I help patients understand medical marijuana. I help towns understand the marijuana industry. And I help cannabis teams get up and running. Basically, it’s my desire to bring a professional, reasonable, and healthy voice to the cannabis industry in my neck of the woods –the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts.
When done correctly, I believe cannabis can help communities and towns. There’s evidence that opioid use goes down in communities with licensed marijuana dispensaries. A real positive impact can occur. But a lot of people don’t understand how they can enter the industry or what will happen to their towns when the industry arrives.
I try to be as balanced and objective as possible. I serve both the towns and the industry, and I want to make sure that everyone is getting along.
Business and Community
There are a few main categories where you can enter the industry: a cultivator, manufacturing cannabis, or retail shops. Another big category, which I don’t know anybody who’s doing it yet, is transportation.
Transporting cannabis between locations will be a business that could just require a van and a business plan. We can help people do that.
When you’re applying and working you need a good team. We bring teams together. So, if you have money and a location but you don’t have a grower, a retail manager, and things like that, we connect people. We look at your business plan, see if it’s appropriate for your use, and assess if it’s going to pass the Cannabis Control Commission.
You also need to find a building. You must find a location that is going to work for your proposed plan and your town’s zoning laws. I work with real estate agents, so we are forming these teams to connect people to the right locations in the state.
It’s really important to actually work with towns. One of my favorite things to do is talk about cannabis publicly. So, I really enjoy talking with people who have caution and fears around allowing the industry into their town. What is that going to look like? Is it going to smell? Is it going to change the town’s culture or reduce property values? These are all things that must be studied.
Putting Skills to Good Use
A lot of my time is spent just figuring out what the steps are.
Most towns in Massachusetts are amenable to the cannabis industry. There’s a requirement that up to 3% of a marijuana establishment’s gross revenue goes back to the town. It’s called a host agreement. That’s good revenue for a town that would not even see marijuana unless it’s a retail site.
If you live in a town that’s debating whether to allow the industry, that’s a very conservative choice. Cultivators and manufacturers must follow very strict rules and regulations. I help towns determine which teams would be good fits, and I help teams determine what towns to work with. This is a bigger undertaking than a lot of people realize.
It’s also important to remember that all skills are needed. If you don’t have a lot of money you can do something small within the industry. Or if you have certain skills that apply to the industry, you can contact me at ezrahelps.com. We will try to put you with the right team. I can make the connections and help people’s ideas come to fruition.
I tell people, whatever their skills are, to think about the whole health field. Dispensaries will need nurse practitioners and advisers from the health field. People will need financial services and accountants. People will need designers and IT support. All different kinds of things. So, it’s really important to show your support of the industry now. And if you’re a respectful, law abiding professional, it’s a good time to bring your skills to the Massachusetts cannabis industry.
We can help shape how cannabis rolls out in this sophisticated, well-educated state. The Pioneer Valley is full of people who are very interested in local, community-oriented, healthy living. A lifestyle that’s really conscientious. I think that cannabis can appropriately fit into that.
A lot of education is needed. People are going to need guidance about how to use products or when they’re appropriate. I think there’s a huge possibility for people working with the elderly, educating and connecting with them around what’s appropriate in terms of cannabis use for ailments. That’s one of the main things I already do individually with clients.
It’s my goal that communities utilize cannabis as appropriately as possible, for everyone involved.