go. If you want to Excel at subway as a sandwich artist, just to clarify, 

Big John: it’s not accredited. I thought it was, I was going to look, there’s a Jersey.

Mike’s come into Parker. Okay. So I’m trying to, I’m trying to get ready for that. So I thought I should have enrolled. In a sandwich university to get ready, but 

Chuck: it doesn’t exist. Now this is some poor for-profit bullshit. Did you ever go there? This, this is just some context. This is a, a, I guess was I don’t even know if it’s still open a sandwich shop.

It’s still open. Right. And Morgantown West Virginia. Did you go there at all when you were at WVU? 

Big John: Yeah. I think someone who is actually in more places than Morgantown, I think it’s, um, really, I think there’s, yeah, I think there’s one at Rutgers. If I remember correctly because the dude is from New Jersey.

Um, I believe there’s one at Rutgers and. I don’t remember what else, but the only reason I knew that, uh, same as you was on the food network ones. And I thought it was going to be organ towns, but it was 

Chuck: good. Oh, okay. Well, 

Big John: interesting. Yeah. I went there. I went there a couple of times. My freshman year. I never went during law school, uh, because.

This is, this guy has always been a dickhead. Like it’s not this isn’t new. Yeah. He was recently arrested on, on, uh, federal charges because he was Paul riot or the, I would say, what should I call that? The Capitol 

Chuck: insurrection, what the media has been calling capital insurrection. 

Big John: Yeah, Capitol instruction.

Plus he is, uh, one of the officers who was killed during that. He is part of the people who assaulted him. So he has charges on that as well. 

Chuck: He was arrested in connection. I don’t know what the charges were. I’m not sure, but this dude, his name, I don’t even remember what it is. It’s a George pier. Tanyo some probably mispronouncing that, but a reputation for being an asshole.

Call me shocked that the guy who, whose menu at his restaurant has menu items such as the fat bitch, the fat bastard and the fat Obama is an asshole. That was part of an insurrection. Call me crazy. I’m shocked. He 

Big John: also throw, he also treats students like garbage. I mean, there have been times where you can, you can walk by and somebody like the sandwiches wrong and somebody tells him and he throws, literally throws it out there.

Like he’s, he is a genuine asshole to the core and this, like, this could not happen to a better guy. 

Chuck: Could not happen to a better guy. Damn you all right. 

Big John: Yeah. I’m trying to. 

Chuck: Weird, whatever. Yeah. I mean, so I just remember the, the only really notable thing about this place,

the only really notable thing about this place is that you could buy shirts that say, I love fat bitches on them. And, uh, and so lots of people, freshmen bought those cause they thought it was funny, you know, whatever. But this guy clearly an asshole clearly got what he deserved. It sounded like. Oh, Oh wait, we didn’t mention the best part of how they identified him.

Oh yeah. You want 

Big John: to say what

Chuck: look, and it’s not the first person that they’ve arrested that wore their companies 

shirt. 

Big John: No, my goal is, uh, eventually, and I read the Capitol. Uh, I hope to, uh, not only have an app potlatches shirt on, but I think I’m just gonna name on it too. Maybe I’ll wear the 18 

Chuck: Husky shirt. I know that we’re trying to build the brand here.

Don’t know that that’s the best way to do it, but I’m not going to tell you how to do okay. But 

Big John: hear me out, hear me out free advertising. We saw that shirt that he was wearing. 

Chuck: So don’t don’t know that there’s been a spike in sandwich, you sales, but 

Big John: you say that, but there could be, 

Chuck: well, you know what?

There’s 

Big John: stability. There’s definitely a possibility. 

Chuck: There is true. That’s true. I mean, there’s probably some, some people out there in solidarity that are buying a bunch of fat bitches. Yeah. A hundred percent, a hundred percent. Well, I mean, you know, I had to get that out of there. That was a, that was the thing that brought West Virginia into the news this week.

Of course it was that. 

Big John: And he’s not even from wa that’s the thing he’s not even from West Virginia. This is one of the most frustrating things about Morgantown. Okay. Is, uh, some of the worst stuff that happens. There are not West Virginians because New Jersey has a giant population in Morgantown and like church West fucking Virginia, which is the dumbest worship that I’ve ever seen.

I hate that shirt created by a kid from New Jersey sandwich. You terrible guy from New Jersey, but you know, who gets the blame? West Virginia.

Chuck: You hate to see it. You really hate it. I hate it. Well, I know that it was a little bit of a lighthearted subject to start out on. I do want to address the recent events in Atlanta that happened, I guess it would have been, was it last week, last week, early this week where, uh, Yet another dumb white man went and killed a bunch of minorities time.

It was Asian Americans and massage parlors in Atlanta. There’s a lot to unpack there, but obviously I think it was clearly a targeted attack against Asian-Americans and very despicable in, in every single way and highlights. What is something that. From just statistically it’s been happening for a long time.

We haven’t really ever talked about it on this show. Maybe we should have, but just the violence against Asian American community in this country is, is, is at its highest. It sounds like from, from what I’ve read and, and this is just, uh, one of the most high profile examples of it. It’s awful 

Big John: violent crimes against, uh, Asian Americans is up 150% in the last, I think year.

