Helping cannabis executives and businesses grow through effective communications Beth Waterfall the founder of Beth Waterfall Creative, programming director for NeCann and Executive Director of Elevate Northeast joins Scheril Murray-Powell, Esq. to talk about her cannabis career. She explains how her business development and corporate communications strategic services are focused entirely on the cannabis industry and a select group of ancillary companies looking to enter the cannabis industry in a responsible, inclusive, and compliant fashion. Executive Producer: Scheril Murray-Powell Produced by PodConx Scheril Murray-Powell, Esq, - https://podconx.com/guests/scheril-murray-powell Beth Waterfall - https://podconx.com/guests/beth-waterfall Beth Waterfall Creative - https://www.bethwaterfall.com/ NeCann - https://necann.com/ Elevate Northeast - https://www.elevatene.com/
Helping cannabis executives and businesses grow through effective communications
Beth Waterfall the founder of Beth Waterfall Creative, programming director for NeCann and Executive Director of Elevate Northeast joins Scheril Murray-Powell, Esq. to talk about her cannabis career. She explains how her business development and corporate communications strategic services are focused entirely on the cannabis industry and a select group of ancillary companies looking to enter the cannabis industry in a responsible, inclusive, and compliant fashion.
Executive Producer: Scheril Murray-Powell
Produced by PodConx
Scheril Murray-Powell, Esq, - https://podconx.com/guests/scheril-murray-powell
Beth Waterfall - https://podconx.com/guests/beth-waterfall
Beth Waterfall Creative - https://www.bethwaterfall.com/
NeCann - https://necann.com/
Elevate Northeast - https://www.elevatene.com/
Beth Water Waterfall:[00:00:00] Hello everyone. This is Cheryl Marie Powell, Esquire cannabis, agricultural dietary supplement, entrained attorney. Welcome back to TURPs in the city. We are a podcast that really talks about all things cannabis. This season. We're really focusing on the New York market because I am moving to New York, moving back to New York.
I'm a native new Yorker, and there's so much going on with their emerging industry that I want to be a part of it. I want to contribute. I want to bring my talents to the state of New York. With that said on today's episode, , we have a very special guest. Our guest is Beth waterfall. She is a highly regarded industry professional. She has done so much in the industry. She's from the state of Massachusetts, but she is doing events all over the Northeast. You want to be a part of this? Let's hear from that.
We fortunately got a chance to meet up in New York. So welcome to TURPs in the city.
Scheril Murray-Powell: Thank you so much, Cheryl pleasure to be here.
Beth Water Waterfall: Thank you. Thank you. [00:01:00] So let's talk about New York. You were up there or, or you would be down coming down from Massachusetts for the MGM PAC conference. How has that.
Scheril Murray-Powell: Yeah, I took the yield sella train right on down to, to Midtown and was excited. It was my second time there. This month I had been there earlier for my first ever New York cannabis conference. It was the luxury meets cannabis conference which was. Kind of a different experience from most of the events that I've been to in the cannabis space.
But also just a really lovely entree to New York. For me, it was kind of fancy but nice to see some familiar faces and get to know a little bit about the New York space but coming back most recently last week to MGM packed in New York. That was definitely more intensive. More people more programming, really related to building up businesses.
Really great opportunity to see some of the brands that are either coming out of New York or wanting to come into New York. And that was really my interest in coming there out of Massachusetts. To see what's coming out of, of New York it's [00:02:00] obviously or maybe not obviously, but New York has a very active cannabis industry already.
Folks in Massachusetts probably are still getting cannabis from New York, I'm the the legacy market here. And so it was really exciting to be able to meet some of the operators that are in the legacy space and some that are coming out of there into the regulated space and to be at an event that was so welcoming of that.
Beth Water Waterfall: Beautiful. Yeah, it was, it was a great event. I thought that.
they did a great job with the MJM packs. I missed the Vegas one. I did. LPP last prisoner project. Shout out to the last prisoner project event in Vegas. I was fortunate to be a plus one for that event. And I was determined to be at their next event, which is New York.
And it was a hit. Now you come from that event planning space. So, the fact that you thought it was a great event means a lot because you plan these events. And, and you do great events. We can is like one of my favorite events of the year. We can Boston, of course there are a number of meetings.
