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Bluegrass Cannabis Podcast with Lelehnia Dubois, Canopy Right Episode 32

[00:00:02.370] - Elijah Welcome to the Bluegrass Podcast. Thank you for stopping by. Today we're talking with Lilania Dubois, one of the founders of Canopy Right and the Humboldt Legacy Grace Project, as well as a human rights advocate. We're talking about protecting legacy growers, how to license your genetics safely, and how to build a better cannabis community.

[00:00:26.570] - Lelehnia Dubois California, we're in a total cannabis crisis. We even have scholars creating a new they want to create a new DSM in the Medical Diagnostic Journal of Cannabis Fatigue, I think is what they're calling it, or weed fatigue, I think is the word that the educator told me. Well, I think what he's referring to is in our communities, we have people jumping out of four story buildings because they've been growing cannabis for the majority of their adult life, if not since they were even, like, 1314 years old. Some folks and legalization after medical opened up the doorways for people to feel safe and to really build homesteads around this plant and support their families around this plant legally through the medical market. Proposition 64 recreational legalization made all of those players illegal. We had 10,000 to 15,000 medical cannabis farms, and those weren't all medical, but the majority of them fit within the medical parameters in the Emerald Triangle alone, pre legalization. Now, we have not even 2000 in.

[00:01:56.410] - Elijah Rosenbaum All three counties, and that's my concern, and that's why I keep talking to them about with the small farms they want to talk about. I know with the micro businesses where it's like, three out of the four steps, and I'm like one acre direct to consumer, most value to the farmer, best price to the patients. Just do not complicate it.

[00:02:17.660] - Lelehnia Dubois Right. If you do that, then the patients get the medicines that were really working. Our legal market is saturated with bullshit. The genetics just have no true I mean, they get you high, whatever, but the true medicinal values are being washed out. So, yeah, if I can ever write a letter from my I can send you my bio or my resume or whatever so you can see my credibility as a human rights commissioner. I was the chair of the Human Rights Commission and did a lot of work, and I love writing letters or supporting other counties and places around this conversation like the lessons we've learned. Our county has had to eliminate taxes. Our governor in the next few months is hopefully going to consider removing an entire tax because of how poorly the industry is functioning. It's a complete failure. There's research studies. Actually, UC Berkeley did an amazing research study. One of the leads on it, his name was Michael Polson, and he did, I think it was five years of research around these communities and how is legalization impacting us? And I got to watch one of his lectures. He's a friend of mine.

[00:03:46.290] - Lelehnia Dubois And what he said in this lecture, and it made me cry, was, you know, all these policies have been written, and maybe we need to stop for a minute and go back and look what they were doing, because they actually created a really successful industry, economic system where there wasn't a top man, where it wasn't top heavy, where everybody got paid, where everybody was treated equally. And it really worked. It worked so well. They were able to navigate the mainstream system for generations. And maybe we need to relook at that and come back. And I think that's true. If you look at the history of this plant, it's been being passed around as the drug plant. Like we can what document in China. Right? And it's always worked. It's always gotten there. If I can help in any way with that conversation, it's frustrating. It's just so what have I done? I have successfully changed politics in my community and got legalization. I have launched a magazine. I have four permits, cannabis permits. I have just launched an app. Yet I'm actually applying for government jobs right now because it's so bad.

[00:05:25.990] - Elijah Rosenbaum Well, that's the important thing. People like you who know what they're doing, who are in a position with regulations to make a difference, it feels like so many people who do make these regulations or kind of are a part of these cannabis control boards, don't actually have any experience like you do.

[00:05:44.590] - Lelehnia Dubois Yeah, well, part of that problem is, and I'm running into this right now, is I've been disabled. I was taken out of mainstream. I wasn't raised in mainstream, but I managed to get in there before I got injured. But since 1999, I've pretty much been off the grid. And when you go for these jobs that are coming up in cannabis, you can't qualify because you don't have those B's and those M's around your name. But it has to really be reconsidered, because if there were a lot of folks in the legacy market are incredibly well educated. They're self educated, they're self motivated, which means they can learn really fast because of the way our brains work, having to navigate these sort of things our whole lives. Yet there's not a way to be integrated legitimately without being an advocate right. That you impact. But we need people working in the halls of justice with this conversation that understand it, especially building communities like yours that have roots around this conversation.

[00:07:08.970] - Elijah Rosenbaum Absolutely. And that's one of the frustrating things, I think, about newer states. One of the things that keeps getting added into different legislation is that on these advisory boards, in the legislation, it explicitly says no patient advocates can be on the board. And I don't understand how you can even have the conversation without patient advocates. They're the ones who have gotten it to this point. Along with patients.

[00:07:37.490] - Lelehnia Dubois Yeah. In the state of California, I know of two. They came in through the medical market. They've been growing. They've been in the grow community for many years that went on our state advisory board, but I will tell you, they weren't on the first round. And even now, I believe one of those people who's on that advisory board now told me recently, she was like, you need to go look at government jobs because the state needs to hire folks like you, and that they're considering it because this is such a mess. Everyone just needs to look at california. We blew it.