It’s insane. The amount that is it they’re being, you know, they’re being targeted for no reason other than it’s just like, you know what we’ve been talking about with black lives matter. I mean, these people are being targeted just by their skin color. It’s blowing my mind that we continue to have this and let’s not forget the.

You know, the bull crap that, that sheriff was spewing where he said, Oh, he just had a bad day. No, you know what I’ve had, I’ve had plenty of bad days killed zero people. That’s not news that, that sheriff shouldn’t, he should not be, uh, in that position anymore. 

Chuck: That was the arresting sheriff. Right. For, for wherever that jurisdiction was.

Big John: Yeah. Yeah. And, and, you know, he’s sitting there going, Oh, well, you know, he had a bad day and then come to find out. That sheriff on Facebook shares a bunch of racist things, Asian people. So this is something that we, you know, we had a president who said China virus for the last year. Are we really that surprised that a bunch of racist people don’t like Asians because I don’t know the most powerful man in the world told them not to.

Chuck: Yeah. And I read somewhere, there’s been studies that have been done to show. Just the effect of a president’s words on like a president expressing negative sentiment towards a group of people and how much negativity and violence upticks amongst that group of people. I think they’ve done that study with, with Muslim Americans, others.

So it’s no surprise really. I mean, and, and for Asian people in this country, that’s not a shock at all. I’m sure. And it’s just shameful and disgusting and that we’re still dealing just with blatant racism. Is, it’s just disgusting and it it’s, you know, it’s always been boggled my mind truly it has. And that’s probably because I’m white and I really haven’t ever experienced racism, but just the concept of it to me, it’s so stupid and disgusting.

And it just is, it blows my mind that, that in this day and age, there are still so many people, but there are, and it’s, and it’s systemic and it’s, you know, it shouldn’t be surprising, I guess, to me, just based on all the evidence that, or that’s in front of me, 

Big John: Yeah. And I mean, look, we have, we have police officers who are giving excuses to mass murders.

I mean, we are, we have now capped out on stupidity. Sure. 

Chuck: Well, and, and let me just put the distinction of white mass murders. 

Big John: Right. That’s a good point because you know, almost all of them are. 

Chuck: Yeah. Yeah. Because if this guy was black and then he would have been a thug, you know, we, 

Big John: this is what the conversation we’d have been looking into him, you know, for the last couple years.

And we been, we’d been looking into his record and, you know, yeah. These had history in the past, but now since he’s a white guy, it’s just, he had a bad day. We never saw this coming. In fact, the dude, the dude was a. Blatant racist that everyone saw it coming. 

Chuck: Yeah. They gave the Daniel powder defense. Cause you had a back day.

Bet. Yeah. That’s, that’s kinda like the Twinkie defense from the Harvey milk murder case. It’s a load of bullshit. And it’s only done because people in power are white people in general, they need an excuse. They feel this sheriff felt obligated, obligated to give this kid an excuse. Probably one because the sheriff is also racist, but two, because they didn’t, you know, they got to protect their own.

This is so fucking stupid. And I mean, I’m glad that there’s been some outrage about that, but boy rooting out this kind of stuff in law enforcement is one thing, but just rooting this out in general as a whole other. And I just don’t even, I don’t even know, man. This is, I mean, I’m glad that the tension has been brought to the racism against Asian Americans.

It should’ve never. Come to this, and this is terrible. And obviously it’s not a good thing that’s happened. 

Big John: Yeah. I mean, this is, we’re at a point now where things are, things are getting worse, you know, for the last four years, we focused on the black lives matter movement, which is obviously where we should, but then now we’re starting to find like, obviously racism doesn’t stop there.

And there, you know, now people are moving on to target and kill. Other minorities, just because they can, it’s just another angry white guy with a gun. And, you know, it’s a story that we’ve been telling for years. I mean, shit. I was born in 1992 and there are probably, uh, more what more, uh, mass shootings in the United States that I can think of then years I’ve been on this planet.

That’s. No I easily, you know, that that’s something that we should not be living with. And it’s because we, you know, part of it is in this country. We, we really do have, the problem is two fold. One. We have a really, really, really bad racism problem that no one wants to admit, especially other white people in power.

Don’t want to admit that. And too, we have a really terrible mental health problem in this country as well, where we’re allowing people, um, You know, to own weapons when they are not mentally capable, even if on paper they are, they’re just not. 

Chuck: Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s a problem that people acknowledged, but they don’t address.

And it’s, it shows obviously, well, I hate to, uh, You know, start things out, I guess, on such a horrible negative note. But you know, sometimes you have to do that in this world. And we want to make sure that we’re not silent about this and that people know that we are falling in where our thoughts and, and go out to the victims as families and that they deserve justice and justice is putting this fucker in prison forever and not letting something like this happen again.

Yeah, well, but with that, let’s turn to, um, let’s turn to announcements. John, we’ve got a couple or we got a handful of new patrons. Do you want to want to read them off 

Big John: three new Patrion members? We’re so thankful that you’re here. Uh, I think, I mean, we’re up to like one 15 now 150 Patriot members, which is just blowing my mind, but our three newest ones are Amanda Jordan and Chris.

