420MEDIA Trailblazers In Cannabis: Muriel Young Bear, Bear Cub Consulting

Trailblazers In Cannabis

Digital marketing agency 420MEDIA and the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) have joined forces to create a series highlighting entrepreneurs trailblazing the cannabis scene. Each week, we profile a noteworthy business pioneer and ask each 5 questions. This week we talk to trailblazer, Muriel Young Bear, Consultant at Bear Cub Consulting, LLC.

Tell us about your Company

My traditional name is Mekw iid (Me’qu’ish), or Bear Head. I am a Bear Clan member of the Meskwaki Tribe in Tama, Iowa, Haskell Indian Nations Alumni, current board member of the Planted Association of Kansas, and Iowa Hemp Association board member.

I specialize in Economic development and diversification in Indian communities. I started my company to contribute my business background to Tribal Nations, specifically. I founded Bear Cub Consulting in 2017, where I work specifically with tribal communities to diversify Tribal operations, investments into the emerging Hemp industry. I also work in tribal entrepreneurship & small business development for tribal members. I am passionate about the sustainable use of land and resources, as well as strengthening sovereignty for all tribal nations and local economies. I began studying Hemp markets, supply chains, and business models as a graduate student at the University of Kansas in 2016, finding ways to apply them to Indian Country.

Screenshot 2019-01-08 07.35.50Why did you choose the cannabis/hemp business?

Historically, Indian tribes had a close relationship with this plant, specifically fiber. Hempstead Project Heart, founded by John Trudell and managed by Tribal Hemp advocate Marc Grignon, has uncovered historical Hemp artifacts such as Traditional twine bags, prisoner hand ties, fabrics for our bandolier bags and our bow strings. Our relationship with the Low THC fiber plant, is apart of our traditional history. I am excited to see this industry happen in Indian Country!

I am also an advocate for local, organic food systems, slow food, and food sovereignty. This Hemp seed is a perfect superfood and is highly nutritious. With food items such as hemp meal, hemp milk, hemp seed, and hemp flour, this is one of my PERSONAL favorite usages of the Hemp plant. It is also how I found Industrial Hemp!

I strongly believe this plant is MORE apart of our culture than we realized, or simply forgot. I want our tribal governments to be confident with economic diversification into this industry, it is in tune with our beliefs about sustainability. Along with the incredible history we have with the plant, the environmental benefits far exceed what we are invested in today! I would love to see us move away from fossil fuels, tobacco, timber and grow sustainable and renewable resources like Hemp! 


What change will your firm address in the industry? Does it address an unmet need? 

I am looking for partnerships, between states, tribes, and farmers to create a strong domestic supply chain for future generations. Right now, we all are aware of the lack of infrastructure in the US, and I know tribes can provide capital, as well as tax incentives and vast amounts of land for large-scale products like fiber and seed. Now that “And tribes” has been included into the revised 2019 Farm Bill, the possibilities are only the limits of our imagination.

Industrial usages in fiber and seed constitute 90% of its overall potential, versus CBD Flower. When I think of HEMP, I think of the Hemp American Flag. I think of Henry Fords’ Model T reinforced with hemp fiber, and the Hemp oil it ran on. I think of the FIRST Levi Strauss hemp Jean! I am highly interested in other areas of the Industrial Hemp market and I would like to see tribal councils start investing in the domestic supply chain, on tribal lands. Diversify our business investments into something more sustainable and renewable. Which aligns with our belief as caretakers of the earth.

What has been the reaction to your product/service/technology?

I provided education and advocacy for the last 2 years in illegal midwest states. Ever since I launched my “Hemp is the way” social media awareness campaign in 2016, I have received such an AMAZING response from both Tribal Members, Tribal Councils, and Hemp Industry leaders alike! I have been invited to discuss Tribal Economics and how we would diversity into Industrial Hemp on several occasions.  I feel many people would love to see tribal economies thrive, as a way to strengthen sovereignty.

Are there any upcoming milestones for your company?

I will be attending at the 2nd annual Tribal Green symposium, in Las Vegas. Feb. 19-20 at the Paiute Golf Resort. This will be the FIRST chance tribal leaders will be able to take investments seriously, with the support of the Farm Bill. Excited to consult with attendees.

I am also currently a CSA (community supported agriculture) coordinator at a local, organic Kansas farm. 50 acres USDA certified organic. We are applying for my FIRST license to grow Industrial Hemp. This is my first year with the plant in the ground, It has been a long road, but now the real work begins! Stay tuned for updates

Where can readers learn more?

