Anthony Wile is the founder of The Wile Group. The Wile Group International is a value-added venture capital firm focused on powering private investment opportunities. Anthony talks about the cannabis landscape and why he is investing in South America cannabis companies.
Anthony has a keen eye for trends and has been remarkably prescient in predicting large tectonic political shifts and business opportunities.
Learn more at:
[1:24] – Anthony’s background
[4:04] – Status of cannabis legalization investments
[14:56] – Anthony talks about when the conversation around cannabis changed
[21:17] – Anthony gives examples of cannabis legalization unfolding
[26:12] – What role will Big Pharma and Big Tobacco play in cannabis legalization
[32:10] – Who do the government regulators really protect
[37:45] – Anthony talks about equatorial locations being ideal for cannabis cultivation
[43:00] – Why is Colombia ideal for cultivation
[52:37] – Flower to oil trend over the next five to ten years
[1:00:17] – Anthony compares and contrasts Canada and Colombia’s cannabis market
[1:05:29] – Anthony talks about block chain technology
[1:06:23] – Anthony answers some personal development questions
[1:14:29] – Anthony’s contact info
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As the walls of cannabis prohibition continue to fall around us, many of us assume it was the grassroots will of the people that made cannabis legalization possible. However, there are many that see cannabis legalization in the world in general through and entirely different lens. One of those with a different lens on cannabis and the world is our guest today, Anthony Wile. Anthony has a unique and refreshing perspective on a variety of topics from politics to international cannabis opportunities. Anthony, welcome to CannaInsider.
Anthony: Thanks Matt. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Matthew: Anthony, give listeners a sense of geography. Can you tell us where you are in the world today?
Anthony: Well I live in Toronto, Canada, and I also live part time in Medellin, Colombia. Those would be the two primary areas of living, and also from a work perspective, the majority of my time and energy has been spent in the country of Colombia for the past few years, and I anticipate it to be similar moving forward for quite a long period of time.
Matthew: Can you give us a little bit of a background on yourself, both personally and professionally?
Anthony: Sure. Well, I grew up in Canada, and went to a university, studied business, all those things and graduated and went on to work. Spent a few years working in the Canadian financial industry with a couple of the larger banks, investment arms. Before moving on to establish my own brokerage operations internationally, which at that time took me away from Canada at a fairly young age. I was about 26-27 years old when I became a non-resident Canadian and started living internationally and focusing on developing business opportunities abroad. That transitioned into a lot of different avenues, I guess you’d say, over the years, in terms of living and work related situations.
I’ve done business in many countries around the world, in Asia and Europe and South America, pretty much all over the world. And lived in several different countries over that time, with my wife and children. We’ve spent a fairly international, I guess you’d say, we’ve had a fairly international life experience. I don’t anticipate that changing so much. However, it’s always been reflective of where in the world I see or perceive financial trends to be emerging . That would be trends with sustainability over a mid to long period of time. Where we as a group, business group I’m referring to, felt it made sense to try and get in front of such trends, and then where in the world from a top down perspective, it made sense to be much like in the cannabis industry today.
We’ve identified Colombia, as a country that would be among the top, and in our case, our opinion would be the top choice destination for building business opportunities. So destination and living arrangements and business arrangements for me and my family and my business associates has always been driven by where the best opportunities are to develop ideas over time. We are a private equity group, primarily, who spread ourselves not too thin. In other words, we get involved with no more than two or three ideas over a five to ten year period, and we put our time, our money and our energy behind those efforts. In other words we’re all in when we get involved in anything that we’re involved with.
Matthew: You were one of the early voices talking and writing about cannabis legalization investment opportunities. Where are we today in terms of the cannabis legalization investment story, particularly in terms of internationally?
Anthony: Well, we’re very early. If we were going to use an analogy, I guess I would say we’re somewhere in the early part of the first inning of a ballgame. This industry has a lot of curves to straighten out in terms of regulatory synchronization, standardization of products. On many levels, there are a lot of issues to be addressed and a lot of stakeholders with different perspectives that need to be listened to, that need to be brought into the fold when straightening out those curves in order to get adoption by a greater portion of society.
At this time, you can certainly see there’s a lot of regional development occurring in countries like Canada, for example, which you have to put at the forefront of innovation in this space. I would say Colombia is very quickly now moving in that direction as well, based upon their regulatory and legislative maneuvering. Then at that international level, if you look at what the WHO and UN and other related bodies, NGOs and others are doing in this conversation at this time and how they’re helping to shape the future of where this is going, it is truly an international discussion and one that will require international support in order for this industry to become a global industry that rivals what you see with any other heavily regulated industry, such as spirits, alcohol, those sorts of things.
So there’s a lot of change, a lot of turbulence in some cases, and a lot of uncertainty that comes with that. You really need to step back a little bit I believe and pause. In an article I wrote in the Globe and Mail about a year ago in Canada, that’s one of Canada’s larger financial papers, and in that article I cautioned investors at that time to take a step back. It doesn’t mean you can’t make money in the marketplace off of the emotionally charged environment that often accompanies early trends or emerging sectors. No different than what we saw with technology stocks in the 1990s, but that emotional, in some cases irrationality can be very painful when regulatory and legislative changes occur that can dramatically effect revenue projections or other related concerns that should be of a concern to any investor who are looking to invest on fundamentals.
At least from our perspective as a group, we’re interested in being involved in developing businesses that are fundamentally sound and are looking to the future, planning as best as possible with knowledge and real-time information, and think with the trends, where they’re headed. Not necessarily what they’re doing today in any given marketplace, whether it be Canada or Uruguay or wherever it may be, but looking at the global synchronization and what that likely will lead to, and we think most investors who are looking for their capital they deployed in situations that will be standing tall post-fallout of whatever happens. It happens in every trend you’ve ever seen in history. There’s always a bubble. There’s always emotional instability that leads to that bubble as irrational investors run into whatever story sounds the best today, tomorrow, with very little due diligence. That’s an historical fact.
I mean you just have to go back and look at any of the big bubbles over time, and most recently you can take look at the tech stock industry. You can take a look at gold in 2006-2007. There’s many recent opportunities for analysis of said activity, but again there is opportunity out there. I think it’s just a matter of letting the global community and the regional governments that are part of that global community to work together to try and shape legislation that will allow for this industry to truly take root in a way that is sustainable over the long haul in all aspects. Not just from a profitability perspective, but environmentally and socially.
Matthew: I think you’re definitely right about the bubble aspect of cannabis, especially cannabis stocks, but it seems like they’re kind of blowing up into micro bubbles and popping and then blowing up again into a micro bubble and popping. I’m still waiting for the huge bubble. Maybe it just needs to be federally legal in a bigger market like the U.S. at some point before that happens. I don’t know, but I’ve been kind of watching that with interest. Also to your point about narratives, how we as humans become kind of aligned with a narrative and then assume that narrative is right. Over and over again I’m thinking tech stocks in the late 90s and then the housing flipping going on in the mid 2000s and whatever will come next. It’s kind of the tulip mania of the decade.
