The Southeast Michigan Cannabis Business Development Conference took place on July 9th at the Atheneum Hotel in downtown Detroit, led by Rick Thompson of the MICBD. Over 200 entrepreneurs, attorneys, and investors assembled. Supporters are interested in changing the rhetoric on the marijuana industry to one of scientifically proven medicinal fact, sustainable economic excellence, and compositional eloquence. Rick Thompson initiated this platform by welcoming everyone to “the making of history” and appreciating everyone for “their pursuit of knowledge this morning.”
George Cushingberry, the Detroit City Council President pro team and Baptist Preacher, took to the podium with fervor. “Every time we have a vote in Detroit, marijuana has been wildly supported,” Cushingberry stated. He voiced concern for cancer patients and their experiences with chemotherapy. “I’m not happy with the way things have gone [in the city]. Don’t tell people that have other debilitating diseases that they have to go to the streets to get their medication. Things are changing fast now. We have to come from good, sound science. Let’s take some time to reorganize. We ought to change the state law all together.”
Cushingberry acknowledged property taxes, business taxes, and licensing fees are all paid by these businesses to the city and that increased city services have improved for businesses that support those funds. The attack on real crime is what concerns him, and he is determined to cover the backs of business owners.
Justin Dunakiss, lobbyist, provided exemplary knowledge in the laws and next steps in the cannabis industry. Consulting and supporting individuals and businesses at the federal, state, and local levels, his firm has been active in the support of the free trade and regulatory systems for the safe and protected commercial licensing and sale of medical marijuana in Michigan. Dunaskiss and his firm have been at the forefront of the industry since the beginning. He spoke and answered questions on bills, rules, testing, processing, growing and distribution of various forms of product. Dunakiss reported that as of December 15th of this year, companies and individuals can apply for licensing through the state. Applicants must have a business plan, the financial stability to pay fees, and a clean background. The process is full of restrictions, however, if managed correctly, applicants may obtain sought licensing from the 5-member board and its new $28 million department. Dunakiss covered several points of the 3 Public Acts and Intent of State policy that will frame and support the stable transition of cannabis business platform for the state. These included the Marijuana Tracking Act, formerly HB 4827, the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, formerly HB 4209, now Public Act 281, and the Non-Smoked Marijuana Re-Authorization, formerly HB 4210, now Public Act 283.
Paul Samways, Managing Partner of Cannabis Accounting Inc, offered free consultations for attendees, stating that documentation and payment of taxes is imperative. Some attorneys have previously claimed the opposite, as such becomes an admission of guilt, however, times have changed.
Anquentte ‘Q’ Jamison, guest speaker and former Fox News anchor, gave a poignant testimony about her experience with cannabis as a treatment for muscular dystrophy. Her testimony showcased the need for continuing the push for more scientific research and understanding of cannabis as a medical treatment, regardless of the push back from the pharmaceutical industry, which was charging her hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for treatment.
Ken ‘Banks’ Harrell, Bullish Institute of Financial Literacy LLC, gave a presentation on cannabis stocks and the nature of the Market. Harrell stressed that regulations are still at the government level and most of the transactions are still cash-based due to current security issues.
The Market is number-based and transparency will be a problem when considering true dollar value of the business at the moment. Any cannabis company unable to take regular tax deductions is cause for concern. Liability and both political and tax concerns are all current factors for investors. Wrap-around products and services friendly to the industry as well as lighting and hardware manufacturers will be a safer place to put your finances, including the ‘green’ product industry. “Don’t place all of your investment dollars into a company who’s name you’ve never heard of,” Harrell said.
Also included were panel discussions on minority inclusion an advancing women. The two panel discussions were aimed at the two responsibilities that should be addressed in every industry.
The Minority Inclusion panel was moderated by Barton Morris of the Cannabis Legal Group
Jermain Dickens, public affairs attorney and Ron Jones, whose expertise is minority inclusion.
Addressing the issues and considerations of who decides and creates the industry, especially within an urban or minority rich municipality should be a factor built on education and action.
State level questions still have to be answered about the over whelming amount of people
Incarcerated for things that will be legalized within the coming months.
July 18th is the date of the city council community meeting in Detroit on industry issues. Other cities are already having discussions on ordinances, so it’s important to be at the Coleman Young Building.
The final panel discussion was on Advancing Women in the Cannabis industry.
Moderated by Allison Breton of Huron Valley Law Associates, PC the panelists were
Women Grow Market Leader in Detroit, Margeaux Bruner, Detroit’s Mayoral Candidate, Ingrid LaFleur, Carmen Brace, Founder and Principal of Aclara Research
STATEMENTS FROM ATTENDEES:
Richard Clement, – Legislative Aide to Council President Pro Tem George Cushignberry Jr.
City of Detroit – I am very impressed with the knowledge gained at this conference and I hope that the petitions pass in the Nov 7th General election. It is about time that LARA puts the picture on the card and make it a legit form of Identification.
Margeaux Bruner, Women in Cannabis – Market Leader for Women Grow Metro Detroit & Quantum Mechanic Services LLC (Consulting &Strategy), and panelist –
This is my third conference, first time as panelist in this event. As an industry expert, these conferences provide the most value and the most viable information. It is essentially a who’s who of business and policy making in the cannabis industry in Michigan and beyond. This event raised the bar in allowing direct communication with LARA representatives.
Brenda Lutz, Jackson County Compassion Club & Seed Cellar –
This particular conference is very beneficial for the upcoming industry of Medical Marijuana in Michigan. Having the director of LARA speak was I believe the most beneficial speaker along with Justin Dunaskiss. With wanting to get a Provisioning center license, grow license, and processing license, I really need to figure out what is needed and expected from the state. They were both very informative in letting us know exactly what is going to happen and what we need to be prepared for licensing. I really appreciate them taking their time to speak with us and giving us this information.
Kevin Ulmer, CEO of e-cannacom.com –
This conference was very informative for me in bringing me up to speed on the state of affairs for the state of Michigan. i also had a great time networking and meeting individuals from different aspects of the industry. i recommend if you have the chance you attend one of these events.