An Undergraduate Professional Accelerator Fund Experience
Post by Andrew Fuller ’17
The Babson College Undergraduate Professional Accelerator Fund was absolutely one of the best experiences that I’ve had so far at this school. For my trip, I was able to experience a something that would not have been possible without this amazing opportunity. I traveled to Denver, Colorado in the end of October to attend the Marijuana Management Symposium over two separate days. Going to this event was incredibly eye-opening for me. I learned so much over the two days, networked with industry professionals and explored the beautiful city of Denver in my free time.
I flew from Boston to Denver on the evening of Wednesday, October 26 and stayed with a family friend. The Symposium started the following morning at 8 a.m. The event began with a quick check-in, a snack and then a welcoming message from the Mayor of Denver, Michael B. Hancock. The following panel focused on the changes that the city of Denver and the state of Denver have witnessed since the legalization of cannabis after three years. Some of the main obstacles that they had faced were packaging of edibles, advertising that was targeting youth and safety regulations in regard to cannabis production (ex: fires, pesticides, dangerous explosives for concentrations). Another large issue they had faced was learning how to regulate the “grey market”. It is referred to as a grey market because it is somewhere in the middle of a legal and illegal market, the plant is legal in the state of Colorado, but still illegal at the federal level. Due to this strange situation, it is complicated as to how and who should regulate each aspect of the industry. Should products be approved by the FDA? Should sales and licensing be distributed similar to alcohol? Since it is such a new market, Colorado has been the pioneering state within the America to lead the way for the rest. A large portion of the panels were centered on these issues of implementation, passing along the lessons to legislative members from California, Oregon, Washington and even Massachusetts. These states that are set to become legal next are learning from Colorado in order to mitigate repeating issues and push forward the industry in new, innovative ways.
The presentations contained in the two days that I attended the event were packed with just about every possible perspective of the legal cannabis industry. The speakers ranged from growers to dispensary owners to police officers to policy advocates to compliance to sustainability and everything in between. Following each presentation, they panel allowed for question and answer sessions which were also very enlightening to hear from individuals involved in the industry from all across the country, even Hawaii! The end of each day was concluded with a short meal and a networking session. This experience allowed me to learn so much about the industry that I am seeking to enter post-graduation as well as meet industry professionals and expand my network. None of this would have been possible without the generosity and support of the Babson College Undergraduate Professional Accelerator Fund. I am so grateful to have had this experience in my final year here at Babson.