Anthony: I couldn’t agree with you more, and to add to your point. What you said at the first part of what you just mentioned here about New York and the U.S. To me this is as obvious as the day is long that this industry… when I said earlier that it was in the early phases of development it truly is. When you look at the global commission for drug reform and who the people are that paint that tape, in terms of the members of that commission, you’re talking serious names in global politics, from the upper chambers of finance and business. These are not small people, and the essence of what they’re driving towards and what they’re pushing towards, with a lot of support from a lot of governments, especially those governments in Latin America, is to see a wholesale change in transformation and the way the war on drugs is dealt with and to go in the direction of legalization and control channel distribution.
When you look at New York and you look at the United States I could care less what happened with Donald Trump and the charade of Hillary Clinton and that whole thing in the recent election, but I was certainly paying attention to what was happening in Massachusetts and in California and those different states that were voting for legalization. And when you see a state like California, I think it’s the fifth or sixth, I can’t remember the exact number, but largest economy in the world voting in favor. Of course that’s contrary to federal legislation in the United States. I mean how much longer can this, and I’ll use the terms again, charade continue in the U.S. with federal prohibition when you have 22 percent, as of today, of the population living in cannabis legal states, and somewhere north of 60 percent living in states with some form of cannabis legalization, medicinally or otherwise.
I mean there’s a point here where this changes, and I hear a lot of people talking about Donald Trump’s choices for this or that and how that will affect the industry. And I look at this as a very simple matter. It’s dollars and cents and Donald Trump is a business person first and foremost, more than he is an evangelical do gooder, if you will. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with evangelical do gooders here, but the point is that is not him, and the reality is is that this is a business and a business decision and all they have to do is you look at Canada north, and you say Canada is in the middle of going through a legislative policy implementation program here to legalize their industry, and that’s going to be forthcoming, and when it does, does anyone really think that the United States under Trump or anybody else is going to want to see dollars heading north for the weekends and otherwise to access cannabis from states that border Canada, and that’s a big border, that don’t’ have cannabis legal states at that time, or the cross-border loss of capital from one state to another.
How much longer will you (11.54 unclear) their ski resorts suffer under the pressure of Colorado ski resorts picking it up from the millennials and otherwise who choose to go there because they can enjoy legal cannabis at the same time. I mean, it has an effect on many different stakeholders that some point in time, and I would suggest sooner than later but we’ll see, over the course of the next two or three years, I’ll be shocked if we don’t see a change in regulatory policy at the federal level in the United States. And it’s also not going unnoticed in New York. If you talk to any investment bankers in New York, they see what’s happening in Canada. They see the enthusiasm that the public has for these cannabis stocks, if you will, and Wall Street doesn’t like to be missing out on let’s say revenue opportunities. That’s just not their nature.
So there’s a lot of pressure, a lot of pressure to come that will in my opinion lead to a opportunity for companies to access capital in New York. I expect at that time Wall Street will do what they always do, which is drain every last ounce of sweat, blood and tears out of the trend, like we saw with tech stocks, and that means that this first inning warm up that we’re seeing in Canada will likely become replicated in the United States, and probably taken to heightened levels of enthusiasm even more so than we see here north of the border today. So for a lot of reasons, mostly due to just the realization that today there really isn’t a lot of speculative activity feeding the general market. Gold is fairly stagnant. It has it’s days. It’s up, it’s down, it’s a little sideways. Oil is relatively, let’s just say deflated, at least in terms of investor speculative interest.
Also because of its low levels of pricing today has affected people’s appetite for alternative energy at related issues. So on technology spot you wouldn’t call that a trend. You don’t have a lot of competing trends in the marketplace for investor speculative capital, and the only real bright spot you can see on the horizon, and that is showing itself to be very bright, is this emerging cannabis sector trend, and we’ve been writing about this now for, I don’t e even know now, three and a half years or so, from a macro level perspective, dealing with these sorts of issues, and that’s also what led us to decide to get into this industry and then of course the next question was how did we get in and what was the best way to position ourselves for what we believe was sustainable long term approach that would yield the kind of returns that we would be looking for in anybody who tends to listen to what it is that we’re talking about.
Matthew: A few years back you correctly saw there were voices from the power centers that were starting to reframe the conversation around cannabis. Can you tell us when you first started noticing that conversation around cannabis changing, and what in particular made you feel that cannabis prohibition was ending?
Anthony: Well, I would say that there were a number of things that added into that. There’s not a light switch that just flipped on at some moment in time. I will tell you though, it’s kind of funny, the first time that anybody mentioned to me anything to do with cannabis I got a phone call from somebody that I had gone to the university with and hadn’t talked to for years. I think they came to me through my LinkedIn account or something, and said, what do you think about taking a look at a cannabis company opportunity.
That might be four years or four and a half years ago, and I said, geeze I don’t know what you’re talking about. I have no interest in cannabis. I really didn’t give it any thought at all. And over a period of a month or two and whatever it was after that, I started to notice more and more information coming out about cannabis. I just thought of it as some radical subculture movement that was in the process of evolving, that would never get any real traction or find any support passed a certain level. And then I started really digging into it. We have a fairly deep group of talented researchers that work with us on an ongoing basis and we started getting into this and saying let’s take a look and really see, is there anything behind this?
It started to smolder a bit, is what I’ll say, in our minds. A little bit of smoke started to generate and before too long we started to realize there’s something to this. This isn’t just a bunch of guys that have been growing in their basement, trying to knock on some doors and get some low level municipal government people onside and all that sort of thing. Of course all that happened too, but at the same time, wow, there’s quite a serious push here happening around the world. Many of the larger think tanks and brain trusts that have been pushing this forward, and credit to them. I mean, they’ve done a great job, I mean, in terms of moving the Hegelian dialectic, in this case, moving those posts very quickly. More quickly than most would have thought, and myself included.
I didn’t expect things to move necessarily as fast as they’re moving in this regard, but it became very obvious that there were extremely powerful financial hands behind it, and I would go back to that Global Commission for Drug Reform. When I really started looking into that, and looking into some of the financing that was happening behind some of the larger policy organizations that were really pushing, I mean global policy organizations, and then started having some meetings on a personal level with government leaders in Latin America, which fortunately I have some very strong relationships at the higher levels of politics, that enabled a better understanding as to where the real stakeholders’ interests were and what the thoughts were on an international level, which included having meetings in Geneva with several people who have a great deal of knowledge of what’s happen within the UN and the WHO and other organizations such as this, so that we could get a really firm grasp on we thought at least became the outcome.
To make it very clear, we went into this analyzing this trend and what we thought might occur with the attitude, as we always do, let’s find the holes in this, and let’s see why we shouldn’t as because we weren’t doing anything really at the time, why we shouldn’t do something, which is how we always approach things is looking for the negatives, looking for the holes in the story or the reasons why there fundamentally isn’t as much soundness as it may appear on the front side of the painting, if you will.