That'll take place. Can you talk [00:03:00] about some of the knee can locations?
Scheril Murray-Powell: Absolutely. And thank you for the, your kind words about knee can knee can the new England cannabis network stands. That's what the, it stands for. They've been a part of my life since I got into the cannabis industry back in 2015. I had been working in a law firm and excuse me, I was at an accounting firm at that time.
That's what it was. And I saw that there was this cannabis convention coming to Massachusetts. I hadn't been particularly satisfied in my career. Facing becoming the chief marketing officer of an accounting company which, to family and folks that I'd grown up with, that would be very impressive, but it just wasn't fulfilling for me.
And so this, I saw something online about this cannabis convention in Boston and thought, well, I love cannabis. Maybe there's an opportunity for me to My refined skills, my sophisticated marketing skills and just to learn. So 2015, that was before we had a regulation here in Massachusetts.
And it was just kind of the universe opening things up for me at the perfect time. I was able to meet people at the convention [00:04:00] just learn. And my eyes were just opened up my mind, blown to what this industry was and what it was going to be. And so after the show, I connected with some of the speakers, but then also connected with the president of Nica and mark.
And said, Hey, I'm trying to get into this cannabis space. I'm really excited about it. I have a lot to contribute. Is there anything I can do for the conference? Cause I do events and marketing and in the accounting and legal space. And he was gracious to say, Hey, I've got this old blog that we haven't been doing anything.
Do you want to take that over? And I started just blogging for, for knee can just little things about news in cannabis. And then fast forward to where I am now with Nika. And I'm now the programming director where I oversee the educational programming. So I'm not necessarily involved in the expo hall or the sponsorships.
It's really on the educational side which is perfect for me because I know how much cannabis related education transformed my life in that kind of environment. So I take it really seriously. And see it as just almost like a responsibility to carry that [00:05:00] forward for other folks. And so I'm, I'm very thoughtful about who the speakers are, what the topics are.
People apply. We also recruit people to speak, reach out to people because it's just our responsibility to educate people and help them. Know what's going on in the industry, know what's going on on the advocacy side of things know what's coming in from other states. Or, other countries sometimes it just helping people be prepared with information so they can make whatever decisions are best for them, whether that's consuming cannabis for medical purpose or getting a job or starting a business or becoming an investor or, for folks that are in the ancillary side, people that are vendors servicing the cannabis industry, just helping them.
Understand the nuances and get to know the people that can really help them succeed or where they can help other succeed. So I really love my work with NeoCon working right now in Chicago. So it started with Boston. We've done other events across new England, but for this year, the next event's going to be in Chicago then Albany.
There's also a Burlington event, Atlantic city and then Portland Maine. Then we'll be [00:06:00] back focused on Boston 2023.
Beth Water Waterfall: That's fantastic. And when you say Albany that's Albany New York. So
Scheril Murray-Powell: Albany New York. Yes.
Beth Water Waterfall: the New York event plan. Albany is. Where all the legislative activity takes place. So it's such a great location for me. Can you. I spoke briefly about the legacy operators and, and New York, I think in Joe Bondi said it best.
And my one of my last episodes, he said, New York is the epicenter for cannabis. And I think that is so true. A lot of the legacy activity does flow through through New York. And some of my work is around integrating the legacy operators into the legal space. So I've been doing a lot of that work with.
Meeting with legacy operators and they are really enthusiastic about bringing their talent, their skills, their expertise into the legal cannabis industry. And that way we can avoid having a dual market, like we see in some of the other markets, especially out west. So that's going to take everyone to be [00:07:00] on board with that.
When, when you talk about educational programming, that's Oh, very it can be lucrative but very important part of the ancillary space of our industry. So, everyone's looking at licensure and getting licenses, but to carve out a space in education where you have educational events across the Northeast, I think you added Oklahoma.
This year as well, you did an Oklahoma event so that you're bringing that type, that level of quality of education to more parts of the nation. So we appreciate that work. What's the most rewarding or what's the, I would say what's the most memorable experience that you've had at one of these conferences that you've helped.