Please visit my facebook or LinkedIn page, all my upcoming projects will be available as we enter the 2019 growing season.

Ke ti’ bi – Thank you

Iowa Senator Quashes Floor Debate On Marijuana STATES Act

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) on Tuesday blocked lawmakers from considering an amendment on the floor of the US Senate that sought to permanently remove the threat of federal intervention in states that regulate marijuana sales.

The amendment, offered by Colorado Republican Cory Gardner, was largely identical to Senate Bill 3032: The STATES Act, which creates an exemption under federal law for those jurisdictions that legally regulate marijuana production and retail sales. Senator Gardner has stated that he has the votes to pass the measure on the floor, and that the President would sign the bill into law. To date, however, the measure has yet to receive either a debate or a vote by members of the Senate.

Senator Grassley, who has previously bottled S. 3032 in committee, quashed Sen. Gardner’s effort to attach the language to broader sentencing reform bill, The First Step Act. Senator Grassley called the amendment a “backdoor to legalization,” and said that its intent was “inappropriate to consider in the context of a criminal justice reform bill.”

Senate members eventually passed The First Step Act. House members followed suit on Thursday. The measure now awaits action from the President.

As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Grassley has refused to permit votes on any Senate bills pertaining to marijuana law reform. However, in November, he announced that he would be stepping down as Committee Chair.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Have A Heart Makes Its Debut In Iowa With Two New Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

Cannabis retailer arrives in the quad city with grand openings in Council Bluffs and Davenport

IOWA: This weekend, Have a Heart celebrates the grand openings of its first stores in Iowa. The company will bring its deep expertise in the medical cannabis industry to the Council Bluffs and Davenport communities.

have a heart“We started as a medical dispensary many years ago, so our team possesses a core expertise in this area,” said Ryan Kunkel, CEO of Have a Heart. “Whether they’re living with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, or going through palliative cancer care, we’re proud to be able to provide patients in the Council Bluffs and Davenport communities with the best cannabis medicine, in a pleasant, non-intimidating environment.”

The Council Bluffs shop is located at 3615 9th avenue, next to Omaha, NE (across the Missouri River). Davenport is located on 2222 E 53rd Street, off of the I-74 Highway. Kunkel and Ed Mitchell, Have a Heart’s chief operations officer, attended green-ribbon-cutting ceremonies for both stores. They were joined by State Rep. Charlie McConkey and Mayor Matt Walsh from Council Bluffs.

“Patients who have a qualifying illness will no longer have to drive great distances to get their medicine,” said Council Bluffs’ Mayor Matt Walsh. “Have a Heart has provided our community with a safe environment where patients have access to a variety of medical cannabis products.”

Have a Heart was recently rated by High Times as one of the best cannabis dispensaries in the United States, and earned the distinction as Seattle’s top-selling cannabis retailer from the Puget Sound Business Journal. The company recently closed $25 million in series A financing, the largest private financing round for a pure-play U.S. retail cannabis company to date.

Have a Heart has retail stores across the nation including: Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, California and now Iowa, with additional stores opening soon in Ohio. The company has more than eighteen applications pending, including in five additional states. In addition, it has more than twenty sites under negotiation with potential merger partners in another four states.

Iowa Medical-Marijuana Proponent Dies Of Cancer

IOWA: One of Iowa’s clearest voices on behalf of legalized medical marijuana has died before she could see her efforts succeed.

Lori Tassin, 44, of Des Moines was a regular presence at the Statehouse last spring, button-holing legislators and testifying about why she and other ill Iowans should have the right to try marijuana. She died Friday of the cancer she’d been fighting for five years.

Tassin contended that many other medications doctors prescribe routinely are vastly more dangerous than marijuana.  At a Senate hearing in February, she unfolded a multi-page insert that came with her chemotherapy drug. The document listed numerous possible side effects of the drug, which she was taking for the tumors that had spread from her lungs to her brain. “Tell me that’s not pretty scary to look at,” she said, holding up the lengthy document for the senators to see.

How Much Does Marijuana Impact Your Driving?

IOWA:  A rigorous federal research study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse offers new data on the effects of marijuana on driving performance.