Thank you so much for the support. Uh, you know, if, if. Anyone else is interested in patrion.com/app hot. We have a bunch of exclusives on there. Uh, we have free merged. That’s included that Patriot now, uh, has taken over and we’ll send out including stickers and shirts. There’s, you know, a bunch of stuff and we’re constantly upgrading our Patrion benefits as we go.

Chuck: That is true. And we do an exclusive every single week, this week. Grab bag, baby. We’ll be talking about NCAA might even throw in a little bit about the Confederate statue bill in West Virginia, who knows that might make it in there. John’s shaking his head. I think it will because I’ve got a great solution to that, but I want to share with the world, but it won’t be shared with the world, just patron members.

So go check it out. Anyway, John got a great, great guest today returning champion. Our first returning guests we’ve ever had Jim Higdon, the founder of cornbread hemp, a organic hemp company in the great state of Kentucky. He joins us to talk about the state of cannabis reform in Appalachia, his company, what they’ve been doing during the pandemic, how they’ve survived as a small business, the CBD industry in general and what we can expect for the future.

And of course, I did a little bit Duncan on JD Vance and his upcoming Senate race. Cool. So without further ado, our interview with Jim Higdon

Interview with Jim Higdon, Co-founder of Cornbread Hemp

CHUCK: Well we last talked, it was probably just about a year ago, right? I think, uh, you were our first interview in quarantine. I believe. Uh, John correct me if I’m wrong. I 

Jim Higdon: think that’s right. It’s wild. I didn’t, I didn’t realize that that’s wild. Yeah. It’s, it’s 

Big John: been awhile. It has been awhile, 

Jim Higdon: but it, but it’s funny, like not funny.

It’s, it’s, it’s interesting to note, uh, we’ve definitely got, uh, customers here at cornbread, hint from listeners to iPod late, uh, people who, people who listen to you, uh, have come to us. And so just want to give a shout out to your listeners and everyone, eh, uh, uh, you know, in the, in Appalachia region who, uh, looking for CBD products.

Cause we definitely connected. 

Chuck: That’s awesome. Great. Yeah. And I, well, I can, I know that I can speak for both of us, that we have a lot more listeners now than we did back then. So hopefully we can get you some more on that. I 

Jim Higdon: guess the podcast world is kind of like the CBD world. Like it’s, it’s one of the industries that was benefited by the lockdown.

Cause people were like looking for what we did. 

Chuck: Yeah. Yeah. I’ll tell you, um, you know, there’s a couple things like, obviously, like, you know, hillbilly, LG wouldn’t get into that. Well, that helped us a little bit, but I think once people started establishing routines again, because you know, all the routine disruption, I think probably hurt the numbers a little bit, but once people start establishing routine again, I mean, we’ve seen constant growth pretty much every week on this.

It’s been really cool. 

Jim Higdon: That’s wild. 

Chuck: Um, well, cool. I’m glad that you’re back with us because this is a really interesting time we’re in right now in the cannabis world. And by the way, I don’t know if you listened to the interview we did with Lieutenant governor, John Fetterman, but he, uh, he harangued us a bit for calling it cannabis.

He’s like, you got to call it weed so that, uh, so that you can, you’re not like. What John, how did he word it so that we’re not, uh, sounding like elitist with it or, or to sound like what to call it? What people are used to calling in sort of de-stigmatize it. Yeah. Yeah, but we can call it cannabis here. I just though it was a funny thing that he mentioned, but I’m interested, you know, go ahead.

Finish your thought. Oh, I was just going to kind of get your take just generally on, on what’s changed. If anything, in the past year, you know, in the, in, and from your view dealing, uh, like in the parts of that industry and like Kentucky specifically. 

Jim Higdon: W so the Kentucky legislature has concluded yet another session without, uh, passing a medical marijuana bill.

So we now lag, um, nearly every border state that we have, uh, including West Virginia, uh, on this issue. Um, so yeah, a big shocker, big, big shocker. Um, it was the short session, not a non, not a revenue generating session. So there is some reason to, uh, To think that it has better chance in a long session and even number of years, so know we’re back at it.

At a national level, Senate democratic leadership …. Schumer, Corey Booker, Ron Wyden, really, really talking about, um, priority cannabis legalization in the Senate, uh, this year. So we will see you know, we’ll see how that develops. Um, and then this recent story that a white house staffers are getting, uh, asked to resign because they, because of past cannabis use.

Yeah. Uh, does it help, but it’s fascinating because the con like congressional democratic backlash against like, like, Hey, what are you doing? This is exactly the point. Like, it’s actually like shining a light on like, here’s your opportunity to lead by example. And you’re playing grandpa and it’s not, this is not 1985 anymore.

What’s going on. Yeah. 

Chuck: Yeah, go ahead. Sorry. 

Jim Higdon: I was just like, you know, like, you know, that’s where we are. It’s like the Biden white house is sidelining staffers for cannabis use while, you know, we’re all trying to decide like what word it is that we’re going to call this thing. That’s about to be legal. So it’s really shocked though.

Hey, you know, it’s just, it’s just, uh, you know, it’s just noteworthy that that’s where we are, you know? No, I’m not, it’s frustrating and disappointing, but it’s not shocking. Yeah. 

