CANNABIS COMMUNITY CARE AND RESEARCH NETWORK (C3RN)
C3RN IN THE NEWS
Veterans health study seeks to expand awareness, access to medical marijuana
By Susan Spencer
Telegram & Gazette Staff
Posted May 25, 2019 at 7:41 PM
Daniel Stack will never forget being medevaced out of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, surrounded by servicemen with far more devastating injuries than his skin condition.
“I saw firsthand the suffering of those guys who were really wounded,” said Mr. Stack, 67, an Uxbridge resident who served in the U.S. Air Force.
He committed himself then to helping his fellow disabled veterans. Now he serves as Massachusetts department adjutant and CEO of Disabled American Veterans, a nonprofit organization that assists and advocates for veterans.
A generation later, another Uxbridge resident, Stephen Mandile, 41, ruptured six disks in a Humvee collision while deployed in Iraq with the Army National Guard in 2005. He suffered traumatic brain injury, radicular nerve damage, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
Mr. Mandile’s Veterans Affairs doctors put him on 57 medications, including nine opioids, over the ensuing decade. “It killed my pain but also killed all my feeling for anything good or bad,” he said.
In 2013 he attempted suicide.
An ultimatum from his wife in 2014 caused Mr. Mandile to wean off prescription drugs by using marijuana, which had been legalized for medical use in Massachusetts in 2012, something he accomplished in five months.
Problem was, while medical marijuana is legal in several states, it is still illegal under federal law. And because of that, the VA will not recommend or pay for medical marijuana for disabled veterans.
Mr. Mandile founded a nonprofit in 2016, Veterans Alternative Healing Inc., to support veterans’ access to alternative therapies, including marijuana.
Mr. Stack and Mr. Mandile joined forces last year with another medical cannabis supporter, Marion McNabb, a researcher with a doctorate in public health.
Ms. McNabb co-founded with Randal MacCaffrie a company based in Worcester called Cannabis Community Care and Research Network, known as C3RN, to promote social justice, research and education in the cannabis sphere.
The coalition formed a new nonprofit, Alternative Treatment for Veterans, to gather data on medical marijuana use by veterans and to use that research to push for policy change.
“If you want to deal with the VA, you need a study that just deals with veterans,” Mr. Stack said.
To get the VA to include marijuana as a therapy for PTSD, pain and other conditions, Congress has to change the law, he explained. That’s a high bar for medical marijuana advocates to meet.
“I know a large number of veterans use it,” he said. “They might say it’s recreational, but I see from them they use it for PTSD and the stress. It’s less harmful than alcohol. They’ll drink themselves to sleep.”
Working with C3RN and partners in the cannabis industry, the group launched a veterans health and medical cannabis research study in March. The study is based on a similar survey done last year with University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth researchers, which looked at patient and consumer marijuana use.
Mr. Stack said, “We believe once this study is done, we’ll have concrete information to get Congress to change the law.”
DAV and Revolutionary Clinics, medical marijuana dispensaries in the Boston area, each provided $6,000 as seed money for the ongoing survey. Ms. McNabb serves as principal investigator.
Preliminary results of the anonymous survey will be released at a Cannabis Advancement Series forum from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 20 at Bull Mansion, 55 Pearl St., Worcester.
The forum, “Medical Cannabis, Veterans Health and the Opioid Epidemic: What Are Models We Can Embrace?” will feature a keynote video by U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, a keynote speech from state Cannabis Control Commissioner Kay Doyle and a panel discussion. The program is free. Information is available at www.cannacenterofexcellence.org/veteran.
There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence but not a lot of solid research on marijuana because research institutions risk losing federal funding, the source of most grants, for work on the federally illegal substance.
Ms. McNabb said the study’s goal was to document how cannabis is used by veterans and how it helps them.
“The study highlights how cannabis can be a harm reduction to many medications people are on that they don’t want to be on,” she said.
Last year’s study on Massachusetts marijuana consumers and patients found 59% were using cannabis to reduce prescription medication use. Among veterans, the proportion is even higher, 67%, or two-thirds of marijuana users, according to early results from the current study.
Marijuana is most frequently used by general consumers to substitute for antidepressants (42%), nonopioid painkillers such as ibuprofen (32%), and narcotics/opioids (28%).
But veterans who opt for medical marijuana instead of prescription drugs do so at a cost. The study has found that veterans pay an average of $39 a week, compared to $112 a week for marijuana.
One in five veteran respondents reported that money to purchase products was a barrier to using medical marijuana.
The cost of marijuana comes on top of veterans having to pay $200 to $300 for a civilian physician to qualify them for a medical marijuana card, even if their VA paperwork describes their condition as one that would meet state medical marijuana requirements.
That information supported a state Senate budget amendment that would have allowed VA diagnoses to be used to qualify a veteran for medical marijuana. The amendment was rejected, but Ms. McNabb said her group will keep trying.
Ms. McNabb said that from a public health perspective, she wants to make sure veterans not only have better access but also better information about marijuana, especially when they’re using other medications too.
“On their own, they’re trying to substitute and their (VA) provider is not allowed to talk about it with them,” she said.
Mr. Mandile said there was a lot of misunderstanding among veterans - and providers - about VA policy.
A VHA directive says providers should discuss with their patients use of state-approved medical marijuana to treat medical or psychiatric symptoms, including “how marijuana may impact other aspects of the overall care of the veteran.”
Veterans won’t lose benefits, but the impact on other aspects of care often results in having physicians cut off the veteran’s medication, Mr. Mandile said.
“Without a solid policy, physicians are still able to use how they feel about cannabis as part of their decision process,” he said.
The veterans health and cannabis study has found so far that only 62% said their VA or other health care provider was aware of their medical cannabis use. Another 9% weren’t sure. Nearly one-third, 29%, said their provider was not aware they used cannabis.
