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  • 24 Oct 2019 10:47 AM | Marion (Administrator)

    Holyoke Community College to offer cannabis industry training programs

    Holyoke Community College 

    Marion McNabb, chief executive officer of the Worcester-based Cannabis Community Care and Research Network, speaks at a forum on Monday, Oct. 21, where Holyoke Community College formally announced the launching of its Cannabis Education Center. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/HOLYOKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE

    Kate Phillips, director of education for the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network, speaks at a forum Monday where Holyoke Community College announced its Cannabis Education Center. HOLYOKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE


    Staff Writer

    Published: 10/24/2019 8:46:39 AM

    HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College will launch the state’s first Cannabis Education Center to train students for careers in the state’s emerging marijuana industry.

    The center will be managed out of college’s Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development and will offer certificate training courses for four different roles: patient advocate and bud tender, cannabis cultivation assistant, cannabis extraction technician assistant, and cannabis culinary assistant. The center is being created in partnership with the Worcester-based Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN).

    With legal cannabis “being new to the Massachusetts industry, there’s a need for people who have specific skills training to be ready for these particular jobs,” said Jeff Hayden, vice president of Business and Community Services at HCC. “Our effort is really focused on that workforce development piece.”

    Hayden expects the center will train around 100 individuals within its first year, with classes composed of about 20 students each, and expand in future years.

    Students will split their time between classroom learning and hands-on internship experience, Hayden said, totaling 96 hours of training. The center is currently finalizing which companies it will work with for the internships.

    More information on registration will be available on Oct. 28, and cannabis culinary assistant classes will begin in January. Training for other roles will be held in the following months. All courses are offered as six sessions held Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    The center will also offer training in the Cannabis Control Commission’s Social Equity Vendor Training program. The initiative is one of many programs “developed in response to evidence which demonstrates that certain geographic areas and demographic populations, particularly Black and Latinx, have been disproportionately impacted by high rates of arrest and incarceration for cannabis and other drug crimes as a result of state and federal drug policy,” according to the center.

    It was HCC and C3RN’s inclusion in this program that spurred the idea of the Cannabis Education Center, Hayden said, noting that the training can offer a particularly valuable resource to unemployed or underemployed communities.

    “This is an exciting effort that encompasses not only public education and social equity training,” Hayden said, “but the chance to allow people who haven’t had access to workforce and job opportunities to have a new set of skills that will help them be able to get employment and become productive workers at these new Massachusetts businesses.”

    Costs to enroll are still being solidified, Hayden said. The center’s ultimate goal is to offer the training for free, but he is not yet sure whether this will be possible.

    The center will soon publish scholarship information on its website.

    Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.


  • 22 Oct 2019 12:35 PM | Marion (Administrator)

    Connecting Point WGBY57 Springfield, Connecting Point

    Watch the interview HERE

    Holyoke Community College and the Cannibis Community Care and Research Network have teamed up to launch a Cannabis Education Center at the community college. A forum was held at HCC earlier this week to explain the industry and opportunities available. Carolee McGrath sat down with Holyoke Community College’s Jeffery Hadyen, Marion McNabb of C3RN, and INSA CEO Matt Zatyrka to find out about the new center.

  • 22 Oct 2019 12:13 PM | Marion (Administrator)

    By Jeanette DeForge | jdeforge@repub.com

    HOLYOKE – Holyoke Community College officials announced they are opening the first cannabis education center in the state and will teach the first class in November.

    The announcement was made in front of a crowd of at least 75 people, some of them who have opened businesses in the fledgling industry and others who wanted to learn more about working in cannabis. It was followed by a panel discussion with industry experts, including owners of some of the first legal adult-use cannabis businesses in the state.

    “It promises opportunity for many and it promises opportunity for many who have not had access to opportunity before,” said Jeff Hayden vice president of business and community services for the college.

    The Cannabis Education Center is being opened in partnership with the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network and with the help of several local cannabis business owners who have agreed to offer on-site internships that will be part of the program, he said.