Scheril Murray-Powell: So my most memorable event, it's not necessarily at a conference, but it was at a networking event in the cannabis space. And this was very early. When I first started getting involved with cannabis, I knew from working with executives the value of reputation business development of thought, leadership of being respected and seen as a leader and [00:08:00] somebody that was trustworthy in the space.
So where I'd been training lawyers and financial executives to do that, I thought, well, let me do that for myself. So the first, one of the first things I did was try to find a women's networking event or a women's networking group and cannabis. And there was one that needed some leadership in Boston.
They had started it in Boston. And for whatever reason, they hadn't been successful, but there was an opportunity, again, just the universe aligning with the right timing for me. I reached out and they said, well, actually we need somebody to lead our, our Boston group. And so I said, okay, sure. I know, I don't know much about cannabis, but I know how to organize events.
I know how to bring people together. I know I had to develop, an agenda and curriculum for an actual event. So I took it on and I was able to meet a bunch of other women. And again, this was before we had legalization here in Massachusetts, this is 2015 going into 2016. And I remember at one of these events there, there was, I was the host really.
And so I take on the responsibilities of planning, but also making people feel [00:09:00] comfortable. And I remember I was at the front of the room while the speakers were presenting and I saw this woman standing in the corner of the back of the room. And so my first I was, oh, she doesn't look particularly comfortable.
I want to just make sure, I at least say hi to her, make her feel welcome. See if she needs it. And I walked up to her and I introduced myself and she was almost afraid of me. Like you could tell, she was just so uncomfortable and like, didn't know what to say to me because I was really outgoing and excited to be there.
And she said to me, and I'm going to paraphrase. But basically, like she said, I shouldn't be here. If my husband knew that I was here or her or her ex-husband knew that she was there basically. That could meet and I'm getting my children were talking about it basically like something about how he could take her daughter and how terrible that would be for her.
And I don't have children. And that was like one of the most critical moments in my career because I thought, wow, what an opportunity. I have to be a voice for these women that [00:10:00] aren't comfortable speaking up that see the opportunity that has some passion in this space, but because it's not legal yet. Because of maybe where she lived, she could.
Talk about it and she couldn't really be out there about it. So that was something that I took on. Like, Hey, I look like a mom. People sometimes think I'm a mom, so I'm just going to go out there. And I ended up creating with a former commissioner Shaleen title and some other women here in Massachusetts.
It was Massachusetts mothers for the regulation and taxation of marijuana. Group, just to educate, really reach out to, to mothers and women in particular, as we had a question four on the ballot here in Massachusetts just trying to reach women and let them know that it was okay to be open to this, that it was okay to Be curious in this space, whether they are going to use cannabis whether they were going to support somebody else who used it, please vote.
Yes. You know that there's a lot of people here. And I'd like to think we were effective in many ways with that group. And some of the women that were involved had gone on to do really incredible things in this space. But one of the [00:11:00] funniest things for me was in all that. Again, I, I'm not a mom, but I never, I didn't really correct.
I said that I was because I wanted to, carry that and, and and just, you use it as.
Beth Water Waterfall: As well,
Scheril Murray-Powell: Yeah. Yeah. And there was this one night we were at a at the state house at a press conference or something, some sort of rally. And I remember Fox news talked to me and I got home later that night.
And on the news, like before at the commercial was saying, coming up next, a Rockland mom lumping her other. And they just kind of positioned it that I was a mother, but I was talking about how. Cannabis had been laced with fentanyl had been found in town. And basically I was saying, this is what our kids have access to.
This is what people have access to if we're not regulating and moving this into a regulated tested place. So just that again, I'm not, I'm not a mom, but being able to be a voice for people that maybe felt like they couldn't speak up at a time where we were in. Kind of precarious, almost legal place.
And now to look back and see that same exact woman [00:12:00] doing great things and being more open about her cannabis. It was just one of those super impressionable moments to learn about that perspective to be in her shoes.
Beth Water Waterfall: I appreciate you sharing that. And that work is really important. There are a lot of people who are still in the cannabis closet but social rights was a huge or, or losing custodial rights was a was collateral damage to the war on drugs. A lot of people don't talk about that.