Veterans are three times more likely to die from an opioid overdose, with many addictions taking root in prescribed painkillers, according to Ms. McNabb. She’s frustrated that safer alternatives including marijuana aren’t being fully considered.
“They are really missing one large harm-reduction strategy that I think can be beneficial,” she said.
Despite cost barriers, “a good 20%” of patients that come to Canna Care Docs, a group of physicians who provide medical marijuana certification, are veterans, according to Kathleen McKinnon, vice president of operations.
“We see a lot of PTSD with veterans,” she said.
Canna Care Docs, which has an office in Worcester as well as other locations in Massachusetts and 11 other states, works with veterans to educate them so they’re using the right strain. Too much THC, the hallucinogenic component of marijuana, could cause anxiety and exacerbate symptoms.
The company started holding events with veterans in 2014, including offering free evaluations on Cape Cod, where more than 70 veterans received services in one day.
Veterans typically receive a 10% discount off the $200 standard fee, Ms. McKinnon said.
The company was offering a Memorial Day special price of $100 for veterans, something Canna Care is considering offering year-round.
Canna Care Docs also gives out vouchers, called scholarships, for free or reduced price certification visits. Mr. Mandile’s organization, Veterans for Alternative Healing, distributes $2,000 worth of scholarships a month.
“Our goal is to bring cannabis into mainstream medicine,” said Ms. McKinnon. “We see veterans as a group that has done a lot for us and our country. It is saving lives. We see that day in and day out.”
A number of dispensaries are also working with veterans to make medical marijuana more affordable.
The Botanist in Worcester has become a partner of C3RN.
“We fell in love with their program,” said Ross Riley, outreach manager.
The Botanist gives 40% discounts every day to veterans who are deemed 100% disabled, a program called the Veteran Care Program. Ten medical marijuana dispensaries in the state participate in VCP, according to Mr. Mandile.
The Botanist is donating a percent of profits May 22-25 to DAV and is looking at other ways to offer support.
Matthew Huron, CEO of Good Chemistry in Worcester, wrote in an email: “We provide an ongoing daily discount for veteran medical patients, and we also offer special holiday discounts for medical patient veterans around Memorial Day and Veterans Day. This Memorial Day, we’re offering our veteran medical patients 25% off their purchase. We’re also in ongoing discussions with Veterans Alternative Healing and C3RN/UMass Dartmouth about how to best support their Cannabis Advancement Event Series. We’re incredibly grateful for veterans and their service to our nation. We’re proud to hire veterans and we are proud to serve them every day.”
Besides making an argument for veterans health policy to include medical marijuana as a harm-reduction strategy, advocates hope that more research and education will reduce the stigma many veterans feel.
“There are a lot of veterans that won’t even put they’re a veteran on applications for work,” said Mr. Mandile. “They’re ashamed; they’ll think, ‘Oh, you’re a veteran, you have PTSD, you’re crazy.’ ”
“We want to increase the access, create a sustainable pathway to using medical cannabis,” he continued. “Whatever pathway to healing should never be stigmatized.”
Original Article Link: https://www.telegram.com/news/20190525/veterans-health-study-seeks-to-expand-awareness-access-to-medical-marijuana
South Coast Today
BACKERS OF VETERANS MARIJUANA SURVEY HOPE TO CHANGE POLICY
March 3, 2019
DARTMOUTH - Veterans Affairs health care providers cannot legally recommend medical marijuana to their patients because the drug is classified federally as a Schedule One Controlled Substance, according to their website. Organizations in Massachusetts are working to change that with a study that explains how and why veterans use the drug to deal with things like chronic pain and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
UMass Dartmouth, Cannabis Community Care and Research Network and Veterans Alternative Healing Inc. launched an online survey in March to collect data for the study.
The anonymous survey is available for veterans nationally, but since the organizations behind it are all based in Massachusetts, the CEO of Worcester-based C3RN Dr. Marion McNabb said she expects a good percentage of the respondents will be from the Bay State.
McNabb wants to use the data, she said, to change state policies to make medical cannabis more accessible to veterans, creating a model to do the same on the federal level.
Current barriers to veterans’ medical marijuana use stem from the federal policy barring the VA from recommending or prescribing the drug. If a veteran wants to use marijuana they have to either go outside the VA to get a medical marijuana card, which can cost up to $350 a year with the necessary referral, or buy recreational marijuana if that is an option in their state, according to C3RN and Veteran’s Alternative Healing.
But, recreational marijuana has its limits, there is a “100 milligrams edible limit for adults per transaction for recreational use as opposed to 283 ½ grams every sixty days for medical use,” said Ann Brum of Joint Venture & Co, another partner in the study. In both cases veterans are responsible for covering their own costs.
That is one of the main things C3RN and Veterans Alternative Healing are trying to change.
“We think every veteran should have free access to medical cannabis just as a right for their service,” said McNabb.
Stephen Mandile, founder of Veterans Alternative Healing, is an Iraq veteran and approached C3RN about doing the study when, he said, he realized he needed data to back up the stories veterans told him about using marijuana to get over their opioid addictions and for mental health issues.
“We have to put numbers to these stories,” said Mandile. “I thought it would be the best way to change policies.”
The numbers are already coming in. On April 18, the groups released a report with their initial findings. According to that report, of the 138 veterans who completed the survey, 67 percent reported they use medical marijuana and 57 percent report using marijuana recreationally.
Of the veterans that use medical marijuana, 34 percent use it to manage chronic pain, 25 percent for PTSD, and 12 percent for depression. 67 percent of those that use it also reported using medical marijuana to reduce over the counter or prescription medication use.
