During the 'war on drugs' he was a Reagan lawyer; now he owns a marijuana farm




  • In US
  • 2018-07-18 15:13:44Z
  • By By Angela Moore

By Angela Moore

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Edward Weidenfeld is a successful Washington lawyer with ties to the political elite. He has worked as a senior adviser to six U.S. Presidents, including serving as general counsel to Republican Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign.

The 75-year-old is also part owner of a large-scale marijuana farm: a large warehouse in northeastern Washington.

Weidenfeld co-owns Phyto Management, which grows and sells medical marijuana to registered dispensaries in the nation's capital.

And he is not only an owner. He is a user of medical marijuana to relieve the symptoms of Parkinson's, which affects his speech.

"I have the cannabis which treats the conditions that the medication doesn't treat. So, I feel blessed to have a full life," he said while admitting that he still suffers from balance problems.

"(Cannabis) relieves me of anxiety, it causes a focus on the present," he said. "Anybody with a degenerative, neurological condition can understand."

To appreciate Weidenfeld's journey from Republican political insider to marijuana farmer, one has only to recall President and Mrs. Reagan's campaign against illegal drug use.

In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan escalated President Richard Nixon's "war on drugs" by implementing harsher penalties for illegal drug use. His policies led to a major increase in arrests and imprisonment for drug offenders. Meantime, Mrs. Reagan launched the widely publicized 'Just Say No' campaign against illegal drug use.

"I respected Mrs. Reagan and the 'Just Say No' program, but the more I learned about the war on drugs, the more I learned it was really a war selectively fought against minorities in the country," said Weidenfeld. "So I don't think much like a Republican anymore," he said with a grin.

Marijuana cultivation, distribution and possession are still federal crimes in the United States, but about 30 states and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of recreational or medical use of marijuana.

And as marijuana laws become more liberal, Weidenfeld and his business partner, Andras Kirshner, are among the latest to enter the budding $11 billion cannabis industry in the United States.

Phyto Management's first harvest was in early 2017, and the company now produces 80 to 100 pounds (36 to 45 kg) of marijuana a month, according to Kirshner. While about 50 percent of the product comes in the form of the dried flower, the business also makes THC capsules and has plans to increase production to make tinctures and lozenges. Business is good.

Weidenfeld believes cannabis has helped him stay sharp while battling a debilitating disease, and he advocates for new laws that will allow all Americans to have access to medical marijuana.

"There is no good reason for limiting a person's access to medicinal cannabis," he said.

As possible evidence of a shift in attitudes about cannabis, last month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first cannabis-based drug to treat a rare form of epilepsy.


(Reporting by Angela Moore; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

COMMENTS

More Related News

The world
The world's biggest marijuana stock is surging after a $4 billion investment from the maker of Corona (CGC)

Constellation Brands is upping its stake in Canopy Growth by $4 billion to 38%. The investment overshadowed a bigger-than-expected first-quarter loss by the Canadian cannabis company. Shares of the Canadian company surged more than 22% in trading Wednesday after Canopy announced Constellation Brands

Corona Beer Giant Puts $3.8 Billion Bet on U.S. Love of Cannabis
Corona Beer Giant Puts $3.8 Billion Bet on U.S. Love of Cannabis

Constellation Brands Inc., which for seven decades has made its money off beer, wine and whiskey, sees its future in a marijuana leaf. In the biggest (legal) cannabis deal, the Victor, New York-based beverage company will spend about $3.8 billion to boost its stake in Canadian grower Canopy Growth Corp., betting legalization will gain traction around the world and especially in the U.S. "This is rocket fuel," Canopy Chief Executive Officer Bruce Linton said on the company's earnings call Wednesday.

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 4Matic Sedan Marks the Return of a Classic Benz Badge
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 4Matic Sedan Marks the Return of a Classic Benz Badge

Echoes of the big Benz from days past.

Millennials are snapping up the world
Millennials are snapping up the world's largest publicly traded marijuana company ahead of its earnings report (CGC)

Canopy Growth, the world's largest marijuana company, is set to report earnings after the closing bell Tuesday. The stock has long been popular among millennials on Robinhood, and Tuesday was no exception. Canopy Growth - the world's largest marijuana company and the first to trade on the New York Stock Exchange - has been a wildly popular stock among millennial investors, and heading into the Canadian company's firs- quarter earnings report, that enthusiasm was only growing.

CRON, CGC Sink Ahead of Earnings: What To Watch From These Pot Stocks
CRON, CGC Sink Ahead of Earnings: What To Watch From These Pot Stocks

Recreational marijuana is now legal in Canada as well as a number of states in the U.S. Companies have raced to get in on the multibillion-dollar a year industry, so let's see how two of the bigger pure-play pot stocks, Cronos Group CRON and Canopy Growth CGC, are projected to perform Tuesday. The Canadian government voted to legalize recreational marijuana use in June, becoming only the second country in the world to legalize the drug nationwide. Meanwhile, nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia currently allow legalized recreational marijuana use, with 30 states giving the okay for medical use.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.