General

Last week, our inaugural cannabis conference took place at the Hilton Boston-Dedham hotel, and we are pleased to report that, by virtually every measure, the day was a tremendous success. This being the first conference ever put on by our group, we knew from the beginning that we were venturing into uncharted waters. But with the help of co-host Viridian Capital Advisors and our exhibitors, sponsors, and panelists, the entire affair ran smoothly and proved memorable, insightful, and enjoyable for all involved. In total, 152 investors, operators, and entrepreneurs were in attendance, and the feedback we’ve received has all been highly positive.

Over the coming weeks, we intend to recap each of the day’s panels, with insight provided by a member of Burns & Levinson’s Cannabis Business Advisory Group.

In the interim, though, we wish to extend our sincerest thanks to everyone who took part in bringing this watershed moment for our firm to fruition. We look forward to furthering the dialogue surrounding cannabis, both regionally and nationally, and are excited about all of the possibilities that next year’s conference holds.

 … Keep reading

On July 28, 2017, Governor Baker signed into law H. 3818, “An Act to Ensure Safe Access to Marijuana,” which was passed by state legislators to update state laws governing the cultivation, sale, and use of marijuana, following voter approval in 2016. The Act was characterized as an emergency law and declared “necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience,” and the majority of its provisions pertain to the establishment of a five-member Cannabis Control Commission, the purpose and duties of which are relative to the regulation of the recreational and medical marijuana industries in the Commonwealth. The law additionally calls for the creation of a 25-member Cannabis Advisory Board, consisting of members chosen for their expertise and knowledge relative to the Board’s mission.

In addition to the establishment of the Commission and the Board, the Act:

– Permits a municipality to establish zoning by-laws or ordinances, which allow commercial marijuana growing and cultivation on land used for commercial agriculture, aquaculture, floriculture, or horticulture;

– Permits a city or town to impose a local sales tax upon the sale or transfer of marijuana or marijuana products by a retailer operating within the city or town to anyone other … Keep reading

In a few weeks’ time—October 17th, to be exact—we are hosting our first conference on the topic of cannabis, called “The Cannabis Industry: Growth Opportunities for Professionals, Operators and Investors.” After months of planning and behind-the-scenes prep work, we’re thrilled that we’re now only a few short weeks away from what we know will be a fantastic day.

And as we detailed in our last post (ticket and other information here), we’ve put together a program that we think attendees will find informational, interesting, and enlightening. But what we’d like to do in this post is introduce our phenomenal keynote speaker. A person we’re truly lucky to have, and who embodies the spirit of what we hope to achieve with this conference. A person who has the requisite experience and insight to make this a major event on the Massachusetts cannabis calendar, and the ability to relay that experience and those insights in ways that connect with people.

That person is Kris Krane.

The founder and president of 4Front Ventures, which he established in 2011 with the stated purpose of “building a medical cannabis industry based on compassion, integrity, and accountability,” Kris has dedicated his … Keep reading

Burns & Levinson, in partnership Viridian Capital Advisors, is incredibly excited to announce the first in what it hopes will be an annual event, “The Cannabis Conference: Growth Opportunities for Professionals, Operators and Investors.”

Slated to take place at the Hilton Boston Dedham hotel on Tuesday, October 17th, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., the conference will bring together professional investors, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and other participants in the cannabis space for an exploration of the industry’s potential opportunities and challenges. The event is by invitation only, and is geared toward those seeking to improve their present position in, or make an initial foray into, the legalized marijuana market.

The program features panels of regional and national experts who will be discussing the following topics:

The New England Experience
Nationwide, the landscape of the legalized marijuana industry has changed significantly in recent years—no place more so than New England. In 2016, Maine and Massachusetts voted to fully legalize cannabis, and Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont all allow its use for medical purposes. This panel will examine how the industry’s laws and regulations have evolved in the region, focusing on the experiences of operators who … Keep reading

Already generating billions of revenue dollars annually, the cannabis industry is moving ever closer to the mainstream, and newly created companies are increasingly seeking out investor assistance to turn their ideas into realities. In this post, we present some issues to consider and measures to take when deciding whether to invest in a cannabis-related company that is seeking funding.

1. Make sure the company has truly obtained all required licensure

Each state has its own system for awarding licenses to grow or sell cannabis. It’s important to understand how far along the business is in the licensing process, and what its status means for your investment. It’s not unusual to invest in a company prior to its obtaining full licensure; however, before doing so, you should protect your stake by ensuring that there are procedures in place for the return of all or most of your money if the company fails to get licensed in a reasonable amount of time.

Make sure you verify with the proper authorities where the company truly stands, as it may not fully understand the nuances of the process, and could be incorrect about its position. Often, this information is public record. We’ve heard … Keep reading

So…You Want to Start a Cannabis Company

Imagine: The state you live in now legally recognizes the recreational use of marijuana, and you’re eager to start a business that capitalizes on the law change. As an intelligent entrepreneur, you recognize that sound legal, business, financial, and tax advice are integral to your company’s success, so you seek out input from trusted advisors. Your jaw hits the floor when your attorney tells you that, depending on how your business operates, you may end up paying a substantial amount more in federal income taxes than you otherwise would if your business were not a cannabis-related concern. You wonder, “Why does it make a difference?”

Cannabis Laws Differ at the State and Federal Levels

Though it may be legal in your state, cannabis is still considered illegal by the federal government. As a result, cannabis companies aren’t eligible to claim the federal tax credits or deductions available to other types of businesses. This is outlined in Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code, which states that:

No deduction or credit shall be allowed for any amount paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business if such

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In 2013, the principal of a small, private equity fund client asked us what we knew about the world of medical marijuana. He was acting on behalf of a group that had, at the time, recently obtained one of three such licenses issued by the State of Rhode Island, and that needed help navigating the complexities inherent to the nascent cannabis industry. Leveraging our corporate expertise, we assisted in documenting the capital raise necessary for both the build-out of a cultivation facility and construction of a kitchen. That engagement marked our initial foray into the world of legalized marijuana commerce…

Since then, the industry has exploded.

Per Arcview Market Research, marijuana sales are expected to exceed $20 billion in North America by 2021, excluding revenues generated from ancillary cannabis businesses. Eight states – including the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in 2016 – have voted in favor of the plant’s legalization for recreational use, and certain states now offer banking options for licensed dispensaries. Last year, there was an IPO for a REIT raising capital to purchase real estate to be leased to cannabis businesses. And throughout the first half of 2017, several bipartisan, cannabis-related bills were introduced in Congress, including … Keep reading