420MEDIA Trailblazers In Cannabis: Edmund M. DeVeaux, Burton Trent Public Affairs

Trailblazers In Cannabis

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.

 

NJCBA-Burton-Trent-Public-Affairs-LLCWhy did you choose the cannabis/hemp business?

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.

Ed DeVeaux Virtues of Vices (1)

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?

www.burtontrent.com

www.newjerseycannabusiness.com

WA NORML Pac Lobbyist: Growing Opportunities For Cannabis Consumers

By M. Bailey Hirschburg

WASHINGTON: It’s difficult asking people to get excited about lobbyists. Who can blame them? There are enough examples of lobbyists putting personal gain and access to power ahead of public good, or striking deals on issues they barely care about just to cash a paycheck.

Still, I’m excited to be a lobbyist. I’ve been hired by Washington NORML’s new Political Action Committee (PAC) to represent cannabis consumers interests in Olympia this year. After years of volunteering my time w/ NORML, the Drug Policy Alliance, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and New Approach Washington’s I-502, this is the first time I’ve been paid to work on drug law reform.

It’s part time. I’m likely one of the lowest paid lobbyists at the Capitol. There are lots of lobbyists dealing with marijuana policies but they often look out for businesses, medical patients, governments or police. What about everyday adult consumers? That’s where I’ll come in.

Strictly speaking, I’m working under the direction of WA NORML PAC’s board of directors. It’s headed by Kevin Oliver, a long time cannabis activist, and a licensed grower from eastern Washington. My proposal to Oliver and WA NORML PAC was based on looking out for cannabis consumers in Washington specifically, and the security of marijuana rights generally. I won’t support bills only to help businesses. I won’t speak for patients or hemp farmers, but I will speak with and stand beside them as much as possible.

WA NORML PAC priorities this session will focus on legalizing homegrow for adults, which every other legal state has in some way. And permitting fair on-site cannabis use policies to make social smoking in licensed businesses and events more common, and use on public streets less common. There’s a lot of cannabis laws already introduced; I’ll be promoting legislation benefiting cannabis consumers while opposing bills that needlessly criminalize or put undue burdens on them. Vigilance is crucial to maintaining the legal system voters enacted.

None of this stops everyday cannabis consumers reading this from contacting their lawmakers and speaking their minds. In fact, NORML.org is a great resource for you. That’s how I got here. You can read up on my required reporting to the state Public Disclosure Commission, beginning next month, here.

And you can learn about the requirements and limitations for lobbyists in Washington here:

NORML is the oldest marijuana advocacy group in the nation, and this year they’re organizing a series of lobbying days nationwide to help put you in front of lawmakers to share your concerns. In Washington, it will be Tuesday, March 7th, headed by NORML Women of Washington and WA NORML PAC, and whatever your canna-policy passion we can help you make your best case to lawmakers.

WA NORML PAC will make all the progress possible, but I hope everyone who cares about cannabis issues will continue to learn and work with legislators so we can secure more rights and enjoy greater benefits across Washington.

M. Bailey Hirschburg is a long time advocate of justice reform with expertise in drug policy and a focus on marijuana law. He is director of Thurston County NORML and was the south sound volunteer organizer for 2012’s Initiative 502 which legalized and regulated adult marijuana use statewide.

California’s Most Effective Pot Lobbyist Used To Be A Cop

CALIFORNIA:  Nate Bradley used to be a cop. Now he’s the marijuana legalization activist that California state legislators and weed entrepreneurs alike have come to rely on.

The son of a pastor and conservative Christian radio show host, Bradley has a well-used bong and a rig for dabbing hash oil on his desk in his office. His power lies in his ability to translate the struggles of the dispensary owner who sometimes wears fairy wings to the chair of the Republican caucus. He can bridge the gap between the activists and entrepreneurs who support marijuana legalization and the type of people who think pot smokers should be locked up.

Since starting the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) at the end of 2012, the 35-year-old Bradley has spent his days bounding through the halls of the Capitol building and his nights hopping from reception to fundraiser, hoping to befriend influential legislators, lobbyists, and political staffers and communicate the details of what reasonable marijuana regulations might look like. “Make me your Google on this issue,” he tells them.