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Removing the stigma – and the “crime”


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Wendy Bronfein of Curio Wellness joins Nestor to discuss various topics surrounding legislation, key industry challenges, and expungement of cannabis-related offenses.


talked, state, product, cannabis, people, research, moved, week, years, legal, happening, feel, told, maryland, curio, put, traditional, baltimore, wendy, effect


Nestor J. Aparicio, Wendy Bronfein

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:01

Welcome Home and we are wn st am 5070 tasks Baltimore Happy Fourth of July happy summer happy corn on the cob eating I’ve got peach cake in my life so life is just fantastic. We got good concerts, things are happening around here we have a new website at Baltimore positive and we’re taking a crabcake tour back out on the road in addition to a Maryland oyster tour in September. I’m really looking forward to finally gonna get to the Peppermill that’s true. All the brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery Gold Rush sevens doublers we will have these at the new Lexington market and this is important because the Yankees are gonna come in here and first place or in second place on Friday but we’re going to be in first place with crab cakes and trips out come on down stay low get some cucumber salad with us stop by Luke’s coming by Lenna raskins coming by whole bunch of people coming by the Yankees are in town we need to outnumber them on the weekend. So make sure you’re doing that our friends at Liberty pure solutions making our water crystal clear I can hold that up. Now I have crystal clear water as well as our friends at Jiffy Lube multi care putting us out on the road I’m gonna be re sort of issuing my 25th anniversary documentary. And the whole year in totality comes up on August 3 It will be a full year of our 25th year we moved to our 26th year my cupcakes not going to be any good anymore. But carry a wellness and foreign daughter sponsored all of our fun pictures, movies, things that we’ve done. We’ve talked a lot about we ever 25 stories of glory up on the website and doing all of that. I want to bring Wendy brown final on this week to say happy summer to you Happy Justin Timberlake and like you know things are happening this week concerts Janet Jackson’s going on this week. But it’s Fourth of July we moved outside now we’ve got fire pits we got mosquitoes you know like all of this is going on? How was your summer what’s going on? A curio wellness is summer high.


Wendy Bronfein  01:49

Summer is good. Although I have to say I’m a little bit like bummed because I feel like with July 4 being here, it just makes me feel like alright, we’re now in the second half. It’s going to be over soon. So I’m trying not to get bogged down about that. But

Nestor J. Aparicio  02:03

I heard there’s words back to school this and I’m like, what? I didn’t have a kid I don’t hear back to school. I mean, the sun’s still out till nine o’clock. And I mean, I

Wendy Bronfein  02:11

feel like it was just like, the beginning of spring and I was like, Oh, it’s getting warm. And now it’s July and like what happened? I’m just

Nestor J. Aparicio  02:22


trying to avoid the mosquito bites. That’s the I love the peach cake. Love the fresh corn love the tomatoes heirloom. I mean, you couldn’t have told me 25 that by the time I’d be 55 You know it would cannabis would be every week but we would that I would know it tomato I would know a purple Cherokee from you know, just some other garden variety vine bought tomato. So the summer is perfect for all this. I want to talk to you about some stuff we’re gonna get to all of my aches and pains and all the stuff we talked about as well. Some new lines of stuff that people can can check out and we’re gonna get to some things I don’t understand a little bit. But I’ve been talking social issues last couple of weeks, and I haven’t had Westmore on yet. And I don’t think I’ve talked to you about it. I talked at length with one of your partners. The great happy Edie on the program this week about Westmore and expungement of cannabis related offenses going back to people I’m sure you knew in high school people I knew in high school for years and years and years people can get jobs and stuff like that. You and I haven’t talked about it. But I talked to happy Eddie, a CFO about this a little bit last week. And certainly this is something in your space that you know, I’m sure you have an opinion on and some thoughts about it. Through all of this, especially being in the industry where you’re trying to make products that help people.

Wendy Bronfein  03:39

Yeah, I mean, I think that was a monumental announcement by the governor. Just recently, and it’s something that you do see occur when a state typically goes adult use, unfortunately, when you’re limited to medical, that step is not often taken. But once you’re in that state of full legalization, the expungement conversation comes into play. And you know, it’s something that has to happen. I mean, it should happen outside of there being a legal market in the state ideally, but federally, you know, if things can change and migrate forward, we can really resolve this issue at a much larger level.