UMass Dartmouth is involved in the study not just to use these numbers to change policies, but to study one of the fastest growing industries in the nation, said Dr. Stephen White, a professor of marketing and international business.
UMD partnered with C3RN last year to perform a broader open cannabis consumer and patient research study.
Bask, a medical marijuana dispensary in Fairhaven and a partner is the study, is offering veterans who take the survey discounts on their products, according to CEO Chapman Dickerson.
The data from the study will be shared with Dickerson and he said he hopes to use it to make products that are more tailored to veterans needs.
The study will continue for at least the next year, but both C3RN and UMass Dartmouth said they would continue their research as long as there is interest. They will be sharing their data, as it comes in, at various events across the state, including one in the SouthCoast in October.
Veterans who are interested in taking the study can find it here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/C3RN_VAH
Original Article Link: https://www.southcoasttoday.com/news/20190503/backers-of-veterans-marijuana-survey-hope-to-change-policy
MASS LIVE Researchers studying veterans’ use of medical marijuana; early results presented in Holyoke
By Anne-Gerard Flynn | Special to The Republican
April 18 HOLYOKE — How much do veterans in Massachusetts use cannabis, and why do they use it?
Those questions are at the center of the Veterans Health and Cannabis Citizen Science Study. The anonymous online survey, which is still seeking participants, is designed to help advance understanding of the drug in terms of its use for medical and behavioral health conditions.
The study’s organizers say it seeks input on veterans’ current health status, treatment regimens and medications and their current marijuana use. Other questions ask about quality of life issues, access to insurance options, service history and demographics.
Preliminary results from the study, launched in early March, were shared Thursday evening during the presentation, “Cannabis Equity: Big business and small business working together" at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke. The Cannabis Community Care and Research Network, Veterans Alternative Healing and Joint Venture & Co. hosted the event; Steven Hoffman, chair of the state’s Cannabis Control Commission, was the keynote speaker.
Other participants scheduled included Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse and study organizers.
Early study results are said to show that, to date, 67% of the veterans who have completed the survey reported using medical marijuana, while 57% reported using it for recreation.
Thirty-six percent of respondents reported chronic pain as their top health condition; 28%, post-traumatic stress disorder; 11%, anxiety; and 11%, depression.
Medical marijuana use was reported by 37 percent to be most helpful in managing chronic pain.
Twenty-five percent said it was most helpful in managing PTSD while 9% found it most helpful with anxiety and three percent with cancer.
Among those who use medical marijuana, 67% reported using it to reduce over-the-counter or prescription medication use. When asked about healthcare provider acceptance, 62% of respondents were said to report their VA or healthcare provider knew about their cannabis use.
Fifty-nine percent of those same people were said to report not being sure if their provider supported their medical cannabis use.
Qualifying medical conditions in Massachusetts for medical marijuana include cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or other debilitating conditions.
Can Massachusetts become a leader in marijuana research?
Conducting marijuana research is challenging because of legal and financial barriers, since marijuana remains illegal federally.
The Cannabis Community Care and Research Network launched a national — as well as Massachusetts-focused — cannabis consumer and patient study last June in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, and has held related forums in the area.
Among the 950 participants from Massachusetts to date in that study, 33% were said to use medical cannabis for chronic pain; 26% for anxiety and 14% for depression.
Those results were said to prompt the launch of the second study whose partners also include AmeriCann, which is developing the Massachusetts Cannabis Center, a one-million-square-foot sustainable cannabis cultivation and processing facility in Freetown.
Other study partners include the Massachusetts Chapter of Disabled American Veterans as well as Healing Rose and number of the state’s 49 registered dispensaries for medical marijuana including Revolutionary Clinics, Bask Cannabis, The Botanist, Insa, and Central Ave Compassionate Care.
The study will continue through the end of the year. Veterans taking the online survey will receive cannabis-related discounts.
The third presentation in the six-part Cannabis Advancement Series promoting the survey and having a focused on veterans, medical cannabis and the opioid epidemic, will be June 20 at Bull Mansion in Worcester.
According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, some 68,000 veterans had opioid use disorder in 2015, a threefold increase in 12 years. They are twice as likely as non-veterans to die from accidental opioid overdoses, according to a U.S. Department of Veterans 2014 report.
The Cannabis Community Care and Research Network was founded in 2017 by Marion McNabb, who holds a doctorate in public health from Boston University, and cannabis community advocate Randal MacCaffrie, both of whom participated in the April 18 forum.
C3RN specializes in providing research and analytic services related to the impacts of medical and adult-use recreational cannabis and is a public benefit corporation based in Worcester and operates the developing virtual Cannabis Center of Excellence.
Massachusetts voters approved marijuana for medical use in 2012, and in November 2016 approved a ballot question legalizing recreational marijuana.
Original Article: https://www.masslive.com/news/2019/04/researchers-studying-veterans-use-of-medical-marijuana-early-results-presented-in-holyoke.html
Event in Holyoke discussing equity in pot industry draws big crowd
By: Ciara Speller
Posted: Apr 18, 2019 11:40 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 18, 2019 11:43 PM EDT
HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) - An event on equity in the cannabis industry was held Thursday night in Holyoke.
The Cannabis Advancement Conference brought dozens of people together at the Gateway City Arts. Big and small businesses working together within the Massachusetts cannabis industry, was the focus of the conference.
The event was hosted by Veterans Alternative Healing, Cannabis Community Care and Research and Joint Venture.
Stephen Mandile, president and founder of Veterans Alternative Healing inc, told 22News, "These are the numbers that are going to improve to the department of veterans affairs that this is something that's working for a lot of veterans. Especially here in Massachusetts where veterans are three times more likely to die of an opioid overdose which is higher than the national average of two times."
This was the second cannabis advancement series in the city.