We talk a lot about the incarcerations and things like that which is important. Social justice is very. However, when you look at people not being involved in the movement, because they're afraid of losing custody of their kids, the amount of people who have lost custody of their kids, because they were found with even small amounts of cannabis and the fact that a lot of those children's went into abusive environments, so it's like the love of your children. Keeps you from being out with your, or your cannabis usage for fortunately, fortunately, after we've gone through the period of legalization, we're seeing [00:13:00] where the judicial processes changed and, because cannabis is legal judges, aren't considering it the same way.
It's not often on the books, as far as that being a mandate, it really is still up to judicial discretion and many markets. So that's really powerful, powerful work that you've done. And we met you were doing a online education events. I won, I'd like you to talk a little bit about your work with.
And elevate Massachusetts and that work. And before we do that, look, do you remember recall the dates for the Albany events and if not, can you at least share the website so people can find it in, in New York? There's a lot of people from New York follow this show, so we want to make sure they can take advantage to get it on their calendars, to meet up with you and have that mechanic experience.
Scheril Murray-Powell: Absolutely. So it's at the Albany capital center in Albany, August 26 through 20. 20, 22. [00:14:00] So it's coming up and if folks are interested in participating in that event like I mentioned, I'm on the educational side of things. There's certainly sponsorship and expo opportunities, but if you want to be a part of that educational component if you go to neocon.com, there's a speaker application on there where you can.
Pretty simple form just who you are, what you're going to talk about and what people will take take away from that, what people will learn. And that's such a huge part of when I'm evaluating these things, what are people going to learn? What are they going to get out of this? So it definitely welcome and encourage folks to, to put their hat in the ring there.
And that's a wonderful way. Not only to, to touch others and empower others, but if you're building your business in New York, or this is a new, new regulated space getting on a stage is a, is a great way to elevate your thought leadership presence and to just meet people. The people in the audience may be inclined to ask you questions, want to connect with you.
And then just the value of being able to promote that you're part of an educational event like that can help your, your followings on social and everything. So it's, again, the getting involved in thought leadership and what a [00:15:00] great opportunity to, as the, the regulations are still being developed for New York.
It's a great time for people to really start, making their mark and getting known for the good stuff that they're doing.
Beth Water Waterfall: Fantastic. I will definitely be filling out one of those forms and I'll encourage the legacy guys who we're working with to to, to be involved. Does
Scheril Murray-Powell: do a legacy camel.
Beth Water Waterfall: Let's do a legacy panel. Let's put that together. So we'll, we'll talk offline about what that looks like, and I'm pretty excited about that.
So mark, your calendars, August 26 to 27 in Albany, we're calling the whole state of New York together to educate we're. We're hoping for participation from our legislators who will be in the area. And so be there, so your voice can be heard, but also get educated and, and under. What the next level of your advocacy will look like.
So with that said because that's where so many hats, I wanted to talk about her work with elevate, because that's kind of how we connected. And then I found out this whole knee can opportunity
Scheril Murray-Powell: Oh, the stuff.
Beth Water Waterfall: But she is a [00:16:00] force in the state of Massachusetts, specifically in the city of Boston. And you want to make sure that if you're in that area or you're traveling through Boston, check in with elevate to see if there's an event you can pop into.
So please speak about.
Scheril Murray-Powell: Thanks Cheryl. So I mentioned or maybe it didn't, but I, my, my work is certainly the events, but in a nutshell, it's really marketing marketing work that I do. And I'm trying to change perceptions. That's what marketing is. We educate people about something to make them do something, whether that's making a purchase, doing a download marketing is education and changing perception.
And so I have this career behind me. I'm doing that. So taking, a set of facts and communicating it to an audience to get them to do what we want them to do. In the past, for me, that was hire a lawyer hierarchy, accounting services that type of thing I didn't realize coming into cannabis immediately was how valuable that that could be.
And so as I was moving along in, in cannabis, I mentioned that I'd been working with the women's networking group. And that really just evolved for us more [00:17:00] locally into realizing, Hey, this isn't just about. Getting women involved in the cannabis industry. And this was part of my education too.
I was really excited about women getting involved because I was a woman and I wanted to get involved. But the more women that I met that were from different backgrounds from mine people that lived in the city, people that were from different racial backgrounds that we're working on, my team are coming as attendees.