Big John: I mean, I I’m with you. The one, when, when Biden won the election, obviously, uh, we were very open on who we were supporting, but that was, um, you know, that’s one of the downfalls of Joe Biden is, you know, a lot of his, uh, social policy kind of lives in the 1980s.

He, you know, he’s, he’s continued to push that same rhetoric and I mean, Well, I think we kind of knew, I did not realize that he was going to start getting rid of staffers because you know that I didn’t see coming. But, um, yeah, I, I think that’s always going to be a problem, but I do have an interesting question for you because you’re in a, you’re in a.

Uh, I guess, unique spot with CBD, right? So you’re, you’re a CBD company. Obviously things are gonna, hopefully you start trans transitioning into, you know, maybe illegal recreational weed. Uh, does your company change at all? If that happens? 

Jim Higdon: Uh, we’ve really positioned cornbread hemp to be a cannabis company on the legal hemp side of the dividing line.

And so, you know, we’re going to make products as legal as we can make them. Uh, as that legality changes already, state agricultural commissioners are petitioning Congress to move the sheet threshold from its current level of 0.3%, which is arbitrary and low and stupid to at least 1% to give farmers some wiggle room.

Um, you know, we can, we can make some really good CBD products with 1% THC. Yeah. Uh, and so, so, so that’s step one. Um, and then as you know, as the cannabis plant becomes more legal and we can make products, we can sell across state lines. That’s what we’re gonna do. 

Big John: Okay. Yeah. I just, I’ve always wondered about that because obviously your.

Uh, you right now are handcuffed into, into a lot of the products that you can make versus, uh, maybe some of the things that you have on the back burner, like you’re ready to develop, or you really want to develop that you can’t right now, especially, um, you know, with the state that you’re in. But, uh, you know, I always wonder that cause there are.

Uh, there are a lot of CBD companies. Uh, most of them obviously are not to y’all’s level in terms of, of the products you use. But, uh, I always wonder what’s going to happen with some of these companies, like, are they going to transition? Well, 

Jim Higdon: some of them are sit against it. Um, there’s, there’s some of these, you know, I’m like, you know, I’m not going to go on here.

Name names, but you know, there’s brands and hemp associations who do not want further legalization of cannabis and who do not want hemp products associated with, with the legal amount of THC that can come along with them. It’s really frustrating that people have taken a claim in the hip industry and want it to freeze and not move any further, which is one unrealistic and too, uh, kind of frustrating and backward.

And. Um, you know, something that needs to needs to not win in the, in the grand sort of, uh, you know, debate of ideas. Like, you know, we’re only in a spot on this road to full legalization. This is where we are, is not where we’re 

Chuck: going. Is that right? Like a purely a business decision on their part. Like, are they worried that if, if cannabis is legalized, they’re going to be losing business to that.

Jim Higdon: Maybe it’s also, um, you know, or this market that’s benefiting from CBD products that are still uncertain and afraid of the cultural war applications of cannabis. Like, you know, like they benefit from CBD, but it convinced themselves that something different than the marijuana they were against during the Vietnam war.

And some of these companies are taking advantage of that incorrect notion and, and want to, um, You know, exist in that space of CBD isolate without THC, because it’s safe. It’s good. It’s, you know, ha doesn’t have THC in it. And THC is bad, which is just a backward way of looking at things and not something that’s going to win out in the longterm.

Chuck: Yeah. That’s um, I mean, it’s just, it’s not funny. Ha ha funny, but it’s funny to think about how. Uh, how prolific and common and things like opioids are and places where we live. And there’s less pushback to that than there is to marijuana, which I mean is just mind numbing in and of itself. I’m wondering, you know, Maybe this is more related to Kentucky, but one of the conversations we had with Lieutenant governor Fetterman in Pennsylvania was how much their state’s going to lose out because neighboring States have legalized weed.

I mean, if you look New Jersey was the most recent one, they border. Philadelphia, huge market. Just go across bridge, get that. And you lose out on tax revenue. Um, has Kentucky, I mean, is there conversations around that? Like what’s, what are the, what are the impediments to something like that happening in Kentucky?

Is it a cultural issue with, with the Republican lawmakers or is it a lot of things? I think it’s, 

Jim Higdon: uh, I think it’s like 80% law enforcement. Really, like, I just think like the, the power of the law enforcement lobby and law and legislators swooning at law enforcement and uniform, uh, just, you know, like really sets us back and prevents us from doing what we need to do.

Um, the good thing about Kentucky is we have this hands-on understanding of the bourbon trail and how the bourbon trail has brought in a million tourists a year. And it’s really easy to, to visualize what that means for cannabis, uh, and how we can supplement and supplement the bourbon trail with another, uh, agricultural product that people would like to tour and sample.

Um, And so, you know, the first step of that is passing a medical marijuana. All the second step is ensuring that medical marijuana, law grants reciprocity. So a re reciprocity would mean that anyone with a medical card in another state could access the medical cannabis available here in this state. Right.

And so that begins the opportunity to let people from other States come to Kentucky and experience, uh, what Kentucky is good at. Um, And, and, you know, that’s something that would then, uh, progress over time, but it’s not something that, you know, especially what we’ve learned in the hemp industry is it takes a few years to make the supply chain work.