[00:08:25.970] - Elijah Rosenbaum I think every state has blown it in some way or form. It's like in michigan, reducing the caregiver laws. I thought that was such a brilliant idea, where if you were a caregiver for multiple patients and you had overflow, you could have it tested and given to the dispensary to sell for you.

[00:08:42.570] - Elijah To cover your costs.

[00:08:44.140] - Elijah Rosenbaum And it was working great until certain lobbying groups came in and had them change the law away from it. And it's like, so do you want to talk a little about your work with the county, maybe to start out, since that's sort of and where you come from in cannabis? I know we just took 1015 minutes to talk just about the current state of things, but you want to talk a little more about how you got these laws changed and what it was like at the beginning for you?

[00:09:12.290] - Lelehnia Dubois Sure, absolutely. Well, I came to this plant. It's been in my life as long as I can remember. I came into the emerald triangle in 1977 is when we moved up here, and a lot of impactful events happened that really kind of ingratiated my mother and I into the community of the more alternative counterculture community. We moved into a place where there was a commune in an area where there was a commune, so there was a lot of hippies. My mom was a hippie and a lot of logging. So it was like, really, it was loggers and hippies trying to come in. And the back to the land movement is what we called it. And during that time, things were pretty simple. I can remember being 910 years old, and I used to cut this is way up in the rugged mountains in the emerald triangle. It took you 4 hours at that time to get to a city or town. It wasn't really a city. It was more town. San francisco is about eight hour drive, so very rural, and I can remember around nine or ten years old cutting everyone's hair up there, and the neighbor or our family friend coming to me and saying, hey, you're really good with those scissors.

[00:10:41.770] - Lelehnia Dubois Do you want to make more money? And I was like, heck yeah. And I started weed at that age and started learning that this plant was a little more than something that I smelled all the time. And that's when the scary stuff started happening, too. More. By the time I was 13, I had witnessed something like 28 sheriff officers at my school. I was the only one at school. I was waiting for my mom to pick me up, and they pull up in a bunch of cars and they all get out with their AK forty seven S, and they pile in the van and they're heading up my road. I get on the phone and I call my mom, and I'm terrified because I'm 13, and they were on their way to raid our neighbors. And then there's lots of stories like that. My parents, my stepdad got busted when I was 18. And it wasn't even his stuff. It was the neighbor's plants that got him. He lost his job around it. And then as a young woman, I was really subjected to things such as kidnapping and rape and unable to advocate for myself against those things because I was a child of the drug war, because of all these other things going around in my culture.

[00:12:16.490] - Lelehnia Dubois We didn't feel that the police and to tell you the truth, at that time, they wouldn't have it was actually a law officer's son that raped me, wouldn't have supported me if I would have reported those things. So I grew up to feel very oppressed, very subjected, very stigmatized, and hid everything that I came from. I was very ashamed of my cannabis background, of my counterculture community, my back to the landers. I wanted to be Nancy Reagan. I wanted to be as straight and what I thought then was clean as possible as a young woman. And then in 1999, I was in nursing school, and I ruptured two discs into my spinal cord, and those discs disintegrated and collapsed on themselves and tore and frayed my spinal cord. And my whole world changed. I was going to school because I loved science. I feel safe when I understand things as a child of trauma. And so science really made me feel safe. And now here I am in a spinal cord injury, thinking that science and nursing and medicine was going to save me. And eight months later, I ended up in a coma because the medications that I was taking prescribed to my doctor almost killed me.

[00:13:51.900] - Lelehnia Dubois And in that experience, my little sisters were still a part of the cannabis community, growing wonderful medicines. And they just begged me to please take my mom's values into consideration, to take the plant's values into consideration. And that's when I really started diving into the plant, and I quickly started learning that it really mattered who grew my medicine. I got some medicine off the free market, and I vomited for three days. That's when I started growing my own medicine. It was medically legal in the state of California at that time, and I could start growing my own medicine and feel safe about it. I started working providing for a dispensary in 2000 and 910 and eleven. And then that is before the coal memo, which was a memo that was written to protect medical marijuana. But before that, landlords were being threatened by the feds, and the dispensary that I was providing for asked me to get involved politically. I looked normal. I don't even know what to say about that. I looked mainstream at the time. I could fit in a room with Nancy Reagan at that time, and so they asked me to start speaking on their behalf at the board of supervisors meeting, and that led into me helping a lot of different dispensaries navigate their own politics.

[00:15:31.850] - Lelehnia Dubois And I started realizing that I didn't hate weed, that it was a beautiful medicine, and that everything that I hated about this plant was about the drug war, and it was about oppression, and that I came from an oppressed culture, and I am a justice. I was taught to be a fighter, and that did not sit right with me as I became a patient. And it put me in a place where I really believed that one day we would see this plant legal, that we needed to see this plant legal. And that really just started me on the journey of politics. So that's my beginning story, I guess.

[00:16:19.290] - Elijah Rosenbaum I mean, that's perfect. So you're working in the dispensaries. You're working in politics. Where did the idea for canopy right. Come in? Or what made you feel like there was a problem here? I need to find a solution for it.

