Digital marketing agency 420MEDIA and the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) have joined forces to create a series highlighting entrepreneurs trailblazing the cannabis scene. Each week, we’ll profile a noteworthy business pioneer, and ask each 5 questions. This week’s featured trailblazer is Edmund M. DeVeaux, Executive Vice President/Member at Burton Trent Public Affairs LLC, and Policy Advisor of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association
Tell us about your Company
Nearly 10 years old, Burton Trent Public Affairs is a multi-dimensional public affairs and communications firm operating primarily throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. With three primary lines of business: lobbying, business consultancy and strategic communications, Burton Trent customizes and offers its clients public policy counsel, internal and external growth solutions, and messaging employment and deployment strategies.
Two years ago, the partners at Burton Trent met after a New Jersey legislative fact finding mission to states where adult-use or recreational cannabis was legal. The opportunities to develop the adult-use industry in New Jersey appeared to be boundless. We took a weekend as parents and community leaders to decide if we were all-in pursuing those opportunities as a public affairs firm, given the potential pushback as news spread that we were in the cannabis business. Needless to say, we were all-in.
What change will your firm address in the industry? Does it address an unmet need?
We saw the need to lead the efforts to create a responsible and sustainable professional cannabis industry. We wanted to make sure that the recreational marijuana conversation moved beyond the social aspects of policy and regulatory influence, and actually give the cannabis industry a professional look and feel. The result: Burton Trent’s Vice President, Scott Rudder founded and is currently the president of the Board of Directors of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association – the state’s first and largest organization created for the development of a professional, responsible and sustainable cannabis industry. The CannaBusiness Association is the chamber of commerce for cannabis in New Jersey. I serve as the association’s primary policy advisor.
What has been the reaction to your product/service/technology?
The New Jersey CannaBusiness Association has a membership of nearly 1,000 individuals and organizations, and hosts monthly informational meetings throughout the state with guest speakers from the spectrum of cannabis-related businesses. I believe the CannaBusiness Association has been successful in not only professionalizing the nascent cannabis industry from a policy standpoint, but it has energized the ancillary service sector. With three formal affiliation agreements with institutions of higher education – Stockton State University, Atlantic Cape Community College and Union County College – the association is ensuring that New Jersey will have a professional and sustained workforce in the industry from growing, cultivation and dispensing to environmental services, security, insurance and legal counsel.
Are there any upcoming milestones for your company?
With amended adult-use and social justice legislation nearly in place, as well as regulatory frameworks, it is our hope that New Jersey and New York (for our New York clients) will be in a position to have not just a more robust medical cannabis economy established, but a vibrant and safe recreational economy being born.
Where can readers learn more?