Axios Boston

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It's Wednesday.

Today's weather: Showers with temps in the high 50s.

Today's newsletter is 888 words β€” a 3.5 minute read.

1 big thing: What reclassifying cannabis could mean for Mass.

A Coast Cannabis employee in 2022 measures the number of cannabis-infused gummies that will go in the packaging. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

The prospect of rescheduling cannabis has revived hopes for Massachusetts business owners that they'll face fewer hurdles to operating like a company in any other industry.

The big picture: The reclassification of cannabis would trigger a seismic shift in U.S. drug policy.

  • Federal officials will have to revisit everything from international treaties restricting marijuana distribution to rules around how banks can or cannot interact with cannabis-related businesses.

Reality check: The reclassification wouldn't fully legalize cannabis use, and the Feds could ultimately pick and choose what restrictions could still apply to cannabis as a Schedule III drug.

  • The government could continue to block cannabis companies from claiming deductions for businesses expenses.
  • It could also create confusion about whether dispensaries, delivery services and growers are governed by the Federal Drug Administration or state cannabis officials who have established their own regulatory systems.

State of play: The announcement raises more questions than it provides answers, says Angela Brown, co-founder and CEO of Coast Cannabis.

  • But for now, she and other business owners are looking forward to the possibilities that reclassification could bring.

Here's what she and other business leaders in Massachusetts said:

πŸ’° Brown: Coast Cannabis would benefit from being able to deduct business expenses on its federal income tax returns.

  • Massachusetts started letting cannabis companies deduct business expenses, known as 280E deductions, on state tax returns in 2022.
  • The other game-changer with reclassification could be financing. Coast, which operates in two states, would likely seek loans or deals to fund marketing services as it expands across New England.
  • Lenders typically refuse to fund marketing plans for cannabis companies.

πŸ’° Blandine Jean-Paul, VP of marketing at Ethos: Rescheduling could enable Ethos to file federal 280E deductions and refinance its debt.

  • The change could also let Ethos and other cannabis companies advertise on radio or social media platforms that are off limits for promoting Schedule I drugs.
  • Jean-Paul, a Braintree resident, also said the rescheduling could make it easier for employees to secure lines of credit for home repairs or other personal expenses.
  • "I [could] feel like a regular employee working for a regular company," Jean-Paul says.

πŸ”¬ Charlotte Hanna, Rebelle founder: Hanna, CEO of the South Boston dispensary, is excited about the prospect of scientists getting more access to cannabis in clinical trials.

  • "This will create immense economic opportunities while allowing more people to experience the healing power of this miraculous plant," she says in a statement

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2. 🀳🏾 Screen Time with Melisa Valdez

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Red Bull

Melisa Valdez is the face behind the mic on the Celtics' basketball court.

  • You might see her this week as the Celtics host the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The intrigue: Valdez, who was born in the Dominican Republic, has drawn visitors from all over to Celtics games, including one girl from Uruguay.

  • "What makes this job the most rewarding is being to impact little girls from all over the world," Valdez said.

Axios Boston spoke with her about her tech habits.

πŸ“± Apple or Android: Apple girl all the way.

πŸ‘‡πŸ½ First tap of the day: My messages β€” texts from family, emails, Instagram.

πŸ“§ Inbox Zero? Yes. I don't like seeing unread messages.

πŸ“° Go-to news source: Local TV news (e.g. NBC10, WHDH, Fox25).

🎧 Podcast of choice: I used to listen to "Girl, We Got This" by Laticia Rolle.

  • I like to listen to a lot of empowering podcasts… people that are trying to motivate.

Streaming service of choice: I've been a Spotify girl.

🎢 Current ear worm: I've been rocking with Victoria Monet (no one song).

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3. πŸ”™ Back That Mass Up: Wu doubles down on Emerson

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Mayor Michelle Wu yesterday defended having police clear a pro-Palestinian encampment at Emerson College, saying the city ordinance banning the tents can't be selectively applied and protesters "wanted to get arrested." (GBH News)

The Sumner Tunnel will close for one month this summer, instead of two months, for the second phase of the state's restoration project. (WHDH)

  • The closure runs from July 5 through Aug. 5, along with weekend closures in the fall.

Ambri, a Marlborough-based battery developer backed by Bill Gates, filed for bankruptcy this week. (Axios Pro)

Senate lawmakers unveiled a $57.9 billion state budget bill yesterday that would fund free community college for all students and free Regional Transit Authority rides. (NBC Boston)

4. Pic du jour: Dunkin' on the Cavs

And another one from Jaylen Brown. Photo: Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Jaylen Brown was on fire last night.

Catch up quick: Brown helped the Celtics cruise to victory in their first semifinals game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, 120-95.

  • This is just one of several shots Brown made last night (he scored 32 points).

Another highlight: Payton Pritchard came through at the end of the third quarter, beating the buzzer and bringing the Celts to 92 points at the time.

What we're watching: If they can keep the momentum going for Game 2 tomorrow night.

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Future events

πŸ“·Start planning your days ahead.

ALX Business Summit at WBUR CitySpace on May 21st: A day filled with insightful discussions, networking opportunities, and valuable takeaways to elevate your business game. Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, this event is designed to inspire and empower you on your journey to success.

Hosting an event? Email [email protected].

5. 🍦 1 ice cream trail to go

Yes, that's an ice cream cone with fruity pebbles and chocolate on my waffle cone. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

The state Department of Agricultural Resources is asking Massachusetts-based dairy farms and ice cream shops to sign up to be included in the state's upcoming "Ice Cream Trail."

Zoom in: MDAR is seeking input from local businesses on who to highlight in the trail it's creating, starting with a request for information that opens for bids on May 13.

  • The request is only for information, so there won't be any contracts or purchases involved, per the request.

πŸ’­ Steph's thought bubble: I'd probably get sick from eating my way through a statewide ice cream trail, but that wouldn't stop me from trying.

Deehan wants to know what trees have those amazing pink flowers that bloom this time of year.

Steph missed eating lunch outside.

This newsletter was edited by Jeff Weiner and copy edited by James Farrell.