[00:16:37.390] - Lelehnia Dubois Well, you wouldn't call it working, because as a grower, as a medical grower, it's all nonprofit. So I was providing for a dispensary as a grower.

[00:16:50.820] - Elijah Rosenbaum Work without pay.

[00:16:51.280] - Lelehnia Dubois Right. I just want to get myself in trouble. And a lot happened between then. We shut the dispensary down in 2012 because of that federal, those raids that were happening. And between 2012, up until even now, it has been the most insane journey. I'm doing this contest right now as super mom, and I'm telling these stories about my son and I and our adventures, and it's just it's incredible, the what people, patients have gone through, the guns to our heads, robberies that we can't report, what women go through when they're in the position with the flower. When I became a public grower and a public advocate, what I was subjected to was disgusting, and it pissed me off. And in 2014, a political organization called California Cannabis Voice was starting a chapter in Humboldt County. And I walked in the room, and for the first time in my life, I saw lawyers, I saw doctors, I saw policemen, and I saw pot growers all talking about how to build our community together. And that's when I became chair and president of that organization. And we started writing policies for we started working with Humboldt county before California became legal to write policies for recreational legalization.

[00:18:32.290] - Lelehnia Dubois And we got a whole bunch of farmers out of the woods to help us. But we took a right when maybe we should have took a left. And I resigned from the organization and looked for ways to help us to move forward. One of the things we were really missing in that conversation, I felt, was that we were looking at the weight of the plant, not the true medical value of the plant. And we weren't really valuing my culture here in the Emerald Triangle. We weren't valuing our intellectual property. I have members of my community that have genetics that they've been studying for years around pancreatic cancer, around staph infections. None of those medicines were getting into this conversation. We were talking about taxes. We were talking about how much would weed sell for, we were talking about how much weed could we get. We were talking about how great our weed was, yet we weren't really honing in on what made our weed great. We weren't really creating policy that stopped kids from couchsurfing because they're homeless, because when you're in the cannabis market, no one wants to hire you. We weren't stopping single moms from not being able to get child support because their partners were in the grow market.

[00:20:07.170] - Lelehnia Dubois We weren't stopping all these issues that were really impacting the culture in the community as a whole. And I was incredibly frustrated. And I saw a pathway through an auction format to develop a way. And this is the beginning of the Legacy Project. The Legacy Project's mission is really to protect, empower, and educate on the legacy culture. And we decided that in order to save the plant and to help protect and save this culture, we had to start with the seed, because the genetic diversity in these mountains and the medicines in these mountains are so precious to our future. And we weren't looking at that. And so I called a few buddies together that are breeders that I'd known for a long time, and they didn't think I was crazy. The problem was that it costs so much money to protect a cultivar, and a lot of cultivars, you can't even go through the patenting process. There's some unique characteristics that have to be had in order to do that process. And most of my community right now can barely scratch two pennies together, let alone spend the dollars and the time that it took to go through that process.

[00:21:34.190] - Lelehnia Dubois And the other part of it was nobody. My friend who's been growing this plant for 40 years and has documented a certain strain isolating staph on the skin for 20 years. There was no way for him to prove that to western minds, to mainstream minds. But some beautiful things have happened with legalization, despite all the failures, and that is research. More money has been put into research. We now can do DNA, comprehensive DNA sequencing of the plant. We're now looking at really deep, unique, exotic, terpene profile. Every day, we discover something more. In the Legacy Project, we put scientists, technologists, business people, growers and breeders all on a zoom once a week for an hour and a half and said, how the heck do we do this? And what we've discovered is that we can add a lot more value to the plant when we're able to show we've discovered a really unique, rare allele in one of our cultivars. It has already increased the interest around it immensely. We've seen really unique cultivar profiles go out the door for 50 grand a cut. Right now, my farmers in my communities are scraping to sell their weed for $300 a pound when it costs about 250 a pound to grow it with all the taxes and all the hurdles that you have to get through through regulation.

[00:23:22.850] - Lelehnia Dubois So it was a way to kind of see a new market, a new way to sell the plant, to empower these farms, to go back to growing small, exotic and curating and being innovators instead of what regulation created, which was you had to go big or go home. And it gave away for the real beauty. I believe my belief of these communities, the legacy communities, to show the art of what we've been doing, and science has been a really big part of that. So the failure of legalization in our communities, we have government slaying taxes, removing taxes that were created because it's such a failure. Budgets are way off because it's such a failure. But if we can look at the plant more in depth and start seeing its unique values better, which we can, then all of a sudden we can see that, oh, this plant is resistant to HPLV. That's worth a little more, and it changes the market and it empowers the legacy culture to stay where they're at instead of having to go big home or go home. And Canopy Right is an app that gave us a pathway, a beginning, a foundation to protect ourselves.

