Free “week-long journey” to feature sessions on “nitty-gritty of getting your business through the city”
The Massachusetts cannabis industry can be difficult to navigate for any entrepreneur—but especially in the current volatile market, and even more so for those in the Social Equity Program (SEP), a “statewide technical assistance and training program that creates sustainable pathways into the cannabis industry for individuals most impacted by the War on Drugs.”
The problem is persistent enough that it surfaced prominently at last week’s Cannabis Control Commission meeting. Diving into the latest CCC data, Executive Director Shawn Collins noted there are currently more than 600 Social Equity, Economic Equity, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise applicants in the provisional phases of licensing, and emphasized the difficulty that many provisional licensees have in trying to actually open, specifically the problem of securing funding.
“There are a lot of hoops and hurdles that one must jump through,” Collins said. “And compliance is not cheap.”
As social equity advocates amplify calls for more private funding, and stakeholders await announcements from the state’s Cannabis Advisory Board regarding a Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund established to grant and manage loans in this realm, one thing that can move forward is education. Advice and lessons come in many forms, including from official CCC channels in some cases, but in an industry as new as this one, there’s always more to learn for any prospective license holder. (No matter what adult-use state you’re in—read about the mess New York has made of its social equity program here).
Furthermore, in addition to having to deal with state regulators, applicants must navigate municipal bureaucracies. So in an effort to demystify the process in the biggest city in the state, Boston’s Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion is teaming up with Rooted In—a Newbury Street-based dispensary with 55 local investors, “of whom 96% are of the BIPOC community”—for a “week-long educational journey through the ins and outs of owning and operating a successful cannabis business.”
From June 12 to 18, the “series will provide you with the knowledge and tools necessary to succeed in the rapidly-growing cannabis industry.” The co-organizers further explain, “Over the course of several sessions, we will cover a wide range of topics, including licensing and regulations, marketing and branding, product development, financial management, and more. You will hear from industry experts, successful cannabis entrepreneurs, and city officials, who will share their insights and expertise.”
You can see their tentative schedule and stay up to date plus reserve tickets at rootedinroxbury.com.