It was very clear to me also that men that were from different backgrounds, men that. Whether they qualified for the social equity programs or not whether they were a minority or not, there was still opportunity. And I, I, I just hated my old job. And just so the excitement of helping others connect with something that could help them feel more fulfilled in their life was very exciting to me, regardless of who they were.
But we ended up creating elevate Northeast on the website is elevate N e.org. Really to. Provide a place for, kind of, regardless of where you were from, if you were interested in learning about cannabis and you're interested in collaborating with other good people to do good work in this space, then come on board.
[00:18:00] Like let's, let's get together, let's learn together, let's support each other's businesses. And all of that and elevate really is at the end of the day, a public relations campaign. Because we went through the work to become a 5 0 1 C3. Which is a little tenuous at the time. And I understand it's been harder for others to get that 5 0 1 C3 designation from the IRS.
But the universe never, the timing was right. It worked for us. And so as a 5 0 1 C3 there's some, limitations, but also opportunities for us because we get approached by individuals that are asking us to push and promote their specific business in their town. Or to Maybe support a specific piece of legislation, but as a 5 0 1 C3 we're limited in our lobbying ability.
And we just have to remind folks, we exist to educate people about the industry. So different areas of the industry, introduce them to different people, let them know about the issues that are happening. Legislatively, but we're not telling them what to do. We exist to inform, empower and let them make their own decisions as a 5 0 1 C3.
So we're not allowing in group, we're not [00:19:00] an industry association group. We just exist to educate. And really the way we differentiate ourselves, I think is that we're not made for people in the cannabis industry necessarily. Certainly our events welcomed them and we utilize them for our, for our thought leaders.
We want them to be a part of it because by demonstrating and living in front of others, that they are a successful person or that they are chasing a dream and making things happen in the cannabis space that helps people that aren't already familiar with. It just maybe say. That person looks like me or who I went to high school with that person.
Oh, they're not crazy. They're not terrible. They're not in jail. But then also we try to reach out to communities where people, maybe aren't already inclined to learn about the cannabis industry. So before COVID we had done some beautiful events where we were going into community centers. We'd bring some hot food, bringing some speakers.
And really just make it basic. So what is marijuana? What is, do you see what is CBD? [00:20:00] We're not telling them, how to get to 80, to get around to 80 and how to build a team and that type of stuff. It's really just trying to break stigma and empower people to. Decide for themselves.
If they want to walk into a dispensary, decide for themselves. If they want to support a business, that's coming into their town, decide for themselves. If they want to participate in one of the programs that the cannabis control commission has put together to help empower them and connect them with resources, if they want it to have a business.
And then also empower them to, if they wanted to start a business and they, they know the resources, they know where to go to do it. And they've met people through us that can help them get that off.
Beth Water Waterfall: What are the, with your marketing background, what are the common missteps that you know, young emerging cannabis companies make as they're entering the space, what are the things that you would caution.
Scheril Murray-Powell: I mean, there's, there's a lot of them Cheryl, one of the first ones in this may seem kind of counter-intuitive for somebody in marketing. But I get contacted from or contacted by young companies sometimes or young entrepreneur, that's really just starting out their, their [00:21:00] team. And they want to talk about, me being their chief marketing officer.
And I have to tell them it's too early for you to spend money on a marketing professional. I can help you with a couple of things. Get your logo, get your URL. Here's a couple of basic things, but you do not need to be paying marketing right now. You need to be paying your attorney. You need to be looking at your real estate.
You need to be setting up the stuff that's going to get you across the finish line. A pretty logo isn't there right now at some point. Yes, let's get there. But people think, they're just going to set up a website and we'll have a business and people will come. That's not necessarily the case.
So often it's like, Hey, let's talk in a few months, now just isn't the time you don't need to waste your money on me. Another big mistake that we see people making is maybe getting a little too late on that kind of thing. So, we see this sometimes or a lot of time with names, so, Entrepreneur, Joe wants to start a business.
