Bill Downing has extensive experience as both a serial entrepreneur and as a cannabis tradesman, activist and researcher. Bill was among the first students to take courses in Entrepreneurship, which is now offered as a major, at his alma mater Babson College, now recognized worldwide as an academic leader in that field. After long success in business-to-business sales and sales management, culminating with ten years as Philips Business Systems National Sales Champion, scoring in the top ten in the nation in the last three of those years. Bill followed his dream to start new businesses and helped launch:
- Savvy PR – The world’s first and still only Publicity Evaluation and Tracking Software (PETS) for monetizing otherwise assumed PR results
- ResuMemory/CertBank – Online document stabilization technology for use in law, education, compliance training and to reduce résumé fraud
- Corporate Learning Solutions – Helped bring workplace compliance training and testing from legal experts at Seyfarth Shaw and Jackson Lewis online and interactive
- Willy’s Foods, LLC – A barbeque sauce company offering four chemical-free, clean and healthy low-sugar marinades sold at over 200 stores in New England and New York, including Whole Foods Markets
- Care Givers Connection, LLC dba Yankee Care Givers – Serving cannabis products to over 1,000 medical marijuana patients at costs well-below street prices for third-party tested cannabis products of all sorts delivered to your door with no delivery charge.
While still working as a representative for Philips in 1990, Bill joined MASS CANN/NORML and within a few months was elected President and since then he has voluntarily dedicated a large portion of his waking hours to the moderation of marijuana laws. He was president of the MASS CANN/NORML (MC/N) for 13 years and is now the editor of the members’ newsletter MASS GRASS and the treasurer. He was one of two operations managers for the Massachusetts Coalition for Medicinal Cannabis (MC2) and managed a team of volunteer petitioners who, in 1990, gathered over 13,000 signatures in support of a Cambridge City Council home-rule petition supporting medicinal marijuana (over 7,000 more signatures were collected later in the Speaker’s district). MC2 kick started a chain of events that culminated in:
Since 1991 he has been the primary organizer of MC/N’s annual Fall Freedom Rally on Boston Common which has generated donations of over $400,000. The Freedom Rally was the largest annual marijuana related rally until the Seattle Hempfest grew larger in the late 1990s.
He worked with ACLU attorney John Swomley to bring four suits against the City of Boston winning immediate injunctive relief and eventually judgments totaling over $30,000. These suits have helped to assure the City of Boston cannot limit public political assemblies on Boston Common – the first public place in the known universe where freedom of speech and assembly were guaranteed by law.
He maintains the MC/N library and, partly as a result, has detailed knowledge regarding many aspects of the subject. He has been High Times Activist of the Month twice, once as an individual and once as a MC/N board member, and was the very first subscriber to DRCNet.
His training as a professional marketing/salesperson and entrepreneur combines well with his experience as a leader of a marijuana law reform organization. He is quite at home speaking publicly and has:
Bill has bought, sold and grown marijuana and other cannabis products since he was 15 years old (40+ years). As a renter in 1975 he began small indoor gardens, mostly in a wooden armoire refitted for that purpose. In spring 2006 he “re-vegged” an Apple Fluff cannabis plant, which grew to a size for which it is local legend. The thick trunk of this plant was preserved and in 2011 fashioned into the handle of the official MASS CANN/NORML gavel. That large plant has been here-to-fore referred to as the “Gavel Plant”. He is now growing: Haze, SAGE, flav and 10 other strains. His long involvement with many aspects of cannabis has endowed him with a rich volume of contacts and friends, some of whom also grow and sell cannabis.