Original Article: https://www.wwlp.com/news/local-news/hampden-county/event-in-holyoke-discussing-equity-in-pot-industry-draws-big-crowd/1937561786
Cannabis Advancement Series in Massachusetts Will Spotlight Social Equity at April 18 Event
Veterans Alternative Healing, C3RN and Joint Venture & Co. bring industry leaders to Holyoke.
April 17, 2019
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission was the first state agency in the U.S. to launch a social equity program as part of its broader cannabis business licensing regime. While the platform is in place to address past harms done to neighborhoods and populations by cannabis prohibition, CCC data shows that only 13 percent of all cannabis business applicants fall under the “disadvantaged business enterprise” category—the very demographic that the commission is hoping to support as part of its small business development plans for Massachusetts’ nascent cannabis industry.
It’s a work in progress.
Continuing their Cannabis Advancement Series, the teams from Veterans Alternative Healing Inc., Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN) and Joint Venture & Co. will host an event from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. April 18 at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, Mass. The topic: “Cannabis Equity: Big Business and Small Business Working Together.”
Ann Brum, founder of Joint Venture & Co., says that the goal of this event is to bring Massachusetts cannabis professionals together to talk through the social equity angles on all sides of the business development table: big business, small business, private enterprise and public enterprise. The thought is that greater networking among private businesses will prompt greater participation—and success—in the CCC’s public arena.
“It's a combination of communications—being a resource—and talking to those at the local and state level to express some of the barriers and/or challenges that either economic empowerment applicants or social equity applicants are really looking to have direct access to,” Brum says. “Those are a few takeaways: clarity, communication and a sense of confidence in how to navigate the legislation and the application process in a way that's going to be better suited for the applicant.”
The three host groups point to CCC data, as of April 4, that show only 347 out of a total of 3,062 cannabis business applicants claim that “disadvantaged business enterprise” (DBE) status, which includes: women-owned businesses; veteran-owned businesses; minority-owned businesses; lesbian-, gay-, bisexual- or transgender-owned businesses; and “disability-owned businesses,” according to the CCC’s nomenclature.
But if the foundation of the state’s social equity program was a demand for a more inclusive cannabis industry, the numbers aren’t yet on equal footing with non-DBE applicants (2,715, as of April 4, 87 percent of all business applicants).
As part of its social equity program, the CCC unveiled an Economic Empowerment policy, which is “aimed at redressing harms to populations that have been arrested and incarcerated for previous drug laws,” according to the agency.
The biggest barrier to entry for those prospective Economic Empowerment and DBE applicants is funding and simple access to capital, according to a recent WBUR report on the CCC’s own survey of those applicants. As of December 2018, 44 percent of those businesses who’d applied for Economic Empowerment status had not gone on to apply for a business license, citing “difficulty raising money for their business.”
"It’s going to take some time," Cannabis Control Commission Chariman Steve Hoffman said at a public meeting, as WBUR reported. "We will monitor how this process works. We will tweak whatever we need to tweak to make it work. If we need to go back to the legislature and ask for changes in the legislation, we will do so."
Hoffman, as it happens, will be one of the keynote speakers at the Cannabis Advancement Series event in Holyoke on April 18. He’ll be joined by BASK CEO Chapman Dickerson and MRCC Community Director Joe Gilmore, as well.
The first of two panels will get into inclusion and diversity among Massachusetts cannabis entrepreneurship and employment. The panel will discuss how both public and private efforts may work together to produce helpful results. Speakers on that panel include: Hoffman, Stephen Mandile, Karima Rizk, Shamika Rucker and Horace Small.
Following that, the event’s second panel discussion will feature “policy, business, and education models in western Massachusetts for inclusion and diversity, with speakers Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, Mark Zatryka from INSA, and Jeff Hayden from Holyoke Community College.” Holyoke is located in western Massachusetts, between Easthampton and Springfield (where INSA’s two dispensaries are located).
Further, the organizations will release data compiled through an ongoing Veterans Health and Medical Cannabis Research Study.
“[The series] also raises awareness, big time, about the state of the social equity program in Massachusetts, and that it's the first in the country to really put something like this together,” Brum says. “We really would like to position it as a partnership for the community, the attendees, the panel speakers and our projects. We really want everyone to look at it as: How can we best partner up to make things happen right now?”
Business owners can learn more at the Holyoke event Thursday evening. Registration details for this free event are available at cannacenterofexcellence.org/veteran.
Holyoke Event To Focus On Equity In Massachusetts Cannabis Industry
By BusinessWest Staff April 15, 2019 436
HOLYOKE — Massachusetts is the first U.S. state to implement a statewide social equity program in the cannabis industry and has done so by creating opportunities for those disproportionately impacted by the drug war to have priority access in the industry and broader social-equity program. As the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) gears up in 2019 with targeted technical assistance for economic empowerment and social-equity applicants, opportunity exists to encourage private-sector collaboration and cooperation among big and small businesses in the emerging Massachusetts cannabis industry.
Veterans Alternative Healing Inc. (VAH), Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN), and Joint Venture & Co. are hosting an event on Thursday, April 18 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on the topic of “Cannabis Equity: Big Business and Small Business Working Together.” To register for this free event, visit www.cannacenterofexcellence.org/veteran.
As the CCC continues to actively bolster the state’s social-equity program, a complimentary and collaborative effort from the private sector can help ensure that those disproportionately impacted by the drug war have meaningful inclusion in the cannabis industry.
As of April 4, the CCC has received 3,062 total applications, but only 347 (13%) from companies identified as ‘disadvantaged business enterprise’ (DBE). To date, 87% of applicants did not identify as a DBE, 0.3% were disability-owned, 0.9% veteran-owned, 1.4% LGBTQ-owned, 2.3% minority-owned, and 2.9% women-owned, and 4.9% identified as two or more DBE types. The lack of diversity is clear, and as the CCC baseline study reports, capital is the largest barrier to entry for minority businesses. In addition to other efforts the CCC is taking to address identified barriers, it is also actively looking for qualified training vendors for the social-equity program expected to launch this year.
