He estimates Massachusetts could enroll more than 100,000 patients within two years — similar to the patient base in Colorado.
“We know this issue is going to be big, and we want to help it grow in the right direction,” Vicente said.
For people considering entering the business, this warning: Expenses can add up quickly. For example, full membership in the Medical Marijuana Association costs $300 a month. A recent event was held at the Omni Parker House in Boston to launch the group and introduce the National Cannabis Industry Association, which costs at least another $100 per month. The seminar that followed (priced at $199 to $299) featured Khalatbari of Denver Relief as well as Vicente.
Donna Rheaume, a former spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health who recently started the company Medical Marijuana Public Relations, attended to make connections and market her services, including media relations, branding, website development, social media, and community events.
“It’s a brand-new industry in Massachusetts, and it’s an exciting time from a public health perspective and business perspective,” Rheaume said. “There is an opportunity for small businesses — everything from security companies to contractors to electricians and accountants.”
A different group, DispensaryPermits.com, hosted a daylong medical marijuana conference Saturday called the Green Rush. It cost $250 and included speakers such as Cheryl Shuman, a celebrity and media expert, who, according to the conference description, “showcased today’s hottest legal cannabis products on ‘The Ricki Lake Show.’ ”
Another marijuana extravaganza hosted by the National Cannabis Industry Association is planned for March 16 and will cost $250. The symposium will feature Blue Sage Microbes, a leading provider of soil nutrient systems for industrial-scale medical marijuana cultivation; a panel discussion of ancillary businesses; and a presentation of MMJ Business Daily’s Business FactBook 2013.
“You’ve got to be fast in this industry,” said Walsh, the editor. “Competitors are coming from everywhere.”