Like you’ve got to have these steps in the supply chain in place in order to support, um, you know, a robust, uh, market demand. So, you know, it’s, it’s, you know, it takes awhile. 

Chuck: Yeah, I’m glad you mentioned the bourbon trail because that’s definitely something that Tennessee recently copied off of do the Tennessee whiskey trail because they saw the value in it.

Um, and you’re so right about that. I, uh, it, you know, in thinking about Appalachia in general, I mean, it’s not. Unrealistic to have these things happen and places like Kentucky. I mean, if you look at, at West Virginia, they did manage to pass a medical marijuana legislation. And in Virginia, they just legalized marijuana.

Now, granted, I think the actual effective date or date when retail stores can open, it’s like 20, 22 or 23, but still they did something in a state that was traditionally more, uh, more conservative and more, uh, against that type of thing. So even though a state is conservative Kentucky, I mean, it’s, you know, there are.

It’s not, I guess, unrealistic to think that could happen there, but it’s interesting. You mentioned the police or the law enforcement. I was wondering if you could maybe elaborate a little bit on that. Like what is their chief argument against it? I mean, 

Jim Higdon: decriminalizing legalizing hemp flour, or legalizing marijuana legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana, uh, like law enforcement, like to beat up on black people.

And the easiest way to harass a black person is to say that you smelled marijuana. And if the smell of marijuana is no longer a crime, then law enforcement can no longer harass black people. 

Chuck: And that the John I’m sure you have read plenty of criminal procedure cases in law school where it was always like probable cause or whatever.

It was always, although I smelled marijuana always. 

Big John: Yeah. That’s like every bar question ever, like any criminal procedures, like, and they always, and even the questions are racist, like for the bar. Cause they’ll use, they’ll use, you know, predominantly black names in these questions too. And you can tell like what they’re aiming at.

Like they’re trying to go off old cases and it’s just sad that the old cases and the current cases are still targeting black people. 

Jim Higdon: Yeah. Uh, uh, in 2019, the Washington post published a map County by County of America of, uh, marijuana, possession enforcement and fascinating, uh, Kentucky, um, like States around Kentucky had some significant, um, County by County, marijuana enforcement, Georgia, particularly bad, but Kentucky had like California levels of non enforcement except in the metropolitan counties where black people are.

Yep. So like one of the, like, One of the real troubles of getting marijuana legalization passed in Kentucky is white legislators in rural counties. Don’t understand the marijuana prohibition to be a problem because their constituents don’t experience it as a problem because their constituents are white.

So they’re blind to how law enforcement selectively enforces marijuana crime, uh, on the street because they only enforce it in communities where they are not 

Chuck: okay. That is such a good point. Um, John, uh, I’ll turn it over to you. You got one more kind of related question to this, which is thinking about.

Lawmakers, maybe in rural areas that don’t see that impact. I’m wondering cause Kentucky, you know, for a long time, was it fairly big tobacco state, kinda like how North Carolina is that that industry has obviously declined with the declining use of tobacco? I mean, is there, are there people maybe in those rural areas that you speak to backhoe farmers, that they could see an opportunity with?

Cannabis with hemp that that might be like compelling voices or is that just like, not enough to overcome the law enforcement arm on the political system? It’s a 

Jim Higdon: very good question. It’s got a couple of different answers. So let me just start with, you know, um, uh, before I started cornbread, hint, I was the author of, and the author of the cornbread mafia book, which is, you know, I think maybe how, um, uh, we got to know each other in the first place.

Um, yeah. Um, in cornbread mafia, I report that the collapse of the tobacco economy, uh, in the seventies left giant swaths of unemployment in rural Kentucky, in Marion County, where I’m from where the cornbread mafia was based in 1980, the unemployment rate was something like 18 and a half percent on the way to 20.

And a lot of these guys who were unemployed became engaged in the, uh, illicit cultivation of cannabis. Um, To support their families. They’re all big Catholic families, um, that needed support. So. Historically, there’s definitely a connection between the collapse of the tobacco economy and the rise of, uh, Kentucky cannabis.

And then more recently, the hip economy has done something very similar and given farmers a new crop that they feel like they could profit on. But the problem is, is. Lots of people got stung because the FDA regulations haven’t come in because the USDA regulations limits on THC are too low. So farmers are having to destroy crops.

Farmers can’t find buyers for crops. So they’ve, they’ve grown a lot of hemp, but not a lot of hemp has been sold because the marketplace has been stunted by federal regulation. So. Uh, I do think that it has helped give these farmers that taste and have those farmers then lean in the ears of the rural legislators to be like, you know, we need more, this needs to be more legal than it is for us to like for this to be a viable crop because, uh, you know, politicians up to, and including Mitch McConnell, went to a lot of places and made a lot of promises about what hemp can do for the hemp, for the, for the farming economy, for farming families.

And those promises really haven’t paid off yet. 

Big John: That’s a, that’s a fair point. I want to, I want to transition a little bit, um, I’m sure that we’ll get back on the topic of, of weed, but, uh, and, and CBD and THC, but I want to transition real quick. I know that you’re obviously a, uh, do you still consider yourself a small business?

Right? We’re family. 

Jim Higdon: We’re a family owned business. 

