Social Equity in the Cannabis Industry – D06

Hot Topics Track
Medical Marijuana Committee

Session D: 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.  

About the Program
Many cannabis programs across the country are incorporating a social equity component into their regulations to address the inequitable status quo within the industry that currently disadvantages women and minorities. Many of the programs recognize the disproportionate impacts that the drug war has had on minority communities and aim to address some of those injustices. This program will synopsize the various programs currently in place and process that may impact Connecticut’s proposed recreational program.  


April Arrasate, April & Associates, Farmington 

April is a Connecticut and South Carolina licensed attorney and is of counsel in the state of Florida. She is also Founder and Chair of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Medical Marijuana Committee.  In 2013, April assembled a winning team and application to win one of four licenses to cultivate cannabis in the highly regulated state of Connecticut.  As Founder and COO, she and her team brought that license from permit to production in less than six months and continued on to the formation of a robust product line serving the state dispensaries.  April is also owner and founder of Core Cannabis, which harnesses her legal, pharmaceutical and cannabis industry operational experience as well as a team of experts to pursue national and international business development opportunities in cannabinoid products, research and drug policy initiatives. She is currently launching one of Boston’s first recreational cannabis dispensaries as Founder and CEO of Core Empowerment.  Core Empowerment is a women and minority owned business with an emphasis on promoting the accommodation of differences through fairness of process and result.  Core is currently building out the city’s largest dispensary and social justice cannabis museum in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood. 

Daniel S. Glissman, Prince Lobel Tye LLP, Boston, MA 

Daniel S. Glissman concentrates his practice in all matters regarding real property. He dedicates a substantial portion of his practice to representing communications providers in connection with the permitting of wireless installations and the development and deployment of wireless networks.

Since the legalization of both medical and adult use cannabis in Massachusetts, Daniel has focused a significant portion of his practice on the formation, licensing and operation of both medical and adult use cannabis establishments. Daniel has represented several successful Massachusetts cannabis establishments, including the first medical dispensary in the City of Boston and the first adult use retailer in the Commonwealth. Daniel advises his clients in all aspects of the cannabis industry, including corporate structuring and formation, commercial contract review, mergers and acquisitions, real estate leases and/or purchases, contract negotiation, regulatory compliance and state and local licensing applications and proceedings.

Daniel’s commercial and residential real estate practice includes acquisition, sale, lending, development, land use, leasing, environmental compliance, and permitting. Daniel’s due diligence examination of such matters as title, survey, environmental, leasing, and permitting offers guidance to clients in connection with their acquisitions. The work he has done to build consensus within the community regarding pending land use applications is useful to those of his clients seeking to overcome development obstacles. His regular contact with municipal officials allows Daniel to understand their perspective and development project concerns, enabling him to offer useful insight to his clients as they move through the entitlement process.

Michael P. Ross, Prince Lobel Tye LLP, Boston, MA 

Michael P. Ross’s experience solving complex problems and bringing disparate parties together as a legislator now extends to his practice as an attorney, where he focuses on commercial real estate, strategic advice, and government relations. Mike served for 14 years as a Boston City Councilor, and was President of the body from 2009 to 2010. In 2013, he entered the race for mayor, sharing a bold vision for the city’s future. Mike’s legal practice has focused on the successful permitting of several commercial real estate projects throughout the neighborhoods of downtown Boston and beyond. He also successfully permitted Boston’s first medical marijuana dispensary. He regularly appears before government boards and agencies in order to advance the needs of his clients. While serving in elected office, Mike’s vision was positively pro-business, with the championing of new housing, mixed-use development, and construction throughout his district. He was also responsible for helping to create a new downtown school–the first in decades–to revitalize the Boston Common and to launch Boston’s food truck initiative. Mike’s commitment to social and economic justice extends to his professional and personal life. A first-generation American, he learned early on about the importance of building a more just and equal society. His father survived 10 concentration camps during the Holocaust and was rescued by American soldiers at Dachau. Mike was recently appointed by President Obama to serve on the council of the United States Holocaust Museum. Mike holds a bachelor’s degree from Clark University in Worcester, an MBA from Boston University, and a law degree from Suffolk University. He writes opinion columns regularly for The Boston Globe and has had articles published in Boston magazine and Politico.


CLE Credit: 2.0 Hours (CT: 2.0 General; NY: 2.0 AOP)