What we found was that the brush strokes were actually much deeper and much crisper and much better than we had anticipated they would be. We discovered that not only is the trend very much alive, but this trend seems to be fairly unstoppable, and there were a lot of reasons for it that became quite clear over time. And today, clearly what we can all see is that the train has left the station, that preverbal saying, but it is the case, and it’s moving quickly, and it’s moving at an international level. Anyone that was at the ([19:17] unclear) in New York last April, which we did attend, and had a lot of very good feedback, good meetings. What we do know and we continue to have active conversation.
We have lots of people involved with us in Geneva, who are actively involved in what we’re involved with, and we try to stay on top of everything that is happening that could affect anything to do with legislative policy or standardization related issues, any of these sorts of matters, which are critically important to understand in this industry from an investment point of view and to manage your investment portfolio accordingly.
So that is what I would say. To answer your question, we saw that there’s a lot of significant power at an international and regional government level. And from international business men and women whose voices more than matter in the global conversation of where things are headed in any industry. So this industry is not one that we would subscribe to as being driven necessarily from the grassroots entirely, but we would certainly give a large amount of credit to the grassroots as well and what they’ve done to push this conversation. Because without the grassroots support, we probably wouldn’t see anything close to what we do see today. So I wouldn’t make it an all or none scenario. I would just say it’s nice to see that it is something that has the attention and the support of the necessary components that it will require and has required in order to advance the conversation and the direction that it will continue to move in our opinion.
Matthew: To many people cannabis legalization is happening as a response to decades of pressure from grassroots activism. What you’re saying sounds like you’re attributing much authority to those in positions of power. Do you have any more accessible examples of other situations similar to cannabis legalization unfolding?
Anthony: Wow, that’s something I haven’t thought about. I mean, I guess, no I don’t off the top of my head. An example that’s a direct parallel to this, I mean, first of all it’s hard to find a direct parallel. The only thing you can really come up with where you an existing industry that is black, if you will, that is turning white, I mean you’ve got to go back 100 years ago to the end of prohibition. Most markets of course, even the tech market of the 90s, I’ll even go back further than that. I remember in the cellphone industry, in the dawn of the cellphone industry when the presentations were being given and people were raising capital for it and there were hundreds of companies that were startups trying to become the next big cellphone company.
There were people that would be in the room that would ask the question of who would ever want to carry a telephone around like that. It’s true, but in the moment in time, I mean, it’s a viable thing to think about. Historically speaking, I mean you see where we are today, sounds ridiculous, but at the frontend of any trend that involves new technologies or innovations or whatever it may be, you first must do a market assessment as to what the potential market size of those products may or may not be, and that’s the first buy in that any investor has to have before your numbers of what your percentage of potential possibility of market share might be.
So in this case though that’s not the case at all. Everybody knows that there is a live and booming global market for black market cannabis, and that there has been one for many many decades. That’s a totally different situation than dealing with any new market that might come along. So to give you a parallel that could be even close to that is difficult. The one thing that makes this such an explosively powerful market from an investor point of view, I’m talking emotionally again, is the fact there is no need for a water cooler discussion or an explanation about what is the product. You say what the product is, and immediately okay, I get that. I mean, we understand what it is. That’s perfect.
That makes a very simple, easy, mass marketable trend, if you will, for Wall Street or Bay Street or any street that’s involved in the financial markets to gain investor interest, and you don’t need to convince anybody that that market is a very profitable market. Again I would go back to the fall of prohibition and say that much like that era, you have a lot of regulatory oversight that falls into play. You have a lot of synchronization of efforts that come into play. Just look at alcohol. Why is it when I get off a plane in Prague or in Canada or wherever it might be, any city in the world practically and I want to buy a bottle of spirits; vodka, rum, whatever it might be, why is it that they’re all pretty much capped out at about 40 percent? How did that come to be? Was it somebody just wrote it down and they all agreed?
The answer is no. These things, these standardizations occur over time, and it occurs with all kinds of input from all kinds of people and party stakeholders or otherwise; social, political, all those things. That’s the same kind of process that we haven’t really started really yet to any great extent, getting to in the cannabis space. So as we move forward, what I see is simply that there’s an industry here that has obviously garnered the support of very large hands, lots of investors around the world. There should be caution flags. I believe more caution flags than less along the way for people who are paying attentions. At the end of the day just like in cell phones, just like in technology stocks, just like at the end of prohibition, you’ll have a few large hands that likely will be predominantly in control of the market, just like you had with most things in the world, if you look around. I mean, that’s just the way it is and likely that will be the way it is in this industry as well.
So there’s money to be made and on the speculation that that’s what you’re looking for is just to speculate, chances are you can buy and sell and do fairly well in the emotionally charged environment in which we find ourselves today in what you see, for example, Canada. At least for our perspective, again I’ll come back to the fact that we’re more interested in being one of those few that are left standing longer term. That’s the objective, that’s where the real long term multigenerational wealth and value will be created.
Matthew: One of the trends I see as potentially happening is hybrid medications of cannabis or a compound of cannabis with the tradition pharmaceutical. What role do you see Big Pharma and Big Tobacco having in the cannabis legalization landscape over the next few years?
Anthony: Well I see a dominant role. I think your question about the pharmaceutical industry, I agree with you 100 percent. There’s a lot of people out there that actually believe that cannabis is going to change the way that the world works when it comes to what is medicine and how medicine is distributed, all those sorts of related issues. I would argue that that is fool hearty and I would suggest that cannabis will fit to the way that the world has structured itself, with respect to how medicines are dealt with, regulated and distributed and otherwise. And then you just take a look at who controls the majority of what fits on the shelves when you walk into a pharmacy somewhere to buy your medicines or your doctor prescribes it or whatever it might be. And what you find, of course, are that there are again what I mentioned a few minutes ago. There tend to be a fairly small number of very large corporations at the end of the day who dominate the landscape in any given sector.
In the pharmaceutical industry it’s no different. If anybody really believes that some little tiny company out of wherever it might be is going to boot Pfizer or Roche or any of these other companies off the shelf anytime soon in extremely valueable markets, I think that’s kind of a fool hearty thing to believe. I believe what you said, and I agree with that entirely, there will be pharmaceutical companies who will pull certain molecules from the cannabis plant and utilize them as part of the makeup of existing drugs, in many cases.
I mean if you look at a company that has seven years left on a patent for some specific medication that cannabis may be able to be beneficial in that particular sector, that market, that niche, if you will, it’s clearly in their advantage to reformulate with slight modifications and file a new patent around the new modification. The trend in the pharmaceutical industry is towards more of a buy it bio-pharma make-up. I mean, that’s obvious as well. That’s factual. It has a lower period of time to get to market for the new products. It’s less costly, but still very costly, and that’s the other issue here.