[00:25:00.130] - Lelehnia Dubois It's a unique blockchain ledger system that we created. The team is our founder is Jeff Hamilton and Kelsey Parker and myself. We're the three owners. And it's an app that we created to help people protect their plant so they could engage in DNA testing without fear of losing that DNA, so they could sell it to another farm to grow without fear of it getting in the market and not being paid for it. And then it's also an invoicing system with smart contracts for folks that are in the licensing market to create smart contracts for very low cost, compared like $40 to $60 compared to $10,000 for an attorney to create these licensing agreements and one time deals that are protected around this system so that we in these communities, legacy communities, are worldwide. This plant has been around for as long as we can see as man, and they're really worldwide. And it gives a way for those communities to go, hey, big brand, big box. You can't just throw that into the market. I'm going to go test that, and that's my DNA you owe me. So it creates a new level accountability around the plant that we haven't had yet, which allows us as a community to start putting our jewels out there.

[00:26:49.090] - Elijah Rosenbaum And I think that's super important because like you said, there are things that just won't be grown unless they're done by small farmers, by people who don't really look at it at the same scale. And there are things that work for medical patients that you could never grow at scale because they don't yield enough, they're temperamental, whatever it happens to be, but have incredible value for medical patients and can work out on a small scale. So I'm glad to hear that you're protecting these things that, like you said, have medical value for these select cases. Do you think that in this conversation at all with protecting medical patients, there's ever going to come a point where you run up against cultivar specific products versus cannabinoid and chemical profiles or like a manufactured product?

[00:27:48.230] - Lelehnia Dubois Absolutely. Well, I think that's, like, we believe everyone at the Legacy Project, everyone at Canopy, right. I think I can say this, that we believe the future is. First of all, science is showing the value of whole plant medicine. Every day we're moving more towards the knowledge that nature gives us, provides us what we need when we utilize her with wisdom and not annihilate her. And this plant is really helping us to see this. And so when you look at the plant, there's so many things that impact the outcome of that medicine. I could give you a train wreck clone, or we'll use something everybody knows. I could give you an OG clone, and I could have an OG clone, and my clone could be really good for pain, and your clone could be really good for nausea or inflammation or something. Because you could have way more CBD in your clone than my clone just because of either your process or your environment. There's like so many variables that impact that outcome. So your process is so many things. Your nutrients, your air quality, your soil quality, or if you're using soil, all of those things impact that medicinal value.

[00:29:08.960] - Lelehnia Dubois They impact the terpene levels, they impact the cannabinoid values. When we start getting into things like ester and amino acids and all those things, it's that process and that environment that make that medicine. So as we start looking at the plant more scientifically, and I've already worked with companies that are doing this, that it's like, okay, I'll give one for an example that's coming out in a few different states. It's called peaceful, easy feeling. It's a license agreement with the Eagle Song. And they needed pre rolls. That gave you that peaceful, easy feeling. Not the Hype, not the couch lock, not the energy. They wanted that old 70s peaceful, easy feeling. And so they were looking for a profile that was below 14% THC with a high Mercine terpene. And at the time, that was incredibly hard to find in the market because everybody was pushing THC. But they knew in order to grab those consumers, they needed those consumers to be loyal. In order for those consumers to be loyal, those consumers needed to go back to those pre rolls and get that peaceful, easy living every time. And the only way that the most secure way this company knew that they were going to be able to do that is if they secured genetics and they were able to control those genetics and control how they were grown so they could, at the best of nature's ability, ensure that same peaceful, easy outcome, that same profile every time. [00:31:00.770] - Lelehnia Dubois We're dealing with a market across most of the globe that's teenagers or kindergartners and kindergartners like koolaid teenagers like wine coolers. Me, I can't drink anything if it's not top shelf because I don't feel good afterwards. But you know what, I did like wine coolers at one time. And so right now people are going to the stores and they're buying things because of the hype that's primarily it's like they have faith in that, right? They're experimenting with different things. Maybe the name, but soon and we're already seeing this this year in California, really the most I've seen it this year. It's pretty incredible. But soon people across the globe are going to be like, no, wait a second, I heard about osamine. I know that's going to really help me with this. I need something with osamine in it. That's what I need or that's what I really like. That makes me feel good. And people, consumers, patients, doctors are going to start looking to the plant going, hey, how much CBT is in that? I want to use that for glaucoma. They're going to start looking at the plant like that. And that is when I think the genetic diversity and the Legacy IP around the plant because those processes are so important, is going to exponentiate in value.

[00:32:44.470] - Elijah Rosenbaum Are you all exclusive to California? But I think you're in multiple states now, right?

[00:32:49.670] - Lelehnia Dubois So the Legacy Project is well, the Legacy Project, we have members actually across the globe. Anyone can join. I'd love to have you join Elijah and check us out. We're actually doing a live town hall meeting on, I believe it's the Friday after 420, I think it's April 28. And we're going to talk about the Skunk One with the unique allele. You know, Kevin McKernan of Medicinal Genomics has done some amazing work with the hops, with the hops latent viral. The hops viral. I'm dyslexic you know what I'm saying? And some of that work was done through the group. He's going to come on and talk about that and talk about the unique characteristics of the Skunk one. We're launching a show where Kevin Jodry, he's going to be our host on US lead channel. We're going to talk about that a little bit. But we're going to do this town hall meeting just to kind of answer more questions about what we're about and try to be more transparent. And that's really focused on these communities in the Emerald Triangle. But again, we have people from all over the world because the conversation in Morocco, they're dealing with the same issues around their legacy communities with deep legacies and then canopy.