The exact impact of marijuana on driving ability is a controversial subject—and it’s become more important states continue to loosen their drug laws. And, while drunk driving is on the decline in the U.S., driving after having smoked or otherwise consumer marijuana has become more common. According to the most recent national roadside survey from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of weekend nighttime drivers, 8.3 percent had some alcohol in their system and 12.6 percent tested positive for THC—up from 8.6 percent in 2007.

It is illegal in all states to drive under the influence of anything, but years of work went in to establishing the .08 breathe alcohol limit that exists in most states. The question is whether we can establish a similar threshold for pot.

Poll: Support For Medical Marijuana Grows In Iowa

IOWA:  Iowans are warming to the idea of legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, but most of them still don’t want to make it legal for recreational use, a new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows.

According to the poll, 70% of Iowa adults say they favor legalizing the drug for medical uses, the poll finds. That’s up from 59% a year ago and 58% two years ago. However, just 30% of Iowa adults favor legalizing marijuana for recreational use, a level that is essentially unchanged from the past two years.

Iowa legislators last spring passed a limited medical-cannabis bill that would allow possession of a special marijuana extract for people with severe epilepsy. Legislators were persuaded to approve the proposal after parents repeatedly brought their disabled children to the Statehouse to lobby for the right to try the oil to treat seizures.

Iowa Officials Slow To Implement Medical Marijuana Oil Law

IOWA:  Iowa officials have been moving slowly to implement a law allowing for an extract of marijuana to be used for medical treatment, and advocates say they’ll keep pressing for more access to the drug.

The state Department of Public Health has yet to issue a single marijuana registration card that’s required under the law that passed last year, the Quad-City Times reported. Iowa residents need cards to legally possess marijuana extract purchased in other states.

Maria La France, a mother in Des Moines, said she remains too nervous about being arrested to regularly obtain marijuana oil for her son’s intractable epilepsy, the only condition recognized under the law for marijuana treatment.

“It’s too scary to break the law, too difficult to lose sleep at night. I frankly spend enough time worrying if my child is going to live another week,” La France said.


Expansion Of Medical Marijuana Rule Sought In Iowa

IOWA:  Limited use of medical marijuana is legal in Iowa thanks to a law enacted earlier this year. Medical marijuana advocates are not satisfied, however, and continue to press for expansion of that law and other legal changes.

With the 2015 session of the Iowa Legislature looming, advocates continue to push for measures that would loosen the restrictions on the use of marijuana or its derivatives in medical treatments. One movement calls for expansion of the new law, and another calls for a change in marijuana’s legal classification.

Such changes would require action at the state Capitol, where lawmakers return to action in a couple of months under the same split-control leadership as the past two years.

“The governor believes the state needs to exercise caution and diligently analyze the issue,” Jimmy Centers, a spokesman for Gov. Terry Branstad, said in an email. “Should reclassification and/or expansion of cannabidiol use pass both chambers of the Iowa Legislature, the governor would carefully review the bill.”


Board Hears Debate Over Reclassification Of Marijuana

IOWA:  An Iowa Board of Pharmacy committee listened to debate Monday over reclassifying marijuana.

Reclassifying marijuana from Schedule 1, highly-abused drugs with no medical use, to Schedule 2, drugs that have medical use, could be a step toward legalizing medicinal marijuana production and distribution in the state. This is the next step proponents said must be taken to allow them to utilize a new state law that currently they cannot.

Last year, the Iowa legislature approved a limited law allowing possession of cannabis oil for people with severe epilepsy, but when medical marijuana cards are handed out early next year, the cards will not provide protection from prosecution in other states or on a federal level for trying to transport or mail the cannabis oil.

“We will basically be unable to access any high CBD-oil, low-THC anywhere in the United States. So I’m not sure what we will do with the card,” Sally Gaer said at the Monday meeting. Gaer’s daughter has severe epilepsy.

Posters Claim Marijuana Shop Opening In Iowa, Property Owners Say No

IOWA:  Pictures came into our newsroom, showing Iowa Marijuana Company posters at a Cedar Rapids building, but when we checked it out, they were gone.

“One of our former employees said ‘have you seen the signs on the front of your building,'” said John Wasta, one of the building’s owners.

The building’s owners took the signs down saying there’s no truth to the rumor. They kept one of the posters, laughing at the situation.

We reached out to the manager listed online, who emailed us:

“I will be the acting manager of the impending Iowa Marijuana Company. We are not at large to discuss the legalities at the moment but we have been assured by many in the government, including the governor, that we will receive our license. Our suppliers are based out of Denver currently. Give me a call when you get a chance.”