CannCon19 was a great symposium hosted by Finance & Commerce. They focused the panels on how marijuana legalization could affect the banking, real estate, and retail markets. Finance & Commerce focused on promoting this event to professionals who up until more recently had not thought that their career would intersect with cannabis legalization.
The Cannabis Business Symposium covered topics such as key legislation related to cannabis and where the legal controversies exist. Nearly all of the panelists discussed the very real possibility of future cannabis legalization. This event was aimed to provide a deep level of understanding for those who operate in non-plant touching businesses.
The panel on, “Corporate Structure, Financing and Regulatory Considerations in the Cannabis Industry” was especially interesting because the panel included Tom Witt, President of the Minnesota Banker’s Association. To hear from someone in the banking industry, especially at Tom’s level, provided clarity on the challenges that they face as the cannabis industry remains in a legal gray area. It was interesting to hear Tom Witt speak across from Zach Robins and Jason Tasarek. Both Jason and Zach are tuned into legalization developments on a daily basis. From there perspective, legalization is much closer to inevitability. However, from Tom’s perspective- he doesn’t really interact with the industry and stays away from cannabis due to the risk levels associated with his business getting involved.
Prior to the panels beginning, there was a keynote speech given by Sal Barnes, Partner of the Marijuana Policy Group. Sal gave a knowledgable presentation on what cannabis legalization would like from an economic perspective. Sal spoke on the jobs created in Colorado since legalization (approximately 30,000). He spoke on tax rule 280E, which is hindering the Cannabis Industry because cannabis businesses are not allowed to deduct expenses, and they deal with a high tax rate. He also spoke on the importance of having distribution and went as far as to say that brand matters very little compared to ensuring your distribution is set up properly.
Over the lunch hour, there were quick-hit presentations given by a diverse group of speakers:
- Ryan Winkler discussed how the House Majority is moving a bill forward and what he is hearing from the community. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7yeOfpXY80
- Chris Tholkes discussed the potential impact of legalization on the medical program as well as implementation and regulatory challenges. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ013Rmcgy8
- Laura Monn Ginnsburg discussed the need for more women in the cannabis industry, and during her speech, she debuted the, “MN Women’s Cannabusiness Association” an organization connecting women entrepreneurs, executives, workers, and advocates involved in Minnesota’s cannabis industry with opportunities, resources, and exposure to grow successful businesses, careers, and leadership. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJUk6JWNFHc
- Kim Bemis spewed some misinformation around CBD and THC. He attempted to say there’s no need to legalize another addictive drug.
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