[00:34:25.760] - Lelehnia Dubois Right. The app is available now. Anybody anywhere in the world that cannabis is not a crime like China, because we're not building this to get people in trouble. We're building this to create a pathway for people in the future of legalization, but anywhere in the world that it's medically, recreationally, not prohibited. People can sign up as a home grower and use it like a security safe deposit box. The DNA never leaves your hands. What you do is we created an amazing, very simple timestamp system where the DNA, your leaves stay in your freezer. But we create a time capsule that links them to the blockchain with the data that you supply to match it. We never have access to your data. That's part of what makes this system so unique is we cannot being. I was a chair of the Human Rights Commission and I wrote the county Human Trafficking Fund, and I'm very sensitive about data trafficking. I feel like it's very much a new form of human trafficking. So we will not be able to harvest people's data at all. We cannot. We built the system so we could not. And anyone can use that in a legal space right now.

[00:36:00.130] - Lelehnia Dubois And then if you're in a licensed marketplace where you can commercialize cannabis right now we've just integrated with metric, but we look forward to integrating with other track and trace companies. But we are able to offer you the ability to do those licensing agreements, which we see is really the wave of the future around genetics with somebody.

[00:36:31.540] - Elijah Rosenbaum Who maybe has been a part of other maybe like genetic sourcing projects. How is your all different? Why should they trust you all versus maybe these legacy farmers who've heard this story in the past from other people or that they were going to be protected? What makes you all unique and a source that they can trust? I know you've gone through all the reasons, but for real?

[00:37:00.340] - Lelehnia Dubois No, dude, that's like the biggest fear, right? That's what I was running around for years going, okay, we can't even begin to have this conversation because no one can really be protected. It's gone. Once it's out the door, it's gone. So one of the things that really makes us different is the way that the system was designed. It is going through the patenting process right now because we designed a system that we as the administrators, the owners of it, cannot access your data unless you make it public. So you put your COAS in there. You put your grow diaries in there, you put your stories in there and we can never access that unless you choose to show it off on the marketplace. The other part that makes us really unique and shows part of the ingenious behind our founder Jeff Hamilton is the way we time capsule your DNA. Most folks. And one of the things that did happen in the industry which impacted my community immensely was getting that DNA with no traceability or accountability. And then you can go and make whatever you want out of it. Well, the system that we've designed is really simple, free.

[00:38:32.930] - Lelehnia Dubois And what it is, is you take five, say five families, you want to be able to withdraw Mary Stem from it because you need the Mary Stem for DNA. And you put them in a freezer bag and you get some evidence bags, which we have a link you can order online. You put them in the evidence bag, then you go into our system and it'll walk you through these steps. We ask you to put the cult of our name in. We ask you if you're the original breeder. We ask you the male and female parent lineage. If you're not the original breeder, we ask who there was and maybe that person doesn't want to be mentioned and that's okay. You put unknown or anonymous, but we want to give everybody the opportunity to honor each other. And then the system takes all that information that you put in and it punches out a QR code that you print out, you put into that evidence bag, you seal the evidence bag and it uploads onto the blockchain and you put those leaves in your system. So we as Canopy Right don't ever I mean I touch people's DNA because I'm out on the farms all the time, but we do not touch your DNA.

[00:39:59.320] - Lelehnia Dubois You right. Now Elijah could go do this system and be in that time council and start that chain of accountability around your genetics without even seeing me and without your plant leaving your home.

[00:40:18.390] - Elijah Rosenbaum So how does Canopy Right make this sustainable? Or where do you all come in? Not to be like what's your all's cut? But is this funded by the Legacy Project? Is this you all take a percentage of the contracts. Where do you all fit into this as a business to keep it sustainable and keep it going?

[00:40:39.230] - Lelehnia Dubois So the Legacy project in canopy right, are two different things. The Legacy Project is a 100% volunteer group. I am part of a nonprofit called the Ink People and we're Humboldt Grace. And it's the Humboldt Grace Legacy Project that is every person that has participated in that has done so through heart and passion. All the value we've gotten in that group, it's because all the players have brought their value to the table. Canopy Right is a business and it is just one piece of how we're able to host the Legacy Project Auction. And how we make our money is on the front end. We don't make money from the legacy growers who can't access the legal marketplace through us. We give them a free place to protect their stuff and to show it off. That's all we do. But for the licensed growers, again, we have those contracts. I'm sorry, I just got distracted. Elijah, can you remind me of the question?

[00:41:54.770] - Elijah Rosenbaum Absolutely. So it was just with Canopy, right? How do you all make money or fund this to keep it sustainable?

[00:42:01.840] - Lelehnia Dubois That's right. That's what I was going. So where we make money is when the breeder makes money. So if you're in the licensed market, then a buyer, they come into Canopy, right, and they look at your stuff and they go, oh, I want to do a contract. Well, they pay a one time fee for that contract. Forty dollars to sixty dollars, depending on the complexity of the contract. And then we track that through metric, and we charge a 3% invoicing fee on top of that contract fee. That doesn't come off the breeder's negotiated price. It's incorporated into the sale of the cultivars. So we've worked really hard to design it. So we really are authentically empowering the legacy culture, and not, for lack of a better word, right now, feeding ourselves off the legacy culture when folks aren't eating so well right now.

