May 7, 2021

031 with Tim Johnson founder of Cannabis Safety First

Today, we will have Tim Johnson, the founder of Cannabis Safety First, industry safety and security specialist, providing biometric security systems, custom vaults, safety training, consulting, and legislative lobbyists. Let's sit down and gain insights from Tim with his call to change the stigma against cannabis, especially in the veteran's industry and community. Packed so much wisdom into the cannabis industry, let's sit down and gain insight from Tim with his call to change the stigma against cannabis, especially in the veteran's community.

Episode Highlights:

  • 01:12- Tim Johnson's journey in the  law enforcement
  • 05:00- What led to Tim's enhanced involvement in cannabis?
  • 06:36- Problems with the justice system involving cannabis
  • 09:41- Adult-use cannabis program
  • 12:22- The drive of determination, commitment, and self-respect
  • 18:52- Getting veterans more involved in the cannabis space
  • 19:55- A push for veteran rights when it comes to cannabis 
  • 24:50- A call to change the stigma against cannabis

Key Points:

  1. There are so many opportunities for veterans in the cannabis industry
  2. Use leadership skills and influence to call for a change for the cannabis stigma
  3. There's a huge problem with the current justice system involving cannabis that needs to change 


  • “Cannabis is everywhere, it's kinda like chocolate in a candy store.”- Tim Johnson 
  • “The military teaches you discipline, and discipline leads you to set a goal. Once you set the goal, commit to following through with that goal and have self-respect.”- Tim Johnson
  • “My passion is to correct that wrong, to get rid of that stigma, to take care of our veterans, stop killing us, give us our rights when it comes to employment and continuing educations”- Tim Johnson 
  • “My goal is to reach out and educate all walks of life because educational awareness is the key to success.”- Tim Johnson 
  • “Be active, contact lawmakers, and demand for a change.”-  Tim Johnson

Transcript of episode 031 with Tim Johnson Founder of Cannabis Safety First

Scott Tucker: Welcome back to another episode of Veteran Wealth Secrets. I'm Scott Tucker. And this is a show where we among other things talk about, what, how do we want to continue to serve after the military? And how does that align to things like money too often? We're working to live instead of.

Live into work and I'm excited today to have, Tim Johnson coming to us from Columbus, Ohio on the show, Tim. Is a former air force and the founder of cannabis safety. First, it's an industry and safety and security specialist providing biometric security systems, custom vaults, safety, training consulting, and legislative lobbying for the up and coming cannabis industry.

And as someone who came out of the military, went into law enforcement, did a number of other things. I'm really curious. To hear your story about how you got to what you're doing now and help people's. I know you're a huge veterans' advocate in this space. So I think we have a lot of things to talk about, but why don't we start off, tell us a little bit about yourself, kinda, how you, I know you retired, you got out of the military a while back and then at a full career in the, in law enforcement before you got in the other thing.

So tell us a little bit about kinda how you got started and got to what you're doing 

Tim Johnson: now. Okay thanks Scott. For first for having us along, we appreciate what you're doing as well. My military tour duty was in the mid seventies after I got out of that. Late seventies, I went to college mid eighties.

I was done with college and out of that started into some business management then. For awhile. And I realized, my schooling was, centered around law enforcement and criminal justice. That's what I really enjoyed. So I went ahead and got into law enforcement, did my 20 years in there retired from there.

And about that time Ohio was addressing The legalization of cannabis in Ohio. So I got involved with the organization that was spearheading, that did some work for them, got down to the state house, started working with legislators on what was going to happen. Of course, we were trying to put it on our constitution.

Legislators didn't want that. So long story. It showed us a end result at the ballot that year, the initiative actually failed. So I recalled not long after that. About a week after that, by legislators come down to the state house, I went down and talked with them. I got hooked up with a organization or a few other advocates here in Ohio, and we submitted a white paper for the program and work with legislators on that, did some touring with them around the state of Ohio to find out what conditions we needed to add to it, what kind of program we were going to create through the legislation and so forth.