    “It will be a huge step up for us,” said Mark Zatryka, chief executive officer of INSA, which opened one of the first Massachusetts recreational cannabis businesses in November in Northampton.

    Because anyone who works in the industry must pass background checks and be certified through a state process, it costs the business about $1,000 and takes six to eight weeks before a candidate can begin working, he said.

    Finding someone who has already gone through an educational program and is ready to work in the industry will ease hiring difficulties and prevent turnover, he said.

    “The biggest challenge is finding the right people. It is a really intense business,” said Meg Sanders, chief executive officer of Canna Provisions which has a business in Lee and is expecting to open a second business in Holyoke soon.

    Sanders said her employees range in age from 21 to 80 and one of her best workers is a man in his 70s. Her company invests significantly in training employees especially in retail.

    The Cannabis Education Center will begin with four certificate-based workforce programs that will include 96 hours of instruction stretched over six weeks. While 46 hours will be classroom time on campus, students will spend the other half learning hands-on at internships at local businesses, Hayden said.

    The courses will focus on four different jobs with the class for a cannabis culinary assistant starting first in January. The other three, cannabis retail or patient advocate, cannabis cultivation and cannabis extraction technician will all be rolled out by this spring, Hayden said.

    Some of those classes will incorporate skills which the college already teaches, for example OSHA safety regulations will be tied into cannabis cultivation and Serve Safe courses will be tied into the culinary class, he said

    The Education Center is also running five additional entrepreneur courses designed for people eligible to apply for licenses from the state Cannabis Control Commission under its social equity license program set up for people who have convicted of a crime related to cannabis or have been negatively impacted by the drug war.

    Those classes will begin with a two-session all-day class that will run on Nov. 23 and 24 and will focus on business plans and training.

    Hayden said he hopes eventually the college will be able to expand that into an entrepreneur course for anyone interested in beginning their own business.

    Registration will begin as soon as next week and Hayden said he hopes to have a total of about 100 people enrolled in the different programs by late spring.

    The cost of the programs has not been determined yet since the college is working with partners to set a tuition amount. The average cost of certificate programs at Holyoke Community College is around $2,000 but costs can be defrayed by scholarships and by business partners, he said.

    Because the college’s workforce development programs are designed to reach out to people who are seeking a job or trying to get better at their existing job, Hayden said the college works to keep the cost as affordable as possible, understanding those who are unemployed or underemployed have very limited money.

    People can learn more about the programs on the center’s website cannabiseducationcenter.org.

    “There is great opportunity for those looking for jobs in the workforce,” said Marion McNabb, chief executive officer for Cannabis Community Care and Research.

    Currently there are 196 approved cannabis businesses that are operating in the state and 377 businesses with applications that are awaiting approval from the state Cannabis Control Commission, she said.

    Most of the licenses issued so far are in retail, manufacturing and cultivation. There are great opportunities to begin businesses or work in other areas of the industry where far fewer licenses have been sought including testing labs, transportation and micro-businesses, she said.

    “We are partnering with testing labs,” McNabb said, adding the Holyoke Community College program may eventually expand to include a course for people interested in working in labs.

    Original Article Link: https://www.masslive.com/news/2019/10/holyoke-community-college-opens-first-cannabis-education-center-in-state.html

  • 22 Oct 2019 11:40 AM | Marion (Administrator)

    Holyoke Community College launches 'Cannabis Education Center'

    Morgyn Joubert

    HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A forum was held tonight to announce the launch of the Cannabis Education Center at Holyoke Community College.

    The forum called 'Emerging Cannabis Industry' was a panel discussion and networking event to educate people about the region's marijuana business.

    Tonight, Western Mass News spoke with the CEO of the Cannabis Community Care Research Network, who said why they decided to open the center.

    The new education center is located inside the college's Kittredge Center providing academic advising, public education on events, and career opportunities.


  • 21 Oct 2019 4:45 PM | Marion (Administrator)

    Holyoke Community College to offer cannabis-related courses

    by: Hayley Crombleholme

    Posted: Oct 21, 2019 / 11:36 PM EDT / Updated: Oct 21, 2019 / 11:46 PM EDT

    HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s becoming a booming industry in the Commonwealth and now, a new program at Holyoke Community College will help prepare people for careers in the cannabis industry.

    Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse has been outspoken about his desire to make Holyoke a destination for cannabis business, turning some of these old mills behind me into growing and cultivating hubs. Now, Holyoke Community College is making sure they have a well-trained workforce to go with it.

    At a forum at HCC, Mark Zatryka, CEO of INSA, which operates recreational and medical marijuana businesses, said hiring for the cannabis industry can come with challenges.

    “To bring on a new employee is very expensive,” said Zatryka. “So, we do try to spend as much time as we can to select the right individuals, it can be really hard, because it is hard to find people with experience.”

    Now, HCC is teaming up with Cannabis Community Care and Research Network, out of Worcester, to help solve that problem.

    Zatryka added, “Develop a cannabis center for education at Holyoke Community College. There will be four Cadres of training that we are going to be involved in. Culinary, cultivation, extraction, and patient advocate.”

    In courting the cannabis industry, Holyoke hopes it will mean more job opportunities for a city struggling with unemployment. Randall MacCaffrie with Cannabis Community Care said marijuana is a new market, where the number of jobs continues to grow.

    “I believe the unemployment rate is double the rest of the state in this area,” MacCaffrie told 22News. “Right now there are 50 jobs available in the city, and they expect it to be 500 in the next year or so as these businesses open up in Holyoke, So I think it’s a real opportunity for the underserved, underemployed or unemployed to have this basic training in the industry.”

    MacCaffrie said the culinary cannabis program will be the first to start in January, with around 40 students.

    Source: https://www.wwlp.com/news/local-news/hampden-county/holyoke-community-college-to-offer-cannabis-related-courses/?utm_source=newsfore&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2038&tqid=nvnlbGU_HEIBkRVgygpiTfxD.5VIw4HgMSGJXqol9w&fbclid=IwAR0UPmPSIc1hqTqBS3nPkhJNJi8pbE0BlLTfVG2d5obq7ch1ULNRu-wRZjs

  • 4 Oct 2019 12:50 PM | Marion (Administrator)

    Emerging Cannabis Industry Focus Of Oct. 21 Event At HCC

    By BusinessWest Staff October 4, 2019

    HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) and its social-equity vending partner, Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN), have scheduled the first of what both organizations expect to be an ongoing series of educational and networking events designed to spur investment, economic growth, and job creation in the nascent cannabis industry in Western Mass.

    “The Emerging Cannabis Industry in Western Mass.” will be held on Monday, Oct. 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the PeoplesBank Conference Room on the third floor of the HCC Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development, 303 Homestead Ave., Holyoke. The event will include data sharing and a panel discussion featuring key figures in the region’s cannabis industry.

    The event is free and open to all and will be of particular interest to anyone who is or wants to get involved in the cannabis industry in Western Mass.

    “The legalization of cannabis is often discussed in the context of social equity and justice,” said Jeff Hayden, HCC’s vice president of Business and Community Services. “This panel will discuss this new-to-Massachusetts industry as a way to stimulate private investment, promote job creation, and increase tax-revenue growth for municipalities and the Commonwealth. This is truly a promising economic and workforce-development opportunity for the Pioneer Valley.”

    Panelists will include Mark Zatryka, CEO of INSA; Meg Sanders, CEO of Canna Provisions; Marcos Marrero, director of Planning and Economic Development for the city of Holyoke; and Tessa Murphy-Romboletti, executive director of SPARK EforAll Holyoke. The discussion will be moderated by Kate Phillips, director of Education for C3RN.

    In August, HCC and C3RN announced a cannabis workforce-training initiative that will begin this winter with a cannabis culinary assistant program at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, with other training programs to follow in spring 2020.

    “The growing cannabis industry in Massachusetts provides a great opportunity to engage the industry, innovators, and academics in high-quality workforce and entrepreneurial training locally,” said Marion McNabb, C3RN’s CEO. “C3RN and HCC are excited to be social-equity training partners and vendors to drive innovation in education for the cannabis and hemp industries in Massachusetts.”

