It can be difficult for some teams to create both a professional and relaxed atmosphere during a largely attended presentation, but not for this organization.
The Boot Camp is the brainchild of M4MM Director, Roz McCarthy, Founder and CEO of Minorities For Medical Marijuana, who moderated one of the most informative and welcoming workshops we’ve encountered online. With Vanessa Jones as Admin, the days flowed smoothly with incredibly good questions from the attendees, with well structured answers that allowed the energy of the workshop to make it easy for others to build on the current subject.
Like all area Presidents, Cimone Casson, head of the M4MM Michigan Chapter took the lead on its premier 2 day event March 13 & 14, 2021 via Zoom. “Every state gets a chance to do it differently because every state has a different footprint, so it’s usually going to be a reflection of the chapter president’s vision as well as the areas landscape,” stated Casson.
“I just really wanted to create a fun, exciting platform where people would be eager to be educated. Making sure that people had a place for their questions to be answered by the top professionals in the industry while at the top of their game made it a great success with nothing but great feedback.”
Although the workshop was built with Michigan business in mind, people from all over the country were online to hear the presentations. Representing various special niches in the industry, like law, real estate, insurance, growing, and business development.
The Community Platinum partner was none other than the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency, (MRA). They actually kicked off the event to talk about what the State’s Equity Program actually entails as well as a presentation on how to apply for the adult use license.
“One of the biggest disconnects is understanding what it takes to be successful,” affirmed Casson. This can take on all sorts of forms, including location, security, investors, and knowing what type of fraudulent activity is possible, ( a great out of state link shared – https://mass-cannabis-control.com/wp-content/uploads/Considerations-for-SEP-and-EE-members.pdf). Other questions included, “Which license type is appropriate for an edibles manufacturer? Processor? Processor?” “Do Caregivers file taxes on money earned as personal or businesses income?”
“Can Caregiver licenses be paired with Microbiz licenses to boost plant quantity?” – By the way, No. Caregiver can only give distribution to their patients.
Among the sizable list of presenters, were professional stand -outs like Wanda James and Leo Bridgewater who were on hand to determine the winner of funds for the Pitch Deck portion of the Bootcamp, where attendees had the opportunity to gain favor with the investors in a ‘Shark Tank’ style presentation of their business.
Also on hand was local legend attorney, Barton Morris, whose criminal defense background had allowed him ample experience in Marijuana related offenses.
In 2008 when Michigan adopted the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, he decided to specialize in marijuana law. I was passionate about ensuring medical marijuana participants were protected from the state, whose laws he felt were both oppressive and discriminatory. Morris was very involved with the legalization of marijuana in Michigan and created the Cannabis Legal Group to assist those interested in joining the industry.
Another well known face in the vast crowd was All Star Grower, Adam Scott Green, whose decades of experience in growing, cultivating, and the best practices therein were intertwined with Jorge Lerma’s, (Viritis Labs), technical knowledge for a well rounded discussion on how to choose well and assure success within the agricultural process.
Other topics covered were licensing and taxes, financial preparation and capital, location, security, transporting, product determination and control, insurance, hemp, and every question the attendees could ask.
Taking it a step further, Casson and McCarthy not only created an event with an intense amount of information, but in addition to that, formed a SLACK program application where individuals can continue reaching out to each other, share best practices and stay in contact with all of the speakers. This was an exceptional value given the incredible amount of information.
Transitioning to a legal industry from an illegal and controversial stigma, has allowed the semi-closeted community of Cannabis supporters to cautiously open the door to the developing industry, but the debris of red tape, new rules and legislation continues to litter the foundation with situations and paperwork that can extend time, confuse, and sometimes trip up those interested in moving forward the business concept of recreational and medical marijuana.
Well known Cannabis Activists, Coauthor of the MRTMA, Jamie Lowell of MI Legalize and Rick Thompson, Board Member of NORML of Michigan and MI Legalize, Author, and Owner of the Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group have extensive commitment and knowledge in the cannabis community and are an integral part of exposing the ups, downs, and latest information for the general public as well. Their names and faces are on every media stage possible, as they advocate and lobby for better awareness of the laws and responsibilities of not only the user, but business involvement as well.
The importance of continued attendance to Thompson and Lowell’s events are as varied as the invested professionals you’ll meet that are coming to in the industry.
On December 2, 2019 the Michigan Cannabis Business Development Conference 2019 – this time at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing was forefront. Keynoting was the Director for the Bureau of Medial Marihuana Regulation, Andrew Brisbo. He and other speakers shed the latest light on the MMFLA and how it works within the new legalized cannabis business program. This is included how to follow and invest in cannabis stocks, small business success, and the importance of following the current congressional moves.
Representative Yousef Rabhi, incoming House Minority Leader, whose main represented city is Ann Arbor explained the positives and negatives of having a lame duck Congress during the time of new law and the crossing of the aisle necessary to achieve and protect Proposal 1 as it stands. Technically the process is not different, (during a Lame Duck Congress), but committees are made up of different members, but the the Governor creates the Government Ops committee, which controls all of the controls and procedures gets chosen to work on more laws and rules. If you are interested in things going a particular way within the laws, it’s important to pay attention to who is voting in your favor. Don’t take any vote for granted, the bi-partisan issues here are now.