Senator June of 2016 or June. Yeah, June of 2016, our governor at the time signed our the bill into law took a couple years. Actually I think it's still is actually in the process of licensing all the people that won their license, all the applicants. So we do have a medical program as a result of that in Ohio.

Veterans are addressed in it example. They do get discounts at the dispensary's. They are pride tour prioritized. If they're seeking employment in the industry here in Ohio, they do gain an advantage over that. So we moved along with it from there. Ever since then, I've stayed very active with it, working with license holders.

As you said, Biometric security systems and custom volts, et cetera, et cetera, there that we've done for the facilities. And we still continue to do that today with them as we're still more and more licensed to get awarded and so on. So I kept working with the legislators. I did a lot of judicial justice drug policy reform, government overreach reform, and so forth.

As well as doing the Some consultants still consulting in the industry itself. And then I've also recently here, since the time has come around it'll house program, you have to, the people working in the the bud tender. So to say, and the disciplinaries I've been doing a lot of training with them, keeping them up as a program, requires them to have continued education units, which is gives a little bit solidifies the the essential illness of the industry itself so that, addressing it so that yeah, we want you people to be certified in the Duke continued education units.

They are licensed by the state. I still work with, as I said, the legislators on a lot of that, stay in touch with the boards. So wherever we can make improvements and so forth in the program. So from there I'm here now. 

Scott Tucker: Wow. You were in at the beginning of not just, helping getting the industry off the ground, but making sure that this was going to be a possibility.

What led to that? What led to your. Enhanced involvement, obviously you, you had some specific expertise in it. But there, there must be a story behind why you were like, Hey, I'm going to go. I'm not only gonna advocate for it, but fight for it and make sure we're doing this the right way, way legislatively.

Tim Johnson: My interests, I think I gave you. I guess as a younger kid I was still people. My dear officers were my brothers, my older brothers they'd always tell me, if I got caught messing around with cannabis, of course, marijuana they were going to teach me a lesson. So I believed them once I went into the military.

It was readily available. My brothers weren't around, so I did get involved with it. Then I realized that all the propaganda and the myths and all the stigma that stills around was just that propaganda lies untruths from our own federal government. I got out of the military, did my thing in college and so forth.

noticed that it was cannabis was everywhere. It's like chocolate didn't candy store. It's going to talk there. So after that, once I got into my law enforcement career I started really picking up on. The harm that law enforcement chase in license plates. So to say, and looking for cannabis, the smell of cannabis you can say was pretty much just about 80% of the vehicles.

If you'd stopped them, whether it was there or not, he could smell cannabis. But that would lead on to other things, but I seen a lot of problems with that in the justice system, tying up the court systems, mass incarceration for non-violent offenses families being destroyed people losing their lives, driver's license, children being taken and school you're getting denied schooling, getting denied employment.

All of these things over a plant over something that up until 1937 was one of the top three medications in the Pharmacopia for use in the United States. And then, politics got into it. Some wealthy people got involved in it and the Anslinger era started then. And then we jumped clear up to 1970 Nixon gets involved in.

It creates the Cubs, no CSA. They controlled substance act, declares, marijuana schedule one against the medic American medical association and JAMA and the Shafer commission and all these that had done all this. It's time to bring it back. We need to start studying it again because it's very valuable medicine.

Medicines do come from plants. They just weren't gonna see it at that time. They felt a need to go out and hit the small communities up, make mass arrests, tie up the court systems. I don't know if they thought they were bringing in money or what they were doing, but they were going to read it the world of this evil plant.

So that didn't really work out real well for him. We're still fighting for that today to change that stigma, especially in the veterans industry and the veterans community to say it just thinks so. What we did was, we feel we're realizing now. And I seen amongst that stuff as well, two out of the three of the officers on the street at the time, where we would always stop and talk yeah.