    Original Article: https://businesswest.com/blog/emerging-cannabis-industry-focus-of-oct-21-event-at-hcc/

  • 20 Sep 2019 2:21 PM | Marion (Administrator)

    Language of Business TV show and podcast filming: All about cannabis!


    Language of Business TV show and podcast filming: All about cannabis!

    Many thanks to Dr. Marion McNabb, CEO of the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network, for her time discussing cannabis research today. We were on location at the storied Bull Mansion in Worcester, Massachusetts. She talked about developing and dispensing cannabis research, seeking funding, and partnerships with universities. Check out the pictures below. The podcast will be airing soon, followed by the edited video footage in a few weeks / months.


  • 18 Sep 2019 2:54 PM | Marion (Administrator)
    Rowan: Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN) and Boston University School of Law have created a partnership to provide free and accessible services for expungement and sealing of criminal records to those who qualify in Massachusetts. Starting effective immediately, BU School of Law and C3RN will accept applications for free expungement and sealing records for those who fit program criteria.


  • 18 Sep 2019 10:08 AM | Marion (Administrator)


    Media Contact - Joshua Milne, Josh@joshuamilnepr.com, 617-501-1620 (for C3RN)

    BOSTON, Mass – September 17, 2019 Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN) and Boston University School of Lawannounced their partnership aiming to provide free and accessible services for expungement and sealing of criminal records to those who qualify in Massachusetts.

    As part of the recent criminal justice reform act, Massachusetts residents now have the ability to expunge their past criminal convictions. This service has been available since late 2017, yet few have taken advantage of expunging or sealing their records to date. People with convictions have a difficult time finding housing, loans, financial support, and other services. Expunging or sealing records can improve access to these services.

    Starting effective immediately, BU School of Law and C3RN will accept applications for free expungement and sealing records for those who fit program criteria. Resources and referrals for supportive and ongoing services, including eligible criteria and how to apply can be found here: www.cannacenterofexcelllence.org/expunge

    “BU Law students in the criminal clinic are motivated, intelligent and trained to provide the highest quality defense representation”, said David Rossman, Professor of Law, Boston University Law School.

    These services come at a time where new career opportunities exist, including in the new legal medical and adult-use cannabis industry in Massachusetts.  Specifically, the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) programs for economic empowerment and social equity prioritize those with a CORI record, leading to opportunities that can improve the quality and productivity of lives for many.

    Despite legalization unfolding in Massachusetts, disparities in cannabis enforcement and arrests still remain. According to the April 2019 Cannabis Control Commission baseline report on social equity and enforcement in Massachusetts:

          “Statewide, Blacks had a larger percentage of cannabis-related:

    (1) transportation, (2) distribution, (3) possession, (4) buying/receiving, (5) using/consuming violations relative to their percentage of the population overall.

          Hispanics made up a larger percentage of: (1) transportation, (2) distribution, (3) possession, and (4) buying/receiving violations relative to their population.

          In contrast, Whites represented a smaller percentage relative to their population in all cannabis violations with the exception of cultivating/manufacturing.

          Asians represented a smaller share of all cannabis violations related to their percentage of the population.

          Literature reviews suggest that drug records have adverse effects on employment, which may be compounded for Black and Latino/Hispanic individuals.

          Nationally, Black and Latino/Hispanic cohorts are arrested for drug offenses at higher rates than Whites despite similar rates of drug use and sale; No peer-reviewed research exists for Massachusetts data.

    Randal MacCaffrie, Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer for C3RN said “Disparities in arrests and access still exist in Massachusetts, and those who have a criminal record face difficulty in accessing the basic services available to improve financial income and quality of life. Our partnership with Boston University School of Law aims at righting the wrongs of the drug war and offering a free and accessible pathway for those disproportionately impacted to have a chance for a better life.”

