The Outlaw Report is launching a new podcast, The Sesh, where comedian and entrepreneur Kevin Lance Murray aims to unspool the wild and wonderful world of cannabis in the DMV. Through interviews with industry leaders, policy experts, and drug advocates, Murray explores the region’s vibrant cannabis culture, with conversations on policy, culture and between experts and those shaking up the industry.
The Outlaw Report’s Maddie Poore spoke with Murray to discuss the lack of “playful” weed coverage around D.C. and how the industry can be more inclusive for people of color. This conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Listen to the trailer below, and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Music and Spotify.
How did you get your start in the cannabis industry and what has your journey been like?
Murray: Wow, what a loaded question. Crime is actually how I got my start. In college, I wanted to smoke pot all the time, like many, but I couldn’t afford it. So I began to sell it in the streets, mostly on G Street and F Street. I went to GW. After college, I got a regular job.
This was around 2010 or so and things were already very legal in California [where I traveled frequently for work]. I was working full time for an organization doing biotech investing, and I was also starting a cannabis [shipping] business on the side. It eventually got to the point where it got so big that I stopped working full time and was running this wholesale cannabis business. [But] all these types of stories generally have a similar peak, because at one point, it got too big. And I got caught up and I was arrested. And then I had to kind of reconfigure my life and my business.
This was right around the time that cannabis legalization started in D.C., my case is in 2012, and the whole process of probationary ended around 2014. At that point, cannabis changed in DC..I started getting involved in that and learning how to work in cannabis in a way that’s compliant with D.C. law and that brings us here.
How do you think the cannabis industry can/should change to be more inclusive and better support people disproportionately harmed by the criminal justice system?
Well, first off, if you have a felony for any kind of cannabis charges, you [should] get an automatic license to sell recreational cannabis – no tax. No, I’m kidding, you can tax me. but give me a license bro. Like I went through it… I had to pee in so many cups. I mean, it’s been so many cups…
What stories are you looking forward to exploring on the podcast?
I want to talk to people who oppose my views. Like I want to talk to anti-cannabis purists, people who are like, ‘Oh, no, the weed makes you feel horny and you steal’… I always find it interesting to talk to people who have extremely opposing views to me because I always find that there’s some middle ground, whether you like to believe it or not…I want to lead with serenity.
I’d also love to talk to people who were doing interesting things in the space, like people creating hemp products, there’s some cool textile stuff going on, not just cannabis products to be consumed.
I also want to talk to politicians, because that’s a beautiful art form, politics, because it’s acting. If you think about it, politicians are required to raise money to run a campaign. And they’re also required to use their money to get votes. They need to speak to the interests of their constituents, yet provide for the needs of their donors. Those two groups are not the same. They don’t want the same things. So the job, the job is serving as a bridge between what your constituents want and what your donors demand.
Tell me a little bit about how it feels to navigate this industry as a business owner and a black man.
I think that D.C. is a very special place because, you know, D.C. used to be known as Chocolate City, right? It’s now more of a caramel..type..municipality. But I find that most of my peers are Black and brown in this space here…I will say that, I believe that sometimes we perceive challenges that are internalized by due to, like, generational trauma, when right now I feel like there’s really a push for equity and inclusivity that a lot of people in power are really focusing on. I think that if we, as Black and brown entrepreneurs connect and link up, the power is in the people, the power is in the collective. So if we link up and use our collective power, I feel like right now is the best time to get shit done.
What’s missing in cannabis content that you want to see more of?
Playfulness. In D.C. it tends to be political or wookie events. A wook is like dudes who have dab rigs in their bags, and they have like four dab rigs and they just smoke shatter all day, and they are super hairy and white and they steal your ketamine and go to festivals and just do mad shatter and diamonds.
But what I found as far as cannabis content in D.C., it’s either very policy based, which is cool, or it’s like, wooked-out. And I’d like to just have some variety, right? I think it’s important to talk about policy and I think it’s important to talk to wooks, but not exclusively. Variety is what I’m looking for. And it turns out that’s what I’m about to provide to y’all.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy cannabis?
I’m old school. Okay, I like to roll a joint, I like to roll a joint and smoke it. Sometimes I’ll put a little bit of tobacco in there, but not like, dirty ass Newport tobacco, some proper Turkish tobacco. Also, CBD, I’m a big fan of CBD flower, CBD gummies, CBD tincture and all that stuff – especially if I’m having trouble sleeping.
Which local spot(s) are you ordering food from when the munchies strike?
I am what others call an “aspirational vegan,” meaning when I shop for food I buy – if you go to my house and my fridge is full of vegan food – but when I order food and eat out, that’s when I’m going to eat meat. Anju is a place I order from a lot, yesterday I ordered from there and Ted’s Bulletin all in the same day. I had those pop-tart joints, some pancakes and four whole ass pieces of bacon.
Who’s in your dream blunt rotation?
Dream blunt rotation…Snoop Dogg obviously.. but I would also be afraid of him in the rotation.. but he needs to be there. Wiz Khalifa. Willie Nelson!!! That dude. And then like, Obama, you feel me? I think he’s back on the weed now cuz he’s finished that little job he had. And Sarah Silverman.
Can you tell us a tiny teaser of what we’re to expect for episode one?
Episode one, we talked to Grindstone who is the CEO of Peace In The Air, which is a gift shop here in Adams Morgan. He’s also very active in the community as far as cannabis activism and getting equity in the space for recreational legalization. We talked about everything from his journey, what brought him into the space as a business owner, to what he’s doing with [Initiative71] committee, which is leading the charge to make sure we get what’s ours as far as the new laws coming into play for recreational legalization.