Over coffee and donuts and say, what are we doing? Why are we chasing this stuff? And these people's lives are being destroyed. It's tying up our jails, it's tying up our court systems. We've got people going in for, back in the day in the seventies, you get caught with a pound of dope or a pound of weed.

And you might do 20, 30 years. We're seeing people an article the other day, I read a guy that was going to do 90 years. In prison for a little bit of smoke back in the day and they actually let him out. Thank God. I guess this was one of Cove. It's good things. The amount of people that have been pardoned or been released for non-violent offenses, primarily cannabis they're getting out now.

It's totally ridiculous. The penalties that they have and the laws clear across the United States. Of course, I focused on Ohio, but I keep an eye on the rest of the nation as well. And I'm in touch with other active veterans that are involved, but so as a result of seeing all of those problems and so forth, once I actually got out, as I said earlier, I had that opportunity to.

Work with the organization at the time. That was the question for a program here in Ohio. So from there where we're at today? In the state of Ohio, not the legislator or not the state house, we do have a full what we call adult use legalization. In other words, cannabis program. We were hoping to see it be introduced in this year here.

But of course we fell in too many other things going on right now with the civil unrest, the election COVID and so forth. So it's been got put on the back burner in the first of the year. I'll get back down there again, and we'll start pushing for that. Maybe we'll get, this year or the fall year in 2021, 2022.

We'll see a full adult use program in Ohio. We're still working on changing bills in the Senate, bill three in Ohio right now that addresses full decriminalization clear up through felonies on cannabis. Instead of instance, in Ohio at a hundred grams of cannabis, it's a felony five. And what's convicted.

As we know, although in America, once convicted, you're always convicted that felony status stays with you forever. You can expunge it, you can do this, we can do whatever you want with it, but it's going to be there. You got that box at the bottom of the employment thing. You've got the box and an application for a home loan and a that people just still have all that stigma.

That's still around that interferes with, the progress and so forth. So we'll see, 2021 looks to be promising for us with a change of presidencies here. So let's see what happens here. Hopefully we had, I think four States promote or pass some kind of a bill this year. I'm a lot more, or they're still coming on board.

We have organizations all over the U S now. That are pretty thin for decrim, for full legalization for doll use, whatever you go home grow, et cetera, the expungements and so on. So it's got to be a gun to exciting here at 2021. 

Scott Tucker: You are condemning honestly, the last, just few years how rapidly this has happened.

It's motivating. It's frustrating because. We see so many veterans who are on medications for various things, mental, physical injuries. And just so often you hear I was on the opioids. I was on the depression meds. I wanted to get myself off one way or the other either, either legally or sometimes they just had to go figure it out.

They'd find cannabis, not always the psychoactive part, but sometimes the CBD part. And they just go, Holy cow, I don't need to use this medication anymore. Why isn't anybody telling me about this? So I know my friends at the veterans and the veterans cannabis project are working hard to get with the VA.

To improve that access. But, typically I clearly you're, you've talked a lot about, Doing what's right. Having some self-determination you say that kind of got distilled in you from the air force? Why do you think, having that kind of self-respect to, to find a purpose and mission to get behind is so important.

For, not only veterans trying to figure out what they're doing in post-military life. I'm sure. I'm sure it's similar for a lot of law enforcement as well. Once they come off a service as a day-to-day job, but still want to find something to get behind, he tells us, but more, how do we do, how do we find that person a mission, a cause 

Tim Johnson: to really get behind.

I think you kinda hit it right on the head there, Scott. A lot of us got to do the military teaches you discipline and discipline leads to, setting a goal. Once you set that goal, are you committed to following through with that goal and to follow through with that commitment, you have to have self-respect for yourself.

Whether you're going to have ups, you're going to have downs. You're going to have drama in your life. You're going to have things that you'd want to just turn around and say, I'm done with it. I'm not going any further. You're going to have, people are going to trash talk. Yeah. Careers that you come from, they're gonna dig up on your past.