    Join the Equity First Alliance, C3RN, and MRCC in Worcester, Massachusetts on Wed September 25, 2019 from 6-9 PM for an educational expungement and record sealing clinic. Address: 26 Millbury St Worcester, MA 01604. Register for the free event here: https://www.cannacenterofexcellence.org/event-3540249

    To see if you qualify for free expungement and criminal record sealing services through C3RN and Boston University School of Law, please register at www.cannacenterofexcellence.org/expunge For more information about clearing cannabis convictions in Massachusetts, please visit www.masslegaalhelp.org/cori. Read more: Cannabis Control Commission A Baseline Review and Assessment of Cannabis Use and Public Safety Part 2: 94C Violations and Social Equity: Literature Review and Preliminary Data in Massachusetts April 2019: https://mass-cannabis-control.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/1.-RR2-94C-Violations-FINAL.pdf

    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 Bull Mansion in Worcester, MA that specializes in providing high-quality research and analytic services related to the impacts of medical and adult-use recreational cannabis. 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 a national anon cannabis consumer and patient survey in addition to a veteran’s health and cannabis research study in Massachusetts. C3RN and HCC are selected qualified training vendors for the cannabis control commission social equity training program. Learn more at: www.canncenterofexcellence.org

    About Boston University School of Law

    Founded in 1872, Boston University School of Law is a top-tier law school with a faculty recognized nationally for exceptional teaching and preeminent scholarship. You can explore virtually any area of the law in 200+ classes and seminars, 20+ clinics and externships, and 21 study abroad opportunities. BU Law offers a full-time JD degree, six LLM & master’s degrees, and 17 dual degrees. With the support of a global network of nearly 24,000 alumni and a robust Career Development & Public Service Office, our graduates achieve remarkable career success. BU Law is located in the heart of Boston and housed in the ultra-modern Sumner M. Redstone Building and Law Tower.

    Source: https://mass-cannabis-control.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/1.-RR2-94C-Violations-FINAL.pdf

  • 7 Sep 2019 2:38 PM | Marion (Administrator)

    As Rob Gronkowski endorses CBD benefits, area communities grapple with enforcement of state restrictions

    By Sarah Klearman / Cape Cod Times

    Posted Sep 7, 2019 at 5:47 PM

    Despite former New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski’s announcement that he will now be invested in CBD, not the NFL, the future of that industry is uncertain in Massachusetts, and local business owners are grappling with how to adjust to evolving standards.

    Although CBD, or cannabidiol, is a member of the cannabis family, it has no psychoactive properties, meaning it has no known impact on a user’s sobriety when ingested or smoked, according to a June 2018 statement from the Food and Drug Administration. And Gronkowski is not the only one with a vested interest in it. Business owners have been examining the local market for CBD since Massachusetts voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2012 and recreational pot in 2016.

    Gronkowski said his father introduced him to CBD as part of his recovery regimen after his retirement from professional football in March.

    “He gave me some to try, and I was blown away by how well it worked,” Gronkowski said during a late-August press conference, describing CBDMedic, the brand he has chosen to partner with. “For the first time in more than a decade, I am pain-free. And that is a big deal.”

    Since the 2018 Farm Bill distinguished hemp from marijuana, legalizing crop production of hemp, the market for CBD has boomed. In Massachusetts, as elsewhere in the country, it began to appear in retail establishments as a menu item in restaurants (often as an add-in to smoothies or juices) or in the form of infused oils or creams. It has grown increasingly popular in wellness circles for its purported capacity to ease physical and mental ailments. In May, Forbes reported that a new study estimated the CBD industry could earn $20 billion by 2024.

    Despite its potential, it has not been smooth sailing for Gronkowski’s new industry of choice. Per FDA regulations, CBD may not be sold as a dietary supplement, and any CBD product making medicinal claims may not be legally sold until it is approved by the agency.

    In June, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources instituted a ban on CBD reflecting FDA regulations. The ban came as a surprise to those in the industry in the state, according to Marion McNabb.