Keynote speakers for the event include Cannabis Control Commissioner Steve Hoffman, BASK CEO Chapman Dickerson, and MRCC Community Director Joe Gilmore. Two panel discussions will be held at the event. The first will focus on inclusion and diversity in entrepreneurship and employment, and ideas for constructive collaboration across the industry. Speakers include Hoffman, Stephen Mandile, Karima Rizk, Shamika Rucker, and Horace Small. The second panel will focus on policy, business, and education models in Western Mass. for inclusion and diversity, with speakers Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, Mark Zatryka from INSA, and Jeff Hayden from Holyoke Community College.
Study data from the VAH, C3RN, and UMass Dartmouth’s ongoing Veterans Health and Medical Cannabis Research Study will be released at the event as well.
Veterans interested in participating in the study will complete an anonymous online survey and see how their results compared to other participating veterans’ answers. All study participants will receive access to cannabis-related discounts, attend monthly support groups managed by VAH, and can elect to participate in additional clinical cannabis studies. The study team has partnered with the Massachusetts chapter of Disabled American Veterans, Revolutionary Clinics, AmeriCann, BASK, the Botanist, the Healing Rose, INSA, and Central Ave Compassionate Care. Study media sponsors include NECANN, SENSI magazine, and Weedmaps. For participating in the study, veterans will receive discounts from the following cannabis and wellness companies in Massachusetts: Revolutionary Clinics, AmeriCann, BASK, the Botanist, the Healing Rose, INSA, and Central Ave Compassionate Care. Veterans can take the survey at www.cannacenterofexcellence.org/veteran.
Original Article Here: https://businesswest.com/blog/holyoke-event-to-focus-on-equity-in-massachusetts-cannabis-industry/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ann M. Brum
Joint Venture & Co
HOLYOKE CANNABIS EVENT TO FOCUS ON EQUITY IN THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY AND MA VETERANS CANNABIS STUDY DATA RELEASE
April 12th, 2019 – Holyoke, MA
Massachusetts is the first U.S. state to implement a state-wide social equity program in the cannabis industry and has done so by creating opportunities for those disproportionately impacted by the drug war to have priority access in the industry and broader social equity program. As the CCC gears up in 2019 with targeted technical assistance for economic empowerment and social equity applicants, there is the opportunity to encourage private sector collaboration and cooperation among big and small businesses in the emerging MA cannabis industry.
Veterans Alternative Healing Inc. (VAH), Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN), and Joint Venture & Co are hosting an event in Holyoke, MA on April 18 at Gateway City Arts on the topic of Cannabis Equity: Big business and small business working together. Register for the FREE event here: www.cannacenterofexcellence.org/veteran.
As the MA Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) continues to actively bolster the states social equity program, a complimentary and collaborative effort from the private sector can support to ensure those disproportionately impacted by the drug war have meaningful inclusion in the cannabis industry.
As of April 4, the CCC has received 3,062 total applications, and only 347 (13%) from companies identified as “Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE). To date, 87% of applicants did not identify as a DBE, 0.3% were disability-owned, 0.9% veteran-owned, 1.4% LGBTQ-owned, 2.3% minority-owned and 2.9% women-owned, and 4.9% identified as two or more DBE types. The lack of diversity is clear, and as the CCC baseline study reports, capital is the largest barrier to entry for minority and small owned businesses. In addition to other efforts the CCC is taking to address identified barriers, the CCC is also actively looking for qualified training vendors for the social equity program expected to launch this year.
With over 3,000 applications into the state, the majority of new applications and total are located in Central and Western Massachusetts.
The second 2019 Cannabis Advancement Series event in Massachusetts will be held on April 18, 2019 at Holyoke Gateway City Arts and will focus on discussing the issues of meaningful equity in the cannabis industry, and how big and small business can work together in Massachusetts, and specifically in Western MA.
Keynote speakers for the event include Cannabis Control Commissioner Steve Hoffman, Veteran CEO Chapman Dickerson from BASK, and MRCC Community Director, Joe Gilmore. Two panel discussions will be held at the event. The first will focus on inclusion and diversity in entrepreneurship and employment, and ideas for constructive collaboration across the industry. Speakers include Commissioner Steve Hoffman, Stephen Mandile, Karima Rizk, Shamika Rucker, and Horace Small. The second panel will focus on policy, business, and education models in Western MA for inclusion and diversity, with speakers Mayor Alex Morse from Holyoke, Mayor Nicole LaChapelle from Easthampton, Mark Zatryka from Insa, and Jeff Hayden from Holyoke Community College.
Study data from the VAH, C3RN, and UMass Dartmouth ongoing Veterans Health and Medical Cannabis Research Study will be released at the event as well.
