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Springfield Regional Chamber to Present “The Buzz About Cannabis”

 The Springfield Regional Chamber will host “The  Buzz About Cannabis, Marijuana in the Marketplace and the Workplace,” a half-day seminar featuring leading business, legal and medical marijuana professionals, distributors, and entrepreneurs on January 28, 2020. The event, which will be held at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place, begins at 12:30 and concludes with a networking reception at 4:30 p.m.

Opening keynote speaker Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commissioner Kay Doyle will speak on The Landscape of Cannabis in Massachusetts. Doyle is one of the five Commissioners on the Cannabis Control Commission, which oversees both the adult and medical use of marijuana in the Commonwealth.

Prior to becoming a Commissioner, Doyle served as Deputy General Counsel to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where she acted as primary counsel to the Medical Use of Marijuana Program, the Food Protection Program and the Tobacco Control Program, advising clients regarding federal and state law relating to marijuana, food regulation, environmental health, tobacco protection, and administrative law.

Following the opening keynote there will be two concurrent breakout sessions – Building a Cannabis Business and Cannabis in the Workplace.

Building a Cannabis Business will be presented by Attorney Scott Foster, partner at Bulkley Richardson, and Tina Sbrega, president and CEO of GFA Federal Credit Union.

Foster is Chair of the Business and Finance practice at Bulkley Richards and is responsible for the recent launch of practice areas including cannabis, cyberscecurity and craft breweries.

As president and CEO of GFA Federal Credit Union, Sbrega leads the first financial institution in Massachusetts to provide banking services to the cannabis industry. Legal cannabis businesses are restricted by federal laws to open banking accounts in federally insured financial institutions, thereby forcing them to conduct all transactions in cash. Recognizing the risk a cash-intensive business poses for public safety, the GFA Federal Credit Union Board created a subsidiary in 2018 to bring compliant banking services to Massachusetts and New Hampshire cannabis operators.

The second breakout session, Cannabis in the Workplace, will focus on recruitment, retention and employment in the new landscape of legalized marijuana in Massachusetts. Joanne Berwald, vice president of Human Resources at Mestek; Attorney Eric Flores from Skoler Abbott; and Pam Thornton, director of Strategic HR Services for the Employers Association of the NorthEast will present the session.

As vice president of Human Resources at Mestek, Berwald is responsible for leading all aspects of human resources, labor relations, collective bargaining, benefits, wellness and strategic planning for Mestek’s 15 locations.

Flores has successfully defended employers in single-plaintiff and class action litigation involving claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, wage and hour violations, contract dispute, and other employment issues.

Thornton has 16 years of experience in the staffing and recruitment industry working with companies in executive-level placement and a wide variety of HR functions including performance, discipline, and engagement.

Cannabis journalist Michael Kusek, publisher of the cannabis magazine Different Leaf will moderate Cannabis Conversations, an afternoon panel discussion with five Massachusetts cannabis entrepreneurs.

Kusek, a former marketing and public relations professional and former publisher of the award-winning arts magazine Take, conceived of Different Leaf following a chance conversation with a friend who has a passion for cannabis cultivation. Different Leaf presents content covering the people, products, businesses and issues of the burgeoning cannabis industry across Massachusetts.

Joining Kusek in conversation will be Noni Goldman, cultivator and CEO of Four Trees management Co., Leslie Laurie, regional director for Western Massachusetts and director of patient services for NETA; Ezra Parzybok, medical cannabis educator and owner of Greenglove Consulting, LLC; Karima Rizk, general manager of Holyoke Cannabis; and Payton Shubrick, founder of 6 Brick’s LLC, a recreational marijuana shop in Springfield.

Beth Waterfall, founder and executive director of ELEVATE Northeast, and founder and president of cannabis marketing and events consultancy Beth Waterfall Creative, will be the closing keynote speaker. She will talk about what is next for the cannabis industry in Massachusetts.

Waterfall is credited with brokering some of the most impactful industry relationships in Massachusetts and for fostering informed dialogue that has resulted in increased public acceptance and a pathway for many entrepreneurs and small businesses to open their doors.

One of the features of the January 28 event will be an Exhibitor Marketplace. Networking during breaks and a closing reception will take place at the Exhibitor Marketplace.

Early bird registration is $60 until January 14, 2020. Registration is $75 after January 14. Register here.