Your Gentleman had the opportunity to sit down and chat recently with a rising star of DC's cannabis community, Lonny the Street Lawyer from Street Lawyer Services! You've seen his face on the sign outside their 409 H St NE storefront, but today you'll get to know the man behind...the face. Inside the face? No, no, that isn't right. Oh, well, here's the interview!
GT: I think Street Lawyer has the most legit I71 compliance structure I've seen to date. Tell us more about that!
SL: So what we did is create a marketing office for my law office. This is 2019. And we created this office to market my legal services. We opened it in DC because cannabis is legal there and we wanted to use cannabis as a marketing tool to bring people in to buy the legal coupons to use the services. So it was just a beautiful way to do it.
GT: Right, the coupons. How do those work exactly?
SL: Let’s say you get a DUI. Nobody’s perfect, right? So you know you’re gonna get a lawyer. A lawyer costs $1500-2000 dollars, whatever it is, right? Why not save $100, $200 bucks?
GT: Can I stack a bunch of coupons and get my case handled for free?
SL: Three coupons max. People might accumulate too many coupons, so the way we do it, there’s a disclaimer on the coupon that you clearly read that says first you and your lawyer have to agree on a case. It can be applied to a lot of cases. If you call me up and say, hey, I’ve got a divorce case, I don’t do that. But I have associates & colleagues that do, and they’ll honor the coupon.
GT: Are the coupons transferable?
SL: Absolutely! Sure, it makes a fun present!
GT: So I can give it to my cousin when he robs another bank or steals a horse or whatever?
SL: Yeah! What?
GT: I’ve been playing a lot of Red Dead.
GT: Never mind. So you said part of your idea here was to drum up business for your law office. This is functionally it’s marketing arm. Are you still practicing cases?
SL: I’m still taking a few cases but mostly I’m referring them out. Y’know, I’ve really gotten into the branding of this and exploring different places to use this brand, so really I’ve gotten more involved in the family that’s been formed and the community, I’m just more stimulated by it right now and it feels like a really good fit for me in my life right now.
GT: You've made quite the name for yourself since joining DC's cannabis scene in 2019. Why did you decide to get involved?
SL: So, in fact, I found out as a consumer about some brick and mortar shops in DC. So they were gifting. I went into a shop and I just couldn’t believe it. And it was like, a smoke shop, I walked in, y’know, big smile on my face. The lady was nonchalant as hell, said you buy a sticker we’ll gift you the weed. I went OK! It was such a cool experience I did it a couple times.
Then an opportunity was presented to me at a very precipitous time in my life. I had gotten divorced, must have been just 6-7 months before that. I have kids, so it was a tough time for me since I was separated from my children. It was a difficult time for a man. I was in my late 30s, about to turn 40, and I wasn’t sure what was going on in my life. I had my law practice, I’d been doing it for many years.
That’s always a struggle. Y’know, you do well, but it’s not the most lucrative field of law and it’s constant battles, everyday. Everything’s adversarial. I love it, but it’s a lot. And at this time in my life, an opportunity was presented to explore the cannabis world and I took it. I said yes. I said yes to this opportunity. And...that was the difference in life. A lot of people would have said no to it. Too much perceived risk, too much shock, too outside the box. And I was at the perfect time in my life to go for it. So that’s what happened.
GT: Can you tell us more about your vision for the Street Lawyer brand? Where do you go from here? What are your aspirations?
SL: Right, so that brand was already around DC before Street Lawyer Services-
GT: Oh yeah, I remember you from the Klinger show on DC101. I’m an old head. DC101 is my jam. After HFS fell off, anyway.
SL: So I said wait a minute, let me parlay that brand is what happened, since that’s me anyway. What I’ve discovered, branded cannabis is a new thing. We’re on the ground floor. We’re creating a whole culture, a whole cannabis lifestyle brand. We want to become an international cannabis brand, like Cookies, Sherbinski…
We have big, big aspirations. We want to be one of the premier international cannabis brands. Open up cafes in Barcelona and, ultimately, dispensaries all over the country.
GT: You mentioned you were a longtime cannabis consumer. What do you like to smoke?
SL: I’m not a snob about my weed, I’m pretty cool about it, but usually the high grade gifts we have here [at SLS] are what I enjoy.
I really learned to smoke when I was studying in Barcelona. And we had the hashish, the high-grade stuff, the polen. It was a mustard color. Ahh. You walk around rolling joints, you put tobacco in it, soft, moist, natural tobacco in a baggie. Then you heat up the polen, that mustard, until its soft, then crumble it on the tobacco. Oooh. That’s what I used to smoke, it was so delicious.
GT: Sounds amazing. Ok here's another one for you. Let’s say federal legalization happens tomorrow, what’s the next step? What do you think cannabis activists' agenda should be on Day 2? Restoring voting rights, or…?
SL: No, even more than that, there needs to be a huge- this is going to make a huge difference in all communities, especially those that are at more of a disadvantage- expungements of DISTRIBUTION CHARGES for cannabis! Felony cases for cannabis also need to be expunged.
That is the difference that needs to happen, because possessions are all expungable, legislatures are coming out and saying 'yes, yes, yes, we understand and under certain circumstances are willing to expunge the possession of marijuana.' That’s nothing, nobody gives a shit about that anyway!
That’s not stopping anybody from getting jobs or housing. The only thing that’s stopping people from getting shit is 'Do you have a Felony Conviction? Yes or motherfucking No!' There’s no line, 'Explanation:' It says Felony Conviction, question mark.
Now that people are making great lives for themselves and their families distributing marijuana, they’re due for the expungement. And nobody’s talking about it! Not only do we have to legalize it but we have to unravel all the problems from before. I know they can’t undo the time, can’t give that back, but you can expunge the case.
GT: Thanks for your time today, Lonny. You guys can find Street Lawyer Services at 409 H St NE in Washington, DC, or on the web at StreetLawyerServicesDC.com.