I mean, at the end of the day the FDA, DMA, Health Canada, all these different organizations, some of us may know what regulatory democracy is, and regulatory democracy, for those who don’t know, is really built on the shoulders of those large corporate interests that dominate the landscape in any given sector. The regulatory hurdles that are put in place are, yes, they appear to be very onerous for them and for anyone else in the industry, but the reality is they’re really putting barriers between themselves and anyone else who would try to become competition to them because they can handle the financial costs. They have the ability through their consultants and their lobbyists and otherwise to move things along through the process.
They also have the ability to make sure that other things don’t get moved along through the process that could be a threat or otherwise. So I don’t see anything changing in the medicinal marketplace, with respect to who it is that’s dominating the shelves or the prescription pads of the medical community at large, but I also, back to your point again, do see the pharmaceutical industry recognizing the power that comes from harnessing some molecules, CBD or THC or whatever it might be, from within the cannabis plant and incorporating it into some of their existing formulations or perhaps developing entirely new formulations. Definitely I would not be betting significant amounts of capital on companies that were professing to be the new drug company in the game.
If they are fortunate enough to take something far enough, I would suggest eventually if it’s a big enough market and there’s enough money in it, they’ll be swallowed up by that large pharmaceutical company anyway, which is typically how that works. And those are big homeruns. If you’re part of one of those, by all means, fantastic, but at least I know from our perspective, we’d be more interested in supplying the molecules than trying to develop the formulations ourselves.
Matthew: You had a great point there about how the regulators operate. It seems like the regulatory bodies in the U.S. government are not so much there to protect the consumer as they are to protect certain corporate interests. Perfect case in point would be the electronic cigarette industry, which recently the FDA said, you have to go through millions of dollars of jumping through hoops in order to bring your electronic cigarette to market and who does that leave standing? Only the companies that can do that type of thing. It wasn’t a simply submit that your liquid is not toxic. It was you’re going to have to jump through these huge hoops, and the only people that can jump through those huge hoops are the huge players, and the huge players are the ones that the big tobacco companies that can afford that no problem, and then all of a sudden it kind of turns into this olic-opoly. Sometimes I hear people say well, I won’t try this or that drug because it hasn’t been approved by this government body. And I just think to myself, gosh, this government body is not there to protect you. It’s there to protect these corporate interests, and the corporate interests make it look like they’re doing it for the good of the people is through this body. Do I have that totally wrong, or is it true somewhere in the middle?
Anthony: Well, I’m not going to comment on any industry specifically like in terms of names or whatever, like Big Tobacco, whatever, but what I will say is I think you’re 100 percent right. And again, regulatory democracy works in all industries, whether it’s banking. It doesn’t matter what the industry is. Those barriers and, I’ll call it, the wickets you got to go through to get to the post, using a croquet analogy here, is that if they really are designed to be difficult. Politics, and you just look at the political system and how the political system works and where the money comes from that elects the politicians and where the special interest groups, who has the lobbying power in all industries.
The industries themselves fight for more and more regulation, not less, because they can afford it. They design it in essence by lobbying and putting the pressures in the right way to get the end results you’re looking for, and it doesn’t matter what the industry is, whether it’s automotive or whatever it may be, those rules, regulations and the overall structure is designed to protect their Holy Grail. That’s human nature. When I say human nature it’s a reflection of human nature. I’m sad to say that. I’m certainly not someone that’s pleased, as a free market thinking libertarian, to say that that’s a good thing. When you said, and I agree with you, that there are many people that say I won’t take this drug or I won’t do this because it’s not legal, it hasn’t been approved. To me, that’s a sick mindset.
It is just the way it is. It’s the way people have become, through fear mostly, the fear of the unknown and the safety and the assurity the governments and related regulatory supposedly are able to provide and are there to provide. They buy into that, and it’s something that has become universal across the board. So, it doesn’t matter what we’re talking about, whether it’s global warming, climate change, all these different issues. Fear is the number one means through which people have succumbed to the regulatory power and the almighty state as the protector to ensure that whatever it is that they’re doing, if it’s been approved, if it’s legal, if it’s got the seal of blah-blah-blah, that I must be okay.
Coming back to this discussion, I would suggest that one side is reality and one side is perception. Perception oftentimes drives reality, and the perception of the public supports this structural system, so therefore it exists and it is able to continue to be beneficial to those who are the enablers of the system.
Matthew: Right. And not to bring up global warming, because it’s such divisive topic, but no matter what side of the global warming debate you’re on, if that can be a centralized and taxed event, then there’s people that can benefit from it. So whether you believe global warming exists or it doesn’t, the solution that’s proposed will benefit certain parties over others and maybe not create a solution that anybody finds useful, but just takes more taxpayer money into a cul-de-sac where you never have any actual results you can do anything with.
Anthony: You’re right, sorry to cut you off there, but I just want to say something. Global warming, it doesn’t matter whether you believe it’s right or wrong. It doesn’t matter what your beliefs are, partially right, partially wrong, however you want to view it. The reality simply is again, perception. What is the perception generally speaking? And you can go to your child’s grade four play at school and you’re going to see the polar bear falling through the icecaps. I mean, everybody is being indoctrinated, whether you agree or not, with the global warming discussion.
So you should deal with the perception being the reality because that is what we need to deal with, and when you get back to the regulatory hurdles and those wickets of croquet that you need to get through to get to the ultimate stake, at the end, by having a strict and heavily regulated environmental and social, we can go into that too, that’s another aspect of social responsibility and all those other related philosophical, if you will, areas of concern these days corporately. All of those wickets just bring that bar, that entry bar, that competitive bar and they put it higher and higher and higher so that again, the bigger, more better financed, systemically inbred, if you will, companies, who are dominating the various sectors, are never going to really be of threat of losing their Holy Grail. And even if they ever did, though really poor management or just being badly organized and operationally inefficient business, at the end of the day, due to the fact that they have such an important social role in society, in terms of employment or otherwise, they’re going to get bailed out. Whether they’re an airline, whether they’re this, that or the other thing, the governments just will not let their friends in need ever suffer, because the governments work for their friends in need.
Matthew: Yes, that’s true. You talk about equatorial locations being ideal for large scale cannabis cultivation. Why is that?
Anthony: Well it’s very simple. Forget cannabis for a moment and let’s just talk about flowers and the flower industry and much of the vegetative industry that we all rely upon for many of the things that need a natural life cycle and the right climatic conditions to be ultimately the more competitive environments to grow things in. You look at the equator and the countries around the equator, especially in the more stable regions of the world, politically and economically, like for example, Colombia and neighboring countries, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, those regions. At the equator you have a natural 12 on and 12 off light cycle.