Big John: Okay. Uh, how so is most of your sales online? Yeah. So what’d you see in terms of, uh, your business and COVID, I always like to ask business owners, you know, what ha did you see an uptick or downtick or anything like that? So, um, 

Jim Higdon: it’s really fascinating now that we’re at like at the one year anniversary of, of, of the COVID lockdown, um, Our, our retail sales really cratered.

Uh, we kept some of the retailers, our strongest retailers, uh, partners. We, we have, we have kept and even to some, some extent grown those accounts, um, uh, rainbow blossom here in Louisville, particularly in natural health food stores, like the natural health food store independently owned natural health food stores have been the, uh, retailing partner that has stayed with us through COVID, but to a large, large extent going in.

Um, uh, we’re work. We’re doing, we’re doing work. That’s my business partner say higher. Hey, how’s 

Big John: it 

Jim Higdon: going?

Uh, and then our online orders just like went through the roof, um, you know, right away when the lockdown happened and people started freaking out. Like, one of the things that happened is like, we got, we got bananas orders, like in mid to late March of last year. Like, like it just kinda, it just happened.

So. Uh, we grew our business all last year, uh, our fourth quarter and like the season was crazy good with a lot of people giving CBD as gifts, uh, these days. And like mother’s day father’s day. Also really interesting, like kid, like, you know, adult children, giving their parents, you know, hemp is like a safe cannabis product, like a way to talk to their parents about cannabis.

Uh, so, uh, mother’s day father’s day has been big for us last year and we’re in too. Um, So that’s really interesting. Um, uh, but the other thing I was telling Chuck about is, uh, last year, in addition to our online sales growing is we launched a crowdfund campaign and raise 400 grand from, uh, 900 investors.

And, uh, you know, a lot of that was also due to the lockdown, like, uh, people looking for a new way to invest their money. It wasn’t in the stock market that was experiencing a lot of volatility last year. 

Big John: Yeah. And that’s, I think that that’s one of the benefits, obviously, of being a, um, A predominantly online company.

I know that you all do have retail sales, but, but I see your stuff a lot online, uh, you know, running, running deals or on Instagram or whatever. And so the other thing I want to know is, um, you know, what’s the plan moving forward for, for your company? I mean, where do you see yourself? Let’s, you know, a year from now, obviously you’re still dealing with COVID.

So, you know, can you take advantage of that or, or, you know, do you think. Growth is going to continue, you know, what’s the idea. 

Jim Higdon: Um, we’re getting a lot of great press right now. So our press is really increasing our first-time customer flow. Uh, so, you know, we’re just, you know, ramping that up. So, you know, we’re, we’re on health.com.

We’re on health line. Uh, we just got our, uh, we’ve had two mentions in rolling stone. That seemed to be something that, that, that might continue. Um, you know, so there’s. And there’s a few more opportunities that we’re working on in terms of, uh, getting some media attention. Long-term like evergreen media attention so that when people are searching Google for CBD products, um, you know, we’re more likely to come up.

Um, and so that’s the, that’s the online play. Like, you know how you know, like now that we have an excellent product, that’s. USDA certified organic full spectrum, uh, flour only extracted, which is a very big deal because most of these places are using the whole plant extraction where they grind up the whole plant leaves, stems, and everything, and then pelletize it and then make an extraction out of those pellets.

But we’re just using the flower of the hemp plant, which is the part that everyone wants. And so our products tastes like cannabis flowers, because that’s all the symptoms. Uh, so there’s no cover flavors, no peppermint or knit chocolate or anything like this that, uh, some of these other brands use to cover the flavors of their products.

Cause we don’t need to do that. So we already have an excellent product. We’re rolling out CBD gummies next month, which is super exciting. Um, so it’s just a matter of like getting more eyeballs and getting more attention. Uh, so, uh, the other part of this year that will happen is that retail will start to open back up, uh, as, as the vaccine rolls out, people are gonna want to be back in retail and want to begin talking to people again in retail settings that safe, uh, as soon as it’s safe to be endorsed, uh, without masks on again.

So, um, you know, we anticipate, um, building out our retail, uh, natural health food stores. Is is, is the retail partner that really speaks well to our product because they have knowledgeable staff because we have the USDA organic seal on our products. That’s something that resonates both with the staff and with customers and natural health food stores.

Um, those are the sorts of people who prioritize, uh, organic products in their lives. So, um, you know, so we anticipate more media, um, more online and, uh, like, you know, reinvigorating our retail program.

Chuck: That’s great. That’s really good to hear. We’re happy to, to know that, um, that your businesses, at least, uh, uh, thrived, it sounds like under, um, under really difficult conditions. And I mean, 

And, uh, it looks like JD Vance’s running. I mean, w what are your thoughts on that? We’ll obviously we have some thoughts.

Jim Higdon: have, I have thoughts, like, uh, like. I, uh, uh, am very much going to enjoy this Republican primary because I think he will get beat with a shoe. 

Chuck: I don’t, it’s so funny to like, watch sort of the evolution in slow, but real time, because he was always viewed as, Oh, is a reasonable Republican, not really a never Trumper, but kind of.