[00:43:04.170] - Elijah Rosenbaum And I think that's important, too, having this conversation around, all right, how does everybody eat? How do we make this kind of like you're talking about back to the land homesteaders, or even just small farmers in general. How do we let people make a living off of this, not just make millions?

[00:43:25.010] - Lelehnia Dubois Yeah, well, we did it. It's not even like, how do we it's like, we did it. We were doing it. The Back to the Land movement wasn't about growing weed. It was about coming back to nature and living within nature's values. Living indigenously, really taking on indigenous ways to support ourselves again as white man. So none of us, no one that I grew up with in that era, in my community, we didn't need fancy cars. We didn't go on vacations. Man, we loved our rivers and our hills too much. It wasn't the focus. The focus was, hey, are we going to be okay? And if my neighbor isn't okay, I'm not okay. And I'll give you an we have roads closed. We were isolated in our community one year for a couple of months, and we were running out of firewood. Well, we didn't care for our neighbor too much because he grew big and it made everybody nervous. But when that landslide happened, our neighbor is the reason our house stayed warm. We shared. We supported each other. It wasn't about how much I got. It's about how good are we moving forward? And in rural communities, one of the most beautiful gifts of a rural community is that we know that, right?

[00:45:02.850] - Lelehnia Dubois You guys have that, too. I'm sure we know your neighbor I won't say the naughty word, but we have this saying is, you don't poop uphill. Everybody drinks it, right? It impacts everybody. The spirit of that. The core values of what created the cannabis industry haven't been a part of building the new industry. And we spoke about this earlier. These communities supported each other. We didn't even talk about the homelessness issues that cannabis that the drug wars created. We haven't talked about the trauma issues the drug wars created. We haven't focused on any of those issues as we build policy. And I feel strongly that we need to look back, like Michael Polson's research that I mentioned at UC Berkeley to how did we build this industry? How did we get there, and what are we missing to get us there? And I think one of the biggest things we're missing is that spirit, those core values of what brought us here in the first place. And one of those was not king of the hill, but if you're not paid, then I'm not okay either. And some of that was because of the oppression.

[00:46:31.880] - Lelehnia Dubois You didn't want to make anybody mad, but it created a truly equitable system.

[00:46:40.110] - Elijah Rosenbaum And we've been talking about a lot of serious topics that are meaningful. What is a nice surprise that's come out of this project? Either the Legacy project or canopy. Right. As an app, what's something that you were not expecting that happened on your journey with these two projects?

[00:47:04.310] - Lelehnia Dubois Gosh a lot. I think one thing I'll say about it that as a single woman and mom in this journey, I have been subjugated to a lot of horrific things. I have been undervalued co opted, just not okay stuff. And when I finally said and started following my heart and my vision and started building the Legacy Project, the people that have come to the table, the people that still come to the table, the diversity of the project, the dedication of that project, how all these players who are very busy, these are not folks who just sit around all day. They come and they show up every week just to connect and share resources and share ideas and ensure that these cultures do have something. And with this industry being so divisive and so capitalistic, as we've talked a lot about the fact that this group has worked together for two and a half years and succeeded. Now we're rolling it out. We figured it out. We wrote a white paper about it. Now we're rolling it out as a collaborative group where really we're in there as equals. I'm the seed in a sense, or I'm the glue in a sense.

[00:48:48.970] - Lelehnia Dubois I keep us moving forward. I do the footwork. But it's the group that brings the ideas, brings the resources, and makes it happen. And I am just so incredibly proud at how diverse that group is at how loving our core values are. Love and grace. You can't come to the table if you don't come in the door loving and gracefully. And we've had some issues around that and I am very strict about that. But with those being our core values, we don't have any problems. And it's just been incredible. My brothers in this war who have come to the table for me, like Marty Yip who donated the skunk, and Kevin Jaudry who's a rock star, I could go on and on. The collaboration, the brother and sisterhood that we have, it makes my heart sing. And then with Canopy, right, it's really similar. Jeff as a founder, it's been incredible to work with him and his ability to want to build in that same manner. And he listens to me. When I came to the table, part of Canopy Riot had already been built. But because of an incident that a lot of breeders know about in the industry that happened, I really wasn't willing to play the game with just anybody.

[00:50:22.470] - Lelehnia Dubois And I had some pretty hard rules that I thought he was going to say no to. And one of them was that it had to be accessible to my community. And he did one better than me in that he made it free to all creators. The other one was that they needed to be protected, that we could not be able to get their data and that they needed to be able to if their data was public and being shared, they needed to be able to remove that. If we were to do ever sell to a big bad wolf or people were to not trust our leadership, I wanted people to have a choice. And he implemented those two things and basically gave me a position and ownership of the company. That was the other thing he did. And I've created a lot of things out there in this industry in the past seven years and I've never been paid or honored on my contracts for any of it. One contract actually has been honored and it was a non cannabis company. And Jeff has done nothing but honor what he's promised me and I have so much respect for that and it's really helped me grow as a leader and heal some of my distrust of folks as I move forward.

