When I was a kid growing up in Holden, a little town next to Worcester, Massachusetts, it was a time when we ventured into the city only for dinners or to go to a movie theater. Worcester was not a pretty place; in certain parts of the city in the early 1990s, there were signs posted to let visitors know that they were in a high STD area. AIDS and HIV were still sources of incredible fear and confusion. Parents in Holden told their kids to stay away from Worcester.
But my how times have changed. And next month I get to return to Worcester to deliver opening comments and introduce Commissioner Kay Doyle at the Worcester Business Journal's first-ever cannabis event. Read all about it here.
Just like Worcester's renaissance over the past couple decades, this event has been a long time in the making. Certainly federal prohibition has something to do with it, wink wink, but stigma and bad information have certainly played their part in keeping cannabis out of the mainstream business arena.
That's why I'm so proud to be working with the Journal to make this event happen. Without business leaders like the Worcester Business Journal accepting our newly regulated cannabis industry as a true economic engine for the region, innovation would be stagnated and jobs wouldn't be created.
This is an exceptionally exciting time for Worcester, with the new stadium coming and presence of a dynamic and culturally rich dining scene, and I can't wait to see how my old home city, continues to evolve and accept change.