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:18

Yeah, you know, I guess law enforcement and all of this stuff, and I go back to things in my lifetime. And again, I think I’ve told you privately publicly, I’d say to anybody, I never thought we’d be at the point where I own a radio station 32 years in and we’d be talking about these things, and they’d be readily available antimonium You know, at York antimonium Road and readily available in our state, but also like, you know, celebrities are getting busted in other states and being you know, dragged out for all for the same things that are now legal here. But I think about like, if you ran a dice game, they would put you in jail, right if you know, things that were illegal now that the NFL is adjudicating and baseball’s adjudicating this with umpires and winning bets, but I think about like pro audition. And I think about like 100 years ago, and whatever, you know, crimes were going on in Chicago that are of lore and, you know, bootlegging out, I’m thinking to myself, what did they do to people in 1912, in a basement who were found to have a bottle of extra cough syrup or whatever. And I think about in our lifetime, how taboo ish it became. And more than that people in my direct space, who lost jobs who lost just in all sorts of ways of legal court system attorneys policing, you know, all the bad stuff that kind of went along with all of that stuff, that we would get to a point where we would say, it’s a plant, let’s use it better. And more than that, let’s make things right, because it’s certainly something I didn’t see coming. And when you say other states that they’ve gone to don’t use. I didn’t realize it was going to happen here. Like I’m a little shocked by all of it, quite frankly, I get shocked Moore’s law as we go along. Well,

Wendy Bronfein  05:57

so there’s two pieces. One, I think a lot of times from a policy perspective, when state does introduce an adult use program. It’s sort of a very expansion conversation is very much present, because you’re sort of there’s an inconsistency, right, if somebody is left with this record, right, but everyone else can freely get it now. And obviously, that happened at a different time. But if we see this plan as differently, and what they were doing, were these minor offenses that today are not minor offenses, and your path of life has been, in many cases massively disrupted. That needs to be addressed. Now, like when we talk about the federal changes, that’s one of the pieces that also comes up in that policy as well, oftentimes through the lens of Will there be funds and support provided to the states who will then have to deal with expungement issues? Because most of the time, these issues are kind of state level crimes, right? Like a cannabis felony is a major sort of drug trafficking situation. That’s a different sort of beasts. But at the state level, these are kind of very, oftentimes things that like you say, like they derail someone’s life, and what they did was probably not that offensive. Watch,


Nestor J. Aparicio  07:22

a friend of mine years ago, you know, literally joined an ashtray in. I mean, it disrupted every single aspect of his life from business. You know, even even his mental health to some degree, all sorts of rehab this stuff, and it really messed his life up for he was a different person for a couple of years, to be really honest with you. And I’m talking maybe 20 years ago, and I’m thinking about how many people and look, they made a television show, David Simon’s been a guest on the program. And by the way, I’m going to talk to Angela author books about this. I’m gonna talk to Larry Hogan about this, the people that we are trying to send down to DC don’t get me started on the debate. That’s a whole different thing from last week. But I will say this on behalf of Joe Biden. And on behalf of what’s going on, as you know, he spoke out a few months ago about the schedule one status and kind of where we are now. And I think I’ve asked you, and I don’t know the math as to whether it’s 15 states, 23 states, 38 states, but I think we’re getting past the halfway point here. And there were questions. My wife and I went to Hershey last week for a concert, we went up to see hooting the blowfish. And my son and his wife were there. And we were just like, literally having a beer on the boot of the car, talking having beers hanging out eating some leftover barbecue. And we were wondering aloud is Pennsylvania and, and my son and his wife like, oh, no, that’s me. And then I saw a billboard that I saw billboard on the way out of Hershey for stores. And I’m like, no, no, no things are happening here. So I think I don’t think anything is going to Hershey or anything going to Virginia or anything going to Delaware, like crossing a state line. But like, this is a serious and generationally for a 55 year old talking to 30 something kids thinking about how younger people are feeling about this and what they’re hearing our president say what they’re hearing our governor say what they’re seeing on billboards, and on York Road, it’s never going to be thought about the same way your father thinks about it. Right. Or my parents thought about it older than your parents.

Wendy Bronfein  09:17

Yeah, well, so Pennsylvania is medical only still so they have not gotten adult use yet. They Yeah, and obviously the Interstate is not viable. Right. That’s the whole federal state conflict right so you’re so you’re legal inside quote the four walls of your state, but you’re not meant to take things in taking

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:37

this bag of terpene infused shoes across state lines and

Wendy Bronfein  09:42


I’m gonna do that with the federal illegal it will be smoking

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:45

the bandit bootleg and it’s the same same concept, the smile about it, but it but that’s, you know, that’s that’s hard to adjudicate. I think that’s hard to police. I think that’s not as good Common sense is, hey, look, you and I remember fireworks coming across the border. Right? I mean, right and Fourth of July. Here we are right that you had to go there to get it. And how does that get police? Well, they’re in the sky all over my neighborhood, you can hear him and see him and know where they’re coming from. I would just say for the country to get online, Joe Biden’s moved in that direction. That’s not a political statement. That’s just a fact. Right?