[00:51:53.430] - Lelehnia Dubois Those two things are some of the most important things to me and in both instances, they just warm my heart and make me very proud to be a part of it all.

[00:52:08.970] - Elijah Rosenbaum That's good to hear, too, that there are still places where you can rely on people and that there are still people in this industry who do want to see just everyone succeed. Because I think like you're talking about, there have been a lot of people who've left because they get fatigued. Like with the contracts, again and again, you don't get what was promised and there's not really any inclination to get it to you. So I'm glad to hear that. Kind of like you said, doing you one better. There are people who aren't just working with you, but working just as hard.

[00:52:48.550] - Lelehnia Dubois Well, I just wanted to say something about that, especially because I'm a woman and I know there's a lot of women out there looking to this plant, to entrepreneurs. There's something that I had to learn within myself and as a traumatized drug war survivor, and that was I had to learn to value myself and to trust myself. Being around this plant my whole life, my intuition is amazing and I have a lot of value to bring to the table. And as soon as I started turning that around and valuing what I had to bring to the table, it helped me create boundaries that demanded the respect. And I learned that really the hard way. And it's something that when we've been around this plant a long time, we feel a little shame, and I think we need to know that we're beautiful and amazing. We're the Einstein's of the future around this amazing medicine. And stand up straight so people know that if they violate our contracts, that there's going to be accountability afterwards. And accountability doesn't necessarily mean you get a lawyer. There's a lot of public accountability in this industry.

[00:54:13.310] - Elijah Rosenbaum Having a child who also works with you or having family, do you want to talk about that at all? Because Jesse Lynn, who is a nurse, was on last week and she works with her son Rose.

[00:54:23.640] - Elijah Rosenbaum And I always love hearing stories about families that either consume together or grow together or are just in this together, because I think that's a face that people don't really get to see as often and like we're talking about is such an integral part of this.

[00:54:39.770] - Lelehnia Dubois Oh, I would love to. I've just started I think I mentioned earlier, I entered this mainstream contest called the Super Mom Contest, and I probably won't win only because not only because there's lots of reason I won't win. I don't have that many followers.

[00:54:55.530] - Elijah Rosenbaum First of all, before you go on, where can they vote for you?

[00:55:02.770] - Lelehnia Dubois It's at WW Dot, and then my name Backslashdubois, and you can go on to my Instagram, Lalania Leilay Dubois, and I'm posting little reels of my son, and I'm starting to tell the story because you know when you're going through all this stuff, Elijah, and you're just trying to freaking survive. I mean, I have a spinal cord injury. I'm technically a paraplegic, and I had my son after that injury. So survival has been a struggle through all that. When I first he's the reason I started growing, I mean, it's just so crazy because I was a patient, but I still couldn't get past all my own stigmatization from my experience and go, okay, I'm going to grow. I just couldn't do it and then when he right, two days before he was born, a friend who was growing needed some help on his 215 garden. And I helped him in an emergency situation that was kind of gnarly. And he came back a week after I had my son, and I was living in a trailer that was condemned pretty much. We don't condemn places up here, really. But my landlord was letting me live there for free because I had no money coming, nothing.

[00:56:41.810] - Lelehnia Dubois I was fighting for my Social Security. I was one year out of an experimental back surgery. It was just a really crazy time. And this friend came back and said, look, I really know you need help. I'm going to set you up with an indoor grow. And he did. And that happened the week after I had my son. And that indoor grow helped get me from the trailer. I mean, mice at night, we would only sleep in the living room because mice at night were falling out of this ceiling of the trailer. Because of my back injury, I couldn't get up with him in a length, so I had to sleep in an easy chair or I couldn't get up to help him. It was a very interesting time. And that plant is the only reason, is the main reason we were able to get out of that situation and rise up. I started providing for the dispensary. Then it helped me get through, and it was all because of him. And so then me being disabled, and I had to grow it right in my house. I hope this doesn't get me in trouble.

[00:58:04.070] - Lelehnia Dubois But he had to be a part of it the whole journey. He's seen me smoke it when he was, like, four years old. He would go, Mom, I think you need some medicine, because he could see how much pain I was in. So for him, it's really been he knows no differently. And it was going pretty smoothly until I started getting involved politically. And then it's when it got crazy. I got blackmailed in 2010 and when it was medically legal.

[00:58:41.110] - Elijah Rosenbaum Holy cow. So if you can what is that story?

[00:58:45.690] - Lelehnia Dubois Well, I had a medical grow. I had PG and E permits. I did it, all right? I hired a contractor. I had five patients, and the persons who land I had rented, I actually had paid their mortgage for a year. The only reason they owned the house was because of what I had done for them. And on my first grow, the apprentice and the owner of the land called the cops. He said, if you don't pay me $10,000 today, and people think, oh, growing weed, you have tons of money. I didn't play that game. I played the medical game. So I wasn't like, hoofing pounds out the back door. But he decided he was going to blackmail me. And I said, I'm legal. Like, Dude, you can't do whatever you got to do. And he did. He called the cops. The cops came in, they left a card. I came, the guy told me, there's a warrant out for your arrest. I went home and couldn't sleep that night, 02:00 in the morning, I called my sisters and I said, I'm bringing Jasper. He was, I think, around four at the time. I'm bringing Jasper to you.