You have environmental conditions to go with it, climatically speaking, that provide you with, in some cases in certain locations, not all locations are equal at the equator. Clearly there are some that are too hot, some that are too high in elevation and therefore too cold, and there are some that are just perfectly conditioned and in the right elevation, with the right mix of temperature and other related factors for producing large scale flower production, regardless of whether it’s cannabis, chrysanthemums or whatever it may be. And on the equator, you have for example, just take Colombia itself. Almost 20 percent of the world’s production of cut flowers comes from Colombia. Over 80 percent of the cut flowers purchased in the United States come from Colombia.
Why not California? Why not Florida? Well, the answer is because they can’t produce as competitively, from a price point perspective and from an environmental perspective as well. That’s a whole other issue, but they can’t compete with that environment. You can’t replicate it. It is what it is. When you go a few degrees north or a few degrees south of the equator incur greater costs, electricity and otherwise. So when you’re dealing with ground zero being the equator, and for most people maybe they don’t know this, but flowers in order to go in and cannabis now, we’ll go into cannabis, like chrysanthemums, it’s almost identical in that respect. They require 12 on, 12 off daylight to night light or night time hours of an environment of such. So 12 hours of light, 12 hours of darkness. Now that is your perfect conditions for natural flowering, the flowering process.
So the only thing that you’re really dealing with power or electricity for, on a very low supplemental basis is the first three or four weeks during the vegetative state when you are not looking to flower yet the plants. When you’re just taking them from seedling to the desired height level and then of course literally turning off that very little bit of supplemental light that was used to trick the plants into maintaining themselves in a vegetative state and then you allow nature to do its job. So when you’re dealing with that sort of an environment there’s a natural reason, pardon the pun, why Colombia takes, as an example. Ecuador, as well, is a very dominant country in the flower industry. Other countries in the region are also obviously active in the region.
Together though, between the Dutch, Holland who provide a lot of the genetics and a lot of the background material that’s necessary in the flower business. I mean of course the Dutch, everyone knows how big and powerful and important they are in the global flower industry, but the Dutch in Colombia, I mean it’s like a highway system that’s been developed over 30-40 years here. Those two countries work together like a Swiss watch. Half of the greenhouse operations that I’ve visited, at least for example in the country of Colombia, have a great deal of direct or in some cases a little more arm’s length type of relationship with Dutch companies.
So when you look at that the Dutch, then why don’t they do it all in Holland? I mean, for the same reasons. They understand that there’s much better economies of scale and gains to be gotten through large scale production in countries that are equatorial positioned. It really comes down to cost and having nature do your job. And in a world that’s consumed with the consumption of naturally produced and environmentally friendly products, and when you can do it at a lower cost, those are almost no brainer decisions to make as to why you would be there. Like I said, the flower business is a multibillion dollar a year industry and why aren’t they growing the flowers that are supplying the United States in Florida and in California, instead of buying them from countries like Colombia, who supply 80 percent of flower market for cut flowers in the United States. It’s because they can’t compete economically at all, not at all.
Matthew: Okay so, you mentioned Ecuador, you mentioned Colombia. You don’t spend time in Ecuador. Why is Colombia specifically ideal. I mean I was there over the summer time, I really enjoyed it, both culturally, weather perspective, food, the people, very clear form of Spanish is spoken there, so it’s easy for a Gringo to pick up on relative to some other places in Latin America. Why is Colombia so compelling to you as a country?
Anthony: There’s a lot of reasons. First of all, I’ve been living and working in Colombia for 15 years. Everything you just said I agree with, and I would even bold it. Most people out there, I think the misconceptions that surround Colombia, once you’re there it’s kind of laughable. Look, that country is poised for nothing but growth over the next foreseeable future, many years in my opinion. I like what’s happening on the political front. I think we’re going to continue to see progress made in that country. I think everybody wants to see peace. It’s just a matter of what the final shape of that peace process ultimately is, and it’s a learning experience for all the parties involved politically.
When I look at that country I see a country that has proven itself to be the dominant leader in the flower industry in South America. It’s the country that has the most support financially from the United States for a couple of decades. It is the battering ram, if you will, against communism and leftist policies in Latin America. It is the more capitalist country, and America’s best friend in Latin America. So you’ve got a country that has an infinity. For example, for Americans, there is not a backlash against Gringos, if you will, that you would experience in other countries in Latin America.
Look, I’ve been in them all and extensively. I’ve done business in a lot of countries in Latin America. And for me, Colombia offers the best mix of all that is necessary to be able to truly dominate in this industry. Why not Ecuador? Well Ecuador, it’s interesting. Ecuador has the potential to be an important player in the global cannabis industry. I wouldn’t discount it, and I wouldn’t discount the potential for that country to proceed, but what I would say is Ecuador doesn’t have nearly the level of international stability in terms of what people perceive is necessary to invest large amounts of dollars in the country. It has shown leanings that have been more in the direction of Venezuela at different times over the past several years.
It doesn’t have the level of free trade agreements or the number of free trade agreements and established economic ties with other nations that, for example, Colombia does, which virtually has free trade agreements in pretty much every Western country, all of Europe, Canada and the United States, all over the world and has developed industries and particular an industry that’s relevant where you have the workforce. I mean (45.45 unclear) the Association of Flower Growers and Exporters in Colombia has about 130,000 people underneath that organization that are workers represented by the association in the various flower growers operations in Colombia. This is not small. I mean, it’s massive. When you look at the infrastructure and the experience, technological innovation this is not backwards production in Colombia. These are like the Mercedes and the Portias of the car industry.
They’re operations work with incredible precision, with planning and procedures and environmental issues, all those issues that we all talk about. These guys are leading in those areas. So you’ve got an industry with all the expertise, all the knowledge that’s necessary, excellent universities that are there to work in tandem with companies that are developing in this industry. And you’ve got ease of international trade. You’re sitting in a country that has two and half hour flights to Miami. Direct flights to Europe. I mean you have ease and accessibility and both coasts covered; Pacific and Atlantic. The only country in South America that has that. So you can ship products by ocean freight or otherwise, and that’s what happens across the board.
Colombia is in the middle of a boom infrastructure-wise that is really designed to connect. It’s all the rural regions that have in some cases have been suppressed because of economic investment due to their FARC involvement or other less than savory organizations that made it difficult for business to grow in some of these areas, very fertile areas. Areas that have lots of promise to develop agriculture or other related industries, but it’s the largest infrastructure development program in Colombia. One of the largest ever to occur in Latin America. All of the ports, airports, highway systems, road systems to improve transportation.
So the amount of money and the amount of resources that are going into that country is really quite impressive. And the foreign investment protection and other related issues to give investors the comfort that their money is safe in that country, they’re all in place at an international level and otherwise, you really have a perfect mix of environmental, social, climatic conditions and otherwise for this particular industry. Let’s not forget that Colombia has certainly got a past with this plant that isn’t new. I mean you go back to the 60s and the 70s, it was one of the big three out there in the world, as far as its reputation is concerned, as a high grade, high quality cannabis production region.