Wendy Bronfein  10:24

Yeah. So the recommendation is to migrate it to schedule three, it doesn’t deal with the legal status. It doesn’t sort of legitimize any state based program. From the industry perspective, it does correct. The major tax burden that we have, which is referenced by 280 E. So we’re not able to deduct, like a traditional business, which means that we pay extremely high federal taxes and state taxes unless your state has taken them away, which Maryland has dealt with to 80 on the state level.

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:57

I try to explain it to people. It’s almost like Scandinavia, a lot of tax. I mean, people love Navia people love Norway in Sweden. I love it too. But but there is a different it’s a different tax code literally. Right. Yeah. I


Wendy Bronfein  11:08

mean, assume that a cannabis business has a corporate tax rate of like 80 to 90%. Yeah, so the majority of what you

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:16

unitive beyond almost reason,

Wendy Bronfein  11:20

there’s that so the issue that that that’s kind of like the core, one of the core financial issues of the industry at large is free cash flow. That’s the obstacle.

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:31


So sort of runs the price up artificially as well, right? Just in a general sense.

Wendy Bronfein  11:35

Well, if you Yeah, well, and we don’t we have no, we have a lack of dollars to reinvest. Right. So there’s also that like, you know, it’s that catch 22 of like, I want to be able to advance the story. And I would like to be able to do more and test more and innovate. But some of the rules federally in terms of research, and the financial constraints make it harder for you to have that cash flow to do those things, or even that cash flow to be able to effectively lobby to the extent that the industry could or should to see this change, because to your point about the majority with adult youth with adult use going legal in Ohio, that crossed the US population were at a minimum 75% of the population is now in a some form of illegal cannabis market. So there’s more who have access to it some to some extent than do not. And so it really is a time where like the that schedule change is the first step and a bigger conversation. There are you can submit comments for that which we are doing and many other cannabis companies have to support it. But like with that action, the next step is Congress needs to deal with taking cannabis off the Controlled Substances Act because it was only put on there from sort of the malicious intent of under the Nixon administration. It was never controlled substance before that. So

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:00

and it wasn’t like brought forth as a scientific endeavor to say, you know, Celery is legal. And you know, turnips are legal and cannabis isn’t legal. What he brought find is here she is with Curie walls, I like we get so we’ll get to products. And I’ll talk about the move gel and my back feel a little better. Actually, since my knee, maybe it’s just summertime and moving around a little bit. It’s something you slid this in, as you say so many things. And sometimes I’m like, Alright, stop federal research, there things you can’t do. So the thing I pimp about you quite frankly, my partnership with you is your GI work, your father’s research on all of this in your neighbor care in your pharmacy background and dealing opioids in awful stuff and, and it’s moved to move products and things that helped me and gummies that are in all sorts of different ways very targeted. But the research part of this is I noticed in your company, you’re trying to help people, a lot of the products there aren’t just come on and let’s get high. It’s not. It’s not that it’s it’s it. And certainly when I’m in your place, the people I see there are there for different reasons and wellness being out on the front, what research can be done and can’t be done and how is it being done. And I know there’s been points where like, the University of Mississippi and Maryland and various places had sort of some special dispensation from the federal government to do things that other places couldn’t do in the name of research. And I remember back when we would talk about research and we’ve actually like beat 25 years ago like, like it would almost there could be no benefit because Richard Nixon said there wasn’t. But now we’ve learned differently, but what what are the guidelines of what you can do and want to do? Because I’ve been in the white suit in your place and seen real doctors doing real stuff and having products that really work? What, where is that slippery slope for what can and can’t be done research wise? because we’re not moving education along, we’re not using using universities and science if some something’s restricting that, I’d like to know about that, Wendy.

