The Business of Cannabis: Introducing a New Multi-Billion Dollar Industry to Massachusetts

A panel discussion on the business aspects of legal recreational marijuana in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

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Ready or not, the business of legal cannabis for recreational consumers is coming to Massachusetts and other states around the country. Unlike the well-established gambling and alcohol sectors, legal consumer cannabis is a brand-new industry, and a sizable opportunity for entrepreneurship and innovation across every aspect of the business. Our panelists all have direct experience with the regulatory, financing and operational challenges and opportunities involved with legal cannabis. Please join us to learn more about the trends, risks, and rewards in this emerging industry. Light refreshments will be available.

Our moderator and panelists:

Tahira Rehmatullah SOM '14


Named by Fortune and Complex as one of the Most Powerful Women in the Cannabis Business, Tahira Rehmatullah previously served as General Manager of Marley Natural, where she was responsible for launching the brand and managing day-to-day operations, and as Investment Manager at Privateer Holdings. She now works as a strategic advisor to entrepreneurs, early stage venture leaders, and investors, utilizing her cannabis, startup, and finance experience. Tahira is particularly focused on developing female leadership in the cannabis industry and increasing diversity throughout organizations.

Prior to entering the cannabis industry, Tahira was a Portfolio Manager at City First Enterprises, focused on underwriting, structuring, and deal management for CFE’s community development and real estate investment portfolio. Tahira was an associate at Perry Capital and began her career as a consultant in Ernst & Young’s Financial Services Advisory practice.

Tahira earned a B.S. in Business Administration, Magna Cum Laude, from The Ohio State University and was a Presidential Scholar. She holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management (2014), where she was a Yale Entrepreneurial Institute Venture Creation Advisor.

Kevin Conroy

Kevin Conroy is a partner in Foley Hoag’s Administrative Law Department, with a primary focus on government investigations and regulatory matters. He co-chairs the firm’s Energy and Cleantech, State Attorney General, and Marijuana groups.

Kevin has considerable experience developing proactive strategies to guide clients through every aspect of the regulatory process, including marijuana and gaming licensing. His work with DraftKings led to first-in-the-nation regulations around fantasy sports, ultimately avoiding an outright ban in Massachusetts and providing a roadmap forward for many other states. He has also advised potential gaming applicants in proceedings before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Kevin represents a variety of marijuana investors and operators regarding both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ medical and recreational marijuana laws and local approvals needed to operate in the Commonwealth. Kevin previously served as the Massachusetts Deputy Attorney General.

Dorian Des Lauriers

Dorian Des Lauriers is an entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of ProVerde Laboratories, Inc. an ISO 17025 Accredited Laboratory that specializes in Marijuana testing, extraction, formulation including the separation and purification of cannabinoids. ProVerde provides the full spectrum of testing, including potency testing of cannabinoid and terpene and safety screening of heavy metals, pesticides, microbiological contaminants, Mycotoxins, and Volatile Organic Compounds.

Mr. Des Lauriers was a founding member and primary donor to Citizens for Responsible Patient Care to lobby for the enactment of Medical Marijuana laws in Massachusetts, and a major donor to the Marijuana Policy Project’s legalization efforts in Massachusetts. As the market was developing in Massachusetts Mr. Des Lauriers was instrumental in the establishment of testing standards. Through conversations with the DPH and providing evidence of the impact contaminated marijuana had on individuals with compromised immune systems, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health decided to make testing mandatory and established testing standards statewide. This was the first time a state made testing a mandatory part of the medical marijuana program. Today every state institutes testing standards.

Prior to starting ProVerde Labs, Dorian ran a successful software development company whose product, GeoTMS was the most widely used municipal land management and permitting software application in New England.

Dorian is a graduate of Ripon College with a BA in Economics and has also held numerous board positions for a variety of non-profit organizations including Chairman of a regional Chamber of Commerce, Founding Director of the 495 Corridor Commission, Ripon College trustee, President of the Alumni Association of Ripon College, the Kennedy-Donovan Center for Disadvantaged Children and Families, MetroWest Economic Research Center, and numerous municipal and civic seats.

Steve Krasnow
Founder and CEO of Krasnow Ventures, Steve Krasnow is a business and product development maven specializing in emerging cannabis technologies and markets. He has consulted on a range of cannabis-related projects, including digital media, dispensary operations, hydroponic and aquaponic cultivation solutions, vaporizer technology, and applied material solutions. Steve is building an ecosystem of integrated cannabis companies that encompass all parts of the cannabis lifecycle.

Phyllis Vena

Phyllis has more than ten years of portfolio management expertise, with experience canvassing new sectors and investing in emerging markets. She has a strong interest in social enterprise and operational improvement.

Most recently, Phyllis was at Privateer Holdings where she held roles as an Investment Associate and as Inventory and Procurement Manager at the subsidiary, Marley Natural. During her time at Privateer she helped launch medical and recreational startups in CA, OR, WA, and Canada.

Prior to Privateer, Phyllis was at the investment office of The Rockefeller Foundation, which managed a $4B endowment. Her focus at RF was on private equity including venture, buyout, oil & gas and real estate.

Phyllis began her career at Thomson Reuters, in the Financial Markets division. She holds a CFA charter and has an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. She went to New York University for her undergraduate program.

Presented by Yale SOMAA-Boston Chapter with special thanks to FoleyHoag and Yale SOM Alumni Relations.

Questions? Contact event leader Matt Levine SOM ‘14

April 26, 2017 at 6pm - 8pm
Foley Hoag, Seaport West
155 Seaport Blvd
Boston, MA 02210
United States
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