Grow, Gift, Repair

Brief Recap of Mass Marijuana Summit

Michael Dundas, CEO of Sira Naturals and member of the Cannabis Advisory Board, explained the difficulty of getting investors involved in recreational and medical facilities. He said this is because investors must contribute more than $1 million, but must be willing to lose their money since cannabis is illegal under the federal government and still subject to legal consequences.

Mitzi Hollenbeck, CPA, CFE and partner at Citrin Cooperman, explained U.S. Code 280E, which prevents cannabis businesses from deducting expenses in their taxes. This means retailers could face taxes between 60 and 80 percent, Hollenbeck said.

The panelists applauded Century Bank specifically for its reliability to those in the cannabis industry at a time where other financial institutions stray from getting involved.

“They are willing to step out there and be at the forefront of the industry,” Dundas said.

Several activists, journalists and organizers were impressed with the work being done at organized events like this to move forward in making marijuana more available in the Commonwealth.

Christopher Bent, account executive at weekly alternative newspaper Dig Boston, said his company has been covering the marijuana industry since the beginning in their “Talking Joints” memos. Bent said they recently published a story about NETA selling moldy cannabis which had been dunked in hydrogen peroxide.

Bent said Dig Boston accepts advertisements from cannabis businesses on their site, which is rare because the industry is still subject to stigma.

“It’s hard to get advertisers for weed on other publications,” he said.

David Art of the State House News Service said he was pleased with the turnout.

“This was a very pro-cannabis group,” he said.

Alex Dalsey, Art’s colleague, mentioned the last summit was more of a mix between supporters and opponents.

“We don’t have an agenda, we just want speakers to express themselves and they did that well,” Art said.

Adam Fine said he knows residents are eager to see how the CCC handles the upcoming rollout.

“If you are skeptical, I understand. We have a very progressive committee listening to the public. They got more than 500 comments and I was pleased to hear them say they want more comments. They are listening,” Fine said. “Be persistent and vocal. That’s the best way to keep things moving.”