That's, Boston weed company or whatever it happens to be. And they're going through all this stuff. Maybe they've made some t-shirts, maybe they're going to some events [00:22:00] spending money on this stuff. And then when they get out to the point where they they're bringing on a lawyer or getting to a point where they really want to start documenting this all officially, they realize, oh wait, that company name or that URL is already taken.
So then they have to start getting creative around the company name or getting a weird URL that just isn't going to really necessarily help people find them. So I don't know, it's kind of like, you can be too early, you can be too late. And then a huge thing, particularly in a state like Massachusetts or California, Colorado, where there's already an established market.
People think that, oh, we're going to open our doors and there's going to be a line. There's going to be media attention. Everybody's going to be here. And we're really at a place where it's, it has to be more than build it and they will come. There has to be some outreach in Massachusetts folks have or licensees have to have a positive impact plan.
So I encourage people to align their marketing strategy with that positive impact plan. So that if they're doing something with a particular organization like [00:23:00] LPP or elevate. How can we maximize that relationship and time things out to be most effective for whatever plans you happen to have?
So, just really, you've got to build the team, but maybe marketing. Isn't something that you need immediately. But it's also something you can't wait until after licensing to, to, to look at.
Beth Water Waterfall: And I love what you said about the URLs. Like I own like 300 domains and a lot of one for like, But they do come in handy and there's some things I'm like, I'm so glad I, I purchased that years ago because like black hemp, farmers.com like things like, it was so critical to, and I still haven't utilized it, but I know exactly how I want to
Scheril Murray-Powell: Or you could sell it someday. If it
Beth Water Waterfall: Or I can sell it or I can sell it one day.
But it's really important when I'm working with, even with legacy operators that they're starting their brands and some legacy operators I'm working with to start a nonprofit. What's, what's the right URL. If that name is gone. So, anyone who has, wants to brainstorm and, and book some time with Beth, really talk about.
[00:24:00] Your, your brand identity and developing that and your marketing strategy please reach out to Beth and we'll make sure that her contact information is included in, in the show. So let's talk about Massachusetts a little bit very on the east coast, very mature market. I know when you start in 2015, you were like, you didn't expect Massachusetts to be like the role model for all these other new adult use markets.
But, I listened to in on a lot of like, CCP, CCDC, CRC calls, and all of them are saying, and we looked at the Massachusetts regulations. And so it really is being used as the. Another milestone is this week. I read that Massachusetts had $3 billion in sales. That's not for something.
that was forbidden.
Just imagine all the good that can come from that in the community. So congratulations for your work in Massachusetts and congratulations to the state of Massachusetts for hitting that [00:25:00] important milestone. With that said coming from a mature market and looking at new. What you think, what do you anticipate?
What are your predictions about next steps? And maybe some of the hurdles that have to be over.
Scheril Murray-Powell: Yeah. Well, I think if we look at what massive. Is doing now to kind of clean up some of the, maybe, misses in, in the original regulations is a, is a great way, great place to start. And this week also, in addition to that announcement about the $3 billion sales figure, which is impressive and humongous but also opens a bunch of questions like, oh, where's what are we doing with the tax revenue there?
But we're getting some clarity in that regard. So this week in Massachusetts, the house Past a bill that had been previously passed by the Senate here in Massachusetts kind of an omnibus legislation related to cannabis specifically. And so, what they were, what was decided and now next it's, so basically there was the house and the Senate bills and.
Overwhelmingly past each chamber, but now they need to reconcile that [00:26:00] into a draft bill to give to the governor. But the big things that they're in agreement on and that we hope the governor is an agreement on is 20% of the marijuana regulation funds for the taxes from Selling that $3 billion of marijuana, that's going to be dedicated to social equity and economic empower applicants loans and grants.
So 20% of that, 3 billion of the tax revenue from that, that 3 billion that would be a lot of money. It also establishes rules for social consumption and the host community agreements. This, the host community agreements in particular is something I'd like to see other states like New York and others coming on.
Really look at this. So when Massachusetts passed legalization back in 2016, part of that was this host community agreement fee where 3% of sales would go to the town in which that licensee. And the thinking behind that was that these cannabis businesses are going to cause such a disruption. They're going to need to hire all these new police people.