I would suggest that the only reason it didn’t keep pace with the rest of the world, maybe in terms of its legacy in that regard, not that it was a good legacy by the way, so let’s not call it that it was. So I’m not trying to put a positive light on that. I’m just simply saying, and I won’t use the word indigenous because I’m not so sure what an indigenous strain is in cannabis, unless you go to the Himalayas or what have you, but I would suggest that, there are strains that have been there for a hundred years or more that have been cultivated. So, now I guess you would call them somewhat native strains, and there are hundreds of them. It’s a treasure trove to be discovered of opportunity in strains with that country.
So with the support coming in, also internationally from the post peace process agreements that have been struck with different governments to support the transformation of Colombia in these areas that need the help and the support, there’s about a billion-three dollars worth of capital coming in. United States I think is $450 million. European Union is three or four hundred million Euros or whatever it is, but the point is it’s a lot of money and these very same countries are very unlikely to put up doors that bar products coming from Colombia in a legalized, international environment for trade, which is forthcoming in cannabis without any doubt. And as that, it does occur, at least I believe and we tend to believe, those who are working with us that Colombia will receive a great deal of empathy and that the doors will be opened, because there’s no country in the world, none, that has suffered as much as Colombia in the war on drugs.
There’s no country that deserves more for its people and for the country itself if there’s going to be a legal scientific and medicinal marketplace developed around the world, and for these products to move around the world, there’s no country that deserves more the opportunity to participate to help rebuild and to help ignite these areas that have been so dramatically effected through the war on drugs. That’s why Colombia is it.
One more thing I would like to add to this about the equator. If you look at the equator and draw a line around the world that would pick up a map or take a look, what you’re going to see quickly is, and you can just put an X over the nations in the South East Asian marketplace, because they’re pretty heavily Muslim populated. The Muslim countries are not buying into this industry at this time. Look at the Philippines, I mean quite the contrary. There’s lunacy, what’s going on in that country with respect to how they’re dealing with the drug issue. So none of those nations over there at this time make any sense from a developing of this business perspective. If you look at Africa, you’ve got a couple of countries that are trying to get their feet on the ground and grow and develop themselves from an infrastructure perspective to compete in the flower industry.
Forget about cannabis, but just the general flower industry. Over time you could see some of the African countries developing themselves in this industry as well, but today they just don’t have what it takes to literally plug and play and get going, where only a couple of countries really do that are positioned like that. Again that comes back to Latin American nations and Colombia is the obvious leader in this discussion, when you put all of the issues on the table.
Matthew: So to kind of crystallize your thesis here, are you saying that in the beginning, we’re in the beginning chapters, beginning innings here, generally a lot of people aren’t going to make money in the first few innings, but like all industries, as they mature, we’re going to move to lower cost producers who can do things in mass and scale and bring down their cost dramatically, wherever that is in the world, it’s going to move into a slightly more commoditized phase and perhaps even then get away from the flower itself and maybe start getting into oils, as looking at it cost per milligram or something like that, milliliter of oil. Is that the general trend you see happening over the next five to ten years?
Anthony: Those are a lot of specifics but yes, generally speaking it is. I’ll go back to Colombia again, and I don’t know if you know this or not, but just yesterday the Colombian government, President Santos signed the decree that now paves the way for and sets forth the rules of the road for the industry. This is the cultivation side, and that just happened, literally. So this industry in Colombia I can tell you has been designed around with an only oil focus. There is no ability to produce flower for the purposes of end supplying flower. That is not the industry at all in Colombia that they can complete. A complete approach towards standardized oils, extracts and related products that can be made from said extracts and products.
We firmly believe that that is the future of the industry. Anyone that really believes that you’re going to have the support of the world and World Medical Association and the subsequent medical associations and thus there the doctors who do definitely take a strong lead from their associations and as a peer group would not endorse and will not endorse on rolling up flower and smoking it. The carcinogenetic effects and otherwise that have affected the tobacco industry and of course will affect the flower industry. Carcinogens are carcinogens. It doesn’t matter whether you’re sitting next to a fireplace and someone’s making a fire and you’re inhaling them or whatever it might be, they are dangerous and they are extremely unhealthy obviously, without getting into that. We all know why, and it’s just a matter to what extreme they really are causing all those damage, cancer and otherwise, but we do know that they are horrible for our health, and they are not something that will be endorsed.
Look, when you get into that part of it that’s one obvious. The other part of it is simply the standardization and governments, regulators like to standardize. It’s just part of that whole regulatory wicket structure we just talked about. And so you can’t standardize flower. It’s just impossible to be specific, but you can standardize oil. You can standardize it and you can refine it to specifics to meet whatever those standards are and in some cases it’s companies to set those standards. That’s another point is the UN and the WHO and these organizations take their lead from private sector. They don’t sit in a box and say these are the new rules, now go do this.
What they do is they work together to pay attention and monitor and in some cases participate in the planning side of thesis, the things that may work and may make sense, but then it’s up to private sector to take those forward. And it’s always good to have the international organizations and the powers that be, if you will involved in the planning side of any of these sorts of standardization movements, but those standardizations, once they’re proven out to be able to be carried forth and they’re tested, subjectively or otherwise and all of this data and research and the necessary peripheral support that is required in order to endorse or get behind, structural changes or standardizations in the industry. As that all occurs, that’s when you’ll see these industries become more in sync and the move towards certain types of ways of producing and what you’re actually producing become commonplace.
Now in Colombia the government has recognized that that is the future of the industry, and we think that they’re dead on right with that. And as a result, they prohibit anything to do with the production of cultivation of cannabis, unless it’s for the purposes of manufacturing it into standardized oils and at a very high level. So you’re not going to see an industry develop in that country that reflects the Cheech and Chong days of the seventies. You’re just not going to see it. We’re going to see something here that is leading the world from a technological and innovative perspective and one that maintains its bearing and its focus at all times in that direction.
Matthew: Your emphasis on the standardization of oils has my wheels turning about once we have standards in place that maybe international community starts to look at is hey we agree with these standards. Does that open the door then for creating derivatives options, futures, swaps and those type of things on oils where I can say hey, in three months I want to buy this grade of cannabis oil at this price, and someone will sell it to me, allowing for businesses to have some predictability in their input cost and so forth and hedging and so forth. Do you see that happening and if so, do you think that would happen in a place like Colombia or more in a finance center like London or New York?
Anthony: Well I certainly see it happening, and I also don’t see it happening in Colombia. I mean production yes, and the ability to participate in that market, yes, but I believe those are New York, London and other related financial centers, and it will happen. I want to clarify one thing here. There’s a difference between just saying oil, to this standard oil, to that standard and then of course branding and what premium oils or subpremium oils look like. I think molecules are much easier to regulate in such a fashion and to design financial instruments around, such as for example, CBD, the molecule itself or certain other molecules that could be commoditized in such a way.