Wendy Bronfein  15:08

Yes, so federally, it is very difficult to do. What would be seen as traditional kind of pharmaceutical or scientific research, you mentioned the University of Mississippi, that is the only place where you’re validated to get cannabis material to use in any sort of testing and trial. It’s noted that the material there is not very much reflective of what is in legal markets, or of the quality that you can find in the markets. At the state level. There are many different places where opportunities for research are happening, depending on the state. So you mentioned Pennsylvania before in Pennsylvania, the way their licenses are structured, one of the license types is a research based one, where as a licensee, you have identified in your application that you are partnered with a higher education institution, and you are intending to do research work together. And the and the state system is quote, protecting that process. In Maryland, we had first we had policy passed, gosh, it was probably about 2018 or 19. That opened the door for overarching just an umbrella protection to our institutions of higher learning to be able to participate with our industry. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to kind of get them to crossover. So when the cannabis Reform Act passed in 2023, that took it a step farther and gave much more direction on how not only they can do research, but how they could partner with any of us to do research. One of the main things is so like, for example, our GI product is about to go into an IRB approved study, which is a really big move, because given the way that the law changed, we can actually now do this in a placebo controlled approach, right get very authentic data. Back when we did the sleep trial for the good Nightline, the laws were such that we couldn’t blind the product. So when you buy anything at the Cannabis dispensary, you would see the label and it tells you the cannabinoid and terpene profile inside. So even if you were trialing two different products, you could see on the label Oh, this one has five milligrams of this and 10 milligrams that that one has seven and two or whatever it is. And so if you had any knowledge yourself of the cannabinoids, you sort of knew you could have a sense of what you were taking or maybe what it’s intended, if you were educated enough to do that, which is not how traditional traditional scientific process would occur. So now we can actually do things more in line with how real kind of pharma research goes on to really authentically evaluate product efficacy. All right,


Nestor J. Aparicio  18:00

we’ve learned a lot a lot but I liked that a lot. When you brought find us here she is the Chief Brand Officer as you can tell and chief cannabis officer you can tell here at Baltimore positive you could find her and her whole staff over at far and daughter here locally, right antimonium security, a wellness on the outside and the curio brands and things like this move product. This is the gel. I’m more of a bomb. This was still a little heavy. You always say these things are gonna last a long time I bought i i bought for 20 I’m authentic, I went and took care of the sale because I’m from Dundalk. And you know, that’s the way I’m rolling out. You know, we’ve talked about shoes and terpene choose, you have a newer product that’s a gummy. That is a faster acting product. I think it’s a month old. You’ve I haven’t talked to you enough about it. Um, let’s talk about this in summertime. And, and really more of them on the recreational side, right?

Wendy Bronfein  18:54

Yes, so the fast acting two uses a technology that allows you to metabolize it quicker. So if a traditional chew might take, you know, upwards of maybe 30 minutes, depending on your metabolism, some people metabolize slower. This is happening much faster, more, more akin, sort of seeking to be more like the way inhalation, right inhalation, and even things that could be sublingual, you feel those effects much quicker than you do something that you have to digest and wait for it to take effect.

Nestor J. Aparicio  19:31

So this delayed onset kind of dis

Wendy Bronfein  19:35


two can take effect Faster. Faster onset, in any case, often means a shorter duration. I mean, you’re still getting hours relative to it being something that’s quote edible, but it is technically slightly shorter than it would be if you had a non fast acting and, you know, from a therapeutic standpoint, there are instances where people it’s like I need this to take effect now. I mean, even you know that when you take like an ad Feel or something and you have, or you have a headache, you’re like, Okay, I don’t want to wait like I would have to wait 30 minutes for this to kick in, I just want this headache to go away. So I

Nestor J. Aparicio  20:07

found the gel caps do that quicker than a like a traditional like aspirin, tablet kind of feeling right?

Wendy Bronfein  20:16

So you have that side of it. And then to your point, from a recreational side, you just have the benefit of saying, Okay, well, I’m going to, I want to feel this now ish. And that’s what’s going to happen. So, a lot of people, it’s a subcategory of the choose that you see in a lot of places. So if you’re looking for something that can take effect faster, and have that visibility of effects sooner than that’s definitely a product for you. It’s there’s three flavors, citrus, tropical, and mixed berry. All right,

Nestor J. Aparicio  20:46

I’ll definitely check those out. You can check them out at curio wellness, make sure you put your birthday in, make sure you’re using all these products responsibly. There’s a whole campaign about not lining up in public places and being foolish and certainly not operating a your vehicle or other things responsibly throughout the summertime. So we do talk we can we also talk about, you know, important products. And we also talk about other things that I don’t understand. And last week, you said something about this. It’s the big menu, there’s a lot going on, there’s a lot of QR codes, and we talked about rewards and all that. But then there’s things like oils and things that tincture, just different things that I don’t understand as much. I understand the week after the fourth of July, you’re doing some special things next week, as we get over to fake news for our crabcakes and the Yankees come to town, fill me in on all this and educate me. I mean, you’re already shed a lot of light on things I didn’t understand. But this is a part of your store that I don’t shop there. I just moved past it on the menu. Sort of like if you don’t eat fish, or you don’t eat meat, you know, just sort of like no, I don’t want that. I want that. Um, but I don’t ever and I don’t ask questions about it or google it on the internet. Yes.