He just started teetering along that edge and you could see on Twitter, like he’s going to do interviews with, with Dinesh D’Souza and Charlie Kirk and those types. And he’s just going full on Maga all the way now. Well, 

Jim Higdon: like, you know, I, I have a lot less time on Twitter than I used to, but I, I did see him.

Uh, defending the memory of rush Limbaugh and the date, like on the day he died. Like, Hey guys, don’t make fun of us all at and respect

Big John: what a joke. Yeah. Uh, J yeah, I can’t wait for that Republican primary because I know what’s going to happen. Like JD Vance is gonna run. He’s gonna, he’s gonna try and come off as this like super mega pro Trump or guy, and then. One of his opponents is going to buy a billboard and throw up all of his pro Barack Obama stuff that he’s, he’s spoken about, like how he respects Barack Obama and how he’s such a great guy.

They’re going to twist that and turn it into whatever they want. And I can’t wait to watch him have to squirm. He, because he’s either going to have to, he’s going to have to double down on what he said or he’s going to have to somehow come up with an excuse for it. And I love it. 

Jim Higdon: Yeah. It’s just, it’s just.

Hm. I, I have nothing good to say about that guy. 

Chuck: I say good luck to sending Barack Obama and a Republican primary in this day and age, but, 

Big John: well, and that’s the thing it’s, he’s going to have to, I mean, look at the time it was when JD said it, I, you know, I was like, Okay. Cool. Like at least obviously his book is terrible and he’s not a great guy, but at least he said something that I can agree with where he can at least show some respect for a former president.

And I think he was president at the time, but, uh, now you just see who JD is. Like he’s, he’s the fakest person, because he can change just like that. He tries to be chameleon, but he’s not good at it. 

Jim Higdon: That’s a good way of putting it. I just, I just, I mean, there are definitely signs in the book, like, um, like he, he, he specifically like gives a shout out to Mitch Daniels.

This is ideal.

And like, of all the people in the world to hit your wagon to in print in a book, or it lasts forever. It’s Mitch Daniels. Like this is your guy. 

Chuck: Yeah, right. This guy, and then the heaping on praise for payday lenders was always a good one. My, my, my favorite thing that he’s doing though now, which I think you’ll find interesting is, and he’s trying to carry this from, from his, I guess, life before, uh, Yale.

And, um, and he’s saying he keeps railing against the, uh, what is it? He calls them the, the elite, um, Cod John helped me out. I’m trying to think of the actual terminology, the, the ruling class or the ruling elite ruling class. Yeah. Which is funny because 

Jim Higdon: Yale law school, Greg 

Chuck: JD vans who just cut a deal for a net.

Flicks movie based off his bestselling novel and got a $10 million injection into his super pack from Peter teal. The founder of PayPal. Yeah. Tell me more please. 

Jim Higdon: Yeah. You know, like w w I mean, it’s as a white man, it’s so frustrating to see white Malford agility in such open display, like just, you know, like it’s just so sad.

It’s just. It’s really surprising as someone who is from Kentucky, who did some time in a Ivy league graduate programs, it can be really disorienting, uh, encountering such an empowered multicultural atmosphere. Uh, and you have two options either, either you, uh, Enjoy the multicultural atmosphere in, in, in, in, in approach new people from new places as equals, or you react against it and feel like you’re put upon.

And that you’re the victim, all of a sudden. And, uh, you know, I just, as someone who’s had a similar experience, I just don’t understand how you come out of that. Uh, rejecting multiculturalism, uh, as a value add to this country. And instead. Feel like you’re, uh, some sort of victimized white man. Like it just, I just don’t get it.

Big John: Yeah. It’s his, I don’t get him either, because when you look at his like, uh, His breakdown. Obviously I shared one of his quotes the other day, which I think is just the best thing he’s ever written in his entire life. And that’s, uh, the fact that now that he’s gone to Yale and now that he’s successful people, stop him and tell him that they just think he’s such a genius.

Uh, but he, he thinks that that’s bullshit. So he made, he made sure to put that like that, uh, that people think he’s a genius. But he, you know, he’s humble enough to say he’s not, wow. My favorite 

Jim Higdon: thing, uh, uh, It’s like passive aggressive narcissism. Is that, what is that? 

Big John: Aye. Aye, aye, look, look, there’s a lot of things that I dislike about JD vans, but his level of narcissism is almost, uh, refreshing to the point where it makes me feel like a better person.

And so for me, JD Vance’s sometimes kind of like the, uh, when you had a bad day, like, and usually you’re going to listen to like counting crows or something. Like if you just had just had a really bad day, but instead just go, just go read, uh, JD. Vance’s like a recent tweets and you’d be like, shit, I’m a good person because it’s going to get you there.

I’m probably, 

Jim Higdon: I just saw the, I didn’t see the tweet cause, uh, one, one of you on your own. On on your official Twitter account and just screenshot shot it like JD, Vance and retweeted. Charlie Kirk. And yeah, not with the content of that tweet was just, 

Chuck: it’s all 

you 

Jim Higdon: needed. It’s all you need is,

Chuck: um, what a guy, what a guy. Well, uh, Jim. Appreciate it as always your first returning guest, very, uh, very delighted having you to talk shop and talk about all the things we spoke about. Um, we will put a link, uh, to cornbread hemp in our show notes with the promo code and everything. Uh, tell our listeners, be sure to check it out.