Hemp oil could be very easily commoditized to meet certain standards. And then yes, you can deal with oils in that way of all types but there will always be… if you believe that there will eventually be, and I’m one that does, I’ll fall into the Richard Branson camp on this one, that eventually we will see, much like with wines, much like with other types of things, that there will be an adult marketplace and that it will reflect stories. It will reflect history, that it will reflect local passions of the vineyard and venture who is making these wines and whatever it might be. That becomes your branding. So those are not something that I see as commoditized products that would fall into that camp, but I do see general oil. Oil that could be used by companies that are making beverages or whatever it is, finished goods producers that need to be able to ensure that they can access oil at a certain price so they can plan properly in developing their end products.
I think it’s an important part, as it has been proven in any business, in any sector that there are people willing to facilitate that futures market, if you will, for the provision of said raw material, if you’re viewing it as raw material. Finished goods will always be a marketplace I believe for well-branded, well-marketed and well-positioned products, consumer ready products that probably won’t fall necessarily into that camp, but there’s a large market that will. So yeah, I agree with you on that 100 percent.
Matthew: Good point. I think the hemp oil or hemp in general does seem a better candidate for that. Less of a focus maybe on terpene profiles and so forth. So yes, I agree with that. Now I want to pivot to Canada. Just give us a snapshot of what you think is going on in Canada. Maybe contrast it a little bit to the United States and Colombia and your general thoughts and feelings about the Canadian market in terms of cannabis.
Anthony: Well, I would be happy to do that. I think there’s going to be several companies in this country that will do very well over the long haul, and I believe that those are the companies that are savvy enough and recognize that the best way for them to develop their businesses is to have a hybrid structure. One in which cultivation, the low cost, environmentally friendly cultivation can occur and does occur as part of their supply chain in countries like Colombia, for example. Because if you look at the oil market, that’s going to be, and it is, becoming quickly the focus of most companies in this business who see where things are headed. The question then becomes what’s the cost of that end product going to be for me.
If your cost structure is 50 or 60 or whatever it is, times more expensive for that feeder stock cannabis, the flower itself that’s needed to make the oil, your entirely uncompetitive against the guy next door who decides I’m going to source my flower that has been processed to a certain point into oil, and I’m going to bring in that oil and I’m going to then fine tune that oil in my facilities for my domestic market and supply the domestic market and focus more on the finished goods side of the equation. Focus more on the end products and developing that oil into whatever it is that fits for their given market.
There is where you’ll see, I believe, the strong survive. I think those who fight against that and are determined to anchor their cultivation strategy in a country that is just not climatically suited, other than seasonally, for large scale production of cannabis, I think they’re the ones that will fail. The ones to me that make sense are the ones that will look abroad, will strike the right distribution relationships, the right partnership kind of structures, bring in that oil and then finish there.
That leads to another topic which is this nationalization wave that’s sweeping across America and in many countries. There is much to that. No one is suggesting that it’s an all or none in a country like Colombia or Ecuador or any other. I mean you can build a factory, a high quality CGMP processing facility in any country and the costs are going to be relatively the same with that facility. You can make it a smart building in Canada, you can make it a smart building in Prague. You can make it a smart building wherever you want to make it, and your cost of human labor, when you’re talking about a scientifically driven and medicinal grade facility, it’s going to be the same more or less wherever you are. There’s not going to be any dramatic effect on your bottom line cost when you’re dealing with that level of expertise. You’re going to pay for what you get and get what you pay for.
So you need great human resources to really run the type of business we’re referring to. So what I would suggest is likely to occur over time is that you will have producers, if you will, who are going to focus more on their end of the marathon where they can really take for their domestic markets and for other markets as well where they’re also involved to do the finish goods processing. Then you can see, for example, a situation where you can have a Canadian company that is able to brand the products as long as they meet WTO rules and regulations for what must be done in order to meet said capability for marketing something that’s a made in Canada product, but you can have made in Canada products that have a certain component or certain amount of the processing in finished goods manufacturing occurring here, employing high quality jobs with nice wages and all those things and let the lower cost, so to speak, cultivation activity, which means a lot in these other countries, in Colombia and these sorts of countries where there’s immense poverty, which doesn’t go unnoticed at the UN level as well I would add.
That’s also a big part of the thrust of what they’re always willing to support, are countries that are helping lift people out of poverty and create employment. Well this type of employment in countries like Colombia where the average monthly worker is making $400-$500 a month working really hard and very productive people. Obviously you can’t compete with those sorts of numbers when you’re talking about labor. But that all adds in to the finished cost of the cultivation. So I see a finished goods marketplace where Canada and the Canadian companies that are smart and strong have aligned themselves to be able to access the components of the supply chain that they just can’t compete from a cost perspective in their domestic markets, and hybriding that into their existing structure and that’s where I see the market going.
I think the other ones I will say will be great shorts at some point in time in the future. Today I wouldn’t short any of them because as I said earlier in the call, there’s a great deal of emotional enthusiasm behind what’s driving this Canadian marketplace at this time.
Matthew: Before we close, I have a couple more questions for you. What do you feel about block chain technologies in general like Bit Coin, and do you think there will be any overlap or disruptions maybe to the financial industry or other industries, including cannabis with the block chain?
Anthony: Well I’m for any form of competing currency. I’m a person who has spoken out against, what I call, the manipulative control of our monetary systems for many, many years. Therefore I support any efforts that compete and bring private industry initiatives to the table, and I would suggest let the market determine for itself what they would choose to use or not use as a form of trade or savings, wealth protection, what have you. And if that includes in some way, shape or form being part of the cannabis industry or otherwise, great. But other than that, I really don’t have much to say on it.
Matthew: Okay. I like to ask personal development questions to help listeners get a sense of who you are personally. Is there a book that has had a big impact on your life or way of thinking that you would like to share with listeners?
Anthony: Well the book that would have the most impact on me would be the first, what I would call, real book that I wrote. And that would be because that was a learning experience that involved reading many books and spending many hours with many great thinkers who I respect a lot. But outside of my own personal experience, and that book is called High Alert, for anybody who wants to look for it. You can find it around the internet or what have you.
Harry Brown was like a father to me. Harry Brown, I don’t know if you know who that is or not, but he was a New York Times number one best seller. He ran for President of the United States twice as a Libertarian. Just a tremendous person, wonderful person. That book, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, is timeless. Anybody who picks that book up and reads that book and can say that it didn’t affect their lives, either didn’t read it or they’re lying. I mean it’s a fantastic, fantastic book and I would urge anybody to read it.
There are many great thinkers and many great books that I’ve enjoyed reading over the years, and I’m an avid reader. I love history, and I like in particular to follow free market thinking history and read more Libertarian and an Austrian economic type of material. It certainly has inspired me and helped frame my way of thinking and how I look at world markets and trends and what’s evolving in front of us. So that would be my answer to your question.