[01:00:00.960] - Lelehnia Dubois I might go to jail tomorrow. And I drove into the police station that morning and said, hey, I'm the owner of Yada Yada Yada. And he looked at me and goes, oh, you're a girl. He goes, Why are you spending so much money on growing weed anyways? She said, I have one question for you. Why are you spending so much money on growing weed when we have all these medical dispensaries? And I go, well, you know better than me how people grow weed. I go, I grow medicine. I can't have pesticides, I can't have bugs. I have to know my medicine is really clean. And he patted me on the back and said, go get the first permit in the city. And my lawyer said, no, don't. Because if this guy has pictures of your kids or his girlfriend's kids who lived in the house, you're going to lose your kids for a minimum of two years. And so I packed up 350 plants and all the equipment to grow those 350 plants in a semi U Haul and drove 10 hours and set up in another town.

[01:01:11.280] - Elijah Rosenbaum Oh, my God.

[01:01:12.790] - Lelehnia Dubois And in that town, I ended up getting robbed, putting gum put in my head. We were homeless for quite a few years, and within two years, I said, screw this, screw the community. And I moved to Utah for a few years, just gave it up, wanted to raise my son, and then came back a year before we started talking about legalization. And within that year, dove into legalization because of all the horrible things that had happened to me with my son. I mean, enough, just some of it, but I was so pissed off that I was a person that people were supposed to help. I was a sick mom with a kid. Those were who I was taught. Those are the people that you help, not the people that you take advantage of and hurt. And it really is what made me a proponent of legalization. And he has been through it every step of the way. He doesn't remember the gun to my head, but he was sitting in my car when it happened right there. He thinks the times that we were homeless were adventures. But these past few years for legalization, he's paid the price for me being afraid, me being stressed, all those things.

[01:02:48.550] - Lelehnia Dubois But he's also now 17. He'll be 18 in September. And he's also one of the most kind and compassionate humans you'll ever meet.

[01:03:06.810] - Elijah Rosenbaum Thank you for sharing that story, too, because like you're talking about with the dangers of growing plants and having kids, just having the conversation is nerve wracking. And thank you for putting that out there because it helps other people feel comfortable talking about it and being open about it.

[01:03:26.050] - Lelehnia Dubois When you ask me the question of what are the good things about all this after all the bad things, and that's one of the best things about legalization, is I don't have to be afraid for my son. And I as a patient going through that night when I was trying to decide what to do, when I thought there was a warrant out for my arrest, it was like, well, what do I do? And I called a friend of mine who was a reporter because he wrote all these articles, and he said, what you do is you call me first, because if they put you in jail, we're going to tell your story because you are a very legitimate patient, and that should not be happening. But now it's not a problem. Now I can tell you about it, and all your people that are going to listen to this in Kentucky about it and don't feel shame. I feel so proud of my son and myself for navigating this and not dealing math. There's just so many other ways we could have gone, but we're still hanging in there. Canopy Rights going to get funded.

[01:04:38.250] - Lelehnia Dubois I'm going to get consulting. We're doing it. And he is my primary fuel.

[01:04:51.470] - Elijah Rosenbaum And if someone wants to find the Legacy Project or Canopy, right, or wants to follow you on social media, where can they find that? [01:05:00.770] - Lelehnia Dubois Well, you can find more information about the Legacy Project at And you'll see, the Legacy Project is one of the projects we're doing. And then you can register for and you can find out more information about Canopywrite at WW dot, canopywrite Info, and then all those names on social media. You can find our Instagram and Facebook, and then you can find me. I'm Lalania Dubois lelehnia and on instagram it's Lalania leilay lele My last name. Dubois duboif. And same stuff on Facebook and LinkedIn.

[01:06:01.490] - Elijah Rosenbaum Willenia, thank you so much for coming on today. I really appreciate it.

[01:06:07.270] - Lelehnia Dubois Thank you, Elijah. I appreciate getting to share all that with you. That was a lot of fun, and I look forward to more. I look forward to bringing The Legacy Project on and the founders of Canopy. Right.

[01:06:24.010] - Elijah Thank you for listening. If you're a bluegrass, country or singer songwriter, send in your submissions. We feature one song per episode and would love to play yours. Also, did you know that our store is up and available? Grab a set of our new bluegrass Banjo Stickers die cut and made of long lasting vinyl so that you can help put the grass back in the bluegrass available on If you'd like to follow us on social media, we are at Bluegrass Cannabis on instagram at Bluegrass Hemp on Facebook at bluegrass Cannabis on TikTok and at Bluegrass Canna on Twitter. Don't forget to subscribe and never miss an episode. Wherever you listen to podcasts, we're available on YouTube, itunes, spotify and more. Thank you so much for listening and stopping by the bluegrass Podcast. Old fashioned, all natural Kentucky bluegrass.


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