They're going to have to put a new stop signs. They're going to have to do all sorts of stuff to [00:27:00] offset the negative impact of cannabis so that they were entitled to this 3% fee. So fast forward to 2022 and even 2021 I think it was north Hampton. Massachusetts was the first city to say, Hey. We don't, we're not going to take this money anymore because these businesses have brought nothing but positive to our town.
We have jobs for our people. They've cleaned up a neighborhood because they've put in this beautiful facility that's clean and lit up and, and has cameras. And we're able to use their camera footage to help catch, Something bad that happened. So north Hampton was first then Lee, Massachusetts has done it as well.
There was a lawsuit related to the, the host community agreements, but basically what this new legislation that's been passed this week, what that does is basically it's requiring accountability on the community, the host communities part, where they have to actually document. All of the negative things that they've had to utilize that impact VP fee for.
So we're going to see those come down. And it also has a five-year cap. So [00:28:00] after five years, they're not doing a community a host community agreement fee anymore. And so those were the big things. And like I said the reconciling the two differences between the house and Senate bills, and they're going to send that to governor Charlie Baker's desk.
And it's expected that he'll sign it. But for folks like myself that have been in the game for a long time or a long enough time, I remember when COVID started and how Massachusetts governor Charlie baker. Was the only governor in the whole country that put the, put the stop on the regulated adult use cannabis market.
So medical was allowed to continue selling, but adult use those stores were shut down because they were considered non-essential. And that was a time when we saw tons of people go towards the medical market. And it eventually came down. It was just like a month and a half or so that that ban was on.
But I'm a little wary of Charlie baker, I suppose, but hoping for the.
Beth Water Waterfall: Yeah, awesome. And, speak there. There were a lot of in the earlier days, corruption related issues, especially when we're talking about the cities and, and people getting the opportunity to have [00:29:00] business permits, business licenses in those cities, variances, et cetera. And with that said with New York coming on board there's a lot of conversation about, social equity and their ability to acquire spaces.
I know New York is kind of publicized that the fund will be used for that. Part, at least a part of the fund will be used to identify these spaces and then give favorable terms between the state and, and equity related what are, what are your thoughts on the plant? What are, what are your thoughts on making sure that when it comes to real estate and approval from jurors from municipalities that the.
social equity and legacy operators get a fair.
Scheril Murray-Powell: Oh, that's, that's so important because what we've seen here in Massachusetts, where the licensees are required to have their real estate secured before. And I'm not a licensee, but it's at a very early part, like at application they're supposed to have their, their location. [00:30:00] So we've seen applicants paying 2, 3, 4 years of rent to extortionist landlords that are putting this green tax on their, their facilities.
Something because it's a marijuana facility. So I would, I would love to see other states not have that, that real estate requirement where they're, they're paying for these spaces throughout the application process. I'd hope that it could be a situation where there's an LOI, some sort of agreement that they have in place that they're going to have the space and not that they have to pay for it.
So that would, that would be a huge burden lifted on these, these applicants because the space, I mean, whether they're starting a small delivery, operation, retail operation, That's super expensive, but if somebody were trying to do a laboratory or something very large, I mean, my God, they they'd be spending millions of dollars just to get across that finish line on real estate alone.
So that would be, that would be a huge thing. And I think anything, any sort of consideration that's made looking at the particular neighborhoods where these businesses would be best, best suited not. Taking these legacy operators that are used to being and known for [00:31:00] being successful in supplying a certain area.
Now we're going to put them in some weird industrial parks, 50 miles away from where they're used to operating. That makes no sense. So that those would be a couple of things that I would hope New York would be looking at.
Beth Water Waterfall: Outstanding. Exactly the type of insight that I was expecting for me. But thank you so. And I think with the New Jersey CRC their approach to the real estate, I think they have more of a contingent license with a later real estate ad on for, for their social equity. So I think states are observing what you're observing and it's good to see that I know in Illinois, that was a huge issue as well, the multiple years with all the lawsuits and things like that.
People paying rent for multiple years. So great insight there. I always like to ask, like, what can I do? What can show do to support your efforts and and help you on your journey with this slip work that you be.