Matthew: You know there’s a lot of people that don’t have exposure to Libertarian philosophies that listen to the show. We usually get people that fall into kind of the left/right paradigm that don’t have… and we’re kind of cattle chuted into being either for the red team or the blue team, and we don’t hear alternative narratives, and I think you have a really good way of sometimes stripping away the hype from topics and looking at actually what’s going on behind the scenes. If you were to kind of, maybe in a few bullet points, just kind of talk about what that philosophy is for people who are familiar with it, because sometimes I think the way it’s portrayed in the press is that Libertarian philosophy is this fringe, weird thing. And in many ways, I mean, the founding fathers of the United States were much closer to, I would say, the classical Libertarian philosophy, Austrian economics than modern left/right paradigm.
Anthony: Well you’re 100 percent correct. They were. And modern left/right is, again, it comes back to that whole structural system. Even our political system reflects a two-choice system or a few choice system. In this case, two, which is replicated around the world. But look, it’s really quite simple. Libertarian philosophy is I guess you would say socially liberal and conservatively fiscal. Meaning that Libertarians believe you should stay out of your bedroom. It’s none of your business what I do with my life, as long as I’m not bothering you, leave me alone. It doesn’t have anything to do with disrespect for morality in its essence of you shouldn’t murder, you should do this.
Of course not, everyone understands there are rights and wrongs in this world. Libertarianism just leaves it up to us individuals to be personally responsible and bear the responsibility for your actions, whatever those actions may be. But to be responsible for the decisions that you make and whatever those decisions are they affect me and my body, and whatever I choose to do in this world, they’re mine. It also has a lot to do with the… that comes back again to, the ability to use whatever you choose to use as currency. I mean, if I choose to trade my cow with you for your horse, I should be able to do that without somebody standing in the middle and taxing me on that transaction, or someone else demanding that I actually use dollars to make that transaction so it can become a taxable event.
Currency, the way the monetary system is structured, the infringement across the board on our civil liberties, all of that runs counter to Libertarian philosophy. Libertarians believe in living together in harmony, but living and allowing and respecting your right to be who you want to be, whoever that is. You may say something I totally disagree with, but that’s your right to say that. You’ll find yourself extricated from social circles because if your opinion is one that is offensive, people just will stop associating with you and you will find you will suffer through the realities of human interaction. You don’t need that people regulate, for example, hate speech. I would rather know, by the way, if somebody has something to say that I consider for me at least offensive morally, and that’s again to be derived I believe by your own self what you define as your own morality, what you’re willing to accept and not accept.
At the end of the day I would rather know what people are thinking. Maybe we wouldn’t be in such a situation as we are today with “this terrorism thing”. If we knew more about what people actually thought rather than trying to regulate people to keep everything in their minds and be bottled up and create your free speech zones in certain places where you’re allowed to talk under monitoring and powers that be oversight. I mean it’s all ridiculous. So Libertarianism is focused on transferring more power to the individual, less power from the state and really respecting that the government’s role on behalf of the collective should be to protect those civil liberties. That also leads to the big discussion about war.
Again, if you start with the individual and the right for an individual to live their life the way they like it, you may not like how I live my life. I may not like how you live your life, but I’ll respect your ability to do so. You respect my ability to do so. And the big thing about democracy, and America is a Republic, so a constitutional republic. So people should stop calling it a democracy. That’s a bastardization of the reality of what the founding fathers created, and a democracy works counterproductively against the individual because 50+ a little bit of a percent can choose to enact rules, regulations and otherwise that run against my interests, and that is completely anti-libertarian on its face.
When you look at wars around the world clearly we all know we need to have as group, as a country, as a people, wherever we are, however we’re centralized and whatever nation we are, that we need to have the ability to protect ourselves against those who don’t respect civil liberty and individualism, and therefore a strong defense is your best offense. But when we start becoming the soothsayers of democracy all over the world, the ones running around trying to impose what our views now are of how others should live their lives and what they’re doing, whether we like it or we don’t, and of course that’s the we don’t like it side of the equation. Opposing governments and all these other things that have happened around the world. All we’re doing is running it further and further away from what the founding fathers of the United States created when they created the Constitution of the United States. And libertarianism is much closer to the realities of what the Jeffersons of the world and others thought, felt and believed. Very intelligent people, when they drafted what they drafted and subsequent documentation around that era that protected our liberties and gave us the blueprint to maintain a high standard of living on an individual level with a collective relationship that really set rigid boundaries on where the government began and where it ended. So that’s my answer to your question.
Matthew: Well, that’s great. I think this will be something a lot of listeners perhaps has never been exposed to or heard anything like you just mentioned before. So I appreciate you giving that information. Is there any way that listeners can follow you online or keep track of what you’re up to?
Anthony: Yeah they can. I don’t charge for anything like this. So whatever I do publically-wise. I post, generally speaking, up to a website called www.anthonywile.com. I don’t do this often. I’m really, quite frankly, very busy. I stopped publishing basically about a year and a half ago more or less on a fairly regular basis. I still do pieces once in a while for Huffington Post. I’ve done a few and different papers around that are interested in the cannabis story because it’s mostly about that that I’ve been writing. However, I’m also involved in real estate development in Colombia and other grassroots private equity kind of things on a personal level. So we do do some of that.
Occasionally I’ll write or do a show like this about those sorts of topics, and I do love by the way discussing issues and it’s a passion but it takes time to really love that and live that passion. I’ve had the pleasure of doing that for a lot of years and now it’s just as I say. I’ve just become so occupied and so busy with what we’re developing in Colombia, and I want to make a disclaimer here because I think it’s important. I do have a very large financial interest in Colombia with a company that is licensed. I won’t say its name because it’s not necessary, but I just want to make it clear so there’s no misconceptions out there. I do have a financial interest and I think I’ve given the reasons why I like and in our group at least at (1.16.15 unclear) why we like Colombia a great deal in this space. So a disclaimer on that. But www.anthonywile.com would be the main place I would say for that. In the future there will be… there is something we’re building now as a new platform for Colombia focused publishing by the way.
So it’s a business related publishing effort, and when that surfaces in the next couple of months, I will take a chief editorial role with that voice for sure.
Matthew: Well, Anthony, thanks so much for joining us on the show. Again, that website is www.anthonywile.com and the book is High Alert. I assume that’s on Amazon?
Anthony: Yes, I think so. I’m embarrassed to say. I’ve written a few but I don’t know. But if anybody wants to find a copy of that, you can download it from www.anthonywile.com. I believe it’s there for free. I think there are four or five books that I have written there that you can pull down and again there’s no charge for that. I’m pretty sure they’re there. You might also find them at the www.thewilegroup.com. That’s a business that I’ve recently transitioned to, a new corporate branding, but the site is still live, and that’s just called www.thewilegroup.com. And at either of those two sites, all those books I’m confident are available for download. As I said, I haven’t looked at them in a while.
Matthew: Well Anthony, thanks again and good luck to you in both Canada and Colombia.
Anthony: And good luck to you, and thanks for the invite to be on your program. I think what you’re doing is fantastic and you’re providing a great educational service to your listeners and congratulations.