Wendy Bronfein  21:55

So this, so So I think everyone knows, like 420 is a cannabis holiday. So the other quote, holiday we have is 710 if you if you wrote the date out 710 And you turned it upside down, it would look like the word oil. So it’s the oil holiday. And what you’re learning,

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:16

just give me just it’s been 55 years, let me okay, you know what I’m thinking when we were kids, you might be on the age cusp.

Wendy Bronfein  22:26

I mean, like when you put something on paper and put hell

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:29


in the calculator, you’re going to write when you’re not. I did all that. That’s why I’m like okay, sometimes you say it is and it must be. Yeah.

Wendy Bronfein  22:41

So we have this live rosin product, which is a solvent list. Vapor oil, we also have it coming out like right now, in a concentrate. That’s actually the first time we’ve ever released to concentrate. And that those products are exclusively available in our shoe stores in Elkton. And in Timonium. I’m a big fan of that, that vape. I’m not a huge fan of vaping because I do prefer flour. But the rosin is really wonderful from the perspective of somebody who likes flour, having a vape experience, because I don’t always feel like feel like vape is convenient, but it is not the same as flower. And it’s really smooth. It’s really the effects are great. The device is dependable and looks good. It’s it’s really nice. And then the concentrate is now going to be out and that is the newest part of that line.

Nestor J. Aparicio  23:37

All right, she is telling us all this stuff and also educating us as well. That’s why she’s on the front of Baltimore positive we have a we’re calling it a continuing education series because I’m getting educated every single week. There’s always new things going on. I mean, this week laws and efficacy and, and testing and medical and all the things that are going on. And it’s always in the news. So I’ve always appreciated Wendy Brown, fine. And her crew including happy Edie or CFO who joined us last week talking and guy for Pikesville local people. If you’ve seen the Real Housewives of Potomac, he’s one of the husbands and he went on to explain sort of the bromance amongst the husband. I told him I said, Listen, man, I don’t know I don’t watch reality TV, but I’m trying to learn things. So well. Happy. Last week, we had a little bit of fun on his legal background as well. And then we talked it I think that’s what led us into Westmore and led us into this conversation. So I haven’t talked to Wendy about all this even though I haven’t talked to the governor either. So we will be talking to Angelo author books as well as Larry Hogan. throughout summer I’m trying to put them into the crabcake tour. Before we get the oyster tour going on before the the baseball and the football get to go in and we get the politics going around here in September in October. As always, when the elevator speech for for anybody that hasn’t been in or hasn’t experienced it or didn’t get a medical card has been a little bit you know, I would just say the first time you come to a dispensary you forget how into emanating you can be or you feel like you’re doing something naughty or people drive by I don’t know it’s there. We’re moving past that, right? I mean, past the stigma where nobody’s looking at each other weird in the dispensary, like maybe they were a few years ago? Oh,

Wendy Bronfein  25:13

absolutely. I don’t think it’s rare to see somebody who looks uncomfortable, I think in the space, maybe overwhelmed by choices, because the menus are huge, but definitely not uncomfortable. And I think you know, at our store, we really pride ourselves on kind of holding hands when we need to, or listening to like what you’re trying to achieve or solve for, and really kind of figuring out the right product to person and the, you know, the thought of Oh, cannabis is this flower that you smoke 100% There’s tons of great flour out there, and we grow a lot of it. But there’s also a million different dosage forms to choose from that are much more traditional, that can taste like a flavor, not like a lawn product that you can rub on your body that you could drink if you wanted to. So different ways to consume it to address what you’re trying to achieve. You

Nestor J. Aparicio  26:09

know what? I had Mark Brian from hooting the blowfish a couple weeks ago to Maryland or could Silver Spring guy. He’s in line with a drink with a cannabis infused drink. And he’s wearing the shirt on stage. My wife’s like, what’s that? I’m like, go watch the video. You gotta go talk. So a lot of people were getting that when I talked to happy it last week. And you know, at some point, I’m telling you, the nasty Nestor line will be a sativa not even a hybrid straight on when he brought find is here. She’s always with us. And she’s out at the front of Baltimore positive and her crew over foreign daughter on York Road. Very, very high level of professionalism. And more than that they can help you out. You go in there and you got some questions about the product. There’s a lot to learn at a curio as well just put your birthday in and make sure we’re doing it on the up and up. Don’t take it across state lines. We’ve learned that today. My son told me about that last week when he I appreciate you, thanks for coming on and enjoy what’s left at the Fourth of July and you know, so good concerts coming up for our CFG bank people this week. It’s a good week for music around here. For sure. I’ll get my Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation going here. I am Nestor we are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore. Come see us the families on Friday. Come get a crab cake. Let’s go beat the Yankees. We’re Baltimore

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