They're going to dig up on the negatives, but people very rarely as you've done, reach out and look for the positive side of what somebody has done, what they've overcome in in their life and continued to follow through. And they've made something positive out of it. Touching lightly, on the, the, for veterans getting involved with cannabis been around cannabis myself for 44 years now in my life.

And I see, I've met a lot of veterans that have come home or even some of those that are still in and they get injured and they, the first thing that, you know, doctors, whether they push opiates on us, they want us to take these opiates. I've seen so many veterans, the handful of pills decide to say, okay I don't really want to try cannabis because it could mess with my medical benefits, my retirement benefits or whatever.

It may be disability from the military, this is my life. And they find out that starting to use medical cannabis, these 20 pills or so a day they may be taken. They may be down to a couple pills a day that you know, that they actually truly need. Yeah, we don't advocate at all to totally get rid of all your medications.

There are some that you may actually need, cannabis is not a healer for all things. Neither is CBD, THC, whatever the psychoactive part, my personal opinion and experience. I guess on the lighter side, I'm still waiting to see Bob Marley. Don't see that there. As they, talk about it in the CBD industry, I just don't see that negative, not that cannabis full extraction cannabis for FICO.

It is, it can be very powerful. It really can, but. We don't see people dying from cannabis. We don't see negative effects from cannabis as we do with prescription medications and so forth. So we, you get a medication that says it's good for this, but here's 10 things. Are there side effects.

We don't see that in the cannabis industry, as well as we still see a lot of stigma. Veterans. Do you know you were a veteran, you fought for freedom for your country. Why are you doing an illegal drug? Yeah, I guess that's your perception. That's the stigma, the propaganda that comes along from the ends linear years and so forth.

And we still face that now over the last few years as many organizations, Veteran organizations that I've seen become very active, not only in Ohio, but across the country pushing at a national level, pushing at an international level. It's not just our country, not just American veterans, but all of them.

We're pushing for this, that, we're tired of you shoving pills in front of us, and we're tired of you evaluating us, for mental health and mental that so forth. We found something that is helping us. We're becoming a productive members in society. We're moving through the ranks of politics.

We're an upper management. It's there we're doing a lot, we're creating jobs by the companies that recruit we create. So we also see the. The Veteran organ to, that's or the but through the government, we also see them opening up a little bit and allow an Veteran doctors to say, okay, it's on you.

The doctor actually gets to make the choice. It's on you. If you think that your Veteran patient needs to, try medical cannabis. So along the lines, so that's helping on a lot. We're still waiting for. It to be recognized legally from Veteran, for all veterans and see how far that's gonna go across the County.

Within these, the military branches and so forth and, stop penalizing us for something that's working. If we're using, even if you're deployed, it's not like cannabis, doesn't get used by deployed veterans and so forth. Yeah. It's out there. It's, you got to stay ahead when I'm 18 years old and I go on to the military base, I got an ID.

I can walk into any bar. I want drink all the alcohol at one, but, leave us alone on the cannabis. We're probably the most productive people that you have. So 

Scott Tucker: yeah, I was just talking to someone who want one. He said he was prescribed roughly 300 opioids Percosets a month in addition to 600 ibuprofen.

And it just curious, the medical doctors know there's danger in that, you know what's the risk of say, Hey, try it. Why don't, why not try the cannabis first might save my ass from a lawsuit. But no it's still not there. And a lot of the medical community I'm guessing there's some pharmaceutical push on, on why that happens.

But Tim, tell us a bit, I know you set up an event in Ohio specifically around veterans, year or so ago. What can. W where should veterans be thinking, but the ones that want to get interested a lot, come to me. And they're Hey, I want to know more about this.

Maybe from an employment standpoint, maybe from a medical, maybe for recreational standpoint, whatever it is, I'm afraid to dabble. I think there's maybe two areas where veterans can get more involved or fight for themselves. One on the employment side. I'd like to hear your thoughts on that.