Veterans interested in participating in the study will complete an anonymous online survey and see how their results compared to other participating veterans’ answers. All study participants will receive access to cannabis-related discounts, attend monthly support groups managed by VAH, and can elect to participate in additional clinical cannabis studies. The study team has partnered with the Massachusetts Chapter of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Revolutionary Clinics, AmeriCann, BASK, The Botanist, The Healing Rose, Insa, and Central Ave Compassionate Care. Study media sponsors include: NECANN, SENSI Magazine, and Weedmaps. For participating in the study, veterans will receive discounts from the following cannabis and wellness companies in Massachusetts: Revolutionary Clinics, AmeriCann, BASK, The Botanist, The Healing Rose, Insa, and Central Ave Compassionate Care. Veterans can take the survey here: www.cannacenterofexcellence.org/veteran
Cannabis Advancement Series Event #2:
April 18, 2019 – 5:30 - 9:30 PM
Gateway City Arts, Holyoke, MA
Register for a free ticket here: www.cannacenterofexcellence.org/veteran
To learn more about the Veterans Citizen Science Study or Cannabis Advancement Event Series and how to get involved as a participant, event sponsor, or partner, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: https://cannacenterofexcellence.org/veteran or visit https://vahinc.org/
About Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN)
Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN) is a public benefit corporation (B Corp) based out of Worcester, MA that specializes in providing high-quality research and analytic services related to the impacts of medical and adult-use recreational cannabis. C3RN is currently establishing a nonprofit research entity to house a virtual Cannabis Center of Excellence and all academic research activities. As a social justice-oriented research and analytics company, C3RN specializes in designing, monitoring, and evaluating models of integrating adult-use and medical cannabis to positively impact social, clinical, and public health outcomes. C3RN runs and national anon cannabis consumer and patient survey in addition to a veterans health and cannabis research study in Massachusetts. Learn more at: www.canncenterofexcellence.org
About Veterans Alternative Healing (VAH)
Veterans Alternative Healing provides education, services, support, advocacy and opportunities for and to veterans interested in utilizing alternative healing approaches and methodologies in treating ailments or conditions which affect them mentally, physically, emotionally, or psychologically thereby reducing the use of opiates and other pharmacological drugs used to suppress and temporarily manage pain, symptoms, and mental health concerns without stigma. Learn more at https://vahinc.org/
About Joint Venture & Co (JVC)
Joint Venture & Co is a Boston-based business development agency partnering up with entrepreneurs, non-profits, and small businesses to facilitate their communications needs, increase their market value and brand exposure. They take a holistic approach to position their client’s message and mission to a standard of influence, trust and integrity. https://jointvco.com/
Survey Seeks to Improve Medical Access to Cannabis for Veterans
DENVER, CO / ACCESSWIRE / April 4, 2019 / In an effort to explore how medical cannabis can help veterans, AmeriCann, Inc. (OTCQB: ACAN ), a cannabis company that is developing cultivation, processing and manufacturing facilities, announced that it has partnered with the Veterans Health and Cannabis Citizen Science Study in Massachusetts. The research is led by Cannabis Community Care and Research Network(C3RN) and UMass Dartmouth CharltonCollege of Business in collaboration with Veterans Alternative Healing (VAH).
The Veterans Health and Cannabis Citizen Science Study seeks to understand veterans’ current health status, treatment regimens and medications, current use of cannabis, and issues related to the quality of life, access to insurance options, service history and demographics. In addition to contributing to policy and advocacy through this study, participants will be able to see their results and how they compare to others who take the survey. Veterans who participate in the study will also receive discounts at partner medical cannabis dispensaries in Massachusetts, including AmeriCann’s preferred partner BASK. The survey is open to all U.S. veterans nationwide: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AmeriCannVets
“We are proud to be a partner of this important research with C3RN and Veterans Alternative Healing,” says Tim Keogh, CEO of AmeriCann. “These organizations are doing incredible work to remove the stigma around medical cannabis and increase education and access for all, especially our veterans. We look forward to seeing what this study finds and how it can be helpful to veterans.”
The study tools were designed with input from a researchers at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, UMass Dartmouth, and C3RN’s team of researchers, data scientists, and industry experts. The study was approved by the UMass Dartmouth Institutional Review Board (IRB) and findings are planned to be published in a leading peer-reviewed journal and other leading conferences and forums.
“Cannabis has the potential to benefit thousands of veterans,” says Dr. Marion McNabb, CEO of C3RN. “Our research will help us further understand the medical uses of cannabis as a treatment for many conditions veterans suffer from, including chronic pain, PTSD, anxiety and depression. We are grateful for the support of our partners like AmeriCann for helping to make Massachusetts the hub of medical cannabis research.”
AmeriCann, through its preferred partner BASK, previously partnered with C3RN on a first-of-its-kind anonymous national cannabis consumer and patient survey, with a focus on the Massachusetts market. Through the pilot project in September 2018, researchers found that 73 percent of BASK patients are using cannabis to reduce the use of unwanted prescription medications. Common health conditions treated with medical cannabis patients included chronic pain, anxiety, and depression.
The veterans study was launched at the Cannabis Advancement Conference on Sunday, March 3, at District Hall in Boston. The conference was the first event of the six-part Cannabis Advancement Series designed to eliminate the stigma around cannabis. The event series is led by Veterans Alternative Healing (VAH), C3RN and Joint Venture & Co. The second event will be held on April 18 in Holyoke, Mass and will focus on social equity in the cannabis industry. Preliminary data from the Veterans study will also be presented on April 18. To learn more about the Veterans Citizen Science Study or Cannabis Advancement Event Series and how to get involved as a participant, event sponsor, or partner, visit: https://cannacenterofexcellence.org/veteran or https://vahinc.org/
AmeriCann is developing the Massachusetts Cannabis Center (MCC), a one million square foot sustainable cannabis cultivation and processing facility in Freetown, Massachusetts. The first phase of the facility is scheduled to open and be ready for cannabis cultivation, processing, and infused product production in the summer of 2019. AmeriCann intends to open similar facilities in states in which cannabis is legal for medical and adult use.
AmeriCann (OTCQB: ACAN ) is a cannabis company that is focused on developing Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) and implementing proprietary agricultural technology (Ag-Tech) for a new generation of sustainable, state-of-the-art cannabis cultivation and processing properties.