I know that, uh, we got a good response last time, so I hope, and Friesian more on that and appreciate all that you do. It’s really always interesting talking to you. Yeah, man, like I’m 

Jim Higdon: looking forward to, uh, others have the vaccine. We can start circulating a little bit. Maybe do, maybe do one of these in person one day.

Oh yes. 

Chuck: All right. Always good to have Jim on the show, John, we’re going to kick right into it. We just got a, been a busy week. There’s lots of things to have beef with. I’m sure that you’ve got one siloed in, into your sites. What do you have. 

Beef with Big John

Big John: Well, look, I, and this just hit me as we were talking. Uh, we were, uh, interview with Jim. I have beef. This is, I can’t even imagine this, but, uh, I’d beef with politicians who will affectively just come out and say that they’re running I’m I am so sick. And look, I I’m going to say there are Democrats I’m not happy with right now either.

You 

Chuck: mean like Charles Booker? Charles Booker. Okay. Just one. I just want to make sure John Fetterman announced, 

Big John: well, he didn’t at first he said that he was, he was looking into it and he started raising money. Here’s the difference? I’m not, I’m not actually upset with Charles Booker because he’s not raising money.

He’s not actively out there trying to get money for a campaign. He’s not sure he’s running. I think he’s doing it the right way. Wrong way. In my opinion, as people like JD Vance and John Fetterman, I didn’t like that. You shouldn’t raise money before you announced your actual campaign or the fact that you’re even running.

Because look, I don’t think a lot of people realize this, but when that money is donated, let’s see that person decides not to run Chuck. They can donate it to any other candidate that they want. That money becomes a super powerful tool. 

Chuck: I’ve never really liked that aspect about it. Cause I mean, even, even when somebody runs and they lose, they can still take that money and give it to somebody at least federally.

I don’t know how all States are. They some do it differently, but, um, but federally it’s, you know, I know that that’s the case and I always hated that because I want my money to go to one person, one person only, but that’s the unfortunate nature of campaign finance. So you hate to see it. 

Big John: That’s what a lot of these guys, a lot of these guys do it, go back and look at the history of people announcing and raising money.

They never run. So they donate it to another person that you absolutely will hate even worse. It’s that’s what they do. And that’s what blows my mind. Luckily, obviously, John Fetterman, we kind of knew he was going to run, but you know, I, I think anymore it’s kind of this, um, I don’t know the show people put on or it’s where it’s Oh, I’m thinking about running.

Uh, and then they want to get the wheels turning a little bit. I just, 

Chuck: I don’t have 

Big John: the bad taste in my mouth because, um, that’s real, you know, that’s, that’s working Americans money. And so whether you’re a Democrat or Republican. Uh, to me, you should not raise money until you are running for office point blank, because that money needs to go to you.

The candidate that’s people are in you that money, not for you take, get it and either hold it or give it to another candidate that they probably don’t like. Or at least don’t like, as much as you, they wouldn’t have given that money to that person. Uh, and so that’s, the problem is like they don’t issue major refunds with these things.

Like they made it clear when I ran for office that I could do whatever I wanted with that money in terms of giving it to another candidate. I don’t need a chair as we talked about last year, which is crazy that that was last year. Um, and. It’s just it’s, it’s so annoying. And like I said, Charles Booker, I think, is doing it the right way.

He’s still focusing on his non-profit while you know, he’s running it and he’s not actively seeking funds for his campaign. Currently. I fully believe Charles Booker really is thinking about whether or not he should run right now, but there are a lot of people who don’t, they just do it as a show and then they immediately start raising money.

And that to me is just not right. I think that all money left over should have to be donated like to a, you know, to a nonprofit, to a charity, make that money actually work 

Chuck: campaign finance reform idea. You designate the charity. It’ll go to at the beginning when you signed, when you file your paperwork.

Yup. There you go. But make it non tax deductible. 

Big John: Not to 

Chuck: another campaign, finance reform idea. You designate the charity. It’ll go to at the beginning when you signed, when you file your paperwork. Yep. There you go. Yup. But make it non tax deductible. Well, and you know, it’s probably because he had to stop taking money from pharmaceutical companies 

Big John: because it shouldn’t be it’s part of the campaign and right.

That’s the thing is you could, I know that people obviously want to go after like citizens United. Very quickly, but there are a little thing you can do to make it to where people will stop fighting citizens United as much, because you know, they’ll forced them to donate that money rather than, than our hotels, Intuit or, uh, you know, to donate it to other people don’t allow campaigns to go into debt.

I think that’s the dumbest thing. It makes no sense to me why they can do this. Pat Morrissey is still paying off a camp. You can’t afford, he lost that race car. Cardinal can’t pay off bills. That’s the problem. 

Chuck: Yeah. Cause, cause thing is, they got their shit sued out of them 

Big John: and yeah, they’re busy paying his wife.

Chuck: Well that, Oh, that’s right. Yeah. Well then, you know, the, the Purdue can’t give any money cause they went bankrupt or whatever, you know, sad times for him. Hard, hard to be Pat Morrissey. That’s right. Are hard times for the pharmaceutical exacts. Anyway, on that note, we’ll wrap it up. Thank you again for listening.

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