And then two, is there anything else on the legislative stuff where veterans can make more 

Tim Johnson: of a push? Yeah, sure. The employment side, as we all know a lot of companies in America, they take pride in hiring a veteran. On them probably run into though is when that employment gets ready to be started. And they say, come on in, we need to do a drug analysis on you.

And you're like, okay, I'm taking 23 opiates. Is that okay? You get them from your doctor? Yeah, that's okay. Then I get a dime bag of weed and smoke a joint a couple of times throughout the week or whatever it might be, or I have animals or whatever. And you go and you're pissed, dirty for THC.

So you're out the door. They're not going to hire you, but there's a lot of opportunities there. So I think what to overcome, all of that stigma, all of that stuff is for veterans to get involved with organizations such as your own such as there are literally thousands of them across the U S and what these organizations need to do in a collaborative and a transparent effort is to not just the local community leaders, but the state legislators, the federal legislators Push for, Veteran rights when it comes to cannabis, it needs to come off a schedule, one, the federal government with the DEA, they're still pushing it.

We would know you'd keep it as schedule one. And the reason behind that is, the DEA a lot of that operates on their success. We'll say their quotas. They make arrest daily on the guys on the street. They're not really taken off the big people, bringing it in. They're not picking up those leaders and it makes you wonder because of how much money they actually generate from this that comes in.

But so in a short sense, I can't express enough to, reach out to legislators in your States because here's what I tell veterans that people would have. Do I speak at events and so forth? I says, you guys have to look at it this way. Federal government has not approved. Medical programs for cannabis or adult use programs.

So my opinion they're conspiring with illegal activity. As the States do it, they are the Dawn of the cartel. So to say, at a federal firm and violating federal law themselves. They're living in this glass house, but US peons down here on the street, they're taking it out on us, but if we can just get it out of schedule one and hopefully this new administration will address that.

That's going to open it up to where, not only, States right now are bucking the system as it is. Where are we at? 34 35 States with medical, I think 13 with adult choice now. So they don't all have medical as well. We've got another four or five States coming on this year with programs and more in the process of it subsidized later, all 50 States, you're going to have a program, federal needs to stay in down what we know from national nullification that every, the States are taking over this.

It needs to come out. Big pharma needs to be addressed. They need to step aside. It's not like big pharma is not in cannabis. They're in a hot and heavy, they've got patents on it. We don't example. I use a lot of times that's confusing to me. And I spent, with several attorneys that I, a consultant to work with, we in the courthouse, you know was asked to judge the one question though, in the state of Ohio cannabis is a schedule one.

As far as, the CSA cannabis under the medical program in Ohio. Cause the schedule too. And then we got somebody like GW pharmaceutical that has patented Epidiolex and they got it scheduled as a schedule five. Judge and say, look, there's three schedules on this one planet. No other drug is like yet.

We're confused. Which one are we operating under today? I think only in fairness, if we continue and it's not like it's not being done, believe me. DC is full of Veteran organizations that are pounding on the doors every day up there on enforcement organizations that are pounding on the door, leak, law enforcement action partnership organizational part of some great people in there.

Federal judges down to a street officer on the street, prosecutors and law pound in the door. This needs to be changed. We need to make this wrong, make it a right. And. Now we need to start looking at our veterans and that's what I think what they can do. It's very easy to find out, whatever state you're in, who your legislators are.

And I always tell people, you can do the old Call them on the phone, send them an email knock on the door and walk in or send up a smoke signal to one of the other, but just to get active, I can't express it enough. Get active contact those lawmakers and demand change. Yeah. 

Scott Tucker: Yeah. Tim, thank you so much for sharing.

Gosh, you packed in so much wisdom and insight on what's going on in the industry, what the opportunities are, what the problems are and more specifically. What's the why the, why is the self-determination we want to serve, Hey, I want to help people. We always, we say that I want to help other veterans get out.