He invited attendees to go on the NORML website, where anyone can click on their representative and send an email with their concerns – the offices definitely get the email, but it is always important to follow up with a phone call or see your representative at a public meeting she or he may be having in your area.
Questions directed to Rabhi included: How much of a level of communication do you have with your colleagues, what can you do as a rep with local units of government?
Rabhi answered that there are several relationships which are free-flowing from all of the municipalities. From commissioners to lobbyists, the communication, especially with important issues stays informal and allows your state rep to have those conversations, but being diligent on keeping up the energy of your concerns on proposals is necessary to keep up momentum.
There has to be a 5 day hold period between chambers passing bills back and forth. There are 9 scheduled session days, but the end is always up to the legislatures. Until they adjourn, there is always time for them to lengthen the time up until Dec 31 to discuss legislation. The clock doesn’t actually stop until the end of the year.
When asked, if there is a public way to find out when session has been adjourned, he stated the best way was to follow the media or watch the updates – Twitter and social media with large broadcasters are actually some of the quickest ways to find out.
He agrees that there is a good chance in 2019 that the legislation can be passed.
“Now that we have a new governor, I’m being contacted by my Republican constituents” – considered an influence, they are reaching out to him and asking how and what he believes Governor Whitmer will think about a certain new rule or bill. Things like Civil Asset Forfeiture, Age changing, and industrial hemp, have a lot of discussion surrounding them.
At this point he is less confident that the incoming house and senate majority leaders will be open to working across the isle than the representatives themselves. However, he states, members within the Caucus are interested enough to keep the momentum high on these things. Over the next 2 years, even if your not in his district, Rabhi invites conversations and comments to enhance the knowledge he can bring to the Capital.
Other local municipal leaders come to learn more about the laws that will affect their decisions on counsels and aid in the information that they take back to their committees.
Kathryn Underwood, Detroit City Planner, City Planning Commission was also on hand to learn about the local policy implications of legalization of adult-use and which are the State bills and/or actions that will facilitate or require local action. “Detroit will have to decide whether or not to opt out. There is much to be learned about the legal, social, and environmental impact. I am here and attending other events to help inform how the City moves forward, and how to engage and inform our citizens.”
Margeaux Bruner, Appointee: Impaired Driving Safety Commissioner, MDP Cannabis Caucus, Metro Detroit Regional Chapter Chair Cannabis Caucus, states it’s “important to interface with the cannabis community at large. I was a Proposal 1 Designated Speaker, I love the evolution of the industry. This is te evolution of regulation that leads to industry.”
Experts from all over the country show up to support, network, and learn the latest updates at Thompson’s events, such as Paula Givens, JD, of PPi Consulting Group, LLC whose been in the cannabis industry since 2014. She got her start by writing a BSA/AML program for financial institutions to service the cannabis industry. Ms. Givens has written applications throughout the country to obtain licenses in states where the number of licenses awarded is limited. Ms. Givens wrote The Green Solution’s license application for a dispensary in Illinois in 2014; NYCANNA’s license application in NY for a vertical in 2015; and Terradiol’s cultivation application in OH. Ms. Givens has had substantial success in Michigan as well, obtaining for clients 2 out of 2 provisioning center licenses in Niles; 1 of 6 in Lapeer; and 4 of 10 (so far) in Lansing.
Thomas MJ Lavigne, Attorney, Cannabis Counsel PLC Law Firm came to network with potential business clients and to celebrate the voting in of Adult-Use. His main concern is learning how soon can the State pass Emergency Rules for the adult-use commercial licenses. “Industrial hemp is more important and impactful than is public discussed. Most all of the TV coverage never includes industrial hemp in news stories.”
Stevan Bratic, Lighting Expert and Owner, Bratic Enterprises, LLC makes himself available as a vendor and expert on internal grow facility lighting and systems. “Developing Energy Efficiency and Sustainability guidelines is top on our list of activities with local municipalities and other states. Focusing on right sizing the building and developing the most effective efficient system to support the customers design. LED Lights, CHP or Co-Gen and Solar have been the most effective solutions but we see Destratification, HVAC, De-humidification brought a complete solution for our customers. All of theses solutions allow our customers to be state of the art and be able to make the long hall for grown and maximum profits.”
Grady Emmons, Owner/Director, Marijuana Security Operation came to promote his services and engage with cannabis industry business owners. He hoped to learn more about the security and logistics concerns of cannabis business owners. Regarding Michigan becoming recreationally legal, he states, “We don’t see any changes at this time for our business as long as the inventory tracking and management system (METRC) remains the same. For us, its all benefit at this time with more volume.”
Update January 22, 2019: The Cannabis Counsel in Detroit announced today that Michigan Medical Marijuana Association and Michigan NORML are suing the state of Michigan, the Board of Pharmacy, and its leader, Ms. Nicole Cover with the intension of having Cannabis removed from the list of controlled substances in Michigan. Representing the organizations is Cannabis. Check out the Detroit News’ Featured article with Rick Thompson here.
Cathleen Francois is Executive Director of GreeningDetroit.com. She loves staying at the forefront of news and innovation related to the states economy. You can contact her directly at 248-818-4252 or Cathleen@GreeningDetroit.com