AmeriCann will use greenhouse technology which is superior to the current industry standard of growing cannabis in warehouse facilities under artificial lights. According to industry experts, by capturing natural sunlight, greenhouses use 25 percent fewer lights, and utility bills are up to 75 percent less than in typical warehouse cultivation facilities. As such, AmeriCann’s Cannopy System enables cannabis to be produced with a greatly reduced carbon footprint, making the final product less expensive. Additionally, greenhouse construction costs are nearly half of warehouse construction costs.
More information about the Company is available at: www.americann.co, or follow AmeriCann on Twitter@ACANinfo.
Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN) is a public benefit corporation based out of Somerville, MA that specializes in providing high-quality research and analytic services related to the impacts of medical and adult-use recreational cannabis. As a social justice-oriented research and analytics company, C3RN specializes in designing, monitoring, and evaluating models of integrating adult-use and medical cannabis to positively impact social, clinical, and public health outcomes. C3RN has over 80 years of collective experience in cannabis, healthcare, life sciences, chemistry, public health, data science, and academic research. C3RN provides cannabis and health research and data analytic services, and consulting around cultivation, extraction, life sciences, technology, and medical cannabis patient care. C3RN runs a monthly Cannabis Science, Education, and Networking series in Massachusetts to showcase the latest cannabis innovations, evidence, and best practices. For more information about C3RN’s research, events, and services, please visit: www.cannaresearchnetwork.com. Contact Dr. Marion McNabb, CEO of C3RN at email@example.com for more information.
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”) (which Sections were adopted as part of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995). Statements preceded by, followed by or that otherwise include the words “believe,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “project,” “prospects,” “outlook,” and similar words or expressions, or future or conditional verbs such as “will,” “should,” “would,”“may,” and “could” are generally forward-looking in nature and not historical facts. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the Company’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any anticipated results, performance or achievements. The Company disclaims any intention to, and undertakes no obligation to, revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, a future event, or otherwise. For additional uncertainties that could impact the Company’s forward-looking statements, please see the Company’s Registration Statement on Form S-1, which the Company recently filed with the SEC and which may be viewed at www.sec.gov.
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SOURCE: AmeriCann, Inc.
Needham, MA Over 250 people braved the cold for the 3rd annual Cannabis Summit by The New England Real Estate Journal at the Sheraton Needham on March 7th.
The first panel was held from 8:30 – 9: 30 a.m. and was moderated by Beth Waterfall of ELEVATE Northeast. Topics included design solutions for retail and medical dispensaries, growing facilities and testing labs. Other speakers included: Brian Anderson of Anderson Porter Design; Nicholas Fair of Consulting Engineering Services; Robert Rose of A/Z Corp.; and Michael Novak of Meridian Associates.
Shown (from left) are Panel 1: Michael Novak of Meridian Associates; Nicholas Fair
of Consulting Engineering Services; Brian Anderson of Anderson Porter Design;
Robert Rose of A/Z Corp.; and Beth Waterfall of ELEVATE Northeast.
There were discussions on site challenges, to which Novak pointed out issues such as getting enough power, or if it is a retrofit, will there be enough parking.
Fair spoke about commissioning, and if you realize there is a problem you want an insurance policy on the facility. Rose agreed regarding 3rd party commissioning that gives you extra eyes on the development project itself.
There was talk about energy usage and how the cost of power needs to factor in your site selection. Rose commented by saying gas is a better alternative leading to sustainability and a low carbon footprint.
Anderson brought up how the industry hasn’t normalized yet, and it will help when the FDA provides guidelines to help growers and manufacturers.
Asked about predictions for the future, Novak said that once it is normalized, it will be steady. Fair commented on how over 60% of consumption is non-flower now. It is mostly oils, so there will be a wider acceptance in the future with more regulatory oversight.
Shown (from left) are Panel 2: Kelly Pappas of Foster Sullivan Insurance;
Michael Ross of Prince Lobel; Valerio Romano of Vicente Sederberg;
Mike Ginty of Digital Guard Force; and Camilo Basto of ABG Commercial Real Estate.
The second panel was held from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. and was moderated by Camilo Basto of ABG Commercial Real Estate. Topics included real estate investments in the cannabis industry, security, zoning, permitting and insurance issues. Other speakers included: Michael Ross of Prince Lobel; Mike Ginty of Digital Guard Force; Valerio Romano of Vicente Sederberg; and Kelly Pappas of Foster Sullivan Insurance.
The panel was asked about zoning and Romano mentioned how originally, zoning was industrial, and now it is moving to more commercial and retail. “There is a lot of opportunity here for one to invest in real estate without actually ever touching the plant, and really turning your regular industrial building into something that can have a lot more value,” said Romano.
Ross explained how it is becoming much harder to find locations, but the rewards are still there.
There was a lot of discussion on security. Pappas spoke about the insurance side of the topic and mentioned how landlords and property owners need to make sure the Criminal Act Exclusion Clause is covered in the event of a loss by the tenant. “Theft is one of the major concerns that insurance carriers have, it’s a cash business, so being able to show to the underwriter of the carrier that you have this amazing security program in place is going to be crucial in the application process,” said Pappas. Other insurance issues include liability and chance of explosions.
Ginty said, “Having not only cameras and alarms, and maybe a security guard, it’s really important to have those internal controls and fully developed plans and policies in place, as well as monitoring.” He also brought up how owners should make sure their cameras have forensic capability.
Shown (from left) are Panel 3: Derrell Black of M4MM; Joseph Gilmore of MRCC;
Marion McNabb of C3RN; and Heather Parsons of Keller Williams.
The third panel was held from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. and was moderated by Heather Parsons of Keller Williams. Topics included cannabis businesses in disproportionate communities and marijuana business and the general public. Other speakers included: Marion McNabb of C3RN; Joseph Gilmore of MRCC; and Derrell Black of M4MM.