And there just happens to be this moment in time where this new thing is happening. What better thing to be a part of than something coming off the ground, continue using your leadership skills, your influence. And by the way, when a veteran is calling up a Congressman versus a non veteran, they listen a little more.

Let's be honest. I know of dozens, if not hundreds of Academy graduates that are in the cannabis industry and highly influential. So this is, all levels, all sorts of different ranks. And I loved hearing the law enforcement perspective. I hope it gets fixed because we can help with jobs.

I think there's so many jobs. What better environment than a highly regulated environment. And chaos at the same time. That sounds like a good industry for Veteran to take leadership and not to mention the medical side, but as we close out here. Thanks again. What's next for you? And then the next three to five years, where do you see cannabis, safety, first going or any other any any, anything else you want to talk about or 

Tim Johnson: announce.

I just, as far as cannabis safety first, US we'll have an organization because of the stigma of the word cannabis safety first one Oh one. And that's kinda like what the general public, those that are afraid to say let's have this guy come in. He's really fantastic. But these cannabis expert has, I spoke with an organization yesterday about it.

So I'm looking. The training it's my passion. I'm not can make millions or anything. I've got a retirement plan, I'm a vet agent so forth, on, on living well, et cetera, to me, it's, my passion is to correct that wrong. To get rid of that stigma to take care of our veterans, stop killing us.

Give us, give all people, give veterans, give us our rights when it comes to employment to continue to education, et cetera, and so forth. I, that's my goal is to. Educate as many people as I can. And as we know, educational awareness is a key to success and to reach out and educate all walks of life rich, wealthy for whatever they may be in between legislators alike.

I reach out to law enforcement all the time and say, Hey sometimes it goes over, sometimes it don't, but they seem to have a little problem with one to hear the truth, but it is what it is. I'm not afraid to reach out and say something to them. I don't have to, it's not a yes or no sir, anymore.

I don't have to listen to the Sergeant. Say, take that Hill. And then you take the Hill. Now it's like a total off before we take that Hill, we're going to make some adjustments here, type thing. So I would just say, That's where I plan on being, for next, whenever to all the other veterans that are out there make those calls, send those emails for local community leaders clear up to federal and hit your state legislation at same with the cannabis industry.

That seems to be where it's at. Creating good state program because sooner or later we'll all come together and we'll hit at the federal level. And we'll see some changes, I believe. 

Scott Tucker: Awesome, Tim. Thank you so much for your leadership, the industry, especially in my home state of Ohio.

We're really nice seeing the improvements going on there. Tim, how do people contact you? Who should be contacting you in how do I get ahold 

Tim Johnson: of you? I welcome anyone and everyone to contact me. I talk to people all day or all day long every day to in Ohio, if you're going to legislator legislature dot,, it will guide you right to who your representatives are, who your senators are.

You can reach out to the executive branch, the governor, Lieutenant, governor of them, if you want. But start with the lawmakers. Start with the legislators. They make the law reach out to them as far as to get ahold of me. Name of the company's cannabis safety. Email is cannabis safety. Get ahold of me, let me know who you are, what you want to talk about or whatever. I've always got a listening ear. Whether it's productive, nonproductive, whatever, everything to me, if I'm listening is productive, it's just how I feel about it. I'm going to always look for the positive and something out of self-respect and the same, I give to the people that reach out to me as well, give them, I help people all the time connection, so forth.

So that would be my suggestions. 

Scott Tucker: Awesome. And on your, on LinkedIn as well, of course. Okay. Cool. Thanks again, Tim. Really appreciate everything and spend your time with us. Wish you a happy Thanksgiving. I don't know if I mentioned this, but I completely forgot it. Tomorrow was Thanksgiving.

I thought it was next week. Just 

Tim Johnson: Every day is Thanksgiving. There 

Scott Tucker: you go, man. All right, take care everyone. And we will see you next time. Thanks again. You bet.

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