    McNabb has been dialed in to Massachusetts’ cannabis industry since the state legalized marijuana; in 2018, she co-founded the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network, which researches the benefits of medical and recreational use of cannabis and its byproducts, including CBD. She says she thinks there was little public transparency around the state’s ban.

    “It came as a surprise and a shock to many,” McNabb said. In the wake of the ban, she and other industry members founded the Massachusetts Hemp Coalition, which began advocating for Massachusetts farmers, processors, retailers and consumers in the hemp and CBD industry.

    “A stop-and-start (ban) can really hurt a small business that doesn’t have a ton of capital — they might have to lay off people, they have to remove inventory,” McNabb said.

    “We opened our store eight months ago when CBD was fully legal, poured most of our funds into it, and now we have to take products off the shelf and only sell topicals,” Chris Thistle, chief technical officer of New Bedford-based Growing in Health said in July. “It just isn’t right. We have been trying to make up for the loss in sales by pushing our medical card certification service and also offering CBD massages.”

    Lynne Begier, who owns Roastd General Store on Nantucket, had added CBD to the drink menu at her store before the ban. Items like her rose vanilla cardamom CBD latte and chocolate mint CBD mocha had become increasingly popular orders. Begier estimates that a third of the drinks sold at the store, which she says deals in “coffee, tea and wellness” were made with CBD. Business was booming — until the ban.

    “The health department came in and said, ‘You can’t (sell) any of that.’ It was pretty much overnight,” Begier said.

    According to Jana Ferguson, director of the Bureau of Environmental Health at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the state will leave enforcement of the ban at the local level to respective boards of health.

    For some towns, enforcement is still in flux. Bob Canning, health agent for Orleans, began researching the ban after a local vendor approached the town’s health department with questions about the sale of CBD. Canning said he could not confirm whether his department had previously received information about the state ban.

    “In researching, we came across information that (CBD) is a banned substance that can’t be added to food,” Canning said. “Since then, we’ve been talking with other health departments to try and find a way we can address it. We haven’t determined the best way yet.”

    Thomas McKean, director of inspections for the town of Barnstable’s public health division, says the department has had “at least one” inquiry from a vendor about selling CBD oil. He says his concern is with unspecified standards of regulation for CBD products.

    CBDMedic, the company with which Gronkowski has partnered, sells “topical pain and skin care medication,” according to its website. CBDMedic advertises its products as providing temporary relief for “sports-related joint and muscle pain” as well as other conditions, such as arthritis.

    The medical implications of the product — which, per FDA guidelines, would be considered a drug because of its intended use to “treat or prevent disease or otherwise affect the functions of the human body” — leave the path unclear for Gronkowski and CBDMedic.

    Local businesses have found themselves in similar situations. Many business owners contacted by the Times — some having removed CBD from their menus or shelves, and some still selling the product — declined requests for interviews, citing concern for their businesses and the uncertainty of state and federal regulation of CBD. Others said that was the first they had heard of the ban.

    Begier said her customers are “bummed” at the removal of CBD from her menu. She believes that CBD products could be regulated as marijuana products are. Given they meet the health and safety standards, they should be available for retail sale, she said.

    “It’s so sad that we’re cutting the legs off of the CBD movement, because (as a state) we want to be a part of it,” Begier said.

    And, some retailers are worried these regulations could force them to shut down.

    “If we were to get shut down completely, there would be a good amount of families that are going without because we have given our savings to Growing In Health, to see it succeed,” Thistle said, but he’s still hoping for the best.

    “We have obtained our Hemp cultivation license and will be pursuing opening a processing facility to manufacture our own products that will be in line with what MDAR and the state of Massachusetts wants,” Thistle explained, “Hopefully in the near future, if all goes according to plan, we will have state compliant products on our shelves and once again be able to help the citizens of New Bedford.”

    Original article: https://www.southcoasttoday.com/news/20190907/as-rob-gronkowski-endorses-cbd-benefits-area-communities-grapple-with-enforcement-of-state-restrictions

Dr. McNabb on Morning Edition WBUR/NPR with Bob Oakes Discussing the MA Vape Ban November 7, 2019

Worcester, MA 01608

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