Parsons asked the panel how cities can embrace cannabis. McNabb mentioned how communities need to understand more about cannabis by providing date, facts and the medical value. Gilmore brought up how educational events are important for municipalities. According to Black, it is important to connect with neighborhood leaders, such as churches.
“The community should be an integral component when you are trying to acquire a cannabis license. If you can get people to these important association meetings, you can affect different things like where the zoning is going to be allowed, or if cannabis is going to even be allowed in the town in general,” said Gilmore.
“We need to all come together as nonprofit organizations and real estate agencies, and try to get more educational buildings up, such as community centers in disproportionate areas, so people, neighborhood leaders and the older people will know the pros, not just the cons about cannabis. We can teach them about the medical perks, and we can get people off of pills and injections and try to see if they can follow the cannabis route,” said Black.
On the subject of what people can do to make the industry more inclusive for disproportionate communities, McNabb spoke about the Cannabis Control Commission’s (CCC) Social Equity Program, which would ensure their inclusion.
The New England Real Estate Journal would like to thank the following sponsors for this event:
Gold Sponsor: CATIC National Commercial Services.
Corporate Sponsors: Elevate Northeast; Vantage Builders, Inc.; A/Z Corp.; CES; M.C. Andrews Co., Inc.; Foster Sullivan Insurance; Prince Lobel; ABG; Meridian Associates; and Digital Guard Force.
Vendor Sponsors: Anderson Porter Design; U.S. Pavement Services, Inc.; and Inspired Technology and Communications, LLC.
Media Sponsor: Sensi Magazine.
Please join NEREJ at its next summit – Nashua/Manchester/Bedford, New Hampshire – on August 25th at the Event Center at the Courtyard by Marriott Nashua, 2200 Southwood Dr., Nashua, N.H.
For more information or speaking/sponsor opportunities, please contact Rick Kaplan at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 781-878-4540.
By Shira Schoenberg – Springfield Republican/MassLive.com
Mar 18, 2019, 6:27am EDT
This story first appeared on MassLive.com.
Iraq War veteran Stephen Mandile was prescribed 57 medications over 10 years of treatment through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and pain from a spinal cord injury.
Eventually, he tried to kill himself.
He says things got better after he started using medical marijuana when the first Massachusetts dispensary opened in 2015. “I was able to get off of all my other medications and have an improvement in quality of life from making the switch to cannabis," Mandile said. “It helps me with pain and other issues more than any other medication really could without turning me off completely and not being able to feel anything.”
Mandile, of Uxbridge, is now director of community outreach for a new Massachusetts nonprofit, Alternative Treatment for Veterans. The coalition formed to teach veterans about the medical benefits of marijuana, and to advocate for their increased access to medical marijuana.
“Veterans are an extremely important population because they face a myriad of health conditions after service that are often overlooked and underserved,” said Marion McNabb, CEO of the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network, or C3RN, which is spearheading the effort.
McNabb said marijuana has shown promise for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and chronic pain — all conditions likely to affect veterans.
As part of the new effort, different groups are working together to conduct a research study on veterans, create a new education and advocacy nonprofit and run a series of conferences around the state focused on veterans and marijuana use.
“It’s just time we honor those who have served and offer more support at both a state and national policy level that can create systemic change in a sustainable way,” said Ann Brum, founder of Joint Venture and Co., a Boston-based business development agency that is helping coordinate the conferences.
Advocates say while marijuana may help veterans with many ailments they are likely to experience, veterans have a particularly difficult time accessing medical marijuana because it is still illegal under federal law. Many veterans receive health care through the VA, where doctors cannot prescribe medical marijuana and benefits do not cover it. Veterans may lose access to other medications if they test positive for marijuana use.
“We’re trying to combine our efforts to collect some data and some research to change policy at the VA,” Mandile said.
Mandile said he hopes to help create an environment where a veteran can be open with their primary care doctor about using marijuana without facing stigma. “We want to make it a holistic thing — your doctor knows everything you’re doing so they can help you,” he said. “We don’t want a veteran to not have that option just because of the state they live in.”
The mission of Alternative Treatment for Veterans will be to raise awareness about veterans and marijuana use, support research, and advocate for veterans’ access to marijuana. It is working with C3RN to launch the research study, together with UMass Dartmouth researchers.
For the study, veterans will be asked to complete an anonymous online survey to provide information about their service and medical history, cannabis use and consumption preferences, history of opioid addiction, and barriers in accessing medical marijuana.
The survey is open to all veterans, not only those living in Massachusetts.
McNabb said several dispensaries will give discounts to veterans who take the survey. The veterans will also be invited to attend monthly support groups and participate in clinical cannabis studies.
The research findings will ultimately be used to lobby state and federal officials on marijuana-related issues. McNabb said the goal is to advocate for veterans to have access to medical marijuana, for VA clinicians to prescribe it and for VA benefits to cover it.
Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts, the state chapter of a national organization that has assisted veterans for more than 40 years, is involved with the initiative.
Dan Stack, department adjutant of Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts, said medical marijuana can potentially help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain. Some of these veterans have been taking opioids to alleviate pain, and some struggle with addiction.
“You have veterans suffering with chronic pain, on opioids, who can no longer be on opioids because of the addictive factor, they look to alternative sources to alleviate their pain,” Stack said.
Stack said he hopes the study can provide better information to veterans and can be used to lobby VA officials.
“There are many studies out there that show medicinal cannabis is a good treatment program for people suffering from stress or chronic pain,” Stack said. “But there’s never been a study that specifically looks at veterans and how they would benefit from this.”
The coalition is also holding a series of six conferences around the state focused on de-stigmatizing marijuana use, reviewing research findings, and increasing education for veterans. Upcoming conferences will be held April 18 in Holyoke and June 20 in Worcester.
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