Scheril Murray-Powell: Oh, thanks so much, Cheryl. I mean, you, you mentioned it earlier for folks that want to come out to Albany for the New York cannabis convention in August. That would be wonderful. I hope to see [00:32:00] you there. So supporting elevate Northeast, we, we rely on donations from businesses and individuals to do our community outreach, which we're hoping to do more in person as we're coming out of COVID here.
But we do have a virtual event coming up on June 2nd. It's called recovery is dope and really just talking about cannabis as a tool for people that are coming out of addiction. We also have a educational program that we do with Holyoke community college in Massachusetts. Currently the programs are virtual, so anybody can attend.
But as a cannabis core program, for folks that want to get a leg up in the industry, whether they're going to be working for a cannabis business or starting a cannabis business, or there's somebody who runs like an accounting firm or. Some sort of ancillary, whether, it could be construction or accounting or cleaning services, just so they better understand the type of businesses.
And some of the regulatory limitations on working with them can be super valuable which we're doing a scholarship program for that. So donations can help us. But qualifying candidates into the program for free. And then we're also very excited to be announcing our [00:33:00] social equity fund. I mentioned that the state is working on one but elevate Northeast just given the, the dire need for for, for funding, for our social equity and economic empowerment businesses.
We got a very generous donation from one of the vertically integrated operators here in Massachusetts. And we're going to be we're going to holding a couple events later in the, in the fall where people can apply and do a pitch. And then when what we would hope to be a very sizeable prize, not just like five, I mean, $5,000 goes a long way, but that's not being for all the, all the attorney bills in those real estate bills.
So five figure prizes we're looking at And really excited to be putting the final, final touches on that program and getting different businesses and individuals involved there. But yeah, supporting elevate Northeast is huge. And just go to NeoCon and learn and connect.
Beth Water Waterfall: Awesome. Well, thank You for all of that great work. I wasn't even aware of all the things that you're doing. Recovery is dope. That is huge. And I want to, I want to support as much as possible possible looking at cannabis as an exit drug and, and helping people [00:34:00] get off other get getting off addiction, addictive medications.
So thank you for that work. I always ask my guests one last question and that question. If there was anyone on the planet that you could meet that you think would take your work to the next level, like one person that if we could facilitate an introduction or maybe they're listening today, who would that one person be?
That if you could be introduced to them, you're sure that you can really exponentially grow the impact of what you're doing.
Scheril Murray-Powell: my, my first reaction is I'd go straight to the top. I'd want to sit down with the president and Mr. Biden and, talk it all through. I've been so, so lucky to meet so many wonderful people in the space here. But again, a lot of what I do is trying to normalize and build bridges into the, the non-cannabis space.
So I, I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I'd go right to the top.
Beth Water Waterfall: No, I think that's a great call. And when you, when you talk to president Biden.
are you going to more challenge on the campaign promises? Are you going to give him a legislative priorities list? What, what would you strategy.
Scheril Murray-Powell:[00:35:00] Oh, my gosh, shall you. And I would have to talk about that. We want to have that meeting, right? You can be
Beth Water Waterfall: I believe it it'll happen. I believe it will happen. I think when you put things out there things will happen.
And there, there in our industry, there's like one.
degree of separation where it not six degrees of separation. So, I, I thank you for your work. We're putting it out there that, Introduced to president Biden and give it an opportunity to share your legislative priorities and really understand his roadmap to executing on campaign promises.
And I just thank you for being on TURPs in the city. This is what it's all about. Really talking about people who are doing the work. A lot of unsung heroes in our industry. People that I am. So, in, in, because I journeyed so much and I traveled so much, but a lot of people haven't met Beth waterfall, but you should.
And because she provides this educational opportunity in different cities, you really can get a chance to share space with Beth contribute to the work that she's doing. And also. Where you need help in, in your particular cities, your jurisdiction. So [00:36:00] I just want to thank you again. We're going to make sure all of your contact information is included in the show notes for it to our audience.
Thank you again for all the support. Thank you for tuning in for church in the city. And we're looking forward to an awesome season to. If you'd like to participate and be a guest on the show, you can direct message me or email email@example.com. Or, and if you're interested in being a sponsor, you can do the same direct message me.
I'm very accessible. And we would love to have your support. So thank you for tuning in this is TURPs in the city and we'll see you next time.